I’m not sure how this story was missed, but the division commander of the S.C. Sons of Confederate Veterans, Leland Summers, released a statement on the Emanuel AME Church shooting last Wednesday. In it, he expressed sympathy for the victims and their families, noted there were black Confederate soldiers, and proclaimed there is no connection between the Confederate flag and the Mother Emanuel shooting. Here’s what Summers said in its entirety:

On the night of June 17, 2015, an attempt was made to break the spirit of all South Carolinians.

The deranged mind of a horrendous individual, entered Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, and took the lives of nine admirable individuals. This historic House of God became the scene of a brutal massacre beyond understanding. We all contemplate, why did this happen?

Perhaps this is a question that cannot be answered. What kind of a world are we leaving behind for our children, when you can’t go into God’s House without the threat of being gunned down? This is, in fact a crime of hate and an act of terrorism. It is reported that the culprit’s craving was to bring about “civil” war and division between Black and White citizens of the Palmetto State. This did not happen. We will not allow it to happen. South Carolinians will stand together hand in hand regardless of race, creed, or skin color to prevent it from happening. South Carolina will not cower to the evil deeds of one hateful being.

The Sons of Confederate Veterans extends our heartfelt sympathy to the families who have lost loved ones in this tragedy. We stand with the citizens of Charleston as they come together to mourn the loss of these beloved individuals. We pray that God will grant them comfort and peace during this time of despair. Emanuel Church proclaims compassion, peace, and justice throughout the historic Grand City of the South. This congregation stands for what is right and is a force against evil. Hatred has reared its ugly face in our country masquerading as political correctness. What God has ordained as righteous and just will always be righteous and just. What God has ordained as evil will always be evil. No man, government, or principality has authority to change the will of God.

Hatred is evil. Recent acts in Charleston are just plain evil. South Carolinians have chosen to defeat evil by offering love and support of each other, rather than disobedience, distrust and destruction. Disobedience and destruction only breeds yet more hatred and evil.

Historical fact shows there were Black Confederate soldiers. These brave men fought in the trenches beside their White brothers, all under the Confederate Battle Flag. This same Flag stands as a memorial to these soldiers on the grounds of the SC Statehouse today. The Sons of Confederate Veterans, a historical honor society, does not delineate which Confederate soldier we will remember or honor. We cherish and revere the memory of all Confederate veterans. None of them, Black or White, shall be forgotten.

The SC Division, Sons of Confederate Veterans has a stringently enforced Hate Policy. We will remove any member who expresses racist hatred sentiments. Anyone with ties to racist organizations will not be granted membership. The perpetrator of the vile act in Charleston has never been a member or associated with the Sons of Confederate Veterans. Unfortunately some other subversive organizations distort Confederate symbols in an attempt to make them stand for hatred and disillusion. The SCV vehemently opposes the ideals and actions of such organizations.
The Sons of Confederate Veterans has both Black and White members. In our eyes there is no difference. Our membership is made up of descendants of Native-Americans, African-Americans, Asian-Americans, Hispanics, Christians and Jewish who took a stand for the Cause they believed was right. The love and defense of the South’s symbols, culture, and heritage is not hate. It is knowing and understanding of the truth.

Not knowing your heritage is ignorance.

Our organization offers to everyone the opportunity to learn the true facts of the war fought on American soil between 1861-1865 and the heritage we value. That is why we exist. Our camps are listed on our website, www.scscv.com on our About Us Page. This is your invitation to attend any of our meetings.
It is shameful and disgraceful that other organizations chose to use this heinous act to promote their political agenda. Do not associate the cowardly actions of a racist to our Confederate Banner; for it is a Banner of honorable men, both Black and White.

There is absolutely no link between The Charleston Massacre and The Confederate Memorial Banner. Don’t try to create one.

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