President Obama today delivered a 40-minute eulogy for Clementa Pinckney, the pastor and state senator killed in the Charleston church massacre, ending by leading the 5,000-strong crowd in a moving rendition of "Amazing Grace." Gawker has the video and declares, "You should watch the entire thing," while the Huffington Post has the full text and similarly instructs, "You Absolutely Have To Watch And Read Obama's Full Eulogy." The transcript also is here; a selection of his remarks:
- "A sacred place, this church. Not just for blacks, not just for Christians, but for every American who cares about the steady expansion of human rights and human dignity in this country. ... Blinded by hatred, the alleged killer could not see the grace surrounding Reverend Pinckney and that Bible study group. The light of love that shone as they opened the church doors and invited a stranger to join in their prayer circle."
- "For too long we were blind to the pain that the Confederate flag stirred in too many of our citizens. It’s true, a flag did not cause these murders. But as people from all walks of life, Republicans and Democrats now acknowledge ... we all have to acknowledge the flag has always represented more than just ancestral pride. For many, black and white, that flag was a reminder of systemic oppression and racial subjugation. ... By taking down that flag, we express God’s grace."
- "But I don't think God wants us to stop there. For too long, we’ve been blind to the way past injustices continue to shape the present. Perhaps we see that now. Perhaps this tragedy causes us to ask some tough questions about how we can permit so many of our children to languish in poverty, or attend dilapidated schools, or grow up without prospects for a job or for a career."
- "For too long, we’ve been blind to the unique mayhem that gun violence inflicts upon this nation. ... I'm convinced that by acknowledging the pain and loss of others, even as we respect the traditions and ways of life that make up this beloved country—by making the moral choice to change, we express God’s grace."
- "It would be a betrayal of everything Reverend Pinckney stood for, I believe, if we allowed ourselves to slip into a comfortable silence again. Once the eulogies have been delivered, once the TV cameras move on, to go back to business as usual—that’s what we so often do to avoid uncomfortable truths about the prejudice that still infects our society."
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