Tuesday, August 7, 2012

In denial? Just blame atheists

[Originally posted at NOW Lebanon]

Pat Robertson, the veteran Baptist televangelist, is blaming atheism for the Wisconsin massacre (Source: wardrobedoor.blogspot.com)

No week is exactly a “good” week for atheists: a group so universally disliked that the American public would sooner elect a Muslim or gay president. Yet this week may be worse than most.

In addition to being blamed for Nazism, Stalinism, natural disasters and global chaos in general, it appears that we are even being indicted for Sunday’s tragic massacre in Wisconsin.

Pat Robertson, the Baptist televangelist, who readers may remember for blaming 9/11 on secularists, has come out with an equally inventive explanation for the Wisconsin atrocity. The culprits, he speculated, were “people who are atheists; they hate God, they hate the expression of God, and they are angry with the world, angry with themselves, angry with society, and they take it out on innocent people who are worshipping God.”

How is one to respond decently to this slander? I suppose it would be in poor taste to note that Wade M. Page, the actual perpetrator of the Wisconsin massacre, had a large cross tattooed on his shoulder, and seemed to be motivated more than anything else by white supremacist ideology, whose relations with the Church have a long and very unpleasant history.

Not that I’m suggesting Page’s motive was religious. But I’d argue that the kind of person who is thinking of murdering for a racial cause is likely to become more, rather than less determined if he believes the Almighty will approve. To throw the charge of this fanaticism back at those who dispute the whole God hypothesis in the first place is not only a base shirking of moral and intellectual honesty, but a transparent symptom of denial.

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