Opinions

Chaos In Charlottesville

As Christians today, we are often more inclined to focus on our own spiritual growth and our fellowship with friends and family than to concern ourselves with the larger happenings of the world. Even as just a college student it can become easy to ignore the great dilemmas of the modern age and write off wars an ocean away. It is easier to go through our daily routine unmolested by thoughts of uncertainty or fear, but sometimes the world arrives in our backyard and a decision must be made. Such is the decision we are tasked with in the wake of the violence that transpired in Charlottesville a few weeks ago.
In February of this past year, the city council of Charlottesville, Va. voted to remove a statue from a public park depicting Robert E. Lee, a prominent confederate general. Conflict over the removal of the statue remained largely non-violent for most of the year. Then, in early August, tensions arose as a “Unite the Right” rally was organized online in protest of the statues removal. The Charlottesville police were put on alert, but the city did not to take any action to cancel the protest, citing the protesters’ first amendment rights.
On the morning of August 12, protesters began to assemble near the park. Reports varied greatly, but the general estimate was that by 10:30 a.m. there were approximately 10 thousand protesters from various nationalist groups, many of them armed. Left wing counter-protest groups organized to confront the protesters. Before long, violence broke out between the protesters and counter protesters. Within an hour, police declared the entire gathering unlawful. It was at this time that one of the protesters, 20-year-old James Alex Fields, drove his car through a crowd of counter protesters, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer and injuring 19 others. Many more injuries were reported, as police spent the rest of the day clearing out protesters and counter-protesters alike until activity died down later that evening.
The time has come for every Christian, myself included, to examine where they stand, because while the violence of Charlottesville has ended, the hate that drove it has only taken a reprieve. Do we sit by and allow this hate to overtake us? For those who are uncertain, I would direct you to Galatians 3:26-28 where it states, “For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Reading those words, I am convinced that the violence driven by this desire to be ethnically pure is strictly opposed to my values as a citizen of this country, and most importantly, my faith in God.

Sources: Charlottesville Police Department; ABCnews

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