The Oregon massacre gunman’s question to his victims, “Are you a Christian?” prompted a widespread response the day after the shooting: Yes.
Social media posters led by Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson turned #IamAChristian viral on Friday.
Several Christians used the hashtag to express their view that Chris Harper-Mercer was targeting their faith when he gunned down nine people at Umpqua Community College Thursday. One widely-shared post took President Obama to task for not mentioning Christianity in his response to the massacre.
Harper-Mercer did list “organized religion” as one of his dislikes in one of his online profiles.
Yet he also gave someone a thumb drive full of racist rants and a printed manuscript discussing his hatred of black men and anger about his solitary sex life, investigators have said. Police haven’t officially released a motive for the killing.
Carson’s Friday afternoon Facebook post showing him holding up a sign with the slogan had drawn over 856,000 likes and over 118,000 shares by early Saturday. Both the Facebook post and his Twitter picture said, “Yes. #IamaChristian,” and Carson encouraged his followers to change their profile pictures to an image with the slogan.
“Millions of people are posting pictures of themselves declaring they are Christians in support of the victims and their families,” Carson wrote on Facebook late Friday. “I did so on Facebook this afternoon. If you have a moment, please consider doing it as well.”
He asked followers to join him in praying for the victims and added, “It is times like these when We the People must be United!”
Conservative evangelist and author Clayton Jennings also struck a chord with his Friday afternoon Facebook post about Obama.
“President Obama has yet to utter ONE word about the fact that yesterday’s mass shooting targeted Christians,” Jennings wrote. “If it were any other religion, it would have been the FIRST thing he talked about.”
“Make NO mistake about it, it’s not Christians targeting Muslims as he often says, it’s Christians around the world being martyred for their faith and it’s now happening here in America.”
Jennings’ post received over 32,000 likes and 11,000 shares, and many #IamAChristian posters used screenshots of it in their Tweets and Instagram posts.
Others simply held up their own homemade signs in pictures or shared an image of the outline of the state with the words “Pray for Oregon” and “#iamchristian.”