Forced to resign from his church for speaking out against racism, Rob Lee has no regrets.

The descendant of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee did the right thing.

Pastor Robert Lee IV took the stage at the 2017 MTV Video Music Awards to share a simple message.

Lee, a descendent of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee, was there to introduce Susan Bro, the mother of Charlottesville victim Heather Heyer. On stage, he denounced the use of his ancestor as "an idol of white supremacy, racism, and hate" and claimed it was his "moral duty to speak out against racism."

GIF from MTV/Twitter.


He gave a shout-out to the Black Lives Matter movement, to everybody who participated in the Women's March, and of course, to Heyer herself. It was a powerful, moving call to action for people to take a stand against hate.

Not everybody was a fan of Lee's speech, and in the span of just over a week, he was out as pastor at Bethany United Church of Christ in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

In a blog post on Auburn Seminary's website, Lee explained why he decided to resign his post in the church following his breakout appearance at the VMAs, noting that some congregants were uneasy with his vocal support of the Women's March, Black Lives Matter, and Heather Heyer; others were just as uncomfortable with the national attention they received.

Lee with Susan Bro during the 2017 MTV Video Music Awards. Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images.

"The church’s reaction was deeply hurtful to me," he wrote, explaining that the church wanted to bring his tenure up for a vote after his appearance on MTV.

Instead, Lee resigned.

Doing the right thing isn't always easy. Often, that's even more reason to do it.

"A theologian I admire speaks of costly grace and sometimes speaking up costs more than we could have imagined," Lee told Spectrum News Charlotte. "I love my church and will always have fond memories there for my first pastorate."

"I'd just like people to know that a small group of voices is no match to the unwavering movement of justice in this world," Lee says in an email, declining to comment on the specific circumstances behind his resignation.

"I do want the hate-filled rhetoric to end so that we might focus on real issues like DACA being rescinded and continuing to keep in the public conscious the issues of racial inequality and the monuments that support those systems."

Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images.

It may have cost Lee his job, but using his voice to resist the continued oppression of others was the right thing to do. For that, Lee is an inspiration to anyone who feels too small to make a difference in the world.

We all have a voice — it's just a matter of how we decide to use it.

More
Courtesy of Houseplant.

In America, one dumb mistake can hang over your head forever.

Nearly 30% of the American adult population — about 70 million people — have at least one criminal conviction that can prevent them from being treated equally when it comes to everything from job and housing opportunities to child custody.

Twenty million of these Americans have felony convictions that can destroy their chances of making a comfortable living and prevents them from voting out the lawmakers who imprisoned them.

Many of these convictions are drug-related and stem from the War on Drugs that began in the U.S. '80s. This war has unfairly targeted the minority community, especially African-Americans.

Keep Reading Show less
Culture

Climate change is happening because the earth is warming at an accelerated rate, a significant portion of that acceleration is due to human activity, and not taking measures to mitigate it will have disastrous consequences for life as we know it.

In other words: Earth is heating up, it's kinda our fault, and if we don't fix it, we're screwed.

This is the consensus of the vast majority of the world's scientists who study such things for a living. Case closed. End of story.

How do we know this to be true? Because pretty much every reputable scientific organization on the planet has examined and endorsed these conclusions. Thousands of climate studies have been done, and multiple peer-reviewed studies have been done on those studies, showing that somewhere between 84 and 97 percent of active climate science experts support these conclusions. In fact, the majority of those studies put the consensus well above 90%.

Keep Reading Show less
Nature
via James Anderson

Two years ago, a tweet featuring the invoice for a fixed boiler went viral because the customer, a 91-year-old woman with leukemia, received the services for free.

"No charge for this lady under any circumstances," the invoice read. "We will be available 24 hours to help her and keep her as comfortable as possible."

The repair was done by James Anderson, 52, a father-of-five from Burnley, England. "James is an absolute star, it was overwhelming to see that it cost nothing," the woman's daughter told CNN.

Keep Reading Show less
Heroes

I live in a family with various food intolerances. Thankfully, none of them are super serious, but we are familiar with the challenges of finding alternatives to certain foods, constantly checking labels, and asking restaurants about their ingredients.

In our family, if someone accidentally eats something they shouldn't, it's mainly a bit of inconvenient discomfort. For those with truly life-threatening food allergies, the stakes are much higher.

I can't imagine the ongoing stress of deadly allergy, especially for parents trying to keep their little ones safe.

Keep Reading Show less
popular