Below are President’s Roelofs’ remarks following the shooting in Pittsburgh, which went out to the campus community Sunday, October 28.
Yesterday we had another reminder of the tragic consequences of hate in our world. All Bereans join in mourning with Jewish people, including those in our own community, as we try to come to grips with the unthinkable. A deranged gunman, filled with hate for people different than himself, attacked innocent people, people who were praying and exercising their religious observances in the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, reminding us of the evils that took place at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston just four years ago and at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas in 2016.
In Pittsburgh, we also saw instances of great bravery as law enforcement officers responded quickly to the reports and risked their own lives to rescue those who were in danger. Tragically, some of them were injured, too, two of them critically, as the gunman was armed with very dangerous weapons.
We pray for all of those injured, both the innocent victims and among those who responded. We also pray for all of those who lost friends and relatives in the tragedy, and those whose faith and confidence in their safety and the ideals of our nation have been so grievously shaken. We also must pray, even if it is so very hard to do, for all those whose hearts are filled with the sort of hate that emerges in acts of such rage and blindness.
In times like this, we need to remind ourselves of the ultimate power of love over hate. Even when it seems that hate is resurgent in our society, instances of love in their countless thousands, most of which go unreported and unnoticed beyond their immediate small circles, still do more good in the world than can be undone by hateful acts that command our attention. Let us be sure that we, as individuals and as the Berea College community, are on the side of love, the impartial love of our founder that is the basis for a moral imperative that we can all, no matter our particular faith perspective, embrace and strive to live out every day.
Lyle Roelofs, President