Wednesday, January 12, 2011

He who is without sin... Or something

Yesterday on Memeorandum, I saw this link to a Media Matters piece.

They link Erick Erickson, claiming he is trying top propose a link between atheism and Jared Loughner's actions. Or something. Now, I'm not a big fan of MMFA, but I read the post and followed the link back to Erick Erickson at Red State, thinking that (considering the source) it couldn't be as bad as it seemed.

Well, I've now read the Erickson piece half a dozen times between last night and today, and I gotta ask...

How is this not insulting?

Erickson writes:

Political rhetoric did not make Jared Loughner do what he did. His embrace of evil led him down a road down which we should be in constant prayer no others dare travel.

It's apparently part of a larger point he's trying to make. I guess his point is:

In all the discussions we’re having, let’s not forget that bad things have happened throughout history, but we are seeing more and more a pattern of violence from those who reject Christ and we are seeing the most extreme rhetoric from those who reject the only real truth while embracing every other historic fad and nonsense as variations of truth.

How is this helpful to the discussion? How on earth does a belief or disbelief in Jesus have anything whatsoever to do with the Giffords shooting?

I'm not a believer. Call me agnostic. Call me an atheist. Actually, if you want to be accurate, call me an apatheist. (Yes, I'm aware I just made that word up. If Sarah Palin can do it, so can I.) But apatheist would be closest to the truth. I don't know if there's a God, and - while I tend toward disbelief - I'm not much interested in debating the issue. I'm not looking for proof one way or the other. I'll find out one of these days, same as the rest of you.

But I have a great respect for the faith of others. I am tolerant and respectful. The times I've been told someone is praying for me, my response is "Thank you." I'm also the first to point out the ugliness that atheists can get up to when it comes to their intolerance of believers.

And I can't help but feel like I'm somehow being lumped in with a psychotic loner asshole murderer.

A lack of faith didn't cause Loughner to do what he did. He's insane. And for Erickson to decry the 'handwringing over the “tone” in the country and the “extremist rhetoric”' while happily setting up his own strawman strikes me as rank hypocrisy.

He went further, on Twitter:

Atheists are upset with me. But God is upset with them.

And how the hell do you know that, Erick? Got the direct line, do ya? Has God let you know whether he's pissed at me for my half-assed religious state of "meh"? Lemme know.

He tweeted again:

@fmaidment No clue. And yes, I did just compare Media Matters to the Westboro Baptist Church.

That's almost funny... Why? Because the first thing I thought of when I read Erick's piece is Fred Phelps and his band of hateful loonies. I can picture EE with a little sign that says "God Hates Atheists!"

I posted yesterday that clamping down on our freedom of speech isn't the answer. It wouldn't have prevented this shooting (which was motivated by teh crazy, not ideology), and it won't prevent the next.

Neither will proselytizing, or condemning someone who doesn't share your belief system.

So, Erick... while I respect your faith -- indeed, would defend it on your behalf -- please stuff your judgemental horseshit where the sun don't shine. It has nothing to do with the topic at hand, it will do nothing to stop the next (probably) schizophrenic whackjob, and it divides us in a way that's completely unnecessary. You are, in my own opinion, no better than the fools who would point their finger at Sarah Palin.


Matt said...

Whoa bro. The man was simply explaining the situation from a Christian world view. I don't know that it was insulting, it was a point of view. I have to respectfully disagree with you here.

ScratcherMMBI said...


I think as a general dialogue, Christians discussing the impact of atheism on society makes perfect sense. Of course it's an important thing to discuss.

But speaking specifically to Loughner's case I still think it's irrelevant and divisive. RSM wrote that "crazy is not an ideology". It's not a religion either. To address what happened through the lens of Loughner's religious beliefs is the same as trying to attribute this tragedy to his political leanings. This guy was just crazy.

I may not believe the same things you do, but I'm as horrified by - and incapable of - such an act as you are. I perceived it as insulting because it seems to imply that a lack of faith in Jesus puts me in league with Loughner. Anybody might be insulted when compared to a monster.