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Fourth echelon

Forgiveness Of Charleston Church Shooter Prompts Discussion

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CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — Under an outdoor tent a few blocks from Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, Sharon Simmons paused while cleaning up from the previous night's revival to ponder the idea of forgiving the white man accused of killing nine of the historic black church's members, including the pastor.

A churchgoer herself, Simmons admits feeling torn between her anger and her Christian inclination to forgive. She also adds that she's a firm believer in capital punishment. "Too many lives are gone," the 57-year-old former New Yorker says.

Many African-Americans are struggling with those same feelings as the nation begins to move past the tragedy in Charleston. Although many say their religious faith requires them to forgive, there is a question of whether a public narrative of quick forgiveness actually provides cover for whites to avoid facing racism.

"It's almost like white America is telling us, 'Help us to forget the past by telling us that you forgive us,'" said Raymond Winbush, director of the Institute for Urban Research at Morgan State University in Baltimore.

Just one day after the June 17 massacre at Emanuel, Chris Singleton, the college student son of victim Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, said he forgave his mother's killer. The following day, family members of the dead joined the first court hearing for the suspected killer, 21-year-old Dylann Roof, and told him via video conference that they, too, forgave him — even as some acknowledged also feeling angry and hurt.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/07/04/charleston-church-shooter-forgiveness_n_7726414.html

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