One of the pastors counseling South Carolina gunman Dylann Storm Roof's family believes the white 21-year-old's confessed race-based massacre of nine people at a historically black church in Charleston indicates that the United States needs to "address the deep serious issue of racism in our society."
"We've got to work to build bridges among our congregations," the Rev. Herman R. Yoos of St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Columbia told NBC News.
"We need (to) confront the reality of racism and work together to build honest communications, honest dialogue, prayerful conversations that help this be a turning point for our state," added Yoos, who's also bishop of the South Carolina Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. more >>
In recent comments on the Charleston church massacre in South Carolina, Christian hip-hop artist Lecrae, urged the church to do more than just forgive oppression but correct it. "Let's not simply encourage the oppressed to be calm and act peacefully," he said.
On June 17, confessed gunman Dylann Roof, 21, opened fire during a Bible study at Charleston's historically black Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, killing nine people in what he hoped would "start a race war." While many of the victims' family members offered the shooter forgiveness and Emanuel AME reopened its doors in prayer and worship on Sunday, Lecrae is called all Christians to go one step further and combat oppression in a piece published on Billboard.com.
"Let us in the words of Isaiah 1:17, 'Learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression,'" said the rapper. more >>
This weekend I was in Charleston for the first service at Emanuel AME Church after the brutal white supremacist terrorist attack of this past week. Walking around downtown, I was struck by the unity of the city.
People stood before the church, singing. The town's churches displayed signs of solidarity and rang their bells together in unison. And the one thing I heard talked about more than anything else was forgiveness, specifically the way the families of the victims said they forgave the terrorist even after the murder of their loved ones. Some saw this as commendable; others were taken aback.
On the one hand, this sort of forgiveness is the reaction most people would hope they would have to evil. At the same time, most of the people who talked about this with me said they couldn't imagine that they could forgive such a thing. Some even wondered if the note of forgiveness was morally right. After all, they reasoned, this is a murderer who should be brought to justice. more >>
Where sin abounds grace does much more abound. I'm confident that Charleston, SC won't become the next Ferguson or Baltimore despite the president or his Justice Departments egging it on. There are simply too many praying people in "the holy city" of Charleston. The people of Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church led by Reverend Clementa Pinckney have bared a tragedy no one should endure, and yet the church of Christ is showing the world how to unite in the midst of tragedy and grief. Having said that, it's time for the church to rise up and be intolerant of evil racists everywhere whether their name is Dylann Storm Roof or Barack Hussein Obama!
I can only imagine what must have crossed Dylann Roof's mind as he observed the riots of Ferguson, Missouri and Baltimore, Maryland unfold. A psychopathic racist fueled by hate took in the visual stimuli that would serve as the clarion call for race wars in his evil mind. Every single chant of "hands up, don't shoot," and "no justice, no peace" would only embolden him. Maybe the president would come in and speak words of peace - calm the storm. He didn't. Instead he used identity politics to federalize local police departments. In Dylann Roofs mind, blacks were taking over and the time to stop them was now.
Two "isms" helped to create Dylann Roof...racism and leftism. In today's society we're no longer challenged to consider moral cause and effect. We've removed God from the public square and replaced Him with Instagram and Twitter. Every millennial wants to be famous for something even if it's evil or mundane, and as evidenced by the victim he left behind "to tell the world what happened," he wanted to be famous for murdering blacks. Obama didn't shoot the gun, but by creating an atmosphere of racial division, he certainly has contributed to the mindset that brings out the worst in racist of all colors. more >>
Joel Osteen, best-selling author and pastor of one of America's fastest-growing churches, led tens of thousands of worshipers in an emotional prayer this past Sunday for survivors and family members of the nine people killed in a Charleston, South Carolina, church massacre last week.
His voice halting at times, the Lakewood Church pastor prayed for his "brothers and sisters in Charleston" for about 40 seconds as he stood on the large stage of the massive Houston, Texas, church, his arms held high and his eyes shut tightly.
"Lord, we lift up all those that are going through loss, those that are hurting, our friends, brothers and sisters in Charleston. Through that loss, Lord, we just ask You to comfort those. Lord, let them feel Your presence, Your power, Your goodness, Your mercy," Osteen began. more >>
Both of South Carolina's U.S. senators, Tim Scott and Lindsey Graham, and the state's governor, Nikki Haley, called for the removal of a Confederate flag display on the grounds of the state capitol.
At a press conference held Monday afternoon surround by other high-ranking elected officials, Haley said that while the flag was "an integral part of our past" that it must be moved.
"It's time to move the flag from the capitol grounds," said Haley, whose comments brought about a lengthy round of applause. more >>