Meet James Holmes: A Presbyterian Christian


by Sadat bin Anwar

By all accounts, James Holmes appears to have been a normal American man.  The killer responsible for one of the worst mass shootings in American history that resulted in 12 dead and 58 injured had been a neuroscience student at the University of Colorado and had worked as a “big brother” at a Jewish summer camp, Camp Max Strauss, in 2008.  This last bit of information has in some sense relieved many American Muslims, since some right-wing hate websites had already begun conjecturing that James Holmes must have belonged to an al-Qaeda terrorist cell (see, for example, the website for Roman Catholic Imperialist).

The possibility that Holmes may have been Jewish, however, was not entertained even momentarily by the media, and the information that he actually belonged to a Presbyterian church was immediately released on the heel of the reports about his involvement in the Jewish camp, lest there be any misunderstanding on this point.  It turns out, in the end, that Holmes was a Christian.  He was not only a nominal one, but has been described as “heavily involved” in his local Christian church.

The purpose of mentioning these facts is not to blame Christianity or Judeo-Christian civilization for Holmes’ wicked massacre of innocents.  Sober and reasonable people will realize that his actions probably have more to do with mental sickness and America’s love for guns than it has to do with theology.  If at all, Holmes’ church and the wider Christian community to which he belonged may be partially to blame for not detecting his spiral into madness earlier, but probably not for creating it.  The purpose of mentioning his religion in this article at all is to exonerate American Muslims of blame, since their very security and safety in Christian America is being increasingly and rapidly undermined by ten years of right-wing media spin and propaganda which attempts to blame much of America’s ills on Muslims.

I not only convey my condolences to the families of the innocent victims of this horrific bloodbath, but equally to the family and the church that Holmes belonged to.  We pray that the vicious cycle of gun violence and rampage shootings that afflicts America will one day see an end.

UPDATE– 22/08/2012

In response to Isaac Amirian’s comments and in the interest of the full truth, it appears that James Holmes may have been an agnostic and not a Christian– if, that is, we can take any of what he said or wrote in recent weeks/months seriously.  After all, around the same time that he supposedly described himself as an “agnostic”, he was also declaring himself to be “the Joker”.   We don’t actually have Holmes’ official page, as far as I know, but rather some screenshots taken of his page by someone else. Still, I did not attempt to malign or blame Christianity for Holmes’ crimes in my article.   At the time that I authored the article, the evidence was suggesting (and to some extent still suggests) that Holmes was not only a Christian, but a practising Presbyterian Christian.   We have a neighbour who described him as very active in a local Presbyterian church; we have another pastor who says that he saw Holmes in his church just weeks before the shooting.  Nonetheless, I explicitly stated in the article that “sober and reasonable people will realize that his actions probably have more to do with mental sickness and America’s love for guns than it has to do with theology.”

10 replies »

  1. I agree with much of what you wrote, except the mental sickness part. I have heard this song sung before. Every time a white American commits a despicable act, we claim mental illness.

  2. This has always been true about our western-standard corporate controlled “fair” media coverage. This is not the first incident of double-standards and I assure you it won’t be the last. We are currently lucky or one can argue unlucky that we can research online and at least get some facts about a story. This will of course not last very long as efforts are already underway to control the internet too (e.g. SOPA/PIPA).

    Look back at the coverage of Norway killer Anders Breivik and of Timothy McVeigh both of whom describe themselves are deeply religious…were part of active Christian ministries. Did you ever hear the word, “Christian Terrorist” being used to describe them?

    Also, remember the event when an idiot tried to blow up barbecue gas tanks in his car (how stupid); they suspected it was a white guy so the whole time, CNN/FOX were repeating….”it doesn’t look like a “terrorist” activity; the suspect appears to be while male running from the scene”…..but later on they found out that the idiot happened to be a “Muslim”; suddenly it was declared terrorism….the same media declaring this to be act of terrorism.

    When Oscar Ramiro Ortega who attempted to assassinate Bark Obama was caught; who wears a cross and gives sermons on Christianity (youtube filled with it) no one said “Christian” terrorist or extremist but labelled him as another deranged individual. Why can’t some criminals who happen to be Muslims be deranged individuals? Why is it always white Christians?


    • an idiot tried to blow up barbecue gas tanks in his car… I am referring to time square incident!

  3. The only place I can find that talks about him being “heavily involved in his local Presbyterian church” is a statement from an anonymous neighbor. The church leader that he supposedly was so heavily involved with said “We think he might’ve visited in the last month” – hardly “heavily involved”. The report then goes on to say they have no information about him in their membership computer.

    From what I see standard operation when some nut goes and shoots a lot of people is they label them a right wing/christian/tea party person even though it later comes out that they are really atheist or agnostic/left wing/socialist control freaks. By the time the truth comes out the damage has already been done – they are trying to take away American’s right to own weapons.

    • Dont be overly embarrased with Holmes Christian connection, you missed the point. We muslims have been labeled terorist for decades by Evangelical Islamophobes, just there are bad christian terorist as terorist of muslim origin

      • How are you still missing the point? This guy was not religious or religiously motivated at all. If you don’t see the difference between a secular person who went to church once with his family shooting up a theatre while dressed as a clown, and a guy chanting Suras and praying while doing something similar…ah, forget it.

  4. Sadatawar, You do try so hard to play bait people. Can you take the speck out of your eye first? Also do you live without any sin if so you cast the first stone if not tell your audience the honest truth. This I hope is not a case of freedomphobia you have?

  5. So, no one has anything to say about the fact that James Holmes says that he is an agnostic?

    Hello? It’s on his profile, which confirmed was his.


    That seems…relevant. You could have learned James Holmes’ true religion with a simple Google search, Sadat, but you didn’t bother, because you wanted to make the Christian connection in your headline. So you ran with it.

    You have a lot to learn about basic honesty and ethics. Calling James Holmes a Presbyterian in your title when he himself says he is not a Christian at all, is sleazy.

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