Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina claimed today that the alleged Charleston, South Carolina, shooter was practicing "Mideast hate."
Graham, a Republican presidential candidate for 2016, recalled how alleged shooter Dylann Roof reportedly attended a Bible study at the church before going on a killing spree that left nine black people dead, reports Talking Points Memo (video below).
I don't know how you can sit with somebody for an hour in a church and pray with them and get up and shoot them. That's Mideast hate. That's something I didn't think we had here, but apparently we do.
However, in reality, there is a long history of violence against black churches in the U.S. (including South Carolina), which was recently noted by The Atlantic.
Former Democrat Sen. James Webb of Virginia called those who fought on both sides of the Civil War "honorable Americans" today on his Facebook page.
Webb lamented that the Confederate Flag, which was created and carried by the pro-slavery Confederate Army during the Civil War had been "wrongly been used for racist and other purposes in recent decades."
This is an emotional time and we all need to think through these issues with a care that recognizes the need for change but also respects the complicated history of the Civil War. The Confederate Battle Flag has wrongly been used for racist and other purposes in recent decades. It should not be used in any way as a political symbol that divides us.
But we should also remember that honorable Americans fought on both sides in the Civil War, including slave holders in the Union Army from states such as Missouri, Kentucky, Maryland and Delaware, and that many non-slave holders fought for the South. It was in recognition of the character of soldiers on both sides that the federal government authorized the construction of the Confederate Memorial 100 years ago, on the grounds of Arlington National Cemetery.
This is a time for us to come together, and to recognize once more that our complex multicultural society is founded on the principle of mutual respect.