Ohio Faith Leaders Respond to White Supremacist Violence in Charlottesville, VA

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

August 13, 2017

 

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Ohio Faith Leaders Respond to White Supremacist Violence in Charlottesville, VA

 

Columbus, Ohio -- On Saturday, August 12th, counter-protesters at a “Unite the Right” rally of white supremacists in Charlottesville, Va., were mowed down by a driver whose vehicle is registered in Ohio. Columbus clergy responses to this horrific act are below.

 

Rev. Dr. Tim Ahrens, First Congregational Church, Columbus:

"Violent and hate-filled talk undergirds and leads directly to violent and hate-filled actions. We have seen that played out in the worst ways in Charlottesville, Virginia. As the prophet Isaiah says in chapter 58, we are called to become repairers of the breach. Each one of us needs to take a minute each day in the next week to pray and figure out how to close the terrible divide that is tearing our country apart. Then we need to take action to repair what has become so terribly broken. No one else will do this but us. So let's stand together and change the tide of hate."

 

Rev. Virginia Lohmann-Bauman, St. John’s United Church of Christ, Columbus:

“Our faith teaches us that we are all children of God, created in the image of our multi-valent Creator.  To reduce some people to a status less than others based on the ‘supremacy’ of one ethnicity, reduces us all. People of faith must not hesitate to unmask the demonic evil of ‘white supremacy.’ Silence in the face of such evil is complicit in this sin that has cost too many people their lives and their dignity. As Maya Angelou presciently noted, ‘hate always destroys its host.’ May we not allow such hate into our hearts, or into our communities, lest such hate destroy us all.”

 

Rev. Mark Diemer, Grace of God Lutheran Church, Columbus:

“Faith leaders who fail to speak out and address the racist and hateful words and actions with their congregations are as complicit in their silence as those who shouted the slogans and used the hateful images of the past. We as faith leaders must be careful to make sure that our outrage at the events in Charlottesville doesn’t absolve us from recognizing our own participation in systems in which we are privileged and therefore contribute to the ongoing presence of this hatred and racism. Acknowledging both our participation in and our silence is necessary to begin to break down the barriers and stem the ugliness and violence that racism perpetuates.

 

Father Charles Wilson, St. Philip Episcopal Church, Columbus:

“It is tempting, if not expected, to use the word 'tragedy' when commenting upon the events in Charlottesville, but the only word to use is 'reality'. It is real that the white supremacist beliefs and fearfulness of the other exist. That the majority of the white nationalist antagonists are young men reveals that we have deceived ourselves that much progress has been made. It reveals that for some time now too many of our children have been taught and have basked in the hatefulness society has tolerated as long as it was quiet. With the election of President Trump, the quietness has ended. The "alt-right" is telling us that they will no longer be ignored or silent. The church and all faithful people must engage and set a new reality that embraces all. To not do anything or dismiss this out of our fear, would be tragic.”

 

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