A Message From Bishop Eugene Taylor Sutton

Speak Out: A Response to the Tragedy in Charlottesville

Racism, anti-Semitism and violence rear their ugly head once again, this time in Charlottesville, Virginia. Reports are coming in of death and injuries there caused by a car driving through a crowd of persons protesting at a white nationalist rally.

Another display of bigotry and hatred. Another act of domestic terrorism. And another example of the collective failure of our nation to expend the moral and political capital needed to stop our spiral into racial and violent madness.

Now more than ever, we need people of good will to speak out clearly and courageously against the disturbing tide of white supremacist rhetoric that wants to divide and prevent us from coming together. Too often in our nation’s history, people of goodwill have chosen to remain silent in the face of bigotry, refusing to risk having unpleasant conversations that might disturb colleagues, friends and the ones we love.

All too often, we prefer maintaining a tenuous “peace” with bigots rather than doing the harder work of telling the truth and committing to a justice that leads to reconciliation.

We cannot make peace with hatred. We cannot let injustice go unchallenged…anywhere, anytime.

On this Sunday, I call upon churches to remember in their prayers the dead and injured today in Charlottesville.

I also call for a minute of silence in our worship services to reflect upon these events, and to consider how we might respond both individually and as a community of faith.

At last year’s annual convention I asked for the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland to live into the vision of being known as “a community of love.” I now call for us to devote this program year to consider ways of making that vision statement a deeper reality. We will initiate conversations this fall about building up loving communities, beginning with the clergy at their annual conference in October.

Let’s not let this tragedy go unnoticed and forgotten. Let’s not let this opportunity to challenge hate and bigotry pass us by.

If we in the Jesus movement do not speak out, who will?

+Eugene

The Right Rev. Eugene Taylor Sutton
Bishop, Episcopal Diocese of Maryland