Chapel Hill Shooting: Atheists / Anti-theists Are Responsible?

Craig Hicks, charged with shooting death of 3 Muslims in N.C.

Some less than spectacular people out there on the Inter-webs are calling for vocal atheists and anti-theists to own up to the Chapel Hill Shooting being our version of the Charlie Hebdo Massacre. No, we won’t be doing that. At least not at this time. Should the available facts on record change, such as a confirmed manifesto being released, any reasonable person would adjust their views to include this. But what we have here is a horrible tragedy with no clear motives, nothing more. Charlie Hebdo was killing in the name of religion being held higher in importance than freedom of speech and human life; no comparison.

Standards of acceptance of evidence is probably the core difference between atheists and theists. For instance: I don’t see any evidence that is at all compelling for a historical Jesus of Nazareth nor for a God of Abraham. The commonly used “personal experience” routine is crap on multiple levels but mainly because people lie to further their own goals all the time and religious labels don’t instantly cure a person of unethical behaviors.

I’ve studied the Bible at length, researched non-canonical texts, applied the standards of historical veracity to both the Old and New Testaments and none of it amounts to the claims of “divinity” and “divine truth” made by Bible-believers. At the most, and this is being very generous, there was a Jewish rebel priest put to death by the Romans that had a chain of hearsay turn him into a demigod in the eyes of certain men who were all born around a hundred years after his execution.

Islam and the Quran are different in the sense that the central figure is much, much more so a verified historical figure but shares in the same issues of the Torah and the Bible where none of the claims to divinity and ultimate truth are any more compelling than when the Greeks, Egyptians or the Pagans wrote of their mastery of the ethos of life and contemplation. The endless contradictions anyone can find with enough time spent with almost any “holy book” placed to the side, the issue with any form of religious extremism boils down to dehumanizing those who will not conform to the point where an act of torture or murder upon them is not only acceptable but mandated from on high.

Thing to remember here is some people believe in UFOs and anal probes but it’s rare to the point of being unheard of that one of them would go shoot up a skeptic conference in the name of being unhindered to spread the message of the coming alien overlords to the masses. But both radicalized Christians as well as Muslims, and even the heavily pacifist Buddhists, have done exactly these kinds of actions in both isolated and organized acts of violence. All this in recent decades and not even bothering to dredge out old history books citing violence over the centuries committed in the name of religious “purity.”

No respected atheist anywhere is advocating you solve your disputes with acts of murder or that the best way to silence an ideological opponent is to kill them in their home or place of business. But I could troll the right-wing radio Christian waves for awhile and bring back some moron who is doing exactly that and same with the nationalistic Islamic newsgroups and forums. This would not in turn implicate all Christians and all Muslims in those statements but only those who identify with the speaker’s views which is not an easy thing to assess unless someone declares it to be so.

Deah Barakat, his wife Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha and her sister Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha.

 

As always when I cover tragic stories my deepest condolences go out to the family members and friends of the victims of this horrible event.  I do not speak merely for myself when I say that this man should face the full force of the legal justice system and hopefully this will bring you some measure of peace.

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Chris Wallace and Fox News are Lying to You

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(Image: The Osterley Times)

Chris Wallace and The FOX Broadcasting Company have proven to me personally that not only do they work in a direct effort to both intentionally under-report and under-disclose vital information to the stories they cover, but also to outright lie in the name of presenting their case.

Wallace attempted to defend the ACORN slander artist, James O’Keefe III, by repeating false claims that have irrefutable evidence stating otherwise.

As is the par for the course, nobody cares to speak out against these truth-spinners and defenders of McCarthyism in the US.

MediaMatters.org has covered the story far better than I ever could hope to, but I think it needs to be understood that when Fox News reports via Megyn Kelly that O’Keefe and Giles were in fact asked to leave ACORN offices, while O’Keefe and Giles have previously denied these claims on the air of FOX News, it is the obvious responsibility of Chris Wallace to inform you of this lack of credibility native to these people along with any other claims or assertions he would like to make.

That failure to report this information, and the failure of FOX News to hold their employees responsible, is an affront to American democracy as much as it is to journalism in the modern age. If these people continue to lie to the public there may need to be some serious consideration made toward the goal of civilly disrupting and peacefully dismantling an agency dedicated to spreading misinformation, racist sentiments and un-American propaganda.

This video is pertaining to another matter entirely but I draw your attention to the FOX News-ticker at approximately 2:10 in this clip:

.. Carter, who said racism accounts for most criticism of Obama, but says “That’s not what’s driving” Obama’s detractors ..

Words are important. To lie about the words of a former United States President, even in a cable news-ticker, is an insult to this nation and there is no doubt to me that this is far from some minor accident.

Look carefully at that sentence.

The whole statement is designed to make Jimmy Carter look like he is talking in circles, when in fact the Fox News organization is using their own language “most criticism” to put words in Carter’s mouth. A shameful and un-American thing to do, in my view.

Now look carefully at Carter’s actual quote:

I think an overwhelming portion of the intensely demonstrated animosity toward President Barack Obama is based on the fact that he is a black man,

Carter was quite clear and not all ambiguous like the false and downright slanderous “Fox News-version” of events.

The words are “intense animosity“, not “criticism“. And “overwhelming portion“, not “most“.

Jimmy Carter can defend himself. I will not dissect every angle of this for the sake of this singular posting.

I am simply saying you look at the words someone spoke for what they are. Not twist them around until they say what you want them to say.

And it amounts to a simple, and for some hard to accept, fact:

Fox News appears to be in the business of promoting and advocating for racist ideals in the U.S.

Until I see clear examples of the end of their unwillingness to accurately report on fabricated-scandals like ACORN, the controversy over Jimmy Carter’s words or something to the issue of finally questioning the wisdom in keeping an avowed racist like Glenn Beck on the payroll, I see no reason to think or say otherwise.

There are some good people who work at Fox News. But there are good people who work at the IRS, too.

Doesn’t mean they’re not working in a cesspool.

Sara Palin Quits Her Job

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Former Republican Vice-Presidential candidate, and soon to be former Governor of Alaska, Sara Palin has decided to walk away from her responsibilities as governor as well as her obligations to those who voted her into office.

Whatever her reasons may be she is electing to be extremely vague and elusive, leaving the speculation running wild. It’s possible the ethics probes are the reason. It’s possible she is fed up with political partisan bickering and propagandizing.

Whatever the reason the fact remains that this representative is walking away from her responsibilities and setting a terrible example to the nation in terms of governorship.

How Responsible is O’Reilly in Tiller’s Murder?

Crooks & Liars : Bill O’Reilly uses Private Long’s murder to try and justify his demonization of Dr. Tiller by John Amato

Raw Replay : Howard Kurtz excuses Bill O’Reilly’s incitement of violence against George Tiller by David Edwards

In terms of criminal responsibility to Bill O’Reilly or FOX Broadcasting in the murder of Dr. George Tiller, I can see none.

In terms of moral and civic responsibility, I see plenty. I believe it to a shameful state of affairs in America today that I am a ‘far left’ blogger for demanding responsible broadcasting and moral standards in addressing social issues like abortion and women’s reproductive health.

The crazies will do what they do.

Bill O’Reilly is not responsible when a lunatic reads his book and murders fourteen people in a church, nor is he responsible when a man watches his broadcasts and goes out and kills a man over it. In a legal sense this is true. In a moral sense Bill O’Reilly has blood on his hands for passing along biased and jaded perspectives on liberalism in America and his outrageously dangerous and slanderous coverage of Dr. Tiller.

The responsibility of a broadcaster is vapid in terms of serious social issues and FOX Cable News, not in anyway exclusive to The O’Reilly Factor.

Just tonight Geraldo Rivera made insinuations of vigilante violence against a child molester in Oklahoma in the course of denouncing vigilante violence himself.

The fact remains that the both the network and the broadcasters themselves have a responsibility to the public they serve to protect the lives of all citizens and protect the due process of law.

By calling Dr. Tiller a ‘killer’ repeatedly on the air Bill O’Reilly risked inciting violence.

By vaguely insinuating that the Oklahoma child molester might be killed and have his body dumped on the side of the road Geraldo Rivera risked inciting violence.

The responsibility to the community for news broadcasting that does not risk the incitement of violence in the nation is fundamental to our domestic security as a nation.

This entire issue has absolutely nothing to do with an individual political agenda on my accord and I am willing to retract my provocative statements in regards to Mr. O’Reilly provided he states clearly to the public that he will no longer use his media platform to play dangerous games with people’s lives and then follows through on this promise.

Mine is a cry for an end to irresponsible broadcasting coming from FOX News.

For whatever failures of bias to found on vast quantity both on MSNBC and FOX, there is only one network inciting violence and using radical right wing propaganda to do more than simply share an alternative perspective. Quite often the network is used as an agent for unscrupulous pundits to gamble with the safety of physicians and the liberal population of America.

Ultimately, I believe these people have become drunk off their own power and will never admit their own misdeeds let alone their own inability to recognize their contributions to a climate of violence in America.

As long as the public continues to support their ‘crusades’ they will remained deluded and ignorant to the harm they cause in their wake. When the veil of public approval is lifted it becomes clear that these men will say anything to get ratings and if that means risking inciting violence, then so be it.