FFRF: Donohue owes atheists apology for slander re: El Paso

Bill Donohue, the Catholic League’s perennial gasbag, is bloviating wildly in the wake of the recent mass shootings, blaming lack of religion for the shooting rampages:

It is not people of faith who are the most likely to go on a shooting rampage; it is those who have no religious convictions. This does not mean that simply being an agnostic or an atheist is sufficient to cause someone to become a mass murderer. That’s nonsense. But to discount the role of religion in examining the lives of young men who are socially dysfunctional is also nonsense, and this is especially true of mass murderers.

Donohue cites no study or data to back up this slander. Regardless, the claim is wrong on its face. It’s incontestable that “religious convictions” drive people to commit terrible atrocities, from the Crusades and Inquisitions of yore to 9-11 and today’s ubiquitous religious terrorism. Warmonger and terrorists, domestic or foreign, seem to assert with disturbing frequency that “God” or “Allah” is on their side.

What makes Donohue’s latest attack on nonbelievers so ironic is that the El Paso shooter — based on the information we have to date — apparently self-identifies as a “proud God-loving Christian.”

The motivation for the horrific El Paso attack, which has killed 22 individuals and left many others hospitalized, clearly was white nationalism. The shooter told us as much.

White nationalism is intimately tied to Christian nationalism. Real studies and real scholars back this up. As one researcher explained, “the more strongly you embrace Christian nationalism, the more likely you are to hold negative attitudes toward racial and religious minorities. That's consistent over time and in different surveys.”

(This is but one reason why the Freedom From Religion Foundation applauds the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty for spearheading a statement, Christians Against Christian Nationalism, that just last week was signed by more than 6,000 individuals.)

Christian nationalism is also opposed to gun control, and, according to research, “how intensely someone adheres to Christian nationalism is one of the strongest predictors of whether someone supports gun control. One’s political party, religiosity, gender, education or age doesn’t matter.”

Clearly, what doesn’t seem to matter for William Donohue is reality.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation, based in Madison, Wis., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit educational charity, is the nation's largest association of freethinkers (atheists, agnostics), and has been working since 1978 to keep religion and government separate.

FFRF is a non-profit, educational organization. All dues and donations are deductible for income-tax purposes.

FFRF has received a 4 star rating from Charity Navigator

FFRF is a member of the Secular Coalition for America

FFRF privacy statement