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“Now you must raise your children up in a world where that union of man and box turtle is on the same legal footing as man and wife…”
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Posts for December, 2007

Prayers and Condolences for Arvada and Colorado Springs

Jim Burroway

December 9th, 2007

Four shot, two died in Arvada, Colorado outside of Denver. Four more shot at New Life Church in Colorado Springs. We will update those two posts as more information become available. We don’t know if these two incidents are related, but I fear the worst.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to those who were injured and killed, to their families and friends, and to the communities affected by this senseless and incomprehensible violence. And our prayers also go for the swift apprehension of all those responsible for these shootings.

See also:

Colorado Gunman Scared Co-Workers, Heard Voices
The LaBarbera Award: Tony PerkinsPrayers and Condolences for Arvada and Colorado Springs
Four Shot At New Life Church
Two Christian Missionaries Killed, Two Injured Near Denver

Four Shot At New Life Church

Daniel Gonzales

December 9th, 2007

As of this blog posting police were unsure if this shooting is related to an earlier shooting in Arvada (Denver). From CNN:

A gunman opened fire in the parking lot of a Colorado Springs church on Sunday, striking four people, the church’s pastor said.

A black-clad man armed with a rifle opened fire on worshippers inside a Colorado Springs, Colorado, megachurch Sunday afternoon, wounding several people, church and hospital officials reported.

The gunman was then shot to death, a minister said.

Rob Brendle, an associate pastor at New Life Church, said the attack took place after a late-morning service.

Amy Sufak, a spokeswoman for Penrose-St. Francis Hospital in Colorado Springs, told CNN that several victims were taken to the hospital.

Colorado Springs Police Chief Rick Myers would confirm no details of the incident, calling it a “very dynamic situation right now.”

Lt. Lari Sevene, a spokeswoman for the El Paso County Sheriff’s Department, said the attack took place shortly after 1 p.m. and said possibly two or three people were wounded. She could not confirm the death of the gunman and referred further questions to the Colorado Springs Police Department.

But Brendle told CNN the gunman was dead.

New Life Church was founded by Rev. Ted Haggard in 1984.

Update: Other reports suggest that a suspect has been detained. Another report says that one gunman was shot, and a second possible gunman and a car full of explosives was being sought. No confirmation yet from Colorado Springs police or the El Paso Sheriff’s office on any of these reports. Obviously things are rather chaotic right now.

Update: Fox31 in Denver reports that “Police have confirmed that the shooter was killed, though they are not saying whether he was shot by police or died of a self-inflicted gunshot.” No one else is picking up this report yet, so it’s unclear whether it’s been confirmed.

Update: The Associated Press is reporting that “Colorado Springs police Lt. Fletcher Howard said a suspect had been detained in the shootings at the New Life Church, but a church member who was locked down at the church Sunday afternoon said a security guard had shot and killed the gunman.”

Update: CNN and the Denver Post confirm that the gunman was shot dead by a security guard at New Life Church. Several “suspicious devices” were found at the church. The Colorado Springs Gazette reports that a church member was also killed in the rampage in addition to the gunman, and four others were wounded. New Life had instituted unspecified security measures when they received word of the Arvada shooting.

See also:

Colorado Gunman Scared Co-Workers, Heard Voices
The LaBarbera Award: Tony Perkins
Prayers and Condolences for Arvada and Colorado Springs
Four Shot At New Life Church
Two Christian Missionaries Killed, Two Injured Near Denver

How Hate Crime Laws Can Protect Everyone

Jim Burroway

September 28th, 2006

It appears that a hate crime may have been committed in Colorado Springs Tuesday night.

You may remember a few months back when the Gill Foundation kicked off an ad campaign featuring a dog trying to “moo” as a humorous illustration that being gay is not the result of a choice. Focus on the Family countered with a “No Moo Lies” campaign. Christina and Brandon Sewall of Briargate, CO., participated by placing “No moo lies” signs in their yard.

Since then vandals have damaged or stolen the signs, to which the Sewalls responded by just putting even more signs in their yard. They also started running a video security camera overnight. Tuesday evening, someone was caught on tape piling the signs, trash, and patio furniture onto the Sewall’s front lawn and setting it on fire.

The investigation is continuing. If it turns out that whoever did this was motivated by bias against the Sewall’s position against homosexuality, it may fall under Colorado’s hate crime laws protecting its citizens against bias crimes based on sexual orientation.

You read that right. You see, lost behind all of the rhetoric of “special rights”, it turns out that hate crime laws which include sexual orientation really do protect everyone. According to the FBI’s most recent hate crime report, there were thirty-three anti-heterosexual hate crime incidents affecting thirty-six victims in 2004. And I noted in our report, Federal Hate Crime Statistics: Why the Numbers Don’t Add Up, there are many reasons to believe that this is an undercount. In fact, the undercount may be quite substantial since most people assume that hate crime laws only protect the minority.

I don’t know the specifics of Colorado’s hate crime law, nor do we know what the outcome of the investigation will wind up being. But it may well be ironic that a law that has been vigorously opposed by Focus on the Family for “promoting the homosexual lifestyle” may, in fact, serve to protect a participant in a Focus on the Family action.

And while it would be ironic, it would nevertheless be appropriate, depending on what the investigation finds. Because it turns out that anybody can be a victim of hate. And everyone deserves the protection of hate crime laws.

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