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Keep Being the Problem

Radical intimidation tactics like the shooting at a Nashville Christian school will continue.

(Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)

Not twenty miles from my childhood home, a 28-year-old female shot up a private Christian school on Monday and killed six people, including three 9-year-old children.

The woman, who was fatally shot by police, was identified as one Audrey Hale. Hale was a self-styled artist whose digital graphics included a sophomoric portrait of Jack Nicholson sketched in lines from the script of The Shining and a photo on which is scrawled in crayon “To be a kid (forever and ever).” She claimed male pronouns and was reportedly under a doctor’s supervision for an emotional disorder. Investigators have since found a manifesto in Hale’s residence, where she lived with her parents, as well as maps indicating further planned killings, possibly of family members.


As has become routine after mass shootings, police have withheld the murderer’s manifesto, which is also the preference, in this instance, of many LGBTQ groups. But it doesn’t matter, since Hale’s words could not have been more clear than her actions. Hale’s murder spree was not simply that of a confused, sick woman, jacked on testosterone and obsessed with children, though it was certainly some of those things. Her attack was a clear intimidation tactic against Christians, hitting them where it hurts the most.

Among those killed were the school’s headmaster, 60-year-old Katherine Koonce, and 4th grader Hallie Scruggs, daughter of Chad Scruggs, the lead pastor at the church that founded The Covenant School. Despite the significant positions occupied by these two victims, the Nashville Police Department told reporters that Hale, who was once a student at the school, did not appear to be targeting specific individuals. She did target the Christian school, they said.

A handful of U.S. legislators, including Sen. Josh Hawley and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, have called the shooting a hate crime against Christians, language President Joe Biden mocked. Yet several media outlets have all but praised it as such. Daily Mail attributed Hale’s mental instability to her parents' narrow-minded Christian belief in biological sex. NBC hinted that Christians generally brought the violence upon themselves for seeking to curb transgender ideology in Tennessee. The Associated Press was more modest, simply painting victim and head of school Koonce as a rare feminist hero against the tide of a “male-led religious culture” at the school, with which the secular news outlet would certainly be familiar.

Meanwhile, Gays Against Guns (GAG) all but exonerated Hale. A spokesperson from the gun control advocacy group told the Guardian Hale’s violence “cannot be separated from the efforts of the cisgender white supremacist patriarchy to keep us divided along lines of race, ethnicity, religion, gender and sexual orientation,” and that we can expect more mass shootings “until our society confronts these realities.” The group also said that “expectations and demands can take their toll on members of our LGBTQ+ communities,” a statement that reads chillingly like a threat. It’s not happening, and it’s your fault that it is.

But Hawley and the others are right, as is Hale herself, and it is not hard to see why. Ours is a world that has successfully torn down every edifice—every one, that is, except Christ’s church where that church has not apostatized. The church’s very existence repudiates the idea that happiness can be found through psychological self-determination, the ideological crux of transgenderism.


And like the children so wretchedly targeted in this attack, it is not only the church’s existence but her purity that makes her such a fixation for the deathwork culture. Which is to say, as Tucker Carlson said in his coverage of the tragedy, “People who believe they’re God can’t stand to be reminded that they’re not.” There is more inherent glory in one tiny crucifix than the whole body of art Hale occupied herself with creating, and thus it must be eradicated.

But what Hale and others are making known, on no uncertain terms, is that the church cannot occupy some neutral space. It has tried for decades to appease, offering sacrifices of female priests and rainbow flags, and lately even surrendering the pulpit itself to men in drag. The purported shepherds have thrown the flock to the wolves while they write columns for the New York Times, yet even this is not enough, nor will it ever be, until every knee bows. While the church represents some impediment to complete gender-identity affirmation, some serious rebuttal to radical self-determination, and the last meaningful buttress between life and institutionalized death, the violence will not stop. Indeed, it will probably get worse.

This is not a reason for Christians to cower, as someone will inevitably argue. There is nothing noble about suicide when enemies are at your gate. What it does mean, rather, is that we must be as wise as serpents. It is now the explicit job of every Christian father, husband, brother, and church leader to defend the Church with the same courage as the Nashville police who defended the children at The Covenant School, running to stop the attacker. It is the job of Christians to keep being the problem—and the job of the Church to keep raising the cross—until there are no more wolves.

May the Lord rest the souls of the departed. May he strengthen the hearts of those still on earth.