Before any facts of the case were known, Family Research Council President Tony Perkins quickly linked the recent shooting of an Idaho pastor to a nondiscrimination ordinance in the city of Coeur d’Alene that prohibits anti-LGBT discrimination. Perkins wrote yesterday:
Like the rest of the country, we were stunned and saddened to hear about the shooting of Pastor Tim Remington in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. The beloved church leader, who was known throughout the community for his outreach to the addicted and incarcerated, was gunned down at church a day after opening a Ted Cruz rally with prayer.
While his family and congregation celebrate the good prognosis, disturbing questions still linger. Coeur d’Alene had already grown increasingly hostile toward Christians, as we know from Donald and Evelyn Knapp, a husband-and-wife pastor team that ran a wedding chapel called The Hitching Post. After declining to marry a same-sex couple, Idaho city officials had warned that the decision could send them straight to jail and/or bury them in debilitating fines.
Obviously, the environment toward Christians and pastors preaching the Gospel has made a turn for the worst in the small northern town. How can it not when you have the government ordering believers to participate in things that violate their faith? Whatever the shooter’s motivations, until the policies change, tensions like these will not. In the meantime, we continue to pray for the Remingtons, Tim’s full and complete healing, and for the man responsible to be brought to justice.
First of all, the nondiscrimination ordinance Perkins mentioned did not force Donald Knapp’s for-profit chapel to host same-sex couples’ weddings, as it was exempt under the ordinance.
But even more egregiously, Perkins went out of his way to blame the ordinance for the shooting on the grounds that it was creating an environment of anti-Christian hostility, even though the suspected shooter claimed that he shot the pastor because he thought he was from Mars.
In a Facebook post, the alleged shooter, who “has a history of mental illness,” wrote that he believed Remington was a Martian:
Things are not what they appear to be. The world is ruled by ancient civilization from Mars. Pastor Tim was one of them, and he was the reason my life was ruined. I will be sharing my story with as many people as possible. I don’t have time right now, they are chasing me. I shot Pastor Tim 12 times, there is no way any human could have survived that event. Anyway, I have sent my story to all the major news organizations. I have no time, I have to go.”
He was later apprehended at the White House:
He admitted to plotting to shoot Remington. He also claimed that the pastor was part of a vast alien conspiracy to enslave the human race — a conspiracy that Odom believed extended to Congress.
“My last resort was to take actions to bring this to the public’s attention,” Odom wrote in the manifesto. “I hope that something good comes of it. Just realize that I’m a good person, and I’m completely innocent. Also realize that the ‘people’ I killed are not what you think.”
You can read his manifesto about the Martian overlords here.
Nonetheless, Perkins claims this was a case of left-wing anti-Christian bigotry.