Atheist Groups Speak Out Against Family Research Council Shooting

I’ll update this page as more statements come out.

The Secular Coalition for America:

“While we disagree with the Family Research Council on nearly every issue, the debate surrounding the role of religion in the public sphere should be fought with reason and logic, not guns,” said Edwina Rogers, Executive Director. “We absolutely condemn this sort of senseless violence.”

Rogers said that the thoughts of the Secular Coalition are with the security guard who was shot. The organization wishes him a speedy recovery and is glad that security guards were able to prevent further harm.

American Atheists:

American Atheists is saddened to learn about the shooting at the Family Research Council today. Our thoughts are with the security officer who was injured and the other employees who were traumatized.

American Atheists never advocate violence as an answer to disagreements, even with those who believe differently than our members.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson
    • Sindigo

      Have you seen the comments on that site? Wow.

  • nice_marmot

    Meanwhile, FRC blames atheists for shooting…

    • dgriffey

      Have they said that?  I missed that statement.  Where was that said?

    • kraken17

      Holy unsubstantiated claim, Batman!

      • nice_marmot

        Sorry, I forgot my sarcasm close tag.

    • Margaret Whitestone

       They’ve been blaming gay atheist liberals for just about every shooting in the past few years so we’re all used to it by now.

  • AxeGrrl

    This is a good start. We really need to keep it coming, to take every available opportunity to publicly condemn this individual’s actions and make it clear that he wasn’t ‘representing’ us a group in any way.

    The more statements out there to this effect, the harder it’ll be for the FRC to suggest otherwise.

  • Pneumognocchi

    “even” 
    with those who believe differently than our members? That’s a rather creepy way to put it.

    • Pseudonym

      I’m prepared to give them this one, since it was clearly written in a hurry. If this is the biggest clanger that AA drops this week, it’s improving.

  • http://twitter.com/AchronTimeless Achron Timeless

    [insert standard violence isn't the answer disclaimer everyone has been using]

    Honestly? While I’m not advocating any more of this nonsense, it took the Stonewall Riot to start the gay rights movement, so I’m not exactly shocked that people are so fed up with having their rights trampled upon that they do stupid things. Make someone desperate enough and they resort to desperation. I’ll be shocked if this is the last we see.

    • http://www.facebook.com/horvendile Gordon Nash

       Disgusting;  What you are saying is, “I’ll wash my hand of responsibility but he deserved it.” Have some perspective. Nobody’s rights are being trampled on a scale close to calling for a violent revolution. If you knew anything about the stonewall riots  you’d know the violence was started by the police not the gays who were suffering a far greater violation of their rights.

      • http://twitter.com/AchronTimeless Achron Timeless

        That’s what I was saying? Well thanks for telling me because I was certain I was saying something entirely different. I would’ve gone on all day thinking I was saying something besides the idiotic thing you’ve now informed me I was saying. Thanks. *eyeroll*

  • http://twitter.com/nopaniers Chucky

    Of course I won’t be going around blaming atheism or atheists for this, because violent and extremist views don’t represent the majority view. Of course, I’m grateful that atheists would never did the same about religious people. You, of course, never take examples of extremists and paint all religious people in the same light.

    • kraken17

      My irony meter just exploded.

    • http://dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

      Whether condemnation is justified depends on the circumstances and motives. I believe it is often fair to blame Christianity for the acts of extremists, because there is no doubt that their extremism was specifically driven by their Christian beliefs. And I’d blame atheism for the act of an extremist, as well, if it were demonstrated that an extremist act occurred specifically because of atheism. It’s hard to imagine how that could be possible, given that atheism isn’t a belief, and I certainly can’t think of an example of any extremist act committed in the name of atheism. But if one somehow came along, I’d hold it up as a negative mark against atheism as a whole… just as I hold it against Christianity when somebody commits an illegal or unethical act in its name.

      (Note that this is very different from holding Christianity at fault when a Christian does something bad, or atheism at fault when an atheist does so. That would certainly be a fallacy.)

      • dgriffey

        Then I have a feeling it would be utterly useless attempting to dialogue, since that is the same basic line of reasoning used by religious people: ‘real’ Muslims won’t do that, therefore you can’t blame Islam; ‘real’ Christianity is about love, therefore ‘real’ Christians could never do that, therefore you can’t blame Christianity.  It’s best to say that any viewpoint about the universe, the world, reality, or whatever can have its extremist elements.  And perhaps it turns out that evil isn’t done because of atheism, or even because of religion, but because humans have a nasty knack for taking anything under the sun, and using it to advance evil and wrong motivated actions.  If I see it that way, then no matter what I believe, I realize it can be used for evil if I’m not careful, and I don’t hedge myself with the rather unhistorical conclusion that ‘gee, my viewpoint is so obviously true that nothing like that could ever happen because of it or because of me.’

        • http://dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

          I’m not looking for dialog. This is just a pragmatic analysis. If a Christian kills a doctor who performs abortions, and says he did it because his Christianity demanded it of him, there’s a fair case for blaming Christianity. Yes, the messages of different Christian sects vary, and are frequently contradictory or ambiguous. But it is quite certain that many Christians do consider abortion to be murder, and would not condemn the killing of this doctor. It is quite clear that Christianity frequently allows for violence. The position of the doctor killer is consistent with a large body of Christian doctrine.

          If an atheist kills a priest who got away with molestation, and claimed that his atheist beliefs justified it, our BS detectors should go off full blast. Because we can ask “what atheist belief?” We can ask what atheist organization has ever advocated anything like that? We can ask what history of atheist activity has led to any violence at all?

          It isn’t simply the criminal making the assertion that his religious beliefs led to the act, but the obvious reality of the statement.

          • Pseudonym

            There is nothing in Christianity which could reasonably be interpreted as justifying extrajudicial execution, even for a murderer.

            • http://dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

              Wow. Your ignorance of Christianity and its history is deeper than I imagined.

  • Good and Godless

    Fight them with edits to the  1st Amendment.
    Do not fight them with the 2nd Amendment.Fight them with the 14th, 17th, 19th, 24th & 26th.The 10th & 11th are almost usable. Fight them with the 16th Amendment too.

  • http://dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

    I’d rather that atheist organizations didn’t formally condemn criminal acts like this. To me, it smacks of a defensive response, and none is required. There is nothing to suggest that any atheist organizations were involved, or that the shooter was claiming to act on behalf of one. If that were to change, of course, the organization involved should make a statement. Otherwise, no formal comment is required. Our attitude should be of course we condemn criminal acts like this… so much that the need to issue a press release any time one occurs is pointless.

    Unless responding to an actual, directed accusation, responses like this make me think “thou dost protest too much”.

    • 3lemenope

      I think the general view of atheists in the wider culture weighs heavily against such a strategy being productive. If you’re going to be blamed anyway, it is better to be on the record against the bad stuff perpetuated in proximity to you, so that disinterested and/or casual observers have a better chance of coming to the correct conclusion about where you’re actually coming from, rather than letting their assumptions be informed only by the calumnies offered by your adversaries. 

      • http://dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

        Yes, atheist organizations should be on the record as being against bad stuff like this. But they should be on the record proactively, in their mission statements and daily actions, not reactively, in press releases when something bad happens. I honestly think that reacting in this way actually does more harm than good, and focuses people on the idea that atheism must actually cause such situations in the first place.

        (It’s particularly out of place in this incident because it was a matter of GLBT issues, not atheism at all.)

        • 3lemenope

          That strategy doesn’t usually strike us as sincere when Christians use it. By default, proactively if you will, Christians are supposed to be against violence and the New Testament certainly weighs heavily against someone expecting them to be a violent group of people or to condone violence in their name. Yet, of course we know from experience that sometimes Christian practice diverges from their mission statement. Is it enough for them to say, well, of course our guiding documents have always said we’re against this sort of thing, so do we really have to say it again now when it has become relevant? Or do Christians of conscience owe it to their contemporaries to nonetheless disclaim and disavow the acts of wayward co-religionists?

          I think they do. A common (and dare I say, brutally effective and deserved) criticism against the wider Christian community is their hesitance in condemning the bad acts of fellow Christians, the way that silence gives cover and support to extremists and fanatics.  The criticism is deserved because of the silence, and despite the religion’s mission statement eschewing violence as a means of persuasion.

          EDIT: I mostly agree with your parenthetical. I think it’s muddied only because the FRC and groups like them consistently fail to make distinctions between all the various groups that they hate, and so we’re likely to find ourselves blamed right along with LGBT groups. Might as well be proactive by getting out in front of that.

        • LesterBallard


          (It’s particularly out of place in this incident because it was a matter of GLBT issues, not atheism at all.)”

          DING! DING! DING! DING! We have a winner.

    • http://www.facebook.com/abb3w Arthur Byrne

      The advantage to atheist organizations in doing so is that they can then compare and contrast the response by Christian organizations to violence against groups that the Christians dislike.

    • Pseudonym

      It didn’t sound like a defensive response to me at all. It sounded like sympathy for a victim of a crime. Rallying around someone like the guard is part of what it means to be in a community.

      Yes, it should be taken for granted that we condemn criminal acts. It should be taken for granted that most Muslims condemn violence against civilians. It should be taken for granted that most moderate-to-liberal Christians condemn the political maneuverings of fundamentalists. It should be taken for granted that most Americans condemn torture. In an ideal world, this would be the case. In the mean time, it still needs to be said.

      • http://dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

        No, it doesn’t need to be said. What they should be saying is stuff that reflects their views. Why don’t they issue a responses like this for the victim of every crime? They have no position in this situation, and discussing it at all just makes people wonder why.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mitch.dibble.9 Mitch Dibble

    This is the problem with the left, and with the secular community.  The ONLY thing wrong with this is that the guy shot a security guard, and not an FRC staff.  I mean, I know we like to take the high road and condemn violence, blah blah blah, but their people have legislated for laws in other countries to make homosexuality punishable by death so really, they could have torched the whole damn building and everyone in it and I wouldnt be saddened in the least.  Sometimes you have to take a chance, make a statement, do something brutal for progress and it will no doubt come at the cost of innocent lives.  We’ll never do away with the evils of greed and god by all holding hands and signing kumbaya.  Seriously would any of you be upset if someone assasinated Pat Robertson? Shit like that should make you want to throw a party IMO

  • rg57

    Why did they comment on this particular shooting?

    Is their policy dictated by CNN?  Or internalized guilt?  Or a desire to assume religious groups’ predatory role in stressful times?

    I would no more expect these sort of comments regarding this event, than I’d expect one from my local bakery, who also had nothing to do with it.

  • http://andybreeden.com Andy Breeden

    Hemant, if you want to add statements from prominent atheists, too, you can’t beat what Greta Christina said.


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