A combination of simmering rage, resentment of fellow students, and a desire for celebrity spurred Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold to gun down a dozen students and one teacher at Columbine High School in Colorado last April.
But, according to recently released videotapes the two killers made in the weeks before America's most deadly high-school shooting, they also shared an intense hostility toward Christianity. Their anti-Christian comments did not appear in the controversial 20-page Time magazine cover story in December that reignited debate about the massacre.
"What would Jesus do?" asks Klebold, yelling and making faces at the camera. "What would I do?" Then he points an imaginary shotgun at the camera, takes aim, and says, "Boosh!"
"Yeah, 'I love Jesus. I love Jesus.' Shut the f—up," Harris says on the same tape, made on March 15.
"Go Romans," Harris says later. "Thank God they crucified that a—hole." Then the two teenagers both chant, "Go Romans! Go Romans! Yeah! Whoo!"
Klebold, who reportedly had a crush on Christian student Rachel Scott, singles her out for particular disdain, calling her a "godly whore" and a "stuck-up little b—."
Darrell Scott, who says his daughter Rachel was the only victim singled out in the tapes, believes the killers felt a deep antipathy for the things of God: "There seemed to be an extra element of hatred and vengeance there.
"Scott, a former pastor who has crisscrossed the country speaking to church groups about the spiritual dimensions of the Columbine tragedy, says he and other parents were blindsided by Time's report on the tapes.
Already a CT subscriber? Log in for full digital access.