Roanoke’s attempt to honor the victims of yesterday’s Charlottesville riots–including a young woman who died–was mostly a success, but it left me a bit cold with what it didn’t do.
The prayer vigil, which preceded a candlelight vigil downtown, was ostensibly meant to bring the various communities together after a day when white nationalists attempted to separate us into subgroups and then discriminate against all who weren’t white.
I will mention that I saw no Republican officials at the vigil. No Rep Bob Goodlatte, none of our General Assembly Republican reps, no Morgan Griffith. Republicans seem to be taking the other side: defending the indefensible. Joe Dashiel of WDBJ7 says State Senator David Suetterlein, a Republican from Botetourt, was there.
The prayer vigil concentrated heavily on race without much mention of religion (the white nationalists hate Jews and Muslims), immigrants, liberals, and a whole litany of other people who are not conservative, white and bigoted.
I would have liked to have heard a prayer end in something besides, “… in Jesus name …” I would have liked to have heard a cross-section of Roanoke’s religions introduced and given the microphone if only to introduce themselves.
As it was, the preachers were Christians, the politicians were far too prominent and what we wound up with was a vigil of exclusion. I don’t find that acceptable, but I do appreciate the effort.