Dear President Trump,
You saw the videos. I was there. I was there with other ministers, rabbis and pastors: faith leaders standing for peace and for our faith. If you need clarity about what happened here, I invite you to come to Charlottesville.
I invite you to come and talk to the families of those injured and with the family of Heather Heyer, killed when a white nationalist deliberately drove his car into the crowd.
I invite you to come and meet with my colleagues in ministry who put their bodies on the line to avert violence.
I invite you to come and meet with our rabbis who worshipped on Saturday under the threat of a self-proclaimed militia armed with machine guns standing just outside the synagogue doors.
I invite you to talk to the University of Virginia students who faced a torch-wielding, racial-epithet-chanting crowd on their campus.
I invite you to talk to the UVA student who sat with one of those injured from that speeding car until medical help arrived.
I invite you to talk with the African-American man beaten in the Market Street parking garage.
I invite you to come to worship at any number of our faith communities to hear the experiences of those in the pews and, from those standing in the pulpits, the articulation of what faith calls us to do and be.
Mr. President, if you will not come to Charlottesville, then read the accounts of those who witnessed the events of Friday and Saturday. Or enter the vile world of the Neo-Nazis and white supremacists who invaded our town and get a painful glimpse into their agenda and beliefs. I did, and I can’t forget.
Mr. President, the Unite the Right Rally in Charlottesville was not about Robert E. Lee or any statues. It was not, and is not, about history or heritage. It is about hate and there is nothing good or peaceful or ambiguous about that.
Mr. President, you are not only our Commander in Chief, you are our called to be conscience in chief and you are failing us.
While it is late, Mr. President, very late, I believe it is never too late. In the words of Martin Luther King Jr., “The time is always right to do what it right.” Do what is right, Mr. President, take a stand against evil and speak up now for those being targeted in the alt-right’s “summer of hate.”
Mr. President, if you sincerely do not know the difference, come to Charlottesville and we will teach you.
Grace and peace,