Robert E. Lee Descendant Quits as N.C. Pastor After Denouncing Racism in VMA Speech

A descendant of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee said he has left the Bethany United Church of Christ after denouncing racism as “America’s original sin” last week at MTV’s Video Music Awards. In a Monday statement, Rev. Robert Lee IV said the church’s reaction to his speech was “deeply hurtful.” “My presence at the church as a descendant of Robert E. Lee and an outspoken opponent of white supremacy had already attracted attention, but with my appearance on MTV, the media’s focus on my church reached an all-time high. 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. “I want to stress that there were many in the congregation who supported my right to free speech, yet were uncomfortable with the attention the church was receiving.” He served at the North Carolina church for the past six months.