U.S. Civil Rights Commission Condemns Violence Motivated by Racial, Religious Intolerance

By Susan Jones | August 18, 2017 | 11:45am EDT
The U.S. Civil Rights Commission adopts a statement condemning violence "motivated by racial and religious intolerance," at a meeting on Friday, Aug. 19, 2017/ (Screen grab from C-SPAN)

(CNSNews.com) - The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights on Friday adopted a statement on Charlottesville, expressing its "profound dismay over the violence and deadly events" there last weekend.

Those events were "motivated by racial and religious intolerance," the statement said.

The statement said Heather Heyer and the others who were injured when a white supremacist rammed his car into the crowd are victims of "apparent domestic terrorism, motivated by a white supremacist ideology."

"As Americans, we are committed to the right to assemble peaceably, but we condemn racial ethnic and religious hatred incitement and violence," it said.

The statement briefly recounted America's history with racial strife and civil rights, and it said the violence in Charlottesville was a "bracing reminder" that efforts to ensure equality are “urgent and ongoing."

The Commission urged the nation to walk the path of justice forged by Heather Heyer, "who stands as a painful but ennobling symbol in the fight for equality and human dignity.”

Gail Heriot, a conservative member of the Commission, proposed a one-sentence addition to the statement, reading: "Though we support peaceful protest and note that most of the counter-demonstrators were peaceful, we condemn violence by anyone, including violence by so-called Anti-fa demonstrators."

Heriot argued, "There were some people among the counter-protesters who were in fact violent, and I think that's important to point out."

The commission ended up rejecting her proposed amendment.

But as part of the discussion, a liberal member of the commission, Michael Yaki, said that if any language were to be added to the statement, it should deal with "the lack of leadership and courage and moral and authority of the President of the United States in dealing with the situation."

“There cannot be a situation where the president of the United States says that there are very fine people on both sides," Yaki said, noting that the white supremacists came to Charlottesville hoping to provoke a race war.

Yaki also said while some of the counter-protesters may have gotten “carried away," their "intent and their motivation and their ideology is not motivated by hatred; it's not motivated by violence,” he said.

The commission adopted the statement, as written.

The eight-member commission includes four Democrats, three Independents, and one Republican.

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