There was a time not too long ago that whenever any Muslim anywhere did something morally reprehensible, the assholes on Fox News would demand that every Muslim everywhere repudiate those actions and engage in a public repentance ritual. There were some groups that were more than willing to do this, and went on air to publicly repudiate all acts of violence on behalf of all the Muslims in the world. Then there were those people who said that asking for this sort of thing is kinda… well, I guess the word wouldn’t be racists, but whatever the religious equivalent of racism is. Two murderous psychopaths detonated a home-made bomb in Boston, and you expect all Muslims everywhere to denounce the act? You’re implying that the Muslim plumber in Oklahoma shares in the responsibility for that act somehow. Fuck you.
I side with the latter.
Interestingly, now that an atheist killed several Muslims, some of those people appear to be flip-flopping. I’m going to ignore the weirdness that this looks to have been over a parking dispute rather than religious reasons. Likely the killer’s strongly negative views of the religious made it emotionally easier to pull the trigger. So let’s say that there was at least some religious motivation mixed in there. A number of prominent atheists have jumped up to publicly denounce these murders.
Now on the one hand, these are the equivalent of church leaders. It’s certainly a good idea, after this sort of thing happens, for a church leader to remind everyone in his church that we do not fucking do this sort of shit. Just so no one gets the wrong damn idea. We don’t want to be like those assholes secretly applauding the women’s-clinic bombings.
On the other hand, if I recall correctly, a lot of the people making these public statements are the same ones who said “Stop demanding that all Muslims repudiate every action of every crazy individual, you’re being racist.” Or as Scott would say, you’re building a Super-Weapon. And yet, as soon as an equivalent situation crops up in atheist land, they immediately jump up and repudiate the action.
I’m left confused by the inconsistency. If you demand that others “own” every action by everyone in their religion, I’m going to think you’re an asshole, but at least you’re consistent when you then apologize for some psycho in another state killing people. If you protest that it’s bigotry to imply that a huge and diverse group all be tarred by the actions of individual nuts, I understand why you would refuse to accept the guilt-by-association when someone tries that on you. But if you claim that all Muslims shouldn’t be called on the carpet for every extremist’s action, and then also jump up to apologize for an unrelated atheist’s extreme actions, I’m left wondering… were you secretly trying to sabotage the Muslims earlier? Because you are clearly not heeding your own advice. In the realm of “Leading By Example” you are in the camp of judging an entire group by the actions of isolated extremists.
Maybe it’s just a tacit acknowledgement that we all know that people really do stereotype groups by the outliers they see in the news. A realpolitik acceptance that humans are simple, racist creatures, and it’s best to work with that fact when it comes down to brass tacks. We can talk a great, noble game of not judging groups when it is some other group that is being judged. This allows us to paint ourselves as noble. As soon as it’s OUR group that’s being judged, well shit, we all know that people really are racist, and the noble talk is all bullshit, so get the PR machine going and start telling everyone just how much we repudiate that guy.
Bleh. Hanson wins again.
Still, I don’t want anyone getting the idea that I’m not strongly against murder. o.O So let’s strike a balance…
Killing people is an abhorrent thing, and no one should do it. But anyone who wants to imply that I, or any other atheists, need to repudiate the actions of a murderer who is an atheist, is a bigoted asshole.