Pastor Pushed Out Of Church After Anti-racism Speech At VMAs

A pas­tor who denounced white suprema­cy in a mov­ing speech at MTV’s Video Music Awards last month has been forced out of his church because of his com­ments.

Reverend Robert Lee IV deliv­ered a poignant address that took aim at the ide­ol­o­gy of his ances­tor, Civil War gen­er­al and Confederate icon Robert E Lee, dur­ing the awards show.

We have made my ances­tor an idol of white suprema­cy, racism, and hate,” he said.

As a pas­tor, it is my moral duty to speak out against racism, America’s orig­i­nal sin.

Today, I call on all of us with priv­i­lege and pow­er to answer God’s call to con­front racism and white suprema­cy head-on.”

Rev Lee was wide­ly praised for the speech, which was hailed as one of the high­lights of the event.

However, it’s now clear some aspects of the lat­ter part of his address were not in keep­ing with the Bethany United Church of Christ’s beliefs.

In that por­tion of the speech, Rev Lee com­mend­ed Black Lives Matter and the Women’s March, hold­ing them up as exam­ples of effec­tive racial jus­tice work — a sug­ges­tion that riled some with­in the North Carolina church.

A fac­tion of church mem­bers were con­cerned about my speech,” he wrote in a blog post.

I want to stress that there were many in the con­gre­ga­tion who sup­port­ed my right to free speech, yet were uncom­fort­able with the atten­tion the church was receiv­ing.

The church’s reac­tion was deeply hurt­ful to me.”

Rev Lee said he “reluc­tant­ly offered [his] res­ig­na­tion” after the church expressed con­cern about his remarks, but says he wants to con­tin­ue fight­ing “oppres­sion in any form”.

I want to espe­cial­ly chal­lenge white Christians in America to take seri­ous­ly the dead­ly lega­cy of slav­ery in our coun­try and com­mit our­selves to fol­low Jesus into a time of deep reflec­tion, repen­tance, and rec­on­cil­i­a­tion,” he wrote.

Rev Lee’s orig­i­nal com­ments came soon after a high-pro­file white suprema­cist ral­ly in Charlottesville, Virginia.