The children of Johnny Cash posted an emotional Facebook essay Wednesday distancing the family from a young neo-Nazi wearing a T-shirt with their father’s name on it in Charlottesville.
“We were alerted to a video of a young man in Charlottesville, a self-proclaimed neo-Nazi, spewing hatred and bile,” said the statement, posted to daughter Roseanne Cash’s Facebook page.
“He was wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with the name of Johnny Cash, our father. We were sickened by the association.”
Johnny Cash, the family wrote, “was a man whose heart beat with the rhythm of love and social justice.”
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The statement, which had been shared nearly 30,000 times on Facebook by Thursday morning, went on to list some of the numerous humanitarian awards Cash received during his career. The country legend died in 2003.
“He would be horrified at even a casual use of his name or image for an idea or a cause founded in persecution and hatred,” the Cash children wrote.
“The white supremacists and neo-Nazis who marched in Charlottesville are poison in our society, and an insult to every American hero who wore a uniform to fight the Nazis in WWII. Several men in the extended Cash family were among those who served with honor.”
They wrote that “pacifism and inclusive patriotism” were two of their father’s most defining characteristics.
“Our dad told each of us, over and over throughout our lives, ‘Children, you can choose love or hate. I choose love.’
“To any who claim supremacy over other human beings, to any who believe in racial or religious hierarchy: we are not you. Our father, as a person, icon, or symbol, is not you. We ask that the Cash name be kept far away from destructive and hateful ideology.
“We Choose Love.”
With the exception of a few people accusing the family of getting “political,” fans embraced the message.