Category Archives: Extremism

Kulture Wars go to Court

 

America is reaping what it has sowed.  People are up in arms about the current Supreme Court overruling the landmark precedent case of Roe V. Wade.  So am I. But, the Supreme Court can do that. Since the previous decision was a Supreme Court decision only the Supreme Court can overrule it. But it can do that and has often overruled previous cases  in the past. This is what the legal doctrine of Stare decisis is all about. That doctrine obligates lower courts to follow historical cases when making a ruling on a similar case. Stare decisis ensures that cases with similar scenarios and facts are approached in the same way. Simply put, it binds courts to follow legal precedents set by previous decisions. The prior decision which is called a precedent is binding on lower courts only. However, it does not bind the Supreme Court.

 

The Supreme Court in Canada and the United States can always overturn a previous decision and when you think about it that is absolutely necessary.  Otherwise the court would be locked  forever when it made a decision. For example, those who now disagree with the decision the court made in the recent Dobbs case where Roe v. Wade was overturned  would have to accept the result forever. That would be highly unacceptable. The fact is sometimes courts make bad decisions that should be reversed.

 

That does not mean I agree with the recent decision of the US court. In fact, I think it shows what happens when for decades Supreme Court decisions and appointments to the court are determined by politics and ideology and not good reasoning. That has happened to an alarming extent in the US for decades. I hope Canada does not follow suit. And let me be clear, both parties have been guilty of this  egregious offence.  The parties have been trying to turn the court into what John Hanna of the Associated Press called “culture warriors.” That is exactly what these people have been doing.

 

The most recent example was the farcical confirmation hearings for Joe Biden’s nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson. Ms. Jackson had 3 important characteristics that drove the Republicans crazy:  She was black, a woman, and smart. As a result the conservative Senators dipped into their arsenal of stupid. Senator Cruz and other Republicans came out and insinuated that she was soft on crime and suborning pedophilia. The insinuations were nasty, brutish, and stupid but that did not build caution in her attackers. It was obvious that her Senate foes cared nothing about the truth or her obvious qualifications but cared only about showing off to the Republican base how they would defend “traditional values” like attack dogs.  As Amy Davidson Sorkin said in The New Yorker, “At one point, Republican Senator Ted Cruz suggested that supporting Jackson was comparable to calling for the police to be abolished.” Republican Senator Tom Cotton  said “Judge Jackson has also shown a real interest in helping terrorists.” Cruz was joined by Josh Hawley  in suggesting that she was part of a liberal conspiracy ring supporting a child-trafficking ring.  Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene said the 3 G.O.P. Senators who vote for her were “pro-pedophile.” Senator Marsha asked Jackson to define “woman.” When she did not provide a definition, Cruz asked her how she could expect to  rule on cases involving gender if she did not know what a woman was. Jackson instead said that the woman she admired most in the world, her mother,  who was at the hearing, is a woman. Clearly, she did not need Cruz to help her understand what a woman was.

 When criticisms become so untethered  from reality, it is obvious that the purpose of the charges has nothing to do with an assessment of the candidates and everything to do with scoring points in the Kulture Wars.

 

This has been going on in the US for decades. As a result, America has the Supreme Court it deserves deserves. Our Canadian system is far from perfect, but at least we haven’t gone there.

 

Christian Hate

 

To me it is a fundamental position that Christians should not hate. They should love. Yet often that is not true. Often they hate.

In the United States far right groups traditionally attack racial minorities, but those are large groups. If you want support from non-whites you have to attack smaller groups such as trans-gender Americans. That is what the current far right is doing in America. Many of those are of course Christians. Take almost any hated group and away you can go. It does not take much for Americans to join an anti-racial parade. Vilify a small group and soon you will have wide-spread support for your cause.

If you attack a tiny group you can gather a large group  against them.  This is what Americans have been doing.  Then you can gather a lot of people to join our hateful attacks on very small minorities. Unfortunately, there are often many Americans who want to do exactly that.

As Jason Stanley an American philosopher and expert on fascism said,

“In the United States the audience includes white nationalists who very prominently want to return to a white state that prioritizes white Christianity. So they say they have black Americans who join them in their antipathy against LGBT citizens. It is always about gathering a larger coalition by ever greater vilification  of a small minority while winking to the large  part of the coalition that this is really helping. In the case of the United States that would be white Christianity.”

 

One should never underestimate the power of hate among small groups. Smart politicians know how to enlist such power and amplify it. Often such tactics are used to enhance the interests of white Christianity. Hence we get what Timothy Snyder referred to as Christian fascism which often attacks small sexual groups that are easy to dominate and quick to catch the attention of haters.

There was a recent piece in the New York Times by Elizabeth Dias and Ruth Graham that reported on The growing religious fervour in the American right. They call it a Jesus movement.”  The far-right movement is increasingly drawing in devout Christians.

As Stanley said,

“That’s because the global fascist movement presents itself as a defender of traditional values. And this is not new. This is textbook fascist politics. If you look at Joseph Goebbels’s speech, “Communism with the masks off,” in 1935, Goebbels says that Jewish Bolshevism is threatening religious faith in Christianity and that the only protection is National Socialism.”

 

Once more, this is Christian fascism. So what Putin is doing is reviving these themes. He is saying liberalism is a threat to tradition. Of course liberalism is not a threat. Liberalism says my Orthodox Jewish brothers may live as they want and other people who aren’t religious can also live however they want. Tolerance for other views is the bedrock of liberalism. However, Christian fascism says Judaism is a threat to its hegemony and must be resisted.

 

Of course, this is not about truth. This is about creating fear among people who chose to live traditionally that they are under attack and this approach in the US, Russia and many other places has been very successful.  As Stanley said,

 

This is about persuading people that other people’s choices threaten them and in particular, threaten their children, and then they say to them, ‘Look they are going after your children. You need us to protect you.”

 

This is a very effective strategy and has been used by authoritarians and fascists many times. It is so effective because it is so easy for us to fear our children are in danger. In its most extreme and absurd recent incarnation this has been the strategy of QAnon followers.  They get people to believe their children are in danger of pedophiles. That is guaranteed to arouse quick and hostile response especially in countries where such fears are rampant such as the United States and Russia. Sexual insecurity adds an existential edge to such fears. It is so effective people are quick to believe totally absurd claims.

 

In both countries conservative members of society are easily convinced that their children are in danger because traditional values have been undermined by liberals. As a result, traditionalist are quick to abandon democracy in favour of the protection of a strong autocratic leader.

 

This is what Republican Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene tweeted on April 6, 2022:  “Democrats are the party of killing babies, grooming and transitioning children, and pro-pedophilia politics.”  It doesn’t matter that it is absurd. It matters that it triggers fear.

Hari Sreenivasan who interviewed Jason Stanley on PBS quoted this: “In a recent poll 49% of Republicans said it was definitely or probably true that top Democrats are involved in elite child sex-trafficking rings.”

These are now going viral in conservative Christian circles in particular in the US and elsewhere. This is not a small group of people in the US.  Congresswomen are part of it. This is widespread hair-brained thinking.

As Stanley reminded us, QAnon is clearly descended from “blood libel” and the “protocols of the elders of Zion”,  the conspiracy theories that Jews were stealing Christian babies for their religious rituals. It is a conspiracy theory that there is a global cabal of elites and they are seeking to conquer institutions to get at your children.

To these conspiracy theorist if “their men” cannot stand up to this they are not real men because they are going after women and children and all real men must stand up to defend them.  As Stanley said, “It is that level of fear and paranoia that has seeped into…and permeated much of American politics.”

 American Christian fascism, the ugly American twin of Russian Christian fascism.

 

Holy Nationalism

 

Timothy Snyder in his book The Road to Unfreedom, explained eternity politics this way:

“Like all immorality, eternity politics begins by making an exception for itself. All creation might be evil, but I and my group are good, because I am myself and my group is mine. Others might be confused and bewitched by the facts and passions of history, but my nation and myself have maintained a prehistorical innocence.”

 

The leader and the people have a mystical relationship transfused with innocence in a corrupt world. Ivan Ilyin, who inspired Russian fascism,  saw this connection between the leader and nation as pure and holy.  Putin who became the disciple of Ilyin adopted this position. Only utter purity and can justify crimes in the name of the nation. Because the nation (Russia) is so pure and holy all manner of crimes are justified in its defence. Any invasion is justified if it employed in the holy cause of the nation. For the purity must be protected at all costs. As Snyder said,

“What Ilyin saw was a virginal Russian body.  Like fascists and other authoritarians of his day, Ilyin insisted that his nation was a ‘creature,” an organism of nature and the soul, an animal in Eden without Original Sin.”

 

As a result of its innocence “Russia does no wrong; wrong can only be done to Russia. Facts do not matter and responsibility vanishes.

According to Snyder,

“Ilyin saw in Russia virginal Russian body. Like fascists and authoritarians of his day, Ilyin insisted that his nation was a creature, ‘an organism of nature and soul,’ and animal in Eden without original sin. Who belonged within the Russian organism was not for the individual to decide, since cells to not decide whether they belong to a body.  Russian culture, Ilyin wrote, automatically brought ‘fraternal union’ wherever Russian power extended.”

 

This is why Putin insists that no matter what Ukrainians say, Ukraine is an indivisible part of Russia. He got this idea from Ivan Ilyin.

Ilyin was not a communist. He was a Russian nationalist. He believed Russia had been contaminated by communist ideas which came from the west. Russia was too good to resist these toxic ideas. Underneath Russia was good.  No acts could be too extreme for something so holy as Russia. It interests me, that this of course, is exactly what Americans often say about their holy nation too. Nationalism tends to be the same everywhere.

All actions, no matter how horrendous, are justified to defend such a holy nation. And such an attitude leads directly to massacres in Ukraine. And then no lies are too outrageous to legitimate in defence of the holy nation.

Covid in the Age of Extremes

 

In this day and age of extreme polarization and extremism, people who distrust authority, and there are surprisingly many of those, may be subjected to extreme abuse. For example, recently I heard about a case where a Republican politician who voted to impeach Trump, was told by someone that that the politician was going to hell and he could hardly wait to get to heaven to observe the politician fry.  Stop for a moment and think about what a monstrous god would provide such heinous entertainment for his faithful adherents.  Some people actually believe in such a God. I am sure some people have been met with similar abuse from people who don’t trust the medical authorities and think their God will inflict similar punishment on the perceived miscreants health care professionals.

Recently I read about a physician who had been abused as a Nazi in response to an opinion he gave online about vaccines. The physician also said he had been called a murderer and other “disgusting names” by Twitter trolls. These days people who step out into the limelight with their opinions often are greeted by such extreme views. We live in the age of extremes.

CBC journalist, Ian Hanomansing, has written a book about physicians who have stepped up to the plate to help and guide people in order to combat the lies, paranoia, fairy tales, and fake news that is out there. These physicians are helping individuals through these trying times as they face threats to their physical and mental health but are rewarded by bilious abuse. Yet these health care professionals heroically soldier on.

 

As Hanomansing said of these heroes,

“They (and other like them),  are our defence against the offensive and pin-brained voices of prejudice, pseudoscience, nonsensical advice, quackery, witchcraft and religious zealotry.  And they continue to inform and reassure us despite personal attacks on their character and well-being.”

When zealotry rules, everyone should run for cover.

Patriot or Martyr

 

I understand that the jury has still not rendered its verdict in the case of Kyle Rittenhouse and will resume deliberations tomorrow.  Yesterday I posted about why I thought there was a good chance he would be acquitted and made a hero.  Today I want to talk about the less likely  chance that he will be convicted and made a martyr. If he is a patriot for his actions as his supporters allege and many on the right believe to be the case, then if he is convicted  he will be hailed as a martyr. Which is it?

Personally, I don’t think a young man who travels from out of state carrying an automatic AR-15 style rifle  to an area of heated dispute   that some call riots and others protests, depending on which side of the great divide in America (and Canada) they lie, is a hero so should not be welcomed as a hero if successful  or a martyr if not.  Instead, he was a foolish young man who took a dangerous chance while endangering the lives of many others that led in fact to the deaths of 2 Americans while injuring a third.  He was not trained for this job and took it upon himself as a vigilante to “help” the police to do their job. He made things much worse as the trail of devastation behind him made clear. It is part of their belief that “the system” cannot be trusted and only private vigilantes or warriors can be trusted.

I realize that many young American men have been raised in the Marvel FantasyLand where such actions are encouraged. They think they can stand up to the evils of a corrupt or inept system that fails to protect American citizens.

Rittenhouse should not be valorized. He was hardly a peacemaker. No one should encourage other young American men (and they are largely men who do this) to take such foolhardy and dangerous actions. Such actions are not helpful. They are pouring fuel onto an already raging fire.

Rittenhouse may or may not be guilty of murder or the other crimes he was charged with, but he is neither a hero nor a martyr.  And he might be much worse.

 

Heroic Vigilantes

At the time I am writing this blog I don’t know if Kyle Rittenhouse has been found guilty of any the charges against him. I suspect he will be acquitted.  The reason is that self-defense in the US is a pretty robust defence. Added to that, the United States has a rich history of vigilantism, particularly on the border with Mexico, but really everywhere. This is particularly true where white vigilantes are defending the country against non-white threats. Vigilantes are part of American mythology. The country was built on this and frankly I think it is baked into the American DNA. As a result, I will be shocked if Rittenhouse is convicted.

If he is acquitted, I think many Americans, particularly on the right, will immediately make Rittenhouse out to be a hero. I think that would be a bigly mistake. Rittenhouse is no hero. David French wrote a fine essay on the subject in The Atlantic.  He pointed out that “For millions he’s become a positive symbol, a young man of action who stepped up when the police (allegedly) stepped aside.” This is precisely the point.  Millions of Americans don’t trust authority.  The pandemic should have by now made that clear to pretty well everybody.

In America there is a strong distrust of government and pretty well everyone in authority except a few perceived renegades, like the previous president. That distrust is the essence of vigilantism and anti-vaccism. Vigilantes are only needed because we can’t trust the authorities to do the right thing and protect us from harm. That is exactly why millions refused to get vaccinated. They refuse because the authorities tell us that is what we should do. For millions of people no more needs to be said to persuade us not to be vaccinated.

A willingness to dissent from authority can be charming. I often endorse exactly that myself. But as I have said before, it is charming only if the dissent is rational. It must be grounded on good reasons and evidence, not your uncle Ernie’s research on the internet.

Personally, I agree with French that “the Trumpist right is wrongly creating a folk hero out of Rittenhouse.” That does not mean he should be convicted.  I have been trying to follow the case in the newspapers and online. Frankly, I find the evidence mixed. There is significant evidence that Rittenhouse was asking for trouble. He went to Kenosha carrying an AR-15 style automatic rifle to defend American businesses from left wing rioters. So he thought. Then in defence of those businesses he was chased by at least 3 and maybe 4 protesters (or rioters if you like) one of whom had a gun and one of whom assaulted him with a skateboard. He may have legitimately feared for his life even though he had been immensely foolish to go to a riot (as he perceived it, not entirely without justification) with a rifle and basically without being trained to do so.

There are many cases of Americans doing very foolish and even dangerous things and getting shot at as a result, who nonetheless had a reasonable case for claiming self-defence. Remember the police officers who barged into the home of Breanna Taylor without knocking and unsurprisingly were met with gunfire in return from the occupant of her house?  The police fired back and were successful with their claim of self-defence to a murder charge even though they killed her boyfriend in his home. The police initiated the entire incident and were in my opinion entirely at fault, yet they were acquitted.

 

I think the same thing might happen to Rittenhouse. He was white and shot at 4 white men not a black man, so he will have a harder time making the defence work, but it certainly could. Added to that, he was defending white citizens from a perceived black mob. I don’t think he was justified in going to the city with a gun, but I think that defence might work. The American mythology might save him.

None of this makes Rittenhouse hero material. In much of white America though a young man carrying an automatic rifle to defend whites is automatically hero material. As French said,

“Most of the right-wing leaders voicing their admiration for Rittenhouse are simply adopting a pose. On Twitter, talk radio, and Fox News, hosts and right-wing personalities express admiration for Rittenhouse but know he was being foolish. They would never hand a rifle to their own children and tell them to walk into a riot. They would never do it themselves.”

 

That will not stop them from broadcasting their hypocritical support for Kyle Rittenhouse. And if Rittenhouse is made into an American folk hero, as I expect he will be, this will be a dangerous precedent for the next foolish young white man who steps into the next fray to defend his country from the perceived ravages of the next black militant.

As French explained,

“But these public poses still matter. When you turn a foolish young man into a hero, you’ll see more foolish young men try to emulate his example. And although the state should not permit rioters to run rampant in America’s streets, random groups of armed Americans are utterly incapable of imposing order themselves, and any effort to do so can lead to greater death and carnage. In fact, that’s exactly what happened in Rittenhouse’s case. He didn’t impose order. He didn’t stop a riot. He left a trail of bodies on the ground, and two of the people he shot were acting on the belief that Rittenhouse himself was an active shooter. He had, after all, just killed a man.”

Americans who encourage young white men to become vigilantes will have a lot on their conscience when the next young man, whether a white vigilante, or a black victim of vigilantism, is killed.

As French said,

“If the jury acquits Rittenhouse, it will not be a miscarriage of justice. The law gives even foolish men the right to defend their lives. But an acquittal does not make a foolish man a hero. A political movement that turns a deadly and ineffective vigilante into a role model is a movement that is courting more violence and encouraging more young men to recklessly brandish weapons in dangerous places, and that will spill more blood in America’s streets.”

 

I am very interested to see what justice comes out of this trial. it will tell us a lot about that country.  I fear the “justice” will be a pretty thin and toxic gruel. After all, vigilantes are rarely heroes.

What will the jury do in the Rittenhouse case?

 

I have been fascinated by the case of Kyle Rittenhouse since the day I heard about it.  I think the Associated Press captured the issue well: “the shootings that left Americans divided over whether he was a patriot taking a stand against lawlessness or a vigilante.” That is exactly what I have been trying to figure out. It seems everyone on the left thinks he is a crazed self-appointed vigilante while those on the right see him as a glamorous defender of life and property. Which is it?

Rittenhouse testified on his own behalf, which is always a risky move. Yet an innocent man should be entitled to present his own defence. That is what Rittenhouse did. He told the jury under oath that he was defending himself when he used the rifle he brought to the Kenosha from the neighbouring state of Illinois where he lived declaring his intentions on the internet to defend property.  A true public protector, or a true vigilante?  The judge was expected to give his final instructions to the jury today.

The prosecutors tried to portray Rittenhouse as the instigator of the bloodshed. There was video footage of 3 people coming after Rittenhouse and one tried to grab his rifle. He said he heard a shot and turned to the pursuers and shot at them. He killed two people and injured a third. The jury “appeared largely white” according to the Associated Press reporters. That is not surprising since Wisconsin is largely white.

One of the final witnesses for the defence was a use-of-force expert, John Black, who testified that less than three seconds elapsed between the time somebody fired a bullet in the air and Rittenhouse opened fire on the first man he shot, Joseph Rosenbaum. Rittenhouse testified that he heard a gunshot directly behind him as he was being chased by Rosenbaum. It is not clear who made shot, but apparently it was none of the three men chasing Rittenhouse.

According to the Associated Press,

 

“The account Rittenhouse gave has largely been corroborated by a wealth of video and the prosecution’s own witnesses: Rittenhouse said that Rosenbaum cornered him and put his hand on the barrel of his rifle, the second man hit him with a skateboard, and the third man came at him with a gun of his own. At one point Wednesday, his lawyers demanded the judge declare mistrial and bar Rittenhouse from being retried — essentially asking that the case be thrown out. They accused the chief prosecutor of asking Rittenhouse out-of- bounds questions. The judge lambasted the prosecutor but pressed on with the case.”

 

I am particularly interested in the question of vigilantism that is so prominent in the US. It arises because of a distrust in the government that is also so prevalent in cases of people who refuse to be vaccinated. These issues are related.  There is another case going on right now as well in Georgia that raises similar issues. It is quite possible that those who don’t like the result will protest vigorously. That seems to happen with every trial in the US where the country is so deeply divided and polarized. We certainly live in interesting times.

This is not an easy case. The onus of proof is on the prosecutors who must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Rittenhouse is guilty. If not Rittenhouse will be a hero! Even if he doesn’t deserve to be. It will be interesting to see what the jury does.

 

A History of Christian Violence

 

The insurrection at Capitol Hill in January of 2021 was by no means the first act of Christian violence in the United States. According to Thomas Edsall, Samuel P. Perry, a professor at Baylor University and no relation to Samuel L. Perry who I quoted in early posts,  pointed out to Thomas Edsall that the invasion of the Capitol by insurrectionists reminded him of “past acts of Christian violence.” American history, he said, is crammed full with such acts but he mentioned one, the confrontation between federal law enforcement officials at Waco Texas in 1993 with a group of white supremacists that were part of an extremist Christian sect. Perry believes that was a seminal moment in which the hard Christian right were united with white supremacist militias. Many see that time  as the crucial moment  when militias in America “grew up.”  But they grew up to be monsters. From that moment they became dangerous. According to Perry, both groups saw themselves “as targeted by the government in the aftermath of the standoffs at Ruby Ridge and Waco.” Christian fundamentalists and white supremacist militia groups both figured themselves “as targeted by the government in the aftermath of the standoffs at Ruby Ridge and Waco.” Numerous other similar incidents occurred in the US since then, including of course the occupying of the State Capitol in Michigan last year followed by the Trump insurrection.

 

The scholar of religion, Ann Burlein, concluded “Both the Christian right and right-wing white supremacist groups aspire to overcome a culture they perceive as hostile to the white middle class, families, and heterosexuality.”

Samuel Perry told Edsall this in an email to him:

“The insurrection or assault on the Capitol involved unlikely coalitions of people in one way. You do not necessarily think of religious evangelicals and fundamentalists being in line with Three Percenters or Proud Boys,” but, he continued, the narrative of chosenness and superiority made for broader group of support. I would not attribute Jan. 6 to Christian Nationalism alone, but I would not underestimate the involvement of the contingent of Christian Nationalists and the way the rhetoric of Christian Nationalism became a standard trope for Trump.”

The conjoining of Christian nationalism and politics in the US has produced a particularly nasty concoction. I think it is far from over. That is the real point. Where is this headed and when will it end?

 

Blood and Apocalypse: Christian White Nationalism

 

Philip Gorski, a professor of sociology at Yale and the author of the book American Covenant: A History of Civil Religion From the Puritans to the Present, also noted that many of the insurrectionists at the Washington Capitol on January 6, 2021 made it clear by their actions and signs that they supported Christian nationalism. This is what he told Thomas Edsall of the New York Times in a personal email to him:

“Many observers commented on the jarring mixture of Christian, nationalist and racist symbolism amongst the insurrectionists: there were Christian crosses and Jesus Saves banners, Trump flags and American flags, fascist insignia and a ‘Camp Auschwitz’ hoodie. Some saw apples and oranges. But it was really a fruit cocktail: White Christian Nationalism.”

You put them all together and you get Christian Nationalism.

Professor Gorski did not claim that he could tell by watching that a majority of the insurrectionists were Christian nationalists. That would be very difficult to discern from a distance. Yet, there is no denying that they were a substantial presence. Professor Gorski told Edsall in his email that the Christian nationalist movement was a loose confederation of people and institutions that shared,

“a certain narrative about American history. In rough outline: America was founded as a Christian nation; the Founding Fathers were evangelical Christians; the Nation’s laws and founding documents were indirectly based on “biblical” principles, or even directly inspired by God, Himself. America’s power and prosperity are due to its piety and obedience.”

 

Professor Gorski had some disturbing things to say about Christian Nationalists. He distinguished them from more traditional Christians. As he said in his email to Edsall,

“Christian nationalists use a language of blood and apocalypse. They talk about blood conquest, blood sacrifice, and blood belonging, and also about cosmic battles between good and evil. The blood talk comes from the Old Testament; the apocalyptic talk from the Book of Revelation.”

Anyone who watched and listened to the Christians on the hill during the insurrection would, I think, find the above description apt. And disturbing. That sounds more like Christian Nationalists than Sunday school at the local Baptist Church.

Is that your kind of Christianity? I don’t know about you, but I find it disturbing.

When Religion Becomes Evil

It must have been disconcerting to see the rioters a the Capitol in Washington on January 6, 2021.  Seeing Christians pray and then run through the halls yelling “Hang Mike Pence” must have been chilling. Yet, I am surprise how few Christians have mentioned those images. Why are they so  quiet? Do they still support Trump so steadfastly? Evangelical Christians are among his most fervent supporters.

I have always taken the position that when religion leads to hate, it is not genuine religion at all. Hate makes religion heretical.  However, my views are not mainstream. My views are far out on the fringes.

As Charles Kimball, a professor of religious studies at the University of Oklahoma-Norman, wrote a book called “When Religion Becomes Evil,” in which he said,

“History clearly shows that religion has often been linked directly to the worst examples of human behavior. It is somewhat trite, but nevertheless sadly true, to say that more wars have been waged, more people killed and these days more evil perpetuated in the name of religion than by any other institutional force in human history.”

 

I have heard such statements many times, but I am not sure such statements are accurate. It is undeniable that religion has produced many good things as well evil. It has been a force for both good and evil. Religion has often in the past led to violence and murder while it has also led to some of the best things humans have ever done.

The effect of religion is complex. We should remember that. Life is rarely simple. But perhaps religion show stay away from politics. It might be good for both!