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Pastor Culley Speaks

God's Love Prevails

by Tom Culley on 06/25/15

Ever since the senseless, ruthless and horrific massacre of nine innocent God loving black parishioners at the Mother Emanuel AME Church Bible study, I have been struggling to find words to describe my feelings. And even now as I write this article I am not sure if I am expressing what my heart and soul are feeling. Nevertheless, I empathize and sympathize with the families during their loss. I am deeply saddened to the fact that not only family members were lost but also the pastor and overseer of the church, Rev. Clementa Pinckney was also murdered. The church is without a pastor during this crucial period of grief. The families are without their pastor to console them in their bereavement; he is not there to help plan the funerals; nor is he there to provide answers to inquiring questions as to why such a horrific massacre could take place. My heart goes out to his congregation. Thanks be to God that the lessons learned in Bible study were not in vain. For the Christian teachings of that pastor and the ministers of that church were fulfilled in the proclamation of forgiveness during their time of grief and sorrow for the young white man who committed this evil act

When I reflect on the massacre in Charleston and other mass shootings such as the Columbine High School shooting, Sandy Hook elementary school shooting, the Aurora Colorado Theater shooting and even the Oklahoma City and the Boston Marathon bombings, they all have one thing in common, the perpetrators were white males. I would be remiss to say that all mass killings in the United States involve white males. However, studies of the many mass killings that have occurred since the Columbine massacre in 1999 to the massacre at Mother Emanuel AME Church most of the perpetrators have been white males. While the media focuses on African-Americans wearing “hoodies” and sagging pants as potential threats to society the white male is overlooked. And when a white male commits a horrific crime there is a tendency to look for some mental disorder; let’s look at his background to understand why he has this “mental issue”. In the case of Dylann Roof, his own testimony says he’s not a mental case, he says he hates black people, “they rape our women and they are taking over our country”. There’s nothing mental about that. That is a rational statement of hate.

In today’s world where young folks of various races seem to play together, go to school together, share social media and appear to be accepting of cultural social norms that did not exist in 1961 when the confederate flag was placed on the South Carolina capital building. So how does a 21-year-old like Dylann Roof learn so much hate? There is an element, although small but effective, in this country that promotes hatred, segregation and white supremacy. There is still an element that promotes white supremacy and supports the “new Jim Crow”. Through social media, websites, and the Internet these doctrinal ideologies continue to seduce young minds. Symbols such as the Confederate flag and the Nazi swastika are emblems that identify and unify these divisive doctrines.

 But as the families of the nine slain parishioners proclaimed in court their forgiveness of this young man demonstrated the power and compassion for the teachings of Jesus Christ. Although Satan will continue to spread his evil we must also remember the words of our Lord.

 “No weapon forged against you will prevail, and you will refute every tongue that accuses you. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and this is their vindication from me,"  declares the LORD.  Isa 54:17 NIV

 Our prayers are with the families, members of the Mother Emanuel AME Church and the civic and religious leaders of South Carolina.