It’s common for pundits and media talking heads to use things like the tragic killing in Aurora, Colo., to buttress or even advance their agendas. Gun control advocates point to the reckless distribution of firearms, while moral conservatives blame the loosening of moral strictures in our culture. But thus far, talk show host Bryan Fischer has taken that to the furthest extremes I’ve witnessed.
Click here, found on the Raw Story website, for exactly what Fischer proposes is to blame for the Aurora tragedy, but I’ll do my best to summarize. He begins by pointing to some fire that Saddleback Pastor Rick Warren came under for a tweet he sent out recently. On Friday, later in the day, following the shooting, Warren sent out a message, saying, “When students are taught they are no different from animals, they act like it.”
Understandably many were incensed by this in light of the killing, but according to Fischer, Warren was responding to concerns about sexual immorality in the culture, and specifically he was reacting to a parent’s letter sent to him after the man’s child met with a teacher at school. According to the letter, the teacher informed the student that sex with multiple partners was merely a human moral construct and was totally natural.
On Rick Warren’s tweet: Call him a victim of horrible timing, at the least. It was certainly insensitive, if nothing else, but we’ll give him the benefit of the doubt and assume he wasn’t talking about Aurora.
Basically, Fischer’s argument comes down to this. We teach kids in school that they’ve evolved from monkeys, and that survival of the fittest (or natural) celebrates the triumph of the strong over the weak. Combine this with loosened sexual teen morality (as evidenced by the teacher in the letter sent to Rick Warren) and the public celebration of homosexuality, and you have fertile grounds for animal-like behavior, such as that involving shooter James Holmes.
Oh yes, the gay part. Fischer commented about some website (which he does not name) that supposedly was set up in conjunction with the London Summer Olympics to allow gays to engage in “random, frequent, anonymous” sex, which he calls “one of the characteristics of the homosexual community. It always has been; it always will be.”
So in his estimation, because of our sexual moral decay (as supported by the classroom and Olympic illustrations) and his consistent and ongoing attack on the virtues of evolution, James Holmes killed more than a dozen people in a suburban movie theater in Colorado.
Though he concedes that Rick Warren’s Twitter message was not in response to the killings, he seems to want to attribute the same comments to the situation. Basically, the reason James Holmes went on a mass killing spree was because we’ve been taught that we’re animals, and that it’s permissible to act as such.
Shocking as this may seem in the context of the recent killings, this type of argument, sadly, is not new. We seem to revel in exploiting the most recent catastrophe to pull our favorite straw man out of the closet, dust it off and start pounding away at it with fervor.
If anything points to our base animal nature, this certainly seems to.
Christian Piatt is an author, editor, speaker, musician and spoken word artist. He is Director if Church Growth and Development at First Christian Church in Portland, Ore. Christian is the creator and editor of "Banned Questions About The Bible" and "Banned Questions About Jesus." His new memoir on faith, family and parenting is called "PREGMANCY: A Dad, a Little Dude and a Due Date."