Questionable Motives

November 11, 2009

Let’s be honest: The killings at Fort Hood were religiously motivated murders.

Filed under: Criticism,Religion,Society — tildeb @ 2:39 pm

religious symbolsTo kill your fellow Americans—as many as possible, unarmed and in the most helpless of circumstances, while shouting “Allahu Akbar” (God is great), requires, of course, only murderous hatred—the sort of mindset that regularly eludes the Dr. Phils of our world as the motive for mass murder of this kind.

As the meditations on Maj. Hasan’s motives rolled on, “fear of deployment” has served as a major theme—one announced as fact in the headline for the New York Times’s front-page story: “Told of War Horror, Gunman Feared Deployment.” The authority for this intelligence? The perpetrator’s cousin. No story could have better suited that newspaper’s ongoing preoccupation with the theme of madness in our fighting men, and the deadly horrors of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, than this story of a victim of war pressures gone berserk. The one fly in the ointment—Maj. Hasan had of course seen no war, and no combat.

From the article here.

We have got to stop condemning judgment of another’s religious beliefs as a crime in itself, the root cause of fearing so much to give offense and be so open-minded that our brains fall out. We need to start listening – really listening and understanding and evaluating – to what informs the condemnation. Maybe it is valid. Sometimes it may be worth the risk. Perhaps the thirteen dead at Fort Hood would still be alive if those in authority, those who had the power to alter or interrupt the sequences of events that led Hasan to kill in the name of his religious beliefs, had listened to the critics rather than to the apologists about what ignorances, biases, and intolerances informed Major Hasan’s religious beliefs. The crime here is not solely Major Hasan’s; it can also be shared to some extent by all those willing accomplices in positions of authority who decided to stay silent and do nothing to confront Hasan’s or anyone else’s belief set under the banner of ‘respecting’ religion, thus avoiding the all too handy condemnation for anyone who dares to judge. Especially religious beliefs. Just ask any atheist what that social price is.

When religion is granted such an exemption from critical inquiry out of some misplaced notion that causing offense outweighs all other considerations, people will continue to suffer and die in the name of god. That is what passes for religious tolerance these days.

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