The insanity of racism reared its hideous head in Charlottesville, Va., last weekend. It is a sad and tragic blemish on what should be the beautiful face of our nation that such racial division should still exist here. We as Americans are better than this and we as Christians must recognize that racism is not only ignorant, but also a sin.
The president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, stated: “The abhorrent acts of hatred on display in Charlottesville are an attack on the unity of our nation and therefore summon us all to fervent prayer and peaceful action.”
The Church has a definite stand against racism. A 1997 document from the Pontifical Commission for Justice and Peace proclaimed, “The Church wants first and foremost to change racist attitudes, including those within her own communities… Despite the sinful limitations of her members, yesterday and today, she is aware of having been constituted a witness to Christ’s charity on earth, a sign and instrument of the unity of humankind. The message she proposes to everyone, and which she tries to live is: ‘Every person is my brother or sister.’”
White supremacist groups, such as the Ku Klux Klan, do not represent the majority of Americans. In fact, they represent only a tiny fraction of malcontents whose twisted thinking can lead only to discord and discontent. In this instance, it has led to violence.
At the heart of this matter is a battle over whether a statue of Gen. Robert E. Lee of the Confederate States of America should continue to stand in a public park in Charlottesville. The Southern grouping of states that launched a Civil War over the issue of slavery was defeated. Hundreds of thousands of men and women – including an American president – died to settle that question.
Slavery is in its most blatant form is now history and with it should go all memory of that blot on the story of our country. That a radical minority can still rally around a dead symbol is an embarrassment to us all. So, it should go!
On the moral level, there is no question that no comfort can be afforded to anyone who stands for the superiority of one race over another. We live by the creed that all men and women are created equal and we believe that all men and women should be treated with the same respect that is owed to every man and woman.