The recent wave of church burnings in rural Alabama are not only startling and alarming, but they ignite emotions rooted deeply in oppression.
The string of burnings, totaling 11 as of Monday, sprouted at a time when it was a popular belief that this type of discrimination was a thing of the past. Investigators have not made any arrests in the burnings, but have not yet ruled out arson as the cause of at least 10.
It is also unclear if the burnings purposely targeted black churches, but the idea permeates the thought process because of the bigoted history of the state of Alabama.
Whether the focus was black churches or not, a discriminatory act against any house of worship of any faith is intolerable. Destroying a meeting place such as a church not only shows ignorance, it shows that the people of this world have a long way to go toward unconditional acceptance of our differences.
Back in 1996, President Clinton made it a national priority to investigate the church burnings in South Carolina and pushed for federal legislation against church arson. Pastors have called for President Bush to condemn the burnings and make the issue a national priority as well.
There’s no telling how many places of worship are destroyed or damaged daily in Iraq, so don’t hold your breath for that one. After all, Bush’s priorities do not concern home.
It is a sad day when the church is pushed toward feelings of uneasiness. It was the church that served as a safe haven where individuals could go to for comfort. Events like these easily push churchgoers away with fear.
It is vital that these events be resolved so the church can be what it always has been – a confident, effective spirit-lifter.
LeMont Calloway for the editorial board.