Thursday, April 10, 2008

Representative Davis' Non-Apology

Actually, there was no apology. Ms. Davis apologized to Rob Sherman for yelling at him. However, she did not apologize for what she said, and she did not apologize to the people she slighted.

Let’s compare this to another bigoted rant. On July 26, 2006, Mel Gibson was arrested for drunk driving. Information was leaked that, at the time of his arrest, Gibson made some anti-Semitic remarks, such as, “Jews are responsible for all of the wars in the world.”

This is a classic element of bigotry – a desire to charge the objects of one’s hatred with any crime imaginable in order to give the bigot’s hatred a comfortable home.

“I hate these people. If they were guilty of this crime, then they deserve to be hated. Therefore, they must be guilty of this crime.”

This is bigotry. This is how the bigot thinks. And this is how Monique Davis thinks.

Davis said that she was reacting to news that there had been another fatal school shooting. She hears about a school shooting, and she immediate takes it out on the first atheist she comes into contact with. She says, “You believe in destroying” and “It is dangerous for children to even know that your philosophy exists.”

Obviously, she is a victim of the prejudice that says that atheists and evolutionists have been responsible for every act of school violence since Columbine.

This was no apology.

This was actually nothing more than Davis admitting her bigotry, and slapping Sherman and all atheists again with the accusation that atheism was responsible for this student’s death.

This bigotry . . . this common rant that atheists and evolutionists are responsible for all school violence . . . this is morally no different than Gibson’s claim that Jews are responsible for all the wars of the world.

There is no evidence behind it. People do not get this idea because they are driven to it by any sort of valid argument. Why do they believe it?

People believe that atheists are responsible for all school violence for the same reason that anti-Semites believe that Jews are responsible for all of the wars of the world. It is because their hatred has driven them to seek a reason to hate, and these types of beliefs fill the bigot’s need.

In Gibson’s case, the very next day – the day after his arrest, Gibson released a statement. It included:

I acted like a person completely out of control when I was arrested, and said things that I do not believe to be true and which are despicable. I am deeply ashamed of everything I said and I apologize to anyone who I have offended.

Three days later, Gibson released another statement to the Jewish community.

There is no excuse, nor should there be any tolerance, for anyone who thinks or expresses any kind of anti-Semitic remark. . . . I am a public person, and when I say something either articulated and thought out, or blurted out in a moment of insanity, my words carry weight in the public arena. As a result, I must assume personal responsibility for my words and apologize directly to those who have been hurt and offended by those words. . . . I am not just asking for forgiveness, I would like to . . . meet with the leaders in the Jewish community, with whom I can have a one-on-one discussion to discern the appropriate path for healing.

We can speculate whether or not Gibson actually meant these words. However, he recognized that it was important to say them. He recognized that his words and deeds required more than a phone call to the police officer that arrested him and saying, “I’m sorry.”

And even if he had done that, and even if the police officer had said, “I forgive you,” this still would not have gotten him off of the hook for all of the other people he had insulted. He had to do more, and he knew it.

And he did it.

Ms. Davis is more than a ‘public person’. She is a duly elected representative, sworn to uphold and defend rights that she public denied even existed. She did not speak as a drunk being arrested at 2:00 in the morning. Ms. Davis spoke while she was acting in the capacity of a legislator in a legislative session, when she was perfectly sober, when she was listening to the testimony of a witness in a case before the legislative body in which she is a member.

Davis acted under conditions where her behavior is the least worthy of any type of forgiveness.

As I said above, Davis’ behavior is not only as bad as Gibson’s. It is much, much worse.

Gibson tried to deny the charge of being anti-Semitic. He went to great lengths to prove that this is the case. Yet, in spite of this fact, he was still accused of saying what was in his heart at the night of the arrest. If he did not have anti-Semitic thoughts, the accusers said, then why is it that he immediately went into an anti-Semitic rant when he was arrested? Obviously, anti-Semitic thoughts were not the furthest thing from his mind.

So far, Davis hasn’t taken a single step to deny her hatred of atheists. She apologized to Sherman, but I have seen or heard nothing comparable to her saying, “There is no excuse, nor should there be any tolerance, for anyone who thinks or expresses this type of hatred – particularly for a legislator whose duty is to protect and defend the rights of the people.”

There has been nothing like that.

Why?

Because Davis almost certainly does believe that atheists are responsible for every act of school violence, in the same way that an anti-Semite really does believe that Jews are responsible for all of the wars of the world.

If she does not believe it, then let her deny it?

Let’s hear her say that it is unfair and unjust to blame atheists for school violence. Let her deny that she attacked Sherman the way she did because she saw him as a symbol for those who she thinks are the true culprits guilty of the killing of that student she had heard about earlier in the day. Let her tell us how she believes that there should be no tolerance for anybody whose attitudes towards their fellow humans is that which is expressed by this type of unfounded, unjustified, hate-motivated accusation.

Hers is exactly the same form of bigotry we see in Ben Stein’s movie, "Expelled.” In just the same way that Davis wants to ‘justify’ her love of hating atheists in a veneer of legitimacy by imaging atheists responsible for all school shootings, Stein wants to ‘justify’ his love of hating atheists by blaming atheists for the holocaust. With Ben Stein, it is not ‘Jews are responsible for all of the world’s wars,’ but ‘Atheists are responsible for all of the world’s wars’.”

Except, when Gibson made his unfounded accusation against the Jews, the world was aghast. If Gibson had made a movie in which the main theme was, “Jews are responsible for all of the wars of the world,” in just the same way that Stein has made a movie that says, “Atheists and evolutionists are responsible for all the wars of the world” . . . well, there would have been no saving him.

Just as their should be no way to save Stein from his accusation, or to save Davis' job.

The one final question that I want to ask is, are atheists going to do anything about it? Are they going to move on to other things, or are they finally going to take a stand and say, “A person who claims that atheists are responsible for these atrocities will get no better treatment than the anti-Semite who wants to blame the Jews for all of the wars in the world?”

It is time for another round of emails - and not just to Ms. Davis. It is time for a round of emails and calls to her peers and to the press - to anybody who will put pressure on her to answer the question, "Ms. Davis, several atheists are accusing you of claiming that we can blame all school shootings on atheists in the same way that Mel Gibson once claimed that we can blame all the wars on the world as Jews. Do you hold atheists responsible for all school violence? And, if so, how does this differ from Gibson's remark that the Jews were responsible for all the world's wars?"

Get her to answer that question. Then we will see the degree for which she is sorry for the hate that motivated her outburst.

6 comments:

Parker Thomas said...

It's funny...I felt the same way and sent yet another indignant email to her earlier today. I have yet to send any to her peers...I suppose I should get on that.

If you want to read my second email you can just check it out on my blog (no intent to spam!)

thanks

Alonzo Fyfe said...

Contacting Davis is a waste of time.

She thinks of you as the destroyer of everything of value, after all. When a destroyer of everything of value sends her a letter condemning her, that simply means that she is doing the right thing.

I consider the idea that there is anything to be gained by sending her a letter to be absurd.

She will not resign without pressure from the outside.

"Dear sir or madam. I demand that you make a public statement condemning Ms. Davis and demanding her resignation. Failure to do so will be taken to mean that you agree with and condone her actions (silence implies consent) and I will treat it accordingly."

CrypticLife said...

Of course, listening to the audio, her immediate peers clearly agree with her. There are bursts of "Right on!" in the background as Davis delivers her screed. I'd love to know who that was.

I'll be sending out a letter myself later today. I haven't identified who I'm going to send it to yet, but it's certainly not going to be just her.

Alonzo Fyfe said...

A list of recommendations on who to contact.

(1) Any national secular or freethought organization you belong to and ask them, "What the frack are you doing about this?" And if they say, "Nothing?" respond with, "Then what the frack am I paying you for?"

(2) Any local secular or freethought organization that you belong to and ask (if in Illinois), "What are we going to do about this?" and if in any other state, "What are we going to do to make sure that it does not happen here?"

(3) Any other organization that one belongs to that is concerned with discrimination and bigotry demanding that they declaring that they see the statement that "children should not even know that your philosophy exists" and "you have no right to be here" to be morally equivalent to similar statement made against their group, and they demand an appropriate response.

(4) Any local politician, demanding a public statement that they condemn Ms. Davis' remarks and declaring that no person who holds such an attitude towards the peaceful law-abiding citizens of this country is unfit to serve as a legislator.

(5) Any friend or relative or anybody that might listen to you, giving them the list (1) through (4) above, and telling them to do the same thing. "Or do you think that it is not important that a legislator gets away with saying such things without political consequences?"

James Koran said...

Maybe Alonzo's summary could find it's way to the media for a last word.

Anonymous said...

I know that the Arabs are part of the semites too. They didn't religious bull on the world until way after the others.