The Freedom From Religion Foundation is horrified by the multiple killings inside a Pittsburgh synagogue on Saturday.
The apprehended suspect, Robert Bowers from the Pittsburgh suburbs, reportedly drove into the city to inflict a massacre during the Saturday morning services, murdering 11 congregants because of their religion.
Bowers was armed with an AR-15-style assault rifle and at least three handguns, just a small fraction of the 21 guns registered to his name, according to Pennsylvania Rep. Mike Doyle. The New York Times has reported that Bowers also frequented “Gab, a social network that bills itself as a being dedicated to free speech and which is increasingly popular among alt-right activists and white nationalists. After opening an account on it in January, he had shared a stream of anti-Jewish slurs and conspiracy theories. ‘Jews are the children of Satan,’ read Mr. Bowers’ biography.”
No group or individual should be targeted in a hate crime because of their religion or irreligion. FFRF deplores all gun violence, which, unfortunately, occurs on a regular basis in the United States, and will continue to until a reason-based approach to meaningful regulation is adopted.
“The recent atrocity in Pittsburgh has been shocking,” says FFRF Executive Board Chair Stephen Hirtle, a resident of the city and a professor at the University of Pittsburgh. “While I have never been in that particular synagogue, I drive by it almost every day to and from work. It has obviously been tough on the community, especially since there are strong ties between the university and that neighborhood.”
The state/church watchdog’s heartfelt condolences go out to the grieving families of this terrible carnage.