West Word – June 2, 2010:

More than a decade after the attack on Columbine, the high school’s name remains a buzz word — and an infinitely flexible one.

Example: Public Broadcast Service talk-show host Tavis Smiley used the massacre as an example of violence done by Christians — a position that’s earned him criticism from PBS’s own ombudsman.

Tavis: I guess I’m trying to understand where the evidence is that suggests that all of us who happen to be Christians or enlightened in some other way need to take on Muslims here in the West.

Ali: The people who are engaged in terrorist activities look like you and me. They look like everybody else here. Major Nidal Hasan, the military guy who in November shot 13 of his colleagues and injured 32, he’s going to be on trial pretty soon, I think this week, the young man, Faisal Shahzad, in Times Square who tried to blow innocent people that he doesn’t know up, these guys are acting on conviction. Somehow, the idea got into their minds that to kill other people is a great thing to do and that they would be rewarded in the hereafter.

Tavis: But Christians do that every single day in this country.

Ali: Do they blow people up (unintelligible)?

Tavis: Yes. Oh, Christians, every day, people walk into post offices, they walk into schools, that’s what Columbine is — I could do this all day long. There are so many more examples of Christians — and I happen to be a Christian. That’s back to this notion of your idealizing Christianity in my mind, to my read. There are so many more examples, Ayaan, of Christians who do that than you could ever give me examples of Muslims who have done that inside this country, where you live and work.

  1. bobbo, the three ring circus rolls on says:

    What unites religion, cults, satanism, communism, nationalists, corporatists and all the rest is that these mass killers all placed some “ism” above the value of human life.

    For religion–it is God’s mercy that is above human life and we marvel at his mystery. Hitler may have killed for greater living space. Mao for the greater good. All these famous people shared the religious ethics: some things are more important than mere human life.

    Atheists “tend” to think there is nothing but the current life we suffer through. Its religious “type” thinking whether by name an atheist or not that kills millions at a time.

  2. Buzz says:

    I think Columbine was an act of MALE terrorism. As is most of it.

  3. Tippis says:

    #25 Benjamin: “Waco, really? When Christians start believing that David Koresh is the Messiah you can call the Branch Davidians at Waco Christians. We in the real world think that idea is ridicules.”

    The Davidians were Christian in much the same way as Al Qaeda and their ilk are Muslim. Same goes for the various Christian Identity militia movements and other assorted NWO-nuts.

  4. swat45 says:

    It boils down to: 99% of the world’s population has 1% of the world’s IQ.

    Tavis Smiley is obviously in the 1% group!

    The difference between genius and stupidity is: genius has limits.

  5. brm says:


    “The Davidians were Christian in much the same way as Al Qaeda and their ilk are Muslim.”

    Except there were like, a hundred Davidians, and something like a few hundred million radical Muslims. And they have rockets.

  6. Skippy says:

    Ah Yea and Benjamin, what part about Stalin and the others you mention (besides Adolph) being mad, power hungry COMMUNISTS escaped you?

    Besides, the fact that atheists do bad things STILL don’t prove there’s a god.

  7. aslightlycrankygeek says:

    When two teens ask all Christians in a classroom to stand up, and then murder the people who stand up, I think it is pretty safe to say that they are Christian haters, not Christians.

    Any other tough questions, Mr. Obvious?

  8. jccalhoun says:

    aslightlycrankygeek said,
    When two teens ask all Christians in a classroom to stand up, and then murder the people who stand up,

    That’s a new one to me. Any evidence for that ever happening?

  9. deowll says:

    Anyone who thinks the young men that did the shooting at Columbine were Christians has passed my test for mental incompetent.

    One of those youth pointed a gun at a girl and asked her if she was a Christian and when she said yes shot and killed her.

    There is not one shred of evidence that any of those young men had been in any way influenced by the teaching of Christ.

    I would also add that anyone who thinks they had been most likely wouldn’t be able to tell a Christian from a Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist, or atheist because they don’t know jack about the teachings of Christ.

    I do think the post does show how important freedom of speech is. If the person who expressed that view hadn’t been allowed to say what they said I might not know they were less sapient then than your typical third grader.

  10. aslightlycrankygeek says:


    After reading your link, I must concede I am probably getting a few accounts of that day mixed up. That was a long time ago and I was just starting to watch the news.

    The actual accounts are that they asked all ‘Jocks’ to stand up and went on to shoot them, and they asked one girl if she was a Christian before they shot her. The conclusion of your Salon article was that their intent was to pretty much kill everyone, and it didn’t matter if you were a jock, black, or believed in God. I would say that is probably true, though they definitely wanted to get the satisfaction of shooting those particular groups. I wouldn’t say they actually wanted everyone to die because they did tip off a few people to stay away from school at that time.

    My main point is that there is no evidence at all that they were Christian, but some evidence that they didn’t like Christians. You might want to continue reading in the article you posted:

    “The bottom line, investigators insist, is that regardless of which spiteful jibes the killers tossed about during the shooting spree, none of the taunts bore any relation to their motives. “Were there things said about jocks?” Battan asked. “Probably. About God? Probably. Was there a ‘nigger’ comment? Probably. But that’s not what it was about.” Investigators agree it was about hate. ” “

  11. ECA says:

    i LOVE IT..
    Find someone/something/any group..
    and BLAME them for mankinds Faults.
    Dont blame Society..dont Blame yourself..dont find TRUTH..

    Let the Blame fall to ANYONE except ME/myself/I.
    DONT FIX the problem.
    Dont blame the parents that work to much to watch over the kids.
    Dont blame the school for NOT stopping harassment.

    Have fun with in IRELAND with the protestants and Catholics.. BLAME them.

    I want his list of Christian bombings in the USA.

  12. jccalhoun says:

    deowll said,

    One of those youth pointed a gun at a girl and asked her if she was a Christian and when she said yes shot and killed her.

    That one doesn’t seem to be true either: http://salon.com/news/feature/1999/09/30/bernall/print.html


    Cassie Bernall was the girl who allegedly said that and was killed. Now evidence shows that is not true and it was Valeen Schnurr who was asked if she believed in God (and not if she was a Christian) and she survived. The Salon article says she was actually asked that after she had been shot but I didn’t read that anywhere else.

    I swear I’m not a Columbine expert or anything. I just remember hearing some stories on the radio that talked about the myths of columbine.

  13. AlanB says:

    Religion has very little to do with actual behavior, and much to do with justifying behavior one finds reasonable or profitable for other reasons. Do you really think either the Islamic or Christian crusades were about religion? Anyway, religion is so mixed up with culture that it is impossible to separate it out as an independent factor.

    x=f(y,a,b,c,d,…). Define f().

  14. TheCommodore says:

    Aww, Angus – ya beat me to it. Tavis Smiley has nothing to contribute to reasonable discourse.

    Now as to Christian Terrorism? There is nothing within Christian philosophy that can be construed as advocating violence or terrorism (well, Jesus throwing the money changers out of the temple might, but that could only apply today to beating up bankers that charge more than 10% for loans, and for some reason we’re not doing this). Enough said.

  15. MikeN says:

    Rosie O’Connell made a documentary about Christian terrorists. It was highlighted on O’Reilly’s show in one of Dennis Hopper’s last movies.

  16. deowll says:

    #45 If you actually look at the teachings of Jesus there is a serious question among many that it is permissible to engage in violence for any reason.

    I think self defense is permissible as well as the defense of others but that gets you on a slippery slope where you can soon justify about anything most of which can’t reasonably be justified based on Jesus’s teachings.

    Islam clearly makes certain demands and every good Muslim must support Jihad or they are clearly going against the Koran/the word of Allah and the punishment for that is death.

    Don’t take my word for it. Do what I did and down load a free translation. You won’t have to read very far to learn how Allah regards those not of the faith.

    It clearly says the right thing to do to anyone that stands against the teachings of Allah is to kill them. A couple of religions are exempted to the degree they can be permitted to live if they pay the tax and keep their proper place.

    It says that Jews, Christians, and I think Samaritans can be permitted to live if the pay the tax and don’t oppose the will of Allah. Personally I’d feel a lot more friendly to the Islamic faith if Mohammad had said they have the right to live but what is written is written.

  17. the haunted sheep says:

    But really, isn’t everything terrorism?

  18. dani says:

    Wow, PBS Viewers & readers should be given more credit for their being intelligent enough NOT to nit-pick over every statement about Mr. Smiley’s comment, on the show with Ms. Ali. Mr. Smiley is a GREAT asset to the PBS Channel and has no ill intent to bash Christians or any other religion for that matter.

    Please stop insulting our intelligence by rally up threads to knit the sweater of ignorance AGAIN & AGAIN, century, after century, year, after year. Mr. Smiley’s comments are taken out of context – AGAIN. If you’re going to inform viewers or readers, tell the whole story and the related stories that come:

    Statement from Tavis Smiley in response to his interview with Ayan Hirsi Ali, broadcast May 25, 2010 on PBS’ “Tavis Smiley.”
    “Since some members of the public have responded to excerpts from my conversation with the author Ayan Hirsi Ali, I would like to clarify my point of view and the context in which that conversation took place.

    Ms. Hirsi Ali and I were talking about violence perpetrated in the name of religion or by people who claim to be religious. We agreed that there is extremism in Christianity just as there is in Islam and other faiths. We agreed that people have always found ways to use religion to justify heinous acts. Where we disagreed was that followers of any one religion are predisposed to violence. Unfortunately, history has shown us that believers of all stripes have been misguided. As a follower of that first-century Palestinian Jew named Jesus, I abhor violence in the name of religion. It is intolerable under any circumstances. I have always been very open about being a Christian and, indeed, for every program of my career, on both television and radio, I have always signed off with the biblical admonition to “keep the faith.”
    I have faith that the American public will continue to support diversity, pluralism, and tolerance, rather than finding artificial ways to divide us.”

    Thanks for hearing me out,
    Los Angeles


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