President Obama delivered the eulogy for Rev. Clementa Pinckney at a funeral service in Charleston, South Carolina on Friday that became a sermon on how God had opened America's eyes, ending with the president singing "Amazing Grace."
"The church is and has always been the center of African American life, a place to call our own in a too-often hostile world, a sanctuary in hardships," Obama said, remembering their role as "hush harbors" for slaves and stations for the Underground Railroad.
Obama then turned to attack on Emanuel AME last week.
"We do not know if the killer...knew all of this history, but he surely sensed the meaning of his violent act. It was an act that drew on a long history of bombs and arson and shots fired at churches. Not random but as a means of control. A way to terrorize and oppress. An act that he thought would strike fear...and recriminations... oh but God works in mysterious ways. God has different ideas," Obama said, noting the outpouring of love and unity in Charleston and across America following the attack.
Dylann Roof "didn't know he was being used by God. Blinded by hatred, the alleged killer could not see the grace surrounding Rev. Pinckney and that Bible study group, the light of love that showed as they opened their church doors...."
God has opened the eyes of America—like the poor wretch who was once blind in "Amazing Grace"—to the pain the Confederate flag causes many, he said.
"For too long we have been blind to the ways past injustices continue to shape the presence. Perhaps we see that now," Obama said, particularly when it comes to letting children languish in poverty or prison.
"For too long we have been blind to the unique mayhem that gun violence inflicts upon this nation," like Charleston, Aurora, Newtown, and the 30 killed every day in America.
Obama then led the funeral in a rendition of "Amazing Grace."