Hours after the killing of nine churchgoers in Charleston, South Carolina, a pastor appeared on the Fox News program Fox & Friends to advise religious leaders in the U.S. to arm themselves against a growing tide of violent anti-Christian terrorism.
The police are indeed investigating the incident as a hate crime. However, it is still unclear whether the shooter was religiously or racially motivated. Fox News’s Steve Doocy interpreted the shooting as an attack on faith and Christianity.
— Media Matters (@mmfa) June 18, 2015
In the same segment, pastor E.W. Jackson shared his thoughts on the recent tragedy. He called for pastors and church leaders to arm themselves and protect their congregations with lethal force, if necessary. “I would urge pastors, and men in these churches, to prepare to defend themselves.” He said. “It’s sad, but I think that we’ve got to arm ourselves. At least have some people in the church who are prepared to defend the church when women and children are attacked.”
The heavily right-leaning opinion organization is a staunch advocate of gun rights, and it seems they’re making a preemptive strike in the gun laws debate this incident will undoubtedly rekindle.
“Wait for the facts, don’t jump to conclusions.” Jackson continued. “But I am concerned this gunman decided to go into a church. Because there does seem to be a rising hostility against Christians in this country because of our biblical views.”
Reaction to the pastor’s words has not been positive. One commenter opined: “Of all the pastors Fox could have had on, they put one on that supports the idea of people carrying guns in church. Shame Jesus wasn’t packing in the Garden of Gethsemane. Could have taken them damn Romans out!”
On Twitter, many felt Fox’s decision to interpret the story as an “attack on faith” was premature at a time when little is known about the perpetrator’s motives. It’s certainly not the first time Twitter users have derided Fox News for inaccuracies.
@mmfa Disengage brain from mouth. Speak nonsense. It's the Fox way.
— The Chalcenteric Kid (@AlaninSoFlo) June 18, 2015
As the story develops, #CharlestonShooting and #AMEShooting have been trending on Twitter with news and updates. #PrayForCharleston has also been trending as people across the country express their support for the victims and their families.
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