150 pastors sign letter to remove Memphis Confederate statue

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Mid-South pastors are uniting against Confederate statues in Memphis.

The Nathan Bedford Forrest Monument has stood in Health Sciences Park since 1905. Now, a diverse group of local clergy said it's finally time to remove it.

George Robertson just became the Senior Pastor of 2nd Presbyterian Church on Sunday, but he's already making his opinion known about the controversial monument.

"It was to intimidate," Robertson said. "It was to say to African-Americans in particular, 'You will have no place in this new government. We will disenfranchise you.'"

He was one of 150 clergy from diverse backgrounds who signed a letter to the Tennessee Historical Commission in support of Mayor Jim Strickland's request to move the Nathan Bedford Forrest statue from Health Sciences Park.

"None of us want it destroyed," Robertson said. "It should be preserved as an artifact and placed in a context where it can be studied as an historical monument."

Mayor Strickland tweeted about the letter and said he was "proud to share it."

Robertson said not only is it the right thing to do, it's also an essential move as part of the Christian faith

"The core principal of religion is love," Robertson said. "It's important for this diverse group to say this does not represent love."

We reached out to Mayor Strickland for comment, but he was out of town.

Tennessee Historical Commission could vote on the removal of the Forrest statue as early as next month.

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