Emanuel AME Church opened its doors Sunday and preached to its largest audience ever: the world. After nine of its members were slain on site by a self-described white supremacist, church leaders vowed to always keep its doors open.
“No evildoer, no demon in hell or on Earth can close the doors of God’s church,” the Reverend Norvel Goff said from the pulpit.
Entire sermon, Goff thanks the community and visitors for “being whom God has called you to be” and thanks Gov. Haley, who attended the service, Mayor Joe Riley and all law enforcement involved:
CNN broadcast what turned into a celebration and call-to-action by worship leaders. The appropriate response, said Goff, was to be constructive:”Lots of folks expected us to do something strange and break out in a riot. Well, they just don’t know us.”
“We’re going to pursue justice, we’re going to be vigilant and we’re going to hold our elected officials accountable to do the right thing,” Goff said.
“The blood of the Mother Emanuel Nine requires us to work until not only justice is served in this case, but for those who are still living on the margin of life.”
Wednesday, the body of Sen. Clementa Pinckney, the slain pastor of “Mother Emanuel,” will lie in state under the Capitol rotunda in Columbia. The confederate flag flies at the foot of the main steps leading to that rotunda, facing Main Street.
That very spot at the Statehouse was the site of a rally Saturday, as about 2,500 people called for the battle flag to be taken down. READ MORE about the monument’s history.
Columbia resident Kirby Speas attended and took her young daughter.
“I felt a sense of emergency and immediacy to go and to help support the rally,” she told SCRN. Speas, a white businesswoman, said she and her friends decided “let’s do it, let’s get out of our comfort zone and let’s go down there and support.”
Back in Charleston, after Sunday’s worship at Emanuel, state legislator Bakari Sellers appeared on CNN’s State of the Union with Jake Tapper. Tapper paired him with David French of the Alliance Defending Freedom and a writer for the National Review, who defends the role of the flag as an historic symbol, a teaching tool about the “totality” of our history.
“We can begin to understand why we are the way we are, and start to chart a course as to where we should be going,” French said.
In a civil discussion, Sellers, the son of a prominent civil rights leader who was jailed in the 1960’s, rebutted: “I am under no illusion that the Confederate flag walked in and actually pulled the trigger, but it did give this young man a banner under which to justify his actions.”
Republican legislator Doug Brannon from the more conservative Upstate of South Carolina has vowed to sponsor a bill in January, the next session of the General Assembly.
That’s not soon enough for Speas,”Gov. Haley can call a meeting tomorrow and get things rolling and moving and changed,” she said. “Everybody’s hands were dirty at one time, but that flag is still there and still represents that dirt and nobody that wants to keep it up seems to really want to face that point.”