When news broke that a young white man had gunned down nine people in a historically black church in Charleston, South Carolina, Wednesday night, most people quickly seemed to infer that racial animus was a likely motivation for the attack, especially once authorities began referring to it as a hate crime.
Not the cast of Fox & Friends. This morning the show brought on E.W. Jackson, a black pastor and former lieutenant governor candidate in Virginia known for referring to the gay rights movement as “a cancer” and President Obama as a “radical anti-American” and “anti-Christian.” Without mentioning the possibility that the killings were racially motivated, Jackson explained that he was worried about the fact that the attack happened at a church.
“We’re urging people wait for the facts, don’t jump to conclusions,” Jackson said. “But I’m telling you, I’m deeply concerned that this gunman chose to go into a church, because there does seem to be a rising hostility against Christians across this country because of our biblical views. I just think it’s something that we have to be aware of and not create an atmosphere in which people take out their violent intentions against Christians.”
From there, Jackson urged “pastors and men in these churches to prepare to defend themselves” by arming up with guns.
A bit later, co-host Steve Doocy finally broached the issue of race. Sort of.
“Extraordinarily they called it a hate crime,” Doocy said. “Some look at it because it was a white guy apparently at a black church. But you just made a great point a moment ago about hostility towards Christians. And it was a church. So maybe that’s what they’re talking about. They haven’t explained it to us.”
“Well, most people jump to conclusions about race,” Jackson responded. “I long for the day that people stop doing that in our country.”
This morning it was reported that during the shooting, suspected gunman Dylann Roof said, “I have to do it. You rape our women and you are taking over our country. And you have to go.”* His Facebook profile also featured a photo of him wearing a jacket with patches of the flags of apartheid-era South Africa and the white-ruled colony of Rhodesia, which is now Zimbabwe.
*Correction, June 19, 2015: This post originally misspelled the alleged gunman Dylann Roof’s first name.