South Carolina does not have a hate crimes statute, and so the hate crime charges that Roof targeted the victims “because of their race and in order to interfere with their exercise of religion,” are part of the federal indictment, Attorney General Loretta Lynch said.
For those who see religion as primarily an opiate, African-American Christianity offers a riposte. For those who see Christianity itself as a faith that encourages quiescence and conservatism, the tradition of the black church is a sign of contradiction.
The president spoke of gun violence, the hunger of children, the brazen hatred that inspired the alleged shooter, yet it seemed fitting that he returned that night to a White House bathed in colors of the rainbow. One could almost see history making a great, wide turn toward freedom.
It may be considered an act of vandalism to take down the Confederate flag in South Carolina — but it is actually a special act of vandalism to raise that flag up on a particular memorial in Boston, Massachusetts.
Former Senator Jim Webb, who is exploring a candidacy for the Democratic presidential nomination, has made his chances sink even lower — by trying to mount some kind of measured defense of the Confederate flag.