When spun in the second manner, an awful lot of people understandably jump on the "other side" and that is just that. Groups like the KKK and neo-Nazis, a small portion of the rally in Charlottesville, are the greatest bogeymen in our society. Neo-Nazis invoke the image of their genuine predecessors in the Third Reich and the KKK is the ultimate homegrown evil, burning crosses and lynching blacks while wearing silly outfits. The very cartoonishness of these two groups makes it easy to define them, mock them and dismiss them. I am not saying that is wrong necessarily but I am of the opinion that the Klan and neo-Nazis in general are actually a pretty small subset of the White nationalist/identitarian movement, itself a small fringe movement.
Compounding the issue, President Trump issued a very balanced, very reasonable statement that rightly pointed out that there was violence on both sides in Charlottesville. That got any number of knickers twisted and people freaked out, accusing Trump of siding with the "alt-right" when in fact what he said very specifically made the case that he didn't take either side.
But, some say, by not picking a side he was actually...picking a side. I know, I know, it doesn't make sense unless you accept the narrative being spun by the media and political Left. That narrative says that the "alt-right", White nationalists, KKK, neo-Nazis, are always violent and were in Charlottesville to engage in violence. I would point out that saying intentionally inflammatory stuff and being prepared in the event of violence is not the same as an intent to commit violence. The same narrative creates a polar opposite where the "antifa" and others groups were just there to peacefully counter-protest against racism. That sounds nice but it simply is not true.
First, it is demonstrably factual that many, many of the left-wing "counter-protesters" were headed to Charlottesville with the express intent of causing mayhem and violence. This is easily seen in social media posts, in their behavior at the Unite the Right rally and in similar prior venues (Berkeley, Middlebury College, the bike lock attack, the attempted blinding of a rally organizer, the assault by a college professor from By Any Means Necessary which led to her arrest, countless other smaller attacks involving dangerous objects and mace at all manner of gatherings, including entirely peaceful Trump campaign rallies).
Second, and this is critical to understand, these groups are not at their most basic "anti-racism" although their particular interpretation of what that means is a major part of their platform. The core ideology of the "counter-protesters" in Charlottesville and elsewhere is not "anti-racism". That is what you are being told but it simply isn't the case. The ideology of "Black Lives Matter", the "antifa", "By Any Means Necessary (BAMN)", etc. is simply old fashioned recycled Marxism. There are a number of good resources to document this, including a lot of source material from these groups themselves. For example, from The Federalist: How Black Lives Matter Is Bringing Back Traditional Marxism (language warning).
BLM has simply substituted Marx’s class conflict between the proletariat and bourgeoisie for class conflict between blackness and whiteness. But unlike income and wealth, blackness and whiteness are not temporary states: while 56 percent of American households occupy the top 10 percent of the income bracket at some point during their lives, such transience does not occur with an immutable characteristic like race.
The black vs. white dichotomy creates a permanent enemy class, to which defection is always incomplete. And unlike the proletariat class consciousness, race consciousness already exists, making mobilization easier. This can be seen in the comments of a Milwaukee protester from August: “We do not want justice or peace anymore. We done with that shit. We want blood. We want blood. We want the same shit ya’ll want. Eye for an eye. No more peace. F–k all that. Ain’t no more peace. Ain’t no more peace. We done. We cannot cohabitate with white people, one of us have to go, black or white. All ya’ll have to go!”While there were almost certainly run of the mill people who just don't like to see racists march among the counter-protesters, just as there were certainly generic conservatives who love their Southern heritage among Unite the Right, this is the ideology of the major figures of the leftist coalition that was in Charlottesville, Berkeley and so many other flashpoints: cultural Marxism, identity politics, violent socialism, anti-liberty rhetoric and action.
In a lame attempt at being clever some are trying to frame this as if the Alt-Left is the reincarnation of the Allies in World War II fighting the reincarnation of the Nazis (the Alt-Right). The more accurate comparison is that if anything this is more akin to the Nazis and Communist Soviets fighting it out. In fact this is really just a continuation of the clash of world-views that preceded the second World War between communists and fascists, even if many of the participants on both sides are not truly ideologically pure examples of either. If the Nazis had prevailed over the Soviets, a National Socialist empire would have stretched from France to the Pacific Ocean. As it was after the Soviets fought and raped their way to Berlin they instead put up the Iron Curtain and imprisoned tens of millions of Europeans under the repression of Communism. In the fight between the Communists and National Socialists there could be no winner while either existed. In Charlottesville both sides "won". The antifa got to look like the good guys while attacking people and the alt-right got to reinforce their narrative of persecution that attracts so many disaffected people. The big loser was the vast majority of the American people that are not in either camp.
Again, what was on display in Charlottesville was not a simplistic good versus evil confrontation. Although that is what the media, a fair number of "Republicans" that want to see Trump replaced by a more traditional Republican (or even a Democrat) and a disturbing number of Christians that are so enraptured by being able to claim to be on the "anti-racism" side that they are ignoring the facts, want you to believe, what was really going on was a more basic evil versus evil fight. It should go without saying that in a clash between evils, the church does not have a horse to back. Our prophetic witness is apart from either group, calling them both to repent. That doesn't mean that there were not genuine believers on both sides of the fray. That is highly triggering to say but if I can accept that there are people who are dead wrong on specific Scriptural issues like baptism, soteriology, the end times, the Lord's Supper, church government, etc., it follows that there are genuine believers who have what most of us would consider misguided beliefs on issues of race, economics, liberty and government. That doesn't mean that these people are not wrong in their beliefs, just an admission that I think that 100% of people other than me are wrong about at least one thing.
Saying that I have to stand against racism by standing with neo-Marxists who want to quash the First Amendment (and Second and who knows what else) and destroy the traditional, nuclear Biblical family is a lose-lose scenario and I refuse to play. You should too. The Bible warns us to not be unequally yoked with unbelievers regardless of the cause but too many Christians are walking in lockstep with spiritual darkness because they want to be seen as standing against racism, just as many are walking with spiritual darkness to avoid losing their heritage.
Don't be guilted or mislead into taking sides with the ungodly. The media, political parties, violent extremist groups, none of them get to dictate to the church the terms of our engagement with the culture. Christ gives us our marching orders through His Word and the Spirit. I reject the means and message of the Alt-Left not because I stand with the Alt-Right but because what they are demanding is violent, illiberal, repressive, counter-productive and ungodly. I exhort you to likewise refuse to be yoked with the darkness to fight a different darkness.