It is a testament to my good friend, Senator Clementa Pinckney, that a man so evil and full of hate yet was offered forgiveness and the light of Christ by the very people whom he sought to destroy. Senator Pinckney no longer is with us, yet his message of love and forgiveness is strong in South Carolina. This, I believe, is the story of the tragedy in Charleston.
Many who support flying the Confederate Battle flag on the statehouse grounds have a genuine respect for those who are part of the heritage and history of South Carolina. Many opposed to the Confederate Battle flag have legitimate concerns stemming from the abuse of the flag by racist groups.
The Confederate naval jack first was raised over the State House in April 1961, purportedly in honor of the 100th anniversary of Fort Sumter. We have long passed that point, and the flag now should be retired to an appropriate place of dignity. Working in the spirit of reconciliation embodied by Senator Pinckney and his parishioners, we will find a way to honor him and all of South Carolina by their actions. If and when a vote is taken, I will vote in favor of taking the Confederate Battle flag from the statehouse grounds. Also, there’s been some discussion of replacing the Confederate Battle flag with either the “Bonnie Blue” or the “Stars and Bars”.