- The Washington Times - Sunday, June 21, 2015

Republican presidential hopeful Rick Santorum said Sunday that the massacre at a South Carolina church showed “the worst of America and the best of America.”

“We saw here in Charleston, right here, within 24 hours, the worst of America and the best of America,” Mr. Santorum said on ABC’s “This Week.” “And I think that gives hope. The people here understand that the way to overcome all of this horrible violence is through reconciliation.”

During a bond hearing Friday for Dylann Roof, accused of killing nine parishioners at the Emmanuel AME Church in Charleston, victims’ family members forgave him through their tears for gunning down their loved ones Wednesday during a Bible study.

“I would just like you to know that, I forgive you and my family forgives you,” said Anthony Thompson, son of shooting victim Myra Thompson. “But we would like you to take this opportunity to repent. Repent, confess, give your life to the one that matters the most — Christ — so he can change it, change your ways no matter what happened to you. Do that and you’ll be better off than you are right now.”

Said Nadine Collier, whose mother Ethel Lance was killed in the shooting: “I will never be able to hold her again, but I forgive you … And have mercy on your soul. You hurt me. You hurt a lot of people but God forgives you, and I forgive you.”

“What I saw here in Charleston over the last few days has given me more hope than anything I’ve seen in a long time,” said Mr. Santorum, adding that he considers the shooting an act of terrorism.

“That bond hearing — if I were a pastor in that church today, I’d play that bond hearing of those family members getting up and showing true forgiveness, showing the pain of what this young man did to their families, and then being able to forgive,” he said.

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