Tags: Charlottesville | Religion | Trump Administration | statues | racism | pastor | robert e lee

Relative of Robert E. Lee Quits Pastorate Over VMA Backlash

(MTV Video Music Awards/The Washington Post)

By    |   Tuesday, 05 September 2017 08:33 PM

The Rev. Robert Wright Lee IV has left his job as pastor of a North Carolina church over backlash he got for disavowing his great-great-great-great-uncle, Confederate Army General Robert E. Lee, The Washington Post reported.

Lee appeared near the end of MTV's Video Music Awards on Aug. 27 in his clerical collar to speak out against white separatists trying to prevent the removal of statues of his indirect ancestor.

"We have made my ancestor an idol of white supremacy, racism, and hate," Lee told viewers. "As a pastor, it is my moral duty to speak out against racism, America's original sin. Today, I call on all of us with privilege and power to answer God's call to confront racism and white supremacy head-on."

Lee went on to say Americans "can find inspiration in the Black Lives Matter movement, the women who marched in the Women's March in January, and, especially, Heather Heyer, who died fighting for her beliefs."

Heyer was killed in Charlottesville, Virginia, after a car driven by a 20-year-old James Alex Fields Jr. plowed into a group of people counter-protesting white nationalists who had showed up to protest the planned removal of a Robert E. Lee statue.

Lee said Tuesday he was resigning his position as pastor of Bethany United Church of Christ in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, posting an explanation on the website of Auburn Theological Seminary.

In the message, Wright said that while some church members supported his exercising of his free speech rights, others were bothered by him citing the Black Lives Matter movement, the Women's March and Heather Heyer as examples of racial justice work.

Some of those who did not oppose his words were unhappy with their church being brought into the national spotlight, he said.

"The church's reaction was deeply hurtful to me," Lee said.

Lee added he does not want the incident to be a distraction from "the sacred work of confronting white supremacy in all its forms" and called on white Christians in the United States to "take seriously the deadly legacy of slavery in our country and commit ourselves to follow Jesus into a time of deep reflection, repentance, and reconciliation."

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The Rev. Robert Wright Lee IV has left his job as pastor of a North Carolina church over backlash he got for disavowing his great-great-great-great-uncle, Confederate Army General Robert E. Lee, The Washington Post reported.
statues, racism, pastor, robert e lee
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2017-33-05
Tuesday, 05 September 2017 08:33 PM
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