The events of Charlottesville, Va., involving white supremacy groups and counter-protesters were marked by a tragic end. James Alex Fields, Jr. drove a car into a crowd of people at a high speed with the clear intent to harm others who rejected his bigotry and hate. Many people were injured, and three lost their lives on this day of violence.

A rally by white supremacists in which they were seeking to spread their message of hate, stupidity and bigotry was at the heart of this event. Even more heartbreaking is that groups like Alt-Right and Ku Klux Klan often appear to use Christian symbols to mark their brand of hate. Like the proponents of slavery of the past, these groups twist the truth until it is unrecognizable and use their blatant lies to defile the very crowning creation of God, which is man himself. Racial slurs are vomited as if these people are the vault of truth, and the rest of the world lives in ignorance.

We, as Christians, must stand united in the face of such hatred. We dare not remain silent while these ungodly, arrogant people seek to defame our brothers and sisters of color. The goal of this type of group, like those of the past, is to elevate some men above others—to perpetrate a lie of supremacy among the races that has never existed in the eyes of God.

I am well aware of the history of Southern Baptists. We have admitted and repented of the vile actions of our forefathers who defended the indefensible institution of slavery. Our forefathers did so in the same way others have done by using eisegesis, not exegesis, to determine the truth of Scripture. They made the Scripture say what they wanted it to say, not what Scripture truthfully says.

This is not who Southern Baptists are today. Repenting of our past, we have set a course to include everyone in the family of God called Southern Baptists. Indeed, we are the most ethnically-diverse denomination in Oklahoma and the nation. As the largest evangelical denomination in our country, we must be intolerant and aggressive in resisting loudly and unequivocally every hint of white supremacy, which has no place in society, much less in the church.

White is not the chosen race! There is no chosen race but the chosen race of God bought by the precious blood of the Lamb of God. This chosen race is not marked by the color of skin but the color of the blood of Jesus that has washed away our sin. Those who stand around the throne of the Lamb will be the forgiven from every tribe, nation and tongue. There will be a kaleidoscope of color as brothers and sisters join in worship of our God and the Lamb. Our declaration should be “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

White supremacy is evil and must have no place among us. As people of a free society, we must use our voices and influence to decry every vestige of this corrupt philosophy. Silence will not do.

We, the people of God, must work harder at openness and inclusiveness of all people, especially those of different races. We must not do so just because it is culturally considered the right thing to do but because it is, without a doubt, the right thing to do. It is the biblical, christianly thing to do. If this causes you heartburn, I assure you, Rolaids won’t help take care of your problem. The cure comes only by getting on your knees and crying out to God to make your heart like His. Stay on your knees until you get relief.

I must take this one step further. Southern Baptists must work harder at decrying these barriers because our lives are immeasurably enriched as we blend our friendships and families together. We need one another. I look back across the years and can tell you unequivocally that my life would be impoverished if I had lived only within my own racial walls. Some of my greatest friends and richest experiences involve relationships with people whose skin is of a different color than mine. Red, yellow, black and white are all beautiful in His sight. As Christians, we must stand for and with our friends and neighbors of color, and let them know they are beautiful in our sight as well.