Monday, June 10, 2019

Forgiveness at Mother Emanuel

From First Things-

I’ve got something to say.” 

That is what a black minister heard God say to him moments before the minister unexpectedly spoke to Dylann Roof, the 21-year-old white supremacist who had murdered the pastor's wife two days prior. At the conclusion of a midweek Bible study, Roof had opened fire as those gathered in the basement of the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, bowed their heads in prayer. Nine were killed. 

The murders happened on June 17, 2015, and shocked the nation.  But what happened on June 19 may have been even more shocking. At a court hearing, with Roof appearing via closed circuit television feed from jail, the judge asked the bereaved families if they had anything to say to the accused. That minister would be among a string of those who looked at Roof and uttered the unfathomable “F” word: forgive.  

Those decisions to publicly forgive may have set Charleston, South Carolina, on a different path than places like Ferguson, Missouri, or Baltimore, Maryland, where racial tensions led to angry protests and riots in 2014 and 2015. That does not mean nothing changed. Within a month of the shooting, the Confederate battle flag—a symbol Roof had adored—was removed from the state capitol grounds. Walmart and Amazon stopped selling items bearing the flag. Thousands marched in a peaceful display of solidarity.

More here-

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