Murdered 15 year old deserved what he got

... according to mainstream Christian leaders.

This is about Larry King, who was fatally shot in the head on February 12 in a classroom. Larry was murdered by his classmate, Brandon McInerney. It appears that Brandon shot Larry because Larry was openly gay and a transvestite.

TUIBG notes on his blog that Bishop Fulton Sheen blames the policy of "tolerance" (a word rarely used because if its innate offensiveness by the GLBTA community). Larry was murdered because the community he lived in generally accepted him. Another way of putting it is that Larry was murdered because the community did not do what it should have done: The community should have told Larry to take off his dress and high heels, or sent him home, or perhaps openly shunned him to make it clear to Larry and others that being gay is simply not acceptable.

There is some positive activity emerging from this tragedy and related events.

There is renewed impetus to enact LGBT federal hate crime legislation in the wake of the killings this month of two young people and the vicious beating of a third person.

About 150 gathered Thursday night in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, at the scene where a 17 year old transgender teen gunned down.

Simmie Williams was found in a pool of blood last Friday in an area frequented by transsexual prostitutes. (story) The teen was declared dead at hospital.

The site of the killing is near that of another unsolved murder of a trans woman who was transitioning and still using her birth name, Timothy Broadus, in 2003.

[see also]

By the way, the proximate motivation for Brandon bringing a gun to school to kill his classmate is that Larry had asked him (Brandon) to be his Valentine. Have a look at this video:

[hat tip: Further Thoughts]

Thank you Ellen.

While we are on the subject, we can question the sanity of religious leaders in a different 'faith' ...

In yet another example of theological lunacy, an Israeli Knesset member says that recent earthquakes in Israel are God's punishment for Israel's failure to oppress gays enough...

[See Dispatches .... by Ed Brayton]

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This whole "fear and loathing" of homosexuality belies the claim that religion makes a person "better" "more at peace" or "more moral."

I don't know, but I suspect that almost all American high school students read "Sinners in the Hands of An Angry God." When I first approached it, I thought, well that's the "old" view of religion. My God is a Loving God. I don't think that religion has proceeded much past that viewpoint, that we are either deterministic puppets whose only hope is salvation to atone for the sin can't help but do; or that we are somehow "improved" by salvation which gives us the justification to judge other people negatively.

Do you think that as a society we will ever "grow up?" We are still savages, even though we have technology.

I am embittered by the poison of this aspect of religion. Murder is okay when the victim was "asking" for it.

Archbishop Fulton Sheen was an old-school Catholic prelate and I dare say I would find many opportunities to argue against his views and positions. However, I think it unfair to simply assert that "Bishop Fulton Sheen blames" this or that policy, whether it's "tolerance" or otherwise. Sheen's statement that love (of the sinner) is not tolerance (of the sin) should not be taken to mean that the archbishop would have countenanced an act of violence against a supposed "sinner" (and, in this case, I'm sure Sheen would have considered transvestism a sin). So a bigot cites Sheen in "explaining" a hate crime. Sheen is dead, so the bigot can say whatever he wants without the archbishop denouncing it as a perversion of his views.


It was the bishop who called those who are gay sinners. He condemned them. Why do you want to defend this?

By Elizabeth (not verified) on 02 Mar 2008 #permalink

Where do these people stop? First it's gays. Then it's Muslims and Jews. (I'm obviously taking this from a Christian point of view, but it could work from others.) Then when all you have left are Christians, people are going to kill each other for being in other sects. (This is obviously happening in the Islamic world.)

Freedom means you can't take away my rights (which include life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness) because I think and act differently (different? Man, those Apple ads have confused me!) than you do. As long as I am not infringing on your freedoms then you need to back off. If I do infringe on your rights then there are recourses that don't involve violence, vigilantism or terrorism.

It is nice to see Ellen more composed.

So, we condemn the Archbishop for speaking out against a tolerance that waters down "truth" (as he sees truth). Now I'm confused because I thought tolerance was bad. I thought we're not supposed to tolerate those who tolerate because it results in a watered down expression of truth (which as we see truth, is scientific). I thought tolerance was threatening to destroy public education. I thought the reason moderate religionists can't be trusted is precisely because of their tolerance.

... Unless, tolerance is bad when it's us tolerating them, but good as long as it's them tolerating us. Ah, now I get it!

By criminally tolerant (not verified) on 02 Mar 2008 #permalink

Yes, you do seem very confused.

Fulton J. Sheen has been dead almost thirty years and therefore has no contemporary statements on the atrocity in the classroom. He was a mild-mannered speaker on religious matters (although he got in some trouble for his vocal opposition to the war in Vietnam) and I think it's unfair to just shrug one's shoulders when an anti-gay bigot lifts some of Sheen's words from decades ago and uses them to explain the boy's murder as an obvious consequence of the boy's own supposed sin. The late archbishop never condemned gay people, but he would certainly have condemned violence against them. You don't have to agree with Sheen's moral philosophy to see he is being used by creeps he would have abhorred.


Based on what I've read, no. But I don't know for sure, and it hardly matters. I think the kid who shot him was not too interested in the distinction.


I'll let Tangled Up in Blue Guy defend his particular way of making this point. The quote (of Sheen) expresses a commonly held feeling, though I'll admit the use of the word tolerance may be hard to interpret in this context. If the particular Christian was misrepresenting Sheen, that is not really the point. (You should go over to the TUIB-guy site and comment on those specifics.)

But it is very hard to miss the large picture here. Christian religious leaders are in the business of labeling people as sinners, blaming people they disagree with for natural calamaties and calamaties that happen to them.

One can always point out the exceptions. Don't tell me about the exceptions. I come from a long line of Catholic priests and nuns myself. (In fact, my cousin was a colleague of Sheen, both became bishops at about the same time.)

But until the exceptions roundly and fully denounce the yahoos, the whole kit-n-kabootle is on notice. ON NOTICE!

Zeno, I didn't choose the quote in order to condemn Sheen. I chose it to illustrate the way that religion is used for justification of horrible acts. I don't think the bigot who referred to Sheen is able to discern the subtlety of Sheen's position, but even the idea that "Love the sinner, hate the sin" is applied to homosexuality is demeaning with the best intentions.

Homosexual expression is only a sin because religion grants the authority to humans to determine what angers God and what doesn't. As an atheist, I find it dangerous to assign negative values to the actions of other people when they don't damage or cause harm to anyone else. When I was religious I thought it hubris to pretend we could "know" the wishes and desires of God. Even then I knew that scriptures were written by people and interpretation could only be made within the perspective of the person doing the interpretation.

And, as Greg said, Tangled Up in Blue does have a fairly friendly comment process.

Mike: This happens all the time to me with Pharyngula. I have something on my blog, and everybody is over there commenting on it.

Isn't trying to incite fear in a group of individuals, in this case gays and transgendered persons more than just a "hate crime"? Lets call it what it is, terrorism.

Anti-gay bigots are trying to terrorize gay and transgendered individuals. That is terrorism.

Pretty clearly anyone who excuses or justifies this is pandering to terrorists. That makes them a terrorist sympathizer, a terrorist organization and a terrorist themselves.

Doesn't the Patriot Act give some important tools to law enforcement to stop terrorists, their supporters and sympathizers?

I imagine that the punishment for the young murderer Brandon will be that he will be locked up in a juvenile facility and taught to be more violent.

Someone, somewhere out there is saying right now what many (most) people say when boys and men get locked up for crimes " I hope he gets what he deserves in there," which more often than not means that people hope he will be beaten and/or raped.

Though Ellen says "we need to change the message," I don't recall her or any other identity politic oriented individual calling for an end to violence on a wider scale.

Do we cry as hard every time that the young boy killing another young boy is a Crip from ELA killing a WF from another barrio? Do we enact legislation that makes police enforce violence laws equally, or do we just protect and decry violence against women? There are so many anti-male biases out there already that everyone is complicit in the message that Brandon got.

The message that needs to get out there is that we are all complicit in condoning the repressive tactics that enculturate young boys so that they 'learn to be men' via violent 'masculinization' at the hands of their parents first and a life-long societal message thereafter, and we need to stop believing the self perpetuating stereotype "boys will be boys". We need to change the message to boys that violence is what is expected of 'men', but equally change the message that only men are violent.

Small side note: maybe I'm wrong, but it is illegal in every state to allow the transgendering of children.

By the real Douch… (not verified) on 03 Mar 2008 #permalink

Keep in mind that displays like this serve to expose mainstream religious belief for the obvious hypocrisy that it is. I was raised in a conservative religious environment; the hatred/anger/persecution of gay people, both inside and outside of our small town, was one of the things that first started me down the clue path to realize that the whole thing was a massive fraud. Who knows... if they'd faithfully stuck to the whole sweetness light and love motif, this proud atheist might still be a devout Methodist. (And I'd probably still self-identify as straight, but that's a different story. Maybe.)

By Steve in MI (not verified) on 03 Mar 2008 #permalink

and what might i ask was a 15 year old doing with a gun? and what did he think was going to happen after he murdered someone in cold blood?
What crass stupidity, regardless of the reasons.

By Richard Eis (not verified) on 03 Mar 2008 #permalink

I am sorry we are taught from a young age right from wrong and we are told that guns can kill someone and we can go to jail for it. enough with the bulls***. The real fact is that the boy was taught at home to hate and look where it got him and In my eyes Brandon's parents are the ones that put in there nobody else did because where this kid learn this nonsense. He had to go by what he was taught and what he saw.

I feel compelled to point out that the "Linda" above is not me ... guess I have to start using my full name, though I think it sounds a little un-forum-like.

I agree but don't understand why blame is layed solely at "christians". Muslims,Hindus, etc are anti-gay. Many non-religious are anti-gay.

Too often it seems we like to make Christians the big bad guys as if they are the only problem in our country. Inner city gang-bangers that don't give a shit about anyones life are worse than a bunch of moral majority types in my opinions, but we liberal-atheists always like to just focus on the christians because they have the audacity to try to tell us what to do.

By AlbanianTodd (not verified) on 23 May 2008 #permalink

Well, we all know Homosexuality is a serious sin, but when you go on promoting it and shoving it in other peoples faces, then you are simply asking for serious trouble.

That homosexual got killed for greatly offending someone else.


What you say here greatly offends me. Where do you live? I want to come over to your house and kill you.

Is that a problem?

By Elizabeth (not verified) on 30 May 2008 #permalink

Where is the school that allows a male student dress like a female, and sexually harrass a fellow student?
We are all sinners, and Larry certainly did not deserve to die. Brandon will be punished for the sin of killing someone, both by society, and by his creator, as will the young man he killed.
Our society may condone homosexuality, and any other perversion it chooses to, but if God is to be taken at his word, He will not.

Wayne, I don't know about you, but most of us are capable of asking someone to be their valentine without sexually harassing them. And your god, dude? Way creepy.