How Should We React When a ‘Militant Atheist’ Beats Up a Pastor?

Over the weekend, a man named James Maxie went to church with his girlfriend… and ended up severely beating the pastor, Rev. Norman Hayes, after Hayes asked the girlfriend if she felt safe with him:

James Maxie

“I questioned his girlfriend in his presence if she felt safe,” Hayes said. “He was very, very upset that I’d even suggest that he would hurt her. Then he turned around and hurt me very badly.”

Hayes said Maxie was argumentative and confrontational during the service.

“It looked like he was looking for an argument,” Hayes said.

Maxie and the girlfriend, who attends the church, approached Hayes after the service. She told police that Hayes asked her if Maxie was abusing her, and Maxie became furious, striking pastor several times in the face in the church hallway.

“He came from nowhere and hit me … and knocked me down, and then he got on top of me and just kept hitting me over and over,” Hayes said. He pleaded for the beating to stop, stating he thought Maxie would kill him.

“It was fortunate he did stop,” Hayes said. “I really believe my life was in danger if he hadn’t stopped hitting me in the face over and over.”

The reason I mention this story is because it turns out Maxie is a “militant atheist”:

A self-described militant Atheist, according to his Facebook page, a day before the assault Maxie shared a photo from another page titled, “I’m proud to be Atheist.” Hayes said Maxie made comments about Hitler and religion prior to the church service.

In a statement Maxie wrote to police, he said he was “trying to regain my faith in God,” and went to hear Hayes’ sermon. He said he “asked questions about science and faith,” and claimed the statements offended Hayes. Maxie said Hayes said his girlfriend was “going to hell for dating me.”

“That’s when I made the worst mistake ever,” Maxie wrote.

It doesn’t matter what the pastor said; Maxie did something indefensible and awful, no matter how he felt afterwards. My heart goes out to Rev. Hayes for what he endured.

One thing worth noting is that Maxie has a violent past:

He previously spent two years in jail for a felonious assault conviction, and became a convicted sex offender after have unlawful sexual contact with a minor in 2008. He was also charged, but never convicted, of four counts of animal cruelty in 2004.

You could make an argument that it’s wrong to say “an atheist beat up a pastor” because it’d be much more appropriate to say “a criminal beat up a pastor.” Fair point. I completely agree.

There’s no getting around that detail, though: Maxie was an atheist.

Can we deny that? No, and we’d be foolish to pretend he wasn’t “really” an atheist just because he attended a church or was trying to regain his faith.

Does he represent all of us? Of course not.

Should we condemn his actions wholeheartedly? Absolutely.

Will people use this incident to say awful things about atheists? Yes, and they’re wrong to generalize, and we’ll deal with that later.

But here’s another, more important, question worth asking: Can we do anything to help?

Last night, I left messages with a reporter who wrote a story about the incident for a local newspaper as well as with Hayes’ church to see if he needed help with medical bills or anything like that. I’ll let you know if there’s anything we can do to show that Maxie is an anomaly and that the atheist community at-large is sickened by how Rev. Hayes was treated. We may have our differences, but violence will never settle the issues.

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.

  • DougI

    Not a great “militant” Atheist if he’s attending church. He is quite simply a douchebag whose actions should be condemned. No doubt he’ll be doubling the Atheist population in the local prison.

    • GubbaBumpkin

      Not a great “militant” Atheist if he’s attending church.

      In a statement Maxie wrote to police, he said he was “trying to regain
      my faith in God
      ,” and went to hear Hayes’ sermon. He said he “asked
      questions about science and faith,” and claimed the statements offended
      Hayes.

      • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

        If we all got into fist fights every time someone said something we don’t like we’d do nothing but brawl. That’s not a valid excuse. Perhaps, as others have suggested, he needs some counseling or psychiatric treatment, but hearing something you don’t like is not a justification for assault.

        • Jim

          No one said it was.

  • ShoeUnited

    Clearly prison isn’t working, nor is it a deterrent. This man needs help. I don’t know why the Pastor is asking if he’s beating her right in front of him either. I’m not belittling what happened to the Pastor, but this whole scenario is a strange duck.

    I think everyone could use some help in this situation. Her if she needs counseling if he’s abusive, the Pastor to learn crisis management, and him for anger issues.

    Whether he becomes a theist or remains rather atheistic is neither here nor there when it comes to getting everyone involved the help they need.

    • Gus

      This is an issue I’ve been thinking about a lot lately, because my mother in law was mugged just down the street from my house and knocked on the sidewalk, hitting her head and breaking her hip, by a man who was trying to get money to feed his heroin addiction.

      In general principle, I agree with you (though I’d argue that prison is a deterrent, just not to everyone), but the conversation could take pages and pages.

      But what stands out to me about this case, and my mother in law’s attacker, is that both men (probably) need help that they (probably) won’t get. Our mugger wanted diversion for treatment, which the judge refused. We found ourselves wanting him locked up for a long time (he got eight years, no parole), but in the end we wanted him to get treatment and still question whether his eight years in prison will do any good. The judge specifically said that there won’t be any treatment available to him in prison (though he will get drugs to control his withdrawal symptoms). What good is this system if a drug addict turned violent by addiction isn’t going to be treated for that root problem? Or if this man isn’t going to be at least evaluated and potentially treated for any mental health issues that may be leading to his violent behavior?

      • wright1

        My sympathy for your family, and admiration for your rational principles. Were I in that situation, that’s what I would want too. It’s great that the guy is out of circulation for at least eight years, but without treatment, what then?

      • Don Gwinn

        There’s another wrinkle there, though. Try to find an addiction treatment that works on someone who’s not desperate to break the addiction herself . . . I don’t know of one. The few successes that the 12-step people document usually have that factor in common–the patient was desperate to change and willing to suffer to do it.

        It seems that the most common way of quitting any addiction is to make a decision without undergoing any treatment–simply to will oneself to stop, and then do your best. What does that have in common with those few 12-step success stories? The individual made her own decision to break the addiction and then did what she thought she had to do, whether that was 12 Steps or no treatment at all. Nothing else works reliably as far as I know.
        That’s bad news for anyone who thinks we can impose “treatment” on addicts against their wills. We can isolate them and cut off their supply of the drug, but that’s just detox. When they leave, they have to be doing everything they can to end the addiction for their own reasons.

        I know I seem like I’m just being negative here, but I think this problem is real and widely ignored.

        • smrnda

          I’ve heard that they can just give heroin users cleaner opiates and that solves a lot of problems. I’ve never heard anything to suggest that 12 step programs are worth anything, and their success rate is about equal to the spontaneous remission rate. Will look for stats on that.

        • wolfcat

          I have a friend who’s constantly getting into trouble due to his inability to stay sober and off drugs. He’s been through court ordered state drug programs multiple times. He gets in, get’s normal, gets smart, gets out, and gets right back on what he was on before. Everything from meth to weed to alcohol. I’ve known him years and he’s only managed to go a month or so without managing to get a warrant for his arrest because he has issues and refuses to knock it off. He generally avoids jail long enough to knock someone up and see the baby born. His only goals in life are to find some rich chick to take care of him and to work on his art. lol

          • Don Gwinn

            That’s the thing. There seems to be a threshold of fed-up that your friend could reach that would allow him to kick it, but there’s no clear understanding of what that threshold is, whether it’s even close to consistent from person to person, etc. What does seem to be clear is that it’s a threshold of intrinsic motivation, and trying to impose treatment from outside doesn’t move the needle very much.

            The Positive Psychology people seem to have data to support the idea that you can’t get someone to change life habits (including smoking after cardiac surgery) by trying to scare them with “If you don’t stop smoking and get some exercise, you’re going to DIE!” That seems still to be the approach for many in trying to convince addicts to cooperate with treatment, though. The Positive Psych people seem to be finding that it works better to work on finding a vision of a meaningful goal and then have the patient work toward that–and that for a meaningful, personal goal, people will make radical lifestyle changes.

            Can you tell I went to a seminar yesterday?

        • Kevin

          I hate 12-Step programs because of their downplay of personal power. The focus is on releasing control to “other” powers and surrender.

          • Don Gwinn

            Exactly. When I tried a 12-step program (Overeaters Anonymous) that’s all I could see. And nobody seemed to be making progress, at least in that group. Nobody was solving their problem. It dawned on me after three months that nobody there was really trying to solve their problem. They were trying to find the strength and resolve to turn their problem over to “God as they understood him” and to stop thinking they had the power to solve anything.

            I left and decided that I was going to take all the “extreme” measures I hadn’t been wiling to take before. I gave up sugar and starch, because they seem to affect me badly. I joined a great gym with a great trainer. I took on physical activities that are simply more fun and less punishing if I’m in shape. I had gained at least 30 pounds in three months of OA meetings. I’ve now lost 105 since.

            But . . . . I have relatives who’ve given up drinking and would give all the credit for that to Alcoholics Anonymous, including one married couple who met in AA. I can’t totally dismiss that some people use it and quit. I’m just not sure they couldn’t have quit without it, but we’ll never know, and I’m glad they’re better off, however it happened.

    • Stevie

      I agree. This is why ministers usually go to ministerial school . . . they get degrees, and part of the training would be crisis management, and psychology. He should never had asked this infront of Maxxie. A) because if he truly felt she was unsafe, then of course the man would react violently B) if Maxxie wasn’t violent it is extremely offensive to suggest that C) if it is because he questioned science and religion, then the pastor needed to talk to Maxxie aside and say “Brother Maxxie, I am very interested in your points of view; can we discuss them together instead of during the service so we can use the time wisely for the other congregants?”

      This Pastor assumed he had the power of the holy on his side. Maxxie absolutely should not have punched this pastor . . . if anything he should have said, “I will not stand here and be humiliated.” So yes he is wrong, but so was the pastor.

      Thank you Hemant for reaching out, but I also am not sure it is plausible to save the face of atheism every time someone with a mental health issue goes on a frenzy.

  • SeekerLancer

    If he beat up the pastor for being a pastor then I would see a bigger need for the community to respond. But he did it because he’s violent, abusive and likely mentally ill.

    • grumpy_otter

      While that is true, I do NOT want to sound like those religious people who deny any abhorrent action from one of their community by saying “But he wasn’t a TRUE atheist.” I think owning this man as “one of us” and standing up as a community to denounce his action, is the responsible way to go.

      • Iron Hat

        I’m not completely sure what you mean by “one of us”? If you mean to say that his atheism should be considered to be “a part” of his true base philosophy then sure, why not, but as I’m sure your aware that as a community, the majority of those who consider themselves atheist come to that philosophy through education and open mindedness.How this man came to his “atheism” is certainly not through either of the former means, so, to say that he is a part of that community, I think, would be not entirely accurate, but I do agree that that community should stand up to denounce this his, and any other violent actions. And…sorry for that one, insufferably long sentence.

        • Gus

          I think saying we ought to “own” him as “one of us” implies just a bit too much association with him as part of a community. But I do think we have to acknowledge that, as far as we know, he is indeed an atheist. That one atheist is a violent reprobate has nothing to do with atheism as a whole, with other atheists, or with any particular atheism community, but he is an atheist. And yes, you’ve made a No True Scotsman argument. Not only that, it’s one for which you’ve no evidence. Do you have evidence to back up this statement?

          How this man came to his “atheism” is certainly not through either of the former means

          Especially given that,<blockquote<He said he "asked questions about science and faith,"A person can be open minded and educated and still be violently mentally unstable. In fact, given the relatively small amount of education it takes to arrive at an atheist conclusion (let’s face it, it’s not that hard to figure out), it’s really no barrier to almost any sort of person arriving at that conclusion.

          • Gus

            Woah. I swear I didn’t screw up that blockquote tag that badly.

            He said he “asked questions about science and faith,”

            • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

              Looks like you got a “>” reversed.

          • grumpy_otter

            My main fear is our community (yes, I like to consider us a community) is going to be attacked by Christians because of this. If we respond, “Well, his actions had nothing to do with atheism,” I think that will be taken as us trying to pull a “no true Scotsman.” (Which is what they do all the time)

            So I think it would be better to own him as part of the atheist community–and then denounce his actions with one unified voice.

            • shouldbeworkin

              I think you can say “his actions had nothing to do with atheism” without denying that he is an atheist.

            • http://twitter.com/ravenclawwit ravenclawwit

              Who cares what Christians think? I think we all know how good they are at that activity.

      • SeekerLancer

        I never meant to imply that he wasn’t a “true atheist,” as being an atheist requires a negative answer to a single question and nothing more.

        I do understand your concern and thought about it for several minutes before making my post and I absolutely believe we should denounce his actions but I don’t feel like we should tolerate any spin that reads, “he attacked a pastor because he’s an atheist” because that certainly doesn’t seem to be his motivation.

        And even if it was, he seems to have a violent history and would need help no matter what his beliefs are or aren’t.

      • ragarth

        There’s a fundamental difference here: We’re not saying ex post facto that he’s not a true atheist, we’re taking him at his word that he doesn’t believe in a god. But we’re not excusing his actions either.

        Rather, what we need to be doing is not falling into the trap that theists so often fall into and assume that just because someone claims our preferred label that they must be a good person–that kind of attitude would not only make us look like Christians pulling a no true scotsman, but its also how groups begin to rot and let twisted cretins use their label to hide their atrocities (priests and pedophilia, anyone?).

        So yeah, he is an atheist, but he’s also an unstable bastard who should get legally enforced counseling. Being an atheist isn’t a magic bullet against misdeeds just like being a Christian isn’t a magic bullet against misdeeds.

        • Me

          He was trying to argue with pastor norm to make him see that his beliefe in god was stupid, with the questions that he has had sense he became an athiest that no pastor has been able to answer, but James is trying to take religion out of this and make people focus more on what he did which was give a man a black eye and a broken nose for insaulting him. He loves his girlfriend very much and never abused her. he loved her so much that he was offended because pastor norm told her that premarital sex would send her to hell. He broke down and assumed that James was abusing her because he thought that she would never willingly do such a thing and he noticed that she was losing her faith. That is the story at its truest form. propaganda has its ways of making things seem worse than they are. Its hard for me to take either of their sides.

          • Me

            by the way she did willingly do it, and she did lose her faith in God, but its not so much of a loss to her, as it is a gain of self confidence, love for the beauty of the way things really are, and respect for everyone, as they are all connected to each other biologically. But it is a loss of selfish actions. Most christians are good to others because they want to go to heaven. She is good to others, because she genuinely loves them, and she sees that they are in need. She has been helping James control his rage, and calmed him down. she thought he was ready to have his questions answered and pastor norm of all people would be able to answer them without a judgmental answer. I don’t know all of the questions exactly, but I know they were about how religion causes war, and scientific stuff. He did use harsh words to describe his questions, which kinda made pastor norm offended. He called God an imaginary friend, that everyone has to believe in or they are hated, and he said Hitler beleived in God, and that christians are just like Hitler

      • Jeremy Berryman

        If he is a “militant” atheist, why was he in church trying to “refind” his faith?

        • Damon

          If you read the story, that’s his side of it: it’s what he told the police, likely in an effort to seem like the wronged party. “I was just trying to regain my faith, and the intolerant bigot pastor told my girlfriend she was going to hell for dating me!” sounds better than “I thought it would be fun to heckle my girlfriend’s pastor, and then when he asked her if I was violent I kicked his ass.”

          • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

            Exactly. Abusers will say anything to weasel out of being held responsible for their actions. This “I was just trying to regain my faith, and the intolerant bigot pastor told my girlfriend she was going to hell for dating me!” is just a slightly more complex version of, “she was being mouthy* and I had to hit her.”

            *”mouthy” == daring to have an opinion or even *gasp* being right about something.

    • C Peterson

      Even if he beat him up for being a pastor, that simply suggests he might be a violent anti-religionist, which does not reflect on atheism. Stalin killed non-atheists because he was an anti-religionist, not because he was an atheist himself. The same thing can happen on a smaller scale.

      Concepts like “New Atheism” and “A+” help create this kind of confusion, of course. My only response as an atheist to an anti-religious act would be to point out that nothing about atheism does, or can, create violence, because it carries no values or beliefs with it.

      • C.L. Honeycutt

        it carries no values or beliefs with it.

        I don’t consider this to be an absolute fact, but rather a technical definition. Atheism doesn’t exist in a vacuum, but in cultural context, and means different things according to that context. But here it’s close enough to absolute, because “atheist” is the antonym of “theist”, not “Christian” or “Muslim” or “Platonism”. Associating someone like this with other atheists is like blaming Jains when Scientologists scam people.

      • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

        I think this isn’t a case of religious or a-religious violence. At least at first glance (and many further glances later, too), this appears to be a violent man reacting violently when someone asks if his girlfriend is afraid of him. If she isn’t, she probably should be scared. He raises all too many abuser red flags.

        The pastor did a stupid thing in asking that question in front of Maxie, but not a religiously-motivated stupid thing. Asking the question was good, but doing in front of the potential abuser is often like lighting a match next to gasoline. It’s an extremely combustible situation and likely to rebound badly on the woman if he is abusive. So like I said, a stupid thing, but a stupid thing not stemming from religion at all.

        In other words, a violent and probably abusive man reacted violently when questioned. The fact that this violent and probably abusive man was an atheist is entirely irrelevant to the story- we don’t report every time a criminal is Christian, after all. This shouldn’t be news.

        • C Peterson

          Actually, there is a pervasive sort of bias in most news reporting. When somebody is identified as Christian, it usually carries the implication of “despite being a Christian, this person committed a crime”. When somebody is identified as an atheist (or a Muslim), the implication is frequently “perhaps this explains the crime”.

          • Analog Kid

            Bingo

        • Gringa123

          I have to wonder why the pastor would ask the woman if she felt afraid right in front of the person that she may be afraid of. That’s idiotic – a victim would not answer truthfully in front of their abuser. Not that this factor alone should necessitate such an attack, but it sounds like the pastor might have been trying to get a reaction from the man.

          • Feral Dog

            Pastors aren’t trained in psychology or domestic violence handling. The ones I’ve encountered are all utterly clueless as to the causes of DV, and how people in those kinds of relationships (abuser or victim) act.

            • Gringa123

              Neither am I, but I have common sense. Guess my expectations are too high. But really, my point was that the pastor was probably aware that there was no DV but was trying to imply so to make the crazy man mad.

        • smrnda

          Yeah this seems more like ‘guy who doesn’t know how to handle potentially difficult people does the wrong thing.’ If it wasn’t a pastor but a guy working the counter at a liquor store, it would barely be news.

        • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

          Yep. I can imagine what she had to suffer when they got home, and it ain’t pretty.

          • Gringa123

            Well, since he went to jail, luckily she didn’t have to go home with him :)

            • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

              I’m speaking from personal experience, here.

              • Gringa123

                That sucks – I’m so sorry. I hope this guy stays in jail and/or she does not go back with him.

      • joey_in_NC

        Aren’t you and most here “anti-religionist”?

        • C Peterson

          I am. I don’t speak for others. What I most definitely am not, however, is violently anti-religious. My belief that religion represents a major source of social harm has never remotely inspired me to consider any sort of violent act, any more than my opposition to many other things.

          Of course, most of the anti-religionists, including the violent ones, are not atheists at all, but people who believe so strongly that their own religion is the only true one that they are opposed to all the others.

        • baal

          Given all the harms, I’m anti-religionist.
          The short list includes:
          1. teaching irrationality
          2. the ahbrahamic tradition that women are chattle (or must be secondary to men (their man)
          3. Regressive sexuality
          4. anti-science teachings
          5. teaching we’re all bad and short timers

          I know many religionists who are great people but that seems to be despite their faith. I’m also focused more on the political impact of religions. If you all just met a few times a week in a church and did the whole song and pray thing, I wouldn’t be an anti-theist. It’s the bad things that are the core issue.

        • SeekerLancer

          Speaking for only myself, I am more accurately a secularist when it comes to our government and other public institutions and I don’t really care what anybody does in their private lives. Though I do dislike the negative effects religion has on some people.

          Others here are more anti-theist but I doubt they go punching people over it.

        • Matt D

          No, I’m not “Anti-Religionist”, because that implies all religions are the same, which is untrue in every sense of the word.

          There are literally thousands of religions with their own particular brand of dogma, some similiar to others, some so different they seem alien. Thus it’s more accurate to say that I oppose bad ideas (which makes it my personal opinion) such as anti-intellectualism, bigotry, violence, etc, than to claim I’m “anti-religion” merely because I don’t like yours.

    • aoscott

      I think that Mr. Mehta is pointing out that even though his atheism isn’t what drove him to do this (although I think it played a factor), others will seize on that fact to demonize other atheists. A good counter to that is to show support for the pastor. Plus it’s also just a good thing to do.

      • Jim

        “others will seize on that fact to demonize other atheists.”

        Because that would be a totally new tactic for the religious folk.

        • aoscott

          Of course it wouldn’t be new. He predicts this will happen precisely because it’s an old tactic.

      • Tom

        Uh, no? The enemy of your enemy is not automatically your friend.

        You can condemn his actions without showing support for the other guy. In fact, I think you should, because the pastors behaviour was not exactly exemplary, either.

        • Lea Tapp

          Since when is it OK to beat someone for not having “exemplary behavior”? Supporting the man who was beaten is not supporting his beliefs. It’s just common decency.

        • http://twitter.com/ravenclawwit ravenclawwit

          To be honest, I can’t say for sure from the story related that the Pastor did anything wrong. I’m not saying he didn’t, but he might not have. It’s not clear from the story whether the Pastor asked the lady if she felt safe because her partner was an atheist or whether he asked her that because something else about her partner’s behavior indicated that he was or might become violent. Given his response to a simple question put to his girlfriend, it’s not that much of a stretch to believe he may have said or did something that made the Pastor genuinely afraid for her safety.

        • aoscott

          Likewise, you can show kindness to someone without endorsing his or her beliefs. Something I think you would do well to reflect on.

        • Damon

          And what, exactly, did the pastor do wrong?

          He was worried, apparently correctly, that one of his congregation was becoming involved with a violent man. He had the balls to do a simple thing as ask if she was alright. What made him worried? I don’t know, the reporting isn’t clear on that, but the fact was, he was correct in his judge of character, and everyone involved will be better off now that this guy is going to prison.

  • Gus

    He appears to fit the standard profile for a violent and abusive person. The fact that he’s an atheist is certainly tangential. More importantly, there’s no general pattern of atheist behavior that he’s falling into, nor would the vast majority of atheists condone this. All of that is so obvious that I’ll have to assume that anyone who chooses to generalize atheists because of this individual’s behavior is already the sort of person who is dishonest in their defense of their religion and simply unreasonable.

    But how about that pastor? I have to give him great credit for apparently being the model of a good pastor – paying attention to the people at his church, seeing when something is wrong, and standing up to keep a woman in his flock safe from abuse. If all pastors were like him, then all we’d have to go on is the fact that Christianity is factually incorrect and couldn’t pick on them for anything else.

    • LDavidH

      As a pastor, I’m glad you think the pastor did the right thing. I thought it was a bit unwise of him to question the woman about her boyfriend while he was standing there… even if his concerns seem justified!

      • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

        That seems unwise in retrospect, but still doesn’t justify the assault. Imagine living in a world where you get physically assaulted every time you say something someone does like.

      • Gus

        No doubt his course wasn’t perfect. It would certainly be better, generally speaking, to ask her privately. But I wasn’t there and I don’t know what options he had available to him or why he chose the one he did. Ultimately, though unwise, his action may provide her more protection than if he had taken the more wise course. Had he asked her privately, there is a good chance that even if she didn’t feel safe she would not have said so. It is all too common for the relationship dynamics to prevent any real effective action from taking place to stop abuse. But now the man is in jail and will likely stay there for some time, particularly since this is not his first violent offence. So while I wouldn’t recommend this course of action, it turns out to be a perfect act of self sacrifice to protect a parishioner. Not that I think the pastor thought for a second that he would be assaulted in his own church.

        And certainly, too many people of all and no faith would say nothing.

  • BoGardiner

    Thank you, Hemant, contacting the pastor to extend our support is an excellent thing to do.

    As for the reporter, gratuitously including an alleged criminal’s religion, or lack thereof, in a news headline is religious bigotry, period. It’s clearly gratuitous because this obviously wasn’t a religiously motivated attack. And yes, I’ve consistently said the same thing be it Christian, Muslim, Jew, etc. Which is exactly why the practice is now VERY rare in the U.S. Is anyone surprised it’s considered okay to make an exception for an atheist? I hope this is communicated to the reporter, along with our sentiments that we abhor this creep’s behavior. Thanks again.

    • Ateu, e dai?

      That´s exactly what I thought too. What´s the correspondence between him being an atheist and his violent actions? If he was a Sikh, a Budhist or a Mormon, would they mention it in the news?

      Though, I gotta admit that if he was a muslim, they´d definetly consider it relevant too….

      • BoGardiner

        If the headline instead screamed “Muslim!”, there’d be quite the outcry from supposed progressives, who will of course remain silent about us.

      • BetterTheDevilYouKnow

        Yeah, it’s shocking, isn’t it? Religious organizations that don’t recruit people to murder in the name of the faith are generally exempted from recognition when one of their members does something bad. And vice-versa.
        What’s next? News stories detailing which ‘specific’ sport concussion victims played? How unfair and regressive!
        All I want to know is – a human being had an interaction with another human in a disclosed location at some time T. During that time, it can be said (with the passive voice of uncertainty) that objects were done to subjects.

        • Ateu, e dai?

          Are you implying that all muslim organizations recruit people to murder in the name of Alah? So, I guess you also think all atheists support spanking religious leaders, so it´s ok to mention that information in the news, even it´s unrelated with the facts in question.

          By the way, there are many organizations from other religions that recruit people to kill in the name of faith, including christians. Don´t tell me you never hear of the Bloody Sunday?

    • Kevin Kirkpatrick

      DANGIT, sent my reply to the wrong thead. Reposting, sorry for the duplicate:

      I disagree. If an outspoken Christian student attended an atheist meetup with his atheist girlfriend, was argumentative and disruptive throughout the meeting, and then physically assaulted one of the speakers for asking the girlfriend whether she felt safe around him (i.e. someone who adhered to irrational dogma)… something tells me we’d see a blog post that not only mentioned the man’s religion, but made it a focal point of the post.

      • BoGardiner

        Blog post? Probably… one can find a blog post saying most anything. But that’s irrelevant.

        Because here we’re talking about a mainstream newspaper that is expected to adhere to journalistic standards. If the violence was not about religion or religiously motivated, the perpetrator’s minority religious stance should NOT be the story’s focus. It’s blatant, gratuitous, sensationalizing prejudice.

  • Beth

    The pastor did what he should be doing: looking out for the safety of his parishioners. I wish he had taken the girlfriend aside and talked to her privately.
    But this criminal is a DB, what he did was wrong wrong wrong.

    • GubbaBumpkin

      I wish he had taken the girlfriend aside and talked to her privately.

      How that plays out: He instills some doubt in the girlfriend’s mind. Eventually she displays this doubt to her boyfriend, and she’s the one who gets beaten up.

      • rhodent

        So what do you suggest? She’s obviously at risk if she says yes when asked in front of him…hell, she might even be at risk just for being asked that question no matter what her answer is (“Why did he ask if I’m abusing you?!?! What have you been telling him?!?!”) The only options for the pastor are to ask in front of him, ask when he’s not present, or not ask at all. Of the three, asking her privately is the best option that I can see if the pastor genuinely believes he may be abusing her.

      • Beth

        No, there are other professions that are trained to look for abusive relationships. IDK what training this pastor had, probably not enough. But I have been in the ER for gall stones, and asked about abuse, never in front of my partner. But if I did say that I was abused or scared of my partner I would have been given information, or talked to a social worker, or at the least be separated from my spouse. We have a great shelter locally that women are referred to all the time.
        If she said “yes” we don’t know what the pastor would have done, but I am guessing that he knows the community and where to refer battered women. At the very least he could have documented it and made a report to the police.

    • Cafeeine

      I’m not sure, at least from what I read in this post: Someone genuinely worried that one of their parishioners was being abused would not have made the issue public, not the least in front of the suspected abuser.
      On the other hand, if the pastor knew he was an atheist, this could have been a cheap shot against him, an attempt at a back handed insult that he didn’t expect would blow up in his face. Now, Maxie’s actions were unacceptable regardless, but I’m not completely sold on the pastor’s good intentions.

      • rhodent

        We simply don’t have enough information to say why the pastor asked the question. Could it be that the pastor knew nothing about Maxie’s violent past but knew Maxie was an atheist? Sure. Could it be that the pastor knew nothing about Maxie’s atheism but knew about his violent past? Again, sure. Could it be that the pastor knew about both of these things? Once again, sure. Under the circumstances I’m inclined to give the preacher the benefit of the doubt.

        • Gus

          Just for the sake of completeness, it could be that the pastor knew about neither of these things. And any of the above could be combined with the pastor just seeing something in the man’s/woman’s behavior that suggested to him that something was amiss.

        • Cafeeine

          I’m definitely not condemning the man. After all, there is no evidence, and his intentions are definitely immaterial to our judgment of Maxie’s actions to be sure and to my support of the pastor for his recuperation after this vicious attack.
          I’m just pointing out that at this point we don’t have the information on the pastor’s behavior, and we’ve seen how some preachers talk about atheists, so I wouldn’t jump to the conclusion that this was a well-meaning question without knowing more. I also don’t presume it wasn’t well-meaning.

  • Glasofruix

    Since we, as atheists, do not adhere to a given set of rules (except the law, which is for everyone), i frankly don’t care if the guy is an atheist or whatever.

  • kielc

    With disgust. But his atheism is immaterial — he’s violent and unbalanced. Lots of religious folks are, too.

    • David McNerney

      There something I don’t get here.

      Why did the pastor ask was she afraid: Was it because he knew the guy was violent, or was he working on the assumption that he was an atheist, therefore no morals, therefore be afraid?

      Either way beating someone up isn’t justified. But in the latter case the guy being an atheist is relevant, though in both cases being an atheist is not a cause of the harm.

  • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

    I think he should be criminally prosecuted.

    • Gus

      I concur. And he is being prosecuted and is currently in jail. I expect he will not get out for quite some time.

      • C.L. Honeycutt

        All it takes is one relative with a house to put up as a bond, unfortunately.

        • Gus

          But no one did. He’s in jail in lieu of bond.

          • C.L. Honeycutt

            It’s only been a few days. It could easily happen.

            The crazy people I filed suit against this month have a son who recently was arrested for home invasion, kidnapping, assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury, and a slew of other charges, equating to “he and his friends broke into someone’s home and beat them badly for money.” His mother put up a bond for him in return for him allowing his children to come over and see them again.

            Two details, only the first of which is directly relevant:

            - He’s already been convicted of this exact same thing before, and got PROBATION. He pistol whips a second person, in their own home, over the head until they can’t get up, and he gets out just as soon as he cuts a deal with a relative who wouldn’t even speak to him before.

            - He stopped letting his kids come over because the crazy grandparents shot at him in an argument over rent.

            • baal

              Holy shit! I’m sorry those events happened and that you had to deal with any of the folks involved.

              • C.L. Honeycutt

                Thank you, but that part doesn’t involve me at all. I have a bunch of other crazy crap to humiliate the grandparents with before a magistrate in a few weeks. They finally got evicted and moved far enough away that I can safely go after them for money owed without them starting a gunfight on my sis’s road or something.

      • Artor

        Nah, they’ll turn him out on the street as soon as they need that spot for a non-violent pot smoker instead.

        • Gus

          Under Ohio’s Truth in Sentencing law he will serve the time he is sentenced to and not be kicked out to make room for someone else. He’s charged with felonious assault, which carries a penalty of 2 to 8 years, so he’s almost certain to spend at least the next 2 years in prison. Given his criminal history, probably closer to eight, unless he pleads guilty to get the lighter sentence.

  • Shawn brigman

    I think that violence is the last recourse to be used to protect oneself or others. So this guy is completely wrong.

  • Greg G.

    OK, that is a militant atheist. Now can we stop having that adjective applied to vocal atheists?

    • Artor

      MAYBE he’s a militant atheist, but I don’t see how that matches “trying to regain my faith in God.” But he’s definitely a violent asshole.

  • Susan Westrell

    The thing I don’t get is why the pastor asked her if Maxie was abusing her right in front of him. That’s just…not smart. Nothing excuses his behavior, obviously. But you don’t ask someone if they’re being abused in front of the very person you might think is abusing them.

    • Paula M Marshall

      I’d be apt to do that. It usually wouldn’t work out that way in public. It’s a way of getting it out in the open and shaming the abuser.

    • Burpy

      As it turned out, given the man’s past history and subsequent actions, the question was rather a perceptive one.

      • Away

        And sticking your hand down a dog’s throat to see if it bites might be a good way to see if it bites but is still a dumb idea.

        • BetterTheDevilYouKnow

          Good on you guys for this perspective. I’ll bet you tell rape victims they should have had longer skirts.

          • C.L. Honeycutt

            They’re very obviously opining that a different approach might have been safer for getting the girlfriend away from him, not that she did anything wrong. It’s a criticism of everyone’s behavior EXCEPT hers. And even then, “Away” did not criticize doing something, but rather, criticized the exact method. Equating him to a rape apologist is like defending a cop who doesn’t have their vest on.

            • Don Gwinn

              I don’t think BetterTheDevilYouKnow thought the girlfriend was being blamed, but the pastor. I think he was trying to point out that while the pastor could have protected himself better, people were coming pretty close to blaming him, which is mistaken for the same reasons that blaming rape victims is mistaken.

              • C.L. Honeycutt

                Hmm, I see that. My mistake in all likelihood.

          • James

            No, of course not, and slippery slope arguments like that are pointless.
            But it would be analogous to bending over naked and daring a known violent rapist to rape you.

    • C.L. Honeycutt

      I wouldn’t have thought of doing that way. but abusers thrive on silence, which includes privacy. Switching it up by asking relatively publicly might get more useful answers than inviting him somewhere private and giving him mental warning to armor up and signal his victim to be quiet.

      Now, asking HER in front of him is not helpful, and can be dangerous if you aren’t ready to go on getting her away from him immediately.

      Edit: to be more clear, whether or not she is asked anything, trying to get her away needs to be the immediate followup. Asking him about it without her there could still get her hurt or killed later, no matter what is done to deflect suspicion.

    • Stev84

      Because most pastors are simply stupid. There used to be a time when clergy were very educated. Especially in America that’s no longer the case. Any idiot without a high school education can call himself “pastor”.

      • Jroc456

        Just like any idiot without a high school diploma can call himself an atheist.

        • TiltedHorizon

          False equivalence. The requirement for being an atheist is simply not believing in any gods or higher power. Where as anyone with the wherewithal to fill out an application can be ordained.

          I recommend the “Basic Ordination Package”, it is only $58.

          http://www.ordination.com/bmpapplications.html

          • tsara

            Seriously!? It’s that easy?
            …now I kind of want to be ordained.

            EDIT: dear Eris, that website is terrible.

        • tsara

          Also false equivalence because pastors are supposed to be authority figures whereas the label ‘atheist’ says nothing about the person other than their beliefs; the correct equivalence would be Christian:atheist or (even more accurately) theist:atheist.

        • Jeremiah Newell

          Yes, because a high school diploma is a great appeal to authority!

    • Ron

      Anybody worries a out her safety would pull her aside and speak with her privately which makes me think the pastor was pissed about the interruptions and asked the question the way he did in order to insult the guy then help the woman. Either way the assault had nothing to do with his lack of belief.

    • SeekerLancer

      I don’t want to shift the blame to the pastor but I agree that it probably wasn’t the brightest or most tactful way for him to deal with the issue given the fact that this guy has a history of abuses.

      • Jjjason

        Did the pasteor know that though? It sounds like coming to church was a first for him and the pastor probably didn’t know him at all, let alone do a background check to find his criminal history.

        • SeekerLancer

          Well the entire reason he asked her if she felt safe is because he knew Maxie was abusive.

          Though I suppose you’re right, that doesn’t mean he knew Maxie was unbalanced enough to attack him.

  • Stephen DuMont

    violence is the refuge of the incompetent -Asimov

  • Gus

    Wow. Has anybody read the comments on the article? I strongly suggest not responding emotionally to the two awful comments regarding atheists there, but a few of us making statements of support for the pastor, condemnation for the criminal, and demonstrating that his atheism has nothing to do with his violence might be a good idea.

    • Gus

      I left a general comment and a reply to the two anti-atheist comments that were there already:

      As an atheist, I condemn this man’s violent behavior. While he may share my opinion on the existence of God, he is not representative of me or the vast majority of the atheist community. Now that he’s in jail where he belongs, I hope he stays there for a long time and I hope he gets the help he obviously needs to deal with his violent behavior so he doesn’t do this again.

      I also wish to offer my support for the pastor, who showed the very best of human dignity and courage in seeing that something was wrong and standing up for the woman in question.

      In reply to IXOYE and Rufus TFirefly – It is clear from the pastor’s account and the girlfiend’s that this man reacted violently to the suggestion that he was abusing his girlfriend. That’s typical behavior form a violent abuser and has nothing to do with his atheism, nor would it qualify under any definition of a hate crime since he was not apparently motivated by any kind of hatred of any type of person, but rather out of revenge for a perceived insult. He even suggested that he was trying to find his faith in God. This is hardly representative of any group, except abusers. And violent abusers can be found in any faith or lack thereof. It’s unfortunate that this is being treated as a story of an atheist attacking a pastor, when it’s a story of a violent abuser attacking someone who tried to keep his girlfriend safe from her abuser.

  • Hrothgir Ó Dómhnaill

    TBH, I wonder if his girlfriend is safe around him.

  • joey_in_NC

    How Should We React When a ‘Militant Atheist’ Beats Up a Pastor?

    I don’t see a need to react at all, unless he claims that his resort to violence is specifically because of his atheism, which clearly wasn’t the case given the story.

    Otherwise, it’s just a story of a troubled man with a violent past committing another act of violence. That’s it. I think any more attention you give to this story can only make things more troublesome.

    • baal

      One of our big complaints about the religious, but especially the moderate religionists, is that they don’t ‘own’ their bad members and are always saying that those aren’t ‘true christians’ or are one off bad apples. Here, Hemant is trying to own this atheists bad acts, say they are wrongful and work to improve the overall situation.

      We could pass this guy off as one bad apple and it’d fit just fine but we’d also like to lead by example of how to fix the harms done by people who otherwise are associated with your social groups.

      • joey_in_NC

        Yes, I understand your point, and I understood Hemant’s point for writing the piece.

        But atheists in general are not naturally grouped the same way certain denominations of Christians are naturally grouped. This person doesn’t appear (as far as we can tell) to be part of a particular atheist or humanist group. If he is, then I can see how one can argue that these groups have the obligation/responsibility to ‘own’ one of their bad members.

        Being an atheist simply means that you disbelieve in God. Given this dictionary definition (which evidently many of you i n this forum hold dearly), you can have an extremely wide variety of atheists. Violent atheists, pacifist atheists, liberal atheists, conservative atheists, communist atheists, anarchist atheists, humanist atheists, psychopathic atheists, etc. Same could be said of Americans as a group, or even Ohioans. Does that mean every citizen of Ohio should come forward ‘own’ the violent act of this Ohioan?

        • baal

          We’re getting into my politics but yes, Ohioans should own the bad acts of Ohioans. Or I’d probably say it’d be a very nice gesture if a group of Ohioans or that State did something to help a victim who merely happened to be harmed by someone colorably working in the name of “Ohio” or as a member of the group of people who identify as Ohioans.

          I’m an anti-tribalist, however, and think we need to have ‘human’ as our primary identity well before we identify as ‘American’ or “Reformed baptist church of god, reformation of 1915!-ian”.

          Maybe that’s a better explanation for owning this guy despite his actions seemly being a personality problem rather than atheistically driven. It’s just a nicer way to be and focuses on problem solving instead of finger pointing.

          • islandbrewer

            It’s just a nicer way to be and focuses on problem solving instead of finger pointing.

            I just wanted to repeat that.

      • spiral115

        The only thing I know of in general about this is that this guy identifies himself as a militant atheist as I do. I am never physically violent towards people unless i feel threatened and would never do anything like this. I do not own this guy as even my sub-group of atheists. He was trying to regain his faith according to the article. Obviously not the brightest bulb in the box. And as has been stated previously, we ask Christians to own thier own because they adhere to a set of beliefs that they hold in common that is often claimed to be based on love and kindness. We do not hold to ANY beliefs as a “group.” Atheists simply have their rejection of an unfounded belief as a common bond. Period. So, no, I do not own this guy and do not think any action in relation to this is warranted. Doing anything about it takes him into the fold and that is just stupid.

      • Wrong

        Atheism isn’t a movement, it’s not a group and it has nothing to do with this man’s actions. Christians, in general, all claim a similar belief and a similar belief in god, that’s why they are responsible for the actions of their fellow believers. The only thing this guy and I share are gender and a lack of belief in god. I am no more responsible for owning any action he commits than my cat is for owning any action of mine. You just wrote out one long false equivalency.

        • DavidMHart

          The atheist movement is a movement, and someone who calls themself a ‘militant’ atheist may well consider themself to be part of that movement (though how you square calling yourself a militant atheist with going to church in an attempt to ‘regain [his] faith in God’ is deep puzzle).

    • C.L. Honeycutt

      Unfortunately, it matters because perception matters. Things like this are used as propaganda against atheists, and ignoring it means that only the attackers get a voice. That his being an atheist was a factoid in the article means that some will seize on it. The best way to fight back is by proving them wrong, not by being quiet when maligned (which relates to the abuser/victim angle, actually.)

  • Kallizm

    He sounds like a militant alcoholic…

  • bob

    Well said

  • C Peterson

    He’s an atheist looking to return to some kind of religious belief, so he is mentally ill. That’s a given.

    However, the important point is that there’s not the slightest indication that his atheism had anything to do with the crime. It’s not clear how atheism could ever be responsible for a crime, but certainly it isn’t here. However, it is the nature of the news media to make these kinds of false associations when the perpetrator isn’t Christian. So we have people identified as atheist, Muslim, etc even when it has no bearing on the story.

  • Compuholic

    I’m certainly not defending his actions. But if somebody even implicitly suggested that I would hit my girlfriend I would get extremely angry as well. To me that is amoung the worst accusations/insults possible.

    • Artor

      My ex has a blackbelt in Aikido. She often sported fingerprint bruises on her arms from people grabbing her and throwing her across the mat. In public, I would get dirty looks because people assumed I left the bruises from domestic abuse. Hah! She could tie me in a knot & throw me through a wall if she wanted, my extra 75 lbs notwithstanding. Mostly we would snicker at the misplaced assumptions, but if I was a violent person, I might get violent at that suggestion. And I’d be in the wrong.

      • Compuholic

        I can only laugh off insults that don’t affect me. If somebody calls me an asshole: Who cares? But I’m taking domestic abuse claims way too seriously to simply laugh them off.

        And if somebody suggest that I might be involved in domestic abuse they better have some real good reasons to make this accusation. If people would see bruises on my girlfriend I could at least understand why they would make such a suggestion.

    • Ewan

      Well quite, but when someone’s suggesting that you might be violent, punching them isn’t likely to be a terribly effective counter argument.

      • Compuholic

        If he actually had an argument (aka good reasons/evidence why that might be the case) I have no problems with that. But somebody accusing you for no good reason is not looking for an argument.

        Obviously I don’t know what exactly happened in this case. And since he already had a violent history the accusation probably wasn’t completely unfounded.

        But I reject the notion that you have to take anything somebody throws at you. Of course that doesn’t give you the right to severly injure somebody: And hitting somebody in the face while he is down certainly crosses the line.

        • Gus

          No. Words don’t justify violence, ever, period.

          • Compuholic

            Words don’t justify violence, ever, period

            I never justified his actions. I only said I understand them.

            No

            What exactly do you disagree with:
            1. That somebody who accuses you for no good reason is not looking for an argument?
            2. Or that you don’t have to take anything that somebody throws at you?

            And would you please be so kind to actually provide reasons for your judgement?

            • Gus

              If “not taking” means violence, and you’ve not suggested that it means anything else and given the context in which you’ve mentioned it I’m inclined to think it does, then that is what I’m referring to.

              If not taking it means arguing back or walking away, then that’s fine, but if not taking it means physical violence, as it so often is intended, then my No, you do have to take whatever words anyone throws at you.

          • Glasofruix

            Tell that to the bully who went to me with words of “give me your lunch money”, then i stapled him to the table by his teeth and i’ve never been bullied again, good times.

            • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

              Still doesn’t justify violence.

  • Ben

    “It doesn’t matter what the pastor said; Maxie did something indefensible and awful, no matter how he felt afterwards.” In the context of this story no, but in a greater sense it should. If he actually said what Moxie said (I know pastors DO say things like this though), an authority figure threatening torture in hell shouldn’t be tolerated by our society. This kind of psychological abuse is only gets a pass because it is done in the name of religion.

  • spiral115

    No need to respond to this one individual. If I get mad and beat up someone who makes frozen yogurt because I am a militant ice cream lover should all ice cream lovers respond? Nah. Isolated incident. Most atheists I know are relatively mild mannered and this “one bad apple’ does not spoil the whole bunch. If asked just say look, it’s one dude. Now if this starts happening on a weekly basis then yes, respond.

  • Iron Hat

    He can define himself any way he pleases. Violence isn’t a tenet of the militant atheist philosophy. What he did was not an act of militant atheism but the act of a violent and depraved imbecile.

    • DavidMHart

      Violence isn’t a tenet of the militant atheist philosophy.

      … which is ironic, given that in any other context, ‘militant’ means using violence in support of your ideology. We should probably try to avoid using the phrase; replace it with something like ‘passionate atheist’ or similar.

      • Iron Hat

        The term militant can refer to the use of violence but it doesn’t have to. If you look up the word you get these listed first in definitions.

        1. combative and aggressive in support of a political or social
        cause, and typically favoring extreme, violent, or confrontational
        methods.

        1. having or showing a desire or willingness to use strong, extreme, and sometimes forceful methods to achieve something.

        1.vigorously active and aggressive, especially in support of a cause:

        Of course Wikipedia’s definition is this: “Militant is usually used to describe a person engaged in aggressive verbal or physical combat (e.g. an activist, revolutionary, terrorist or insurgent).” So while physical means is secondarily attributed to the term militant, even in Wikipedia’s definition, the first descriptor is verbal. Despite this, I do concede that when using the word, most people visualize violence.

  • Kolitha Upendra Kuruppu

    I don’t see why atheists should feel bad about this. Atheists are not a community following some set of common “rules”, unlike
    religious people who discriminate and harm others according to what
    their religious books say.

    An atheist committing a crime out of his own
    volition and a religious person committing a crime because his religious
    book said he should. It’s just like how, for example, if a Christian
    hits someone for some reason other than religious belief, other
    Christians shouldn’t feel bad about that, since that has nothing to do
    with his belief.

    • RowanVT

      We may not be a cohesive whole… but we fall under the same label so others will treat us like a cohesive whole. And there is a good chance that religion played a part in why he attacked a pastor. Therefore, because we are already the *least trusted* minority in the country, we need to be vocal in condemning, or we will be further condemned.

    • Kevin Kirkpatrick

      Oops, replied to the wrong thread, moving to correct thread, sorry!

  • Arrakis

    I am an atheist and this kind of behaviour disturbs me very much. This guy obviously has issues with violence to something as terrible as this and to assault a paster even though the paster said some very wrong things to him. That still does not warrant that kind of reaction and behaviour. Shocking.

  • GubbaBumpkin

    Lots of odd news stories coming out of Ohio recently.

    Spongebob Squarepants gravestone ordered removed from Ohio cemetery

    • Gus

      We’re like the Florida of the Midwest.

  • Thomas Lawson

    We’ve all heard that atheists make up one of the tiniest fractions of the prison system. Well, here’s an example of that statistic.

  • Paula M Marshall

    He’s no doubt one of those “atheists” who’s like that to be hateful. He’s already full of hate, obviously, so this is one more way of telling the world to f— off. It’s just an arrow in his quiver.

  • Rene Belloq 12 inch figure

    so what, believing all atheist are saints is a grave mistake. There are atheist of every size and shape. Violent atheists, abusive atheists. He’ll form part of the 0.02% of atheist in prison. That is all. Whatever.

  • Philip Benson

    He said that he attended church to regain his relationship with god, he is not an Atheist. Atheist do not believe that there is a god to regain a relationship with.

    • RowanVT

      But most atheists would also agree because there is no evidence yet provided. If a god appeared to me and had a chat… I’d no longer be an atheist because there would be my proof.

      His statement could be… a lie. Or a sign that he was scared to face life on his own feet. Or any number of potential meetings. But we do NOT get to play the “no true atheist” game. It makes us look stupid.

      • ufo42

        If a god appeared to you and had a chat… you would be experiencing an hallucination and if you acted violently on the basis of that, you would be diagnosed as mentally ill. I think the point is that this crime was due to Maxie’s mental illness which had previously manifested in violent behavior, not due to his self-proclaimed “militant atheist” status. “Militant Atheists” at their worst post vitriolic comments on forums like this or wear “offensive” T-shirts where believers can see us. We don’t beat people up.

  • WallofSleep

    My first instinct is wall-to-wall counseling, but it’s highly unlikely that would achieve anything positive. Denouncing the prick is the only peaceful option I can think of.

    • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

      ‘counselling’ is not a cure all that can be thrown at every single problem to magically make it go away. But, this man’s behavior is learned, and we can learn alternatives. I don’t know what his prognosis is, but I could see myself acting in a similar fashion 30 years ago. In the interim, I learned other ways of dealing with frustrating situations.

  • Steve

    Atheism has nothing to do with this. “Militant Atheist” is illogical. As a humanitarian, we should offer them both help.

    • joey_in_NC

      “Militant Atheist” is illogical.

      Care to explain why this is “illogical”?

      • Steve

        It is illogical to assign a positive action (militant) to a lack of belief (atheism). I think “atheism” is too big of an umbrella term, and a more concise one to use in this case would be anti-theist.

        • joey_in_NC

          It is illogical to assign a positive action (militant) to a lack of belief (atheism).

          It would only be illogical if the positive action and lack of belief are mutually exclusive, but they’re obviously not.

          • Steve

            I don’t want to argue about logic with you, my point is that there is already a word for this: Antitheism. Using these slang terms “militant atheism”, “new atheism”, etc. is lazy, and giving atheists a bad image, which is already extremely bad.

  • McAtheist

    During my life I have seen as many ‘militant atheists’ as I have unicorns. This man is mentally ill, I doubt he has the capacity to understand what an atheist (or a theist is).
    But if the US media is going to start defining lawbreakers by their beliefs we are going to have a lot of interesting headlines anytime violence is involved.
    Bank robbed by militant christian
    Drunk driving fatality caused by militant christian
    Militant christian arrested for rape
    Militant Amish arrested for crimes of tonsory
    Militant Mormons arrested for domestic violence
    etc…………………………..

  • Daizan Turner

    If the fact that this person is an atheist were unknown, there would be no discussion of this assault. It should not be assumed that atheists, as a community, are expected to denounce this individual and his actions any more than Christians are expected to respond to every crime committed by one who professes faith in Christ.

    It is more important to respond as humans rather than as whatever box of ideas we identify ourselves with.

    • baal

      Interesting. As a human with expectations of humans, I expect folks to respond when someone of their identification does a bad act.

      • Eric Z Fox

        interesting baal, have you apologised for your namesakes baby sacrifices?

        • baal

          No, but if there is a modern group of folks who actually sacrifice babies and do it for a supernatural entity with my name, I’ll condemn them and change my name.

          And for the record, Ba’al means master/lord/boss. It doesn’t always refer to the slanderous representations of the caananites done in the bible.

          • Eric Z Fox

            i know man i was just being a RICHARD sorry this whole hatred towards us is getting to me. http://digitaljournal.com/article/315425

            • baal

              I’m less than happy that some christians and strutting and crowing that they were right all along. They don’t have the evidence and this one case is particularly weak. As annoying as it is, it really underlines just how terrible and detached from reality their complaints are. If they had a better leg to stand on, they would.

  • Toastilius

    And, now this is going to be all over the web, giving atheists a bad name.

  • ufo42

    Maxie obviously has serious mental health issues. He was “trying to regain his faith”. Not much of an atheist, obviously still in thrall to the god delusion, and equally obviously, unhinged. How should we react? Restrain him and call the cops. The guy needs to be in a padded room. No, wait, both USA and Canada have in recent decades adopted a new policy for treating mental illness: Turn them out on the street to fend for themselves, and lock them up and throw away the key if they hurt anyone. This is just another sad example of how well that is working for all of us.

    • Sandrilene

      Obviously?
      You do know that mentally ill people are more likely to be the victim of violent crime then to commit violent crime?
      Some people are just violent scumbags without the excuse of being mentally ill.
      Being religous does not mean someone is mentally ill. Mentally ill is not synonomous with seeing delusions. Mental health problems such as depression, bipolar disorder, panic attacks and obsessive compulsive disorder do not involve violence and can be experienced by religous people and atheists alike.

  • John Gills

    Hemant,

    Let us know how we can help.

  • http://youtu.be/fCNvZqpa-7Q Kevin_Of_Bangor

    And here is the comment I’ve been waiting for. When this story hits The Blaze the majority of the comments will read like the one below.

    Posted by RufusTFirefly: Oh now DDN opens up the comments on a story where an atheist shows his true colors. This is typical behavior from an atheist. They have no tolerance for religion but yet the religious have to tolerate their beliefs.

    Found my favorite from The Blaze: (CapnCrumbles32) Militant Muslim, Militant Atheist….same thing, Godless, violent, demon posessed animals

    And I cannot let this one go:(TheGrtDcptn) The TRUE face of militant atheists, assault, cruelty to animals…and a sex offender.

    …pure filth…

    • Gus

      Do you dump your computer in a bucket of bleach after visitin the Blaze? There are some sites I just won’t go to, no matter what. ;-)

      • http://youtu.be/fCNvZqpa-7Q Kevin_Of_Bangor

        I enjoy self abuse it seems.

  • Blacksheep

    Crazy and abusive can show up in people regardless of what their belief system is.

  • Ashley Nasello

    Maxie is an atheist like a child-molesting priest is a Christian. There are bad people of all religions, ages, genders, races, nationalities, etc out there. Maxie is a bad person or a person who did/does bad things who just happens to also be an atheist.

    • http://youtu.be/fCNvZqpa-7Q Kevin_Of_Bangor

      An atheist who was trying to find god again.

  • NitaLynn

    I believe that the pastor did say that the girlfriend was going to hell for dating him, because I have had the same thing happen to myself and my Daughter. Once I went to Church with a friend because she didn’t want to go by herself, well the Pastor refused to shake my hand and told her I was going to hell because I was an Atheist. I don’t see way the guy got so mad, Atheists don’t believe in Heaven or Hell… Telling a real Atheist to go to hell is like telling them to go to Neverland, Wonderland, or Narnia, it just don’t work the some way it does when you tell a christian to go to hell……

    • Heather Davis

      The pastor didn’t tell Maxie that he was going to hell, he told the girlfriend SHE was going to hell. Since she does believe, it’s a horrible thing to say. Just think about it.
      If anyone told my religious friends that they’re going to hell for interacting with me, I’ll certainly be upset on their behalf.

  • vulpix

    This is an excellent response to this article:

    http://greenatheist.wordpress.com/2013/10/23/thefriendlyatheist/

    • Anathema

      That’s not much of a response to this article at all. Hemant never said that Maxie’s violent behavior was caused or motivated by his atheism, yet the post that you linked to is primarily focused on attacking him for doing that.

      It might be an excellent response to whatever imaginary version of the article exists in the author’s head, but it’s not an excellent response to the version of this article that exists in reality.

  • Jerry McVicker

    Yeah, and Catholic priests fuck little boys. We’ll leave it at that….

  • mavwen

    So often we ask the religious community to police itself; why should we treat ourselves any differently or give ourselves a pass? Unless this is where we learn that asking the religious to police their own is a flawed request? (you could play the mind experiment of – insert any demographic into the sentence and see if it rings true to you …. demographic ______ should police itself i.e., them atheists, them religious folk, them black people, them white people, them gays, etc etc etc.)….

    didn’t the community recently have some discussion about logical fallacy of “the true christian” etc.? oh he’s not a “true christian”. i think it’s the opposing argument to what i stated above that says, if you distance yourself from the problems in your community, you enable them by your own lack of action, or some such. so perhaps, the nuance required in the argument is around which definition and limitation of community you mean….. anyhow.

    In either case, knowing the prejudice that we face every day, when this happens it just makes sense to publicly denounce it. And, if we truly don’t attach our charity to like-mindedness and require that it only applies to the atheist community, to reach out and help the victims (the pastor and the girlfriend). And to use this opportunity to educate the public.

    Why not help the atheist? Personally, I don’t think that violent criminals can be reformed. Studies with abusers indicate lack of regret and I’ve just seen too many stories of repeat offenders. But maybe someone else can show me statistics that will kindle some faith in that part of humanity. If they could be bred out of existence I’d consider it.

    • Glasofruix

      So often we ask the religious community to police itself; why should we
      treat ourselves any differently or give ourselves a pass?

      Because we do not pretend to hold the absolute truth or being the apex of morality, there are no “atheist rules” to follow. Besides, the guy did not hit the pastor in the name of atheism, correct me if i’m wrong.

    • KelpieLass

      I would feel more responsibility if this really had anything to do with atheism. Maxie is a violent, abusive person and that has nothing to do with atheism. From what I can tell, it is only from his facebook page that atheism even came up.

  • Guest

    I do not condone violence, but this is what happens when you stick your
    nose in others business. The pastor was being an asshole and got what he
    deserved. That is what I got out of the story. If people got their ass
    kicked when they are being rude, the world would become a much more
    respectful place to live. Also, where is the “turn the other cheek” response from the pastor? He could have showed his ability to love like Jesus did by declining to press charges.

    • M.S.

      “I do not condone violence, but (big long schpeel condoning this act of violence)”

    • DVMstudent

      This has to be one of the most absurd and idiotic things I’ve read today.

    • KelpieLass

      The pastor reached out to a potential victim of domestic violence. What he did was right, proper and humane.

      • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

        Asking someone if they are a victim of abuse, in front of the person you suspect of being their abuser is a really bad move. If he was concerned, there are other ways he could have handled it that wouldn’t put her in further danger.

        If he really had reason to worry, aside from the guy being an atheist, then he needs to learn how to work with spousal abuse cases.

        • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

          The point is, he did more than most people would have done, and tried to help.

          • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

            Granted, but it makes me more suspicious of his real motives.

  • Mike Zysman

    Events only make the news if they are anomalies: rare events that deviate from what is standard in everyday life. Atheists should be proud that this was reported, since it serves to show how out of the ordinary it is. We don’t see articles headlined: “Theist robs convenience store” or “Christian accused of child molestation” because they are (unfortunately) relatively common occurrences.

  • Urbane_Gorilla

    Never heard of a ‘militant atheist’ till now. What do they do? Run around the brush in camo gear and plot to destroy churches? Anyway, I’d like to point out that he has a beard and blue eyes… A better description would be “Jesus look-alike viciously attacks pastor.”

    • http://youtu.be/fCNvZqpa-7Q Kevin_Of_Bangor

      • Urbane_Gorilla

        Cute. ;-)

    • Jordan

      It’s an extremely stupid misnomer. Has nothing to do with violence. The designation is generally given to someone who is interested in getting rid of religion all together (generally through education and polite discourse).

      • Urbane_Gorilla

        Go figure. It’s new to me.

  • coupdeglace

    I don’t see the need to have to justify or defend someone, or feel some sort of shame because he just so happens to share one tiny thing in common with me, namely the lack of a belief in a deity. When I was a catholic, I was a member of a far larger community of people, which included many more whose actions were reprehensible, and that didn’t somehow make me feel like their actions reflected on me

    As Christopher Hitchens always said so brilliantly, human beings are yet another species of mammal. Accordingly, they can commit some incredibly stupid acts.

    I myself am not a violent or hateful person, and neither are the people with whom I choose to associate, regardless of whatever belief system they choose to adhere to. I’m actually a little tired of these stories of some lone atheist doing something stupid being news, like we in the atheist community are somehow supposed to be able to keep reins on every non believer on the planet lest they make us all look bad.

    I think it’s noteworthy when you have whole groups of people that commit awful acts. You hear often of angry religious mobs of people, you don’t often hear of angry atheist mobs.

  • MNb

    +1.

  • Matt D

    There’s no mystery here, the aggressor has a violent, checkered past and responded like a thug when challenged by someone he was already in the mood to argue with. The fact that he’s a self proclaimed “militant atheist” is irrelevant, as his propensity for violence exists regardless of his religious outlook.

    • Jordan

      Just the news taking advantage for ratings and site clicks.

  • Thief

    If you ask my girlfriend if I’m abusing her, there’s a good chance my response will be violent, and maybe even physical. Depends on the overall context, on my mood, and some other rather chaotic variables. But if there is something it DOESN’T depend on, is who believes in god and who does not. I don’t think this is a story about atheism at all.

    • Gus

      If you respond to words with physical violence then you belong in jail with this creep, or at the very least in psychological treatment.

      • Thief

        Words can hurt much more than punches. Also, depending where you live, accusing an inocent person of a crime is a crime. So, we both would go to jail, but I would be purified by the blood in my hands.

        • Gus

          I would be purified by the blood in my hands.

          There is something seriously wrong with you. Please get help.

          • Thief

            We just have a cultural difference, kind sir. But, thanks.

            • Gus

              A cultural difference that results in a violent act against another person for their words is not one that society can absorb, accept, or condone.

              But I don’t think it’s cultural at all. I think it’s individual and juvenile.

            • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

              A cultural difference does not defend. You still need help, even if it’s for your cultural difference.

    • Jordan

      Wouldn’t it be easier to laugh and let your girlfriend say “No, and why the hell are you asking you twit?” Instead you would act out violently?

      • Thief

        Would be much harder. Taking the high road is the hard path, not the easy. The easiest thing is to let the rage flow free. Now, what is correct, is another story.

        • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

          Letting the rage flow free does not solve the problem. It makes you feel better in the short term, but it does not solve the real problem which is the other person’s view of atheists. In fact, you’d have made the problem worse for all other atheists.

      • McAtheist

        Or ask him a question and watch his reaction:
        for example, “Pastor, while we are on the subject of violence, I was wondering, when did you stop molesting the children in your church”?

      • Glasofruix

        My girfriend uses tools to beat up people.

    • Anathema

      Yeah, because reacting violently is totally the best way to convince someone that you aren’t abusive.

      • Georgina

        it works for the religion of [rest in] peace.

  • coupdeglace

    And I don’t know, I don’t wish to come across the wrong way here, because I detest violence in general and I certainly feel bad for the pastor who was attacked… Yet I don’t agree with this idea that some “atheist spokespeople” having to apologize or offer financial assistance to the pastor like this guy acted on behalf of some monolithic atheist organization whose actions speak for all atheists everywhere.

    This idea of atheism being some real form of identity is a bit ridiculous anyway. We all share in common a disbelief in gods. Yet that’s the extent of the common thread. I suppose it’s more of a rallying cause here in the US because atheism is still a minority, but the truth is there are hundreds of millions of atheists worldwide, and I’m not going to start apologizing or feeling like I need to rectify their wrongs anytime some crazed loon who just so happens to not be religious does something wrong.

    The intention is somewhat in the right place, but I must admit it made me roll my eyes a bit. I’m sure the pastor knows his legal recourse and depending on how forgiving he wants to be or not as a human being, could very well sue this guy to make sure he’s compensated for the assault and battery.

    • Anathema

      We know that we aren’t obligated to help Hayes. But so what? Offering to help him is still a nice thing to do.

      We know that we don’t need to apologize for Maxie’s actions. And I don’t think that anyone has suggested that we should.

      We know that Maxie doesn’t represent us. But just because we realize this does not mean that everyone else does. We shouldn’t have to point out that Maxie doesn’t represent us. Muslims shouldn’t have point out that Islamist terrorists don’t represent them either. But if we don’t say that people like Maxie don’t represent us, then others will use that to claim that his actions are the logical consequence of atheism. If we don’t condemn his actions, others will take interpret that silence as condoning his actions. Making sure that the world knows that most of us are nothing like Maxie is simply the smart thing to do.

  • Don Gwinn

    OK, but we can all agree that he’s militant, right? :-(

  • Jim

    Am I the only person who doesn’t care about this guy? He means nothing to me and he in no way reflects anything on me. If religious folk want to attempt to make something out of this, then that’s just them being their normal, irrational selves and there’s nothing I can do, or care to do, to prevent them from doing it.

  • Jordan

    Of course we should condemn the action. But we wouldn’t be having this discussion if the news hadn’t inserted his atheism into the story to get more views and clicks.

  • Ron

    Hayes requested a protection order against Maxie

    So much for the Reverend’s faith in divine protection.

    • primenumbers

      So much for turning the other cheek.

  • WingedBeast

    I only skimmed, but it seems that the pastor did the right thing. He responded to some kind of cues that suggested that Maxie might be violent towards his girlfriend, asked a question to that regard, and got a violent reaction.
    -
    What should we do? Condemn Maxie and, at least in this particular case, say that it seems that Hayes looks like he did right.
    -
    From a purely functional POV, asking right in front of Maxie might not have been the right thing to do, not in that it might provoke violence from Maxie onto the asker (in this case, Hayes) but because it might provoke later violence upon the victim of suspected abuse and because, in public, there is a tendency of abuse victims to protect the abusers.
    -
    But, hey, given responding and not responding, I’m glad someone’s instinct was to respond. Yes, Maxie is “one of us” in that he is an atheist. I feel no need to protect him for that reason, though. I just admit that being an atheist doesn’t make you a better person. So, I don’t need to defend him, I just need to focus on attacking the part that needs to be attacked, the violent asshole part.

    • KelpieLass

      I agree with most of your post. Only as an atheist, I prefer to claim the pastor who stuck his neck out to help a victim of abuse “as one of us” – humans who respond with humanity to a person in danger.

  • Dave The Sandman

    The answer to the accusation that he did what he did because he is an atheist is simple:

    So if James Maxie attacking a pastor means all atheists are potentially violent criminals, that means all Evangelical Christians are potentially murderers and terrorists, as they are the ones who blow up and burn down abortion clinics and shoot the clinic staff in the carparks, premises and even the staff members own churches. Sound fair, or do you want to rethink that accusation and slur?

  • Jordan Scott Carter

    So you glaze over the important fact that this man has a violent criminal history and a propensity towards physical attacks and that a man was verbally harassing him in a public setting. No it was because the man is an athiest attempting to reconcile himself with god that upsets you. Fearmongering is going to get your religion nowhere. Make an appealing case where nonbelievers would want to join you instead of making them a scapegoat for your apocalyptic fantasies.

  • Silent Service

    Rather scary. This Maxie lives about 15 miles from me.

  • Catherine Lugg

    Competency hearing, anyone?

  • riddles

    I’m not seeing how he is a militant atheist. When the article references it uses his words, “I’m proud to be an atheist” as evidence.

    You wouldn’t call someone a militant Christian for saying they are proud to be a Christian.

    The whole militant atheist thing not only seems like a huge exaggeration based on the information we are given but it also seems to be completely irrelevant to the incident itself. He beat up the pastor because he didn’t like what he was saying about him, religion didn’t appear to be brought up at all anywhere in the conversation.

    At best the headline should be “Man beats up man who asked his girlfriend if he was violent towards her”. Not the best written but it doesn’t contain any information that doesn’t have any importance to the story.

    • riddles

      That I don’t deny, they use it whenever an atheist merely speaks out and doesn’t hold back yet they do this every day.

    • Georgina

      The same vile Christian apologists who claim that their are “no atheists in foxholes”.
      Ignorance of the meaning of the word militant is no excuse.

    • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

      FYI, I have never met an intelligent, thinking atheist;

      Ah, remedial trolling. Well, it is a step up from yelling ‘neckbeard’ in every other comment.

      • 3lemenope

        FYI, intelligent, thinking people know there is a God, and even if they didn’t they would not be stupid enough to bet there isn’t taking a chance there is not a God. The odds are overwhelmingly against there not being a God.

        BWAHAHAHAHAHA! [gasp] HAAA!

        Whew.

        OK, got that under control.

        I am sure the solid logic of that escapes you…

        BWAHAHA!!!

        —————————-

        Are you trying to claim that you are an intelligent, thinking atheist?

        I think the claim is less about what Rich Wilson may or may not be and more about you, clearly, not being well-situated to judge what you have judged.

        • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

          Gee, telling people on an open forum to butt out… that’s about as effective as prayer!

          Hey, why don’t you do some real good and go pray for us all. Take as much time as you want.

          • 3lemenope

            Homonym mistakes can make even rude dismissals accidentally hilarious.

          • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

            Ahem, “you’re”. And right back at ya! :-)

        • 3lemenope

          Imagine what you wish.

          OK.

          I don’t care.

          Also, don’t think of elephants.

          Please stop butting in, however, and allow the person to whom I directed my comment to answer for himself, or herself when that is the case.

          Nothing either I or anyone else did prevents the addressee of your comment from replying. If you don’t want to get sniped at, don’t post in a public forum.

          Your rudeness and arrogance are on full display here…

          Your whole post’s “argument” was that your conclusion was obviously correct, and its obvious obviousness should be obvious to everyone (and that’s pretty arrogant). You have even insinuated elsewhere that to fail to recognize the obviousness of its truth is indication that a person should seek professional help (and that’s rude).

          and your half-vast opinion means nothing to me, nor do you when it comes right down to it.

          DON’T THINK OF ELEPHANTS!

          You post as if you are a lost soul seeking help.

          I post as a person absolutely gobsmacked by the lack of self-awareness your posts represent.

          • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

            I’ll say this:

            You lack civility and decency, and imagine I (or others) care a whit about your half-vast opinions. I do not.

            You are boring as well as rude, arrogant, and ignorant going to stupid the way you post.

            That’s a pretty accurate description of everything he’s posted so far.

            I wonder if he’s going to threaten us next.

            • C.L. Honeycutt

              Wonder no further, Enemy of the State or something.

          • 3lemenope

            I am now through.

            [...]

            Does that come with a prize?

            You do not, repeat do not tell me what to do.

            Why not? It’s not like my suggestions can compel you to act or refrain from acting. That would require you to internalize even a small amount of the criticism you’ve received, which you’ve demonstrated amply you are incapable of doing or unwilling to do.

            Young’un.

            [EDIT: And since I clearly can't teach you anything, you should certainly un-follow me on Disqus. I have no desire to pick up a digital barnacle.]

      • tsara

        Huh. I never thought I’d actually see Pascal’s Wager in the wild.

        • tsara

          Really? I’d have thought that I’d see less just minding my own business. And I should probably point out that you are in a public forum; anybody who wanders by can see what you say and respond to it.
          I’ll grant you useless and wasteful (of my time, mostly), but I promise that no smart-mouthedness was intended with my comment, just a genuine ‘huh. Fancy that.’-type-sentiment.

          • tsara

            Actually, I’ve been perfectly civil to you; you have not been polite to me.
            Your unasked for advice is rude (and unwittingly ironic). Your hostility to everyone who has commented to you is flat out weird; I think your conception of what ‘good manners’ are might not be calibrated for the internet.

            Still, I will not be responding further to you, and I ask that you unfollow me, please and thank you.

            • 3lemenope

              If you don’t want to be followed, go completely away or use the blocking option.

              Tsara was here first, and there is no blocking option.

              I will follow you for as long as I please since that is an option provided by site management for my convenience and that of others.You have no right to inconvenience me in any way, shape, form or fashion.

              Stalkers are generally cowardly scum, so no surprises there. Tsara (and I, and a few others) have requested that you not follow our Disqus profiles, since you contribute nothing of value to any conversation you enter. And while you may find in your personal life that belittling people and trying to be the arbiter of all things and pulling the old veteran card works at cowing people, out here on the Internet you’re just some asshole, whose attempts to intimidate and command respect consequently fall flat.

            • Andy_Schueler

              I do not value your opinion and judgments at all and find them also rude since you are no doubt much my junior and have never been taught respect for your elders or superiors.

              Respect has to be earned. And your childish rants will not exactly help you in earning the respect of anyone. Grow the fuck up and start educating yourself instead of lecturing others with your preconceived ideas.

              • Andy_Schueler

                1. Hubris will never earn you respect from anyone. If you were under the false impression that anyone ever had even a modicum of respect for you, you mistook pity for respect.
                2. You are in desperate need of education because your ignorance is breathtaking. You can´t spell properly, you are too clueless to understand Pascal´s wager and you apparently don´t even know what a dictionary is because else, you would have looked up words and phrases you don´t know – like “preconception”.

                Here´s how it works:
                “pre·con·cep·tion
                noun
                : an idea or opinion that someone has before learning about or experiencing something directly”
                - you´re welcome.

                For future reference, you might want to consult one of the many free online dictionaries instead of embarrassing yourself again like this.
                3. Take your own adivce and try listening, reading and learning – you desperately need it buddy.

                • C.L. Honeycutt

                  Sorry, Angrums, but you did all of those things. And now it’s page captured, so don’t bother trying to hide it after you calm down (or come down, whichever) later.

                  Stomping your foot and declaring you’re ignoring someone after coming to insult them is a sign of cowardice. So much for service.

                  Christ must be so proud of your rageful, hypocritical words to complete strangers, and your implied threat of violence in the second paragraph there.

                  Consider manning up enough to admit that your claim to “ignore” people is a cover for your fear that you are going to be banned shortly, since you’ve been caught and documented as a troll and a stalker *online photo click sound*

                • Andy_Schueler

                  1. Oh, you are positively craving for respect, that´s why you can´t stop boasting about your alleged skills and accomplishments.
                  2. Re “I never claimed Pascal’s wager or even mentioned it.”
                  - See, that´s what I meant by your glaring lack of education. Let me give you a clue here. What you said 12 hours ago:

                  FYI, intelligent, thinking people know there is a God, and even if they didn’t they would not be stupid enough to bet there isn’t taking a chance there is not a God.

                  => this is Pascal´s wager you ignorant clown.
                  3. Re “Your posts show signs of your being one who assumes without a shred of justification for doing so that you are superior”
                  - “Projection”. Look it up.

        • C.L. Honeycutt

          Jesus, what a nasty little uninformed hypocrite you are. Do you praise God with that mouth?

      • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

        Not much point in debating someone who actually thinks Pascal’s wager is a good argument.

    • 3lemenope

      So it is obvious who is lying, a liar and stalking whom, also making the threats, following, harassing and behaving like a stupid jerk.

      Yes. Yes, it is.

  • Offendaye

    I don’t think the issue is about being an atheist or a pastor – it is about a man who has anger and violence issues. I know men who claim to believe in God who are abusive and men who do not believe in God who are the most non-violent people ever. In other words the issue is about a violent nature, not a belief system.

  • Dan Weeks

    Being an atheist does not cure one of being an asshole. It’s deplorable that he’d go to a church at all, and then lie about it, claiming to be “looking to restore his faith.” He was clearly looking for a fight, and going about it in the most inappropriate way.

    Atheism is an intellectual ideology. There IS a war going on, but it’s a war of ideas, a war of intelligence. And that is precisely the arena in which the fighting should remain. We can’t ‘out-violence’ the religions of the world. It is logistically and historically impossible.

  • C.L. Honeycutt

    I think that from now on, whenever someone calls me a “militant atheist”, I’m going to point out that Jesus flipped tables, vandalized property, and screamed at people. If I’m militant, what would that make him?

    Come to think of it, I note that this guy’s behavior was more similar to Jesus’s than to mine…

  • A3Kr0n

    I’m pretty sure Rev. Hayes will want to forgive Maxie, and offer him assistance with his anger.

  • Suzanne

    Thanks for the story. This man needs to be as vigorously prosecuted as anyone else, regardless of faith (or lack thereof), and quite clearly both men will need assistance and counseling. I very much support the idea of helping the pastor, and I too am an atheist.

  • Kasper James

    Was this before or after the headline of religious persons abusing children or laundering money?

    • Georgina

      Just what I was going to ask. Not an excuse, but shouldn’t one look into the behaviour of the priest too?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000620677204 Stephanie Barnhart

    Does anyone know if there has been a fundraiser set up for the victim?

  • The Bajeezus

    This may be nothing, but something smells fishy. How many atheists self-describe as “militant”? That really isn’t our word, it is recognized by the vast majority of us as pejorative. The guy was unbalanced, so MAYBE he adopted it for himself. It just feels so unlikely.

    • Matt D

      I confess I’ve seen a few people claim to be “militant atheists”, but that consisted of being rude and condescending to trolls and theists who step into their sightline (like this blog for example). Certainly nothing that indicates violence towards Christians (or any repressive religion) is part of the label.

      • The Bajeezus

        OK, I suppose that follows, but then if he was so militant, why was he trying to rediscover his faith? Something doesn’t add up for me, but it is probably just my problem, because no one else seems to be questioning it.

  • FlyingFree333

    The reverend was a loud mouthed bigot, he got a beatdown from a guy with anger issues, it happens, none of it has anything to do with the faith or lack of faith of either party.

  • FlyingFree333

    What happened was equivalent to a southern preacher telling a white woman she is going to hell for dating a ‘nigger’ and that black man beating the shit out of the pastor for being a racist piece of shit, many people would be applauding the black guy for standing up to a raving racist, but being bigoted against atheists is acceptable so everyone is bitching about how ‘shocking’ this is because nobody thinks what the bigoted shitstain pastor said was any big deal. Yes violence is wrong, yes Maxie overreacted and clearly has anger and violence issues, but his actions were not random nor was what he did a hate crime, he felt persecuted, attacked and victimized by an authority figure and he lashed out, it wasn’t premeditated and it wasn’t unprovoked. Most of us can identify with the frustration Maxie obviously felt, the difference is we have self control, Maxie clearly doesn’t.

    • C.L. Honeycutt

      Both are cases of bigotry, but NO, being told you’re going to Hell for being an atheist is absolutely nothing like being called a nigger. The two are ridiculously far apart in terms of emotional harm and oppressiveness for all but those for whom religion triggers depression and fear, thanks to abusive upbringings.

    • http://www.skeptimusprime.com/ Dylan Walker (Skeptimus Prime)

      Both things are bigotry, but I would personally never applaud anyone violently attacking someone unless it was in self defense.

      Further, the man’s attacking the preacher gives credence to the preachers concern that the man might have been harming his girlfriend. We assume that the preacher said this because he was speaking to an atheist and thus was reacting from a place of bigotry, when he may have felt concern for the woman’s safety because he thought the man was violent.

    • KelpieLass

      No, it is not equivalent. The pastor (based on this article) didn’t say “you’re going to hell for dating an atheist” he said “Are you in danger from this person?” Big difference. He wasn’t condemning the guy, he was reaching out to protect the girl. And based on Maxie’s history, domestic violence is not a stretch.

      This situation was about protecting a victim of domestic violence and had nothing to do with religious belief.

  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

    Sounds to me like this guy is nothing more than a run-of-the-mill abuser, and didn’t like that the pastor was questioning “his woman”.

  • rg57

    Since this guy is claiming to represent us, those of us who do not favor violence need to respond.

    Maybe he’s atheist (he seems more like an inactive Christian… it’s too easy to lie, and atheists don’t try “to regain my faith in God”). But to my knowledge there are no “militant atheists” even as a concept, much less a group. He appears to represent, at most, himself.

    I am curious what happened in his life to trigger such hostility. Maybe it’s innate. But would anyone be surprised if there was a reason? Then again, it appears mental illness is playing a large role in his life.

  • Dave

    Given that Atheists make up less than 1% of the prison population you could say that 99% of the assaults committed that day were by religious people. Extrapolating that you could also say that 79 christians beat some one up on that day. Then 64% of those victims would have been other christians.
    So if you are a pastor then you are 64 times more likely to be assaulted by a christian than an atheist.
    How unlucky he was.

  • HollowGolem

    Leave it to the Western Journalism Center to claim, in their headline, that the pastor was “nearly beat to death.”

    The really conservative and batty news outlets are already running pretty far with this bit of news, and “atheist” is prominent. I don’t know if there’s anything we -can- do at this point, as far as our public image goes.

    Confirmation bias means we remember the hits and forget the misses, and for those who believe that atheists are dangerous, amoral psychopaths, this counts as a hit. There aren’t enough ethical, nonviolent atheists to make the memory of this go away for those people.

    Though for this pastor, I do feel sympathy, and as someone who’s suffered pretty unwarranted violence myself, I’d be interested in being able to personally offer my condolences and, if it makes him feel any better, my prayers. I can’t seem to find any contact info for the poor guy, though. The internet is awash with articles about this beating, and nothing about the church or its staff.

  • James Robbins

    It seems we have this one incident, and we address it accordingly, while Christians must face the horrible actions of their own on a daily basis, which they always claim “No True Christian Falacy” or better yet ignore it altogether.

  • Jean

    I agree that what he did is inexcusable. But what he did he didn’t do as a result of his atheism. Rather just because he is prone to violent behavior. We should publicly make a statement that we do not condone his behavior.

    It should also be made clear that this is not an attacked caused by atheism, unlike a lot of crimes and indignities that are rationalized by Religion.

    • KelpieLass

      Well said

  • Tom

    Correlation does not equal causation. From the article, this has little if anything to do with his belief. What apparently happened was that the pastor insinuated that he was abusing his girlfriend. If that happened to you and it wouldn’t make you angry, you’re not a human. Beating him was an over-reaction, sure, but honestly, I can relate. Most of us would’ve probably gone for a verbal response, but given that preachers are extremely well trained in verbal argument, that could easily lead to more escalation.

    The pastors says, he was looking for an argument. But seriously, asking the girl if he is abusing her WHILE HE IS PRESENT and knows that she views him as an authority figure is just as offensive. And as he already considered him to be aggressive, is dumb and provocative, too.

    I’m trying to avoid using the words “he was asking for it”, but the pastors behaviour is damn close.

    • KelpieLass

      I absolutely disagree. The pastor saw something that made him fear for the girldfriend’s safety. The pastor cared about the girl, and communicated to her that he cared about her safety, and indirectly that there was a safe place to go. It is very possible that an abuser would not have given the girlfriend a chance to be alone with the pastor or anyone else.

      What the pastor did was humane, decent and caring, how I would hope any human would act.

      Normal people do not respond with violence. Most people in that situation would ask themselves “what is this person seeing” and look inward. Only another abuser would object to a pastor or anyone else providing a safe haven to a possible victim.

  • Jerry

    Ok, so from the “outside” looking in (if i may). I understand the act of being an atheist is not a religion. I understand the conflict of this action not being motivated by an atheist but a criminal. However, enemy of my enemy? That sounds as wrong as the actions perpetrated by this guy. If you saw a person in a life and death situation and knew them to be christian would you not stop to help? What about basic HUMAN compassion? if you want this not to fall on the atheist community, rise above the labels and fog of war by showing compassion for a VICTIM from the actions of a man related to your cause. You know if a religious zealot, assaulted an atheist and it got this kind of coverage, The “church” they belonged to would issue some sort of appology deflecting the blame from the church, and back to this individual. We cannot allow Zealots to define our organizations or us as people. Every cause has them, we know this because it makes great news to deflect from the real news…. Just sayin

    • KelpieLass

      If a militant blue jean wearer beat someone up, should I apologize because I too wear blue jeans?

      I think it is good that some atheists are reaching out to the pastor out of compassion, but atheism is not a group you join any more than wearing jeans is a group.

      For me, atheism means I don’t accept supernatural explanations for natural processes. Period. That’s it. For example, There is no supernatural force that moves a tornado this way or that to protect the people hiding in a closet rather than the kids hiding in a school. Tornados are caused by natural processes, which can be studied and understood.

      But I may or may not have much in common with anyone else who identifies as an atheist, including the definition of what it means.

      • 3lemenope

        Are you asking that question because you are truly interested in a dialogue on the answer, or are you asking it because you want to rack up points with your particular ancient tribal war/fertility deity?

        • 3lemenope

          So, option B. Got it.

        • C.L. Honeycutt

          Your behavior is unworthy of Christ. I pity you and those who have to be around such malignance.

          • Baby_Raptor

            Why do you think a person needs to know a metric Fuckton of apologetics to call out bullshit when they hear it? Do you really think that knowing a lot of possible translations of a book makes you special? Or are you just butthurt because you got called out for doing something your god wouldn’t like?

            ‘Cause, I mean…Jesus told his followers to love people. And all that insulting you’re doing? All that self-superiority and bragging? That ain’t love.

            Also? You might wish to take a look at who Jesus hung out with. It wasn’t the “proper” people of society. It was the people that society would “put on the trash heap of people unworthy of their attention.”

            • C.L. Honeycutt

              I wish you knew Jesus so that you’d understand what you have to fix about yourself if you ever wish to have hope of seeing Heaven.

              • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                If you are able to read with comprehension at all you can start with the many passages in the Bible warning you against judging others

                Oh god, that one was actually pretty funny!

                • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                  Someone said also it is better to be thought a fool by being silent rather than opening your mouth and removing all doubt

                  You’re just the gift that keeps on giving.

              • C.L. Honeycutt

                Thank you for admitting that your pretend-ignores are just that, merely pretend.

                Please go buy that Bible as I suggested and get to know the Lord, and what He really thinks of hypocrites like yourself before that beam in your eye becomes the eternal death of you.

                You are dismissed, whinebaby.

                • 3lemenope

                  Nah. I think I’m gonna start calling you “RonMar the Lukewarm”. Because I just get that sense from you. You have the feel of something that Jesus might gag on and spit out.

                • C.L. Honeycutt

                  http://static.tumblr.com/rfhifik/VL6lcrp2q/fezheadertumblr.jpg

                  I said good day! You are dismissed, Angrums. Make sure to whine about it Lucifer when you get down there.

                • C.L. Honeycutt

                  http://www.kjv-truth-ministries.org/?p=1127

                  They called it. Sadly, you’re possessed. Lucifer can’t manage an entire herd of pigs anymore. I dismiss you, as Jesus did the Deceiver, but with far less effort required, naturally. Get thee behind me, and Good Day!

                • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

                • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

                  I think she’s trying to say she likes cats. And her online avatar is a cat as well. If you’re trying to be insulting, you’re failing pretty hard (see above meme, actually).

                • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

                  Oh look another mistake. I’m quite sure you don’t give a shit what I or anyone else here thinks. You’ve provided more than enough evidence already.

                  If you aren’t trying to be insulting, why call them pussy photos (quite clearly a gendered insult/pun thing, especially given the context), call her childish, and just generally be mean? Obviously the explanation “RonMar is trying to hurt wmdkitty’s feelings” is … the totally correct one, really.

                  And with that, I really am going to complete this flounce.

                • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

                  My name has meaning to me, thank you. And if you’d bother to pay attention, you’d have caught on to the fact that you fail. You fail so hard you make dehydrated water look like a hit product.

                  I’m sure the orderly will be by soon with your meds, Gramps.

                • C.L. Honeycutt

                  I would expect a servant of Lucifer such as yourself to project. It’s merely one of your thousands of deceptions. It fails, though, as will all your evil works when His Kingdom is come.

                • C.L. Honeycutt

                  As noted in my DISQUS profile, I have far greater authority than you in these matters. You barely even qualify as laity when addressing me, and are best served by approaching with the humility that Satan will not afford you. You should thank God that I consider all to be my brothers and sisters, else you wouldn’t even be allowed to speak here and be judged for your vile words.

                  Your dismissal is not temporal, but spiritual. The Deceiver is in with your soul, and it is he that is rebuked and impotent here.

                • 3lemenope

                  Thing is, C.L.’s claims are about as plausible as yours. And given that most of C.L.’s claims are outright absurd (of the ‘not even wrong’ variety), where do you suppose that leaves yours?

                • 3lemenope

                  True grit. And don’t you forget it!

                • Cake

                  Are you afraid someone might see that you typed the word “shit”? Will you get in trouble? Oh, I get it you’re a kid.

                  Whoops, I’m sorry. I didn’t want to put down a little kid. That would explain the puffed up sense of yourself and your inability to understand what people are saying to you. Your assistant professorship must have been the time when daddy let you help grade papers with the red pen?

                  Good for you.

                • Cake

                  Go away coward.

                • Cake

                  LOL, I’ts ok little kid. You can stop pretending now. I’m sure dada has more papers for you to grade. If you ask nicely maybe he’ll let you put gold stars on the really good ones.

                • baal

                  Objective reality exists is a lie and false assumption? How do you get dressed each day?

                • baal

                  Are you really this bad at reading comprehension or are you being deliberately obtuse?

                • baal

                  Mental health professionals do not do snap diagnosis on the intertubes and the word “insanity” is a legal conclusion. Mental health professionals do not use it.

                  You’re a troll troll troll.

                • baal

                  Good. good! Now tell me I have a neck beard.

                • baal

                  I assumed the question is rhetorical as you failed to list the qualifications needed to validly spew “half-vast opinions” (what are these?). I’m sorry you find not answering non-answerable questions to be unadult. Also, you keep saying goodbye and yet here you are. As JOP would say, I don’t think you can quit me. That’s a dare, I dare you and double dog dare you on all you find holy with your god to not get the last word in. (You can do that by not replying. K, thx, gby.

            • Baby_Raptor

              I’m mentally ill because I disagree with you? That’s hilarious. Thanks for starting my day out with a good laugh.

              I don’t need you to explain anything about Jesus to me, you condescending Fucktard. You have no idea who I am or what I believe. I haven’t actually told you. And despite the psychic powers you clearly think you posses, you can’t tell everything about someone from running a few words they wrote at you through your persecution filter.

              And, no. I tried being nice. Look what it got me. You called me mentally ill, talked down at me and insulted me. You won’t be getting anymore nice out of me. You can take your supposed knowledge and show it up your ass.

              Oh, and I note that you didn’t actually answer any of my points/questions. You just moved the goalposts and made yourself feel superior more. Typical fundamentalist. Here are a couple hard facts for you: 1) Disagreeing with you does not make someone “mentally ill.” Or “wrong,” for that matter. 2) There is no “facts and real history” behind Jesus. There’s not even any proof he ever existed. The fact that you’re super-convinced otherwise because of faith does not mean differently.

              When you can actually converse with people without resorting to insults and shitting all over the place, come back. I’d be happy to debate with you, and you might learn something. Right now, your head is too far up your ass.

              Edit: Lastly, I wasn’t telling you stuff I assumed you did not know. I was, in good faith, reminding you of stuff that I figured maybe you forgot because you felt attacked. I see now that I was wrong.

              • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

                Dude.

          • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

            Those are all really easy, RonMar.

            They are myths. A careful reading of all the stories tells me they’re ancient myths with about as much relevance to today’s world as the myths about Zeus, Odin, Tlaloc, Izanami and Izanagi, Krishna, and Coyote. That is to say- none at all that people don’t invest in them, and it should really be none at all.

            • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

              RonMar’s sole purpose for being here is to bully people. That’s it. He feels justified in bullying because he has a persecution complex. He thinks Christians are under attack, so he thinks that by poking atheists, he’s being a ‘Warrior for Christ’. It’s worth standing up to bullies for the benefit of the bullied. In this case, he’s a loner, and none of us really give a shit. Responding to him only inflates his sense of warrioring for christ.

              • 3lemenope

                Responding to him only inflates his sense of warrioring for christ.

                Yeah, but driving some bitter malefactor to become an unintentionally comedic self-parody can be fun and heartwarming!

                • C.L. Honeycutt

                  It’s like a Christmas special! God Bless us, every one!

                • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

                  The sheer irony of some of his statements!

              • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

                • 3lemenope

                  Won’t write “half-assed”. Seems to get thrill from writing “pussy”.

                  Hmm.

            • C.L. Honeycutt

              Hush your mouth ’bout Coyote there! Actually, don’t. He works better when people aren’t looking.

              • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

                Much respect for Coyote and other Tricksters, man. I don’t mess around with them for a damn good reason…

            • Andy_Schueler
            • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

              Test complete. Thank you for participating in the “Is RonMar really neckbeard guy?” analytical exam. Test results: positive. Goodbye!

              • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

            • TiltedHorizon

              Myth: a traditional story, esp. one concerning the early history of a people or explaining some natural or social phenomenon, and typically involving supernatural beings or events.

              A myth is a myth based on how well it fits the definition.

              • TiltedHorizon

                Woo Hoo! Then I’ll be able to copy from the Bible and call myself an adult, just like you do.

                • TiltedHorizon

                  “Excellent. Good for you. You can copy from a dictionary. You still have a long way to go though before you are able to engage in adult conversation on serious matters.”

                  In claiming me ‘incapable’ you then become the arbiter of what, or who, qualifies as ‘adult’, ispo facto you are claiming to be the ‘adult’.

                  All of this is moot however as your post is an attempt to derail from the reality of your faith being so completely described, and subsequently diminished, by a single word; MYTH.

                • TiltedHorizon

                  LOL. What you ascribe as ‘logic’ is the automatic inference born of your previous statement; i.e. in judging one as lacking one becomes the judge’, hence ‘exhibitor’ of whatever quality is lacked in the accused. The only ‘evidence’ is your talent for being willfully obtuse and needlessly abrasive. You do your myth proud.

                  Edit:
                  Sorry. That should be “Myth” with a capital ‘M’ else I’d be insensitive of your delusions.

                • TiltedHorizon

                  Feel free to educate me then on where I went wrong. Clearly my failure should be easily illuminated. The inference here being that I assume you capable of something other than disparagement. Surprise me.

                • TiltedHorizon

                  Seems your post lacks something; an explanation of where I went wrong. I asked for substance and you provide absence. No surprise. You continue do your Myth proud.

                • 3lemenope

                  You get a point for actually trying to answer the question, rather than just sputtering indignantly.

                  One point.

                  For the rest….

                  1. If that’s proof of Jesus, it is also proof of Krishna, Odin, Zeus, and all the other gods that people have assigned credit to for the physical universe existing. Of course, it is far more parsimonious to not assume magical invisible beings are pulling strings, especially when there exists perfectly comprehensible explanations that account very well for available evidence and don’t resort to unnecessarily multiplied entities

                  2. Debunked assigned reading

                  3. Debunked assigned reading

                  4. Which prophecies in particular?

                  As a matter of fact my work with you is done. Thank you for inviting me to conclude it and to shake your dust off my feet and move on as Jesus told His disciples to do when He sent them out while He was on earth, God incarnate.

                  That point you earned at the beginning? You just lost it.

                • 3lemenope

                  Don’t forget to add “coward” to your profile, stalker. It fits right in between your military service and your assistant professorship.

                • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

                  But green is such a pretty colour…

                • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

                  What is that? It looks cool.

                • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

                  trichomes on a pot plant.

                • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

                  Very cool indeed. And that link is going to get me on another FBI watchlist, I just know it lol :)

                • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

                  Pfft, everyone’s on some kind of FBI watchlist — we’ve all made… dubious… searches.

                • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

                  Oh yeah. I can’t imagine why searches as varied as “abortion providers killed”, “marijuana addiction OR death rates”, and “child molester recidivism rates” would get me on anyone’s lists.

                • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

                  Looks like someone needs to smoke a few joints and chill out…

                • 3lemenope

                  It’s a handy marker. There are definitely folks who could just do with a bit of easing off, while others are beyond help.

                  For example:

                  Bill O’Reilly. Could use a joint before interviews.
                  Sean Hannity. Beyond help.

                • TiltedHorizon

                  Kitty, Ronald is already ‘chilled’, as in completely cold, and emotionally dead. No one likes him, even his fellow Christians think he is a callous unchristian bully.

                • 3lemenope

                  You are aware that green is a metaphor for envy, that people indulging the emotion don’t spontaneously grow chloroplasts, right?

                  Right?

                • 3lemenope

                  It is Shabat where I am today, another great day to witness Jesus as the Christ to Muslims and others here.

                  You bother people on their day of rest?! What kind of inconsiderate asshole are you?

                • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

                  Well, he god-bothers people at all. That pretty much makes him an inconsiderate asshole already.

                • 3lemenope

                  True, but screwing with people on their religion’s day of rest is just reaching for the stars. Like, some poor guy is trying to go to temple, but he can’t because some inconsiderate ass wants to talk to him about a very specific Jew from a long time ago that everyone has already heard of.

                  The layers of irony in that I fear to unpack.

                • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

                  You have to ask?

                • 3lemenope

                  Nah. I just wanna.

                • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

                  Fair enough

                • 3lemenope

                  All of you have to excuse me.

                  You have to run away now? Yes, we understand.

                  Can’t speak for anyone excusing you, though.

                • 3lemenope

                  From your behavior here I would surmise that you were a load on your unit, that one guy who thinks he’s hot shit and everyone else has to pick up slack for and carry water for his ego (and duck when his idiocy places them in harm’s way). Since you claim to be an officer, I’m going with Permanent 2nd Lieutenant Syndrome.

                  At least as plausible as you being a billy-badass true blue hero.

                  Of course, I wouldn’t claim to be a hero, because even if I were one it’s not very heroic to be a prick about it, but more because I think that such a title is earned and conferred by others. Nobody here knows you, except for the generally clear fact that you are just some asshole on the Internet. So, your “heroism” here is and probably will remain unrecognized. And of course then you claim to be engaging in something today that most of us would consider anti-social, narcissistic, and vain, so that doesn’t win you any hero points either.

                  Oh, and nobody believes you’re a college professor. You can’t even sort out homonyms or read text for content. I had a colorful academic career, but at the end of it at least I had come to possess life skills like the proper use and function of English diction and grammar, so that I can now communicate my thoughts in actual sentences.

                • 3lemenope

                  You actually imagine I care one whit about your half-vast, so wrong opinions based on your false assumptions and lies you tell yourself first.

                  There few things quite so pathetic as a person, above the age of twelve or so, who goes around screaming at the top of their lungs that they don’t care what anyone thinks.

                  Protip: Nobody believes you don’t care when you act as though you do.

                • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

                  Excuse me, but it’s “half-assed”, not “half-vast”.

                  Tell me again how you’re oh-so-educated…

                • Fred

                  That’s spelled “edumacated”,

                • TiltedHorizon

                  You forgot to mention that you started the Big Bang thus giving birth to reality, that you have been GQ’s Man of the Year every year, and that you have won the Nobel prize for inventing Kindness.

                • C.L. Honeycutt

                  Don’t forget to stick the flounce, coward.

                  Your assigned reading tonight is Matthew, 7:1-5.

                • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

                  Here’s a handy link to help him along.

                • C.L. Honeycutt

                  Your elitism is un-American and anti-Christian. I’m sorry that you have only contempt for Jesus and hate for Biblical writings.

                • C.L. Honeycutt

                  It’s unsurprising that someone as filled with the serpent as yourself would be so vain as to obsess over the idea of mirrors, Mr. Marlar. Sitting all weekend in idle, irrelevant retirement, going senile, stroking your gun (so to speak)… it’s really no wonder that you gave him such a huge opening in the form of the gaping hole in your heart where you carved out Jesus.

                  If only you weren’t such a vain egotist as to believe that your opinions matter beside such authority as I’ve earned on Biblical matters, you might start down the path to true wisdom and be as a child again, as you were seventy years ago before your heart hardened with avarice and envy of the knowledge you weren’t willing to work for.

                • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                  The reason RonMar has to hide his profile is that the closest he’s ever come to service is stealing his grandfather’s medals so he can show them off to his friends.

                  That’s why he dances around my charity challenge. He doesn’t have a credit card to donate with.

          • C.L. Honeycutt

            Your arrogance and hate are unworthy of Christ. If you didn’t know this, you wouldn’t be so desperate to attack strangers to cover up your own failings.

            It’s very sad that you don’t know the Bible well enough to understand how it condemns the arrogant, the self-righteous, and the hypocritical, or else you’d see those qualities in yourself and try to correct them, rather than use them as weapons. You are quite the viper in your congregation’s midst, driving others away from Christianity with your venomous false Gospel.

          • Andy_Schueler

            Jesus the Christ-Messiah-Savior

            Hint: Christ, Messiah and Savior all mean the exact same thing – you look like an idiot if you use all three at once.

            Any waffling, quibbling, dodging, weaving, bobbing, lying will be detected immediately

            :-D

            and you will be ignored, put on the trash heap of people unworthy of my attention as a minister of the Lord

            Coming from a random barely literate internet troll, that sure sounds like a threat! Grow up punk.

            • Andy_Schueler

              Goodbye to you too! Tell Jesus the Christ-Messiah-Savior I said Hello-Hola-Hallo.

      • Cake

        We are all born atheists.
        You have to be taught/brainwashed about mythology like Zeus, Thor, and the christian god.

        • Cake

          Me. I didn’t know what god was until a friend asked me to come to AWANA with them. It was all about playing group activity games and then came the bible study. They told me about Jesus and God, and I said they were just stories. Stories just like Zeus and Hercules, people back then believed they were true. Whats the difference between them and us? No, they said, these stories are true. After 3 months I still couldn’t see the difference. Even now I can’t believe that people believe in mythology.

          We are born atheists,

          • Cake

            What? Oh I see, personal testimony is only acceptable when it’s agreeing with your silly beliefs.

            Anyway, what do missionaries do except teach people about a god they’ve never heard of.

            Failed? Not hardly. Next time try saying, “NaNaNA I can’t hear you (with fingers stuck in ears)” It will be more honest of you.

            • Cake

              It must be hard for you to remember what you say from one post to another. So let me remind you.

              “What happened or did not happen in your life to make you an unbeliever in God or to imagine that you are?”

              You’re the one who started making stupid assertions.
              So, “You can try again, of course, to prove your assertion. I know the
              arguments you can make and am disappointed you don’t seem to know them
              since it is your assertion after all.”

  • KelpieLass

    I don’t see how this has anything to do with the fact that the guy was an atheist. You could as easily group this creep in with bearded men or blue jean wearers. He has a violent past, continues to be violent, and beat up someone who tried to protect one of his victims.

    • FTP_LTR

      Exactly. This.

      A man with a violent past turned violent when someone questioned him on his violent tendencies.

      With hindsight, it was possibly naive of the preacher to raise the subject in this manner, especially in front of Maxie – not that that in any tiny way excuses Maxie’s behaviour, nor is it intended to stray into victim blaming.

  • Foxhole Atheist

    I think we should react as we react to any criminal/thug – prosecute him for his transgression(s). Atheists come in many flavours (like other groups), and some are criminals. I don’t think this is a ‘community’ issue – I wouldn’t expect or require or desire a Christian response to a Christian committing a criminal act. Many violent acts are committed on a daily basis and this is not a ‘special’ case and we should not treat it as such. As i am writing this, some woman is likely being physically or sexually abused. Why should we reach out to this pastor and not the next woman that gets brutalized? Because the perpetrator is an athiest? Why not galvanize the community to combat violence aganist women as this is much more widespread than atheists beating up pastors.

  • KelpieLass

    What culture war against Christians? I expect any person to be able to practice what ever religion they choose or none at all. I expect people to be treated with kindness and respect regardless of whether they practice this religion, that one or none at all. I want my children to be able to go to a school funded by tax dollars without praying to someone else’s God.

    A violent person beat up someone who reached out to one of the victims of his violence. This has nothing to do with either Christianity or Atheism.

    • C.L. Honeycutt

      What nasty trash you are. If only you knew Jesus.

      • C.L. Honeycutt

        Read your Bible. Excuse me, I’m sorry. I meant, go buy a Bible and read it. In a few years, you might be closer to understanding.

        • 3lemenope

          How do you know how C.L. lives C.L.’s life? You wouldn’t be peeping, now, would you?

          • C.L. Honeycutt

            He must not have seen my new profile, or he wouldn’t argue.
            (<—click here)

            • 3lemenope

              And here I’m stuck on my brain screaming “…but a parsec is a unit of distance. Distance!!!”

              Sometimes my brain really needs to shut up.

              • C.L. Honeycutt

                *checks off box on list* Trolling successful. Now to become invulnerable, then grocery shopping.

        • C.L. Honeycutt

          You learned Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek in the Air Force? Lol.

          I’ll eat a bug if you can even describe what Aramaic is without looking. Or I would, if you hadn’t already been dismissed.

          • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

            *sigh*

          • C.L. Honeycutt

            Well, I suppose it’s possible that one of those is your native language, since your English grammatical skills are so lacking that you’d never have made it through any of the training you claim to possess. Your narcissism and delusions of grandeur lead us closer to your true educational level, which from the look of things appears to be that of a feral child raised with Chuck E. Cheese robots as surrogate family, while bored, experimenting priests snickered from behind one-way mirrors and played ’50s “learn a foreign language” records over the speakers.

            People on mission don’t have all the free time you do. You’re in Miami, Florida.

            Your rage over being dismissed demonstrates your narcissism. I’d explain what that is, but you are, after all, dismissed. Put on your robe and slippers and shuffle along down to the breakfast line, now.

            I notice you failed to describe what Aramaic is.

            Loser.

            • C.L. Honeycutt

              Angrums, it’s unsurprising that you don’t know the difference between grammatical skill and being a professional critic.

              You must have missed my qualifications under my DISQUS profile. They vastly exceed yours, and they’re only the ones I’m doing right this second while I also cook and have sex with Elle Macpherson and George Michael simultaneously and in the year 1990.

              I just noticed where you’ve also called yourself an archaeologist. We named the DOG ‘RonMar’!

              Psst! Israel is seven hours ahead of the Eastern United States. The timing of your posts disproves your claim. Try again.

              http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5hfYJsQAhl0
              Everyone EXCEPT RonMar is allowed to click this link. I give him no more chances. He is dismissed.

  • John Secular Smith

    It is assault, but doesn’t appear to be a hate crime from the comments available. Charge him with assault, and throw him in jail if/when found guilty. If more evidence shows up making it a hate crime, add more years to his sentence.

    Simple.

  • Analog Kid

    Look at him. He’s clearly mentally ill. With his criminal activity laden past, the point of him being an Atheist is COMPLETELY POINTLESS. It’s like saying, “oh…I see he was Scandinavian.” Again, pointless labeling that says nothing about the situation.

  • Beep3rocks

    Correlation does not equal causation. Obvious psychiatric issues and militant atheism being correlated with this one guy does not justify this article even existing. What we can do to help is to offer low or no cost options/resources for those in need of psychiatric care which are unaffiliated with any religion so that atheists have a place where they feel safe to seek care before something like this happens. However, that being said, most people who need psychiatric care the most do not get put into the system, as it were, until they have committed a crime. I think that supporting each other in the community is the best thing we can do for each other, so that when the atheist community sees possible evidence of an abusive relationship, we can get the proper authorities involved to prevent negative PR. Build relationships with our fellow atheists, reach out and offer a safe place to be so we don’t have to hide ourselves all the time! Also, this: http://www.seculartherapy.org/

  • Edward_II

    I am an atheist, and I find Maxie’s actions as described in this article contemptuous, and an affront to not only atheism, but to human decency in general.

    I am glad the preacher’s injuries were limited, and I hope he has a full and speedy recovery.

  • http://BreakingTheFreeWillIllusion.com/ ‘Trick Slattery

    No doubt this will be used against atheists, regardless of the fact that this guy was mentally unstable in the first place. In fact, I’m sure people will even blame his instability on the fact that he was an “atheist”. The fact of the matter, however, is that he’s obviously a dangerous man no matter what he believes or lacks a belief in. He’s the product of the genetics and environment throughout his lifetime. And though we can’t blame him for the dangerous product he is (No Free Will), it’s still a product we need to protect others from.

    You are absolutely right in trying to show others that “Maxie is an anomaly”. Of course logically there is no reason to associate his atheism with his violent tendencies, but it isn’t logic that most people who take issue with atheism are using. :-)

    Take care,
    ‘Trick

  • Sean

    In my opinion the pastor was being a dink. Does that warrant a facial rearrangement? No. The statement “Maxie said Hayes said his girlfriend was is “going to hell for dating me.”” is enough to get a person without a violent past pretty upset. The pastor foolishly put himself in a situisation which could have easily been foreseen and got what he asked for. Maxie will very likely be prosecuted, yet again and Hayes got beat up. If it wasn’t between an atheist and a pastor, no one (distant from the situation) would think twice or flinch about it. I won’t do so now. In my opinion, Haynes was reckless and were it me, I wouldn’t pay his medical bills. Call me what you will.

    • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

      Victim-blaming.

      • Sean

        Hardly. Maxie was allegedly disruptive and confrontational all through the service, Hayes had reason to suspect he was violent towards his girlfriend. That’s not the kind of person who it is wise to provoke. It’s not Hayes’ fault that he got beat up in any sense, but he was not careful or wise. Pointing that out isn’t blaming him.

      • TychaBrahe

        I think in this case I will victim-blame.

        What sort of a moron asks a person who might be in a violent relationship if the relationship is in fact violent IN FRONT OF THE PERSON WHOM IT IS FEARED MIGHT BE VIOLENT?

        Even if you don’t then have some violent person attacking you as a result, can you possibly get anything other than a negative answer? Will someone being abused by their partner admit that in front of the partner? Is it reasonable to suppose that the abusive person is going to abuse the victim at some point in the future for somehow making the questioner suspicious?

        • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

          NOPE. Still wrong.

        • 3lemenope

          What sort of a moron asks a person who might be in a violent relationship if the relationship is in fact violent IN FRONT OF THE PERSON WHOM IT IS FEARED MIGHT BE VIOLENT?

          The sort that is willing to get punched in the nose to publicly and irrevocably prove that an abusive guy is in fact abusive.

          And given his level of aggression, it may be worth it to get socked in the nose in order to interpose oneself between his fist and someone else’s nose. If she was in immediate danger, drawing him away from his primary target by provoking him can be prudent (even if it ends up personally sucking).

          • TychaBrahe

            That’s probably the best excuse for what otherwise looks like abject stupidity that I’ve heard. It rather reminds me of the Carver Middleton character in Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes.

            The problem, though, if Maxie maintains control, it doesn’t work. And it puts the girlfriend in such a precarious position.

        • KelpieLass

          What sort of a moron asks a person who might be in a violent relationship if the relationship is in fact violent IN FRONT OF THE PERSON WHOM IT IS FEARED MIGHT BE VIOLENT?

          Hmm.. How about a person who cares about the safety of another human being?

          • TychaBrahe

            If you care about the safety of another human being, you pull the person aside under some pretext and ask them where the presumably violent person can’t overhear. Because …

            1. If the person is being abused, you aren’t going to get an honest answer in front of the abuser,

            2. If the person is being abused, you have quite possibly created a situation where the person will be further abused for having created the situation where the abuse is suspected, and

            3. You’ve just made yourself a target for an abusive person.

            Ask a doctor, a nurse, a social worker, a cop if they would ask that question in front of the hypothetical abuser. I challenge you to find ONE person who would.

            • KelpieLass

              Of course, we all live in a perfect world ….

    • cyngus

      When a pastor says “You will go to hell” to a crowd, the pastor is mad.
      if the pastor says “You will go to hell”, to a person, it is equivalent with an insult.
      Sure, it is still wrong to use physical violence against verbal violence, but it was a quarrel between a guy whose job is pastor and who could do better than to insult.

      • Sean

        Agreed. If someone said that to my girlfriend, I’d be furious. I’m not a violent person and I don’t believe in hell, but it’s very much below a pastor’s station to say something like that.

  • WhatWouldAngelinaDo

    Violence is the ultimate FAIL, and should be a tool of last resort and desperation. Hope they both get help.

  • cyngus

    When Christians killed innocent people in their religious wars, the motive was clear: “In the name of God”.
    What exactly made the pastor to say that he was attacked in the name of atheism?

  • wolfcat

    That would piss me off too. Good thing I stay far away from churches and
    idiots. Both of the people in this case were ignorant as fudge. I wash
    my hands clean of this mess. It’s annoying how one atheist commits a
    crime in the U.S. and suddenly a post about atheism on his page makes it
    all about that. Christians make up a disproportionate amount of inmates
    compared to their overall population. No one’s taking note of the fact
    that he went out of his way to attend church with his girlfriend and was
    insulted for his efforts. Makes it clearer than ever that christians
    don’t want them there.

  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

  • C.L. Honeycutt

    Make sure to slink off pissily, just like Jesus would have. Such a fine job of anti-Witnessing you are doing.

    • C.L. Honeycutt
      • C.L. Honeycutt

        I apologize and will try to treat you with more sensitivity in the future. I did not mean to imply that you could figure out how to click on a link.

        • 3lemenope

          [spit take]

          Well played.

        • 3lemenope

          It’s OK to admit when you don’t know something.

          • 3lemenope

            I promise. It really is OK. You aren’t expected to know all the things.

          • C.L. Honeycutt

            Please switch your browser back to English.

  • MrReason75

    How should we react to this? This act was the actions of an ignorant man. Ignorance breeds fear, fear breeds hate, hate breeds this condemnable act. He used our movement to do what he would have committed without the claim of ‘Atheist’. The difference is unlike christians we won’t turn the other cheek for him. I say that all people, of all beliefs and ideals call him out for the coward he is, and shame him for all societies shake. As to why the preacher ask such a question in that instance, we’ll never know. Maybe a glance or unspoken gesture from the young women, a silent plea for help of some type. The preacher, maybe even a father saw before him his own daughter who he felt the need to protect. We’ll never know, but too any mentally stable person, as this punk is not. This would not have escalated to such an extreme. He’s a disgrace to society, his family, and our beliefs and ideals. My family would like to offer a small cash donation to the preacher and his family. For whatever needs they may have in this time of hardships. We don’t have much, but the preacher is a fellow human in need. Our best and recover soon.

    MrReason75

  • http://www.hisnameistimmy.com Tim in SF

    “In a statement Maxie wrote to police, he said he was “trying to regain my faith in God,” and went to hear Hayes’ sermon.”

    Doesn’t sound like an atheist to me, militant or otherwise.

    Try again.

  • 3lemenope

    Swing and miss.

    • 3lemenope

      Well, when you address me, for example, as a “liberal” or a “progressive”, you’ve already failed.

      • 3lemenope

        What is a Lib-Prog?

        Is that some sort of Thom Yorke/Tom Morello side project? Hey, they could call it The TomThoms. It would be big!

        —————————

        To be undeservedly fair to you, I misread the beginning of the rant that starts: “Here for you liberals…”. I did not realize, since you don’t know how to use dashes or other punctuation properly–never mind rhetorical signposting–that you actually intended a whole crazy expansive list of groups targeted for your message that would eventually include “also unbelievers in the God of Christians or any god, atheists, agnostics, whiners, complainers, critics and attackers – the hurt, angry, frustrated and lost losers”.

        So it’s not so much that you called me personally a liberal, it’s more that you seemed to initially assume everyone who thinks you’re an idiot must hold a particular political attitude–hence “you liberals”–and your deranged list of expanded targets was intended to distract from the fact that your initial assumption regarding your interlocutors was not only wrong but embarrassingly so.

        • 3lemenope

          I serve only one Master

          Yeah, we know. Your ego. We can’t hear enough about it.

        • 3lemenope

          I was clearly making fun of your terminology. I know what (you think) a “Lib-prog” is, though that title comes pre-stuffed with straw. When you use the demented lingo of the conspiracist fringe, don’t expect to be treated as anything other than a whackaloon.

          I need not be a paid writing professional to recognize that you’re pretty bad at it. To put it another way, I certainly wouldn’t pay money to read anything written at your displayed level of skill.

          I sure would like to meet you in person. I would absolutely delight in taking you to the Middle East with me.

          While I would be delighted to go to many places, including the Middle East, I don’t think I would want to go with you, what with your chronic inability to show even the barest of capacity to interact peacefully with other human beings. I’m pretty sure walking around with you would be a prime risk factor for getting shot. Unlike what you seem to think, this does not reflect positively on you.

          • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

            I wouldn’t mind going to the Middle East to actually help people out, not just harass them with proselytizing.

            Speaking of helping people out, there’s a fund set up for the victim in this very story. How about we put our money where our mouths are RonMar- I’ve already kicked in, but I’ll be happy to match you up to $50.

            http://www.gofundme.com/pastornormfund

          • 3lemenope

            “I need not ….” you say; in other words you have no qualifications and are too cowardly to admit it.

            Huh? You have such difficulties with implication, metaphor, and metonymy, it’s a wonder you understand anything communicated to you. My comment pretty clearly implied two things:

            1. I am not a professional writer

            2. I reject your assessment of the prerequisites necessary to legitimately determine that you are, in fact, really bad at writing

            Your being with me would be a great danger for you.

            And atop everything else you’re bad at, tour guide is added to the list. Tour guides who get their charges shot are bad at their jobs.

          • FTP_LTR

            To help with the pattern recognition, Ron…

            you are not bright enough” – ad hominem

            Thanks for playing

            • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

              Ad hominem arguments certainly can, and usually are, based on facts.

              If an ex felon says “2+2=5″ and I say “What would an ex felon know about math?” the argument is based on the fact that the person is an ex felon. You can make factually correct but invalid arguments.

              • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                I like how he takes the time to downvote, but not actually address the fact that he was wrong.

                And how he keeps avoiding that one comment that involves actually doing something useful.

            • FTP_LTR

              Your Disqus profile clearly shows that you are perfectly qualified to provide ad hoc assessments of a person’s mental abilities from a small, impersonal interaction.
              Do you not see the circular logic you’re applying, Ron?
              You think we’re (collectively or individually) stupid, based on the evidence that you think we’re (collectively or individually) stupid? Oh, but you’re qualified.
              Sorry. Forgot that.

              • FTP_LTR

                You’re welcome, Ron.

                When you say ‘half-vast’, what do you think you mean? It’s never a good idea to use words or phrases that you’ve never seen written down before if you don’t know how to spell them.

                • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

                • Fred

                  He’s just lonely.
                  and bored
                  and stupid
                  and laughable.

                • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                  Or you can pull out my trusty can of troll repellent. Seriously, it has never failed! When faced with the challenge of actually putting something tangible behind all their bluster, they never fail to run and hide.

                • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                  Oh, how much did you donate then?

                • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                  Oh geez are you slow. Did you read the article you’re commenting on?

                  http://www.gofundme.com/pastornormfund

                  I’ve already donated, but I’ll do so again to match you up to $50. Pay attention already, yes?

                • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                  And to get things started, I’ve ready put up an initial $10 with the message “Waiting for RonMar to match.”

                  Go check it out. http://www.gofundme.com/pastornormfund

                  So what say you? Are you going to do more than blow hot air and actually help a fellow Christian in need? Or are you going to ignore the challenge like every other troll has done in the past?

                • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                  The important question was already answered. That you fail to pay attention isn’t my fault.

                  And aside from the fact that I don’t drink or do other drugs, asking about it to avoid the question is an actual ad hominem.

                • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                  You’re all about asking (or telling) other people to do things. Not so much about doing anything yourself. Is that how you represent your god?

                • Anat

                  Because scrolling to the top of the page is so hard?

                  Topic:

                  How Should We React When a ‘Militant Atheist’ Beats Up a Pastor?

                  —————

                  Relationship to donation:

                  Last night, I left messages with a reporter who wrote a story about the
                  incident for a local newspaper as well as with Hayes’ church to see if
                  he needed help with medical bills or anything like that. I’ll let you
                  know if there’s anything we can do to show that Maxie is an anomaly and
                  that the atheist community at-large is sickened by how Rev. Hayes was
                  treated. We may have our differences, but violence will never settle the
                  issues.

  • 3lemenope

    You might want to add “lazy” and “afraid of paragraphs” to your pending “coward” and “stalker” bio corrections.

    I also was unaware that you’re a closeted Whiteheadhian. That’s funny.

    • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

      Maybe he’s frustrated because he couldn’t make it as a travel writer.

      • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

        I wasn’t talking to you boy. You’ve already been dismissed. Learn some manners and go mind your own business.

        • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

          Dismiss away. We’ll see if it’s any more effective than your please to your non-existent god :-)

          • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

            After a brief flash of funny, you’ve slipped back to the same boring assertions. You’re going to have to step it up if you want me to keep feeding you.

            • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

              god is e. e. cummings

          • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

            Prayers, dammit, prayers!

            • FTP_LTR

              Prayers, dammit, prayers!

              And that brings us back to the satanists?

          • baal

            Is AYOR the new incarnation of YHWH? I have a hard time keeping up with the various sects.

            • baal

              Are you down with the “sects”? Are you into “Sects?” Are you an “insect”? Hah, that’ll show you.

              I hear that the missionaries taught only one christian sect. They were very picky and only had one position with the lord.

              Are you even a christian RonMar? Are you a protestory type or a RCC type? In which section should we place you?

              I’d like to think we could agree on something. We may we find an intersection in our beliefs if we could take turns interrogating each other. We could use my basement and start with me in a guard’s uniform and you in a prisoner uniform but tied to a chair. You could bring a friend to play sectretary and have them take notes on the proceedings.

        • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

          Mmmm… nope. This isn’t your territory, weasel.

          • C.L. Honeycutt

            I don’t know what’s sadder, that you’re so un-American that you don’t believe in property rights, or that you’re dumb enough to claim that God created this website.

            Ooh, or that you don’t understand how dismissed you are. Shuffle along now, deariepoo. We have no room for your Satanic lies and projection here among good folk.

            • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

              Okay, can we please not lump Satanists in with this guy?

              • C.L. Honeycutt

                I suppose if I don’t capitalize “Satanic”, then it’s more clearly about the demons infecting Ron Marlar and not about Satanists. But other than that, well, they sort of chose a name that creates confusion when discussing miscreations like Ron who actively hate God and all His works.

                • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

                  Right, except Satanists tend to be decent people.

                  Ickle Ronniekins here is far from being “decent people”.

            • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

              You’re doing a nice job of fulfilling my prophecy about the one comment in this thread that you’ll ignore :-)

            • FTP_LTR

              C.L…. you made it into the Bible.

              Kudos.

              • C.L. Honeycutt

                Awww. I was hoping to make it into Ezekiel 23, though!

                • FTP_LTR

                  Holy threesomes, batman!

            • C.L. Honeycutt

              You just claimed that your great-great-great grandfather types all your comments. Argumentation must not be something they teach in Pretend Seminary.

              You also just claimed that God created atheism. Again, argumentation: not something you ever learned.

              Revelation was written as metaphor for the politics of the time. Apparently Lucifer infected you many decades ago, preventing you from learning what any Biblical scholar is aware of.

              You really should consider not trying to stand among your superiors like this. It only amuses us and enshrines your ignorance in eternity.

              • FTP_LTR

                I’ll save Ron the trouble of replying:

                Revelation was written as metaphor for the politics of the time.

                how do u noe? were u their?

                • C.L. Honeycutt

                  Sadly, that’s fewer obvious typos than are usually found in his posts (which wouldn’t be an issue if he wasn’t stupid and vain enough to claim high education.)

            • Anat

              So who created this God person of whom you speak/

          • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

            Nope. This is Hemant’s territory, and you are being disrespectful. Please leave.

          • C.L. Honeycutt

            The crybaby is following my posts now also. It’ll be so sad when he stalks me somewhere and gets himself banned from Patheos, because it gives me such a warm feeling to know how much time he spends grinding his teeth over me. :P

        • Fred

          Thanks for reminding us there are some real nutbags in the world. Isn’t there a lawn you should be yelling for kids to get off of?

          • Fred

            I get it now. You’re just lonely. Poor thing.

            Isn’t there anyone who will spend time with you?

            • Fred

              Awwwww, poor baby!

              • Fred

                Dismissed.

                • Fred

                  You’re still projecting.
                  You imagine you have “dismissed” me. LOL. If so never post to me again. When you do post to me you show I am in your head. If you know how, think about it.

      • Carmelita Spats

        Sir, I applaud you. You are the first TRUE Christian to come to this “Friendly Atheist” mission field and assert the fear-mongering authority bestowed upon thee by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who (although still a male virgin at age 33) was most certainly not a sissy since he
        gladly died in a freak accident for which no one can be blamed. Praise! Verily I say unto thee, Christendom is in shambles and we have lost to atheists on such non-essentials as reason, science and critical
        thinking. We can’t feed them holy lies about how the world works or whisper in their ears about how they are small, weak, worthless and need redemption from our Lord (who is not a sissy). Indeed, if you are to harvest atheist souls, you must model your witness after horror writer
        Stephen King. The only weapons we have left are primal fear and the regular appearance of the Holy Spirit in haunted houses during the Halloween season.

        Fear trumps reason. I always turn to the Holy Bible to find out how the ever rascal Yahweh dismembers
        and hacks to pieces His beloved children that rub Him the wrong way. One hour with your head down in the
        Word of God will leave you with a wet pair of pleated Dockers and enough nightmares to last a lifetime. Our problem is the FAKE-ass Christians that go around with
        their liberal propaganda that “God is love” so that future, inevitable, atheists in our congregations think our Lord is
        just some pansy hippy who won’t torture them for eternity in Hell. The Lord is the best at everything He does and children slicing, vomit spewing, skull crunching, blood splattering horror is no exception. Satan is a sissy compared to shifty Yahweh, who commands parents to eat the flesh of their children! (Deuteronomy 28:53).
        He strikes people dead for having pre-marital sex! (1 Corinthians 10:8). The God of the Bible even commands women who are raped in the city to be killed because
        she probably wanted it anyway or she would have yelled “NO” louder! (Deuteronomy 22:23-24).

        What you need to do is stalk, trap and kennel atheists in a dark basement and put on some bloody apocalyptic
        head masks, read some Revelation and then splatter them with body-temperature ketchup until they are screaming for God’s sweet mercy. Atheists need to understand that the true author of bloodcurdling
        horror is not Stephen King, but the Almighty God. If that doesn’t work, show them that Christians get mansions in heaven while atheists are shoved into outhouses.

  • TiltedHorizon

    “lost ones so busily attacking me as a Christian minister, called,
    equipped, ordained, working and presently on mission trip in the Middle
    East.”

    You forgot ‘knighted’, ‘sainted’, ‘risen from the dead’, and to claim yourself the 13th apostle. Seems this Myth you espouse is nothing more than a ruse, an excuse to affirm your grandiose sense of self worth. Jesus should be looking over his shoulder in fear, clearly Mr Marlar is gunning for him with the intent to usurp his seat next to god.

    • TiltedHorizon

      I’m flattered Ronald. Its nice know that your never too busy to take time away from spinning the earth on its axis to talk with the little people.

  • C.L. Honeycutt

    1,643 words. Man you’re desperate. Toddle along now honeybunny, back to your Dismissed Corner.

  • C.L. Honeycutt

    Nasty thing.

  • Cake

    TLDR

  • Max

    Sounds to me like one asshole beat up another asshole. You don’t tell a person they are going to go to hell simply because of who they are dating. The pastor was a prick and deserved to get punched in the face for saying something like that and the “militant atheist” is a prick for being a “militant” anything and not having the restraint to limit himself to an appropriate response.

  • Patrick Mc Carthy

    ‘New Atheism’ has at its core the teaching of antitheism. The endorsement of intolerance of all religion (however moderate the expression). In light of this fact
    such outbursts are to be expected.

    • C.L. Honeycutt

      Right, because people who don’t close their eyes and pray when told to, then explain why they shouldn’t have to, are “intolerant”.

      Weird how the religions whose intrinsic beliefs include deriding atheists and subjecting them to actual harm never experience anywhere near the amount of criticism leveled at New Atheism for not accepting such treatment.

      • Patrick Mc Carthy

        I’m sorry I forgot that only new atheists are capable of seeing and critiquing the wrongs of Religious Fundamentalism. I guess you have to be a fundamentalist to spot the wrongs of fundamentalism.

        Kinda takes one to know one.

      • Patrick Mc Carthy

        New Atheism is merely a Secular Fundamentalist reaction to Religious fundamentalism.

        Two wrongs don’t make a right.

  • baal

    Damn! I need to work on posting more. I didn’t get included in RonMar’s bible length thing I didn’t read.

    • TiltedHorizon

      You did not miss much, its just the endless diatribe akin to the unibomber manifesto. Nothing of great interest unless you are a forensic profiler.

  • Reginald Joiner

    This was a case of a guy being insulted and responding violently. It could have just as easily been any number of other people of various faiths responding in exactly the same manner. Since, the assault was based on feeling offended. Imagine someone saying “Have you stopped beating up your mother?” in public forum with their mother present… I can only imagine the violent response of some people…

  • Baalzie

    How You should react? Just like You do when a militant religious nut attacks anyone else ofcourse! There’s no difference, a nut is a nut, “militant” atheists are religious in their view of atheism. So they’re religious nuts just like any other religious nuts!

    And a pastor is just like any other individual, no more worth or better or worse, unless he forces his beliefs on people. Then he’s worse.

  • Rich Cook

    Honestly, my reaction as an atheist is the poor dumb pastor tried to do something both brave and stupid and got his ass beat for calling out a dangerous psychopath in public. But now at least the world knows this asshole is a violent bastard and hopefully he gets locked up. You can tell by his picture he’s not playing with a full deck. I’m sure his gf is not the brightest bulb in the pack either. Probably add the pastor too.

  • UseTheBrain

    I wonder whether the pastor actually tried to do that and was blocked. If she was being abused by Maxie, he would very likely never give her the chance to say so to anyone by leaving her alone with a stranger, especially a pastor.

    I also wonder whether Maxie really said he was an atheist and, if he did, whether he did it just to be ugly. History proves some pretty evil people have believed in god, from Mafia hit men to homophobic bullies and more.

    • UseTheBrain

      By the way, if he is a believer and claimed atheism to make atheists take heat, that’s what the military would call a “false flag operation.”

  • UseTheBrain

    One more thought: If we, as a collective “atheist community” show compassion to the pastor and the civilized attitude of taking responsibility for a black mark against our community — earned or not, righteous and appropriate or not (and emphasis on “not”) — then we set a standard with the bar so high, Christians who don’t get up and stand against Dominionists, and Muslims who don’t do the same with violent Jihadists will look very poor and weak next to us. Let’s challenge them to have the guts, by showing them how.

  • Rick

    Mr. Maxie beat up the pastor, not because he’s an Atheist, but because the pastor was questioning his character and in front of his girlfriend. There was a fight. The guy who beat up another guy (who happened to be a pastor) incidentally was an Atheist.


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