Over the weekend, white nationalists descended on the city of Charlottesville, Virginia, for the Unite the Right rally. Held at Emancipation Park where a statue of the Confederate general Robert E. Lee is scheduled for removal, the rally quickly spun out of control when clashes took place between thousands of far right protesters and thousands of counter protesters.
One counter protester, Heather Heyer, was killed and many more injured when James Alex Fields Jr. allegedly drove his car into a crowd of people. A former history teacher of Fields, who spoke to CNN, described the man as a "Nazi sympathizer."
Peter Tefft also took part in the Unite the Right rally, and in a lengthy Facebook post, he appeared to defend the driver who killed Heather Heyer, instead blaming "the police, the city of Charlottesville and the state of Virginia." In an interview with Valley News Live, Tefft said the man was acting in self-defense and that he shouldn't be charged as a domestic terrorist.
And his father isn't very happy about it. After spotting his son in a news interview, Pearce Tefft, Peter Tefft's father, wrote an open letter on local news website Inforum denouncing his son in a post that has since gone viral.
"My name is Pearce Tefft," the letter starts." And I am writing to all, with regards to my youngest son, Peter Tefft, an avowed white nationalist who has been featured in a number of local news stories over the last several months."
The father goes on to denounce his son's "vile, hateful and racist rhetoric and actions."
"I, along with all of his siblings and his entire family, wish to loudly repudiate my son’s vile, hateful and racist rhetoric and actions. We do not know specifically where he learned these beliefs. He did not learn them at home."
Pearce Tefft goes on to explain that he has no idea where Peter Tefft acquired his ideology.
"I have shared my home and hearth with friends and acquaintances of every race, gender and creed. I have taught all of my children that all men and women are created equal. That we must love each other all the same."
"Evidently Peter has chosen to unlearn these lessons, much to my and his family’s heartbreak and distress. We have been silent up until now, but now we see that this was a mistake. It was the silence of good people that allowed the Nazis to flourish the first time around, and it is the silence of good people that is allowing them to flourish now."
Pearce Tefft then presents his son with an ultimatum.
"Peter Tefft, my son, is not welcome at our family gatherings any longer. I pray my prodigal son will renounce his hateful beliefs and return home. Then and only then will I lay out the feast."
"His hateful opinions are bringing hateful rhetoric to his siblings, cousins, nieces and nephews as well as his parents. Why must we be guilty by association? Again, none of his beliefs were learned at home. We do not, never have, and never will, accept his twisted worldview."
"He once joked, 'The thing about us fascists is, it’s not that we don’t believe in freedom of speech. You can say whatever you want. We’ll just throw you in an oven.'"
"Peter, you will have to shovel our bodies into the oven, too. Please son, renounce the hate, accept and love all."
The letter has been praised by thousands of people on social media.
This was painful for a father to do, but it was the correct & moral thing to do. We can't ignore or rationalize evil even in our loved ones.— ChicanodeArizonaPhD (@AzMexAm) August 14, 2017
What do you think?