It’s not what anyone wants to hear, but compassion and prayers and even rejecting the Confederate flag – as South Carolina appears poised to do — are the simplest tasks facing America after Charleston.
Rarely is there a tragedy that fuses so many troubling and inflammatory elements. Race and racism, guns and mental illness, religion and terrorism, slavery and the Civil War, all in a terrible roiling stew. Confronting all of that will be divisive and expensive, especially if we do what we should and offer reparations for slavery.
As a first response, compassion and prayers are commendable, as is appreciation of the grace and forgiveness shown by relatives of the victims in the Mother Emanuel AME church shooting. Saddleback Church Pastor Rick Warren has more ideas in that vein: Be peacemakers and healers, stand for justice, “model integration in our churches.” Those are constructive suggestions for everyone.