An evangelical leader Jerry Newcombe, of the group Truth in Action, says the Colorado shooting happened because Americans have lost their fear of Hell. Commenting on them, he said: "If a person doesn’t know Jesus... they are going to a terrible place."
Newcombe made the comment on a radio segment of the American Family Association (AFA). According to Think Progress, Newcombe, speaking on the AFA radio show, blamed the tragedy of Aurora shooting on the nation's loss fear of God and hell. He said:
"If a Christian dies early, if a Christian dies young, it seems tragic, but really it is not tragic because they are going to a wonderful place ... on the other hand, if a person doesn’t know Jesus Christ ... if they knowingly rejected Jesus Christ, then, basically, they are going to a terrible place."
Think Progress reports that on the radio segment, Fred Jackson, the host and director of the AFA, blamed Hollywood, liberal media and churches "who are leaving the authority of Scripture and losing their fear of God." He said: "I have to think that all of this, whether it’s the Hollywood movies, whether it’s what we see on the Internets, whether it’s liberal bias in the media, whether it’s our politicians changing public policy, I think all of those somehow have fit together—and I have to say also churches who are leaving the authority of Scripture and losing their fear of God—all of those things have seem to have come together to give us these kinds of incidents."
Think Progress reports Jackson’s American Family Association is listed as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center "because of its frequent demonizing of homosexuality."
Newcombe called on those who "are not in Christ" to see the Colorado shooting as "a good time for soul reflection and consider why have you not accepted Jesus Christ ... I would urge anyone who is not in Christ to repent of your sins."
Similarly, in an article published on OneNewsNow, Newcombe wrote: "I can't help but feel that to some extent, we're reaping what we've been sowing as a society. We said to God, 'Get out of the public arena.' Lawsuit after lawsuit, often by misguided 'civil libertarians,' have chased away any fear of God in the land -- at least in the hearts of millions."
Newcombe lamented that young Americans no longer believe in hell:
"Wow, what the heck happened to Hell?" What -- was there some new revelation that changed what the Lord warned about? To me, what He said 2,000 years ago is still worth heeding: What does it profit you if you gain the whole world and lose your soul? Tens of millions of young people in this culture seem to have no fear of God. It's becoming too commonplace that some frustrated person will go on a killing spree of random people. If they kill themselves, they think it's all over. But that's like going from the frying pan into the fire... I don't think people would do those sorts of things if they truly understood the reality of Hell."
Newcombe supported his views with reference to the religious beliefs of the "founders":
Religion and morality were key to the founders' vision for a civil society. In his Farewell Address, George Washington highlighted the source of morality: 'Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.' Will somebody please tell that to these civil libertarian lawyers always suing against public displays or the Ten Commandments and the like?"
He continued with specific examples to prove that belief in "hell" was prescribed by the "founders":
"The Constitution of the State of Maryland, adopted in 1864, required political officials to hold to a belief 'in a future state of rewards and punishments.'
"The Pennsylvania Supreme Court stated in 1817: 'Laws cannot be administered in any civilized government unless the people are taught to revere the sanctity of an oath, and look to a future state of rewards and punishments for the deeds of this life.'
"In short, Hell was viewed as a part of divine accountability."The Huffington Post reports that Newcombe is not the only American religious leader who has linked the Colorado shooting to declining commitment to the Christian faith. Digital Journal reports that after the shooting, Rep. Gohmert of Texas, said it was the result of "attacks on Judeo-Christian Beliefs." The Huffington Post reports Gohmert said:
"People say ... where was God in all of this? We've threatened high school graduation participations, if they use God's name, they're going to be jailed... I mean that kind of stuff. Where was God? What have we done with God? We don't want him around. I kind of like his protective hand being present."