Tuesday, December 11, 2007

YWAM/NewLife Killer In His Own Words

Given BarryA over at Uncommon Descent's "interest" in the question of atheism inciting murderous hatred in Matthew Murray, the man identified as the shooter in the YWAM/NewLife killings, there are some "interesting" stretches of commentary from Murray's online postings to review here. For what it's worth, the comments put together in that post seem much more problematic for the kind of Christianity Murray grew up in.

I'm a homeschooler. I've got six kids, four of school age, and their entire schooling has been homeschooling. My wife is quite active in the local homeschool co-op, and we are surrounded by evangelical homeschoolers; this is my demographic. We use Sonlight curriculum, and because of that, both my wife and I have been active in their online community for homeschooling families for years.

I'm intimately familiar with the culture of Matthew Murray's upbringing.

But you know what? For all the references and anger, all the possible "incitement to hate" that I could try and identify in Murray's words, all of that is secondary. This is a young man who went right off the deep end. He's responsible for his terrible actions, and no matter how vicious or hypocritical or humiliating he found his lot in life to be, growing up in a homeschooling fundamentalist Christian home, that's not sufficient to make it "interesting" to me to suggest fundamentalist Christianity is somehow to blame for the murders.

Unlike Barry, who simply popped off with an opportunistic bit of musing, the posts from Murray here shine at least a little bit of light on the mind and attitudes behind the killings. I wonder how "interesting" Barry thinks the situation is now, having read the posts of nghtmrchld26?

It doesn't matter, as far as blame is concerned for the killing, however. For all of that, Murray bears the guilt for his actions. It was his choice, his course of action, and his alone.

What remains is the lingering sense that BarryA, ostensibly concerned about the spread of hatred, about demonization, has engaged in the very practice he's concerned about. Barry's no more empowered to unilaterally instill hate in his readers than Ted Haggard or Richard Dawkins are in theirs (does Haggard have an audience anymore?); we must choose to adopt the hatred being offered. But posts like Barry's represent the offer, just as much as the angry words of those he's upset by (Dawkins, Hitchens, et al).

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