On First Sunday After Shooting Attacks, Two Different Atlanta Faith Communities React – Atlanta, Georgia

Atlanta, Georgia 2021-04-04 13:46:13 –

A weekend alert was held to commemorate eight people (including six Asian women) killed in a series of shootings allegedly made by white shooters in the Atlanta area last Tuesday. ..

The victim was also reminded of a worship service at the suspect’s gunman’s own church.

Members of the Club Apple First Baptist Church sat socially separated on Sunday in a spacious sanctuary in Milton, Georgia, wearing masks and singing. In last week’s shooting, an almost white congregation prayed for both the victim and the suspect’s family.

While they were praying, one of their own members was sitting in prison and faced eight murders related to the shooting.

Deputy Rev. Luke Folsom admitted that it was difficult to understand that the suspects came from their midst.

“We have no answer. I don’t know why this happened,” Folsom told the congregation. “Lord, we feel lonely and broken, but God, we know you are there.”

The 21-year-old suspect told police that he was addicted to sex and shot to eliminate temptation.

Members of Milton’s Club Apple First Baptist Church voted to remove a 21-year-old boy suspected of a deadly shooting at a spa project in the Atlanta area last week. (Emil Moffat / WABE)

In a statement last week, the church refused to justify it. The suspect’s actions were “the exact opposite of everything we believe and teach as a church,” and “only he is responsible for his evil actions and desires.”

After the sermon, members voted to expel the suspect from the church, saying, “I can no longer assert that he is a true rebirth of Jesus Christ.”

“Moment of awakening”

About 30 miles away, a congregation of several Asian-American churches gathered outside the Gold Spa in Atlanta. In front of the building, a bouquet of flowers and handwritten compliments honor the victims.

Byung-chulhan is the chief pastor of the Central Presbyterian Church of Korea in Atlanta. He says that one’s inability to control one’s sexual desires does not justify harming others, much less killing them.

“As humans, we have all been tempted every day, but we shouldn’t kill people to get rid of them,” Han said.

He states that the focus should be on the increasing number of violence and anti-Asian rhetoric nationwide since the outbreak of the pandemic.

“I want this incident to be the moment of awakening, not just for Asian Americans, but for all Americans to end this kind of discrimination,” Han said.

Rev. Han’s rally was one of many rallying and protests nationwide over the weekend for the victims of the shooting last week.

Hundreds of people gathered near the Georgia Capitol Museum on Saturday calling for the end of violence and hatred against Asian Americans. (Emil Moffat / WABE)

Hundreds of people gathered for a rally on Saturday at the Georgia Capitol Museum in downtown Atlanta.

“What happened last week was really a turning point,” said Kathy Regan, who attended the rally. “A white man killed eight people, so I think we really need to stand up and speak out together.”

Speakers at the rally included newly elected US Senators Raphael Warnock and John Osov.

In addition to murder, many have called for suspects to be prosecuted under Georgia’s new hate crime law. Prosecutors say they haven’t ruled it out.

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