This Memorial Day Let Us All Commit to the Fight Against White Nationalism

By Paul Brandeis Raushenbush

A known white supremacist viciously harasses two women on a train in Portland because he believes they are Muslim. As Ramadan began, three other men who were not Muslim, stepped in to offer solidarity and protection. They were attacked and two of the men were killed, one is injured.

I want to let this American story sink in – the rabid hatred that is gnawing at the ties that bind America together; as well as the human acts of decency and empathy that continue to weave us together, over and over again — even unto death.

Two of these souls who stood up, are gone. Their families will never hold them again. I want to remember Rick Best and Taliesin Myrddin Namkai-Meche. I want us all to remember them.  I want to remember Lieutenant Richard Collins III who was killed standing up to a white supremacist at the University of Maryland who will never graduate, never serve his country as he planned to.  I want to remember all those who have been brave, standing for unity, for kindness, for justice in the face of violent hate that seeks to destroy.

We are in a battle for the soul of our country. We are facing a fearful mob with a frozen pride in the worst of America; preserving monuments to racism, worshipping the rotting corpse of white nationalism rather than embracing new life in the great Union comprised of all of God’s creation of every race, religion, gender, orientation, size, ability and culture — together creating a new and just America.

On this Memorial weekend we remember those who served this country, some of whom sacrificed their lives to fight racist national ideology far from home.  It is different, the service we are called to, it is closer to home, it is within.  But we must also be brave and feel the sacrificial call. We are also protecting and serving our nation by doing the prayerful, holy work of protecting our Union in the face of all that is destroying it. Thank you to Richard, Rick and Taliesin for your service in this sacred task. Now, let us all do our part.

Rev. Paul Brandeis Raushenbush is Senior Vice President at Auburn and the Editor of Voices.

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