Jewish Journal


April 3, 2012

Christianity in the Oakland school shootings



A police officer entering a private Christian college in Oakland, California, Apr 2. Photo by REUTERS/Reuters TV/KNTV/Handout

By now, everyone has heard about the shooting at Oikos University, a small private school in Oakland, that left seven dead. The suspect reportedly sought revenge against a school administrator, after he was expelled, and when she wasn’t on campus upon his visit, a rampage ensued.

Oikos has been described as a “Christian vocational school” that caters to Korean immigrants. It lacks accreditation and offers degrees in, among other areas, nursing, music and theology. The school has additionally been deemed Catholic by The Telegraph and fundamentalist by the Huffington Post.

Beyond the questions surrounding the crime, the circumstances, and reportage that has followed, beg a few questions about the role of religion in the life the suspect, One Goh, and just what sort of Christian school we’re talking about here. Jaweed Kaleem answers a few of those questions by searching Oikos’ website:

Oikos University’s website lists a doctrinal statement on the beliefs of the university administration, which are theologically conservative. It says the Bible is made by “infallibly and uniquely authoritative and free from error” and that “the Father, Son and Holy Spirit equal in every divine perfection, yet executing distinct but harmonious offices.”

It also says: “We believe the full historicity and perspicuity of the biblical record of the primeval history, including the literal existence of Adam and Eve as the progenitors of all people, the literal fall and resultant divine curse on the creation, the worldwide cataclysmic deluge, and the origin of nations and languages at the tower of Babel. We believe the realities of heaven and hell.”

But, Kaleem admits, not much is known about the school or the organizations that it’s affiliated with.

The shootings strike me not as a Christian attack, but as a horrific event involving Christian actors. We don’t yet know if that’s true—it’s possible, for instance, that Goh held some sort of religious grudge—but thus far the details of yesterday’s attack do not indicate anything religiously motivated.

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