Posts Tagged “columbine high school”

Help! Help! I'm being repressed! (Dennis the constitutional peasant, Monty Python & the Holy Grail)Militant Christianists have fallen all over each other rushing to praise Rowan county KY clerk Kim Davis for what they think is her “brave” resistance to gay marriage. They’ve called her a modern-day Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King Jr, and even Abraham Lincoln. During last night’s GOP presidential primary debate, Rick Santorum did that one better … he compared Ms Davis to a presumed Christian martyr. Raw Story reports on what this raging Christofascist said (WebCite cached article):

Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum argued on Wednesday that Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis’ persecution for being a Christian was similar to shooting victims of the 1999 Columbine High School massacre.

“Sixteen years ago this country was tremendously inspired by a young woman who faced a gunman in Columbine and was challenged about her faith and she refused to deny God,” Santorum explained during the CNN presidential debate. “We saw her as a hero.”

Rickie-boy was referring to the story of Cassie Bernall. Christians have often repeated the story that, during the massacre, one of the Columbine slaughterers asked her if she was a Christian, she proudly said “Yes,” then she was shot and killed. This story fits neatly in with Christians’ age-old tendency to view themselves as “persecuted” and it makes them feel all warm inside to think some girl voluntarily decided to accept certain death for Jesus.

There’s just one problem with this story: It never happened!

That’s right, folks, this tale of a Christian martyrdom — despite being oft-repeated within Christian circles — is a big fat fucking lie. It was actually debunked long ago, as CNN reported back in 2009, but Christians like Rickie-boy don’t appear to have gotten the memo (cached):

For example, many in the media initially reported that 17-year-old Cassie Bernall, a Christian, answered “yes” when asked if she believed in God before she was shot to death. She became a poster child for the Evangelical movement after her death. But investigators and student witnesses later told Cullen that it was another student, Valeen Schnurr, who avowed her belief in God as she was shot. Schnurr survived.

Look, I understand why Christians like to tell martyrdom stories. Theirs is a religion founded by a martyr (i.e. Jesus). Since the earliest days of the faith, they’ve viewed martyrdom as an ideal that all Christians should aspire to. A desire to be persecuted for Jesus is, therefore, embedded deep within the psychopathology of their religion. It’s an impulse they find irresistible.

Still, that can’t excuse their tendency to lie in order to support their martyrdom narrative. They shouldn’t fabricate examples of “persecution for Jesus” solely in order to tell each other they’re being persecuted for Jesus. Because in the 21st century US, no such thing is happening! In this case, Kim Davis isn’t really the Christian martyr she and her champions, like Santorum, want us to think she is. Really, she’s nothing more than a raging, sanctimonious, Puritanical bigot. That’s all.

Photo credit: PsiCop graphic, based on Monty Python & the Holy Grail.

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The shootings at Columbine High School in Littleton, CO took place 10 years ago today. Since that time the public has assumed many things to be true, however, as with most accepted public knowledge, much of it is not factually correct. It has taken all that time for someone to come forward, look at all the many claims, assess their veracity, and finally try to debunk the mythology, as CNN reports:

If you recall that two unpopular teenage boys from the Trench Coat Mafia sought revenge against the jocks by shooting up Columbine High School, you’re wrong. …

Journalist and author Dave Cullen was one of the first to take on what he calls the myths of Columbine. He kept at it for a decade, challenging what the media and law enforcement officials reported.

The author challenges a number of popular notions about Columbine, including some of the most-accepted and frequently-stated ones:

Cullen concluded that the killers weren’t part of the Trench Coat Mafia, that they weren’t bullied by other students and that they didn’t target popular jocks, African-Americans or any other group. A school shooting wasn’t their initial intent, he said. They wanted to bomb their school in an attack they hoped would make them more infamous than Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh.

Among the myths Cullen debunks is one which is dear to Christians and made a martyr out of one of their own:

[M]any in the media initially reported that 17-year-old Cassie Bernall, a Christian, answered “yes” when asked if she believed in God before she was shot to death. She became a poster child for the Evangelical movement after her death. But investigators and student witnesses later told Cullen that it was another student, Valeen Schnurr, who avowed her belief in God as she was shot. Schnurr survived.

Christians have a particular (and pathological) love of martyrdom; they have almost since the start of their religion, and even when there is no pressing danger to Christianity, they frequently delude themselves into believing they are oppressed for their beliefs. So they were eager to report the death of a girl who declared her faith. It didn’t happen that way … but that probably doesn’t matter much to them.

Cullen took on a topic which is naturally piled high with emotion and sentimentality, but punctured it anyway. He’s to be congratulated for doing so.

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