The South Carolina decision to remove the Confederate flag from the State House was an important and timely decision. It was right to do in memory of Pastor Clementa Pinckney and his denomination’s struggle against racism. It was right to do because of the insensitivity it would have shown to the families of the other eight victims murdered in the massacre. But it goes beyond respect for the lives of the victims.
The South Carolina legislature stated that they were not going to live in the past. The removal of the flag ends the state’s warfare with several civil rights legacy groups — like the NAACP. In matters of this magnitude symbolism means a great deal. Therefore, South Carolina (as a state) has symbolically declared, “People have tried to force us to take this flag down and to accept the Civil Rights Movement and other advances in race relations, but today we lay down our First Amendment rights and voluntarily enter into a new celebration of unity and human dignity in our state.”
To the extent that my summation is true, this could mark the beginning of a new spirit of unity and the beginning of racial healing in the place where the first shots were fired in the Civil War over 150 years ago. The outpouring of love which began right after the nine murders was a manifestation of the strength of the American Spirit.
The AME Church modeled dignity and the power of forgiveness in a historic manner during the funeral of Rev. Pinckney. They demonstrated why the Christian community and clergy led the way in the civil rights era 50 years ago. They will lead it in this season as well. Our race issues will not be solved by the politicians, businesses, churches or community groups by themselves. The church and the healing power of the gospel will take us to a new dimension of personal, corporate, and community transformation. Our nation has made great strides in the area of race relations and basic civil rights because of the power of the gospel.
Our national wounds are deep and we must ask ourselves the question, “What are our next steps? How can we take the healing to another level?”
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SOURCE: The Stream