Good afternoon. My name is Scott Rollins, I am a minister of the Christian faith, serving as pastor at Highland Christian Church (DOC) in Frankfort. I have been asked to speak this afternoon, as a Christian minister, to express a support of solidarity for Charlottesville.
Rather than focus on my own words, I would like to lift up two passages from the Christian Scriptures, both of which always influence me in how I might react to situations such as what happened in Charlotte. The first Scripture is from the Hebrew Bible, what Christians call the Old Testament, from the prophet Micah:
"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?”
May we, as people of faith and as members of the one human family, recognize that none of us has all the answers to the complexities of life. And therefore may we always speak and act with humility, realizing that we don't know everything.
But that being said, even as we walk humbly, we are also called to do justice. To act in a just manner, especially by lifting up those who have been treated harshly. And to speak out against those who act unjustly toward others. As people of faith, we are not allowed to sit on the sidelines and comment apathetically, "This isn't about me, why should I care?" The God who loves all and who demands justice for all will not allow us, as people of faith, to do that.
So here I stand this afternoon, along with other faith leaders, in solidarity with Charlottesville, to speak against the injustice of all systems that label some people as lesser people, that condemn some as unworthy of respect because of their race or ethnicity. And I denounce the horrific actions and words of white supremacy and Nazism in all its forms, in all the places where such horror might take place. And I lift up into the care of our God victims of such hate, today in particular Heather Heye.
But I must also speak these words humbly, knowing that I too wrestle with my own practices of injustice and exclusion in my own life. Knowing that as a white male in American society, I have benefitted in ways that those who are not white males have not benefitted.
Furthermore, as the prophet Micah reminds us, the God who demands that we do justice also calls us to love kindness. The Hebrew is the wordchesed, a word most often used to speak of God's relationship of love for all people, but here chesed is being put upon us, that we practice the same loving kindness that God
How can we practice loving kindness when we speak words of hate such as those words hurled in Charlottesville? And how can we practice loving kindness if we don't speak out against such words and actions of hate?
I stand here today because the words of Micah 6:8 call me here.
And I would read one more verse, this time from the Christian New Testament, from the words of Jesus, the brown-skinned man whom I confess as Lord of all. In the book of Matthew, in his Sermon on the Mount, a sermon that I wish I could ignore, Jesus says this,
"You have heard it said, You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy." But I say to you, "Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you."
As a follower of this man who I proclaim as Christ, I am not allowed to hate my enemies, although I must humbly say that this is very, very, very hard to do. Nor can I avoid praying for these enemies, today in particular for James Fields.
But even as I am not allowed to hate my enemies, this does not dismiss me from my responsibility of standing in solidarity with Charlottesville, and with all places where hate and the evil of racism rears its ugly head. May we pray for all those who suffer at the hands of those who speak and act with such hate, and may we find some way to pray for those who cause such suffering as well. Thank you.