On the evening of June 17, 2015, Dylann Roof; an avowed white supremacist, entered the Emmanuel AME Church in Charleston, S.C., and sat for almost an hour in a Bible Class. At some point, he got up from his seat, began uttering racial slurs and proceeded to shoot and assassinate nine Black people in room! Among the dead was the pastor of the church, who also happened to have been a state senator. Some say that this was an attack against Christianity, but the shooter has admitted that his motivation was not religion, it was race and his intent was to start a race war!
But I would like to think that Dylann Roof has indeed started something, but it is something far removed from his original intent! I am reminded of what Joseph told his brothers when they stood before him as he administered food to them in Egypt: “But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good. . .” (Gen. 50:20 NKJ). I am praying to God that this event, which Dylann Roof perpetrated with the intent of starting a race war will indeed start a real racial dialogue that, in turn will stimulate a real revival! A revival of love that will supplant the smothering racial oppression that is yet alive and well in America today! There is evidence of the potential revival already apparent! The statements from the various families of the victims expressing forgiveness; that’s evidence of a potential revival! A renewed discussion about the removal of the Confederate flag from state buildings and state flags in the southern states; that is evidence of a potential revival!
Race is an issue that we don’t like to talk about in America today! Many would like to think that just because we have a Black President, all the major racial issues of the past have been resolved; but the fact of the matter is: they haven’t! In fact, I believe much of the opposition and criticisms weighted against President Obama are so, simply because he is Black! No other president has had to endure such ridiculously childish and unfounded opposition from Congress and others! We can pretend that it is simply politics if we want to; but the real truth is that many White Americans just can’t stomach a Black President! Even in 2015, the racial division in America is very much real!
Evidence that racial division is real was seen even in the apprehension and arrest of the Charleston shooter! He was not treated in a rough manner and was even reportedly given a hamburger from Burger King by a sheriff’s deputy when he said he was hungry! The bikers in Waco, TX, were seen sitting comfortably on the sidewalk with police standing casually nearby! But whenever there are Black suspects, police respond with riot gear and violence! When the police arrived at the scene of a pool party, they immediately zeroed in on the Black kids, chasing them down and treating them roughly while totally ignoring the White kids who were there! Oh yes! We STILL HAVE A RACE PROBLEM in America today! Do you honestly think if it had been a White church and a Black suspect, the police would have responded the same? Do you honestly think they would have given a Black suspect a hamburger? If you do, then you are part of the reason the racial issues have not been resolved! Issues that are denied and therefore not addressed can never be resolved!
But let me get back to my point! I didn’t write this article to vent my frustrations over the racial issues in America. I did write it to point out that the Charleston shooting has the potential of being the start of a real dialogue and an honest effort to deal with the elephant in the room that America wants to deny the existence of! In the Bible, death often preceded life. May the blood of the Charleston Nine, like the blood of Jesus, be a source of revival and new life! May the blood of Pastor Clementa Pinckney, Rev. Sharonda Singleton, Dr. Daniel L. Simmons, Ethel Lee Lance, Cynthia Hurd, Myra Thompson, Tywanza Sanders, Susie Jackson, and Depayne Middleton-Doctor cry out from the ground and remind all of us that we are indeed; our brother’s keeper and motivate us to make this country indeed a place of justice and racial equality! May their deaths indeed be the source of a revival of real racial brotherhood!