Presbyterians stand with Unitarian
Universalists in Knoxville
others injured by a man angry at "liberals"
You’ve doubtless seen reports of the shooting at a
Unitarian Universalist church in Knoxville, Tennessee, on Sunday
morning, July 27.
you or your congregation might respond >>
Here’s one Associated Press report on the killing >>
The report begins:
An out-of-work truck driver accused of opening
fire at a Unitarian church, killing two people, left behind a
note suggesting that he targeted the congregation out of hatred
for its liberal policies, including its acceptance of gays,
authorities said Monday.
A four-page letter found in Jim D. Adkisson's
small SUV indicated he intentionally targeted the Tennessee
Valley Unitarian Universalist Church because, the police chief
said, "he hated the liberal movement" and was upset with
"liberals in general as well as gays."
Adkisson, a 58-year-old truck driver on the
verge of losing his food stamps, had 76 rounds with him when he
entered the church and pulled a shotgun from a guitar case
during a children's performance of the musical "Annie."
The Rev. John Shuck, pastor of First Presbyterian
Church in Elizabethton, TN, some 100 miles east of Knoxville, has
reporting and reflecting on this event since Sunday, in his blog
"Shuck and Jive."
He now shares with us this announcement:
The UUA has set up a weblog,
Friends in Knoxville, for those who wish to express love and
support for the members and friends of the Tennessee Valley
Unitarian Universalist Church and the Westside Unitarian
Universalist Fellowship. According to the website:
In the meantime, if you are involved in a vigil,
service of remembrance, or other event which is designed to express
support for our friends in Knoxville, we invite you to email
firstname.lastname@example.org with information on that event,
and photos if they are available. Please use the heading "Knoxville
Solidarity" in the heading. We will try and collect this information
as well as images (and text if you provide it) to make sure that
this, too, is sent to our friends in Knoxville.
We will have a candlelight service at First
Presbyterian tomorrow (Wednesday) night at 7 p.m. The public is
invited to attend. If you know of other services in the Tri-Cities,
let me know, and I will post them here.
Reflecting on a candlelight service held in Elizabethton on
Sunday evening, he concludes, "I am a Presbyterian. And today, I am
a Unitarian Universalist."
News Service reports on how Second Presbyterian Church in
Knoxville provided shelter for children fleeing the UU church after
Earlier today Shuck added these thoughts:
Does rock music cause anti-social behavior in
Does sex education in schools make teenagers more horny?
Do video games make young men more violent?
Does Michael Savage turn people into church shooters?
Shotgun-wielding Jim Adkisson revealed his motive:
During the interview Adkisson stated that he
had targeted the church because of its liberal teachings and his
belief that all liberals should be killed because they were a
ruining the country, and that he felt that the Democrats had
tied his country's hands in the war on terror and they had
ruined every institution in America with the aid of major media
outlets. Adkisson made statements that because he could not get
to the leaders of the liberal movement that he would then target
those that had voted them in to office.
Now that is some wacked-out logic. Where would he
get those ideas? Police found some interesting books in his home:
Still seized three books from Adkisson's home,
including The O'Reilly Factor, by television commentator Bill
O'Reilly; Liberalism is a Mental Disorder, by radio
personality Michael Savage; and Let Freedom Ring, by
political pundit Sean Hannity.
This is from Calvin Rye:
The Far Right is no more responsible for this
tragedy than "The Fisher King" for the brutal murders it inspired.
In other words, not at all. The gunman was unstable.
An unstable mind caught up in political hyperbole:
Liberals hate America. Liberals hate Christians. Liberals want to
destroy the family. Liberals are ruining our way of life. Liberals
should be executed for treason.
You’d have to be insane to believe that crap.
To those who demonize liberals… It’s not that I
blame you for these murders. It’s that I want you to recognize them
as a warning sign. When someone that sick and violent finds your
message that appealing, it should make you stop and think. Do you
realize how hate-filled your rhetoric has become? Do you recognize
the bile you’re spewing?
Posted By John Shuck to Shuck and Jive
We're invited to get involved!
John’s latest note to your WebWeaver adds this:
I am pretty involved with the shooting in
Knoxville with my connections to the local UU church in Johnson
City. On a personal note, our congregation is a bit nervous about
copycat stuff and safety.
I am writing because I know that the outpouring of
love and support from people other than UUs has been most welcome.
I am wondering if Witherspooners (perhaps including the board of
Witherspoon) might send a letter of support to the congregations in
It’s kind of an "I am Spartacus" we stand together
kind of thing.
Here is my post about the relief fund.
A practical note on
getting in touch:
To send your note
to the two UU congregations in Knoxville, you can
go to the UU Knoxville support blogspot, scroll to the bottom of
the page, and add your comments. The two congregations are the
Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church (where the shootings
took place), and the neighboring Westside Unitarian Universalist
Church, many of whose members were present, too.
If you have news or comments to add
on this attack on a community of faith,
send a note,
to be shared here.