By Guest Contributor R.J. Evans
Three young people were murdered in Chapel Hill, NC recently. They were college students and muslim. The killer is openly Atheist and anti-theist. The victims’ families, in their understandable grief, are calling the murders a “hate crime”, a trumped-up, politically correct charge that takes an already heinous crime and attempts to amplify it. In this case, they are trying to turn Atheism and anti-theism into the motivation for the crime. But, the facts tell a different story.
First, the killer is known to have a history of anger issues regarding the parking situation in the complex where he resides. Secondly, someone at the complex called for a meeting to discuss the man’s attitude and demeanor over the parking issue. The killer complained a lot about parking and had many cars towed away. When asked if she thought the murders had anything to do with religion, Samantha Maness, a resident of the complex was quoted on News & Observer as saying he showed “equal opportunity anger”. Third, and not surprisingly, the killer’s Facebook page contains posts critical of religion. But there’s nothing that would indicate a propensity to commit violent acts against religious people. He writes of christianity, “If you plan to be enjoying heaven while multitudes are tortured … then you are as much a sociopath as the god that you worship,” and he describes religion in general as, “the world’s most successful pyramid scam.”
This case is still unfolding as I write. There will be more to come I’m sure. What is evident right now is that this crime was indeed motivated by hate. It was hatred of people parking where the killer felt they shouldn’t be parking. And, even if this Atheist/anti-theist had been motivated by hate for religion, or religious people, this crime would be no more criminally vile than it is.
I’ve written about “hate crimes” before. And so has my good friend and blog contributor, Ronald Bruce Meyer (aka John Mill). “Hate Crime” is a fallacy. It’s a wave of the politically correct magic wand, creating a mind crime out of forethought to elevate the real crime to monumental status. It’s about trying to establish preferential treatment for a particular group in the eyes of the law, and/or an effort to silence criticism of that group. In this case, the victims happen to be muslim. But, even though muslims have been discriminated against in this country to one degree or another… To call this a “hate crime” is simply pandering to the politically correct. It’s murder. Plain and simple. Good people (by all accounts) were murdered by a guy who just happens to be Atheist/anti-theist, and whose real problem is anger management. Consider this… What group of people are best suited for media medallions and special treatment in the eyes of the law in order to soothe the cries of persecution by criticism, or to clear the conscience of those who feel perpetually guilty for everything: “Hate Crime” against muslims or “Hate Crime” against people who illegally park? Which one gets your attention? What reads better? What sells television and radio ad time better?
In light of this terrible tragedy, the talk has inevitably turned to freedom of speech and the right to express ideas and opinions. In this case, it’s an opportunity for the religious to try to suppress and/or silence non-believers. The religious have always taken the position that criticism, mockery, satire, or anything that shows their religion in a less-than-flattering light, should be off-limits. Now, a murderer, who happens to be Atheist/anti-theist and is extremely critical of religion, has become religion’s poster-child for what they think a non-believer is. Immoral. Murderous. Evil. They will put anyone who criticizes them on parade, and point straight to this heinous crime and say. “See! I told you they were evil!” But, they really need to be careful about that. Their hypocrisy will always reveal their lies.
Passing The Buck
I’ve written about crimes committed by christians and muslims on this blog in the past. The one thing I have repeatedly stressed is that both religions make use of an unwritten, but tried and true, excuse for crimes committed by the faithful in their gods’ name. “They’re really not a true ________________” Fill in the blank with christian or muslim and all is forgotten. It’s an excuse that absolves the particular religion from all manner of crimes and atrocities, even though a lot of these crimes and atrocities are written directives in their holy books. They are quick to pass the buck. Interestingly, a christian or muslim is probably reading this right now and is frothing at the mouth, waiting for me to use their excuse for this atrocious crime. Well, the buck stops with… The killer who happens to be a non-believer. Unlike christianity or islam, Atheism doesn’t have a holy book with directives to commit murder. Atheism doesn’t have a supreme deity. And when someone who happens to be a non-believer commits a crime they, and they alone, are responsible for their actions and must bear the consequences. Atheism has nothing to apologize for when it comes to these murders. Atheism is simply a lack of belief.
So where’s my moral compass on this tragedy? If you don’t already know by now…
In her biography of her father, Mary Ellin Barrett refers to her father's "agnosticism," and describes him as a "nonbeliever."