By Staff –
United Christian Leadership Ministry President Rev. Lewis Stewart, local faith leaders, and community groups held a press conference Aug. 18 in response to controversial statements President Donald Trump made recently regarding a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.
The rally resulted in the death of 32-year-old Heather Heyer on Aug. 12.
“To remain silent in the face of Charlottesville and police use of excessive force against people of color implies a complicity in White National identity, and support of Trump’s racism,” UCLM said in a statement.
President Trump, a Republican, has come under fire from both the faith community, and national members of the GOP recently, for making statements critics said morally equated the white supremacists who initiated the violence at the rally, with the anti-hate, counter protesters who protested during the demonstration.
There were “very fine people on both sides,” Trump told reporters during a press conference at Trump Towers on Aug. 15.
Stewart, clergy members representing Catholicism and Judaism, and local community activists said Trump’s comments demonstrated his support and defense of white supremacy Thursday, and the groups called on the local Evangelical community, many of whom have supported the president in the past, according to recent polls, as well as the Monroe County Republican Party, to condemn the president’s “alt-right” agenda.
“If white Evangelicals are followers of Christ, then they must certainly remember the words of Jesus,” UCLM stated. “‘Love thy neighbor as yourself.’ …Where is the righteous anger of the evangelical church community in the face of white supremacy and evil? …To remain silent is to be a poor witness to the love of God. …There is also silence from the Monroe County Republican Committee. Not one word has been issued from the leadership, in regards to this president’s alt-right leanings, and his insensitive and bigoted remarks.”
The local chapter of Sisters of Mercy of the Americas also stated, “This bold display of hateful rhetoric and action impels us to call on elected leaders, and all people, to explicitly and publicly condemn white supremacy and racism, and the organizations that embolden and encourage the movement.”
The Monroe County Republican Committee has not yet responded to a request for comment regarding the matter.
Visit https://youtu.be/4yC9jf_9Lxc, https://vimeo.com/230191878, https://vimeo.com/230191194, or https://youtu.be/aJVBn6udP_s to view local clergy and other officials’ comments regarding the president’s statements, or click on the images below.