Rev. Robert W. Lee – a distant nephew of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee – has been making news in the last few weeks by supporting the movement to remove monuments to his ancestor and other Confederate figures.
This week, he resigned from his position as pastor of the Bethany United Church of Christ in Winston-Salem when some in his congregation objected to remarks he made at a recent MTV awards show.
“We have made my ancestor an idol of white supremacy, racism, and hate,” Lee said during on the hsow. “As a pastor, it is my moral duty to speak out against racism, America’s original sin.”
Lee, a recent graduate of Duke Divinity School, said he stood behind his remarks on the televised show but didn’t want to bring any more controversy or conflict to his church.
From the Associated Press story on his resignation:
“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,” he said in the statement explaining his resignation.
In a statement, Lee said he would continue to speak out against racism and on behalf of the oppressed but did not want it to impact the church, which did not want the attention.
“All are called by God to speak out against hate and evil in all its many forms,” Lee said in his statement.
“There are so many good things going on with this congregation, and I do not want my fight to detract from the mission,” Lee said. “If the recent media attention causes concern with my church, I reluctantly offer my resignation.”