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Response to the Columbine/Jonesboro tragedies by Christian leaders, believers & one psychic:

Quite a range of root causes of the Columbine tragedy were proposed:

bulletThe Devil made them do it: Reverend Jim Peasboro of Savannah GA has written a book "The Devil in the Machine: Is your computer possessed by a demon?" Some of the points raised in the book are:
bullet"While the Computer Age has ushered in many advances, it has also  opened yet another door through which Lucifer and his minions can  enter and corrupt men's souls."
bulletDemons can possess anything with a brain, including a chicken, a human being, or a computer.
bullet"Any PC built after 1985 has the storage capacity to house an evil spirit."
bullet"...most of the youths involved in school shootings like the tragedy at Columbine were computer buffs...I have no doubt that computer demons exerted an influence on them."
bulletan estimated "...one in 10 computers in America now houses
some type of evil spirit.
" 1
bulletRammstein rock group: On 1999-OCT-28, Johanna Michaelsen was interviewed on the 700 Club -- a program on the Christian Broadcast Network. 2 She said that one can detect occultic or demonic influences in most of the school shootings. She said that the German Group Ramstein [sic] was deadly influence on the mass murderers at Columbine. Rammstein is a rock band that combines elements of industrial rock, heavy metal and prog-rock. One band member, Till Lindemann, explained that their lyrics deal with "love in all its shapes and variations." Flake said "They are completely normal, romantic lyrics."  The band is known for its impressive pyrotechnics while on stage. They have been accused by the German media of being Nazis and fascists. But the association appears weak. One source based this belief on Lindemann's "rolling r's and Adolf Hitler's diction. Another thought that the cover art for one of their albums looked vaguely Nazi like. It showed the six members of the band without shirts against a backdrop of yellow flowers.
bulletIllicit teacher/student sex: Charles B. Edwards, a pastor from Florence, SC, suggests that recent school violence may have been triggered by sexual affairs between students and teachers. He gives two examples of overpowering emotions that have been caused by such liaisons. One woman destroyed her teaching career as a result of a love affair with a male student. Another female teacher persuaded her teenage lover to kill her husband. Edwards feels that perhaps student-teacher sexual relationships may have generated emotions that were sufficiently intense to cause youths to kill their fellow students. 3
bulletPhysical location of the school: Sollog is a psychic who has been called the "Nostradamous of the 90's." He started predicting in early 1995 that a series of major tragedies would occur across "the heart of America." 4 That year, he wrote: "I shall draw a line of tragedy across the heart of this evil nation. It is to show that my word must be obeyed!" One end of the line is located about halfway up the coast of Oregon, near Eugene OR. The other end passes close to Miami, FL. The line of tragedy passes through Oregon, Idaho, Colorado, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida. Three school shootings are close to the line: Springfield OR, Littleton CO, and Pearl MS. So are the Oklahoma City Bombing, the Michael Kennedy accident, and what he calls the Jon Benet Ramsey and Versache "sacrifices." Hope, AR is also on the line; it is the birthplace of President Clinton. Some believe that the Columbine disaster may have been caused by the close proximity of the high school to the line of tragedy. If this is true, then the population of Colorado Springs CO may have a real reason concern; the line appears to go right through the city. Perhaps they will be saved by the concentration of conservative Christian ministries in that city.
bulletBreakdown of the family, religious/philosophical beliefs, media-saturated culture of death: Dr. James Dobson is founder and president of Focus on the Family. He wrote a general letter shortly after the Columbine disaster. 5 He rejects the suggestions of some others that the availability of guns or "southern culture" were responsible for the tragedy. He blames school tragedies on:
bulletFamily breakdown: Some parents are insufficiently involved with their teenagers. In some families, both parents work at full time jobs. Some teens are being brought up in single-parent homes.
bulletMany people are abandoning Christianity and adopting an Atheistic belief system and believe in situational ethics. Social institutions, like schools and courts, are becoming increasingly secular.
bulletAmerican teenagers live in a "culture of death." Movies, music, TV programs, news, and computer games are saturated with violence, random killings, and death.

Dr. Dobson recommends "prayer, sensitivity, and a renewed commitment to the principles upon which this republic was founded."

Author's comment on Dr. Dobson's main points:

bulletAll things being equal, teens fare better in two-parent homes than in one. Parents with part time or no employment outside the home can spend more time with their children. But indications are that the families of the two perpetrators at Littleton "appear to have come from intact, respectable homes..." 5
bulletWe have not seen any data comparing the frequency of violent and/or criminal acts committed by Atheists contrasted with Christians. We have see no data comparing illegal acts by those who believe in relative instead of absolute truth. In recent years, we have seen genocides in various countries; Atheistic Communists in Cambodia exterminated a large portion of country's the population. Serbian Orthodox Christians had been slaughtering the ethnic Albanians in Kosovo for months before the Littleton disaster. Dr. Dobson quoted a statement by Pat Buchanan's which seems to be an attack on Atheism, New Age and situational ethics. We cannot see how attacks on religions minorities will lower the level of hatred and violence in the country.
bulletWe share Dr. Dobson's concern for the violence in the media. But we wonder how that can be reduced without giving up some freedom of speech - a freedom that Americans value greatly.
bulletWe wonder if "the principles upon which this republic was founded" are a better guide than current secular principles. In past centuries, Americans owned slaves, prevented women from voting, prevented some inter-racial and African-American couples from marrying, convicted gays and lesbians for doing what was natural to them and giving them long prison sentences, prevented women from entering most professions, segregated the races and maintained other social evils.
bulletNew Age/The Occult/Paganism: Samuel Blumenfeld has written many books on education, including a guide for parents who are homeschooling. He has blamed the Columbine tragedy on Outcome-Based Education (OBE). 6 The Littleton school system was selected as a trial location to evaluate OBE in Colorado. Blumenfeld believes that the "moving spirit" behind OBE is New Age philosophy. He writes: "American schools like Columbine High have been completely paganized by educators who have adopted the occult philosophy of the [book] 'Aquarian Conspiracy.' It is a philosophy in conflict with Judeo-Christian teachings, and it is a philosophy that opens the door to satanism. It is impossible for a member of the Aquarian Conspiracy to be indifferent to Christianity. He or she must oppose it, for Christianity is based on absolute biblical principles that condemn pagans. And that is why the public educrats are so adamantly opposed to any acknowledgment of the biblical God in the schools." [He appears to view New Age philosophy, Paganism, and Satanism as identical belief systems. His theory does have one major weakness: Columbine High is not part of the Littleton school system].
bulletFreedom of religion: Pat Buchanan, a Republican presidential candidate blamed the tragedy on excessive religious freedom:  "At Littleton yesterday, America got a glimpse of the last stop on that train to hell she boarded decades ago when we declared that God is dead, and that each of us is his or her own god who can make up the rules as we go along." 7
bulletAdmitting belief in God to a anti-religious terrorist: Josh McDowell talked about the Columbine tragedy a "Right from Wrong counter- the- culture" youth rally at the Central Baptist Church in Jonesboro, AR. He recommended that born-again Christians go through the following sequence when making moral decisions:
bulletConsider all of the options.
bulletCompare each options with the nature of God (loving, just, righteous, truthful). Select the option that represents God's way.
bulletCommit to taking the option that matches God's way.
bulletCount on God's blessing, protection, and provision. 8

McDowell linked the above procedure to Cassie Bernall, 17, a student at Columbine High. One of the terrorists, wielding a shotgun, is alleged to have asked a group of students huddled under tables in fear, whether any believed in God. Cassie considered the options, compared each with the attributes of God (one of which is truth), and decided to tell the truth. She stood up, said that she believed in God and was murdered on the spot. 9 (Although this story has been widely circulated and believed, the actual facts of the incident differ greatly). McDowell appears to recommend this procedure, even if it, in effect, results in one's loss of life. He feels that when a person is faced with a choice between martyrdom and not volunteering the truth, they should choose death. 

bulletCults: "M" sent a prayer request to the Prayer for Onliners International Ministry (PFOIM) on 1999-MAY-6. She/he said that the Lord had spoken to them directly. The prayer said, in part: "Pray that these cults ( trench coat mafia / those that call themselves Goth / Gothics / skinheads & klu-klux clan) be broken up all across the nation...Pray that the evil ones [sic] power be broken over the minds of our children, youth, parents and leaders..." 10
bulletGoths: "Orion" also sent a prayer request to PFOIM on 1999-APR-28. He accused:  "A diabolical cult...operating in secrecy... For more info. use "search" and type in: "Goth, Gothic." I could feel the evil forces at work... IT IS DANGEROUS MATERIAL TO THE MENTAL WELL BEING OF ANYONE INDULDGING [sic] IN THESE FANTICIES [sic]...It is conducive to depression, preoccupied with death, bats, vampirism, and all manner of satanic influence... It is clear that out of this terrible event, God chose to expose the works of darkness, allowing us to see the enemies [sic] operation."
bulletWorkings of Satan: "Teri" also sent a prayer request to PFOIM on 1999-MAY-8. It said in part: "Thank You Lord for the revival that has begun in Littleton,Colorado! Once again, something the enemy meant for bad You are turning around!"

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References used:

  1. The original Internet link is no longer available. However, comments on the original article are available at:  http://www.sojo.net/sojomail/index
  2. "Johanna Michaelsen, 700 Club interview," 1999-OCT-28 at: http://www.cbn.org/the700club/johannamichaelsen.asp
  3. Charles B Edwards, "A serious question we need to ask ourselves. Is illicit sex involved in the recent school violence?," Partners in Prayer, at: http://www.charlesbryantedwards.com/Renomad.htm
  4. "More events land on Net Psychic's strange Predicted 'Line'," at: http://www.newpower.org/xnews/99/04/299.shtml
  5. James Dobson, "Dr. Dobson Responds to the Shooting at Columbine High School," Focus on the Family monthly letter, 1999-APR-26. Published at: http://fountaingateway.com/newsupdtmkd.htm
  6. S.L. Blumenfeld, "Columbine High and New Age philosophy," WorldNetDaily.com. See: http://millennium.fortunecity
  7. Justin Torres, "Leaders call for prayer for Littleton," Conservative News Service (CNS) at: http://www.conservativenews.net/InDepth/archive/199904
  8. Josh McDowell, "Josh McDowell Answers Youth, Part 1," special program on American Family Radio. Audio available at: http://www.afr.net/
  9. Misty Bernall, "She said yes: The unlikely martyrdom of Cassie Bernall," Pocket Books, (2000). Read reviews or order this book safely from Amazon.com online book store
  10. Prayer request at Prayer for Onliners International Ministry (PFOIM) at: http://www.pfoim.org/prayer/prayer.html

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Copyright © 1999 to 2006 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 1999-JUN 
Latest update: 2006-JUL-25
Author: B.A. Robinson

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