Robert E. Lee Descendant Resigns as Pastor Over Comments on MTV

Lee has spoken out in support of the city of Charlottesville's decision to remove a statue of Robert E Lee. The statue sparked protests from white nationalists last month in the Virginia city

Robert Lee IV has publicly stated his support for the statue's removal. His appearance quickly caught internet fame as among the night's most memorable.

The former pastor spoke about his ancestor's complicated idolatry before he introduced the mother of Charlottesville victim Heather Heyer, at MTV's Video Music Awards last month. As he appeared before the cameras, Lee stood in stark contrast to the sleek, geometric set behind him, dressed simply in a black cleric's shirt and collar.

Midway through this year's MTV VMAs came an unexpectedly serious and honest appearance by Susan Bro, mother of Heather Heyer, the counter-protestor slain in Charlottesville.

He said some church members were uncomfortable with his remarks praising the Black Lives Matter movement during the August 27 MTV Video Music Awards.

Lee added he does not want the incident to be a distraction from "the sacred work of confronting white supremacy in all its forms" and called on white Christians in the United States to "take seriously the deadly legacy of slavery in our country and commit ourselves to follow Jesus into a time of deep reflection, repentance, and reconciliation". "A faction of church members were concerned about my speech and that I lifted up Black Lives Matter movement, the Women' s March, and Heather Heyer as examples of racial justice work". "We have made an idol of Robert Edward Lee".

But not everyone in his congregation approved of Lee's message. But the comments section on an article about his VMA speech in the Winston-Salem Journal gives some sense of the backlash.

While Lee is disappointed that he had to step down, he wrote that he will continue to fight against white supremacy and systematic oppression in all of its various forms.

Jessica Parce, a junior nursing major and student of Lee's, said she knew about his family history before the first day of class and was amazed by how he stuck to his moral values despite the pushback he was likely to get. "Maybe if you spent more time around the church that number would increase".

Lee has spoken out in support of the city of Charlottesville's decision to remove a statue of Robert E Lee (above).

NPR's Lulu Garcia-Navarro asked Lee how his parishioners were responding to his message.

"I don't want this to be about me", he said.

Bethany Church was founded in the late 1700s.

As a result, the pastor stepped down from his position at his church, though he expresses no regrets for fighting against white supremacy.



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