In the wake of the horrific attack in Aurora, Evangelical Christian leaders quickly moved to pin blame for the incident. No, they did not cite Jesus’ teachings on violence. Instead, they looked to blame the obvious culprits — liberalism and secularism.
On the “AFA Today” radio show, Fred Jackson, head of the American Family Association, put the blame everywhere but on shooter James Holmes:
I have to think that all of this,†whether itís the Hollywood movies, whether itís what we see on the internets, whether itís liberal bias in the media, whether itís our politicians changing public policy, I think all of those somehow have fit together ó and I have to say also churches who are leaving the authority of Scripture and losing their fear of God ó all of those things have seem to have come together to give us these kinds of incidents.
I can’t help but feel that to some extent, we’re reaping what we’ve been sowing as a society. We said to God, “Get out of the public arena.” Lawsuit after lawsuit, often by misguided “civil libertarians,” have chased away any fear of God in the land — at least in the hearts of millions.
Newcombe repeated the statement on “AFA Today,” and added that victims of the attack would end up in Hell unless they were suitably Christian — and that if victims were Christian, their death wasn’t that bad, really:
If a Christian dies early, if a Christian dies young, it seems tragic, but really it is not tragic because they are going to a wonderful place…on the other hand, if a person doesnít know Jesus Christ…if they knowingly rejected Jesus Christ, then, basically, they are going to a terrible place.
The statements dovetailed with statements made by Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, who called the shooting an attack on “Judeo-Christian beliefs.”
It’s not uncommon for conservative Christian leaders to blame liberals and non-Christians when disaster strikes. Former House Majority Leader and current inmate Tom DeLay, R-Texas, blamed the 1999 school shooting in Littleton, Colo., on “school systems [that] teach our children that they are nothing but glorified apes who have evolutionized [sic]†out of some primordial mud.” Rev. Pat Robertson blamed the Haitian earthquake on a claimed “pact with the Devil” that Hatians agreed to in exchange for victory in a revolution against slaveholders.
Perhaps the most famous example of Evangelical Christian blame over a horrific attack came after the 9/11 attacks, when Rev. Jerry Falwell, appearing on Robertson’s television show, blamed every liberal group for the attack, while largely ignoring al Qaeda:
But, throwing God out successfully with the help of the federal court system, throwing God out of the public square, out of the schools. The abortionists have got to bear some burden for this because God will not be mocked. And when we destroy 40 million little innocent babies, we make God mad.†I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People For the American Way — all of them who have tried to secularize America — I point the finger in their face and say “you helped this happen.”
After Falwell managed to blame the worst terror attack in American history on people who had absolutely nothing to do with it, perhaps no statement from right-wing Christian leaders should be surprising. Jackson, Newcombe, and Gohmert are just carrying on a grand Evangelical tradition of showing contempt for liberals and non-Christians, whether it makes any sense or not.
Image Credit: Phillie Casablanca