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News Alert: Colorado Shootings Underscore Persecution Of Christians In USA

ICC Note

“These deaths in Colorado highlight the fact that Christians and churches are the overwhelming target of violent hate crimes in America .”

By Stefan J. Bos

Tuesday, 11 December 2007 USA (BosNewsLife) — This weekend’s deadly shootings in two Christian establishments in the American state of Colorado have underscored concerns that “Christians and churches are the overwhelming target of hate crimes in America ,” an influential conservative group said Tuesday, December 11.

The US-based Christian Defense Coalition (CDC), a platform of conservative, religious and disability organizations, made the comments as news emerged that gunman Mathew Murray warned of his plans for the rampage in anti-Christian rants posted on the Internet.

Murray, who shot dead four people Sunday, December 9, in separate attacks on a missionary center of Youth With A Mission in Arvada, a suburb of Denver, and the New Life mega-church in Colorado Springs, published over a dozen writings online prior to his shooting spree, American media reported in Denver.

“You Christians brought this on yourselves,” Murray reportedly wrote on a Web site for people who have left Pentecostal and fundamentalist religious organizations, shortly before the second of his two attacks.

Shot Dead

Murray , 24, was shot dead by a security guard at the New Life evangelical church, averting what church officials said could have been a massacre.

He was reportedly armed with two handguns, an assault rifle, around 1,000 rounds of ammunition and several smoke grenades as he began his assault on the church, which was packed with around 7,000 worshippers.

CDC Director Patrick J. Mahoney said in a statement monitored by BosNewsLife that, ”These deaths in Colorado highlight the fact that Christians and churches are the overwhelming target of violent hate crimes in America .”

He cited recent research by the National Coalition for Burned Churches which shows that at least “2500 arson, bombing and suspicious fire incidents across the nation,” occurred in the 1997-2007 period. About 600 churches were reportedly subjected to arson alone between 2000 and 2006.

Americans Surprised

“For many Americans, the fact comes as a surprise. Most would believe that the groups or facilities most likely to be targets of hate crimes are persons of color, gays, Muslims or abortion clinics,” Mahoney said. He accused American media of not doing enough to report on attacks against devoted Christians in the United States .

“Imagine the media outrage if over 600 mosques, abortion clinics, gay night clubs or NAACP offices were burned to the ground over the past several years. It would be a major news story for weeks,” he explained. “Yet, when hundreds of churches are burned and Christians are killed there is a much more limited and lukewarm response.”

The CDC official said it was crucial to “work for an America where violence has no place and people are not targeted for acts of hate because of their skin color, religious beliefs or gender. However, we must begin to recognize that the most serious problem regarding violent hate crimes America concerns churches and Christians.”

The Colorado shootings was also expected to increase a debate on the number of fire arms available in the United States .