Friday, April 20, 2007

Preying on grief.

It was a sad day when that disgusting lunatic, and he was a lunatic, killed the people at Virginia Tech. This deranged mental case, only recently released from an institution murdered 32 people. And to make sure the world understood that he felt justified in doing so he released a maniacal rant to the media during the long break he took between the killings.

During his tirade he attacked “rich brats”, drinkers, and hedonists. He sounded like a cross between a socialist and a fundamentalist Christian. He hated the rich and he hated the sinful. And like both groups he dwelled and mulled over every assumed slight he ever experienced. He was the perpetual victim whining about every injustice, real or imaginary. And in the end he was consumed with his hatred and killed.

Now many people on the Virginia Tech campus are religious. Most likely the majority of them are. It is to be expected that they will reflect on this tragedy in religious terms. And the atheists and non-believers of the world will leave them be. It is not the typical response of an atheist to inflict greater pain on someone at this time of trauma and suffering.

Yet one of the worst maggots on the extreme Right has used this sorrowful occasion to throw cheap shots at atheists. Dinesh D’Sousza once had some things to say that were of interest. But that was before he turned into one of the creepiest figures on the Right. He is the one harping on about how Christians in America ought to forge an alliance with Islamists and all go out and stone gays together.

His view is that the way to end Islamist extremism is to adopt their methods, bash a few homosexuals, burn some books, arrest the immoral and return to a theocratic moral country. That, says this appeaser to tyranny, will show them that America is just as moral as the Islamists themselves and they will no longer hate us.

Right! And the reason the Nazis were such lunatics was because the US didn’t round up the Jews. D’Sousza is delusional. And in one of his fits of, where he is possessed by the spirit of Ayatollah Khomeini and he channels the man, he wrote an attack on atheists in regard to the attack.

He wrote:

Notice something interesting about the aftermath of the Virginia Tech shootings? Atheists are nowhere to be found. Every time there is a public gathering there is talk of God and divine mercy and spiritual healing...
...To no one's surprise, [Richard] Dawkins has not been invited to speak to the grieving Virginia Tech community. What this tells me is that if it's difficult to know where God is when bad things happen, it is even more difficult for atheism to deal with the problem of evil. The reason is that in a purely materialist universe, immaterial things like good and evil and souls simply do not exist. For scientific atheists like Dawkins, Cho's shooting of all those people can be understood in this way--molecules acting upon molecules.

What does creepy Dinesh mean atheists are no where to be found? Surveys show that 20% of youth the age of the typical Virginia Tech student are atheists. Were they supposed to use this time of mourning to make points about their atheism? Were atheists supposed to crash these times demanding the right to speak?

In addition D’Sousza is not just creepy. He’s stupid. But anyone forging alliances with extreme Islamists is obviously working with less than a full deck. (That he hasn’t been shunned by the Right is even more scary.) Atheism as such is merely about the existence of a deity. Atheists, as individuals, have much to say about morality. Some like Ayn Rand, were often accused of being “moralists”.

The idea that atheists have nothing to say during times of grief is born out his own ignorance. I remember well picking up the collected works of Robert Ingersoll and reading some of his comments at a funeral. The friend to whom I was read it started crying. He said it was so moving he couldn’t help himself.

It would be a rare thing indeed for an atheist to make a spectacle at a time of mourning or the funeral of another. I don’t know what D’Sousza was thinking. Half the time I don’t think he knows himself. Every atheist I know has dealt with grief. I have lost to death people in my life, people I have loved very much.

And I have dealt with evil and injustice in ways that D’Sousza would never know. I have looked in straight in the face not just written about it from some Pacific coast mansion. But never would I think to try to impose an argument about the existence of Dinesh’s imaginary friend on others at a time of such sorrow.

Alas, we can’t say the same for Christians can we. Like vultures they wait for times of misery and sorrow to swarm around their victims. They lurk in the halls of hospitals preying on the dying and the mourners. They use every tragedy as a recruiting tool, every pain as another excuse to intrude and preach. To some they may offer a delusion of a life after death but often they are there to condemn and harass. Yes, at times of national or personal grief religion often is very visible and sometimes it is ugly.

I have known fundamentalists, in particular, the very group Mr. D’Sousza is so fond of, to tell grieving individuals that their loved one is burning in hell for eternity because they hadn’t been ‘borned again”. They were the “wrong” kind of Christian or even more horrifying, not any kind of Christian. They have used funerals to preach the horrors of eternal torment telling grieving families that their loved one is being tortured by the God of the Bible. And they relish in such actions.

And who was it that put in an appearance at these funerals to taunt and torment the grieving? It was not an atheist or agnostic. It wasn’t Richard Dawkins, who D’Sousza loves to hate. It was Rev. Fred Phelps and his Baptist congregation from Kansas.

This derange sect of fundamentalists said they will be picketing at the funerals and memorial services. And Shirley Phelps-Roper, the daughter of the church founder, said that the individuals who died deserved to die because they weren’t Christians.

She said: “The evidence is they were not Christians. God does not do that to his servants. You don’t need to look any further for evidence those people are in hell.” She said that the mass murderer “was also fulfilling the word of God.”

D’Sousza is right about one thing. Atheists are not making themselves visible at this time of grieving. They happen to know that this is not the time for a philosophical discussion. People need to be left alone and allowed to mourn. The only people who don’t understand that are the ones who share D’Sousza’s belief in a God. Perhaps now you understand why I think he’s such a creepy little maggot.

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Blogger Joe said...

What D'Sousa doesn't want to see is that all this public display of prayer et al is purely selfish. "Its all about me" Jesus says in Mat 6 5-6 not to do this. He's pretty direct on this issue. I don't know of any atheists who need to act out in public like this in a time of crisis. And, what good are these comments towards the families of the VT victims? Uhhhh, right, no good at all.

April 21, 2007


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