Tag Archives: Violence

Oxford University Press book: is religion responsible for wars and violence in history?

Sherlock Holmes and John Watson: let's take a look at the facts
Sherlock Holmes and John Watson: let’s take a look at the facts

J.W. Wartick posted a review of a book called “The Myth of Religious Violence”, and written by Dr. William T. Cavanaugh.

Let’s take a look at some of the review.

Here, J.W. quotes from the book:

The story goes that, after the Protestant Reformation divided Christendom along religious lines, Catholics and Protestants began killing each other for holding to different doctrines. The wars of religion… demonstrated to the West the inherent danger of public religion. The solution to the problem lay in the rise of the modern state, in which religious loyalties were marginalized and the state secured a monopoly on the means of violence…

This story is more than just a prominent example of the myth of religious violence. It has a foundational importance for the secular West, because it explains the origin of its way of life and its system of governance. It is a creation myth for modernity (123).

Then writes this:

Following the lines of thinking of Voltaire, John Locke, and others, Cavanaugh argues that the myth of religious violence is perpetuated in order to marginalize that which is considered religious and give rise to the nation-state. According to this myth, “All theological religions are to be tolerated, provided they do not interfere with the obligations of citizens to the state…” (129). The myth is that religion is divisive and that they “fight over doctrines or ‘religious creeds’” so that “the state steps in to make peace” (130).

Cavanaugh shows that this myth is indeed false. The “wars of religion” had any number of motivating factors. The use of this story is not so much to tell a truth as it is a means by which to legitimize the nation-state. He argues towards these conclusions by showing that many “wars of religion” were in fact wars of economy, wars of power structures, and the like. He notes four primary factors for this myth to work: that combatants were motivated by religious difference, that the primary cause of war was religion, that religious causes are analytically separable from political, economic, and social causes at the time of the wars, and that the rise of the modern state was not a cause of the wars (141-142). He then analyzes each of these in turn based upon the historical record and shows that these all fail to account for the actual history of the “wars of religion.” In fact, the opposite is true in each case (142-177).

“We must conclude that the myth of the wars of religion is finally incredible, which is to say, false” (177).

[…]Perhaps the most challenging and paradigm-shifting portion of the book is that which focuses upon the uses of the myth of religious violence. Cavanaugh argues that the myth is so perpetuated because of its usefulness.

Cavanaugh has his BA from the University of Notre Dame, his MA from Cambridge University, and his PhD from Duke University.

Regarding religion and wars, consider this post from Well Spent Journey:

The Claim: “Religion has been the primary cause of war and oppression throughout the history of mankind.”

The Truth: In their comprehensive Encyclopedia of Wars, Phillips and Axelrod document the recorded history of warfare. Of the 1,763 wars presented, a mere 7% involved a religious cause. When Islam is subtracted from the equation, that number drops to 3.2%.

In terms of casualties, religious wars account for only 2% of all people killed by warfare. This pales in comparison to the number of people who have been killed by secular dictators in the 20th century alone.

So let’s take a look at those secular dictators.

According to the The Black Book of Communism, published by Harvard University Press, over 100 million innocent people were killed in atheistic, communist regimes in the last century. In the past, consistent atheists like Stalin who had power enough to ignore objective morality caused millions of innocent deaths. And you can even see atheism killing lots and lots of people in countries like North Korea today – where the official state religion is atheism. Why is that? It’s because the worldview of atheism teaches that the universe, and human beings, are here by accident. We are all just molecules in motion, and there is no inherent dignity or purpose to any of our lives that would obligate others to treat us a certain way.

On the Christian view, every single person has dignity because they are made in the image of God, and made to know him. Christians can never treat another person (of any religion or no religion) in any way that would discourage them from knowing God and experiencing his love for us. We could never hurt anyone in a way that causes them to turn against God. We are careful with people, because we want to act towards them in a way that helps them to accomplish this purpose.

Of course there are lots of atheists in the Judeo-Christian West who live more peacefully, because they are living in a background of objective morality and human rights provided by Western religions. But in countries like North Korea, with a state religion that cannot ground free will or objective morality or human rights or judgment after death, there are fewer restraints.

Even here, we have already seen over 50 million unborn children killed since abortion became legal. And I can guarantee you that it’s not authentic, Bible-believing Christians who are having these abortions. People who think they are going to face God when they die do not treat their fellow humans like machines made out of meat. As a group, atheists tend to be among the most radical in favor of abortion rights. The Secular Census of 2012 found that 97% of atheists vote for abortion. And of course today in the news we got the second video of Planned Parenthood top brass explaining how they sell the body parts of unborn babies to the highest bidder. I wrote about the first video here.

The idea of the strong killing the weak for their own advantage is the law of the jungle, and it’s not surprising to me that those who think that humans are just animals would act this way with vulnerable children. If you only have 80 years to be happy in an accidental universe, then anything goes. No one is there to hold you accountable when you die. If the weak get in your way, kill them all. Just don’t get caught. That’s what atheist morality teaches.

Here’s famous atheist Richard Dawkins explaining why infanticide is OK:

And here’s what he thinks of objective moral values and duties:

In a universe of blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, other people are going to get lucky, and you won’t find any rhyme or reason in it, or any justice. The universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but blind, pitiless indifference… DNA neither knows nor cares. DNA just is. And we dance to its music.

–Richard Dawkins, (River Out of Eden: A Darwinian View of Life (1995))

You can read more about the morality of atheists likeRichard Dawkins here.

In a previous post, I looked at an article by an atheist who explained what it meant to live consistently with atheism. I really recommend reading that in order to understand what is rational within that worldview.

Is the answer to multiple victim shootings more gun control, or less fatherlessness?

Did the family background of Dylann Roof have anything to do with his desire to commit a violent crime?

This article from The Federalist has some answers. (H/T ECM)

It says:

As more information slowly seeps out about Dylann Roof, the 21-year-old who murdered nine people at a church in Charleston, South Carolina, one fact should surprise exactly no one: Roof came from a broken home. Roof’s parents divorced three years before he was even born, later reuniting just long enough to produce a child who would later become a mass murderer.

[…]As University of Virginia Professor Brad Wilcox pointed out back in 2013: “From shootings at MIT (i.e., the Tsarnaev brothers) to the University of Central Florida to the Ronald E. McNair Discovery Learning Academy in Decatur, Ga., nearly every shooting over the last year in Wikipedia’s ‘list of U.S. school attacks’ involved a young man whose parents divorced or never married in the first place.” His observation is largely ignored.

In contrast, conversations about black-on-black violence often raise the link between broken households (or fatherless homes) and juvenile delinquency. But when the conversation turns to mass shootings, we seem to forget that link altogether.

[…]On CNN’s list of the “27 Deadliest Mass Shootings In U.S. History,” seven of those shootings were committed by young (under 30) males since 2005. Of the seven, only one—Virginia Tech shooter Seung-Hui Cho (who had been mentally unstable since childhood)—was raised by his biological father throughout childhood.

It turns out that fatherlessness is known to cause the character traits that are present in multiple victim shooters.

More:

Let’s revisit some those characteristics of mass shooters. Violence? There’s a direct correlation between fatherless children and teen violence. Suicide? Fatherless children are more than twice as likely to commit suicide. Dropping out of school? Seventy-one percent of high school dropouts came from a fatherless background. Drug use? According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, “Fatherless children are at a dramatically greater risk of drug and alcohol abuse.” How about guns? Two of the strongest correlations with gun homicides are growing up in a fatherless household and dropping out of school, which itself is directly related to lack of an active or present father.

If we wanted to get serious about stopping these multiple victim shootings, the first thing we should do is repeal no-fault divorce and make it harder for people to leave marriages in which they are “unhappy”. People should be more careful about vetting their candidate spouse before they marry. And people should also be careful about preparing their own character for the constraints and duties of marriage – perhaps by not engaging in recreational sex with a high number of partners before marriage.

But in addition to repealing no-fault divorce, we should also be scaling back welfare for single mothers, because this is basically paying women to have fatherless children.

Read this congressional testimony from a Cato Institute economist:

Welfare contributes to crime in several ways. First, children from single-parent families are more likely to become involved in criminal activity. According to one study, children raised in single-parent families are one-third more likely to exhibit anti-social behavior.(3) Moreover, O’Neill found that, holding other variables constant, black children from single- parent households are twice as likely to commit crimes as black children from a family where the father is present. Nearly 70 percent of juveniles in state reform institutions come from fatherless homes, as do 43 percent of prison inmates.(4) Research indicates a direct correlation between crime rates and the number of single-parent families in a neighborhood.(5)

As Barbara Dafoe Whitehead noted in her seminal article for The Atlantic Monthly:

The relationship [between single-parent families and crime] is so strong that controlling for family configuration erases the relationship between race and crime and between low income and crime. This conclusion shows up time and again in the literature. The nation’s mayors, as well as police officers, social workers, probation officers, and court officials, consistently point to family break up as the most important source of rising rates of crime.(6)

At the same time, the evidence of a link between the availability of welfare and out-of-wedlock births is overwhelming. There have been 13 major studies of the relationship between the availability of welfare benefits and out-of-wedlock birth. Of these, 11 found a statistically significant correlation. Among the best of these studies is the work done by June O’Neill for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Holding constant a wide range of variables, including income, education, and urban vs. suburban setting, the study found that a 50 percent increase in the value of AFDC and foodstamp payments led to a 43 percent increase in the number of out-of-wedlock births.(7) Likewise, research by Shelley Lundberg and Robert Plotnick of the University of Washington showed that an increase in welfare benefits of $200 per month per family increased the rate of out-of-wedlock births among teenagers by 150 percent.(8)

The same results can be seen from welfare systems in other countries. For example, a recent study of the impact of Canada’s social-welfare system on family structure concluded that “providing additional benefits to single parents encourages births of children to unwed women.”(9)

[…]Current welfare policies seem to be designed with an appallingly lack of concern for their impact on out-of-wedlock births. Indeed, Medicaid programs in 11 states actually provide infertility treatments to single women on welfare.(12)

I should also point out that, once the child is born, welfare also appears to discourage the mother from marrying in the future. Research by Robert Hutchins of Cornell University shows that a 10 percent increase in AFDC benefits leads to an eight percent decrease in the marriage rate of single mothers.(13)

As welfare contributes to the rise in out-of-wedlock births and single-parent families, it concomitantly contributes to the associated increase in criminal activity.

So, it seems to me that we know that there is a link between fatherlessness and crime, and that’s where we should be putting our efforts. Gun control isn’t the solution young people who commit terrible acts of violence, but promoting fathers in the home is.

Domestic violence rates are higher for homosexual couples than for heterosexual couples

Marriage and family
Marriage and family

From the left-leaning Atlantic Monthly.

Excerpt:

Data on the rates of same-sex partner abuse have only become available in recent years. Even today, many of the statistics and materials on domestic violence put out by organizations like the Center for Disease Control and the Department of Justice still focus exclusively on heterosexual relationships, and specifically heterosexual women. While the CDC does provide some resources on its website for the LGBT population, the vast majority of the information is targeted at women.  Materials provided by the CDC for violence prevention and survivor empowerment prominently feature women in their statistics and photographs.

In 2013, the CDC released the results of a 2010 study on victimization by sexual orientation, and admitted that “little is known about the national prevalence of intimate partner violence, sexual violence, and stalking among lesbian, gay, and bisexual women and men in the United States.” The report found that bisexual women had an overwhelming prevalence of violent partners in their lives: 75 percent had been with a violent partner, as opposed to 46 percent of lesbian women and 43 percent of straight women. For bisexual men, that number was 47 percent. For gay men, it was 40 percent, and 21 percent for straight men.

The most recent statistics available on same-sex intimate partner violence from the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs, which focuses on LGBT relationships, reported 21 incidents of intimate partner homicides in the LGBT community, the highest ever. Nearly half of them were gay men and, for the second year in a row, the majority of survivors were people of color—62 percent.

In 2012, NCAVP programs around the country received 2,679 reports of intimate partner violence, a decrease of around 32 percent from 2011. However the report noted that many of the NCAVP’s member organizations were operating at decreased capacity due to limiting the number of cases they were able to take. The report said that excluding data from organizations, there was actually a 29 percent increase in reports of violence from 2011 to 2012.

That article comes from a source with a very clear pro-gay-agenda bias, so let’s take a look at an article from the Family Research Council to balance it out. They rely on mainstream data sources as well, like the CDC, the DOJ, the US Census, etc.

Excerpt:

A study in the Journal of Interpersonal Violence examined conflict and violence in lesbian relationships. The researchers found that 90 percent of the lesbians surveyed had been recipients of one or more acts of verbal aggression from their intimate partners during the year prior to this study, with 31 percent reporting one or more incidents of physical abuse.[69]

In a survey of 1,099 lesbians, the Journal of Social Service Research found that “slightly more than half of the [lesbians] reported that they had been abused by a female lover/partner. The most frequently indicated forms of abuse were verbal/emotional/psychological abuse and combined physical-psychological abuse.”[70]

In their book Men Who Beat the Men Who Love Them: Battered Gay Men and Domestic Violence,D. Island and P. Letellier report that “the incidence of domestic violence among gay men is nearly double that in the heterosexual population.”[71]

[…]Homosexual and lesbian relationships are far more violent than are traditional married households:

The Bureau of Justice Statistics (U.S. Department of Justice) reports that married women in traditional families experience the lowest rate of violence compared with women in other types of relationships.[72]

A report by the Medical Institute for Sexual Health concurred,

It should be noted that most studies of family violence do not differentiate between married and unmarried partner status. Studies that do make these distinctions have found that marriage relationships tend to have the least intimate partner violence when compared to cohabiting or dating relationships.[73]

In lesbian relationships, the rate of domestic violence is extremely high, from 17% to 45%, depending on the study. I do think that men exert a calming influence on women’s emotions, helping them to channel their feelings into words and reasoned arguments. That short-circuits the tendency toward violent outbursts. That’s why I urge men, if they must marry, to practice disagreeing and debating with women before the marriage is actualized. You need to find out what this other person does in a conflict situation before you commit to her for life.

Christian-owned pizza business shuts down after death threats from gay activists

Crystal O'Connor, victim of bullying by gay activists
Crystal O’Connor, victim of bullying by gay activists

I read a lot of articles on this, and Todd Starnes’ on Fox News was the most detailed.

He writes:

A small town, family-owned pizzeria has become the latest target of an angry mob of modern-day fascists — hell-bent on silencing anyone who opposes gay marriage.

Kevin O’Connor and his daughter Crystal own Memories Pizza in Walkerton, Ind. — just a hop, skip and a jump southwest of South Bend.

Mr. O’Connor and his family have been forced into hiding and had to temporarily shut down their store after they told a local television reporter that they would not cater a gay wedding.

“If a gay couple came in and wanted us to provide pizzas for their wedding, we would have to say no,” Crystal told ABC 57 on Tuesday.

Neither Crystal nor her father realized they were about to become the LGBT community’s Public Enemy No. 1.

“I’m a born-again Christian,” Kevin O’Connor told me in an exclusive telephone interview Thursday. “My faith is the base of my business.”

And the O’Connor family’s faith teaches them that marriage is reserved for a man and a woman.

“I would not participate in a gay marriage,” Kevin O’Connor said. “To condone a gay wedding to me is just wrong. I could not put my stamp of approval on a gay wedding.”

The television station labeled Memories Pizza as the “first business to publicly deny same-sex service,” in the aftermath of the state’s new Religious Freedom Restoration Act, the Washington Post reported.

But the O’Connors said they have never denied a same-sex couple a pepperoni pie.

“I have never turned anybody away from my store,” Kevin O’Connor said. “If they come in there with clothes barely hanging on their back – I don’t turn anybody away. I don’t care what their beliefs are.”

The hell storm this 61-year-old grandfather faced as a result of his Christian faith is simply beyond belief.

The family business came under fierce assault by LGBT activists and their cronies — accusing them of being anti-gay bigots. Their Facebook pages were smeared with gay pornography. Their phones were overwhelmed by vulgar and profane threats.

A high school softball coach in Concord, Ind., was suspended after posting an arson threat on Twitter.

“Who’s going to Walkerton, IN to burn down #memoriespizza w me?” Coach Jess Dooley tweeted.

[…]The events of the past few days have been incredibly troubling for the O’Connor family. During my interview with Kevin — he became quite emotional.

“It’s been pretty tough, yeah,” he said. “It’s been hard.”

It was his lifelong dream to own a business. That dream came true when he opened the pizzeria in 2006, when he started the business from scratch.

And his Christian faith is evident in the restaurant.

“We get together and pray every day when the store opens,” he said. “We have a box for customers to put prayer requests in. We don’t push it. We don’t try to preach.”

He doesn’t force his religion on anyone.

“We treat them like we want to be treated,” he said.

Kevin told me he was especially thankful for the support he’s received from fellow Christians around the nation — including a group that launched a fundraising drive.

He also wants other Christian business owners to be encouraged.

“Trust the Lord,” he said. “Pray. Even though we don’t see where He’s taking us, He’s got control. And He will make it work for His good and our good.”

Kevin said he hopes to reopen the pizzeria sooner rather than later – but an exact date is unclear.

Right now, he’s trying to console his 21-year-old daughter – who has shouldered a mountain of hateful threats.

“Crystal needs some time,” Kevin said. “This scared her pretty good.”

There is some good news, from the Washington Times:

Supporters of the Indiana family under attack for refusing to cater a hypothetical gay wedding stepped up Thursday, raising hundreds of thousands of dollars and dropping by Memories Pizza even though it remained closed after a rash of threats.

A crowdfunding campaign launched by conservative talk-show host Dana Loesch and her staff had collected more than $410,000 in 24 hours for the O’Connor family to help with “the financial loss endured by the proprietors’ stand for faith,” said a statement on the GoFundMe.com page.

The O’Connors shut down the restaurant after being bombarded Wednesday with angry phone calls and social media posts, a reaction to co-owner Crystal O’Connor telling ABC57 that the family would not cater a same-sex wedding ceremony for religious reasons — not that they had been asked to do so.

At one point, the family had even considered leaving town over the uproar, but Ms. O’Connor, 21, said on Ms. Loesch’s Twitter on Thursday, “It’s totally different today than it was yesterday. We’re not leaving.”

Try to remember which side the gay activists are on in the next election, by the way:

Hillary Clinton and the Human Rights Campaign
Hillary Clinton and the Human Rights Campaign

The thing about this is that we are on defense here. We are using up our funding to play defense.  We should be filing lawsuits and taking the fascists to court. Not waiting for them to bully us in the courts. See the related posts for some of the gay activism that Democrats never speak out against.

Related posts

Did Eric Holder’s hate speech incite violence against Ferguson cops?

The Lt. Governor of Missouri says that attorney general Eric Holder incited the Ferguson mobs “many times”.

Breitbart News reports:

Sunday on Fox News Channel’s “America’s News HQ,” Lt. Governor Peter Kinder (R-MO) said Attorney General Eric Holder “on many occasions” seemed to “be inciting the mob.”

Kinder  said, “He is sounding the right notes today, this afternoon. I just wish he had been more judicious and measured in his comments since the August 9. Because Mr. Holder came in and seemed on many occasions to be inciting the mob. He seemed to be putting his weight on the one side of the scales of  justice and not backing up law enforcement. And if he is now, you know, backing up law enforcement mode, then I will be among those cheering him. And I hope that’s the way he is from now on.”

When asked if he had spoken to Mr. Holder directly, Kinder said, “No, no, no, he doesn’t bend to speak with people like me. He comes into town and meets with one side. He met with the family of Michael Brown, and that’s fine that he met with them. But, he did not meet with the family of officer Darren Wilson or with his brother and sister officers to say I’m backing you up. ”

Let’s review what Eric Holder’s boss Obama did in the wake of the Ferguson shooting.

Frontpage magazine recalls the violence from the protests:

Despite Obama’s superficial condemnations of violence, at least 25 businesses were set ablaze, many of which are total losses—and most of which were minority owned.  Ten cars were burned at a dealership, and a “lot of gunfire,” as Ferguson Asst. Fire Chief Steve Fair put it, made maintaining control of the streets highly problematic, if not impossible. Reporters were assaulted, the store Michael Brown robbed prior to his confrontation with Wilson was looted, and at least 61 people have been arrested. “What I’ve seen tonight is probably much worse than the worst night we ever had in August, and that’s truly unfortunate,” said St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar Monday at a 1:30 a.m press conference. Belmar further noted that there was “nothing left” along West Florissant between Solway Avenue and Chambers Road, that he heard at least 150 gun shots, and that he was surprised he and Missouri Highway Patrol Captain Ron Johnson, who “got lit up,” as they drove through the area, weren’t hit by that gunfire.

“We talked about peaceful protest, and that did not happen tonight,” Johnson said. “We definitely have done something here that’s going to impact our community for a long time…that’s not how we create change.”

Now Obama met with Al Sharpton and the other protest leaders in the White House before these protests, before the police officers were whot last week. So either he is incapable of leading or he actually wanted the violence, vandalism and shooting that followed.

And keep in mind that the DOJ’s own report on the shooting found the police officer completely innocent, as did the grand jury report before the DOJ report. So there was no reason for all these violent protests and now shootings of police officers – except that it caused Democrat constituencies to believe that they need to vote Democrat to save them from a “threat” that turns out not to exist. The real threat to black citizens is, of course, black-on-black crime. And the real solution to that threat is to reduce government payments to women who have children before they marry, while raising them for married couples who have children. In any case, low-information Democrat voters probably do not even know about the DOJ findings, and that’s why the shootings continue. The mainstream news media is almost entirely composed of Democrats, and they have no interest in telling the truth about the DOJ report.

Race relations have plummeted in this country since Obama was elected and chose Eric Holder as his attorney general, and what do you expect? They are a couple of race hustlers. These are not problem solvers, they are problem creators.