Recently, on Fox News, Glenn Beck exclaimed Jared Loughner as being a madman, and as proof, gave “evidence” of this due to his being an atheist, among other items.
He led into this rant with words and photos of terrorists and mass murderers, and then set up his list of evidence among which “atheist and 9/11 Truther” were written to support his argument.
Mr. Beck says: "All evidence points to (Jared Loughner)...was severely mentally disturbed, his belief system wasn't even rational...he was an atheist who believed George W. Bush was responsible for 9/11...cited the Communist Manifesto as one of his favorite books...these are not the opinions of a coherent individual...."
This was all presented by Mr. Beck in one segment and taken all in the context of who the some of most dangerous people in our society are. Among them, Jared Loughner, now inducted into this hall of infamy whose other members include Timothy McVeigh, and the D.C. Sniper.
He doesn’t blame all the atheists in the U.S. for driving Loughner to his deeds, but attributes his alleged acts to his being an atheist. In effect informing millions of viewers, that it’s people who don’t believe in God(s) who are like Loughner and McVeigh and the D.C.Sniper.
In another segment, Mr. Beck asks the nation to stand with him and stand against violence and the language that surrounds it, yet on the other hand he made bigoted remarks against over 6 million people in the U.S., all atheists.
It is likely there are many more atheists in the U.S. that these offensive remarks are targeting. Six million is a conservative figure of 2% of a 300 million population. This doesn’t count the millions of Americans who are agnostic and otherwise secular who could be atheists in all but name.
Glenn Beck is a prominent figure in the mainstream media. He is on a prime time cable news network, he has a radio show, is a published author whose books are in bookstores and grocery stores across the U.S. He also has an online show. He and the Fox News network have a responsibility to report the facts, and refrain from bigoted remarks. He, and they failed in this case.
Even if Jared Loughner was an atheist, which we don’t know yet, it cannot be a contributing factor to his alleged actions. To make that assertion is to say that well over 6 million Americans who are atheists are all one step away from snapping and going on a mass murder spree.
This language creates culture of paranoia, fear and mistrust of one of the largest, most productive, charitable, and socially active segments in America.
I ask Glenn Beck to reconsider his remarks. In addition, I ask Glenn Beck to show his support of those murdered and stand with the thousands who will stand together against the Westboro Baptist Church’s antics in the upcoming funerals in Tucson, Arizona. Will he walk his talk and join those in Tucson, or continue to make bigoted remarks from the comfort of his studio on the other side of the nation?
I ask all good Americans to condemn his remarks and take on Fox News for allowing this kind of damaging language on their network.
Link to the Video is: http://www.facebook.com/TexasFreethoughtConvention?v=info
Thank you for your time,
Texas Freethought Convention
Pot, meet kettle.
And heck, your 2% figure isn't conservative, it's ludicrously low. From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_states_of_america#Religion: The survey also reported that 16.1% of Americans described themselves as agnostic, atheist, or simply having no religion, up from 8.2% in 1990.
Sweet. Thanks for that, Stephan. It would be nice to be able to disavow a connection to this guy, entirely.
I've seen similar stuff from Christians as what we heard from his classmates. If you don't believe in one of the major religions, you're an atheist. There are some Satanists who are kind-of, sort-of atheists. They kind of worship themselves as divine, or some nonsense like that. It's a gray area, as to whether they count as atheists or not.
Either way, they sure as hell aren't skeptical atheists, or anything that comes close to approximating my mindset on the subject ... not that I thought this guy was, in the first place.
When comes to Satanists it isn't that gray. To truly be a Satanist (not the hedonist using Satan as a symbol) you have to first believe in one of the three "Abrahamic Faiths." Outside the bible there is no Satan and therefore no satanist. Also most occultist accept, atleast tacitly, that "gods" exist. So they too can not be considered atheists.
By definition we atheists aren't really that complicated. You believe in god and/or gods (theists) or you don't (atheists). After that you're not really talking about us as atheists.
I happen to be liberal, a humanist, a secularist, a skeptic but that is along side my being atheist not necessarily a result of it. SO you're right about not having his mind set or that his mind set follows any other label that has been attached to him.
Well certainly, the sort of Satanist who actually worships Satan is a theist. The problem is that there are many of the hedonistic, atheistic idiots running around, too. Once a large enough group grabs a label and embraces it, it becomes part of the lexicon. You have to specify to avoid confusion. Both groups are 'Satanists', even if you don't like to consider one of them to be real Satanists.
Both groups are wacky, occult-oriented types, either way.
I'd argue the point of your second paragraph, as well. By definition, our Atheism isn't really that complicated. We atheists are complicated and diverse as all hell, though. It's nearly impossible to describe what an atheist actually is except perhaps through statistics and other unholy falsehoods, such as describing what real atheists ... ie. skeptical atheists are like.
Although I do think the religions/spiritualities you mentioned, like any other religion, can appeal to a certain kind of mentally deranged person (maybe with a different kind of mental illness than Christianity?) and exacerbate their insanity.
All I can say about this is that some atheists think "atheists are rational and logical and they wouldn't commit crimes like religious people". Some belief systems attract more insanity than others, but there are going to be insane people in every group.
Sure, they can appeal to such people.
But even if some significantly high percentage of dangerously mentally ill people select religion as a fantasy realm in which to contextualize their delusions, and I suspect that is the case, that would still be correlative yet not causal.
It also wouldn't mean the majority of theists are dangerously mentally ill, obviously.
Individuals are responsible for their own actions. Too many people seem to conflate "exacerbating factor" or "correlative trait" with "causal" or, worse, "exculpatory". I'm all for developing a more formal understanding of the range and effect of exacerbating factors, including propaganda/media effects and various group dynamics that pressure people into negative behavior, but I still believe that in the final analysis individual actors are responsible for their individual actions.
Glenn Beck lying for political gain and slandering minorities? Say it isn't so.
He won't apologize, nor will Fox. If anything, this will be used as more evidence of "evil atheists trying to avoid the problems of their faith" or some other crap that idiot spews.
This interview that Chris Matthews had with David Brock, of Media Matters, while not specific to the Arizona tragedy, points to the influence of the right wing assholes – specifically Beck
BROCK: But this is not street theater, as you know.
Glenn Beck himself has been responsible for three thwarted assassination attempts this year. And Sarah Palin --
MATTHEWS: How is he responsible for them?
BROCK: Well, you want to know what they are?
MATTHEWS: You said it.
So, he burned Nancy Pelosi in effigy on his set. He tried to poison her with a chalice. OK. Some three weeks later, somebody tried to firebomb Nancy Pelosi`s house. That guy`s mother went on television and said he gets all his ideas from FOX News.
Do you know about Senator Patty Murray and the death threat that she got?
MATTHEWS: No. Go ahead.
BROCK: OK. It`s recorded. The guy says after the health care vote, he says, you have a target on your back and I can accomplish what I want to accomplish with one bullet.
He`s tried, convicted, and in the sentencing phase, his cousin writes in for leniency and she describes in a very chilling memo -- it`s on our Web site -- that he was slowly drawn into Glenn Beck`s world. And she portrays the guy, the attempted assassin, Charlie Wilson, as a victim of Beck.
And, number three, which you probably do know about, this liberal foundation in San Francisco was targeted by a gunman, Byron Williams, in June. The shooter gave jailhouse interviews -- and we published them -- and he says Glenn Beck is a schoolteacher on television and points to specific episodes of the Glenn Becks show that inspired him to do it.
MATTHEWS: Oh, God.
This is so messed up! If Atheists are not hated already by the mainstream population! I can already see how Atheists will be blamed for everything that goes wrong in America today. Are we Atheists such a threat to the people of this world? Is it because we question everything?
We obviously don't believe in the lies and bull shit that a lot of people believe because they don't think for themselves. They let someone else do the thinking for them. If using our brains and asking questions about the world around us, and seeing the truth for ourselves is the worst of all crimes, then I guess murder, terrorism, and rape is not that bad. I guess molesting little children is more acceptable than questioning our government and our church.
This is one very fucked up world.