I am deeply disturbed by the evil of racism that was again manifested in the tragic events that took place in Charlottesville, Virginia over the weekend. I join with my brother bishops and political and religious leaders across our nation in condemning the actions of white supremacy groups like the Ku Klux Klan and the Neo-Nazi Party that are motivated by hate and seek to foment violence. I offer my deepest sympathies to the families of those who lost their lives, to those who were injured, and to the people of Charlottesville as they grieve this assault on their community.
I take heart, however, in our central convictions as persons of faith: There is no justification for hate in the name of Jesus Christ. Every person is first and foremost a child of God. Every person has inherent human dignity. Love overcomes evil, and the gift of love comes from God, the Father of us all.
My brother bishops called for a continuing commitment to “work with all people of goodwill for an end to racial violence and for the building of peace in our communities.” This statement is best backed up by our concrete actions and by the recognition that each of us is responsible for combating hatred and restoring peace. We begin by looking into the eyes of every person we encounter in our families, neighborhoods, schools, workplaces, and the streets of our community and seeing them as Christ sees them. We build on this through our participation in the many community-wide efforts to embrace solidarity and build bridges among all people.
Times like this can be discouraging and overwhelming. I invite each of you, however, to consider what one step you can take, with God’s grace, to make our communities places where all people flourish.
Most Reverend Joseph E. Kurtz, D.D.
August 14, 2017