During periods when we understandably react emotionally to an abominable act of terror like the Boston Marathon bombing, it is important not to make hasty assumptions based upon stereotypes.
It is, for example, easy to assume that the perpetrators might be white Christians because of sensational acts of terrorism like the 2012 Sandy Hook school massacre, the 2012 Sikh temple massacre in Wisconsin, the 2012 Aurora movie theater massacre, the 2011 Seal Beach massacre, the 2008 Northern Illinois University shootings, the 1999 Columbine School massacre, and of course the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing. However, we must not rush to the conclusion that white Christian culture is at fault, nor hide in fear of Christianity or of people whose skin is lighter than ours just because of a minority of evildoers who happen to come from that community.
It is true that one can point to the violent words of some Christian leaders and their followers who predict and advocate the eradication of nonbelievers and extreme intolerance toward persons of other races and religions. However, the majority of white Christians have long condemned such interpretations of their religion as corrupt, and have spoken out against racist groups like the Ku Klux Klan and the American Nazis. We must not treat them as if they are all cut from the same cloth.
It is also true that most of the owners of assault weapons in the U.S. are white Christians. However, a majority of Christians own no guns at all. Similarly, one might cite the violent sports in which many white Christians engage, like American football and ice hockey, or their love of violent films. However, this fails to recognize the diversity within the white Christian community, and the many Christians that abhor violence.
White Christians have challenges that they need to address, and it is incumbent upon the rest of us to show understanding and support as they deal with these struggles. For this reason, it is necessary to keep an open mind, to realize that not all white Christians are the same, and that no community should be judged by its worst elements. To assume that the Boston Marathon bomber is a white Christian is therefore to allow our deepest prejudices to cloud our judgment when we are in greatest need of moral clarity. Let us hope we are better than that.