I try to remain non-political on this blog (while still addressing the full scope of religious issues), so I hesitate to link to Talking Points Memo. However, they have a succinct, insightful, and non-political summary of the history of Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. The article, written by Benjamin E. Park, an American history professor at the University of Missouri, relates the sad news that racist violence is nothing new to Emanuel AME.
Here’s an excerpt:
“There is no greater coward,” Cornell William Brooks, president of the N.A.A.C.P, declared in a statement [in response to the recent attack], “than a criminal who enters a house of God and slaughters innocent people engaged in the study of scripture.”
This experience is unfortunately far from new: While black churches have long been seen as a powerful symbol of African-American community, they have also served as a flashpoint for hatred from those who fear black solidarity, and as a result these edifices have been the location for many of our nation’s most egregious racial terrorist acts.
I don’t think it incidental that a racist shooter targeted a historical African-American house of worship. I encourage you to take the time to read the full article, and I think you’ll come to the same conclusion.