The Christian Anti-Defamation Commission placed the Colorado shootings by Matthew Murray at the top of their list of the seven worst incidents of Christian bashing in 2007.
Last week, Murray, 24, shot and killed a total of four people before turning the gun on himself. His shootings left two people dead at Youth With A Mission missionary training center Arvada, Colo., and two more people dead at New Life Church in Colorado Springs.
Police officials later discovered an anti-Christian online message posted by Murray in between shootings, which them to believe that he had acted out of revenge against Christians. Subsequent reports also revealed that Murray, despite his religious upbringing, had been studying the teachings of Aleister Crowley, the late occult author who is considered a mentor to the founder of the Church of Satan.
"From murder and intimidation, to the crass and the blasphemous, 2007 was a horrendous year of Christian bashing," said Gary L. Cass, chairman of the Christian Anti-Defamation Commission, according toWorld Net Daily.
Second on the list of Christian bashing incidents was the Federal Hate Crimes Bill, which is considered by Christians as a threat to religious liberties and the foundation for "thought crimes." Critics say the legislation will lead to situations where Christians could be criminalized for voicing Biblical teachings, including those that regard homosexuality as sinful.
The list assembled by the watchdog group also cited the recently released movie, "The Golden Compass," as one of the leading acts of Christian bashing. The film has drawn fire from Christian groups for promoting a pro-atheist book series by British author Phillip Pullman, an avowed atheist who said his work was a direct response to C.S. Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia series.
"Anti-Christian sentiments are being fomented in the culture and are becoming more deadly and cynical," said Cass, author of Christian Bashing.
"Impressionable young people are being swept up in anti-Christian hysteria, aided and abetted by a greedy, amoral entertainment industry. Mocking Christians, blaspheming their faith and ridiculing their values has become the easy way for 'entertainers' to shock their way to the top."
Cass said his organization is calling on "anti-Christian politicians, Hollywood and New York media elites to stop the Christian bashing and take responsibility for the culture of hate towards Christians they have helped to create."
He also pledged that the group will endeavor "to stop this dangerous and irresponsible Christian bashing in 2008."
1. Colorado Church Murders: Matthew Murray, 24, shot and killed four people at two ministry sites in Colorado. Police reports indicated that his acts appeared to have been out of revenge against Christians.
2. Federal Hate Crimes Bill: The legislation seeks to extend federal hate crimes laws – which currently protects individuals on the basis of race, religion and national origin – to individuals with "actual or perceived" sexual orientation or gender identity. Many Christians say the bill would criminalize thoughts or speech and lead to situations where a pastor may be arrested for preaching against homosexuality.
3. Violence on San Francisco Church: In September, Christians decried an ad for the sex fetish event Folsom Street Fair. The ad portrayed the Last Supper replacing Jesus and disciples with half-naked sado-masochists wearing disturbing leather, and bread and wine with a clutter of obscene items on the table. As a counter protest, radical homosexuals crashed a worship service dressed as nuns and mockingly took Holy Communion. Days later, a man was arrested for trying to set fire to a San Francisco convent and in a separate case, another was charged with attempting to set fire to Grace Cathedral.
4. Attack on Jerry Falwell:
On the day of Jerry Falwell's death, Christopher Hitchens made offensive remarks against the Christian leader on calling the CNN show with Anderson Cooper. Hitchens, editor of Vanity Fair Magazine, called Falwell "a little toad … a horrible little person…an evil old man…a conscious charlatan and bully and fraud…an actual danger to democracy, to culture, to civilization."
5. CNN's "God's Warriors" and "Friends of God": These two documentaries were considered anti-Christian for its portrayal of evangelicals as the moral equivalents of Islamic terrorists.
6. John Edwards' Campaign Bloggers: The bloggers made critical remarks against Christians and religious conservatives. They called Christians who support President Bush his "wing nut Christofacist base."
7. "The Golden Compass" movie: The film is based on the children's trilogy, His Dark Materials, written by Phillip Pullman. The author, an outspoken atheist, said in past interviews that he was trying to "undermine Christianity" through his work. Some Christian leaders have advised believers to boycott the movie in order to undercut the promotion of what they deem a pro-atheist book series.