I want to provide a bit more information for those who are interested in getting a better idea of what actually went on that violent and deadly day in Charlottesville, VA. “What about the ‘alt-left,'” Donald Trump asked, “do they have any semblance of guilt?” Here are a few firsthand accounts from counter-protestors, including clergy: http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/politics/2017/08/what_the_alt_left_was_actually_doing_in_charlottesville.html
Here, again, we can see the hypocrisy that is so typical of human nature. The violence and terrorism that my enemies engage in is reprehensible in itself. When my friends do the same things, that’s fine. Political violence is defended in these accounts, but only if it comes from one side of the political spectrum. Some even refer to violent anti-fascists as “angels.” I understand why that comparison is made. In one sense “guardian angels” would be a fitting idiom. But I also see the evil in such a comparison.
But they started it! Might be the reply. But no, as best I can tell, the alt-right, vile as they are, did not start it. Not that day. I direct your attention to serious BS in the account of Rev. Seth Wispelwey. He speaks of “nonviolent direct action,” by which he means the use physical strength to exert his will over someone else. In this case that meant attempting to block the alt-right protestors from entering the park in which they were scheduled to demonstrate.
I helped lead a group of clergy who were trained and committed to the same work: to hold space on the frontline of the park where the rally was to be held. And then some of us tried to take the steps to one of the entrances.
Holding territory … frontline … taking ground… these are concepts normally associated with warfare. They are not in this instance an analogy for speech. He’s talking about actually physical blocking and interfering with the protestors. “Taking space” is particularly egregious since it seems to implies an attempt to displace protestors from physical space. Legally speaking, what is that, assault? I’m not a lawyer.
The Reverend Wispelwey is equivocating (being intentionally vague or ambiguous) when he calls this non-violent. OK, he wasn’t punching people. But it was still a use of force. Talking about non-violent force is kind of splitting hairs.
Anther quote from the same article makes very clear what was happening:
It was basically impossible to miss the antifa for the group of us who were on the steps of Emancipation Park in an effort to block the Nazis and alt-righters from entering. Soon after we got to the steps and linked arms, a group of white supremacists—I’m guessing somewhere between 20-45 of them—came up with their shields and batons and bats and shoved through us.
The doublespeak of Wispelwey is amazing at the end of his account:
The white supremacists did not blink at violently plowing right through clergy, all of us dressed in full clerical garb. White supremacy is violence. I didn’t see any racial justice protesters with weapons; as for antifa, anything they brought I would only categorize as community defense tools and nothing more. Pretty much everyone I talk to agrees—including most clergy. My strong stance is that the weapon is and was white supremacy, and the white supremacists intentionally brought weapons to instigate violence.
You might want to take a little time to parse those words. In his estimation, the ideas of the alt-right are weapons, meanwhile the weapons (clubs, pepper spray, and firearms) of the anti-fascists are only “tools.”
Hey, Rev, do you know Jesus? He’s the only one who can save you from being judged for your out-of-control hypocrisy.