News by email Donate


REUTERS Jonathan Ernst
President Joe Biden REUTERS Jonathan Ernst (2).JPG
World News

Biden praises "grace" of church who forgave white supremacist killer gunman

by Will Hobbs

President Joe Biden described a church congregation's forgiveness of a murderously racist gunman as "one of the greatest acts of strength I have ever seen" in a speech condemning white supremacy and called out Donald Trump for "whipping up" the 2021 Capitol riots after the election defeat.

He was speaking at Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, where in 2015, a 21-year-old white supremacist, Dylan Roof, shot nine black parishioners at the church after being invited to join their Bible study.

Roof was charged with nine counts of murder and is serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole.

“The word of God was pierced by bullets and hate and rage, propelled not just by gunpowder, but by a poison – a poison that has haunted this nation for too long. What is that poison? White supremacy. That’s all it is – a poison.

“Throughout our history, it has ripped this nation apart. This has no place in America. Not today. Not tomorrow or ever.”

Biden praised the families of survivors and members of the church for forgiving the shooter, Dylan Roof, despite the pain and chaos he left behind.

“This nation saw this congregation, this community, demonstrate one of the greatest acts of strength I have ever seen – I mean it sincerely – the act of forgiveness. The act of grace. It was, as President Obama sang from here, 'Amazing Grace.' It changed hearts.”

Later, Biden got emotional when he recalled how members of Emanuel AME helped him and his family heal from the loss of his son just 22 days before the Charleston shooting.

“We were in more pain than we knew,” Biden reflected on his visit as vice president.

“We came here to offer comfort and received comfort from you. As I listened in the pews and spent time with the families and visited Reverend [Clementa] Pinckney’s office, visited the memorial of the victims outside, I grew stronger. My family grew stronger.

"We prayed together. We grieved together. We found hope together for real, for real. It reminds me that each of us must find purpose throughout the pain.”

Later in the speech, Biden described Donald Trump as a threat to democracy, citing the deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol by Trump supporters in 2021 hoping to overturn the Republican's election loss.

"That violent mob was whipped up by lies from a defeated former president," Biden said. "His actions were among the worst derelictions of duty of any president in American history."

Trump failed to concede the 2020 election or acknowledge the votes of millions, Biden said, despite dozens of court cases affirming Biden's victory.

"He's a loser," Biden said, drawing applause from hundreds attending the speech.

Recent polling has shown Trump beating Biden in swing states that will determine who wins the White House this year, and a Reuters/Ipsos poll in December showed a rematch would be close.

Biden's remarks were at one stage interrupted by protesters chanting "ceasefire now," referring to Israel's assault on Gaza that has killed more than 23,000 people. Biden said he has been working with the Israeli government to "get them to reduce and significantly get out of Gaza."


A Monthly Gift Of $11 Makes A World Of Difference

In a world of fake news there’s never been a greater need for quality Christian journalism. Premier’s mission is to provide the Church with the most up to date and relevant news, told from a Christian perspective. But we can’t do it without you.

Unlike many websites we haven't put up a paywall — we want to keep our journalism free at the point of need and as open as we can. Premier’s news output takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce. No one in the USA is sharing news like we are across radio, magazines and online so please help us to continue that today.

For a monthly gift of $11 or more we’d also be able to send you a free copy of the brand new Premier Bible, a wonderful Anglicised version of the NLT packed with exclusive bonus content, reading plan and resources to help you get the most out of scripture.

Your monthly support will make a world of difference. Thank you.

Support Us
Continue the conversation on our Facebook page

Related Articles

Sign up to our newsletter to stay informed with news from a Christian perspective.

News by email