A former KKK bomber, now a church pastor, finds that many racial barriers still exist.

In 1967, J. Edgar Hoover ordered FBI agents to Mississippi in an all-out search for a Ku Klux Klan member of the notorious “White Knights,” who were bombing Jewish synagogues.

The hunt ended a year later after a car chase and shootout left one woman dead, a police officer seriously wounded, and the bomber lying in his own blood after absorbing four shotgun blasts at close range. Few gave Tom Tarrants, who had been caught carrying a bomb to a Jewish businessman and civil-rights leader’s house, a chance to live. But the man an FBI agent once called a “mad-dog killer” not only lived, he later became a Christian with a message to the church about racism.

Tarrants now serves as copastor of an interracial church in Washingon, D.C. Tarrants’s life is receiving national attention through a book by journalist Jack Nelson, Terror in the Night: The Klan’s Campaign Against the Jews.

In an interview with CHRISTIANITY TODAY, Tarrants discussed his views on racism in the church:

What are you and your school for urban mission doing to reach across racial barriers?

We have a student program of 15 semester hours, which has 9 hours of academic and 6 hours of internship. We plug our students into ministries around the city where they get hands-on exposure. Some work with tutoring programs with inner-city kids.

Our academic courses for the student interns focus on discipleship and disciple making, spiritual disciplines, and urban mission. We have a solid spiritual foundation.

Are white Christians concerned about racial tensions?

Whites for the most part do not really seem to be concerned about the racial issue in church. It seldom comes up. I’m not aware of a widespread ...

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