Emanuel AME Church: the latest victim of violence against black churches

Print More
Rev. Jeannie Smalls cries during a prayer vigil held at Morris Brown AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, on June 18, 2015. A white man suspected of killing nine people in a Bible-study group at a historic African-American church in Charleston, South Carolina was arrested on Thursday and U.S. officials are investigating the attack as a hate crime. Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Grace Beahm/Pool

Rev. Jeannie Smalls cries during a prayer vigil held at Morris Brown AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, on June 18, 2015. A white man suspected of killing nine people in a Bible-study group at a historic African-American church in Charleston, South Carolina was arrested on Thursday and U.S. officials are investigating the attack as a hate crime. Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Grace Beahm/Pool

Active RNS subscribers and members can view this content by logging-in here.

(RNS) For many African-Americans, the church massacre is not random. It has historic dimensions.

  • Be Brave

    “BLACK CHURCHES????????”

    These people were Christians gunned down in a Church by a heartless young man.

    While President Obama blames the gun in the hand of the murderer, why not look at the godlessness in the killer’s heart? Godless secularism is driving the vice and violence levels in America.

  • SUSAN

    I don’t think that we need be blame this on secularism and godlessness. We don’t even know if the murderer was godless or religious yet. I think he was motivated by hate. At 21, he was willing to give up the rest of his life for this hatred.

    I live in Philadelphia, where the first AME church was founded. It was founded because Black people were tired of sitting in segregated seats in the Methodist church in Philadelphia. So, yes, the fact that it was a Black church mattered.

  • When people do as this commenter does and say “it was not about race” but about some other cause, as in this case, I want to remind people that the perpetrator himself said, before he pulled the trigger, that this violence was about race. He chose the place and the people to kill because of race. He was motivated by anger, fear, and hatred over race. He subscribed to an ideology defined by race.

    He was so committed to his racism, that he left alive one victim to bear witness to his deeds.

    Was his action “sin?” Of course, it was! Was he crazy or deranged? Maybe. We don’t know. But we do know this: Dylan Roof is a self-described and proud racist who chose to do violence against African-Americans in a congregation whose history is steeped in the history of resistance to slavery and state-sponsored racism.

    Mourn the deaths of those who died. But in the process let’s not sweep under the rug that at the heart of these violent murders in a black church was the pernicious…

  • The Great God Pan

    The killer has been described by former classmates as having “strong conservative beliefs” and “that kind of Southern pride.”

    Godless secularism is more of a liberal yankee thing, no?

  • Larry

    Hey Doc, the only one who is claiming it is not about race is your fellow Christian BeBrave. Feel free to call him out on his ridiculous assertions.

    Of course admonishing your own and defending “the godless” for something they have no part of would be the morally upright thing to do. I would be surprised if you did such a thing.

  • Joyce Stover

    I see no Deity, Grace or Honor in bigotry and racism. Quite the opposite.

  • Your comment is nonsense. As a radical secular humanist, and a Unitarian Universalist, I know that godless secularism has never been a reason for killing.

    It is overwhelimingly reactionary religious fundamentalists with ties to bigoted, racists, anti-other fundamentalist churches that invariably are the source of such hate.

  • Pingback: After fires, killings, black churches debate the best ways to protect themselves | SpokaneFAVS()

  • Pingback: Trending Christian News | After fires, killings, black churches debate the best ways to protect themselves - Trending Christian News()

  • Pingback: Trending Christian News | Q&A with David Oyelowo: ‘For me, Jesus is my denomination’ - Trending Christian News()