Do we really need to talk about the violence of Charlottesville and its political aftermath?
Are there significant questions of right and wrong involved? Clearly, yes. Racism and political violence are moral issues, and our country is struggling (failing?) to find righteous answers to such problems. Christians need to speak about righteousness and sin. The witness of the gospel requires it of us.
My next question is, does it pertain to me? Even with moral questions, there is a time and place to bring them up. If people are sufficiently removed in time and place from an event, it may be wrong to try and bring it to their attention. It would be especially wrong to try and create an urgent emotional response to them. There are lots of terrible events in human history and we don’t need to rehash them all. To re-purpose a statement of the Lord Jesus, “sufficient to the day is the evil thereof.” In other words, we’ve got enough to deal with in the present, we don’t to borrow troubles from the future – or the past.
So does it pertain to me? Yes, actually it does. I’m an American citizen. I try to uphold my responsibilities as an American citizen in a way that honors God. The events and aftermath of Charlottesville are extremely pertinent in that sense.
So, yes, we need to talk about it.
I linked to the video yesterday, but here’s a little explanation of why describing both sides as guilty of hatred, bigotry and violence is very apt. WARNING! Offensive language in this video! Hatred, bigotry and violence on the part of the counter-protestors.
Violence? And plenty of it. Starting around 2:57 in the video you can see some counter-protestors attacking protestors (Nazis?) as they march by.
Hatred? Screaming obscenities usually correlates pretty well with hatred. Pretty clearly, there is hatred on both sides.
Bigotry? The bigotry of the counter-protestors may be less blatant than that of the alt-right, but that doesn’t mean it’s not there. You’ll notice around the 2:40 mark that the man screaming at the Nazis calls them “inbred.” This is unjustified bigotry. It is a fairly common slur hurled at southerners.
Ironic, isn’t it, that a man who comes out to protest the racism of the alt-right would engage in slurs based on ethnic history and genetics? It is also hypocrisy. This is exactly the sort of thing that will be brought up on judgment day. If you condemn people for hurling ethnic slurs and denigrating the genetic makeup of their victims, and then do precisely the same thing, you should tremble at the prospect of judgment day.
Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things.
Romans 2:1 (ESV)
Someone should find that guy and witness to him. He should hear that the bible has been telling the story of his life (and mine) for almost two thousand years before his birth. The bible is true. And each of us has plenty of evidence available to understand that God would be justified in sending each of us to hell. We literally condemn ourselves by our own words and actions.
We know that the judgment of God rightly falls on those who practice such things. Do you suppose, O man—you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself—that you will escape the judgment of God?
Romans 2:2-3 (ESV)
We have a lot to say to our generation. And they have a lot of reason to listen.