September 23, 2007

Christians Vandalize Atheist's Home in Chicago

The Friendly Atheist brings us a troubling story of a Christian hate crime in the Chicago suburbs. Rob Sherman, atheist activist and father of a high school student who successfully campaigned to remove "God Bless America" from the list of songs to be played at her Homecoming Dance (yeah, that's a great one for dancing), is the victim.

Sherman's home was vandalized with a thorough egging of both the house and the family's automobiles. But why in the world would I allege a Christian hate crime when this could have been the work of those always pesky teenagers? Because crosses and religious words were written in chalk on the driveway, and a church bulletin was stuck in the front door.

The police are convinced that angry teens are the culprits rather than some local Christian terrorist organization. Their evidence? The vandalism closely followed the incident at Sherman's daughter's school, and "Jesus" was misspelled. They may have a point about the proximity of the vandalism to the school incident, but the misspelling sounds like they are assuming Christian adults must have some modicum of intelligence. I'm not sure this is a safe assumption.

Had racist slurs and symbols been used to deface the home of an African American student, I wonder if the police would have the same response that this was simply an innocent prank by teens. Well, maybe in Jena they would.

I agree with Hemant (The Friendly Atheist) when he said, would be nice for local churches or Christian leaders to put out an announcement this morning that this type of action is never tolerated — while you might disagree with the Shermans’ beliefs, there are more positive ways to handle the situation.
Of course, I'd be surprised if this were to happen. After all, the Christian bible tells believers that atheists are bound for hell and even recommends that Christians kill us.

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