[10/30/18] – Religious Violence and Mass Media

Movements within the United States—of nationalism, of white supremacy, of anti-immigration, are on the rise. Some argue the policies and outspoken views of the Trump administration are to blame. Acts of prejudice and hatred, regardless of origin, have featured frequently in the news recently. First there were the pipe bombs, mailed by a right-wing extremist and targeting liberal politicians and media sources; now there has been an attack on a Pittsburgh synagogue. As part of a broader theme of prejudice and hatred, this week takes a spotlight to religious violence and looks at the anti-Semitic violence in Pittsburgh.


Instructors, click on the link below to download this week’s lecture for use in your classroom. The deck contains a writing prompt, a debate question, as well as other assessment questions.

Download the PowerPoint Lecture Spark for Religious Violence and Mass Media



President Trump addressed the mass shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue while speaking at the 91st Annual Future Farmers of America Convention. At least 8 died in the shooting Saturday morning where Sabbath services were taking place. Trump said, “Our minds cannot comprehend the cruel hate…we are praying for the families of the victims.”

Violent antisemitism and hatred did not end with the Holocaust and are on the rise. Using examples from Europe, the Middle East, and the United States, this film explains how antisemitic violence and Holocaust denial are a threat to liberal society.




  • Writing: President Trump has denounced antisemitism and denied that his rhetoric has encouraged hostility. From what you know of Trump’s past rhetoric, statements, and actions, do you believe he has encouraged violence against people of different races, religions, genders, or nationalities?
  • Debate: Do we live in an environment of increasing hostility towards others and their differences?
  • Poll: In Trump’s press conference, how well did he address the synagogue attack? Very Well, Well, Acceptably, Poorly, Very Poorly.
  • Short Answer: Have you seen religious prejudice in your own life? If so, how did that manifest?


Current Events Quiz

The Pittsburgh synagogue attack was the deadliest attack on Jews in ___.

  • Pittsburgh history
  • the last 6 months
  • world history
  • U.S. history


A White House spokesperson for Trump dismissed that Trump’s rhetoric___.

  • has contributed to a hostile climate in the U.S.
  • lacked substance
  • has caused unrest in “blue” states
  • was unfair


Beyond the U.S., attacks on Jewish people are on the rise in ___ as well.

  • South America
  • Europe
  • Asia
  • Africa


U.S. Muslim groups have responded by ____.

  • calling for more violence
  • raising money for victims of the attack
  • criticizing Zionism
  • suggesting Jewish populations in the U.S. emigrate to Israel


The Muslim groups wish to send a message of “___.”

  • Hatred through action
  • Compassion through action
  • Brotherhood among religions
  • Ignorance is strength

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