To the Editor:
The Iredell Clergy For Healing and Justice, an interfaith and interracial organization of local faith leaders, wishes to express our support for the vote of the Iredell County Board of Commissioners to relocate the Confederate monument. For the well-being of our community and all its citizens, we urge that the relocation of the Confederate monument be concluded without delay.
To honor the dead is one of the deepest forms of human reverence. When this monument was erected, many in our community knew personally those who had died in the Civil War. However, the monument also served to defend the Confederacy and its cause, which its inscription describes as “just.”
From that time until now, this monument in the heart of Statesville has continued to cause anguish in the lives of people of color and moral discomfort to many more, regardless of race and creed. The question facing us is whether we will hear the pain many people of color in our community feel? Is it right to ask people to walk by a symbol they feel is so deeply unjust when we are all seeking after a more just community? The monument is a continual reminder of a time of slavery and oppression, which is hurtful to Black citizens and a reminder of some of the worst parts of white heritage. The present monument brings back hurtful memories for all citizens.
Our faith traditions compel us “to do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with our God” and “to love our neighbor as ourselves.” Such neighborly love leads us to our support of the relocation of the Confederate monument. We pray for a peaceful process toward this goal that will strengthen our community and make it a more hospitable place for all our citizens.
Rev. Steve Shoemaker
Grace Baptist Church