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Churches Becoming Targets of Violence
Churches were once considered a place for sanctuary and
peace. However recent high-profile
crimes have shown churches and religious leaders are not immune to violent
acts. In Tulsa, police are investigating after a
pastor was shot and the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation announced
Wednesday agents were called in after a body was found in a church parking lot.
“Churches have always been, as you say, a sanctuary; but
they've always been places where troubled people go for help,” says criminologist
Dr. Howard Kurtz. “When you're dealing with troubled people and your model that
you are using is one of Christian goodness, you are somewhat vulnerable.”
For example, it’s been nearly three years since someone
brutally murdered Reverend Carol Daniels inside her small church in
Anadarko. That crime sparked fears among
other religious leaders, many of whom never considered such violence could
occur inside sacred places.
Dr. Kurtz points to several possibilities as to why we’ve
seen an increase in violent attacks that use churches as backdrops or religious
leaders as targets. “A lot of people today who have very complex problems,” Dr.
Kurtz tells Fox 25. “We are becoming a
more complex society and playing the roles people have to play today is more
difficult than it was 50 years ago, 100 years ago. We add to this the technology and the
different types of drugs we have and the different types of pressures people
feel to live their lives.”
Another concern is that ministers are not equipped to handle
people with severe mental illness. Dr.
Kurtz says many pastors do not want to turn anyone away, but he says religious
leaders need to be aware that complex conditions require special training.
Dr. Kurtz says it’s likely that we will continue to see
churches in the headlines as the sacred sites turn into crime scenes. Much like we are seeing other innocent areas,
like movie theaters, become targets. “There
are too many angry people out there and they have way too much access to things
that could cause harm to other people."
Posted: Wednesday, August 1 2012, 09:49 PM CDT
IN OKLAHOMA NEWS
Tornado watch issued for western, central Oklahoma
May 18, 2013 22:57 GMT
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- A tornado watch is in effect for western and central Oklahoma.
The weather system brought severe thunderstorms to the Altus and Clinton areas, as well as Harper County late Saturday afternoon. There were no reports of rotation as evening approached but the tornado watch lasts until 11 p.m. Saturday.
The dangerous weather is forecast to continue into Sunday night as the system progresses to the east.
The tornado watch area Saturday stretched from eastern edge of the Panhandle to include the Oklahoma City area.
Forecasters warn that the system could also bring large hail.
The National Weather Service in Norman reports tennis ball-size hail along U.S. 62 near the border of Harmon and Jackson counties in the state's far southwest.
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