The New Anti-Semites
However, the Southern Poverty Law Center is now tracking a new surge in anti-Semitism among some Catholics. I admit this took me by surprise.
Few Americans defended Mel Gibson's drunken rant about the evils of the Jews. But radical traditionalist Catholics did. A three-year investigation of this subculture by the Intelligence Report has found that these Catholic extremists, including the Gibsons, may well represent the largest population of anti-Semites in the United States. Organized into a network of more than a dozen organizations, scores of websites and several extremist churches and monasteries, radical traditionalists in the U.S. are preaching anti-Semitism to as many as 100,000 followers. A few, such as the lawyer [did you know that? I didn't] for Terri Schiavo's family, Christopher Ferrara, are even movers and shakers in important right-wing Republican circles.
...While spouting the same kind of anti-Jewish propaganda as the Nazis, Fahey crafted an argument that he believed should exempt him from the label of anti-Semite. Fahey claimed he didn't hate the Jews per se, but merely opposed their "naturalistic aims." Since he also argued that Jews can't help but work to further those aims -- communism, the destruction of Christianity, and the like -- this was a distinction without a difference. (Today's radical traditionalist Catholics, including the Society of St. Pius X, a far-right powerhouse that has thousands of supporters, continue to claim they are not anti-Semitic, just against "Jewish naturalism.")(Hoo boy, sound familiar? Can you think of anyone today who similiarly attacks scientists, philosphers, feminists, etc. for their naturalism? I'm not saying this person is anti-Semitic - I have never seen any indication of that at all and I don't mean to imply that - but it's weird to see these words tossed around in the past as they are today.)
This comes at a time when the SPLC also reports that Catholics themselves are increasingly under attack from without - and from within.
At the same time, a major theme at the increasingly hyperbolic blog Uncommon Descent is that "the Darwinists hate us all!" (And if you're a scientist and a Christian who got banned from that blog, you're a wicked "nihilist" - just like me . Man, did they give it to me. How am I supposed to "prove" that I've never lacked for a purpose in my life?) I am so sick of the "you hate us" talk! Apparently I must spell out once again for people that my not hating anyone is just that - my not hating anyone. But people accuse me of hatred because I refuse to choose one group of human beings as more special than another. (Besides, when you read the thread at UD, it seems that they hate me.)
Richard Dawkins in his television show Root of All Evil? - a show that will never be aired on television in our "free" United States (yeah, "teach the controversy" and all that) - stressed the damage that unswerving believers do to each other. He talked about the intolerance in Jerusalem just before Israelis and Lebanese civilians suffered from a vicious war that broke out last summer. He talked about children learning to hate other children because of the religion that neither child chose. (Northern Ireland is a great example of that - girls can't even walk through certain neighborhoods without being pelted with stones.) That's what he means when he says that raising a child as a religious label is child abuse, and it is child abuse, because it doesn't encourage the child to become and express his or her own unique self. It doesn't allow the child to think or to question - it just pushes individuals through the sausage-grinder. Dawkins has also unequivocably said that raising a so-called "atheist child" would also be child abuse, and I agree! No one is born with any one view any more than anyone is born racist (although there is some evidence that tendencies toward religiosity/nonreligiosity are genetic, just as our capacity to have morality, rather than any particular morality itself, could have evolved as Pinker describes).
Kindness can become its own motive. We are made kind by being kind. - Eric Hoffer
The folks at Uncommon Descent have trouble imagining morality and altruism without a belief in God. Well, we learn by doing. When we practice altruism, we think altruism. Evolution does not mandate that we all snap at each other like wolves - that's a Victorian era stereotype. That is what I tried, and failed, to communicate to the other commentors at Uncommon Descent, who insisted that I was a lost person, that if I took my atheism to its logical conclusion I could have no purpose in life, that I could do no good as a person, that I was some sort of monster. (Well, for a horrible monster I sure got my feelings hurt.) So I just stopped communicating (I was never banned as far as I know). Now I see them sniping at each other at UD, and banning commentators left and right. The tone has grown even more hostile and sarcastic, and yet the only people left there are the fanatics.
It's like a microcosm of the same religious hatred that Dawkins described.