Christians find themselves a target yet again in the aftermath of hate speech and incited violence, this time in Charlottesville. Actress Whoopi Goldberg tweeted,
The silence of the Christian Right about the Charlottesville Attack is deafening.
— Whoopi Goldberg (@WhoopiGoldberg) August 16, 2017
Whoopi’s assertion is unequivocally false. Many Christian leaders have spoken out against this weekend’s racism, violence, and hatred. These are tweets from various Christian leaders following the events in Charlottesville. These leaders span various vocations, ethnicities, denominations, and sexes and do much more to encourage equality than tweet.
I denounce bigotry & racism of every form. I pray our nation will come together. Our answers lie in turning to God. https://t.co/K28uWponfp
— Franklin Graham (@Franklin_Graham) August 13, 2017
— Pastor Mark Burns (@pastormarkburns) August 12, 2017
“History is the antidote for the hubris of the present.” David McCullough
— John Piper (@JohnPiper) August 12, 2017
Dr. Piper regularly speaks out against racism in his ministry and personal life. After struggling with the issue in his family for many years, he authored a book on the topic, “Bloodlines.” Years ago, he and his wife adopted an African-American girl named Talitha.
White supremacy and its movements are evil to the core and are to be condemned. There is no place for this in America
— Jack Graham (@jackngraham) August 12, 2017
We cannot renounce what we will not name. It's called White Supremacy. And it is from hell. Call it. Condemn it.
— Beth Moore (@BethMooreLPM) August 13, 2017
— The Gospel Coalition (@TGC) August 14, 2017
After Charlottesville, The Question We Absolutely Have to Answer: Who Is Willing To Pick Up Their Cross? https://t.co/T2mUDy3T9f
— Ann Voskamp (@AnnVoskamp) August 14, 2017
Church leaders: At times, we ought to be silent. This isn't 1 of those times. Be courageous. Be pastoral/prophetic. Preach the whole Gospel.
— Eugene Cho (@EugeneCho) August 13, 2017
As the founder of One Day’s Wages, Pastor Cho created a grassroots movement that seeks to alleviate “extreme global poverty.” He is also the founder and senior pastor of Quest Church, an urban, multicultural, and multigenerational church in Seattle, Washington. He speaks regularly about the topic of faith and race and the unique challenges at their intersection.
Evil indeed; satanic, in fact. https://t.co/YYG6VxKRAZ
— Russell Moore (@drmoore) August 12, 2017
Such a grotesque perversion. https://t.co/OpGp2qqmWu
— Matt Chandler (@MattChandler74) August 12, 2017
— ERLC (@ERLC) June 14, 2017
These Christian leaders spoke out against racism, and this is just a sampling of the wide public condemnation from such people. What’s more, they’ve never just tweeted about it. For them, it’s actually a lifestyle. They abhor racism and do things to educate others about it, prevent it, and encourage others to do likewise. In this they mimic their Christian predecessors going back all the way to Christ, all of whom not only said they thought racism was wrong, but did something to demonstrate it.
Let’s Not Forget: Christianity Fueled Abolition
Throughout the centuries, Christians have not only spoken out against racial inequality, but have brought hope to minorities and the marginalized in tangible ways. In spite of their sin and failures, many have given grace to people in need in a reflection of and gratitude for their savior’s redeeming self-sacrifice for the whole world.
Take, for example, the issue of slavery. When William Wilberforce, a member of Parliament and radical Jesus-lover, became aware of the atrocities within the British slave market, he was appalled. He was so disgusted, he worked for four decades to abolish the British slave industry. That’s about as long as Whoopi’s been tooling around Hollywood. One white Christian man led the charge to abolish the massive slave trade that had prospered in Britain for years. Let that sink in.
The American Red Cross is a humanitarian organization that has saved or aided more African-American lives on and off the battlefield, here and around the globe, than almost any other non-profit. They now provide 40 percent of all donated blood in the United States. Their founder, Clara Barton, was a Christian motivated by her faith who nursed men on both sides of the Civil War although she hailed from Union territory. The Red Cross’s first local chapter was established in 1881 at the English Evangelical Lutheran Church of Dansville. Barton often sought the advice of her good friend, Dr. Frederick Douglass, a renowned African-American leader. The Red Cross’ commitment to diversity and equality is not only obvious but a direct outgrowth of its Christian roots.
The Salvation Army also claims Christian roots. Established in 1865, it’s been providing everything from hunger relief and housing assistance to after-school programs and help with substance abuse rehabilitation. In 2014, about “30 million people received help from money collected through cash giving and the donation of clothing, furniture, vehicles, and household items.” Booker T. Washington, a former slave and one of the most famous African-American leaders of all time, once said of The Salvation Army: “I have always had the greatest respect for the work of The Salvation Army, especially because I have noted that it draws no color line in religion.”
Whether it’s Christians like Ann Voskamp or Dr. Russell Moore via Twitter, or William Wilberforce and Clara Barton near the end of the Western slave trade, these Christian leaders from all backgrounds and religious denominations stood against racism and for peace and love—like Christ. Sure, they, like the rest of us, aren’t perfect. Sure, Christians can, and hopefully will always, do more to show the power of Christ-like love over racially motivated hate. But to say they’ve been silent while their Twitter is buzzing, or to claim they’re doing little while organizations they’ve founded help millions of minorities, is false.