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The defendant is disowned by the Georgia church, which claims he betrayed faith.

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The defendant is disowned by the Georgia church, which claims he betrayed faith.
The defendant is disowned by the Georgia church, which claims he betrayed faith.

The defendant is disowned by the Georgia church, which claims he betrayed faith.The defendant is disowned by the Georgia church, which claims he betrayed faith.

 

The church where the white man accused of killing eight people at three Atlanta-area massage parlors, the majority of whom were Asian women, denounced the shootings on Friday, claiming they were against the gospel and the church’s teachings.

In a statement, Crabapple First Baptist Church in Milton, Georgia, said it would expel 21-year-old Robert Aaron Long from the church because it “can no longer affirm that he is genuinely a regenerate believer in Jesus Christ.”

The church had previously only released a short statement expressing condolences and neglected to mention Long. It also deactivated its social media pages and made its website inaccessible to the public.

It said on Friday that the steps were taken to ensure the safety of its worshippers.

Congregants were “distraught” to hear that the suspected shooter was a member of the congregation, according to the release. His family has been members of the church for a long time.

“We saw Aaron grow up and welcomed him into the church when he made his own profession of faith in Jesus Christ,” the statement read.

“These heinous and heinous murders run counter to his own confession of faith in Jesus and the gospel.”

Investigators are also trying to figure out what drove Long to carry out the country’s worst mass murder in nearly two years.

He said he was not politically motivated and had a “sex addiction,” according to police, and he apparently lashed out at what he saw as sources of temptation.

Given the locations and the fact that six of the eight victims were Asian women, those comments ignited indignation and suspicion.

Crabapple First Baptist said it will continue to grieve, lament, and pray for the victims’ families, and it regrets “the terror and pain Asian-Americans are feeling as a result of Aaron’s inexcusable behavior.”

Crabapple First Baptist Church said, “No blame can be put on the victims.” “He is entirely to blame for his bad deeds and desires.”

The church also stated that it does not teach that violence against “certain ethnicities or women” is justified, nor that women are to blame for men’s sexual sins against them.

“Murder, in particular, is a heinous evil and a horrific sin. We also expressly condemn all forms of racism and abuse directed at Asians or Asian-Americans.”

During the coronavirus pandemic, assaults against Asian Americans have increased across the world. The virus was first discovered in China, and it has been characterized in racially charged terms by former President Donald Trump and others.

According to the church, it is working with law enforcement and praying for “both earthly and divine justice.”

Long was described as “a little bit socially awkward but not standoffish or silent” by Tyler Bayless, who lived with him for at least six months at an addiction treatment center in Roswell, Georgia, until early 2020. Bayless said Long asked him to pray for him at least a couple of times, but he never forced his convictions on others.

“I’m sure he had some interesting religious views, but he was never very outspoken about them. “It wasn’t like he was like, ‘I’ve got to save your soul,’” Bayless said.

Long said he lapsed and went to a massage business on many occasions, sparking intense self-loathing, remorse, and public confession that he worried he could hurt himself, according to Bayless. Long once asked him to keep a hunting knife in his pocket, according to Bayless.

“’You know, I went to one of these locations,’ he said. Bayless said, “I feel like I’m dropping out of God’s grace.”

“I mean, this was the kind of suffering he was going through as a result of what his moral convictions had led him to believe about the actions he was committing.”

Long, according to Bayless, sought to restrict his use of social media to prevent what he saw as outlets of sinful temptation.

According to Joshua Grubbs, a clinical psychology professor at Bowling Green State University in Ohio who has studied the intersection of sexual habits, faith, and morality, men from conservative religious backgrounds, especially in the United States, may be susceptible to misinterpreting “just a little bit of sexual behavior that contradicts their values as an addiction.”

He claims, however, that there is no proof that such sexual activities predispose anyone to violence towards others.

“I just don’t believe it when people say, ‘I have a sex addiction, I feel so bad about it, I’m going to go out and kill eight people,’” said Grubbs, who has often handled people with the problem. “It doesn’t reflect my background as a clinical psychologist or a researcher.”

Grubbs teaches religious leaders on how to talk about sex, pornography, and “out-of-control sexual habits,” as well as how to avoid using words that can lead to or exacerbate depression and shame.

“I have never met a religious leader who suggested” that the only way to stop the activity is to “go kill the people” that allow it.

That is something I have never seen before. It’s a ludicrous premise.”

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The Chicago Bears interviewed Matt Eberflus for their coaching vacancy. Here’s what to know about the Indianapolis Colts defensive coordinator.

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The Chicago Bears will interview Matt Eberflus for their coaching vacancy. Here’s what to know about the Indianapolis Colts defensive coordinator.

The Chicago Bears have reached out to at least 15 general manager and 10 coaching candidates for interviews. As they go through the process, we’re looking at each of the prospects.

Matt Eberflus interviewed for the head coaching position Monday, the Bears announced.

Matt Eberflus

Age: 51

Title: Indianapolis Colts defensive coordinator

Experience

Eberflus has been the Colts coordinator for four seasons. Before that, he spent six seasons coaching linebackers for the Dallas Cowboys after a two-year stint in the same role with the Cleveland Browns. Eberflus also has 17 years of college coaching experience on his resume at Toledo (1992-2000) and Missouri (2001-08).

You should know

Eberflus finished third in 2018 in the NFL’s Assistant Coach of the Year voting. Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio won the honor that season with Baltimore Ravens defensive coordinator Wink Martindale finishing as the runner-up. This season, Eberflus oversaw a Colts defense that led the AFC in takeaways (33) while finishing in the top 10 in the league in points allowed (21.5 ppg). The Colts had three defenders named to the initial Pro Bowl rosters last month — lineman DeForest Buckner, linebacker Darius Leonard and cornerback Kenny Moore II.

The buzz

Players laud Eberflus for his communication skills and leadership style. He is known as a detail-oriented coach with a knack for connecting with players and fellow coaches. Eberflus has earned a reputation for being able to blend his strategic insight with the personnel he has to work with, loading his defense with only as much as players can handle.

What’s been said

”I would fully endorse and support anyone who ever called and asked me about Flus as a man, as a leader and as a coach. He is a worthy candidate. Obviously I don’t want to lose him. But I’m happy for him and support him.” — Colts coach Frank Reich, when Eberflus became a head coaching candidate last year

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The Chicago Bears interviewed Ed Dodds for their GM vacancy. Here’s what to know about the Indianapolis Colts assistant general manager.

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The Chicago Bears will interview Ed Dodds for their GM vacancy. Here’s what to know about the Indianapolis Colts assistant general manager.

The Chicago Bears have reached out to 15 general manager and 10 coaching candidates for interviews. As they go through the process, we’re looking at each of the prospects.

Ed Dodds interviewed for the general manager position Monday, the team announced.

Ed Dodds

Title: Indianapolis Colts assistant general manager

Age: 41

Experience

Dodds joined the Colts as vice president of player personnel, and they promoted him a year later to assistant general manager. Dodds worked for 10 seasons (2007-16) for the Seattle Seahawks, becoming a senior personnel executive in the final two years. He started in the pro personnel department in 2007 and moved to college scouting in the south and central part of the country, eventually becoming a cross-checker and then a national scout. Dodds broke into the NFL with the Oakland Raiders and spent four seasons with them. In college, Dodds was a student coach at Texas A&M-Kingsville.

You should know

Dodds has a reputation for being a skilled and tireless scout. He was considered a valuable member of the Seahawks and helped build two Super Bowl rosters while working for GM John Schneider, who did not want to lose him to the Colts. As the right-hand man for GM Chris Ballard in Indianapolis, Dodds’ name has surfaced in January in recent years. The Carolina Panthers and Detroit Lions interviewed him for their GM jobs last year. Dodds declined an interview with the Cleveland Browns two years ago.

The buzz

Dodds’ name has gained momentum in recent years, and it seems as if it’s only a matter of time before he lands an opportunity to become a GM.

What’s been said

“He’s unbelievable when it comes to communicating with coaches and seeing the fit of the player,” Ballard told The Athletic. “Being able to watch the tape and know, ‘That guy is going to fit.’ Ed’s a huge asset to us. He’s pretty good at his job.”

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Twins announce signing of seven international players

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Twins announce signing of seven international players

The Twins officially announced the signing of seven players from the Dominican Republic on Monday, two days after the international signing period opened.

The class of players is headed by outfielder Yasser Mercedes, who is the No. 17 prospect per MLB Pipeline. Per Pipeline, his deal is worth $1.7 million.

The Twins also signed infielders Yilber Herrera (No. 35, per Pipeline), Harold Grant and Juan Zapata to deals, as well as outfielders Anderson Nova and Jose Rodriguez, and right-handed pitcher Ledwin Taveras.

While the Twins have not announced it, they reportedly have reached a deal with Venezuelan shortstop Bryan Acuña, MLB Pipeline’s No. 39 prospect in the international class. Acuña is the younger brother of Braves star outfielder Ronald Acuña Jr. Both his father and grandfather played Minor League Baseball and he has another brother who is an infielder in the Texas Rangers organization.

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