December 12, 2007

Christian Extremist Exploits Tragedy to Bash Atheists

The church shootings in Colorado were a tragedy no atheist I've known would wish on anyone. And yet, Christian extremist Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council believes that "the secular media" is at least partially responsible. Not to exaggerate my own importance or anything, but I figure I'm part of the closest thing there is to any sort of secular media in America, an atheist blogger. Thus, I hope you'll grant me my right to feel more than a little aggravated over this.

First things first, what exactly did Perkins say?
It is hard not to draw a line between the hostility that is being fomented in our culture from some in the secular media toward Christians and evangelicals in particular and the acts of violence that took place in Colorado yesterday. But I will say no more for now other than that our friends at New Life Church and YWAM are in our thoughts and prayers.
Forget that the shooter was a Christian, aggressing against his own church. Forget that he was known to be unstable and that he was evidently motivated by the rejection he experienced from his church. Most of all, forget that the god in which Mr. Perkins claims to believe is supposed to have unlimited power and compassion for human life. No, this tragedy is our fault.

And why is it our fault? Because we dare to criticize Christianity and other religions as both irrational and destructive. Because they have no effective response to this criticism, Christian extremists like Perkins instead accuse us of being hostile to Christians. But criticizing religious beliefs is not synonymous with hostility toward persons.

As the rest of the world grows more comfortable acknowledging the undeniable link between religion and violence, Tony Perkins and his fellow Christian extremists remain in manipulative denial. Do not make the mistake of confusing this sort of denial with the psychological defense mechanism that Freud offered to explain how we protect ourselves from anxiety. This is an intentional, strategic, and utterly manipulative means of atheist-bashing.

H/T to Crooks and Liars

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