Blood in the Pulpit

Blood in the Pulpit
Vol: 82 Issue: 29 Tuesday, July 29, 2008

On Sunday, a man named Jim Adkisson walked into the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church with a shotgun and opened fire on the congregants. By the time members of the congregation tackled Adkisson, eight people lay wounded. Two, Linda Kraeger and Greg McKendry, later died.

Knoxville Police Chief Sterling Owen IV said a signed, four-page letter written by Jim D. Adkisson, 58, was found in his small SUV in the church parking lot after gunfire erupted during a children’s performance based on the musical “Annie” Sunday morning. Seven people also were injured in the melee.

“It appears that what brought him to this horrible event was his lack of being able to obtain a job, his frustration over that and his stated hatred of the liberal movement,” Owen said at a news conference.

No children were hurt, but five people remained in serious or critical condition yesterday. A burly usher who died, Greg McKendry, 60, was hailed as a hero for shielding others from gunfire.

This is the third major church shooting in the U.S. in the past year.

Last summer, Jeanne Assam made headlines the world over when she drew her own firearm and killed Matthew Murray after he went berserk and shot up two churches in Colorado and killed four people in two separate instances twelve hours apart.

Last August, a First Congregational Church in Nehosho, Missouri was attacked by a gunman. The pastor and two worshippers were killed in the attack. The gunman, Elken Saimon, was arrested at the scene.

In May 2006, Anthony Bell walked into the tiny Ministry of Jesus Christ Church in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and killed five people and wounded several others including the pastor.

In February 2006, Kevin Collins walked into the Zion Hope Missionary Baptist Church in Detroit, Michigan. He killed two people at random before turning his gun on himself.

And the list goes on:

* March 12, 2005 – Brookfield, Wisconsin Living Church of God: Terry Ratzmann opened fire on the congregation, killing seven and wounding four before taking his own life.

* July 30, 2005 – College Park, Georgia – World Changers Church International. Air Force S/Sgt John Givens went berserk in church and was killed by a police officer.

* Oct. 5, 2003 – Atlanta, Georgia – Turner Monumental AME Church – 2 killed

* June 10, 2002 – Conception, Missouri – Benedictine monastery – 2 killed plus the shooter

* March 12, 2002 – Lynbrook, New York – Our Lady of Peace Catholic Church – 2 killed.

* May 18, 2001 – Hopkinsville, Kentucky – Greater Oak Missionary Baptist Church – 2 killed

* Sept. 15, 1999 – Fort Worth, Texas – Wedgewood Baptist Church – 7 killed

At one time, churches were not just called sanctuaries; they were sanctuaries.

When I was a kid growing up, I was taught — in school, no less — that in the event of danger, run to the nearest church. The door wouldn’t be locked, and who would violate the sanctity of a church?

But, I grew up in the last century. . .


What caused Jim Adkisson to snap? It depends on where you get your news from. If you get it from CNN or the LA Times, then Adkisson attacked the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Church because he hates liberals. In his ‘suicide’ note (he didn’t expect to survive) he blamed ‘liberals and gays’ for his inability to find a job.

The openly-liberal Raleigh News and Observer included this handy fact box beside its coverage of the shooting:

Unitarians have roots in a movement that rejected Puritan orthodoxy in New England. Although individual Unitarian churches can vary dramatically in outlooks, most congregations retain a deep commitment to social justice, which has led many to embrace liberal stances on the ordination of women, civil rights and gay rights.

I’ve watched as the background of this story has shifted over the past twenty-four hours. Virtually all of the news coverage highlights the fact the Adkisson hated liberals and that was why he targeted the liberal Unitarians.

It was reported that inside Adkisson’s house, officers found “Liberalism is a Mental Health Disorder” by radio talk show host Michael Savage, “Let Freedom Ring” by talk show host Sean Hannity, and “The O’Reilly Factor,” by television talk show host Bill O’Reilly.

As to Adkisson himself, the mainstream press focused its full attention on the “liberal” angle. The majority of the press coverage of the story seemed to suggest without actually saying so was that Adkisson hated liberalism because he was a latent Christian fundamentalist.

(In fact, one of his neighbors reported Adkisson had serious problems with both Christianity and the Bible.)

But the story will undoubtedly be spun and twisted until it becomes that of another crazed religious conservative trying to impose his own fundamentalist views at the point of a gun.

That was also the spin put on the twin Colorado shootings last year. The fact Matthew Murray had been raised in a Christian home was held up as ‘proof’ that fundamentalist Christianity was every bit as dangerous as fundamentalist Islam.

When an adult enters a church and starts shooting it up, it is usually blamed on fundamental Christianity. But when a kid enters a school and starts shooting it up, nobody blames it on the liberal secular humanist curriculum.

But at the more personal level, the Tennessee shooting is a chilling reminder that words have consequences. The mainstream media was careful to make note of three books in his home; Michael Savage’s, Sean Hannity’s and Bill O’Reilly’s.

We don’t have any idea if these were the only three books in Adkisson’s entire house, or if they were just three among many. But you can bet that they will be the only ones the mainstream media mentions by name and author.

Of the three pillars upon which the antichrist will build his government, two are already well advanced. The global economy is a reality. The infrastructure for a global government is in place and much of national sovereignty world-wide has already been surrendered to the center in reaction to the fear of global warming.

What still remains murky, however, is the status of the third pillar of the antichrist’s government — a global religion. The term, ‘religious fundamentalist’ has become a euphemism for ‘radical’ or even ‘terrorist’.

There are efforts underway at the UN and within the World Council of Churches to establish and develop a kind of ‘world church’ that embraces all religions equally and universally condemns fundamentalism as the religious cancer responsible for most of the wars of the past two millennia.

According to Revelation 13:16-17, the Mark of the Beast is not just an economic mark. It is also a system of worship — which is the reason that anyone who accepts the Mark during the Tribulation has forfeited salvation. (Revelation 19:20)

Those who embrace Christianity during the Tribulation will be charged with ‘fundamentalism’, and given the choice between renouncing Christianity in favor of the religion of the False Prophet or death by beheading.

“And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations. And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.”

But before fundamentalism can be outlawed, a convincing case must first be made outlining its dangers. With religious fundamentalists flying planes into buildings, blowing up abortion clinics and shooting up churches, it shouldn’t be hard to make the case that the world would be much better off without them.

“If any man have an ear, let him hear.” (Revelation 13:7-9)

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About Pete Garcia

Christian, father, husband, veteran, pilot, and sinner saved by grace. I am a firm believer in, and follower of Jesus Christ. I am Pre-Trib, Dispensational, and Non-Denominational (but I lean Southern Baptist).

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