Prominent Christian musicians have been sharing their responses to the white supremacy rally and resulting violence in Charlottesville, Va. Artists who have responded include Natalie Grant, Lecrae, Switchfoot, Derek Minor, Nichole Nordeman and for KING & COUNTRY.
"I feel both sadness and anger. I'm angry that these white supremacists invoke Jesus, yet have no idea what it means to be His follower. God sent his son Jesus -- a brown Middle Eastern man -- to save the whole world. The racist doctrine represents an assault on the gospel of Christ. Racism has no place in God's kingdom, and it has no place on this earth," Natalie Grant shared in her emotional facebook post. "I'm angry at myself for not speaking up more often. We all need to speak up and speak out about the continued racism and bigotry in our country. Racism is pure evil and white Christians should be the first to repudiate it."
Rapper Lecrae, who has been at the forefront of the dialog surrounding race in Christian music, said on facebook simply "People say prayer in chaos is cliche and dismissive. But sometimes you're so conflicted all you know to do is pray." He also tweeted that if anyone felt unsafe being at University of Virginia, the setting for many of the events, they could contact him and he'd help them transfer schools.
"Racism is the most selfish and ignorant act displayed by the brightest species in the universe. It is a spiritual issue that manifest itself in the physical, and is passed down from generation to generation. Not a single human being in the history of time was born a racist. It's forced upon children by families that have embraced the grasps of one of the most blatant evils that exist," rapper Je'kob shared. "The spell of racism can only be broken with genuine Love. In your community, in your churches, in your workplaces, and everywhere you go, practice embracing someone that looks, talks, walks, and thinks differently than you."
Nichole Nordeman took the chance to challenge church leaders, posting quickly after the news broke "The church, like never before, needs leaders who will lead. Not ambiguously. Not apologetically... Point us to a Gospel that makes zero room for the satanic spirit of racism, however subtle or overt. Name it loudly. Rebuke it. Be just fine with letting people squirm or walk out or withhold their tithe, because they think you're getting 'political.' Let the Holy Spirit stir up conviction and discomfort. Direct people to the altar where they can kneel and repent. Kneel with them, if you need to. Be as bold as you know Jesus himself would be if he held the microphone."
Switchfoot and their lead singer Jon Foreman were vocal all through the weekend. They live streamed a performance of "The Sound," inspired by the work of Civil Rights activist John M. Perkins, Saturday night. Sunday they performed in Virginia, dedicating the performance to Heather Heyer, who lost her life while peacefully counter-protesting. "The light will always be stronger and more beautiful than any of this poisonous hatred," the band concluded.
For KING & COUNTRY simply posted "oh God forgive us," a reference to a song that has for them become an anthem of reconciliation. Derek Minor took the opportunity to encourage young people of color in a string of heartfelt tweets, saying "There isn't a white supremacist in this world that can make your value any less in the eyes of God and in my eyes as well." Propaganda, another longstanding voice on racial issues within Christian music, shared after a string of sarcastic epithets, "Guys, I was cracking jokes last night to cope. But for real. This is not funny. I'm in tears for our nation."
The response to the horrific events in Charlottesville was the culmination of an ongoing conversation that has grown increasingly in prominence in Christian music. On their recent reunion cruise, dc Talk admitted that their ability to lead in the area of racial unity would be the main thing that could lead to a more extensive reunion. In an interview with NewReleaseToday, Michael Tait shared "If there were any reason for us to reunite on a touring stage--you know, like a 15, 20 city tour--that would be one of my number one things, as an African-American in a group with two of my besties on the planet--Toby and Kevin--because we can speak so much louder with our lifestyles, and the way we talk about it, how we live it out." TobyMac added "There's nothing richer than races coming together and I always say the same thing: if you don't have that, you should seek it."
Many artists concluded with 1 John 4:20-21 as an appropriate summary and challenge to the Body of Christ: "If anyone says, 'I love God,' and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother."