Friday, June 19, 2015

Going Deeper #CharlestonShooting

First we must remember the victims of this horrendous hate crime.

We must remember, we must shout out, #BlackLivesMatter

These links are articles that may help us go deeper and begin to tackle some root causes of the violence:
The Confederate Battle Flag may mean many things, but with those things it represents a defiance against abolition and against civil rights. The symbol was used to enslave the little brothers and sisters of Jesus, to bomb little girls in church buildings, to terrorize preachers of the gospel and their families with burning crosses on front lawns by night.

That sort of symbolism is out of step with the justice of Jesus Christ. The cross and the Confederate flag cannot co-exist without one setting the other on fire. White Christians, let’s listen to our African-American brothers and sisters. Let’s care not just about our own history, but also about our shared history with them. In Christ, we were slaves in Egypt—and as part of the Body of Christ we were all slaves too in Mississippi. Let’s watch our hearts, pray for wisdom, work for justice, love our neighbors. Let’s take down that flag.
All houses of worship are sanctuaries, but the concept of sanctuary ​holds particular resonance in Black Church tradition on account of the church’s role as the one institution white people could not take completely away from the persons whom they never ceased to abuse in the most un-Christian ways imaginable.

It is nevertheless true that the original African Church in Charleston was burned to the ground by whites following a major 1822 slave uprising when it was discovered that long-time church member and class leader (and free person of color) Denmark Vesey had been preaching insurrection there.

And now, in a distinctively American drama that never ends, the historic and brave Emanuel (“God with us”) African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston has been violated yet again, almost 200 years later, ​by murderous anti-black hatred.
What happened in a church in Charleston, South Carolina on Wednesday night is a lot of things, but one thing it's not is "unthinkable." Somebody thought long and hard about it. Somebody thought to load the weapon. Somebody thought to pick the church. Somebody thought to sit, quietly, through some of Wednesday night bible study. Somebody thought to stand up and open fire, killing nine people, including the pastor. Somebody reportedly thought to leave one woman alive so she could tell his story to the world. Somebody thought enough to flee. What happened in that church was a lot of things, but unthinkable is not one of them.
What happened in a Charleston church on Wednesday night is a lot of things, but one thing it's not is "unspeakable." We should speak of it often. We should speak of it loudly. We should speak of it as terrorism, which is what it was. We should speak of it as racial violence, which is what it was. [...]
There is a timidity that the country can no longer afford. This was not an unthinkable act. A man may have had a rat's nest for a mind, but it was well thought out. It was a cool, considered crime, as well planned as any bank robbery or any computer fraud. If people do not want to speak of it, or think about it, it's because they do not want to follow the story where it inevitably leads. It's because they do not want to follow this crime all the way back to the mother of all American crimes, the one that Denmark Vesey gave his life to avenge. What happened on Wednesday night was a lot of things. A massacre was only one of them.
It is hard for me to imagine how you could sit with people engaging such a tender practice together and then shoot them. I wonder what text they were reading. I wonder if it was about love or forgiveness or maybe liberation. It is often about liberation. The Bible tells us stories of the cast out being raised up and the rejected given the place of honor. I wonder what they were reading Wednesday. I wonder if it was the love and tenderness of those black people in conversation with their God that confirmed for Dylann Roof that they were a threat to the world as he wanted it to be. I wonder if the spirit of Denmark Vesey was in that place.

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