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December 2012

Thoughts on December 6, 1989, and the Montreal Massacre

On December 6, 1989, Marc Lepine, age 25, walked into l'École Polytechnique in Montreal, entered a classroom and separated the men from the women. Then he started killing people. When he was done, 14 women were dead with another 10 injured. Only four men suffered injuries. The names of those fourteen women are inscribed on a plaque outside l'École Polytechnique de Montréal (click on the image to see a larger version and read teh names.) Lepine wasn't gunning for the men. He told the people around him that he was 'fighting feminism'. Lepine was clearly insane, but his madness was an extreme reflection of much of society's views on women and sex. It wasn't a one-off and unless we are willing to leave the dark ages behind, it will happen again and again.

Enlightened society claims to value women and to care about their rights; that a female child is just as valuable as a male child. If this is true, and we are ready to leave the dark ages behind, then what are you willing to give up in order to make that happen?

Hatred of women has its roots in the way we educate our children. It seems innocent at first, but the message that women aren't as good as men, that boys are better than girls, goes on to be reinforced throughout life in churches around the country and the world. Religious tradition is rife with it's oppressive obsession with the bodies of women. Enshrined in the scriptures are the justfications for keeping women silent and subservient to men, for rape, for witch burnings, for forced marriages, for honour killings, and the vilitfication and disgust that surrounds the female birth canal in so many cultures even today.  On one hand, we talk of the evils of rape, but Scripture makes it clear that it was the woman who tempted Adam with her femine wiles. Her first crime, of course, is the result of her vanity and weakness of character (courtesy of her creator) which causes her to listen to the serpent and break God's commandment in the garden. Right at the very beginning, the stage is set for women to take the blame for all the ills that follow.

Sandy Hook : God Did It

In the wake of the Sandy Hook massacre, a number of religious leaders came forward to suggest that our rejection of God in schools is responsible for this tragedy. These people claim that since secular society has been removing prayer from schools, God refused to step in and stop the Gunman, Lanza, from killing 20 children and 7 adults.

What's truly amazing about this reasoning is that it puts the blame squarely on God. Either God could have prevented this and he didn't, which makes his a deplorable and vindictive monster, or he couldn't, in which case he isn't much of a God or he simply doesn't exist. If I were a thinking religious person at these times, I'd want to go with the final option, God doesn't exist. Any other alternative, especially that he allowed this to happen because people weren't prostrating themselves behore him or singing his praises makes him the worst kind of megalomaniacal monster, a being of pure evil.

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There is no such thing as “Islamophobia.” This is a term of propaganda designed to protect Islam from the forces of secularism by conflating all criticism of it with racism and xenophobia.

Sam Harris