House of Deputies: President Gay Clark Jennings on Charlottesville violence

Posted Aug 14, 2017

[Episcopal Church House of Deputies] Like many Americans, I was horrified to watch white supremacist violence in Charlottesville spiral out of control this weekend. As an Episcopalian, I was particularly sickened to watch racists perpetrate violence and hatred in the name of Christianity.

When confronted with the ugly underbelly of our history and tradition, it is tempting to say that racism is not Christian, and that what we saw in Charlottesville this weekend is no part of who we are or what we believe. But far too often throughout history, Christians have killed, maimed, and abused people in the name of our religion. What happened in Charlottesville was part of a Christian tradition that we would far rather forget.

Even though we sometimes fall short, we Episcopalians strive to be Christians who follow Jesus’ command to love our neighbors as ourselves and who have promised to respect the dignity of every human being. And so, we bear a special responsibility to recognize and atone for the perversions of Christianity espoused by white racists and to work for a more just vision of the church and the world.

Please pray for Heather Heyer, who was killed on Saturday in Charlottesville, for the state troopers who died when their helicopter crashed, and for their family and friends. And then act. Join a vigil in your community, oppose racism in your churches, schools, and workplaces, educate yourself about systemic racism and the ways in which it deforms our lives and country, and raise your children to build a more just and equal world.

The Rev. Gay Clark Jennings, president, House of Deputies of the Episcopal Church


Comments (2)

  1. Nancy Foye-Cox says:

    God Bless you, Gay.
    These times take me right back to the terrible fear I felt during the Cuban Missile Crisis when I was a teenager living in Miami, Florida and so close in proximity to Cuba.
    As painful as it is right now, if I can live through the 60s and Viet Nam, I am determined to live through these horrors now too.
    Hatred is a response to fear, of losing control and hope and being lost.
    May the Holy Spirit quell the fears of the American people and restore our faith in God.
    God is the answer. We are never alone. I pray that our people will rediscover that fundamental truth.

  2. Patricia Taylor Dutcher says:

    Bless you so much. As a somewhat lapsed Episcopalian, I am so happy to read your statement. I live in a RED (capitals on purpose) county where there are many people who profess to be “good Christians,” but who espouse so much hatred and anger at others who do not agree with them.
    May angels surround you all of your days.

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