In another troubling example of racism within the conservative white evangelical “Christian” community, Rev. Robert Wright Lee IV, a descendant of infamous Confederate General Robert E. Lee, was forced down as head of his church after he went on MTV to denounce white supremacy and praise groups like Black Lives Matter.
Lee, who has long supported taking down monuments honoring the Confederacy, was hit with a wave of backlash from his own congregation after delivering a powerful anti-racism speech at MTV’s Video Music Awards.
“My name is Robert Lee IV; I am a descendant of Robert E. Lee, the Civil War general whose statue was at the center of violence in Charlottesville. We have made my ancestor an idol of white supremacy, racism and hate. As a pastor it is my moral duty to speak out against racism, America’s original sin. Today, I call on all of us with privilege and power to answer God’s call to confront racism and white supremacy head-on. We can find inspiration in the Black Lives Matter movement, the women who marched in the Women’s March in January and especially Heather Heyer who died fighting for her beliefs in Charlottesville.”
— MTV (@MTV) August 28, 2017
It appears that Lee’s to confront racism and dismantle white supremacy enraged many in his “Christian” congregation who started clamoring for his removal.
On Tuesday, he wrote the following statement announcing his resignation from the church.
“I regret that speaking out has caused concern and pain to my church. For this is I offer my heartfelt apology. I understand that my views could be considered to be controversial. I never sought this sort of attention. But, I do believe in God’s role in calling out for positive social change for the good of all.
We are all called by God to speak out against hate and evil in all its many forms. There are so many good things going on with this congregation and I do not want my fight to detract from the mission. If the recent media attention causes concern with my church, I reluctantly offer my resignation.”
When contacted by CNN, the descendant of Robert E. Lee explained that his decision was driven by “the community backlash and the backlash toward the church” plus the fact that he and many of within his congregation “obviously had different mission ideas and goals.”
But Lee emphasized that he didn’t want his situation to distract from the real issues facing America like “black and brown bodies in the streets” and racial injustice.
“I don’t want this to detract from the movement or the message,” he told CNN.
As for the next chapter in his life, Lee said that he’s going to allow God to lead him to “something beautiful.” In the meantime, he stated that he’d continue to share his thoughts through his blog and social media platforms.
“I stand by how I handled this,” he said.
Here’s a more in-depth discussion on this story from the Young Turks.
If there’s one good thing about the orange shit stain occupying former President Barrack Obama’s chair in the White House, it’s that Donald Trump managed to pull the mask off of many so called white “Christian Conservatives” who claimed to be principled and compassionate.
Recently my fiancee had to resign her membership from a local church that she’d been a part of for decades after she saw that her pastor was promoting Trump’s anti-immigrant hate rhetoric to his congregation.
This sad episode is just another example of how deeply rooted racism is in American society and how it’s going to take a very long, hard struggle to save America’s soul from the ghosts of its original sin.
Here’s more of Lee, discussing the lingering racial hatred that still infects many southern white American churches.
Featured image via YouTube.
Source Credit: CNN