On June 17th, a young, white southern man entered a historic black church and shot nine African-Americans at prayer. In the days after, images of Dylann Roof appeared with the Confederate flag worn as if a cape, legitimizing his racist and destructive beliefs.
Since that day, debate has raged over the role the Confederate flag and other symbols of the South played in the shooting of the Beautiful 9 at Mother Emanuel Church, and what measures can and must be taken to combat the evil of racism.
Welcome to this week's ALL TOGETHER, the podcast dedicated to exploring ethics religion and spiritual practice. You can download All Together on iTunes, or Stitcher.
On this segment of All Together, I speak with Robert Wright Lee, IV, who is a southern white young man, close to the same age as Dylann Roof. He is a descendant of Robert E. Lee's, one of the most celebrated figures in Virginia and in the history of the Confederacy. Rev. Lee is a minister ordained in the Cooperative Baptist Convention and he recently wrote a piece in The Huffington Post called "Faith and the Confederate Flag" on dealing with his family's past. He writes:
Nothing we can do about the history of racism and prejudice in the south can be happy. It is a sad reality we are called to face. But our response, how we live into the future can be really beautiful and something to celebrate; it can be more freeing than we could ever possibly imagine for everyone.
I asked Robert Lee what he would say to Dylann Roof if he had a chance to talk to him, and how God would judge the mass murderer. Part of Robert's response was: "You crucified Jesus yet again on the cross of white supremacy."