Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Who Commits Hate Crimes?

In his book, What Americans Really Believe, Rodney Stark, professor at Baylor University, makes an interesting observation. “The most virulent and common form of religious intolerance still to be found in America is that held by the irreligious toward the religious. As for the reverse, religious people express little hostility toward the irreligious.”

In our experience, many of us agree. The real "hate crimes" move from liberals to conservatives, not in the other direction. Has the speech perversion of George Orwells 1984 found a roost in contemporary culture? Those who patiently and mercifully object to deviant behavior are accused of hate, but those who try to censor the virtuous are now the practicioners of love.

Be wise as serpents but gentle as doves.

1 comment:

  1. I have read this book earlier this year while flying on vacation, however, I contemplate that this is a clearly misunderstood musing. I wished to find the citation for the quote you have provided from the author and as such, will be scanning the book to find it. One thing I did find interesting about this book was how, with a great number of different people in the United States, they only tended to focus on two demographics, the dominant majority, and the most dominant minority. In other words, the Asians, Arabs, Native and even mixed americans are thrown out for the sake of simplification and a certain few audiences. While some may argue this a marketable, or necessary formula of posting samples of statistics for our society to see, it paves the way for more inconsistencies in the numbers (than already incurred) tallied. Additionally, it leaves greater problems of disproportionate application and subtraction to the groups mentioned in the study. Furthermore, it is increasingly irritating as I read into it, as I know that European and African Americans are not the only people who exist in the states. Obviously, most educated people know that there are not only two kinds of Americans. How many people took the survey?

    Secondly, his pejorative put downs on non-conservative Christians I felt were unnecessary; if he were trying to compile factual data and prove his points logically, there would be no need to include the slights and minimal rants that he argued for certain groups. He lacks the honesty to show consistent knowledge and in depth insight for his take on Part III of his book, which speaks of Atheists and the Irreligious. Aside from writing (and quite irrationally biased albeit) about how atheist and non-believing countries lead to Maoist and Stalinist regimes which execute and persecute the religious, (thankfully, he was smart enough not to mention the Nazi party) he also attributes atheism, and as seen in your blog, irreligion in general with evil and hate crimes. Anyone with a sound knowledge of history, even from the view of Western Europe, knows this is wrong and at the least contextually misconstrued.

    Now, you stated that the real hates crimes go from liberals to conservatives, not vice versa. Are we to believe that hate crimes (if we want to name political parties) from conservatives to liberals are fake? Or justified? Consider the shooting at Tennessee Valley Universalist Universalism Church, from a man who had a problem with liberal religious views, last year. Consider the billboard in Cincinnati taken down because of multiple threats received by presumably religious conservatives. Consider the American South, the most Christian region in the nation refusing to allow African slaves rights at the time of the Civil War. Consider the bombings of abortion clinics by conservative fringe groups. Dr. Tiller. Consider, right wing conservatives, who are religious, that do exist in different parts of the country who also sympathize with Neo-Nazi rhetoric. Consider the story of Jeremy Hall, an army soldier, and atheist in a foxhole, receiving threats, even from his superiors, for his non-belief while serving his country in the desert. Consider the military's view on Islam. Consider many of the conservative rights fear of pluralism. Consider the plight of homosexuals in America. Bigoted religious leaders such as Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson. And honorable mention to Fred Pheps. All three preach hate. Anyway, I could go on but I just wondered if you really considered that line about liberals and conservatives before you typed it. I know for a fact that it is wrong and can be quite misleading.

    Have a good day!