I wanted to wait to discuss the violent protests in Charlottesville because I was mostly unplugged over the weekend and wanted to have a better sense of what happened. There have been plenty of hot takes and I wanted to be more thoughtful. Here are four quick thoughts about the event:

1. The Alt-Right Movement and White Supremacy are antithetical to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

I’ve said this numerous times before and will continue to say it. We are all created equal in God’s sight. Every human being is an image-bearer of God. We must reject this movement. As a member of a Southern Baptist Church, I support the convention’s resolution passed this summer regarding the Alt-Right:

WHEREAS, Scripture teaches, “From one man [God] has made every nationality to live over the whole earth and has determined their appointed times and the boundaries of where they live” (Acts 17:26); and

WHEREAS, The Psalmist proclaimed, “The earth and everything  in it, the world and its inhabitants, belong to the LORD” (Psalm 24:1); and

WHEREAS, The Apostle Peter said, “God doesn’t show favoritism, but in every nation the person who fears Him and does what is right is acceptable to Him” (Acts 10:34-35); and

WHEREAS, Our justification before God is based on faith in Christ Jesus alone and not in our ethnicity (Galatians 3:27-28); and

WHEREAS, Scripture proclaims that Jesus is purchasing by His blood believers “from every tribe and language and people and nation” (Revelation 5:9); and

WHEREAS, Throughout eternity we will gather with a “multitude from every nation, tribe, people, and language” in worship of our risen Savior (Revelation 7:9); and

WHEREAS, The Baptist Faith and Message conveys that all Christians are obligated to make the will of Christ supreme in their own lives and in human society, opposing all forms of racism, selfishness, and vice, and bringing government and society as a whole under the sway of the principles of righteousness, truth, and brotherly loves; and

WHEREAS, We know from our Southern Baptist history the effects of the horrific sins of racism and hatred; and

WHEREAS, In 1995, the Southern Baptist Convention repudiated “historic acts of evil, such as slavery,” commited “to eradicate racism in all its forms from Southern Baptist life and ministry,” and “genuinely repent(ed) of racism of which we have been guilty, whether consciously or unconsciously”; and

WHEREAS, In recent years the Convention has nominated and elected individuals from a variety of ethnicities, including electing our first African-American president in 2012; and

WHEREAS, In recent resolutions the Southern Baptist Convention called on “all Christian men and women to pray and labor for the day when our Lord will set all things right and racial prejudice and injustice will be no more” (2014); expressed continued grief “over the prescence of racism and the recent escalation of racial tension in our nation” (2015); and urged fellow Christians to discontinue using the Confederate battle flag, acknowledging that it is “used by some and preceived by many as a symbol of hatred, bigotry, and racism, offending millions of people” (2016); and

WHEREAS, More than 20 percent (nearly eleven thousand) of our cooperating Southern Baptist congregations identify as predominately non-Anglo and for the last three years more than 50 percent of Southern Baptists new church plants have been predominately non-Anglo; and

WHEREAS, B&H Academic recently published Removing the Stain of Racism from the Southern Baptist Convention, highlighting our continuing need to root out vestiges of racism from our own hearts ans Southern Baptists; and

WHEREAS, Racism and white supremacy are, sadly, not extinct but present all over the world in various white supremacist movements, sometimes known as “white nationalism” or “alt-right”; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention, meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, June 13-14, 2017, decry every form of racism, including alt-right white supremacy and every form of racial and ethnic hatred as of the devil; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we acknowledge that we still must make progress in rooting out any remaining forms of intentional or unintentional racism in our midst; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we earnestly pray, both for those who advocate racist ideologies and those who are thereby decived, that they may see their error through the light of the Gospel, repent of those hatreds, and come to know the peace and love of Christ through redeemed fellowship in the Kingdom of God, which is established from every nation, tribe, people, and language.

Christians, in particular, white evangelicals, should rebuke this group without reservation as members of the alt-right infer they represent us. They don’t.

We also need to recognize that we have not experienced the systematic racism that those in the Black community has experienced. We, by and large, don’t understand what it is like to live in fear because of our race. As Christians, we should seek to empathize, understand, and engage the black community in general and our black brothers-and-sisters-in-Christ in particular.

Unfortunately, much of the good work evangelicals have done toward racial reconciliation has been overlooked by the media and the left because of the overwhelming support evangelicals gave President Donald Trump.

2. President Donald Trump’s statement was woefully inadequate.

His initial statement made no mention of the Alt-Right or White Supremacists. “We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides, on many sides. It has been going on for a long time in our country — not Donald Trump, not Barack Obama. It has been going on for a long, long time. It has no place in America,” Trump said.

This type of statement is not new; President Trump has repeatedly refused to call out this group by name over the better part of a year. President Trump’s statement is disappointing, but it should not be surprising.

While there was violent behavior both from the alt-right and Antifa, it is the Alt-Right that claims to be on Trump’s team making it extremely important for him to rebuke the movement by name.

3. The car attack in Charlottesville is terrorism.

James Alex Fields, Jr.’s deliberate act of driving his vehicle into Antifa counter-protestors was an act of terrorism – period. It was evil – period. We can not and should not equivocate on this.

4. Do not ignore Antifa’s role in racial tension and violence.

The media’s attention has been primarily on the Alt-Right which has grown more vocal since 2016 (though how much it has grown in numbers is debatable). Unfortunately, the media has given the violence of Antifa a pass. In Charlottesville Alt-Right thugs and Antifa thugs met and both sides were violent. The terrorism by a member of the Alt-Right does not excuse this.

The fact Antifa was engaged in violent activity was documented by a New York Times reporter.

https://twitter.com/SherylNYT/status/896575560650035200

So while the Alt-Right movement needs to be rebuked and condemned so does the Antifa movement, and those in the Black Lives Matter movement who engage in riots, threats, and actual violence.

While it is important for President Trump to rebuke the Alt-Right, it is important for the left to rebuke Antifa and Black Lives Matter as these groups claim to be on the same team. I see many Christians and conservatives condemn the Alt-Right, I don’t see the same conviction from the left to condemn Antifa, and that is unfortunate.

Conservatives can criticize and condemn Antifa all that we like but it will never have the same effect as those on the left doing it.

Those of us on the right can not point to Antifa as an excuse to ignore racism and violence perpetrated by the alt-right. And neither should the left ignore Antifa because of what they see coming from the Alt-Right.

The current racial tension in our country won’t subside if only one side is being policed.

11 comments
  1. “President Trump’s statement is disappointing, but it should not be surprising.”

    The essence of the current President is basically an internet troll. His forte is reactionary contrarianism. Consider most responses and actions of the President to date and they pretty much follow this pattern.

    The Antifa are anarchist stooges whose net effect is to become useful idiots for those they protest against.

    And speaking generally about this s**t-storm, showing up for a protest with riot gear, weapons, masks and tactical gear should lead to confiscation of those devices and a quick trip to jail. Carrying riot paraphernalia and weapons is not protected as free speech under the 1st amendment. There will be those who think that the 2nd amendment would absolutely allow such devices but give me a break, this was a protest about taking down a statue and white nationalism, not an armed insurrection or police action.

  2. Stop recirculating Trump’s “There were two sides” argument. Mitt Romney tweeted: “One side is racist, bigoted, Nazi. The other opposes racism and bigotry. Morally different universes.”

    And the violence in Charlottesville was not caused by the “alt-left,” (whatever that may be). It was caused by Neo-Nazis and white supremacists.

    By the way, what exactly does the “alt-left” do? Healthcare the daylights out of you? Wheel those meals in with attitude? Try to get more money for schools so they are actually properly funded?

    1. First, stop. Antifa was on the ground engaging in violence (lots of eyewitness testimony from third party observers) and they have been engaged in violence in several instances (Portland? Berkeley?). This is not an opinion it is a fact. Granted they didn’t kill anybody, but they deserve a rebuke as well.

      Second, I spent far more time in this article, and far more time on Caffeinated Thoughts, as well as, on my personal social media on the Alt-Right. So I’m not going to apologize or feel bad about pointing out issues with the Alt-Left or Antifa.

      1. Shane, check out this CNN article, “What’s the alt-left? Experts say it’s a made-up term.”

        Of course, violence is NEVER acceptable. I’m as anti-war as they come. Mental illness is found in all political movements.

        But Trump is trying to invent an alt-left group that’s as scary as the Nazis. You are playing into his hand when you use that term. Please stop using it. Now.

        http://www.cnn.com/2017/08/16/politics/what-is-alt-left/index.html

        I’m no fan of The Atlantic. I read that article a while ago. Those of us on the left don’t read The Atlantic. I’m not a liberal.

      2. “Alt-left” is no more made up than “Alt-Right.” They are both recently created terms to describe the fringes of each political ideology.

        Trump didn’t create Antifa though they certainly became more active since he was elected. They were around during the Occupy movement and they have become violent. Liberals don’t read The Atlantic (BTW, if you identify with the Left then yes you are a liberal. If you are moderate then you are in the center.)? It isn’t a conservative outlet. They have a number of articles that I disagree with, and the guy who wrote the article I referenced is not a conservative as far as I can tell, but he did a great job outlining the movement.

        CNN however has lots of credibility issues, and the mainstream media are circling the wagons on this, so sorry. You are trying to force me into a binary choice – neo-nazi, skinhead facists on one side and neo-Marxist anarchists on the other. I choose neither.

      1. The term “alt-left” was actually coined by corporate Democrats several months ago to disgustingly equate democratic socialists with Nazis.

      2. No that is to identify them as a fringe within the left… “Alt -Left” and “Alt-Right” are on opposite ends of the spectrum.

        Based on your comment am I to understand you are a Bernie Sanders supporter? I consider those folks as “the left.” Alt-left – Antifa is an entirely different group. I generally don’t use the term “Alt-Left” most of the time I refer to the group as Antifa.

      3. Ok – I appreciate the clarity – but still think that “alt-left” is a fuzzy term and is better off not being used.

        Yes, I was a Sanders supporter. I believe that all God’s children have the right to go to a doctor. I base my theology on the example of Jesus’ work to heal the sick.

        Thank you for not voting for Trump and for taking other Christians to task for supporting him. You’re probably getting a lot of flak, but keep up the good work.

        It makes me sick that so many evangelical Christians continue to support this sick individual. It makes me think of the saying, “Nice people make the best Nazis.”

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