Baptist fundamentalists hold mock Richard Dawkins funeral, burn him in effigy
On February 1st, some psychotic delusionals of the Baptist fundamentalist variety held a mock funeral for Richard Dawkins. During the service, Dawkins was admonished to repent to the lord or that he will burn for all eternity. He was then condemned for his disbelief, immediately before an effigy of Dawkins was set in flames by the speaker (appropriately named “The King of Terrors”), who yelled out that Dawkins would fry!! as he set the match.
Clearly, this is ridiculous at multiple levels. Firstly, that the individual is Baptist is ridiculous. Secondly, that he is so extremely invested in his religious nuttery that he would take it upon himself (and take pleasure in) symbolizing the death and burning of Dawkins is just disgusting.
Now some questions. What should be done about this? Was this Baptist trying to threaten Dawkins? Yes, but not in a personal way (i.e., he’s not making a human-to-human threat). There was no statement that he or any of his Baptist peers were planning to kill Dawkins. The burning of effigy, I gather, was meant to represent burning in hell—it was not a threat that the character of the video ever plans on carrying out on his own. What this seemed to boil down to was a somewhat graphic portrayal of what they believe will happen to Dawkins upon death, mixed in with references to his atheism.
But what would the response be if the Baptist had done the exact same routine to a Muslim, or a Muslim to an American Christian?
Lets take this over and above the target of the funeral and burning, Dawkins, and see what such a mock funeral and burning would mean for the broader social group of atheists. What this video (as well as the earlier video that advertised the funeral) does is say that Richard Dawkins is evil because of his outspoken atheism and criticism of religious faith. Through the concept of God, it says that for Dawkins’ atheism, his outspoken atheism, and his public criticism of religion, he deserves eternal punishment and condemnation in the form of eternal separation from all that is good, and subjugation to an eternity in a burning hell. The video is not against Dawkins for the sake of being against Dawkins; it’s against Dawkins because Dawkins is an atheist, and is outspoken in his atheism and criticism toward religion. So what this video is saying is that atheism, the defense and encouragement of atheism, and the criticism and encouragement of criticism of religion are all evil and deserving of eternal punishment and condemnation in the form of eternal separation from all that is good (i.e., from the supposed kingdom of God), and an eternity in hell.
What would happen if a nonreligious person made the exact same assertions against, say, homosexuality? What if a nonreligious person comes out and says that homosexuals are evil and deserve to be punished for all eternity, and burned a prominent homosexual leader in effigy? Or what if they say the same about women, Blacks, Jews, Muslims, Christians, Asians, or pretty well any other protected minority? The nonreligious person would not be able to hide behind their religion. They’d just be an out-and-out bigot. And even if it was a religious person doing these things, most of us would deem them to be a bigot. The act may even be viewed by some as constituting a hate crime.
So why not stop giving special allowances for faith-based bigotry and ridiculousness and start treating the community of nontheists as being a community deserving of just as much regard as any other group.