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‘We Must Be Loud In Our Intolerance Of Intolerance’: Local Faith Leaders Speak Up
Friday, August 18, 2017
Photo by Erik Anderson
Bishop Robert McElroy, The Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego
Updated: 5 p.m. Aug. 18, 2017
San Diego's faith community stood together Friday to denounce racism highlighted by the tragic events in Charlottesville, Virginia, this past week.
The spiritual leaders stood side-by-side with about 50 denominations gathered in the courtyard of a Hillcrest church. They were sending a clear message: "Hate does not have a home in San Diego."
Bishop Robert McElroy's Catholic diocese represents nearly one in three San Diegans.
"Last weekend in Charlottesville, we saw the face of evil walking in our midst. With such utter clarity that that day must become a marker for all of us to take new dedication to removing the poison of religious and ethnic and racial bigotry from our midst, and to make white supremacy a thing of the past," said McElroy.
The nation was taken aback by the anger and violence. Right-wing extremists filled the streets of the college town chanting racist slogans and scuffling with counter protesters.
President Donald Trump was roundly criticized for not denouncing Nazi and white supremacist protesters until Monday. He returned to a position of shared blame at an impromptu press event on Tuesday.
"I watched those video's closely. Much more closely than you people watched it. And you had a group on one side that was bad and you had a group on the other side that was also very violent. And nobody wants to say that. But I'll say it right now. You had a group on the other side that came charging in, without a permit, and they were very violent," Trump said.
The president went on to suggest the situation could be fixed if he continues creating jobs.
"I say to our president, creating jobs will not fix our race problem," said Bishop Cornelius Bowser of the Charity Apostolic Church. "To fix our race problem, President Trump must pay attention to and speak up for people of color, which are more likely to live in poverty, drop out of high school, be unemployed, see their fathers sent to prison and be unable to rebuild their lives when they get out."
The nation must hold Trump to a higher standard, Bowser said.
The events in Charlottesville were reminders that a long-fought struggle against racism is not yet won.
"We're saddened by what is happening across the nation, but our coming here today is indicative that there is light still shining in the darkness and the darkness can not put it out," said Bishop George McKinney of the Church of God in Christ.
All in attendance agreed that denouncing the hate, by name, is an important step forward. Rabbi Devorah Marcus urged people to do more than just agree that the incidents in Charlottesville were an outrage. She called on people to stand up and let their voice be heard.
"They want us to be silent, hoping that the problem will go away. Silence breeds space. It conveys acceptance. And it makes it seem that no one stands in opposition to these vile ideas. We must show up en mass. We must be loud and unceasing in our intolerance of intolerance," Marcus said.
There was a call for this issue to be the topic of sermons this Sunday, all around San Diego County.
Local faith leaders held a press conference Friday to take a stand against racism in the wake of the violent protests in Charlottesville, Virginia.
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