November 8, 2017 | David F. Coppedge

Texas Shooter Was Angry Atheist

Mainstream media reports downplay testimony of people who knew shooter as an avowed atheist who considered Christians stupid.

Why did Texas shooter Devin Patrick Kelley enter a peaceful Christian church for his murderous rampage last Sunday morning? While most of the media are focused on questions of mental illness and failures of background checks, only a few are reporting testimonies of people who knew the shooter’s beliefs. The Daily Mail (UK) recounts these details:

  • “Former classmates described him as ‘creepy’, ‘crazy’ and an ‘outcast’ who had recently started preaching about atheism and picking fights on social media.
  • “‘He was the first atheist I met. He went Air Force after high school, got discharged but I don’t know why.” (Patrick Boyce, an acquaintance at Kelley’s high school)
  • ‘He was always talking about how people who believe in God we’re stupid and trying to preach his atheism‘ (Nina Rose Nava, a high school classmate)
  • Michael Goff added: ‘He was weird but never that damn weird, always posting his atheist sh** like Nina wrote, but damn he always posted pics of him and his baby – crazy.’

Truth Report made this statement from the above report:

The Daily Mail reports that former friends and schoolmates of Kelley describe him as an extreme atheist who pushed an anti-Christian agenda on Facebook and elsewhere. Despite this, police say they do not think religion was a motivating factor in the shooting.

Based on the Daily Mail’s piece, Breitbart News headlined a story posted November 5, “Texas Church Shooter Was Atheist, Thought Christians ‘Stupid’.” The next day, Breitbart News discussed the ‘official’ story, “Texas Church Shooting Not Motivated by Race or Religion, ‘There Was a Domestic Situation’.” Freeman Martin, a spokesman for the Department of Public Safety, dismissed any religious motivation, saying,

“It’s a senseless crime. But we can tell you that there was a domestic situation going on within this family. The suspect’s mother-in-law attended this church. We know that he had made threatening — she had received threatening texts from him. And we can’t go into details about that domestic situation that is continuing to be vetted and thoroughly investigated. But we want to get that out there, that this was not racially motivated. It wasn’t over religious beliefs. There was a domestic situation going on within the family with the in-laws.”

By November 8, most news reports were focused on Kelley’s previous acts of domestic violence, his military experience and dishonorable discharge, and his escape from a mental hospital (see Washington Post entry, and World Magazine’s The Sift). Breitbart News told about how a bureaucratic failure in background checks, which would have stopped him, allowed him to obtain the gun used in the massacre. The Daily Mail posted stories about the shooter’s abuse of women. Breitbart News told about Kelley’s long history of abuse of animals.

But why attack innocent worshipers in a peaceful Baptist church in the small town of Sutherland Springs, Texas? The Daily Mail reported another surprising detail: on November 7, Kelley took his children to the church’s fall festival just 5 days prior, and was greeted cheerfully by church members glad to see him, hoping that his domestic disputes were being solved. Following that, he sent threatening emails to his mother-in-law, who attended the church. Was he scoping it out, knowing what he intended to do? If so, that would indicate enough presence of mind to consider it a crime of premeditated murder, not the deranged snap of a mentally ill person.

The article includes a timeline of key events in Kelley’s life. As it turns out, the mother-in-law was not present on the Sunday of the shooting. The horrors of the rampage are just now being described by survivors. Kelley shot babies, adults and elderly people at point-blank range, as he walked up and down the aisles, sometimes shooting victims over and over to ensure they were dead. Another Daily Mail post recounts the stories of victims of the shooting. The pastor of a neighboring community told Fox News anchor Shepard Smith how Pastor Frank Pomeroy, who was not present that day, is trying to help church members and townspeople deal with this horrendous example of pure evil. World Magazine posted a short piece, “Survivors recount horror of church attack,” noting that Kelley shot off at least 450 rounds.

Speaking of evil, headlined a story, “How belief in pure evil relates to perceptions and punishments of gun violence perpetrators.” A biologist and a psychologist say, “To our knowledge, we are actually the first researchers to successfully measure people’s perceptions of whether pure evil actually exists.” The article doesn’t say so, but evil is a theological term. For secular materialists, evil is only a behavioral strategy that evolved. As such, it cannot be called evil, which would imply the existence of absolute moral standards. It might even be called good if it led to reproductive success or survival of the fittest.

Only conservative news outlets like Truth Revolt pointed out that the death toll could have been far worse had not Stephen Willeford, a former NRA instructor, ran toward the church with his AR-15 when he heard the shooting. “He saw me, and I saw him,” he said. Having wounded Kelley who ran into his SUV and drove off, Willeford jumped into another neighbor’s car where the two gave chase until Kelley ran off the road and then shot himself. President Trump said during his Asia trip that the death toll could have been in the hundreds had not Willeford intervened. Willeford downplayed reports he was a hero. “I think my God, my Lord protected me and gave me the skills to do what needed to be done.”

Update 11/08/17: At New Republic, Sarah Jones scoffs at conservative Christians who make a big deal of the shooter’s atheism. With insults and demeaning language, Jones uses selective evidence to make it seem like mass murderers are just as likely to be Christians as atheists. She also mocks “far right-wing Christian conservatives” and their support for gun rights. At WND, for a different view, Michael Brown gives four reasons why there is so much hatred against Christians in America these days. “First, it is a natural fruit of the harsh and condescending ‘new atheism,’ which continues to poison many hearts and minds with its venom,” he begins. “God is not simply to be rejected; He is to mocked and ridiculed, as are His followers.” Those sentiments, expressed often enough to a wide enough audience, are likely to lead to violence.

We don’t want to be dogmatic while investigations are continuing, and we certainly are not claiming that all atheists are murderous haters of Christians (some of them have other methods, like firing them, denying them tenure, and preventing them from getting a hearing). There is a complex interplay of conditions and motivations behind Kelley’s rampage, but why did he do this in a church? That’s what doesn’t make sense in news reports so far. If he just wanted to kill his mother-in-law or family members, why not go to their homes? If he saw his mother-in-law was not in church as he expected, why did he shoot babies and whole families? If he just wanted to murder people at random, why not some other public place, like Stephen Paddock chose in Las Vegas? (The only hints coming from that unsolved mass murder is that Paddock was on a serious losing streak in his gambling; did he want to kill himself and go out in a blaze of glory? The case is still baffling.) Kelley had enough presence of mind to load his car with guns, drive to the church when he knew it would be in session, and enter in a blaze of gunfire, yelling “Everybody die!” Anybody who cried out he shot, even crying babies. Some played dead to try to save their lives.

It will be instructive to see what the investigations turn up about Devin Kelley, provided the officials tell the whole truth. Watch for suggestions of premeditation that would indicate Kelley had enough presence of mind to plan his attack, and was not merely suffering from mental illness. Watch for additional reports about his hatred of Christianity, and his prideful atheism. Was it a result of teaching about Darwinian evolution? Observe that some atheists after the carnage were ridiculing other Christians for praying for the victims. That attitude only fosters more hate.

We know from other mass shootings that Darwinism has the power to enrage people against religion. It was true at Columbine High School, and in Norway with Anders Breivik. Atheists will sometimes retort that religion has caused a lot of deaths, but most often those were on battlefields in political conflicts. You don’t see Christians entering atheist clubs with assault rifles and gunning down helpless men, women and children at point-blank range. And if atheists want to play statistics, have them consider the 168 million deaths caused by atheist regimes in the 20th century (Russia, China, Cambodia, and more). Today in Washington DC, the “Victims of Communism Centennial Commemoration” is taking place at the 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution, to help free people never forget the 100 million victims of an ideology that “committed some of the worst and most widespread atrocities known to history.” Lenin, Stalin, Mao and the other communist dictators hated religion, believing Darwin had proved that religion was an opiate of the people and needed to be snuffed out. Behold the faces of victims of Stalin’s gulags posted by The Daily Mail to consider the consequences.

If any doubt remains about the potential for Darwinian evolution to foment hatred and violence, we encourage readers to obtain two books by one of our contributing authors, Jerry Bergman. In these two well-documented books, The Darwin Effect and How Darwinism Corrodes Morality, Dr. Bergman lays out in gut-wrenching detail the evil fruit of Darwinism, and how it manifested itself throughout all aspects of society. The second book, for instance, tells the story of Anders Breivik, who committed an even greater mass murder of 77 young people in Norway in 2011. Bergman quotes Breivik’s manifesto written before the massacre indicating his strong allegiance to Darwinian ideas of natural selection. 



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  • Fitimtari says:

    “some atheists after the carnage were ridiculing other Christians for praying for the victims” – ironically, such prayer is as pointless from a properly Protestant (including Baptist) point of view as it is from an atheist one. Obviously, pray for their families and friends, sure, and the church community as a whole – but nothing can change about the state of the victims themselves, who hopefully are in a great place. Memorials to their excellent qualities would be fair enough of course.

    Meanwhile atheists, having no genuine solid argument at all, have nothing but baseless mockery left; and soon enough even that will be completely turned on their heads (Ps. 2:4 etc.).

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