Picking up the Cross: A Christian Response to Charlottesville

September 3, 2017


Several weeks ago I received an email inviting my participation in a counter-protest happening in Charlottesville, Virginia. People from a non-Mennonite faith community I was a part of in D.C. invited people of faith to a non-violent collective action to protest Neo-Nazis, alt-right supporters, and White nationalists gathering to respond to the city’s intent to take down a statue of Robert E. Lee. I knew this love of Robert E. Lee well. Where I lived in Arlington, we had Robert E. Lee highway and Jefferson Davis highway. When I lived in the Shenandoah Valley, confederate flags popped up on graves for Memorial Day, and Confederate Memorial Day. I even remember doing a sleep study at the local hospital, and as I sat down to relax and prepare for the evening right across my bed was a portrait entitled, “General Lee in Repose.” I was growing tired of this man’s ubiquitous presence in my life.

As for the counter-protest, friends had told me of clergy that were gathering, and I knew my pastor was going to be among them. I was moving on the day this was all going to take place, and I felt some regret. I like going to protests, and get energy from them.

Bible References

  • Isaiah 56:4 - 8
  • Mark 8:34 - 35