Rejecting White Supremacy, Racism and Neo-Nazi Behavior: An Open letter to Congresswoman Kay Granger ©

Representative Kay Granger is Congresswoman of the 12th Congressional District of Texas. We reside in the 12th Congressional District and thus Congresswoman Granger is our (Bishop Mike and Jolynn Lowry) representative. In the past we have been publically appreciative of her work and grateful for her representation.  I share this “Open Letter to Congresswoman Kay Granger” in response to a Fort Worth Star-Telegram article published in the Thursday, August 17th morning paper entitled, “Kay Granger condemns violence by ‘both sides’” (Written by Andrea Drusch, Star-Telegram Washington bureau). The article opens with the following sentence: “Fort Worth Rep. Kay Granger on Wednesday lined up with President Donald Trump, condemning violence coming from ‘both sides’ and raising concerns about a rush to remove Confederate monuments.

Dear Congresswoman Granger,

I write both as Bishop of the Fort Worth Episcopal Area of the United Methodist Church and as a concerned citizen and voter living in the 12th Congressional District of Texas.  Thursday morning I read with dismay an article in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reporting your equal condemnation of ‘both sides’ in the recent white-supremacist Neo-Nazi rally and act of domestic terrorism in Charlottesville, Virginia.  Equating the two sides in this tragedy and act of domestic terrorism is both inaccurate and inappropriate.  The two groups of protesters are not the same, and any implication that they are is to be rejected as morally repugnant.

White supremacists and Neo-Nazis explicitly cause damage, hurt and pain to named ethnic and religious groups in our society.  The fount of racism and hatred which pours forth from their virulent protest harms the nation as a whole and us both individually and collectively.  We are a nation wounded by their hatred.

One group came with the intent of causing public disruption.  They wrapped themselves in Nazi flags and regalia; they carried shields and clubs; they lifted lit torches invoking the evil specter of the Ku Klux Klan Rallies. Counter-demonstrators did not coalesce with a predetermined commitment to violence. Both the intent and the behavior of those on opposing side is decisively different.

I am appreciative of your public statement in which you say, “The recent events in Charlottesville are abhorrent and are not representative of the core values and morals of the United States. As a nation, we can have a civil debate over the differences in our beliefs, but we must condemn white supremacist groups like the KKK and neo-Nazis that promote bigotry, anti-Semitism, racism, and violence” (Representative Kay Granger, https://kaygranger.house.gov/).  Regretfully your reported interview negates much of the moral virtue exhibited in your statement. However well intended your comments, they carry the subtle implication of excusing white supremacy and Neo-Nazi activity.

I recommend to you the clear and unequivocal statements by other leaders of the Republican Party.

  • “America must always reject racial bigotry, anti-Semitism, and hatred in all forms. As we pray for Charlottesville, we are reminded of the fundamental truths recorded by that city’s most prominent citizen in the Declaration of Independence: we are all created equal and endowed by our Creator with unalienable rights. We know these truths to be everlasting because we have seen the decency and greatness of our country.”(Joint statement from former presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush)
  • House Speaker Paul Ryan tweeted: “We must be clear. White supremacy is repulsive. This bigotry is counter to all this country stands for. There can be no moral ambiguity.”
  • “[Republican Senator Marco] Rubio countered Trump by saying the organizers of the white-nationalist rally were ”˜100 percent to blame’ for the terror attack that followed, a reference to the death of Heather Heyer after James A. Fields allegedly drove his car into a crowd of anti-racism demonstrators.” (From The Atlantic, August 15, 2017)

Holy Scripture reminds us, “He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8). Jesus calls for us to “love your enemies” (Matthew 5:44).

Together, may we carefully consider ways to learn from our past without honoring rebellious behavior. In humility and confession, we need enter into thoughtful discussion and a deeper commitment to a shared future that reaches out to all in compassion and kindness without compromising our values or virtue.

Public leaders, be they political, religious or from the business sector, need to speak with one clear voice against racial supremacy and Neo-Nazi behavior.  Should you so desire, I would welcome a further opportunity to visit with you about such matters.

Yours in Christ,

 

Bishop Mike Lowry

Resident Bishop of the Fort Worth Episcopal Area of the United Methodist Church

 

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