Dear Westmorelanders:

The editor of a small town newspaper recently wrote an editorial calling for the Ku Klux Klan to “night ride again” and “clean out DC.” I was angry and appalled. In response, I made a contribution to the Southern Poverty Law Center in his name. I also sent him a letter calling out his awful, racist words and promising to love him because he is a child of God.

I invite you respond to this hateful rhetoric by joining me in overwhelming this editor with love. And I invite you to join me in making a financial gift in his name to the SPLC, which works diligently to counter hate groups such as the Klan.

We live in complicated times. Violence, racism, and words of hatred and confusion fill our airways and our minds. This editor’s column is a small example.

As Christians, we are called to stand up to hatred, to seek justice, and to speak words of love. Letters of corrective love to and gifts to the SPLC are small, powerful symbols of our faith. Larger actions to address racism need our attention also.

As residents of the DC area, we have the opportunity to see our federal government work (and make mistakes) up close. I think we have a special perspective to speak words of peace for our neighbors, our elected officials, and our friends—from various stripes and partisan perspectives—in the DC area.

You may send a letter to Mr. Goodloe Sutton, Publisher, Linden Democrat-Reporter, 201 West St, Linden, AL 36748.  

You may send a contribution to the Southern Poverty Law Center, 400 Washington Avenue, Montgomery Alabama 36014. Or you may give to them online here. If you prefer to give a gift to Westmoreland Church, we can use that to further our witness for BlackLivesMatter and other causes of justice here in the DC area.

You may read the original editorial and a story about the editorial is here—that story includes further incendiary remarks by this editor.

Here is my letter to Mr. Goodloe. Here’s a template (in Word or as a PDF) for you to copy. If you write to him, please seek to do in a spirit of honesty and love.

What does this editorial prompt in you? What anger? What frustration? Where do you see hope in this situation or in our larger national conversation about racism and violence? What do you feel called to do? How may we at Westmoreland engage matters of racial injustice and violence with more focus and purpose? Do you feel called to guide a racial justice effort in our congregation? Email Kaeley or me with your ideas, pains, hopes, and dreams.

May God be with us in our living.