SARASOTA, FL (WFLA) – Witnesses have reported the gunman in the Oregon shooting targeted Christians. In the aftermath of the killings, many Christians have taken to social media to stand up for their faith.
The 26-year-old gunman’s social media profiles showed a frustration with traditional organized religion. In a chilling account, a survivor of the shooting recalled the gunman singled out Christians, telling them to stand up and then murdering them at point blank range, CNN reports.
So on Friday, Christians all over the country took to social media to stand up with the victims, using the hashtag #YesImaChristian. Within a few hours it became a top trending topic on social media.
By echoing the possible last words of the victims, thousands joined in solidarity online, professing their faith. Even presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson posted a picture professing his faith. Others posted messages. Zac Careloc tweeted, “Even if it came down to life or death, I’d say, ‘Yes I’m a Christian.’”
Sarasota resident Mandie Hayes immediately took to social media after learning of the killings. In a video posting she said, “We need to stop worrying about what people are going to say the minute the word Jesus comes out of your mouth.”
Hayes is hopeful this new movement inspires lukewarm Christians to be bold in their faith and to make a difference in a hurting world. “We want to blame everything on everybody else and on weapons but that’s not what the problem is,” she said. “The problem is our heart.”
“We need to lay down our weapons and love. Let love win,” Hayes added.
This terrible crime has forced many Christians across the country to pause and wonder what they would say in the same situation. “Our generation, our world, the United States, we need to stand up and we need to stop being afraid to declare the name of Jesus,” Hayes said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.