When violence breaks out and murder occurs, we want an explanation, a reason, and preferably someone to blame. After Buford Furrow shot children at a Jewish day-care center and then a Filipino-American postal worker in Los Angeles, the media trained its sights on the Idaho-based Aryan Nations, to which Furrow belonged. Full-page stories with color pictures took us into the lair and the mind of Aryan Nations founder Richard Butler. After Larry Gene Ashbrook opened fire at Wedgewood Baptist Church in Fort Worth, reports surfaced about his link with an Aryan Nations-like group known as the Phineas Priesthood.
Anthony B. Robinson is president of Seattle-based Congregational Leadership Northwest and coauthor, with Robert W. Wall, of Called to Lead: Paul’s Letters to Timothy for a New Day (forthcoming from Eerdmans).