The daughter of a graduate of Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond was among peaceful protesters injured when a car plowed into a crowd during white nationalist marches over the weekend in Charlottesville, Va.
Wendy McCaig, founder and executive director of Embrace Richmond, said in a blog her daughter was sprayed in the face with pepper spray during the Unite the Right protest of the planned removal of a Confederate monument in a city park and was among those injured when a car plowed through a crowd of counter protesters.
“Caroline was knocked to the ground hitting her head and scraping her arms and legs,” McCaig said. “Her friend Mary was pushed onto the hood of one of the cars and when the driver reversed and pulled the pile up backward, Mary fell to the ground and was badly cut on the leg with a laceration to the bone. Thankfully, both girls received immediate medical attention and when we picked them up from the hospital, they were in good spirits, but still in shock over the fact that someone had attempted to kill them all.”
James Alex Fields, 20, of Maumee, Ohio, is accused of running his Dodge Challenger into a crowd of people, killing a 32-year-old paralegal named Heather Heyer and injuring 19 others. He faces charges of suspicion of second-degree murder, malicious wounding and failure to stop in an accident that resulted in death.
McCaig took to Twitter to call on President Trump to label it an act of domestic terrorism.
“Trump’s blaming of ‘many sides’ inflicted yet another wound,” she said. “Call evil evil!”
McCaig said her daughter will recover from her injuries, but the nation is in need of “real healing.”
“If we can’t name the cancer of hatred, we will all suffer its ravages,” she said.
A number of clergy leaders also weighed in from pulpits and on social media. Here are some examples:
• “Prayers and action — this Sunday a chorus is resounding in every CBF congregation with faithful, voices forming together in lament strongly condemning racism, bigotry, hatred. And also an ongoing chorus forming in confession for complicity and commitment to change.” — Cooperative Baptist Fellowship Executive Coordinator Suzii Paynter.
• “As people of faith we believe in a liberating vision of hope inspired by the radical, unconditional love of God, taught and modeled by Jesus for all people. Our sacred scriptures call us to love our neighbors as ourselves — no exceptions. Let us not rest until fear and hate are replaced by love.” — Alliance of Baptists President Mike Castle and Paula Dempsey, director for partnership relations.
• “Virginia Baptists are heartbroken by the violence and loss of life during the events that happened in #Charlottesville today. We pray for the victims and their loved ones and for all of those injured. We are thankful for those who courageously stood up to hatred and evil today. As Kingdom-minded people, we remain hopeful that love and peace will ultimately prevail.” — John Upton, Executive Director of the Baptist General Association of Virginia
• “We are praying for peace in Charlottesville today. Clergy, several of our own BTSR family, are standing in the gap.” — Linda McKinnish Bridges, president at Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond.
“I’ve been shocked at the number of Christians who have fallen behind the false equivalency of ‘both sides’ in Charlottesville…. There is only one violent and murderous ideology, energized by the power of the beast (Rom 13). It has many minions — Kluxers, Flaggers, Nazis, White Supremacists, the Alt-Right, and more. But they have other names — Behemoth, Mammon, Leviathan, Belzebub, Apollyon, and more.”
• “I’ve been shocked at the number of Christians who have fallen behind the false equivalency of ‘both sides’ in Charlottesville. … There is only one violent and murderous ideology, energized by the power of the beast (Rom 13). It has many minions — Kluxers, Flaggers, Nazis, White Supremacists, the Alt-Right, and more. But they have other names — Behemoth, Mammon, Leviathan, Belzebub, Apollyon, and more.” — Curtis Freeman, director of Baptist studies at Duke Divinity School.
• “I declare that First Baptist Church, Decatur, utterly repudiates racism, and seeks to stand for biblical values of equality, justice, and respect for all. I pray that white supremacist Christian nationalism will be clearly repudiated and rejected by all responsible national leaders — and by all Christian people, in the name of Jesus Christ.” — David Gushee, interim pastor, First Baptist Church in Decatur, Ga.
• “I am simply appalled by this white supremacy movement at this time. All of us need to form movements of resistance and solidarity.” — Molly T. Marshall, president of Central Baptist Theological Seminary.
• “In these strange and dangerous times, it becomes necessary to state explicitly what is commonly understood by moral people everywhere: white supremacy and racial bigotry are evil. Those who promote such views must be condemned in the strongest possible terms.” — Charlie Johnson, founder of Pastors for Texas Children.
• “Our church condemns hatred and racism in all its forms. We claim and re-claim our openness to all people. Today, we must stand against the sins of the neo-Nazis and white supremacists, in our words, actions and yes, in our worship.” — Courtney Stamey, pastoral resident at First Baptist Church in Greensboro, N.C.
• “So let’s be plain: white supremacy is spiritual heresy; it substitutes ideology for theology. It is sinful and harmful to the soul of anyone who holds it and promotes it. It is idolatry; it is not simply a difference of opinion that should be tolerated. It must only be repented of.” — George Mason of pastor Wilshire Baptist Church in Dallas.
• “Hatred, racism, prejudice, intimidation, and violence are not permissible to Christians. In our time, the KKK, all forms of white supremacy, racism and neo-Naziism often seek to invoke the name of Christ in support of their views and actions. When they do so, they violate the commandment against taking the Lord’s name in vain, that is they dishonor God by linking God’s reputation and character to evil intent and actions. Christians, I believe, are called to stand against such evil, protect those endangered by it, and pray that those trapped in such distorted world views might be brought to repentance. And we have to do so while practicing the discipline of “agape,” lest we lose our best selves in the struggle against evil and become like what we oppose.” — Michael Smith, pastor of Central Baptist Church in Fountain City, Tenn.
• “We can no longer deny the Kingdom of God through our silence.” — Lawrence Powers, campus minister for CBF of North Carolina.
• “Call from pastor who was asked to resign or be fired after today’s message. Praying, through tears, for how our world condition continues to rip through hearts, churches and families.” — Eddie Hammett, church and clergy coach with CBF North Carolina, via Twitter