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charleston-shooting Dear B——, We won’t be talking about Lewis today. We won’t be talking about atheism or religion. We’re going to talk about Charleston for just a moment. I found myself watching a recent clip from the Daily Show in which Jon Stewart abandoned all pretense for comedy, and instead just talked. The clip was just of a man reeling from disbelief, and addressing an issue many would not like to be discussed. And I found myself tearing up to the point that I had to bury my face while my wife held me. I’ve included a link to it here:


In this nation of ours there is a divide between the world we seem to live in. There’s one world, in which white people believe that their way of life is being threatened, and that forces beyond their control are threatening their very way of life, their culture. There is another world, where men and women are being gunned down by bigots needlessly and senselessly, and those survivors of the victims quickly find themselves either incriminated for the sake of keeping the story sound or else told to buck up and stop making themselves the victim. The man who shot those nine people sat for an hour, in a church, in a fucking Bible study, before he whipped out a gun and told them that “You all rape women and you’re taking over our country.” The white people you’ll see on Facebook trying to say this issue isn’t about race are fooling themselves. This is about race. And I would love to get into the fact that this man was a terrorist, and explore the public discussion about how race affects our responses to these tragedies, and explore how in this country white christian racists are either ignored or validated, and get into the so-called lessons of morality, and end with the usual didactic message. But I don’t want to make this letter about me.  I don’t want it to be about an argument. Instead I just want to honor the dead here. I may not be part of their faith, but no human being deserves such a travesty. These people opened their arms and a devil stepped into their midst.

Rev. Clementa Pinckney

Rev. Sharonda Singleton

Myra Thompson

Tywanza Sanders

Ethel Lee Lance

Cynthia Hurd

Rev. Daniel L. Simmons

Sr. Rev. DePayne Middleton

Doctor Susie Jackson

It doesn’t matter what these people were. Atheists, Christians, Muslims, Pagans, etc. What matters is that they were people trying to get together and create an environment where people could come and feel safe. Where they could read the Bible and discuss it. At this moment the discourse takes a break. Let’s be human beings and take these nine people into our hearts thoughts, and yes…even prayers. Maybe that’s the lesson B—–, there’s a time and place for making your arguments, and then there’s a time to shut up for a moment and give people a chance to fuckin breathe. We’ll resume Lewis at a later time B——,. Hope all is well. Joshua “Jammer” Smith