The president of S.T.A.N.D. says the insistence by extremists on the left that monuments to America’s Founding Fathers be removed is a “totalitarian” move.
Bishop E.W. Jackson, who heads an organization that reaches across racial and cultural lines to bring Americans together around the nation’s foundational principles, said on Fox News’ Your World:
I’m a student of history, I love American history – the good, the bad, and the ugly – and I don’t think we ought to sanitize it – that’s a totalitarian, an authoritarian move. I simply think we ought to get this out of the public domain.
We should not censor our history, but let's unite around our Flag rather than dividing over confederate symbols.
— E.W. Jackson (@ewjacksonsr) August 12, 2017
In a Facebook video post during the protests in Charlottesville on Saturday, the bishop also said the desire by some to remove monuments to the Founding Fathers is “preposterous”:
You’re not going to find any person in American history who was perfect, just like you and I are not. To deny the tremendous contribution to the notion of freedom and to the idea of each human being living out their God-given potential is also … preposterous … they illuminated the whole world with the idea of what it really means to be free!
Jackson’s words come as actor Leslie Odom Jr. – the star of Broadway’s Hamilton – told TMZ this week that even statues of America’s Founding Fathers should be considered for removal.
“If we decide as a community that this bronze commemoration is no longer doing that, if it’s no longer inspiring us, if it’s no longer making us feel great about ourselves, they come down for a while, or forever,” he said. “We’re even allowed to do that Thomas Jefferson and George Washington. We’re allowed to. They’re not off the table for discussion.”
Regarding President Donald Trump’s message on the events in Charlottesville, Jackson also told Fox News:
There’s a part of what the president has said that people need to heed, because in order to heal, it takes both sides. Sure, we should condemn white supremacists, it’s evil, it’s wicked, but on the other hand, we can’t have a society in which people are constantly pointing the finger at others, saying, “You’re a beneficiary of white privilege, we don’t want you at our graduation, we don’t want you in our meetings, all white people are white supremacists, America is a nation of white supremacy,” and then say, “Let’s all come together.”
Condemning both the white supremacists and the left’s counter-protesters in Charlottesville, Jackson added, “So, we all gotta shun these extreme voices, and figure out a way to become one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all, and that requires de-racializing this discussion and talking about principles, rather than the color of our skin.”
In his Facebook video, Jackson said he is not disturbed by Confederate monuments in his home state of Virginia, but understands some people may find them upsetting. He recommends that Confederate memorials are moved to a place where people who want to celebrate them may do so, while the entire country comes together to work on the real concrete issues facing Americans.
In a Facebook post, Rev. William Owens, president of the Coalition of African American Pastors (CAAP), also blamed the media for “promoting hate and division” in the wake of the Charlottesville protests.
“It’s all so senseless,” Owens said. “Evil is evil regardless of motive, party affiliation, or race!”