It’s Time to Get Rid of Hate Crimes and Their Symbols

Black man church arsonChurches should not burn. And a determined teacher should not be arrested for removing a symbol of racism.

This week, six mostly black congregations have seen their church homes go up in flames, at least three of them as a result of intent. And this is right on the heels of the horrific slaughter of of nine people at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston.

Churchgoers have seen their place of worship burned at the Glover Grover Baptist Church in Warrenville, SC; the Greater Miracle Apostolic Holiness Church in Tallahassee, FL; the College Hills Seventh Day Adventist Church in Knoxville, TN; God’s Power Church of Christ in Macon, GA; the Briar Creek Baptist Church in Charlotte, NC; and the Fruitland Presbyterian Church in Gibson County, TN. Arson has been determined to be the cause in at least three cases.

This has happened before. Black churches burned in the Sixties, perhaps most notably the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, where four young girls were killed. In the late Nineties, so many churches were burned that President Clinton opened up a church arson task force, but it was later disbanded. Everyone was focused on the events of 9-11, so we got the TSA and countless bottles of personal grooming supplies confiscated with no terrorists caught instead. Given the current state of affairs, that doesn’t seem like a wise choice.

Whenever I read something like this, I always think, “Somebody should do something.” But it’s tough to know what to do.

One woman didn’t let that stop her–she acted. In the early morning hours of June 27, 2015, Bree Newsome climbed the flagpole at the Southern Carolina statehouse, and brought the Confederate flag, a symbol of slavery–the ultimate racism–down. She and another activist, James Tyson, were arrested for their “crime.”

The New York Daily News reported:usa-shooting-flag-removal

“We didn’t see it fit to have the flag stand erect while the people who were massacred were laid to rest under it,” organizer Tamika Lewis told the Daily News as the funerals of the victims started this week.

“We removed the flag today because we can’t wait any longer,” Newsome said in a press release. “We can’t continue like this another day. It’s time for a new chapter where we are sincere about dismantling white supremacy and building toward true racial justice and equality.”

If you support Bree Newsome and her courageous stand against racism, don’t let her act alone. If you are a person of faith, please join me in praying for our brothers and sisters who’ve seen their place of worship literally destroyed by hate. If you’re on Twitter, tweets protesting this outrage can be sent to @BarackObama. And you can leave a message longer than 160 characters for the President here:

It didn’t even take much time–and it’s the right thing to do.

Don’t let Bree Newsome act alone. Join her. Do something.


Note the date stamp on the original article. If you’re reading this now, the time for acting on this particular issue has passed. But it’s important to let our political leaders know our outrage at great acts of injustice like this. One communication might not seem like much, but they know that everyone who speaks up has many silent people in agreement with them. The cumulative effect of many voices raised together can change our society. 🙂

Avid writer and reader of Faerie tales and noblebright fantasy.

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