A Brutal Wakeup Call—The Charlottesville Incident by Ty Gibson

A Brutal Wakeup Call

by Ty Gibson  |  August 17, 2017

It’s 2017.

Not 1526.1

Not 1863.2

Not 1968.3

It’s 2017, people, and we have just witnessed a grotesque manifestation of racism coming out of the shadows to flex its emaciated muscles in the mirror of its deluded sense of superiority.

The Charlottesville incident is revelatory. It shows us that there is a fomenting racism, boiling just beneath the surface with violent impulses, trying to climb out of its slimy hole to repeat past horrors that many of us imagine are impossible in our “enlightened” modern times.

As a member of the body of Christ, and of the larger human community, I cannot help but express myself on the matter. Quite frankly, I am outraged and saddened and sick to my stomach by the escalating pattern of open racial hatred we are seeing across American. Hardly a week passes that we are not confronted by some heart-rending display of racism, and now Charlottesville has confronted us with what we’ve tried not to believe—that this monster, so far from being composed of a few misguided individuals, is a grassroots movement that has been organizing itself behind the scenes, determined to mobilize as a unified political machine.

…they did not look like a bunch of unbathed, toothless, backwoods lunatics.

Please pause to soberly consider what just happened. A cohort4 of Americans—numbering between 1,000 and 1,500—came together to publicly “demonstrate” that they believe white people are superior to all other “races” and that they plan to “take back” their country and “make America great again” by either ruling over or expelling all non-whites. And when they came out of the shadows, they did not look like a bunch of unbathed, toothless, backwoods lunatics. Most of them appeared to be average, educated, employed, articulate people we rub shoulders with in offices, banks, and grocery stores on a daily basis. A chill travels my spine as I write the words.

So, what now?

Well, for starters, and at a bare minimum, white people of good conscience need to step into the public spotlight and let their voices be heard explicitly repudiating the wicked notion of “white supremacy” and affirming the equality and dignity of all human beings regardless of skin color. And if that does not happen, the reprehensible ideology of racial hatred will continue to gain adherents and momentum.

Nobody is quite sure of the source, but someone once articulated a most crucial truism of social justice:

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

I don’t really care who said it. All truth bears witness to itself by its self-evident quality. But best we can tell, this vital insight was extracted by some anonymous person as a loose and excellent paraphrase of a letter written in 1770 by the Irish political theorist, Edmund Burke. The larger thought is worthy of our attention:

“Whilst men are linked together, they easily and speedily communicate the alarm of any evil design. They are enabled to fathom it with common counsel, and to oppose it with united strength. Whereas, when they lie dispersed, without concert, order, or discipline, communication is uncertain, counsel difficult, and resistance impracticable. Where men are not acquainted with each other’s principles, nor experienced in each other’s talents, nor at all practiced in their mutual habitudes and dispositions by joint efforts in business, no personal confidence, no friendship, no common interest, subsisting among them, it is evidently impossible that they can act a public part with uniformity, perseverance, or efficacy. In a connection (with others), the most inconsiderable man, by adding to the weight of the whole, has his value, and his use; out of it (that is, out of connection with others), the greatest talents are wholly unserviceable to the public. No man, who is not inflamed by vain-glory into enthusiasm, can flatter himself that his single, unsupported, desultory, unsystematic endeavors, are of power to defeat the subtle designs and united cabals of ambitious citizens (bent on evil). When bad men combine, the good must associate, else they will fall, one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle.”5

Allow me to summarize Burke’s point in modern terms:

Good must be more unified, better organized, and more deliberately activist than evil, or else evil will gain the upper hand and suddenly surprise us with its strength.

“White supremacy” has its origin in the deepest, ugliest, heinous depths of Satan’s twisted psyche…

It is not sufficient for believers in the Christ to simply despise racism privately in their hearts. Our positions must be forthrightly proclaimed through whatever mediums of communication we each have at our command. Silence is not an option. With straight talk we would all do well to contemplate, Ellen White, more than century ago, expressed how serious a matter it is to remain silent in the face of evil:

“If God abhors one sin above another, of which His people are guilty, it is doing nothing in case of an emergency. Indifference and neutrality in a religious crisis is regarded of God as a grievous crime and equal to the very worst type of hostility against God.”6

And make no mistake about it, this thing we are faced with is a “religious crisis.” Before it is political or social or economic, racism is an egregious violation of the heart of God and the gospel of Christ.

So let’s talk straight.

There is a word for the white supremacy movement: evil.

“White supremacy”7 has its origin in the deepest, ugliest, heinous depths of Satan’s twisted psyche, and those who subscribe to the vile notion are aligned with “spiritual wickedness in high places.”8 “White supremacy” should not be trivialized or normalized or dignified by even allowing those who represent it to explain it to us as if it were merely a perspective or an opinion that deserves a hearing and with which we might co-exist. The very idea that any one race is “superior” to any other is nothing short of diabolical,9 and any white person who fails to stand unequivocally against it is complicit in the evil.

For followers of Jesus, all of this would seem to be elementary. And yet, as the racist rhetoric has become more public over the last couple years, I’ve been shocked by what I’ve encountered as a white person when in the company of white Christians. On a number of occasions I’ve found myself in conversations with white people of my own denomination in which racist sentiments have been verbalized as if searching for a green light of agreement, and when I’ve revealed my offense at such talk an awkward backpedaling ensues with the empty assurance, “But, I’m not a racist, of course.”

Apparently, there is a lot more racism lurking in the shadows than we’d like to believe, and Charlottesville reveals that the monster is just waiting, yanking violently on its chain, looking for an organized movement through which to express itself.

…there is a lot more racism lurking in the shadows than we’d like to believe…

So this is me, Ty Gibson, telling everyone within the hearing of my voice exactly where I stand. I’m “Against the Wall”10 of racial separation and injustice wherever it raises its ugly head. And I believe that every one of us who know the heart of Jesus should consider it our moral duty to speak up in favor of racial equality and against racial walls. This is a call for each of us to deliberately make known within our circle of influence exactly what our position is so that those who sympathize with “white supremacy” find no friends for their demonic cause anywhere they turn.

Charlottesville is a brutal wakeup call.

Wake up, people, wake up!

Because “the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

  1. The year of the first transatlantic slave trade voyage from Africa to America.
  2. The year of Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation.
  3. The year of the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.
  4. “A group of people with a common statistical characteristic” (dictionary.com).
  5. Edmund Burke, Select Works of Edmund Burke, words in parenthesis supplied for clarity.
  6. Ellen White, Testimonies for the Church, vol. 3, p. 280.
  7. “White supremacy” is here in quote marks because there is no such thing.
  8. Ephesians 6:12, KJV
  9. “belonging to or so evil as to recall the Devil” (dictionary.com).
  10. Against the Wall is a new project soon to launch online. Please connect with us on Twitter (@WeAre_ATW) and Instagram (weare_atw).
Ty Gibson Co-Director
Light Bearers
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  • Barbara Lay Bolton

    Thanks for putting into such eloquent words what I truly believe! I’m right there with you!

  • Lehel Nagy-Bata

    This article reminds me of a quote from Dietrch Boenhoeffer, who said:

    “Silence in the face of evi is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.”

    More than sixty years ago, he wrote this while standing against the nazis, who later imprisoned and killed him.

  • Encourehonoree

    Excellent point you make Bro Ty. I agree, the origins of this (white supremacy ) is rooted in evil. How sad that people who subscribe to this way of thinking are being fooled and blinded by the devil into thinking that they are doing something good. No race is superior to each other, that sort of thinking is a myth, a ploy of Satan to divide and destroy us. The blood of our Savior make us one. May God bless your mission

  • I will never forget when I was a young man (and less than 3 years in the Christian faith), I made my way just out of the Air Force from Maine to Texas to get to college. I decided to spend the Sabbath in Tennessee, in one of those small towns not far from the highway. Using Google Maps (no, just kidding – this was 1993) — using the phone book — I found our local church. As a guest I was invited to lunch and there I was sitting in someone’s living room, hearing exactly those racist tones being spoken of by a elder brother in the faith! I was dumbfounded and thought, “In the Adventist church? Really?” I said nothing and didn’t feel it was my place.

    Very thankfully, my experience at Southwestern Adventist University got me immersed in our multinational and multicultural faith, surrounded by young people from literally all over the world. I loved it (and noticed plenty of young ladies from places I would have loved to have visited). I had roommates from Peru and Brazil in the apartment I lived in and worked in the cafeteria with beautiful and hilarious people from Panama, Puerto Rico and Fiji.

    You are so right in describing this as nothing but pure evil. Lucifer’s felt superiority led him down the destructive path he was on thinking and feeling he was somehow better than the Son!

    Thank you for sharing.

  • anonymous1

    Shared with all of my friends. Thank you. You expressed eloquently exactly what I’ve been thinking but couldn’t put into sufficient words.

  • Elden Price

    I agree with your article totally. We can not accept or tolerate racism if we are true Christians. I only wish you had addressed the following: (1) while we dislike their message, we must protect their right to spout hatred, (especially as they followed the law in obtaining the required permit). If we start removing the right of free speech, we open the door to losing our freedom of spreading the gospel because someone doesn’t agree with us, (2) those who showed up as a counter protest came to create mayhem and had their own agenda, which was not that of a Christian. A Christian can protest peacefully by following the law, but instead of trying to out shout, out fight and create mayhem, we could stand along the parade route handing out water and snacks to the protestors we do not agree with. Quietly tell them we are praying for them and have prayer groups on the side walk. Love and kindness MUST be our method in the battle, or we are no better than they are!

  • robertleo

    This was inevitable where white people had just about had enough of Black Lives Matter rhetoric. They both forgot “Love is patient and kind. Love is not envious or boastful. It does not put on airs. It is not rude. It does not insist on its rights. It does not become angry. It is not resentful. It is not happy over injustice, it is only happy with truth.”

  • Clyde Bright

    A 1,000 – 1,500 men does not a majority make out of a nation of hundreds of millions. Let us not forget that millions of red blooded Americans fought in WW 2 to defeat this evil. Many of them gave their lives to defeat this evil. Most of them were white.
    It’s wrong to even hint that these men and all their children, grandchildren and great grandchildren might now stand in support of this evil just because the color of their skin is white like these 1,000 men.
    The media feels they are too quiet. Must be why they have been called the silent majority for so long…..because that’s what they are. They work hard, raise children, build schools, pay taxes, attend church, get along with our neighbors and obey our laws.
    Their moral compass is not to put on masks, overturn cars, loot stores, beat people in the streets, shoot the police and burn down city hall because they hate the president or a statue someone put in a park; they carry on with life and shake their heads in disbelief at those that.
    Calling the silent majority racists just because they are silent paints a target on their backs they don’t deserve.

  • Fred Of Erick

    So very well said sir! You summed every thing up perfectly! You showed the true Christian answer to this issue. Thank you :)!

  • Ryan Deardorff

    To Ty Gibson saying something racist against white people in general is okay so I wouldnt take him as any type of authority on the issues of racism in America. He’s also Pro Abortion.

  • Joyce

    “Supremacy” of any kind – be it racial, gender-based or whatever – is from the devil.

  • John Shumer

    Where is the outrage that for the last 8 years BLM have terrorized neighborhoods and have endorsed the killing of police officers?
    Lets keep this in perspective, both extreme groups are wrong but the media wants to only focus on the white extremist. We need to call out all hate! if not, satan wins by division.

  • Frances Scantlebury

    Elden Price, please let us not go off the path with nonsense, what the white supremacists did in Charlottesville, is EVIL!! Our Jesus was NEVER SILENT ON EVIL!! And NEVER gave out water and snacks to the selfish high priests and company in support of their hurting of the common man and woman. Just because we have to raise our voices at times, it does not mean that we are not exhibiting love and kindness. ‘MEEKNESS IS NOT WEAKNESS’ . RACISM IS EVIL PERIOD!

  • Ceejay Horrell

    A ‘Light Bearer’ you are, thank you so much for reminding us we are in the biggest fight of our lives, the fight for our minds, what we think and believe. We must despise evil privately and publicly, we must grow and persist in growing. Praise God.

  • wysenough

    I agree. Well said.

  • Ralph Waddell

    They do, indeed, have the right to speak their minds, just as I have the right to speak, protest, and march against them. Jesus’ speech in Matthew 23 in no way interfered with the rights of the scribes and Pharisees but He left absolutely no ambiguity where He stood and why. Neither were His words gentle when he drove the merchants from the temple.
    We do have a responsibility to show them mercy and the love of Christ, but we do not encourage or support them in their pursuit of evil. Rather, we must take every opportunity to encourage them to renounce their evil. Ezekiel 3:16-21 paints in graphic detail the absolute necessity of warning an erring brother.