SoCal Harvest 2017: Pastor Greg Laurie tackles racist ideology

Harvest Crusade (SoCal Harvest) founder Pastor Greg Laurie gave a powerful anti-racist message as the event kicked off on Aug. 18 at the Angel Stadium in Anaheim.

(REUTERS / Joshua Roberts)White nationalists march in Charlottesville. August 14, 2017

On the first day of the SoCal Harvest, in front of a crowd of 26,000 people, Pastor Laurie started things off with a powerful anti-racist message. Titled "A Second Chance for America," he talked about the second chance God offered to people through his love and forgiveness and how they should use it well.

Laurie also addressed what has been going on in and around the United States and said: "For a follower of Jesus Christ, there is no place for racism, bigotry or prejudice of any kind. I see these people carrying crosses, wearing swastikas, talking about white supremacy. There is no superior race. We are all part of the human race."

A few days prior, Pastor Laurie said the message of the Harvest Crusade is the same each year, but the 2017 event will include a denunciation of racist ideologies in light of the recent violent protests in Charlottesville, Virginia, the OC Register relayed.

David Taylor of Christian Aid, who was present when violence broke out during the Charlottesville protests, said it was his first time to experience something that was so fueled by hate. He recalled how the white nationalists and counter-protesters were yelling at each other and how the impending violent outburst was so palpable, Mission News Network Online reports.

Other Christians were there during the Charlottesville protests. Ministers linked arms while singing "This Little Light of Mine" and other believers were spotted holding prayer vigils.

One person was killed and at least 19 others were injured when a man used his car to plow into the crowd of counter-protesters. The tragic incident caused Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe to declare a state of emergency.

Taylor thinks the Charlottesville protests will likely affect the whole South, predicting that similar incidents could also explode in Richmond, Arkansas, and other places where Confederate monuments stand.

Meanwhile, for Laurie, he is only a messenger who delivers a timeless message to the people. However, his methods of presenting answers to eternal questions has been a major factor in the success of the annual Harvest Crusade.