CT clergy members speak out over president's comments - WFSB 3 Connecticut

CT clergy members speak out over president's comments

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New Haven pastors reacted to President Trump's recent comments following this weekend's incident in Charlottesville, VA. (WFSB) New Haven pastors reacted to President Trump's recent comments following this weekend's incident in Charlottesville, VA. (WFSB)
NEW HAVEN, CT (WFSB) -

Members of New Haven's clergy spoke out on Wednesday after a clash between white supremacists and protesters over the weekend in Virginia. 

More than a dozen clergy from the New Haven Area held a news conference on Wednesday afternoon. They said President Donald Trump showed his true colors with his unscripted press conference on Tuesday. 

 "This is a moral issue; the president was wrong.  A life has been lost,” Pastor Jerald Barber from Church of God and Saints of Christ said.

For Barber and these other New Haven area clergy members, they said, over the past few days, the country has taken a step back and they blame President Trump and his choice of words.  

"My dad marched with King, I marched with King as a child and now a generation later I have to explain this to my children once again,” Barber said. “We're debating fascists, we're debating, Nazisms, we're debating white supremacy."

The clergy was reacting to not only the scene this weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia where a white supremacists used a car to ram into a crowd, killing one person and injuring many others. They were also reacting to the president's response.

After coming out and condemning the hate groups on Monday, a few days after the incident, the president changed his tune on Tuesday and said both sides were to blame.

“The Bible says a double minded man is unstable in all his ways,’ Bishop Charles H. Brewer Jr. with the Trinity Temple Church of God in Christ said. “I think President Trump fits that description."

On Tuesday, the president told reporters, he didn't want to rush and make a statement. Trump said he wanted to make sure he had all the information.

"We don't buy that. The president starts tweeting at 5 o'clock every morning about what he doesn't know,” Rev. Boise Kimber, of New Haven, said. “He has the information. He has all of the expertise."

While CBS News reports the White House sent out talking points to Republican leaders and asked them to say the president was entirely correct in his remarks. Democrats and Republican lawmakers quickly moved to distance themselves from the president's comments.

After his press conference on Tuesday, these pastors are asking Connecticut residents to do the same.

"We're asking black, brown, white, Jews, Gentile, Protestant, Muslims, all ethnicities and religion to unite and fight against the actions of a very few,” Kimber said.

Now according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups, it said there are four recognized hate groups currently in Connecticut. Something Connecticut church leaders said they've discussed with their parishioners.

"We're going to be on the lookout for that,” Brewer said. “We've been meeting and trying to address some of these issues."

Brewer said he knows there are hate groups in Connecticut and didn't hold back when it came to his view about the president’s recent comments.

"Displaying such racial activity as a leader of all people is really an insult to the nation,” Brewer said.

The four hate groups are the following: 

  • Act for America, which it describes itself as anti-Muslim.
  • National Socialist Movement, which is a Neo-Nazi group.
  • White Lives Matter, which is described as a white nationalist group.
  • New Black Panther Party for Self Defense 

In June, Act for America organized a rally in Waterbury. They said it was against Sharia Law, which they claim allows atrocities to be done to Muslim women. But, religious leaders said it simply isn't true and that the group was simply targeting Waterbury and its large Muslim population.

Following what happened in Virginia, groups nationwide have said they plan to hold even more rallies.

"We do not want the same thing that is happening in Charlottesville, Virginia to happen here in the state of Connecticut," Kimber said. 

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