There is a school of thought among anti-theists like myself that rejects the smiling, hat-in-hand, ‘moderate’ version of theist belief that seems to dominate the newspaper opinion columns and academic debate halls (and yet seems to correspond not at all to the front page headlines) as profoundly dishonest. If you believe that the Bible or the Qur’an or the Torah are literally true, or even true as metaphor, then you cannot escape a few simple conclusions, the first and most obvious of which is that the guy running the show is a petty and vengeful dictator who will torture you eternally out of ‘love’ (one of many words that seems to have a completely different meaning when describing the deity than it does when used to describe anything else).
This particular group of anti-theists don’t have a whole lot of patience for those who say that the different religions are just ‘different ways at arriving at the same answer’ or that religions are all ‘fundamentally about peace’. “Bullshit!” they (we) say, “you can only claim that if you just flat-out ignore half of the shit in your book. If you’re going to ignore parts of it, we invite you to join us and ignore the whole fucking thing.” Anti-theists are potty-mouths.
And in that sense, the only times that anti-theists and religious fundamentalists agree (when it comes to questions of theology) usually involve at least one dead body:
In an apparent attempt at damage control just two days after a cousin’s sexual molestation charges went public, Zimmerman broke his silence in an exclusive interview with Fox News conservative talk show host Sean Hannity. His lawyer, Mark O’Mara, sat beside him as Zimmerman recounted the Sunday night that he encountered a hoodie-clad black teenager who walked too leisurely in the rain.
Asked if he regretted getting out of the car that night or owning a gun, Zimmerman said no. Asked if he would do anything differently, Zimmerman said no a third time, and added that Trayvon’s death was “God’s plan.”
You see that, folks? The death of a 17 year-old kid who had broken no laws or done anything more threatening than walking home from the store was the will of the Almighty. The resulting inflammation of long-standing racial enmity, the reflexive resurgence of victim-blaming and open demonization of black men that happens every time a story like this hits the papers? That was YahwAlladdha’s will too! While it’s tempting to see this as the story of an unhinged wannabe-vigilante stalking, harassing, and ultimately executing a teenager and then walking away uncharged, that’s a laughably prosaic view. No no no, this was the direct intervention of a supernatural entity whose thirst for the blood of the innocent will never be quenched.
By the way, this:
“I am not a racist,” Zimmerman told Hannity. “I am not a murderer.”
Is the reason that I deplore the use of the phrase “a racist”. It’s a term to describe a condition that can never be satisfied – nobody thinks they’re racist (except avowed racial supremacists, who are thankfully rare), and therefore saying “I’m not a racist” is a complete waste of perfectly good consonants. Of course Zimmerman doesn’t think he’s “a racist” – he’s found the perfect explanation for his decision to identify a teenager walking home in the rain as ‘suspicious’ and ‘aggressive’, follow him, accost him, and eventually shoot him: it was part of Yahweh’s ineffable plan! Are you saying GOD is a racist? Hunh? Are you? Didn’t think so…
The truly scary part of this story is that George Zimmerman’s mind has completely removed all sense of responsibility for the shooting. His words of remorse are belied by the fact that he said he would not have changed anything about that night:
“I do wish there was something, anything I could have done that wouldn’t have put me in the position where I had to take his life,” Zimmerman said.
But in George’s mind, the only person who could possibly take the blame for what happened is YahwAlladdha, and our lives are his to toy with anyway so there’s not a whole lot we can say or do.
Of course, from the beginning this has never been about blaming George Zimmerman for me. There are just so many things wrong with the whole story, from beginning to end. The idea of anyone roaming around the neighbourhood with a loaded gun terrifies me. Zimmerman says that he always has a gun when he leaves the house. That’s sick and disturbing. The idea that a law exists that says anyone, regardless of training or licensing, can just pull out and execute whoever they want so long as they fear their life is in danger – while it raises some interesting possibilities it is nonetheless terrifying and indicative of something being seriously wrong with Floridians.
This latest god-dodge is only the latest in the string of disgusting and morally bankrupt events that characterize this case. George Zimmerman isn’t the only problem here – he’s just the one with his finger on the trigger.
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