It has been a week since a gunman opened fire inside a historic black church in South Dakota, killing six people and injuring more than 50 others.
And, the horrific shooting continues to fuel debate over religious freedom in America.
But the latest mass shooting, the deadliest in U.S. history, doesn’t seem to be getting any attention in the national media.
The shooting occurred on Sunday in South Carolina, where the Rev. Clementa Pinckney, pastor of First Baptist Church in Columbia, S.C., was killed.
His wife, Melissa Pinckneys, a mother of three young children, and four parishioners were also killed.
The gunman, Wade Michael Page, was found dead in the church’s parking lot.
A second gunman, James Holmes, also died in a shootout with police, but is still on the run.CNN reports that the massacre has left many in the U.K. and the U,S.
with the realization that religious freedom is not a given in the modern world.
In the wake of the shootings, South Carolina Gov.
Nikki Haley declared the state a “sanctuary state” and pledged to work with local law enforcement agencies to “take steps to keep our communities safe.”
South Carolina also issued an “emergency declaration” after the shooting, declaring that “it is imperative to protect the lives and safety of the public from any and all threats to our nation and its people.”
The Rev. William Barber, executive director of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, told CNN that while he understands the need for religious freedom, he said he’s not sure if the state has a right to keep religious people out of public spaces.
“I think they’ve got a constitutional right to their religious beliefs, but I think they should be allowed to practice their religion without being persecuted, and it’s not like that’s the case here,” Barber said.
“So I don’t know if it’s a sanctuary state, I just don’t think it’s in place.”
In a statement, the church said the church is “working closely with law enforcement authorities and is cooperating fully with the investigation into the shooting.”
“The safety and well-being of all people in our community is our number one priority, and we will continue to work closely with the authorities to ensure the safety and security of our people and the community.”
The shooting has also fueled renewed calls to repeal a law that prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, or disability.
The new legislation was signed by President Donald Trump on Friday.
“We are saddened by the senseless violence that took place at our First Baptist church in Columbia,” the Rev.
In another sign of the political climate in the United States, Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) said on Twitter that the church shooting should be an “open and honest debate” in the media. “
While we mourn the loss of the life of the pastor, we will not give in to hatred, bigotry, and violence, nor will we allow any of our churches to be a target.”
In another sign of the political climate in the United States, Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) said on Twitter that the church shooting should be an “open and honest debate” in the media.
“No religious test, no religious freedom for our nation.
That’s the truth,” King wrote.
“Let’s get the debate on!”