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Veering to the dark side: What role did religion play in Devin Patrick Kelley's fatal family feud?

Veering to the dark side: What role did religion play in Devin Patrick Kelley's fatal family feud?

Yes, this is another GetReligion post about the contents of the original Facebook page that belonged to Devin Patrick Kelley, as opposed to some of the doctored material being circulated by "fake news" conspiracy theory websites.

After my original post on the massacre at First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs in Texas -- "Texas church massacre: What to do with atheism arguments on that Facebook page? -- I received several messages pointing me toward an important quote from a Texas official involved in the investigation.

Here's the quote, as it was included in a report at The Washington Post:

“This was not racially motivated, it wasn’t over religious beliefs,” Freeman Martin, a regional director with the Texas Department of Public Safety, said at a news briefing. “There was a domestic situation going on within the family and the in-laws.”

Journalists are, of course, still struggling to put the "Why?" component in the old-school news formula known as "Who," "What," "When," "Where," "Why" and "How."

It is certainly crucial information that Kelley had been sending threatening messages to his mother-in-law and that she, along with Kelley's estranged wife, had been attending worship services at the Sutherland Springs church from time to time. This kind of family feud, linked to a history of domestic violence, is a powerful and logical hook for "Why?" reporting.

However, I have been pondering several questions over the past 24 hours as new evidence emerged: First, are law officials absolutely sure that there was no religious component to the family split at the heart of Kelley's actions? He was, after all, an ex-Baptist who -- according to his Facebook page and the testimonies of friends -- had evolved into an angry and argumentative atheist.

My second question: If the goal was to seek revenge on his mother-in-law, and she was not in the service, why did he try to kill the rest of the congregation?

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