Hate Group Blames Colorado Massacre on America’s Lost Fear of God

Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, in an essay titled Social Aims (1875), “Don’t say things. What you are stands over you the while, and thunders so that I cannot hear what you say to the contrary.” In many ways, Emerson is describing our modern gun control dialogue. We say things but what we are gets in the way so that sometimes, the argument comes down to “You are a liberal” or “You are a conservative”, or “You’re a treehugger” or “You’re a gun nut” and nothing beyond that gets heard.

The vast middle ground of the debate, to name a few: gun-owning liberals, of people who don’t own guns but have nothing against others owning them, and moderate gun-owning conservatives, gets lost. What we are left with is an argument of extremes. Middle ground is not only impossible. It is unthinkable. Even a reasoned response is described as a “knee jerk” reaction. Sensitivity is so heightened that a response does not have to be knee-jerk to be seen as such. More is read into a comment than was ever there. Some things we simply cannot seem to talk about like the rational human beings we claim to be.

Similarly, Abraham Maslow wrote in The Psychology of Science (1966), “I suppose it is tempting, if the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it were a nail.” When it comes to gun control, every tool is seen as a hammer and every point of view begins to look like a nail in the eyes of the recipient. Try as you might, you cannot be heard, because nobody wants to hear you.

The result is that we talk past each other in a ever more heated Babel.

The deadly Colorado shooting at a theater showing the new Batman film illustrates this point perfectly. The gunshots had barely died away when the accusation and recriminations began. Interjecting a note of reasonableness was an exercise in futility. Nothing was heard beyond he words “gun-control” and “gun-rights”: the rest was noise no matter how moderate and sensible. Crosshairs did not have to be aimed anywhere for them to be felt everywhere.

Unfortunately, some of the accusations were anything but moderate. If moderation is ignored, excess is embraced.

The American Family Association, being a hate group, apparently saw it important to hate in response to what happened. We shouldn’t be surprised: it’s what they do, after all. According to Fred Jackson, their news director, if we only feared God more, things like this would never happen.

We have been desensitized to God, apparently, thanks to liberal churches and the media. Never mind there were no lack of atrocities when people were properly terrified of God, especially by the people telling us we should be terrified. They seem to delight in mayhem the most. Nobody likes to kill each other more than the God-fearing. When they’re not killing each other, they’re killing the rest of us.

Quite often, it’s because God tells them to do so.

Jackson’s guest on AFA Today, Jerry Newcombe of Truth in Action Ministries, went after the ACLU, claiming that destroying the public school system by banning the Bible, “You wonder why all these terrible things are happening to us when there is no fear of God.”

Bryan Fischer, Director of Issues Analysis at the AFA agrees, complaining that the Supreme Court banned the Ten Commandments in classrooms:

So these black-robed miscreants said we cannot permit potential mass murderers like James Holmes to read or meditate on God’s prohibition “Thou shall not murder” as a part of their education, because someone like him just might be inclined to “venerate and obey” it and not go on a midnight shooting rampage leaving a trail of dead bodies in his wake. No, we can’t be having that, now, can we?

This is as tortured a piece of logic as you could ask for, since the ACLU has done no such thing. Nobody has banned Bibles. You can read the Bible in church, you can read it at home, you can read it pretty much anywhere you want including hotel rooms, except while you’re in class when a textbook is supposed to be the only book open in front of you.

Nor did the Supreme Court or anyone else ban the Ten Commandments. They can be taught at home and they can be taught in church. It seems incredible that the “family values” religion is actually saying that public schools are more important than families – or churches. But that seems to be the argument here.

If people aren’t reading the Bible, or don’t know the Ten Commandments, eyes ought to be directed at “Godfearing” parents and pastors for their failures in that regard, not the ACLU, not “black-robed miscreants”, both of which as often as not defend Christians.

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper said the attack was the work of a “very deranged mind.”

The murderer, James Eagan Holmes, according to a neighbor, was very active in his Presbyterian Church.

The ACLU has not stopped anyone from praying in Presbyterian, or any other, churches in America. Neither has the Supreme Court.

Jackson claims:

In the community there were community standards that reflected biblical principles, whether people knew it or not, the standard in the community was based on Scripture. In that short period of time, roughly forty years, we have seen such a transformation in values in our communities, whether it’s rural or whether it’s big city. I have to think that all of this, whether it’s the Hollywood movies, whether it’s what we see on the internets [sic], whether it’s liberal bias in the media, whether it’s our politicians changing public policy, I think all of those somehow have fit together—and I have to say also churches who are leaving the authority of Scripture and losing their fear of God—all of those things have seem to have come together to give us these kinds of incidents.

Apparently, nobody murdered anybody before forty years ago. Jackson might want to read some old newspapers. Murder is nothing new. Murder by firearm has been around as long as firearms. Before firearms, we murdered each other with other weapons or even our hands. We did it before Christianity and we did it at Christianity’s height. Christianity in decline has nothing to do with it. We’re just better armed these days. You can kill a room full of people a lot more efficiently with an assault rifle than you can with a rock, or with sword, or with a pistol. You can empty a 30-round clip in about 2.5 second with an automatic weapon. The killer in Colorado had a 60-round drum – 60 shots without reloading even without an automatic weapon. He also had 6,000 rounds of ammunition.

Technology also lets us spread specious arguments with lightning speed. So to add insult to injury, Jackson and his co-host, Teddy James, determined that the shooting was God’s judgment. Tired of killing birds, he sent the killer into a theater to murder innocent men, women, and children:

Jackson: I think the sources of this is [sic] multifaceted but I think you can put it all under the heading of rebellion to God, a rejection of the God of the Bible. I think along with an education system that has produced our lawyers, our politicians, more teachers, more professors, all of that sort of thing, is our churches, mainline churches. We’ve been dealing Teddy and I know the AFA Journal has been dealing with denominations that no longer believe in the God of the Bible, they no longer believe that Jesus is the only way of salvation, they teach that God is OK with homosexuality, this is just increasing more and more. It is mankind shaking its fist at the authority of God.

James: And God will not be silent when he’s mocked, and we need to remember that.

Jackson: We are seeing his judgment. You know, some people talk about ‘God’s judgment must be just around the corner,’ we are seeing it.

Which begs the question: who would want to worship this god? He sound like a deranged child who has graduated from pulling the legs off bugs and torturing animals to killing people. And why?

Newcombe claims it’s our fault: “It’s as if we said to God, publicly or in the public arena, ‘get out, You’re not welcome here anymore’ and it’s as if God removed His protection from our land.”

And this lame God we are supposed to fear, of course, listens to mere mortals and does what mere mortals tell him to do.

I think people need a new God. We have enough problems with our gun control debates without interjecting this nonsense.

Fischer goes on to claim that “It’s time to say to the left we’ve tried it your way for the past 60 years and our country is being destroyed before our very eyes.” But it’s not the “left” who killed 12 people in a Colorado theater: it was a church-going white male who owned four weapons.

He complains about drinking from “the poisoned well of secular fundamentalism” but he’s only trying to score points for religious fundamentalism without actually saying anything sensible or relevant about gun violence. If anything, it is religious fundamentalism that is the more deadly, since it’s not atheists who are running around killing people and saying God is telling them to do so.

Meanwhile, we have an NRA that is so powerful that no public debate can get off the ground. With few exceptions, no one in government wants to take on the NRA because they won’t survive the encounter. Even the president won’t take on the NRA. The NRA has somehow made the Second Amendment more powerful and sacrosanct than any other amendment and they maintain that position by feeding on gun owners fears through a steady diet of “they’re going to take your guns and give them to black people” – an old tale never come true that is well in line with the current “they’re going to take your money and give it to black people.”

There is a vast middle ground between “we need to ban all guns” and “we can’t ban any guns”. You wouldn’t know it though. Those are the only arguments people seem able to see. We can no more talk rationally about gun control than we can about religion or politics; as David Rothkopf, CEO and Editor-at-Large of Foreign Policy magazine, wrote in 2011 after Congresswoman Gifford’s shooting, the Second Amendment “has taken on quasi-theological importance for many in the United States.” Gun-control and gun-rights have become matters of belief, not of fact.

It apparently isn’t a point of concern to the NRA that the United States leads the world in firearms deaths, and gun control proponents seem unaware or uncaring that most massacres, like that which occurred  in Colorado, are committed with legally purchased firearms. We talk about keeping guns out of the hands of criminals but none of those laws would have stopped James Eagan Holmes from gunning down a theater full of moviegoers since he wasn’t a criminal until he opened fire. Mayors Against Illegal Guns wants to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people but until James Eagan Holmes began shooting, he wasn’t a dangerous person. By all accounts he was a nerdy, likeable science geek who went to church regularly.

It is a sad truth that registering those guns would not have stopped the crime, would not have saved 12 people from being murdered and 58 from being wounded. Perhaps, as Rothkopf said, it’s time to consider the meaning of the Second Amendment factually rather than through the eyes of belief:

“A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”

But we no longer have a militia, well-regulated or otherwise. We have a National Guard and they are supplied with weapons. Two-plus centuries on, it’s no longer “BYOG”. If you take away the first part of the sentence, the second part quickly loses its sacred nature. The AFA says people died because we’ve lost our fear of God; more accurately, people died because we insist on misreading the Second Amendment. So let’s re-read it, and decide, based on the fact we no longer have to muster for drill on the village green, what makes sense where gun-control and guns-rights are concerned.

31 Replies to “Hate Group Blames Colorado Massacre on America’s Lost Fear of God”

  1. By now, we’ve all heard of one of the Koch brothers’ parade of his personal tanks through a small Colorado town, and apparently quite a few great corporatists own them and carry out war games with them. Makes you wonder who’s *really* behind the extreme interpretation of the Second Amendment, doesn’t it?

  2. Some of the folks ranting about gun rights don’t seem to reflect on the enormous responsibilities that go along with gun rights. They even oppose the reasonable kind of gun control that would keep guns from the hands of mentally unstable miscreants like Jared Loughner or James Holmes, not to mention sociopathic vigilantes like George Zimmerman. While I’m not a fan of guns, I readily acknowledge that there are plenty of gun owners who have a strong dose of common sense and a feeling of responsibility that keeps them from inciting incidents that end up in needless taking of life. The NRA appeals to people who lack common sense who feel the use of guns is a first resort.

  3. The answer is that these poor benighted idiots have created God in their own image, and not the other way around.

  4. The portion of the 2nd Amendment about militias isn’t referring to government sponsored militias but of the right of the citizens to form militias, many of which do exist. Secondly, what part of “the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” do you not understand? It is only second to our freedom of speech.

  5. its second in the line of amendments. the Second Amendment could’ve been the 10th amendment. Its position in the list does not indicate its importance. It’s not second only to our freedom of speech. You have far more freedoms that are more important than the right to bear arms.

    The Constitution says and I quote: a well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state unquote. That does not sound like anything other than government militias. Which is exactly what the states had when the Constitution was written. It says absolutely nothing about the right of citizens to form militias. the general population is not responsible for the security of the state other than the fact that they pay taxes for the government to take care of that for them. The National Guard is an example of a well regulated militia

  6. The AFA is a domestic terrorist group that is built on hatred for anything who believes thinks or kooks differantly then they do…

  7. Wait a moment- isn’t God all powerful? What if this was His plan, to send his agent on Earth into that theater to massacre those people worshipping a false idol?

    Sorry, Fundies. You can’t have both. You can’t claim “everything happens as a part of God’s plan” at the same time you discuss Man’s free will separates him from the angels and animals. It’s one or the other, and I won’t have anything to do with a god that encourages the killing of anyone who doesn’t believe in Him, or turns a blind eye to his representatives from committing fraud or molesting members of the community. If God exists, why did he allow Holmes to even fire the first bullet? There had to be several Christians among the fatalities; why would He not step in to protect them?

    Any discussion of a nonexistent deity is irrelevant, especially when Dominionists claim not believing in him, or teaching evolution, or other inane spiritual arguments caused this tragedy. We don’t “fear Him” enough? Who wants to believe in a God that requires a faith and loyalty based in terror, and not love?

    If God exists, He is an Alpha Beta, and he hates nerds.

  8. So what is in the water out west that makes people so crazy. I don’t really fear going to the Pier Park theatre down in Panama City Beach, or the Regency 11 on 23rd St. The worst experience I has there was sitting in the nosebleed seats in the opening night of “The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe”. There are just as many gun toting dudes here in Florida as there could be anywhere else, but we just don’t seem to be having these issues. What are we doing right? Are the H-bomb tests from the 1950s finally showing some kind of residue in minds of these people? Too much of it is happening in too confined of an area.

  9. It’s not a sense of responsibility that prevents things like Aurora… from what little I’ve gleaned, that was done by a known sociopath. At the least it was a total lack of humanity, and I suspect right-wing rhetoric had something to do with it as well (they’ve been tied to every act of extreme violence in recent years, with maybe one or two exceptions).

    The idea of shooting up a room full of innocent bystanders is unthinkable to any but the most brainwashed or mentally ill. Even suggesting otherwise (that someone who owns a gun might consider that) is demeaning to the gun owners in this country… almost all of whom are responsible (I’d agree that dominionists might be suspect, knowing what I do about them). It was an act of terrorism, but so far we haven’t heard a political/religious angle yet (which I suspect is there).

  10. In my posts, I have been quite clear about differentiating between stable, responsible gun owners and unstable and/or inhumane miscreants who have no business with them. They are the ones most likely to be susceptible to the incendiary rhetoric from the likes of the NRA, not folks who are responsible and level-headed. So, I have no argument at all with what you are saying.

  11. Shiva, I think you know my history with the pigs well enough to understand that the “government” (in our case the pigs) aren’t always a force for “good”.

    I would think it evident that a “government militia” could be just as bad as the original problem and wouldn’t solve the sort of problems militias were formed to fight. Yes, people go the other way (I’ve been around militia types, and their fear of the government greatly exceeded my own – but their reasons didn’t make much sense and were based on conspiracy theories rather than experiences). Most of the militia groups are also based on racism and religious bigotry… you know the types (Barton serves their interests well).

    I’m aware of a couple of instances in this country where the citizenry had to mobilize, arm themselves, and resist the pigs. Once in Tennessee, and once out west somewhere (I think Montana) – both back in the 50s or 60s as I remember. I’d bet that there are more.

    Both were cases of the local “authorities” using their power and position to enforce a local police state and tried to dictate to and exploit the local people.

    I also know that during the Civil War, the Union troops rose up and resisted the authorities when they got too abusive/demanding. My GG Grandfather either led or was in a charge directed at the Provost Marshal’s office in his area, because the PM had arrested and imprisoned troops that had fulfilled their terms of service and had been forced to keep fighting (as I remember the letter, without pay)… and tried to leave to go home and take care of their families. The troops drove off the PM (who ran for his life) and released the prisoners so they could go home. That may not been a “militia” thing, but it shows that the “authorities” often have only their interests in mind and ignore the needs of and promises to the 99%.

    The right to self-defense is that which supports all other rights. If you aren’t allowed to defend yourself (which believe it or not, the damned mainstream American culture teaches to the poor and powerless), then all other rights are meaningless. You cannot trust a government or any other agency to defend those rights for you… as we’ve already seen, it’s too easy for the rich and powerful to gain control of the agency and misuse it to strip us of our rights. (Look what has happened to the Supreme Court and Citizen’s United.)

  12. God fearing…love that phrase. I was under the impression that God was a loving and caring God, one who helped us understand the meaning of love, compassion, and “turn the other cheek”. Seems as though God has gone thru some sort of war like transformation. Being Jewish, I am not of the Christen faith but have a good knowledge of both the 10 Commandments and the New Testament. Lots of sex, murder, adultery and plain old fashion vindictiveness in that “Holy Book”…and this is the guiding principle that the Fundamental Christens use??? Wow!!!
    Makes me wonder why we haven’t had public burnings of “non believers” in public squares. Guess I’ll have to wait for the next massacre before that takes place!!

    I have to understand the need in this country for the sale of “Assault Rifles”. What is the purpose of these weapons, other then to kill people. That’s what I used it for in Nam, but I don’t see a need for it here, I have no enemies patrolling the roads here looking for a fire fight…so why are these types of weapons being sold legally?? What purpose do they serve for the general public to own them??
    Our elected representatives have to overcome this fear of the NRA, and take them on for what they are today, a bunch of gun toting goons whose only purpose is to enrich the gun lobby and the gun manufactures and weaken gun laws to the point that this country is a wild wild west.
    There are millions of gun owners out there that are responsible members of this country and are also members of the NRA, and they are the ones who need to stop this insanity by the minority that sees a threat around every corner.
    I will close with this. The idiot that stated that if people were allowed to enter the movie theater armed, then the carnage would have been a lot less. My argument is this: If there were no assault rifles sold to the likes of Holms or anyone else for that matter, then there would be NO need for armed citizens to enter a theater in the first place! That makes more sense then any armed population would!!!

  13. The militias in question were the township constabulary – a volunteer police force. The institution of professional police abolished the need for them. Current militias are for the most part seditionists and latent terrorists, who are already threatening and in some cases have committed violence against those who don’t live or vote or believe or even exist according to their guidelines. The right they claim is the right to have the armed might to tell the rest of us what to do. Read the Turner Diaries. Fuck them, and whoever incites them, and whoever enables them.

  14. Be glad you live in a protected area. What you describe sounds almost like another planet to me… and I live in Florida as well.

    Seriously, it depends on the area and even the county government. Some areas are worse than others. I’ve been told that there are areas in the Panhandle where you should never go if you’re American Indian (or make sure you hide anything that would suggest that) because you’re likely to be killed. I’ve written enough about how bad this area (county) is – and yet there ARE some liberal enclaves even in this county. I also know that there are reasonably safe/decent areas to live in other areas… my principle professor for my MA says she wishes we could somehow be able to move to a safer and better area (outside of this county)… one where there are actual liberals living, and where you won’t find that 2/3 of the people on the street are dominionist and/or militia (the “Good Christian” type).

    A lot of what actually happens in Florida never makes the news… like all of the LGBT people/couples who get “burned out” (of course, not investigated), or the real actions of people who rob convenience stores (if they have any “time” at all, and the victim is female, she’s usually raped), or the horrific beatings and other things directed at, for instance, LGBT people (also minorities). Can’t let people know what really goes on, you know!

  15. I am so stealing that last line.

    Epic “Revenge of The Nerds” metaphor exposing latent idiotic contradictions intrinsic to theology.

    “Remember children. God created and loves you and has an intelligent plan to kill you all.”

  16. What is the most powerful weapon in the NRA’s arsenal?
    No, it’s not an Uzi, AR-15, or M-16 rifle. It’s the deliberate spread of delusional paranoia and irrational fear regarding the Second Amendment.

    No one is seriously suggesting repealing the 2nd Amendment so that private citizens are unable to own firearms.

    What has been frequently discussed is further regulating the industry so that there are better controls and safeguards on:

    1) what types of firearms/accessories can be purchased and owned by private citizens (no one needs fully automatic weapons or even semi-automatic assault rifles for hunting or for personal safety, nor do people need high-capacity magazines for their semi-automatic handguns)

    2) who can purchase them (e.g., excluding people with severe emotional disorders)

    3) the methods used for the sale of firearms (e.g., conducting proper background checks on ALL firearm purchases, and ensuring that there exists a digital trail of all transactions), including purchases at gun shows and sales between private parties.

    On a side note, it’s curious that the Religious Right’s perception of God appears to be one of an ego-centric, malevolent, micro-managing sadist — somewhat akin to how many of them treat their wives.

  17. It doesn’t mean fear in the context of being afraid, it means fear as in respect… If only YOU weren’t a MORON…

  18. I find it highly ironic that groups like the AFA align themselves with a political party that deifies the Second Amendment and then blames violent incidents like the Aurora incident on society’s failure to adopt “Christian standards” as a way of life. It makes no sense. The GOP is supposed to be the party of Christians (or so it says.) If this were really true, RW Christian organizations would fight back against the NRA’s heavy influence on GOP politicians and be advocates for some kind of gun control, but they don’t. Therefore, imo, this makes people like Jackson hypocrites. The party he supports lets the NRA push its politicians around, a tragedy happens, and all he can do is say that taking the Bible out of public schools caused a mentally unstable individual to kill 10 people. He refuses to notice the glaring conflict between being a Christian and worshiping guns.

  19. The bill of rights grants rights to the citizens of this country, not the government. So the portion about militias does indeed apply to the people. The so called police force that we have is an enemy to the people, if you don’t see that you are a buffoon. One only need to look at the occupy movement and the police action against them to understand what I mean. The so called professional police are nothing but actors being manipulated by our fascist regime in order to oppress us. You need to fucking wake up in reality and realize that WE THE PEOPLE, make the fucking law and it is OUR DUTY to fight back against an oppressive government regime. I do not agree with some of the militias that do exist but not all of them are malevolent. If you have a problem with that you are part of the problem.

  20. We the people? You got a mouse in your pocket? You and that mouse don’t have the right to set up some kind of “militia” and push the rest of us around. Don’t pretend that’s in the public interest.

  21. Wrong. It says nothing about the peoples right to a militia. Even in 1776 the militia was a government organization. You are mixing your opinion with fact.

    Your constant carrying on about peoples militias means you are the problem. You have left reality. We do not live under a fascist regime, your not going to beat the government with your 6 shooter. Now straighten up.

    This will be your last post if you cant get your point across without name calling

  22. You know, considering that the vast majority of the tragic weather, disasters and shootings going on are happening in states with large Tea Party followings, one could explain them by saying that God is unhappy with the way that his so-called children are acting towards others in this country.

  23. It is mans free will that s causes these things to happen..God will not force His will on any of us, if that what was He wanted He would’ve created a bunch of robots… God is not to be feared..He is to be reverenced.. I can’t worship a God who is not all knowing, all powerful and able to be everywhere in every moment…He was probably talking to this guy with a gun and a mission until he started shooting..but this guy CHOSE not to listen. But God was there with all of those involved in this incident and whats important to know, is where will you be going when your time comes..where will you spend eternity? there are only 2 choices…and know this too if you choose to ask the God of the bible for forgiveness, He ill be faithful to forgive and you will enter the kingdom of heaven when it is your time to die (we all die)..but know this too,,if that gunman ask the God of thie bible to forgive him for what he has done, God will be faithful to forgive him and he will enter the kingdom of heaven..what will you do if you find yourself standing next to him?

  24. I am begging you folks, don’t shrug this threat off. I live in a small town and some Facebook friends are right wing crazies. Right after the shootin was reported 1 in particular is trying to get people to “follow” him and take America back. He claims to be working out a plan with other states and nuts like himself. I am going to report his actions to the FBI monday morning.

  25. While I will never claim to understand the mixed up brain that is capable of committing this act of murder and mayhem, I really don’t understand the mind that would claim this act was because “God isn’t feared anymore” and “God is visiting mayhem on the country because of it”. To my way of thinking, that makes those folks as whacked as the shooter. Not because they did it but because they believe in a being who would cause it. That’s nuts.

    As to the need to talk about gun control issues, I think we do have to start having a reasoned and well thought out conversation about keeping weapons of mass destruction and ammo clips/drums that can make it happen in 2.5 seconds out of the hands of people who would use them as this man has. People don’t stand a chance against these kinds of weapons and something needs to change. The problem is, we can no longer have reasonable conversations in this country without the extremists screaming the loudest and nothing ever gets done.

  26. YHWH is a war god, like Ares, so wonder he loves guns! The strongest weapon against anything is knowledge and power, but the right-wing media is too busy suppressing that fact.

  27. tsk tsk Stifling the free speech of others, shame on you. You are pathetic…, believe me when I say this is not over…The best is yet to come.

  28. If someone killed your family, You would demand justice, yet you condem the creator of ALL ,for the justice His holiness demands. You do not understand because you know not God. So sad

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