Atheists furious over depiction of Rachel Scott as Columbine 'martyr'

by Gregory Tomlin, |
A still from the final moments of the movie, I'm Not Ashamed, which depicts the murder of Rachel Scott. Atheists are angry that the film depicts the spiritually mature teenager as a martyr for her faith in Christ. | I'm Not Ashamed/Pure Flix/Screen Grab

HOLLYWOOD (Christian Examiner) – Atheists haven't even seen I'm Not Ashamed, the new film about the life of Columbine massacre victim Rachel Joy Scott, but they're already objecting to its depiction of the teenager as a martyr for her faith in Christ.

According to The Hollywood Reporter (THR), a critic of the film claims, "It is shameful that they are framing the entire premise of this movie around allegations that do not have any evidence to support them. The accounts of that day, actually, directly contradict them."

In the shooting scene, provided to THR by the film's producers, Scott and her male friend, Richard Costaldo, are shot at the outset of the massacre by Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris. Klebold then laughs and asks Scott, "What would Jesus do?"

Wounded and attempting to crawl away, Scott is then grabbed by her hair and asked if she still believes in God.

"You know I do," she replies.

Harris then says, just before shooting her, "Then go be with him."

Among the points of criticism from is that Scott's mother, Beth Nimmo, has been "cashing in on this alleged story for years following the death of their daughter." The website criticizes Nimmo for her television and paid speaking appearances.

"It's sickening that a tragic event that took the lives of 13 – and altered the lives of an entire nation – continues to be manipulated for the gain of those with an agenda. It is a very dangerous slope to begin slipping down when the truth stops mattering," the atheist website claims.

It also opines that the filmmakers should be "extremely ashamed" of themselves because it is an insult to the victims who were there. It is also "dangerous," they said.

"It's dangerous because it will be yet another movie that pits believers against non-believers, by portraying non-believers as the enemy. In a country already so divided, this does not help lead us in a positive direction," the website said. "We should not allow that to be skewed in an attempt to help people 'find Jesus.'"

What is clear, however, is that Klebold and Harris saw Rachel as the enemy. According to Craig Scott, Rachel's brother, both of the boys knew her as a Christ-follower.

"Eric and Dylan knew her, and that conversation happened," Craig Scott told THR, while admitting that the dialog at the end of the film is not verbatim. "There is audio tape of them calling her a 'stuck-up Christian bitch.' She may have died anyway, but in that moment, she was killed for her faith."

Costaldo, who was sitting with Rachel and who survived the shooting but was in a coma while police collected evidence, told his mother when he woke up that Klebold and Harris where yelling at Scott about her faith when she was executed.

"They were yelling at her about God and do you believe in God. That was literally the last minute of her life," Costaldo's mother told Craig Scott in a conversation captured by NBC News for Dateline. He reiterated the account in 2012. Costaldo also claimed he was asked if he believed in God. He said he didn't and that is why he believes he was not shot again.

There is no official record of a conversation between the shooters and Costaldo, or between the shooters and Scott, as depicted in the film.

However, Craig Scott also has said he witnessed Klebold and Harris killing other students in the library. They asked student Valeen Schnurr if she believed in God. She said she did.

"She was crying and begging for her life. They asked her four times if she believed in God, and finally she said 'yes,' and that's when I heard gunshots. Her name was Val Schnurr," Craig Scott said. Schnurr survived her injuries. 

Those accounts aren't likely to convince the writers of the atheist diatribe against the film.

Atheism-is-Unstoppable, a YouTube channel with 71,000 subscribers, also posted a review of the film's trailer. According to THR, it is 24 minutes long, or one-third the length of a movie that hasn't been seen yet.

"The review belittles Christians, and some complain it also demeans minorities and special-needs kids," THR says of the video review.

Craig Scott told the entertainment magazine that he and his mother have become accustomed to being attacked for their description of the events of the day Rachel was killed. He said, however, that those who were there and who have information from survivors know the real story – the one not included in "police reports and news articles."

He also said he met Harris and Klebold only once, at the home of a mutual friend. In the dark basement of the home, the two reportedly showed him on a computer a website that described how to make pipe bombs.

Craig Scott and his younger brother, Mike, have joined their father, Darrell, who is divorced from their mother, in various speaking engagements and projects involving teaching school children --  and even corporate types -- about how to prevent school violence.

With two family members at the high school the day Rachel Scott was killed, and their father having been a prominent pastor in the community, there was a lot of attention afterwards on how the family members would respond.

Craig Scott has dedicated his life to speaking to teenagers about kindness and compassion through the Value-Up organization. His brother Mike, along with Darrell Scott present a preventative process through Rachel's Challenge. Darrell Scott and Beth Nimmo have authored inspirational books about the lief and death of their daughter, and co-authored one book.