New Theory for Tucson Tragedy: Blame the Atheists

I hadn’t wanted to weigh in on the political debate over accused killer Jared Loughner’s motives in Tucson. Mainly, because I don’t know what those motives are. For now, only this young man and the demons haunting his brain know for sure what provoked him, as he is charged, to shoot 20 people, killing six.

In the length of time that it took to get Rep. Gabrielle Giffords to the hospital, I had hoped that amid this tragedy, common sense and decency might prevail. Then the tweets started. And once again, the national media has lost its sanity in the wake of tragedy.

Since then, I’ve followed the back-and-forth debate arriving every couple minutes in my email inbox over whether Loughner is a “liberal lunatic,” the phrase that Tea Party Nation has been relentlessly drum-beating for the past three days, or whether violent rhetoric of the tea party movement is at fault for the tragedy, as many pundits on the left have been saying ad nauseum since within minutes of the shootings. And all I really have to add to this polemic mess is, “Please be quiet.” Seriously.

Now, I see that some on the right are saying that Loughner is an atheist his lack of belief in God led him to allegedly commit this atrocity.

Special Guests, a service that books conservative guests on talk radio, has been heavily promoting pundits looking to pin the blame on the shooting on the left. Sarah has an earlier post on some of the spins Special Guest is promoting here. Today, the booking site is promoting Ted Shoebat, who says that being an atheist leads one to commit mass murder. “It’s actually very simple,” Shoebat was quoted in Special Guest’s promotion, “When God is not in your life, evil will seek to fill the void.”

And who is Shoebat? As Sarah wrote in a post in August:

…(He) is the son of “ex-terrorist” Walid Shoebat, an over-exposed figure in Christian Zionist circles and a tool of the a-good-Muslim-is-an-ex-Muslim mentality of the right. The elder Shoebat, whose claims to have engaged in terrorist acts as a Muslim have not withstood scrutinty, says he abandoned his life as a PLO terrorist because he found Christ; now he’s a diehard Christian Zionist and crusader against “radical Islam.”

Thanks to Special Guests, we can look forward to seeing the Christian media blaming the atheists in tomorrow’s news cycle. Details of Loughner’s religious beliefs are sketchy, but that isn’t going to keep them from defending the argument that he is an atheist by pointing to a supposed shrine that was found in his backyard, which consisted of a skull, as well as the fact that two of Loughner’s favorite books listed in his YouTube account are Mein Kampf and The Communist Manifesto. (As I’ve pointed out here, Mein Kampf contains numerous references to God and Jesus and is hardly a primer for atheism.) Loughner also listed To Kill a Mockingbird as one of his favorite books. What conclusions can we draw from that?

Meanwhile, in yet more disturbing news for non-believers and supporters of tolerance of all faiths, CNN’s Erick Erickson bashed President Obama yesterday for “accommodating atheists” with his moment of silence for the victims of the Tucson shooting.

He recently made people mad by quoting the Declaration of Independence and leaving out the bit about the Creator. During his inaugural address he mentioned atheists and subsequently proclaimed us not a Christian nation.

In yesterday’s “moment of silence” he wanted prayer or reflection. Here’s the problem—when conservatives push for school prayer and advocate for a “National Day of Prayer,” they include “or reflection” to get around namby-pamby atheist objectors.

But the left uses it too. The left uses it to accommodate atheists.

President Obama’s statement stands out because it is just another verbal telling that he’s ideologically of the left. He already has problems with a public perception of him and his faith. That things like this keep coming up suggests the general public is right in their skepticism of the sincerity of his faith.

After Media Matters called out Erickson for his remarks, the pundit tweeted:

I sure am glad the Atheists have MMFA, though they’re a poor substitute for Jesus Christ. http://is.gd/kyYFa But they’ve got twinkies!

Followed by this one:

Atheists are upset with me. But God is upset with them.

Way to keep it classy in the face of tragedy, Erickson.

laurilebo@gmail.com'

Lauri Lebo is the author of The Devil in Dover: Dogma v. Darwin in Small-Town America, a book about the 2005 First Amendment trial of Kitzmiller v. Dover in which intelligent design was ruled creationism.