The Sikh temple shooting in Oak Creek, Wisconsin earlier this week left the entire nation stunned, especially since it occurred very shortly after an earlier shooting spree in Aurora, Colorado. In times like these, we as a nation feel the need to come together, support one another, and try to remember that even in spite of horrific incidents like this, there are more things that unite us than divide us.
Or, if you’re Pat Robertson, you could go on TV and blame atheists for the whole goddamned thing.
What is it? Is it Satanic? Is it some spiritual thing … people who are atheists, they hate God, they hate the expression of God. And they are angry with the world, angry with themselves, angry with society, and they take it out on innocent people who are worshiping God. And whether it’s a Sikh temple or a Baptist church or a Catholic church or a Muslim mosque or whatever it is, I just abhor this kind of violence and it’s the kind of thing we should do something about … but what do you do? What do you do? Well, you talk about the love of God and hope it has some impact.
Atheists, Pat? Really? You realize that doesn’t even make any sense since the guy responsible was a member of a white supremacist group, which generally have connections with Christian organizations … but whether even that has any relevance in this situation remains to be seen. This may be racism, plain and simple. In other words, we don’t know all of the facts yet. Nobody does right now, since the only person who would have been able to shed light on this situation is dead from a self inflicted gunshot wound after a fight with police.
Of course, I shouldn’t be surprised at his response since every time there’s a disaster he marches right into his office, spins the Big Wheel he has mounted on his wall, and uses the name of whatever group the pointer lands on (lesbians, atheists, black people, Pat Sajak) to fabricate some completely nonsensical relationship between them and whatever horrible loss of life that recently took place.
Normally you just dismiss people like this as kooks … but he has a massive following and enough people take him seriously for everyone else to take notice. He claimed that Haiti’s 2010 earthquake was God exacting revenge for the deal they supposedly made with the devil in order to kick the French out of the country centuries ago. In 1998, he threatened that God was going to smite Disney World with hurricanes, meteors, and tornadoes for adopting “Gay Day” in their park. (Apparently the next hurricane to hit the East Coast bypassed Florida and whacked Virginia Beach, home of the 700 Club. Maybe I do believe in god after all …)
Speaking as an atheist – and after having heard many others speak on the same topic, I can say with a strong sense of assuredness that atheists don’t hate God. We don’t believe there’s a God to hate in the first place. If it’s one thing we do hate, it’s the dangerous idea some people have about a supreme being who just so happens to think exactly the way they do, and who doesn’t seem to mind when His followers use Him to justify their ignorance, bigotry, racism, and hatred any time they please.