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Can Charleston’s Forgiveness Square with Justice and the Constitution?

Can Charleston’s Forgiveness Square with Justice and the Constitution?

by Jake MacAulay

Glenn Beck recently posted a story and video of an MSNBC anchor in tears as he witnessed a spontaneous outburst of church and community members singing Gospel songs and offering prayers of forgiveness at the Charleston Emanuel AME Church, the site of a recent horrific shooting.  The families and friends of the victims showed the most powerful demonstration of true love that we can experience or give on this earth, the absorbing of crimes against humanity with no retaliation.


The man who has committed this heinous crime has forfeited, as the Constitution states, his right to life, liberty, and property; and this should happen speedily and publically.  So just how does this Constitutional demand for justice reconcile with forgiveness? John Paul II brilliantly brought to life this fragile landscape where forgiveness and justice meet in his message where he stated:


"Forgiveness is in no way opposed to justice, as if to forgive meant to overlook the need to right the wrong done. It is rather the fullness of justice, leading to that tranquility of order which is much more than a fragile and temporary cessation of hostilities, involving as it does the deepest healing of the wounds which fester in human hearts. Justice and forgiveness are both essential to such healing."


So you see, what the Charleston Emanuel AME Church has done is created a foundation of restoration, unity and love from which human and societal blessings can flow. What the Church has not done is taken this opportunity to protest, vandalize, rob, loot, or hate.  It also has not done what Obama is requiring: demand more federal and state gun control laws.  Instead we see singing, praying, and forgiveness.


It is a miracle for any individual or group of individuals to practice this type of self-sacrifice.  We see this in men like Jesus Christ and His disciples who preached and lived this revolutionary message of “love your enemies, do good to them which hate you.” This redemptive message continues to set unrivaled precedents of humanitarian charity to the world.  For example, Christ’s Church is the single largest healthcare and education provider in the world; it has pioneered orphanages, fielded social workers, provided protection for children, homes for the elderly, disabled, terminally sick, free schooling for poor children, equality, and the ending of chattel slavery and discrimination in multiple societies.


Our Separatist and Puritan English ancestors, along with our founding fathers hazarded all to establish a nation founded on religious liberty with all of the before-mentioned examples in play, holding the presupposition that “all men are created equal”.  This Christian “equality” challenged the status quo and was taken up by contemporary Christian ministers like Martin Luther King Jr. and the peaceful resistance movement that won equality for untold numbers in the U.S. and around the world.


To quote the Rev. Norvel Goff of the AME Church:


"The doors of the church are open, no evildoer, no demon in hell or on Earth can close the doors of God's church."


So why is this tragedy in Charleston, South Carolina, being overcome by the power of God? 


The answer is the blend of Christian virtue and Constitutional Justice that has been the foundation of American happiness and political prosperity for over 225 years.  George Washington gave personal credence to this fact stating:


“Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness--these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens.” 


After all the Constitution was written to “Secure the blessings of liberty for themselves and their posterity…”