Ben Carson’s unique show of support for Christians targeted in Thursdays massacre at at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon, instantly went viral.
It only took four hours on Friday for an image of the Republican candidate holding up an “I am a Christian” sign to be shared close to 80,000 times and receive over 625,000 “likes” on Facebook.
The post was so successful the retired neurosurgeon shared an #IamAChristian hashtag. Supporters could make the image their Facebook profile picture.
“Please consider changing your profile picture to honor the victims and their families,” Carson wrote Friday night.
Carson’s plea comes one day after 26-year-old Christopher Harper-Mercer burst into a classroom at Umpqua Community College and demanded his Christian victims identify themselves before being executed. Nine people were killed and seven wounded in the gun-free zone, which only has one unarmed security guard.
“[Harper-Mercer was] asking people one by one what their religion was. ‘Are you a Christian?’ he would ask them, and if you’re a Christian stand up. And they would stand up and he said, ‘Good, because you’re a Christian, you are going to see God in just about one second.’ And then he shot and killed them,’ said Stacy Boylen on Friday, CNN reported. Boylen’s daughter was wounded in the attack.
Survivor Kortney Moore, 18, from Rogue River, Oregon, told the News Review Today a similar account shortly after the attack, the newspaper reported Thursday.
Paul Marshall, Lela Gilbert and Nina Shea have collaborated to create “Persecuted: The Global Assault on Christians,” which confirms that groups like Pew Research, Newsweek and The Economist also identify Christians as “the world’s most widely persecuted religious group.”
“I am glad we have a presidential candidate that stands strong in their faith. God speed Dr. Carson!” wrote John David Childs on Carson’s Facebook page.
“I had family involved in yesterday’s shooting and come from a strong Christian family. Thank you Dr. Carson!” added Brandon Perry Lockwood.
Harper-Mercer died while exchanging gunfire with cops responding to 9-1-1 calls shortly before 11:00 PST.