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Why Evangelical Christian Robert Aaron Long Murdered Eight People in Georgia

robert aaron long

Robert Aaron Long, 21, of Woodstock, Georgia, stands accused of a string of Asian massage parlor shootings that left eight people dead. Long, a devout Southern Baptist who frequented massage parlors, felt guilty over his “sin” and decided to atone for his sins by murdering eight people.

Long attended Crabapple First Baptist Church, a Fundamentalist Southern Baptist congregation in Alpharetta, Georgia. The church has made its website and social media accounts private. Last Sunday, First Baptist’s pastor, Jerry Dockery, had this to say in his sermon:

We’ve had, what, 45 presidents in our brief history as a nation? How many other kings around the world? How many other rulers have sat upon thrones, claiming to be in charge? The King is coming again.

When Christ returns, he will wage war against those who have rejected his name.

There is one word devoted to their demise. Swept away! Banished! Judged. They have no power before God. Satan himself is bound and released and then bound again and banished. That great dragon deceiver — just that quickly — God throws him into an eternal torment. And then we read where everyone — everyone that rejects Christ — will join Satan, the Beast and the false prophet in hell.

This sermon has since been deleted. I wonder why?

First Baptist is a member of Founders Ministries — a Calvinistic group dedicated to reclaiming the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) for the glory of John Calvin’s God and five-point Calvinism.

According to Ryan Burton King, a Calvinistic pastor, Long is a:

guy who was very active in his Baptist church. He prayed a prayer and was baptised at 8 but later confessed that he had been a false convert, who was now truly regenerate. He was baptised in 2018 and his testimony circulated online.

Most news media sites have focused on the victims’ race, treating these murders as a racially motivated hate crime. Long has already disputed that claim, but that narrative continues to drive discussions about his crimes. I want to posit a different motivation for Long’s murderous rampage: Evangelical teaching on sexuality.

Long frequented massage parlors, I assume even after he really, really, really got saved. Getting re-saved is common in churches with Calvinistic leanings, especially Southern Baptist and Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) congregations. People who walk the aisle, pray a prayer, and are pronounced born again, often have second born again experiences later in life after hearing the TRUE gospel of sovereign grace. I recently read a book about a Sovereign Grace congregation in Texas (which I pastored for a time in 1994) that detailed some of its members’ conversion stories. Almost to the man (and women), the members testified that they had made false professions of faith, and upon hearing the TRUE gospel, they repented of their sins, and Jesus saved them. This happens so often in Calvinistic churches that I think it is fair for me to conclude that this is the norm.

Despite Long’s latest conversion experience, he still struggled with what new reports are calling “sex addiction.” While I know nothing about Crabapple First Baptist Church and its pastor, I think I can safely assume that Pastor Dockery preached the gospel of sexual purity; that he preached against fornication, adultery, homosexuality, premarital sex, masturbation, and pornography. As many Evangelical teens and men do, Long struggled with staying on the straight and narrow sexually. Instead of being taught to embrace and own his sexuality, Long likely heard guilt- and fear-inducing sermons about how the thrice-holy God viewed sexual “sins.” While I am in no way justifying what Long did, I can envision how overwhelming guilt drove him to massacre those he believed were the locus of his sin problem. Long planned to murder more sex workers, but fortunately, he was stopped before he could. Imagine how great a blood atonement he planned to make to Jesus to expiate his sexual sins.

Evangelical church leaders are falling all over themselves to “explain” Long’s heinous behavior. I wonder if they will take a long, hard look in the mirror and see that their “Biblical” teachings and preaching are the problem? Evangelicals will distance themselves from Long, deconstructing his life, and even saying that he was never a REAL Christian. However, the evidence suggests that Long was a Jesus-loving man who took his faith seriously. A man who attended high school with Long had this to say about him:

He was very innocent seeming and wouldn’t even cuss. He was sorta nerdy and didn’t seem violent from what I remember. He was a hunter and his father was a youth minister or pastor. He was big into religion.

Let me conclude this post with Long’s own words about his life:

“As many of you may remember, when I was 8 years old I thought I was becoming a Christian, and got baptized during that time. And I remember a lot of the reason for that is a lot of my friends in my Sunday school class were doing that.

And after that time, there wasn’t any fruit from the root that is our salvation.

[Long goes on to say that when he was in seventh grade he attended a youth group and a speaker was discussing the biblical story of the prodigal son.]

“The son goes off and squanders all that he has and lives completely for himself and then, when he finds he’s wanting to eat pig food, he realized there’s something wrong and he goes back to his father and his father runs back to him and embraces him. And by the grace of God I was able to draw the connection there and realize this is a story between what happened with me and God. I ran away living completely for myself, and he still wants me, and so that’s when I was saved.”

There’s little doubt that Long was a born-again Christian, that he truly loved Jesus. There is also little doubt that he had problems with his sexuality, and this led to the deaths of eight innocent people. While race and misogyny played a part, they were secondary to his religious beliefs.

Bruce Gerencser, 63, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 42 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen awesome grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist. For more information about Bruce, please read the About page.

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40 Comments

  1. Avatar
    CarolK

    No doubt that purity culture was a huge contributor to Robert Aaron Long’s murder spree, but I wouldn’t discount the fact that most of the victims were Asian women. There is that old trope of East and Southeast Asian women being “dragon ladies” out to snare men.

    • Avatar
      Bruce Gerencser

      The question I ask is this: was the race of the victims because massage parlors are typically staffed by Asian women or did Long specifically target Asian women? I suspect it’s the former. Lots of information still coming in. One report says Long planned to shoot up adult movie businesses. Porn movies typically feature non-Asian actors (in my “expert” opinion 😂😂).

      Long has serious psychological problems. Did race and misogyny play a part. Probably, but I suspect the Fundamentalist religion is what primarily drove his murderous behavior.

      What happened is Long’s interpretation of “if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off.” He cut off what caused offense to God — sex workers — with a 9mm long gun. 😢😢

  2. Avatar
    Bruce Gerencser

    “I n a cached post dating to Monday, March 15, on its now-inaccessible website, the church offered an interpretation of the Seventh Commandment (which states “Thou shalt not commit adultery”).

    That edict means God requires “that we abstain from sexual immorality and live purely and faithfully, whether in marriage or in single life, avoiding all impure actions, looks, words, thoughts, or desires, and whatever might lead to them,” the post reads.”

    https://www.vice.com/en/article/qjpymm/the-alleged-atlanta-shooters-church-tried-to-disappear-from-the-internet

  3. Avatar
    Troy

    When I first heard about it, knowing nothing else, I thought it might be someone one with a religious vendetta against what are de facto brothels. The media has made it seem like an anti-Asian rampage. I doubt it had much if anything to do with it.

  4. Avatar
    Brian Vanderlip

    I will verify that as a young Christian struggling with a young man’s hard-on, race is a very small part, almost non-existent part of the action on the front lines. The war I fought was within myself and it was driven by the nuclear power of evangelical Christian delusion. I hated myself for being unable to stop thinking of things sensual/sexual! I hated myself, a mere boy that was called by God to be someone else who was pure and never even thought of sex! I prayed for forgiveness after masturbating and the cycle only increased my suffering as time went on. What was normal and natural sensuality was cursed and shamed by GOD!
    Evangelical Christianity is a cursed thing designed to harm us and sometimes a hero of the faith steps forward to maim and murder openly, to display the heart of the gospel shared in places like the guilty, now cowering and hiding Crabapple First Baptist.
    I state this because I have felt the horror and rage in myself fed by the flames of religious fervor. I will tell you that I feel sorrow regarding this hapless, hopeless kid who has unleashed his wrecked heart. Look at the suffering he has sprayed in bullets and hate! Thank-you, Crabapple First Baptist! Thank-you, evangelical belief! You have taken a youngster’s natural human feelings and so twisted them with your sick ‘gospel’ that he was unable to manage anymore, even after multiple ‘savings’ where he turned again and again to God. Then one day he heard the preacher’s message for real and realized that the only way left for him to be holy was to wipe temptation from the earth! Sick, sick preacher, turn yourself in…
    Sick believer, you are simply human, simply mortal. Don’t believe them when they tell you that you are evil and lost! Go for help. Find a counselor trained to assist those suffering religious abuse. Robert Aaron Long was taken at a young age and groomed. Onward Christian Soldiers!

  5. Avatar
    Dave

    News sources continue to push the narrative that this was a hate crime targeting Asian people. After reading this guy’s statement it was clear that his screwed up religious indoctrination was behind this act. Certainly there have been countless hate crimes against Asian people and they should be roundly condemned but this should not be the example to be held up. Bruce, you have published the most accurate depiction of this horrific act but it will not be cited in most accounts. Once again religion will get a free pass. Meanwhile I predict this guy will experience a prison enlightenment and be held up as a poster boy by evangelicals: an example of how Jesus can redeem even the worst of us. Never mind that his faith in Jesus drove him to this violence and never mind that the people who will hold him up will also believe that his “unsaved” victims will be tortured forever in hell.

  6. Avatar
    kittybrat

    Of course, it was his religion that fucked him up. You’re right about that. I can’t help but wonder, however, if he heard “dragon” in that sermon and realized these lovely Asian women who had helped him so often had to go. I know that in many, particularly the south, congregations, if you fornicate it’s awful, but if you fornicate outside your “race” it’s even worse.
    I hate that religion has taken more lives in such a horrific way.

  7. Avatar
    CarolK

    Whether or not Robert Aaron Long targeted the women in part because of their race, this crime strikes fear into the Asian-American community who have been the target of a 150% increase in the number of hate crimes since the pandemic began.

  8. Avatar
    MJ Lisbeth

    Perhaps race played a role in Long’s motivations. I can’t help but to think, however, of those Evangelical and other religious folk who preach hatred–or even commit violence–against LGBT people because they are struggling with their own sexuality.

  9. Avatar
    mary

    this is so sad on so many levels. obviously this never should have happened. but this poor kid was already mentally ill and not treated properly. i saw so much of this growing up in fundamentalist xtianity. he has suffered during his short life and spread that onto others. all because of a stupid doctrine/theology. how frightening. i fear that the next wave of terrorism will originate w/these extreme churches but we will be told not to talk about it due to their religious freedom. so sad.

  10. Avatar
    Yulya Sevelova

    Hoo,boy, this all is so insane on so many levels ! I remember Beck around 4 or 5 years ago, this kid up in the Central California region killed several people, and he was a frustrated ” incel” who had to pay for sex. He couldn’t ” score” with women. He was very small and bland- looking, and that didn’t help the situation. When I saw the photo of this 21 year- old mass murderer, I thought uh- oh, another incel went off. He was so obsessed with his own needs, he had not a shred of compassion for these women, who must pay off debts to their smugglers, by working in sweatshops or sex work. Human trafficking is also involved. One sees these places all over California and L.A.County, where I was born. From what I learned so far, though he was fired up by a raging Fundie pastor, he was raised in typical small town, in the Deep South, by most likely abusive parents, and his father is a pastor. He was going to kill even more people, had he not been disarmed. He planned all of it, it wasn’t a spontaneous ” crazy moment.”. I first heard of this on the radio, thinking it was a robbery or killing an ex- girlfriend, not what it turned out to be. I must admit, I never expected any professing Christian to go get guns, and drive around to commit large- scale butchery in God’s name or anyone else’s. This guy is quite ugly, and has to pay for sex, and has taken the lowest road imaginable. He should have just shot himself,really. But he was too much the coward to risk it, right ?? He vented on innocent people ! That’s what comes to mind. Churches do oppose mental health care, at least down there for sure. Politically, there’s a lot of Fascist fantasies going on, in these baser Fundie churches. Some of them right here in So Cal. One person, David Lane, comes to mind. He’s a militant, and off the radar after Trump lost. It’s premature to count such sore losers out. Georgia being Georgia,where voting has been restricted even more a few days ago, will this guy get the death penalty ? I hope so.

  11. Avatar
    CarolK

    I was just reading this diary on Daily Kos about the victims. It should not be assumed that the workers in the massage parlors were sex workers. Their families say they were not and some of the women were at least my age(66). One of the businesses targeted was Young’s Asian Massage; the other was the Gold Spa. If Long had wanted to attack sex workers, he could have attacked the many strip clubs in the Atlanta area or heck, just killed a bunch of street walkers.

    https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2021/3/19/2021887/-These-are-the-people-who-died-in-the-Atlanta-spa-shootings-and-the-lives-they-left-behind?pm_source=story_sidebar&pm_medium=web&pm_campaign=recommended

    I do not want to see Long sentenced to death, but I don’t want to see that guy getting out of prison ever.

    • Avatar
      Bruce Gerencser

      It is not uncommon for older Asian women to work in massage parlors. Years ago, a massage parlor set up business near where I live. All of the employees were Asian, and when the place was busted, the two women arrested were in their 40s and 50s.

      The businesses in question have all the markers of adult oriented businesses. Long shot up the places he did because he had previously paid for sexual services at these businesses. At best, these businesses might offer legitimate massage therapy AND happy ending massages.

      I find it interesting that the media discounts or rejects out of hand what Long says, yet they uncritically accept whatever politicians and family members have to say on the matter. Prostitution is illegal in Georgia, yet Atlanta politicians and law enforcement turned a blind eye to these businesses (not an uncommon response in big cities).

      Sure, Long could have attacked any number of adult businesses. Why did he choose these particular businesses? His attacks were not random, so this leads me to conclude that Long chose these adult businesses because he had frequented them in the past.

      I could be wrong about this, but so far I have seen no evidence that would lead me to change my mind. It baffles me that media channels such as MSNBC refuses to report on the religious angle. The powers that be made up their minds that this was a racially motivated crime. There’s no evidence for this claim, but that’s the narrative they want to push. I’m a liberal, but I am disappointed in commentators such as Chris Hayes, Rachel Maddow, and Nicole Wallace. They have lost me as a viewer. I expected them to be objective. Unfortunately, they have ignored the obvious (religion) and pushed, instead, racism. Even the director of the FBI said that there is no evidence, so far, that Long was motivated by hate for Asians. Long hated women, hated self, but there’s no evidence for the claim that he hated people of Asian descent.

  12. Avatar
    Bruce Gerencser

    Crabapple First Baptist Church popped up its head long enough to blame “sin” for Long’s behavior. Don’t blame the church or it’s pastor, blame “sin.”

    Here’s what the church had to say:

    On Tuesday evening, March 16, 2021, we heard the tragic news of the brutal murders of 8 individuals, six of whom were of Asian descent, and of the aggravated assault of one victim who survived. We were absolutely devastated at this senseless loss of life and callous disregard for human beings created in the image of God. We grieve for the victims and their families, and we continue to pray for all of those affected by this heinous crime as they deal with unimaginable pain and sorrow.

    Furthermore, we were absolutely distraught when we found out that the shooter was a member of our congregation. The Long family have been members of our church for many years. We watched Aaron grow up and accepted him into church membership when he made his own profession of faith in Jesus Christ. These unthinkable and egregious murders directly contradict his own confession of faith in Jesus and the gospel.

    We want to be clear that this extreme and wicked act is nothing less than rebellion against our Holy God and His Word. Aaron’s actions are antithetical to everything that we believe and teach as a church. In the strongest possible terms, we condemn the actions of Aaron Long as well as his stated reasons for carrying out this wicked plan. The shootings were a total repudiation of our faith and practice, and such actions are completely unacceptable and contrary to the gospel.

    No blame can be placed upon the victims. He alone is responsible for his evil actions and desires. The women that he solicited for sexual acts are not responsible for his perverse sexual desires nor do they bear any blame in these murders. These actions are the result of a sinful heart and depraved mind for which Aaron is completely responsible.

    We have been in complete cooperation with law enforcement, and we pray for justice to be done. We pray for both earthly justice and divine justice.

    We ask that all Christians would join us in praying for the families of the victims, the communities affected, the Long family, and the Crabapple Church family. We believe in a Holy and Righteous God who abhors evil and will judge all sin in perfect justice. We also believe that this Holy God so loved the world that He sent His only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.

    We are thankful for the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ that offers forgiveness and new life to all who truly repent of their sins and place their faith in Christ alone for salvation. We are thankful for the grace and mercy of the Lord that gives us strength to endure in times of extreme suffering. We are also thankful for faithful friends, pastors, and partners in ministry who have covered us in prayer and have reached out with support and encouragement.

    Our hearts are broken at this devastating loss of life. We will continue to grieve, mourn, and pray for the families and loved ones of the victims. Finally, we deeply regret the fear and pain Asian-Americans are experiencing as a result of Aaron’s inexcusable actions.

    We also wanted to provide answers to many of the questions that we have received since this tragedy occurred:

    Q. Was Robert Aaron Long a member at Crabapple First Baptist Church?

    A. Yes. These actions do not in any way reflect the biblical character of a true follower of Jesus Christ and member of His Church. In accordance with the biblical pattern and our church bylaws, we have started the process of church discipline to remove him from membership since we can no longer affirm that he is truly a regenerate believer in Jesus Christ.

    Q. Did Robert Aaron Long’s father work for the church?

    A. Robert Aaron Long’s father has never been employed by Crabapple First Baptist Church.

    Q. Do you teach that acts of violence are acceptable against certain ethnicities or against women?

    A. Absolutely not. Scripture teaches and we believe that all human beings are created in the image of God. Every person is worthy of respect. All people are equal in dignity, value, and worth. We repudiate any and all forms of misogyny and racism. We categorically reject the idea that violence is appropriate, regardless of one’s issues or motivations. Murder, especially, is a heinous evil and grievous sin. We also explicitly denounce any and all forms of hatred or violence against Asians or Asian-Americans.

    Q. Why did you shut down your website and social media?

    A. We took down our website and social media out of an abundance of caution. We feared for the safety of members of our church community.

    Q. Have you cooperated with law enforcement?

    A. We have fully cooperated with law enforcement and will continue to do so. We want to aid law enforcement in any way possible so that justice is done.

  13. Avatar
    Bruce Gerencser

    I found a cached page of Crabapple First Baptist Church’s beliefs on human sexuality. This is what Long was taught about sex.

    Section 6. DILIGENCE OF MEMBERS

    Statement of Biblical Authority

    The statements of faith on Biblical Authority and on Marriage and Sexuality are not intended to be exhaustive on the extent of our faith. The Bible itself, as the inspired, inerrant, and infallible Word of God that speaks with final authority concerning truth, morality, and the proper conduct of mankind, is the sole and final source of all that we believe. For purposes of church doctrine, practice, policy, and discipline, our Elders will serve as the church’s final interpretive authority on the Bible’s meaning and application.

    Statement on Marriage and Sexuality

    We believe that the term marriage has one and only one meaning, which is the joining of one man and one woman in a single, exclusive union, as sanctioned by God and delineated in Scripture.

    We believe that God intends sexual intimacy to occur only between a man and a woman who are married to each other. We believe that God has commanded that no intimate sexual activity be engaged in outside of a marriage between a man and a woman. Ceremonies intended to join any two people together in a relationship outside of these parameters will not be performed by church Elders or be allowed to be performed on church property. (Gen. 2:24; Mark 10:2-9)

    We believe that any form of sexual immorality, such as adultery, fornication, homosexuality, bisexual conduct, bestiality, incest, polygamy, pedophilia, pornography, or any attempt to change one’s sex, or disagreement with one’s biological sex, is sinful and offensive to God. (Psalm 139; Rom. 1:18-32; 1 Cor. 6:9-20)

    We believe that in order to preserve the function and integrity of the church as the local Body of Christ, and to provide a biblical role model to the church Members and the community, it is imperative that all persons employed by the church in any capacity, or who serve as volunteers, should abide by and agree to this Statement on Marriage and Sexuality and conduct themselves accordingly. (1 Thess. 4:1-5; Eph. 5:3-5; Gal. 5:16-24)

    We believe that God offers redemption and restoration to all who confess and forsake their sin, seeking His mercy and forgiveness through Jesus Christ. (Eph. 1:7; 1 John 1:9)

    We believe that every person must be afforded compassion, love, kindness, respect, and dignity. Hateful or harassing behavior or attitudes directed toward any individual are to be rebuked and are in accord with neither Scripture nor with the doctrines of the church. (1 Pet. 2:11-12, 16-17)

  14. Avatar
    ObstacleChick

    Thank you, Bruce, for addressing the evangelical focus on sex as playing a prominent role in this tragedy. While I do not dispute the fact that Asian Americans are victims of hate crimes, and that our former shit-show of a POTUS exacerbated anti-Asian sentiment, I think this crime was motivated by religious beliefs on sex and misogyny. I explained yet again to my husband who didn’t grow up evangelical about the focus on normal sex thoughts as sin or addiction, and how sex and porn addiction is commonly mentioned by evangelicals yet is not recognized in the psychiatric or psychological community as a valid concern.

  15. Avatar
    ... Zoe ~

    I have an Instagram account. It’s private, and I’m not Zoe there. I follow various former evangelicals as well as therapists on there that deal with religious trauma and the fall-out of evangelical teachings. They are covering the religious angle for sure.

  16. Avatar
    Autumn

    For Asian women the fear is real and our explanation sounds like an excuse. White men expect Asian women to be passive and obedient, they say awful things to them and think they’re being funny. They assume that Asian women who marry white men were picture brides and gold diggers. Never mind the fact that Asian women who come here as so called picture brides find themselves in the midst of dangerous situations, perhaps working at these massage parlors or nail salons. As much as we understand that the reasons this happened stemmed from the twisted teachings of fundigelical churches, that still means that lots of men, who would otherwise never do such a thing, have twisted attitudes toward sex workers and Asian women.

    It’s actually a bigger and more grotesque mess than it first appears. Racism and sexism coming together to hurt women who have nothing to do with sex work. It’s kind of frightening if you think about it.

  17. Avatar
    Yulya Sevelova

    Thank you Bruce, for reporting on the details of Robert Long and his bizarre, hateful acts. I believe he knew what he was doing and acted with premeditation, because he went to buy the gun the day he set out to do these murders. He reminds me of the young ISIS and Al Quedans, who always say that they’re all about ” struggle” with regards to various temptations and their sources. Long was on his way to Florida once he was through in GA. I wouldn’t be amazed to hear Hollywood was on his list. Quite a few of the above mentioned Fundies DO want to take out Hollywood. I grew up near there, it was much different, a blue collar, family sort of town, really. This kids was a heavily repressed incel, I can almost bet on this, as kids his age and younger were pressed to marry and have kids in their teens, as the Pentecostal churches up North had that going on. It was disturbing to see. Too much was asked of them,and the meanness they learned at home erupted on the vulnerable. Be it children, animals, non- converted, which the employees of these parlors would be dismissed as, making them potential targets. Yes, the cops will turn a blind eye, if they get bribes or favors from the beleaguered women forced to work in those places. Coming to America, only to be murdered. Jeeze !!

  18. Avatar
    Yulya Sevelova

    Today’s additional information about what could have triggered this sudden act on R.A. Long’s part, is the fact that he was tossed out of the family home, and one of the reasons for this deed was because Long was online watching hours of prn, and the family, most likely his father caught him. They must have suspected he was doing this every free minute he had, because he was in a local Christian rehab facility, which treated sex addiction, the ” cure- therapy ” for gays,etc. And this is for openers. His family’s church has now ex- communicated him. From what’s known about the local cops, they aren’t much help, so the feds are there. This thing is just getting crazier and crazier. When attending church and younger, scoping for mate potential,most were on par with this purse- lipped killer. Blechhhh ! I couldn’t be that desperate. Most every church had it’s powder kegs.

  19. Avatar
    Ray Smith

    I do believe there is a religious angle to this story. Having grown up in fundamentalist evangelical churches, I vividly remember the many sex-focused sermons addressed specifically to the youth. Many of these sermons were designed to cause testosterone-filled teenage boys to feel extremely guilty, not only about sex acts they may have committed including “heavy petting”, but also for simply having “lustful” thoughts and sexual desires. This was based on Jesus’ words which state, “if you lust after a woman in your heart, you have committed adultery.” I never knew what to do with these sermons as a teenage boy except walk around feeling guilty all of the time. The sermons also admonished the girls for wearing “immodest” clothes which could tempt boys to lust. I remember thinking blindness would be a blessing in this area (pluck out your eye if it offends you). So I fully understand how someone with mental issues could go off the deep end like Aaron Long did. The media are afraid to address these murders from the religious angle out of fear of victim-blaming. The spokesman for the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office got beat up in the media for allegedly coming across as victim-blaming when he quoted Long as saying the spas were temptations for him. I do not believe the spokesman said anything wrong. He tried to walk a tightrope with his words and the media showed no mercy with their criticisms of him. I am disappointed that even our president and vice president have jumped on the racial angle so quickly even before all the facts have been fully investigated. Our culture currently is determined to blame all of society’s ills on race and gender issues, and that is wrong. In this case, religion and mental health appear to be the key contributors. We always need to examine the facts objectively.

  20. Avatar
    Sage

    Ray… the spokesman said the murderer “had a bad day” and this is why he is being held up as appearing to downplay this crime. You must remember that that many times this excuse has been used when a white man kills a minority. It is a way to justify the actions.

    It’s not unlike supporting the “panic defense” in which a man kills a transgender woman “in panic” when he finds out she is a trans woman. Apparently many believe it is ok to kill her in these situations. Apparently men can become so distraught that they kill someone, and if it’s a trans woman, it’s ok. After all. She probably deserved it for what she did. It’s a total bullshit argument to justify murder and blame the victim.

    He didn’t have a bad day, he murdered innocent people. The people who had the bad day are dead. The families of these victims are having bad day after bad day. So, yes, the spokesman was a complete asshole for saying this and should be held accountable.

    It wasn’t a bad day. It was a man choosing to kill women for racist and religious reasons. The religious reasons have been well described by a rude and others. This murderer is not the first to kill to avoid sin, although I never understand the logic.

    And I think there is a very big racist element in this crime. There are well know racist stereotypes that sexualize and objectify Asian women. There are racist stereotypes that devalue Asian women and create inappropriate expectations. All of these were very likely in play when he frequented these businesses and when he decided it was ok to kill these innocent women and men. I would not be surprised if he valued them less than his own race.

    There are many factors involved here, but it’s clear to me that religion, hatred, and racism all came together to create a murderer who decided it was best to cleanse the world of these vile, sinful, Asian women who were tempting him. The murderer is to blame, regardless of how he arrived at this point. He had many options and he chose murder.

    The church should just shut the fuck up. I have no sympathy for them nor do they need any prayers. They have lost nothing in this event. They should have left the statement simple, mourning the victims and supporting the families, instead they talk about how the church has suffered and how the church “mourns and prays” for victims and families, and “deeply regret” the impact in the Asian community. They had to turn this to a preachy moment and talk about how the church has suffered and thank those who support it.

    Fuck you Crabapple First Baptist. You are more worried about your reputation and looking bad than you are about the victims, their families, and the community. You hide in you church, supposedly offering pointless prayer, and try to protect the church. You ask others to pray for you and your church. You bring the focus to you and your suffering. What did you lose??? Everyone associated with your church lost nothing. Stop trying to be a victim.

  21. Avatar
    ... Zoe ~

    Bruce: “While I am in no way justifying what Long did, I can envision how overwhelming guilt drove him to massacre those he believed were the locus of his sin problem. Long planned to murder more sex workers, but fortunately, he was stopped before he could. Imagine how great a blood atonement he planned to make to Jesus to expiate his sexual sins.

    Evangelical church leaders are falling all over themselves to “explain” Long’s heinous behavior. I wonder if they will take a long, hard look in the mirror and see that their “Biblical” teachings and preaching are the problem? Evangelicals will distance themselves from Long, deconstructing his life, and even saying that he was never a REAL Christian. ”

    Zoe: When we look at Genesis, we see this play out “in the beginning” so-to-speak. Over-whelming personal guilt (disobeyed) and embarrassment (saw that they were naked – sexual sin) when Adam sinned. In turn it drove him to commit the first female gender-related murder; “massacre” metaphorically speaking, of Eve . . . “the locus of his sin.” Lord, that woman you gave me!

    Paradise to hell (punishment) in the twitch of a gonad . . . and therein all along as God had always known, the plan to start up His blood atonement plan that had already existed before Adam was on the scene. Adam murdered Eve by blaming Eve for his sin. Her fault. Her fault. It wasn’t the first murder though. He was only following God’s omnipotent plan. God’s story had a murder planned from the beginning. If one Adam can kill to atone, how many others can? After all, the Bible tells me so. After all, the Creator Himself possessed the master plan for “mass” murder that would all be revealed in time according to His perfect will.

    It’s all there in their Bibles. If they look they’ll see with horror that they perpetuate the story-line over and over. The origins of “heinous behaviour” is in their book and it’s nothing new. It was there all along. Low and behold, the plan for dealing with it is there too.

    In the mirror they see that not only wasn’t Long a “REAL Christian” . . . neither were they.

  22. Avatar
    Southern Lady

    He committed an evil act. He’s a murderer.

    Was his fundie religion an influence? Of course.

    Was porn an influence? Of course.

    I feel sorry for the victims whose lives consisted of servicing whatever man walks in with money—can you imagine that life?? And on top of that, you get murdered.

    Why are these services in business? Certainly the owners of these businesses have no love and respect for women. They use women to make money. Can you imagine any man doing the job these women did? Of course not.

  23. Avatar
    Yulya Sevelova

    Hello, Ed Martin……..you know, this has been one of my questions the last couple of days. R.A. Long has lived a very controlled, sheltered life, and has that ascetic look to him, with a bearded child’s face, the glasses,cap,etc. His father is a lay minister of that church,and being in a small Southern town, the way chilren are raised if usually with stern, abusive advice, from the likes of Tedd Tripp, Reb Bradley, J.R.Fugate, Gary and Marie Ezzo, Godly Tomatoes– the list goes on. Long was thrown out of the house for watching porn on his computer, and was only thinking of retaliation against his ” tempters”, though he could have just burned each place down. He seems angry that he has to pay cash, as he can’t interest women on his own. The police chief was unbelievable, saying Long had a bad day!! No, it was his victims who had the bad day. Yes, there could be a racial tack in one sense, the chief was sidelined for advertising anti- Asian T- shirts. I can’t access text that needs a payment, but both the Washington Post and NY.Times had some more background on his early life. Being in one of these so- called ” spas ” is tough enough, and some of the women had kids, who may not have family to go to. All alone in the U. S. So many toxic churches around creating their own Frankensteins !

  24. Avatar
    Bruce Gerencser

    Excellent question. If all of us are products of our environments — and we are — then Long was certainly influenced by his Evangelical parents, Evangelical family, Evangelical church, etc. Long was immersed in the Evangelical septic tank for 21 years. There can be no doubt he was deeply influenced by this immersion.

  25. Avatar
    Brian Vanderlip

    I did not read this detail, Yulya : “Long was thrown out of the house for watching porn on his computer…”
    Fundy upbringing is no funny Fundy. It requires that children be routinely abused, assessed as evil and lost, often spanked and worse, emotionally and physically shamed on a routine basis, all supported by the church authority. This fellow was the victim of a lifelong abuse, teaching him to harm himself and others. In come tragic cases, this leads to explosive demise. His feelings regarding women could well be involved here because he was brainwashed in a culture of misogyny: That’s what this kind of Christianity is, woman-hating. So, a kid grows up to hate himself for his sexual impulses and steals out to find pleasure and relief from his sexual drive. And hlthen he hates himself worse for giving-in and he perhaps grows a distaste for the women who entertain him. He knows how to blame others because that is Christianity in excess. All of us are to blame and all of us need to grovel at the feet of God. Sick sick sick but clearly a wonderful training ground for aberrant behaviour. Finally though, no matter what our parents have done with us, there comes a time in life when we must own our own actions. At what age would you say a young person needs to fully own their actions? Once vicious dogs have trained their pups to be killers and they kill as trained, who is finally responsible? When a church raises up a child in literal black and white Christianity, great damage is done. Mainstream American news is terrified of religious power, political clout. They will not take this on, except perhaps as a secondary issue, a minor note. Those of us who have been harmed in belief know much better where the responsibility belongs…
    But as Bruce points out, the lad has been excommunicated! Ha! He faked his faith! He was never one of us. Burp.

  26. Avatar
    Yulya Sevelova

    Hi, Bruce. Yeah, a septic tank of Fundieism for sure ! In the small town outside of L.A. where I ” camp” there are at least two of these spa/ parlors. You never see anyone around during the day, it’s mostly after dark, they have the back door open, you can see where someone is living there. Rather spartanly and bleak. A side to migration that few care to understand. The cops must leave them alone, as I never saw any of them there. Too busy harassing homeless locals at the City Council’s behest. Just wait, the Case- of- Crabapples Church is closing ranks and pulling up the drawbridges. I wish there was a way to see what’s inside the library there, as child-training literature goes. Scandalous, most likely.

  27. Avatar
    CarolK

    There was a story today in LGBTQ Nation how purity culture was a major factor in Long’s murder spree. It did mention how white culture has long tended to view non-white sexuality as as aberrant. Long apparently shouted “Kill All Asians” before he started shooting. I think Long’s actions were the result of purity culture made worse by his racial attitudes towards Asian women.

    Bruce , why don’t you write to Rachel Maddow ,et al about how purity culture was to blame for Long’s murderous spree. They’re not as familiar with evangelical teachings about sex as you are.

  28. Avatar
    Brocken

    I think that instead of blaming the purity culture common among Fundamentalist Baptist churches for the mass murder of sex workers, I would blame the man’s youth. In a book with the title The Saturday Night Special, Robert Sherrill noted that a lot of the mass murderers who used firearms to commit their homicides were under the age of thirty. I doubt the purity culture had much to do with the later mass murders in Colorado and Indiana. I also noticed those two killers in Colorado and Indiana were under the age of thirty. Its too bad that Robert Aaron Long didn’t have the decency to kill himself like the Indiana shooter did. The once saved, always saved Baptist Doctrine would have prevented him from going to Hell. Snark.

  29. Avatar
    Brian Vanderlip

    Brocken, the Blame Game is practiced in suits and robes (fundamentalist evangelicalism) by purity culture believers. It is routine abuse, daily harm, mind-fuck of the first order. Is PC to blame first and last? No, Wrecked human beings who are drawn into ritualized abuse like PC are the instigators. It goes back to parents and their early harm, a harm that skews their hearts and minds sufficiently that they actually see Reason in Purity Culture instead of recognizing that it is capital ‘A’ Abuse of self and others.
    Where I question your statement is in its premise that seems to me to suggest that PC is not implicated here. It most certainly is and as codified abuse it must be held responsible as a tool designed to harm self and others. You are right-on when you say to look at the youth experience of these young men who buy assault weapons and fantasize around killing. But never suggest PC is not a cruel tool to increase suffering, to bring a youngster to a breaking point. In PC, Jesus is a sword cutting both ways till a child is lost, just as his care(sic)givers are gone.
    Perhaps I do not understand your point. Could you go into a bit of detail about it if you care to?

  30. Avatar
    Brocken

    Maybe Purity culture is to blame with young men raised in the Fundamentalist Baptist Culture of hypocritical practice( think Jerry Falwell Jr.. primarily) who go on on to commit offences against women who they wrongly blame for their own sinful desires. If someone is raised in that inherently abusive and preach but not practice culture then they might go into some explosion of violent criminal behavior if their upbringing leaves them mentally unstable. The purity culture is in all likelihood partially responsible for Robert Aaron Long being the murderous person that he obviously is. The abusive Purity culture in the Fundamentalist Baptist church cannot justify Robert Aaron Long’s murder of eight people. However, the other cultural factor too often ignored in mass shootings is the celebration of revenge and violence in movies in combination with the rise of immaturity in the young male population of the United States. Combine that with the culture that in theory some young person isn’t mature enough to buy alcohol until they are 21 but they are deemed mature to have access to firearms before the age of twenty one and you have a real problem. Some young man with a rifle or handgun can kill far more people over a larger geographical area than he might if he collides with another vehicle while driving drunk. Think of Adam Lanza and Nikolas Cruz, whose biological or adoptive parents allowed them to get firearms when the last thing they should have done was to allow them to be anywhere near firearms.

  31. Avatar
    William

    @Brocken, you mentioned,

    ‘The abusive Purity culture in the Fundamentalist Baptist church cannot justify Robert Aaron Long’s murder of eight people.’

    What about Steven Anderson, or possibly Fred Phelps?

  32. Avatar
    Brocken

    Well, I consider both Steven l. Anderson and Fred Phelps to be attention seeking Glory hounds Whose influence is way overrated. If you take the first letter of his first name of Steven and the first letter of his middle name and then attach them to the front of his last name, I think you might have a good characterization of the man. As for Fred Phelps, the less said of the man the purer the air is.

  33. Avatar
    William

    Be that as it may Brocken, but you could equally say that it is fundamentalism taken to its logical conclusion. I never understood why some practices in the OT are used and some aren’t. For instance physical violence as a means to discipline your child, rather than more civilized methods of teaching your child (Keep in mind that the only reference in the NT is in Hebrews which is a metaphysical scourging, not a physical one, the real verses are from the OT). Why use this from the OT and not also other parts like stoning people to death? Really it seems that how far one goes into following the whole Bible depends on how much a person can stomach.

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Bruce Gerencser