Jamila Bey on MSNBC

FTB colleague and dear friend Jamila Bey was on MSNBC with Chris Hayes after the shooting of three Muslims by an atheist in Chapel Hill, North Carolina to discuss the question of whether atheists should condemn such violent acts or not.

I think the key distinction is that there’s no need to apologize for it (it isn’t our fault), but it should be condemned. And we should take the opportunity to do some self-reflection on the issue of Islamophobia and what we can do to combat it while still absolutely defending the right to criticize Islam and every other religion (every idea, for that matter). There are important distinctions to be made here and important discussions that need to be had.

And seriously, if atheism is going to have a “public face,” I’d be more than happy if it were Jamila. So intelligent, so eloquent, so reasonable and so human. Love her, love her, love her.

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  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    So intelligent, so eloquent, so reasonable and so human.


  • http://www.ranum.com Marcus Ranum

    Why aren’t they asking “where are the moderate NRA members speaking out against these acts?”

  • http://kamakanui.zenfolio.com Kamaka

    I’d be more than happy if it were Jamila. So intelligent, so eloquent, so reasonable and so human. Love her, love her, love her.

    Ed, I thought you were a confirmed bachelor!

  • http://www.themindisaterriblething.com shripathikamath

    Marcus (#2 above) conveys the perfect sentiment.

    Why should atheists condemn the Chapel Hill killings? The unstated implication is obvious. The suspect was an atheist, and therefore, atheists as a community should take the effort to condemn the heinous act of a “fellow atheist.’

    It is inescapable.

    But therein lies the enabling of the wingnuts. There are plenty of right-wing Christians who will point to this as “see, atheism leads to violence,” or “why haven’t atheists condemned this?”

    How do we know? They do this everything a Muslim kills someone.

    Yet none in the press will ever ask the NRA, or whites to condemn shootings by a white suspect to “where are the white leaders denouncing this?”

    It also sets you up. Will you now condemn every killing there is, in a similar manner, or just the ones by atheists? What happens when not every atheist organization who condemned this killing fails to condemn every other? (yes, the likelihood of that is low, given how few atheists commit such crimes), but do we condemn the Chinese for their atheistic killings every incident?

    Atheists have no more burden on this than on any other killing. And it is best not to let the media know that this is OK for them to enquire.

  • http://www.themindisaterriblething.com shripathikamath

    To be clear, Ms. Bey did convey that sentiment. Dean was an example “I didn’t blame atheism for this” as if that should even be said. Concern-trolling ahead of time.

  • peterh

    Why should not everyone condemn those shootings? Nobody should try to gain political capital from such an event.

  • Artor

    Shripathikamath, yes, I do indeed condemn nearly every killing. Self-defense excepted.

  • nycatheist

    Long time lurker, first time poster on ftb here.

    Don’t get me wrong, it’s great that Ms Bey is making these points on national TV, but am I the only one concerned by her armchair diagnosis?

  • bigwhale

    I see your point nycatheist and had a similar thought about how hard it is to bring up mental health without diagnosing, othering, or putting someone on the defensive. This killer and many many others suffer from issues dealing with anger. There’s some techniques and support he should have had available to him, whether or not it was an issue a professional would have diagnosed.

    I didn’t hear diagnosing as much as the issue that everyone needs more access to mental health. No one has perfect mental health their whole life. If this attitude was more accepted than considering everyone healthy until they are diagnosable, with all the unnecessary negative connotations, a lot of violence could be prevented.

    But yes it is often the case that violence is dismissed by armchair diagnosis of an outlier mental illness and she could have done a better job avoiding that. Because the killer may not have been any more diagnosable than millions of others who we interact with and consider normal every day.

  • nycatheist

    @9 I guess that makes sense. Thank you.