Monday, April 13, 2009

Why does religion get a free pass at being influential in murders and other heinous crimes?

While other fringe groups like white supremacists, Neo-Nazi’s and militia members get blamed for influencing the Pittsburgh gunman, why does no one blame religion for the recent murder of the 8-year-old girl by a Sunday school teacher?

by Larry Simons
April 12, 2009

Over the weekend it was revealed that the alleged killer of 8-year-old Sandra Cantu, who had been missing since March 27, was none other than friend of the family and Sunday school teacher, Melissa Huckaby (pictured).

Last weekend, 22-year-old Richard Poplawski opened fire on three Pittsburgh police officers, killing them and injuring a fourth on April 4.

The two stories are very similar but the media’s reaction to them were quite different.

In the Pittsburgh police shooting, the media portrayed Poplawski as a crazed ticking time bomb, ready to go off at any given moment and immediately began digging into his past to see what they could find to somehow grasp how he could do such a horrible thing.

This ‘digging’ eventually led to false reports by liberals bloggers and the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) that Poplawski was a tin foil hat wearing conspiracy theorist who followed people like Alex Jones and this alone led to his shooting rampage. Dennis Roddy of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette wrote:

“Believing most media were covering up important events, Mr. Poplawski turned to a far-right conspiracy Web site run by Alex Jones, a self-described documentarian with roots going back to the extremist militia movement of the early 1990s.”

The article says nothing about how Roddy came to the conclusion that just because Poplawski frequented the site, how that led to shooting cops. This same article by Roddy also mentions that Poplawski was a big fan of the Pittsburgh Penguins and considered Mario Lemieux his hero.

His hero was Mario Lemieux? Why isn’t Lemieux being blamed for the shootings? After all, hockey is a violent sport, isn’t it? Mario Lemieux---hockey---violence---shooting cops…see how it all connects? Now, obviously what I just said is ridiculous, and therein lies my point. It is just as ridiculous to make the Alex Jones connection, especially since Alex Jones has endorsed and encouraged violence as often as Mario Lemieux has----never.

Eric Boehlert of the left-wing site Media Matters even attempted to connect the Alex Jones’ film “The Obama Deception” to the Pittsburgh shootings when he said:

“We learned that Poplawski hosted his own (failed) Internet radio show and that he visited the website of 9-11 conspiracy backer Alex Jones, who has been hyping the threat of a totalitarian world government for years. More recently, Jones has been warning listeners like Poplawski about The Obama Deception (that’s the name of Jones’ new documentary DVD) and how President Obama is bound to destroy America.”

Boehlert even made the claim that FOX News has embraced Alex Jones because of appearances Jones has made on Judge Andrew Napolitano’s FOX News.com’s show “Freedom Watch”. In the aforementioned article, Boehlert lumps Alex Jones in with FOX News shill Glenn Beck, despite the fact that Alex Jones' sites Prison Planet and Infowars have repeatedly condemned Beck for his zany antics and ridiculous comments.

Who cares about insignificant things like the fact that Poplawski actually opposed the views of Alex Jones? Who cares about the fact that Jones has consistently and repeatedly bashed FOX News and right-wing conservatives the entire time Bush was President, and even Bush himself here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here? I could go on and on and on! All this shows is that Media Matters does ZERO investigation when it comes to pushing forth their left-wing propaganda.

So you see, in the Poplawski case, according to the media and the left-wing, the motive couldn’t have been that he was just a nut. His entire background was investigated and cherry-picked to the point of creating false motives and using the guilt-by-association tactic that has become so prevalent among the left-wing, Obama supporting propagandists.

In light of Poplawski, we come to the similar case of alleged child killer Melissa Huckaby. The similarities lie in the fact that when you hear about people like Huckaby being charged with killing an 8-year-old child, the first questions that begin to emerge are: How could she kill a child? How could she kill and 8-year-old child? How could she kill a child that she even knew (and knew her family)? How could a Sunday school teacher murder anyone? Typical, reasonable questions. Many asked the same about Poplawski. How could he do it?

Another similarity in the two cases is the fact that the victims (the 8-year-old girl and the three policemen) were innocent people and these are two groups of people (law enforcement and children) that are both viewed as people you should never murder, even if murder was ever justified. It’s true that you should never kill anyone, but law enforcement and children are two groups at the top of that list.

Here’s the major difference in the two cases: Poplawski’s motives for his rampage were put under a microscope, even to the point of making up information and posting false stories. In the Poplawski story, retractions were written by a few outlets that reported false info, here and here.

But here we have Huckaby, not being put under the microscope and being blown off as a nut who snapped and murdered a child. In other words, her religion is safe and faces no scrutiny. Her religion is completely divorced from her actions. You can't question religion, you know. It's widely accepted, therefore if you dare insist that some element of religion influences people to snap and commit crimes, then you're the nut. It shocked people that not only was she a Sunday school teacher, but she is also the granddaughter of a pastor, Clifford Lawless. Why would this shock anyone?

I don’t know about anyone else, but this begs the question: Why is her religion given a free pass at being investigated? Those of you who make the case that this is not a fair question, please tell me why. After all, murders and other heinous crimes by church members, pastors, church workers, youth ministers have been rampant and a pattern for some time now. How many murders and crimes have been reported by people who frequent ‘far-right conspiracy websites’? Including Poplawski…none.

Here are just a few stories of murders/crimes committed by religious people in the past 5 years:

Mary Winkler: minister’s wife who murdered her husband in March 2006

Joshua Rosa: a 19-year-old youth minister who strangled a 13-year-old boy in 2005

Kevin Ogle: a 42-year-old pastor at Northgate Colonial Baptist Church in Camden, S.C. who sent pornographic photos of himself to what he thought was a 14-year-old girl from 2006--2007

Jeffrey Alan Wasley: a 37-year-old Youth minister who was accused of molesting a 7-year-old boy in the men's restroom of the Target store in Atlanta in 2008

David A. Merritt: a 44-year-old minister from Claymont, Delaware who was arrested and charged with rape of a 12-year-old girl in March of 2009

Tim Byars: a 44-year-old track coach and popular youth minister who raped a 14-year-old Tennessee girl in late 2006

Sergio Alvarizares: a 39-year-old co-pastor of the nondenominational Spanish-speaking church Casa del Padre in Portland, OR was convicted of sexually assaulting 5 women in 2007

That’s only a few in the last 5 years. I could have researched more cases in that 5-year time frame and went back earlier than 2005. In fact, three big cases that stand out are the murders committed by Sunday school teacher Lizzie Borden in 1892, Sunday school teacher John List in 1971 and Jim Jones in 1978.

Everyone knows Jim Jones murdered 909 people (including 276 children) with cyanide poisoning on November 18, 1978.

Everyone knows Lizzie Borden (although aquitted because of incompetent investigators) murdered her father and stepmother on August 4, 1892 by hacking them to death with an axe.

For those who have never heard of John List, here’s what he did on November 9, 1971:

On November 9, seemingly out of the blue, List shot his mother Alma (above her left eye), his wife Helen (in the side of the head), and two older children in the back of their heads; he shot his youngest child, a son, several times in the chest and face. He then left the murder weapon alongside their carefully laid-out corpses. List had methodically devised a plan so that the bodies would not be discovered for quite a while, cancelling newspaper, milk, and mail delivery to his home in the days leading up to the murder. He then called the children's schools to say that the family was going to visit a sick relative out of town. By the time authorities discovered the bodies, List had vanished without a trace.

So you see, religious people do not just kill and do bad things. They commit the most horrible, unimaginable and gruesome acts you ever heard of. My point? Since religious people (not just people who are 'religious' but church employees and church workers) shoot their children, wives and mothers at point blank range, impale their parents’ faces with axes, sexually assault and rape women, young girls and young boys, strangle young children, shoot their husbands in the face and molest children, why, since these horrible acts are in the news at an alarming and rampant rate, isn’t religion viewed as a destructive influence?

Religion has induced more death and destruction than any single cause. Do I have to mention the Crusades or the Spanish Inquisition? 9/11 (if you believe the official story)? It is dangerous, barbaric and corrupt. It has divided more people than any political view, race or nationality. It allows people to do and say things “in the name of religion” without ever being questioned as to whether it is right or not. It’s “always right” if God says it is.

It is widely accepted as “the norm”. If you go against the grain and question religion, you are a “sinner”, you’re “not saved”, or my personal favorite, you’re “of the devil”. I like that one, since it is the religious people who commit acts of murder and violence that is so brutal, it would make Henry Lee Lucas proud. Hell, I don't think even Satan worshippers commit more violent acts. One thing that makes me chuckle is when religious advocates say, “Religion isn’t the cause of the most deaths”. Should it be the cause of a single one?

I have noticed that when religious people have sex with a small child, go on a shooting rampage or rape six women, nobody ever questions the religion itself, despite the fact that more death and killing have been attributed to it than most wars…hell, religious people start wars! Even ones based on lies (right, George W. Bush?).

It’s amazing how people can fraudulently play the guilt by association game when it comes to a political motivation for a murder. But when the person is religious, no church or religious doctrine is ever vilified, despite the enormous pattern of heinous crimes by religious people and the non-existence of patterns (or even single incidents) by people who visit alternative news websites.

Perhaps Bill Maher puts it best about religion in his film “Religulous” when he says:

The plain fact is, religion must die for mankind to live. The hour is getting very late to be able to indulge in having key decisions made by religious people, by irrationalists. By those who would steer the ship of state, not by a compass, but by the equivalent of reading the entrails of a chicken. George Bush prayed a lot about Iraq, but he didn’t learn a lot about it.

Faith means making a virtue out of not thinking. It’s nothing to brag about. And those who preach faith, and enable and elevate it, are intellectual slaveholders, keeping mankind in a bondage to fantasy and nonsense that has spawned and justified so much lunacy and destruction.

Religion is dangerous because it allows human beings who don’t have all the answers to think that they do. Most people would think it’s wonderful when someone says, “I’m willing Lord. I’ll do whatever you want me to do.” Except that since there are no gods actually talking to us, that void is filled in by people with their own corruptions and limitations and agendas.

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