A leading white evangelical Christian has issued an open letter of repentance for the ‘vile acts of hatred and terrorism’ in Charlottesville.
Scott Arbeiter, President of World Relief, pleads for forgiveness in his letter in the Washington Post.
Arbeiter says: ‘As a white evangelical leader, I have said too little on racism. I ask forgiveness. This malignant racism has lingered far too long. In white churches across America, we have told ourselves that we have made great strides, but this has proven untrue.
‘As white Christian leaders and pastors, we must also acknowledge our unintended but clear complicity in this.’
He wrote as James Murdoch, the CEO of Twenty-First Century Fox and the younger son of media mogul Rupert Murdoch, chair of Fox, circulated an email pledging a $1 million donation to the Anti-Defamation League.
‘What we watched this last week in Charlottesville and the reaction to it by the President of the United States concern all of us as Americans and free people,’ Murdoch says in a note seen by Yahoo Finance.
Murdoch makes his comments in the wake of President Donald Trump’s comments stating that ‘both sides’ were to blame.
Murdoch says: ‘I can’t even believe I have to write this: standing up to Nazis is essential; there are no good Nazis. Or Klansmen, or terrorists. Democrats, Republicans, and others must all agree on this, and it compromises nothing for them to do so.’
He and his wife Kathryn rarely discuss their generous philanthropy.
‘But in this case I wanted to tell you and encourage you to be generous too. Many of you are supporters of the Anti-Defamation League already – now is a great time to give more,’ he writes in the note.
World Relief says in its Charlottesville statement that as an organisation that embraces and promotes diversity and service to all, it ‘grieves the affront that racism is to the dignity of all’.
‘For over 70 years, World Relief has empowered the church to serve the most vulnerable with passion and a sense of deep privilege. World Relief renews that commitment today recognizing the challenge is greater in the United States than previously understood.’
Arbeiter continues in his letter: ‘We will do so in our practical ministry and through our relationships. We will do so in our advocacy for just laws and our rejection of unjust systems that perpetuate poverty, exclusion and bigotry. And we will do so in our partnership with thousands of pastors in our network and beyond, calling them to also act with renewed moral clarity and courage.’
Tim Breene, CEO of World Relief, said: ‘The foundation of our work throughout the world is a belief in the dignity of each person as made in the image of God. Our defense of this dignity is not new. Rather, this letter reflects the long-held values of our World Relief staff as lived out in practical ways over many decades. However, in this moment of national consequence we wanted to go on record and declare once again who we are.’
World Relief works in 20 countries worldwide through disaster response, health and child development, economic development and peacebuilding and has offices in the United States that specialise in refugee and immigration services.