As I remember the young pastor being eulogized Friday, the full scope of the Charleston massacre became clearer to me. Contrary to what mainstream media would have us believe that it was all about racism, the shooter hated Christians more than he hated African-Americans. If you want to kill black people in South Carolina, there are many places you can go. You don’t go into a church on a Wednesday night to kill Black people. You walk into a church on a Wednesday to kill devout Christians.
Not denying this young shooter wasn’t a racist but most racists don’t do what he did. He was fueled by an evil spirit that goes well beyond racism.
Not denying this young shooter wasn’t a racist but most racists don’t do what he did. He was fueled by an evil spirit that goes well beyond racism. He was filled with hate, but his most vitriolic hate was for Christians and their place of worship. But the media’s narrative centers only on race. You don’t go into a church on a Wednesday night if you want to kill African-Americans. He didn’t go to a night club, a strip club, a restaurant, black college or sporting event. He came into a church on a Wednesday night.
This young man wanted to kill christians, leaders of the community. This unfortunately is not the narrative the media wants to sell. Anti-christian sentiment just isn’t sensational enough. So when victims’ families offered the shooter mercy in exchange for his massacre, these courageous Christians exemplified the love that the shooter desired to extinguish that dreadful Wednesday night. After all, he sat with them. He listened to them teach and embrace him with love, even as he turned on them.
Wednesday night Bible study and prayer services aren’t usually attended by casual Christians. Midweek service, Bible study and prayer are usually attended by committed Christians and those seeking God’s wisdom and his presence. This is in no way an indictment of those who don’t attend Bible study. This simply sheds a light on the type of Christians who attend midweek services. They’re not the kind of people who would be “raping our women,” a quote attributed to the shooter as he killed nine innocent Christians, including elderly women and the pastor of the church.
This wasn’t just about race. No, it was so much more. But love is greater than hate in any form. Good will always win over evil, as shown by the families of those murdered in the house of God. Hate couldn’t kill the love of God that lives in their hearts.
We need to see beyond the lazy and polarizing narrative of the media and open our eyes to the truth. As we think of ways to remember and honor the Charleston Nine, let’s start by honoring the God that those nine courageous men and women devoted their lives to serving and make a commitment to love all people.