Texas gunman kills 4 in church, then self

SASH, Texas (AP) — A gunman killed four people near a small-town church, then killed himself early Monday after a nine-hour standoff with police, authorities said.

Police said witnesses told them that A.P. Crenshaw, who lived across the street from the Sash Assembly of God church, exchanged words in the church parking lot Sunday night with church member Wes Brown, who asked Crenshaw to leave.

Crenshaw returned a short time later and shot Brown, 61, at close range, and then shot the pastor, James Armstrong, 42, the witnesses said. Deputies found both men dead in a grassy area next to the church parking lot, Fannin County Sheriff Kenneth Moore said. He said it didn’t appear that they were shot inside the church, as initially reported.

I’m still getting caught up on issues, but it hasn’t been a good week for the home team. When the church isn’t getting attacked from the outside, we seem to do a good job screwing up our message of love. First with Pat Robertson and then with our old friends Repent America chiming in on Hurricane Katrina.

Just days before “Southern Decadence”, an annual homosexual celebration attracting tens of thousands of people to the French Quarters section of New Orleans, Hurricane Katrina destroys the city.

“Southern Decadence” has a history of filling the French Quarters section of the city with drunken homosexuals engaging in sex acts in the public streets and bars. Last year, a local pastor sent video footage of sex acts being performed in front of police to the mayor, city council, and the media. City officials simply ignored the footage and continued to welcome and praise the weeklong celebration as being an “exciting event”. However, Hurricane Katrina has put an end to the annual celebration of sin.

“Although the loss of lives is deeply saddening, this act of God destroyed a wicked city,” stated Repent America director Michael Marcavage. “From ‘Girls Gone Wild’ to ‘Southern Decadence,’ New Orleans was a city that had its doors wide open to the public celebration of sin. From the devastation may a city full of righteousness emerge,” he continued.

Zealots always have to DO something. On the one hand, I should give them the benefit of the doubt and believe that this is the sincerest expression of their faith in wanting to see all people come to know Christ. On the other hand, half the time I feel that either their “faith” masks their personal hatreds or it’s a matter of them trying to convince themselves what they believe, not others. I suppose that with this sort of vitriol in the air, it’s no wonder that message board threads decrying a hate crime can so quickly derail into religion bashing.

Sometimes I want to shake people. At some point, I’ll sure I’ll wade into what real persecution looks like from around the globe. Maybe it will give some folks some perspective on what it is they believe and what it is they are to be about.

To my “friends” at Repent America, allow me to introduce you to Jeff Strand. Jeff Strand, Repent America. Jeff, Repent. Repent, Jeff. (Okay, it wasn’t funny when Letterman did it either). Anyway, Jeff offers up An Open Letter To God.

Comment on this bit of rantus interruptus anyway you want (I don’t know where you’re reading it from) but if you want to guarantee me seeing it, do so at my message board.