At court in Charleston

USA Today has posted a seven-minute video of the remarkable court hearing held in Charleston on Friday at which Dylann Roof made his first appearance following the heartbreaking murders of Rev. Clementa Pinckney, Rev. Daniel Simmons Sr., Rev. Sharonda Singleton, and churchgoers at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. Family members of the victims appeared. “One by one,” the New York Times reported, “they looked to the screen in a corner of the courtroom on Friday, into the expressionless face of the young man charged with making them motherless, snuffing out the life of a promising son, taking away a loving wife for good, bringing a grandmother’s life to a horrific end. And they answered him with forgiveness.”

If love could conquer hate, I should think Dylann Roof would have been brought to his knees. Regardless, we stand with the families of the victims. We admire their charity. We insist on the justice which it is within our power to administer on their behalf and on behalf of their loved ones.

We pray that the faith of the victims and their loved ones finds its reward. We pray that the victims find consolation in their faith and in the memories of their loved ones. We denounce the murderer’s hate in the name of all that is right as the sickening manifestation of a twisted soul.