- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 6, 2017

The Rev. Robert Wright Lee IV, a distant nephew of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee, claimed Wednesday that black people are being treated unfairly in the Hurricane Harvey relief effort.

The reverend made the unfounded claim on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” three days after he publicly resigned as pastor at a North Carolina church following backlash over his speech against white supremacy at the MTV Video Music Awards.

Mr. Lee said people of color “are being disproportionately treated unfairly by the hurricane response teams simply because of the color of their skin,” according to a clip flagged by the Washington Free Beacon.

Asked to elaborate, Mr. Lee cited allegations that pastor Joel Osteen failed to immediately open his Houston church as a shelter during the initial flooding as an example that poor people are being mistreated.

“Well, I mean it’s obvious that the disproportionate number of black people that are being treated unfairly, and not cared for, because they live in poor communities — the response has been just unfortunate,” he said. “We see … Joel Osteen not opening up his church doors for people. That’s not very good for Christians. It’s not very good for how we respond to people who are persons of color, as white Christians who are white allies or claim to be white allies. I think we have to speak up and speak out about these issues and name them for what they are.”

Mr. Osteen has hit back at criticism for delaying the opening of his Lakewood Church, which quickly became a major distribution hub of supplies and shelter for flood victims in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. Mr. Osteen said the church, which is partnered with Samaritan’s Purse and World Relief, never closed its doors to anyone in need.

Hurricane Harvey has also been described as an “equal opportunity storm” that discriminated against no one in its massive destruction.

Mr. Lee, who resigned as pastor at Bethany United Church of Christ on Sunday, didn’t cite any other examples to support his claim. He said it was his speaking out for social justice issues that recently cost him his job.

“When you speak up, and when you speak out about issues of justice, sometimes the cost is great,” he said. “And ultimately, I found out for me the cost would indeed be great – losing my job over this.”

He said he chose to resign after a “small fraction” of the congregation voiced concerns over the media attention the church was receiving since his appearance at the VMAs, where he praised the work of the Black Lives Matter movement, the Women’s March, and Heather Heyer, the woman who was killed while protesting in Charlottesville, Virginia, last month.

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