On Monday Pat Robertson (R-Fraud) blamed the Sikh shooting on atheists, kicking off a round of well deserved criticism. But William Saletan rides to the rescue!
Slate — Pat Robertson is using Sunday’s mass shooting at a Wisconsin Sikh temple to pick a religious fight. That’s the story going around the lefty blogosphere, based on a 40-second clip of Robertson apparently blaming the massacre on atheists. But the full context of the clip paints a more encouraging picture. It’s a picture of Christian fundamentalists learning, in their clumsy way, to identify with other faiths.
What’s bizarre is the article goes on to note Robertson is one of the worst Televangelist offenders, stirring up animosity and hatred among his inexplicably loyal listeners at one faith or group or another time and time again. But hey, shifting from Sikhs to atheists as scapegoats is a “good thing,” I guess, because it brings people of faith together … against a common enemy.
Let me skip the needless analogy and go all Godwin on Saletan’s sorry ass here: you know who else brought a fractured nation back together using similar methods? Hitler! Yes, and he did it the same old-fashioned way, by blaming horrific acts on people who were in no position to defend themselves against those vicious accusations even though they had nothing to do with any of it. And you know what, William? It worked! Why in just a few years many Germans forgot all about their anger toward the aristocracy and military industrial complex that dragged them into WW1 and instead blamed their defeat and economic collapse on those damn dirty Jews, intellectuals, and of course the commies.
It’s doubtful anyone in their right mind would look back on that as encouraging.
Robertson did this for about the ugliest reasons imaginable. He wanted to shift the blame away from and put some distance between himself and the violent right-wing terrorist rhetoric he himself has gone along with all too often, and in the heat of the tragedy he couldn’t zero in on the Sikhs. Muslims had nothing to do with it and his followers might think he was picking on Sikhs there too, since they apparently can’t distinguish between them. So, like any tyrannical bully he picked the obvious, convenient political weakling at hand, he picked atheists, and he did it for pure, unadulterated profit.