The church where the Atlanta massacre suspect worshipped ripped him Friday for having a “sinful heart and depraved mind.”
Robert Aaron Long was a lifelong and active member of the Crabtree First Baptist Church in Milton, Ga. — but in a long and brimstone-filled statement, leaders there condemned the murders he allegedly carried out as “egregious” and “wicked” and promised God’s judgment will be just.
“We believe in a Holy and Righteous God who abhors evil and will judge all sin in perfect justice,” the statement said.
“We have been in complete cooperation with law enforcement, and we pray for justice to be done. We pray for both earthly justice and divine justice,” the statement said.
“We were absolutely devastated at this senseless loss of life and callous disregard for human beings created in the image of God,” the church said, calling the shooting that left eight dead “a total repudiation of our faith and practice.”
The leaders extended their prayers to the shooting’s massage-parlor-employee victims, who Long has told cops he blamed for catering to his “sex addiction.”
“We grieve for the victims and their families, and we continue to pray for all of those affected by this heinous crime as they deal with unimaginable pain and sorrow,” the statement said.
“Aaron’s actions are antithetical to everything that we believe and teach as a church,” it said.
“In the strongest possible terms, we condemn the actions of Aaron Long as well as his stated reasons for carrying out this wicked plan. The shootings were a total repudiation of our faith and practice, and such actions are completely unacceptable and contrary to the gospel.”
The church stressed that “no blame can be placed upon the victims.”
The statement added of Long, 21, “He alone is responsible for his evil actions and desires.
“The women that he solicited for sexual acts are not responsible for his perverse sexual desires nor do they bear any blame in these murders. These actions are the result of a sinful heart and depraved mind for which Aaron is completely responsible.”
Six of the shooting victims were Asian-Americans. While officials have not yet deemed the shooting a hate crime, the church singled out Asian-Americans for its prayers.
“We deeply regret the fear and pain Asian-Americans are experiencing as a result of Aaron’s inexcusable actions,” the statement said.
The church also “explicitly denounce[s] any and all forms of hatred or violence against Asians or Asian-Americans.”