The journalistic peep show into the life of a murderer continues, as witnessed in this morning’s Denver Post:
The ultra-religious home-school curriculum that Matthew Murray ranted about in Web postings before he opened fire at two Christian centers forbids dating, rock music and “wrong clothes.” It advises young men and women to live at home until their parents release them and counsels parents to choose marriage partners for their offspring.
I suppose this information is interesting as far as it goes, but needs to be carefully qualified with three other vital insights, some of which are covered in the article:
1. The clearly misguided and inappropriate approach of the highlighted facets of this home-school curriculum represent the fringes both of evangelical Christianity and home-schooling. There are many serious believers in Scriptural inerrancy and other fundamental Christian doctrines who cannot be characterized this way.
2. Even so, this case is an isolated incident. It is not as though there is anything approaching an epidemic of Bill Gothard homeschoolers going on homicidal rampages.
3. While this information might be of tangible value if the young man had murdered members of his family, it tells us little or nothing (at least on a rational level) of why he chose to attack organizations that are in the mainstream of evangelical Christianity and detached from these specific teachings.
In the end, the clearly deranged murderer was who he was. There is no apparent rational connection of any sort between the fringe Christian home-schooling movement in which he was raised and the targets of his murderous rage.
But any inordinate attention received by this aspect of the killer’s background only feeds the ill-informed, biased opportunists who will distort reality to paint all evangelical Christians or homeschoolers with this broad brush. Just something for readers to be wary of.