June 17th, after about an hour of service, Dylan Storm Roof slaughtered nine unsuspecting church members at Emanual A.M.E. Church in Charleston, South Carolina. There were not any obvious signs of his intentions, nor any reason to suspect him of ill will. The 21 year-old simply decided to kill members of this church for what now appears to be racially motivated reasons. Seeing how he was just captured, there aren’t any new answers to his methodology or reasoning as of yet. But there is plenty of speculation abound, including a photo on his social media where he is wearing a jacket proudly emblazoned with white supremacist groups from South Africa’s previous apartheid era.
The entire tragedy brings yet another blow to the reality of race relations within the United States. With the extreme handling of jurisprudence a la Judge Dredd we have witnessed at the hands of police in places like Ferguson, Missouri, seeing youth act out on personal bigotry is sickening and disappointing. But, the situation is even worse. A few leading community members in church and government have taken to the airwaves to make a declaration that hatred against Christianity is a growing problem. Instead of focusing on the obvious problem of our growing issue with disaffected youth in our society, religious leaders like E.W. Jackson of Hope Christian Church, have decided to ramp up the further divides already present in society. During a time of tragedy, this pastor has taken it upon himself to divide and alienate the public instead of encouraging united effort to heal the rifts of class and race.
What did he say on his Fox News discussion of the shooting that has me irritated beyond reasoning? He told several of the panel hosts, who of course nodded in mindless agreement, ”…I have to tell you that I am deeply concerned this gunman chose to go into a church, because there does seem to be a rising hostility against Christians across this country because of our biblical views.”