Responding to Charlottesville

Staying silent after the events this weekend in Charlottesville is not an option. At the same time, many graduate and professional students don’t know how to respond. Certainly most graduate students (Christian or not) would condemn racism, white supremacy, neo-Nazism, anti-Semitism, and any other sort of hatred towards another person. Yet, responding well to a situation is hard: unfortunately, most graduate and professional students find it hard to find enough time both to research what actually happened and to participate in good events that truly speak against this hatred.

I, too, don’t know enough or understand enough about what happened in Charlottesville. I am thankful, however, that I am part of a wider church (Christian Reformed Church and beyond) that has others who have already written wise words in response.

Jul Medenblik, the president of Calvin Seminary, highlighted both how Calvin Seminary is a “diverse, international community [that] is a wonderful anticipation of the great multitude ‘from every nation, tribe, people, and language’ who have been redeemed by Jesus Christ (Rev. 7:9-10)” and that they take “seriously the call of Synod 1996 of the Christian Reformed Church ‘to witness publicly against racism, prejudice, and related unemployment, poverty, and injustices and in defense of all people as image bearers of God.'” Because of this, they/we “condemn all manifestations of nationalist racism and white supremacy, including recent events in Charlottesville, Virginia.” An official statement of the Christian Reformed Church can be found here.

Chong, a former campus minister, has written a helpful and pointed article in the CRC’s monthly magazine, arguing that we are not only to denounce racism but also that we are to respond further by praying, examining ourselves and working.

Finally, to understand better the situation this past weekend, I suggest reading Brian McLaren’s first person account of his experience there (as clergy) where he also suggests next steps.


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