President Obama eulogized Reverend Clementa Carlos Pinckney, 41. He was an extraordinary human being, loved, respected and admired by everyone who knew him. Dylann Storm Roof ended his life prematurely nine days ago with a bullet to the head as Reverend Pinckney presided over a Bible study and prayer meeting at his church, the Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina. Roof also shot to death eight others who attended the meeting. Roof later told police that he did it because he wanted to start a race war. That gives him something in common with Charles Manson.
Pinckney was first elected to the South Carolina General Assembly in 1996 at the age of 23, becoming the youngest African American elected as a South Carolina state legislator. He served in the South Carolina House of Representatives until being elected to the South Carolina Senate in 2000.
As a state senator, Pinckney pushed for laws to require police and other law enforcement officials to wear body cameras after Walter Scott, an unarmed black man, was shot eight times in the back by a police officer in North Charleston.
President Obama delivered a eulogy at his funeral this afternoon. He said, “Clem came from a family of preachers . . . He was in the pulpit by 13, a pastor by 18, and a representative in the state legislature by 23. What a life he lived. What an example he set. What a good man he was.”
“God works in mysterious ways,” he said about the accused killer. “He didn’t realize . . . the grace it would bring.”
The president also spoke about the confederate flag and what it represents; namely, the cause for which so many confederate soldiers died. Slavery.
“Justice grows out of recognition of ourselves in each other.”
He ended by leading 5,000 voices singing Amazing Grace and reminding everyone that the nine shooting victims found that grace, naming each one. Then he challenged each of us to find that Grace and become whole.