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Selective Campaigning and Cover-Ups

Over the weekend, I read an interesting article on Huffington Post by Roy Fitzgerald. The article was titled, “Should Richard Dawkins be Arrested for Covering up Atheist Crimes?” While there are many problems with this article, there is one issue in particular I want to talk about.

Fitzgerald’s main focus is on Dawkins’s “selective campaigning” against the crimes of the Pope and the Catholic Church. This argument has also been used by the Church itself when they attempted to deflect from their crimes by pointing out that guidance councilors, couches, and others also have sexually molest children.

In Fitzgerald’s article, his claim is that Dawkins is selectively focusing on the Catholic Church and not talking about the crimes of Hitler or Stalin. This Fitzgerald claims amounts to a cover-up. While Dawkins would obviously agree that Hitler and Stalin ought to also be arrested if they weren’t of course DEAD, it should be pointed out that Fitzgerald himself is selectively campaigning for Dawkins’s arrest while ignoring (according to Fitzgerald’s own logic covering up) the crimes of so many other criminals in the world.

The point I am trying to make is that everyone selectively focuses on issues and crimes that we feel particularly passionate about. That doesn’t mean that we think other criminals should not be held accountable for their crimes. However, when the entire justice system as a whole ignores a particular crime because of the power of the person or people committing the crime, then there is a real problem.

The fact is that it isn’t that the Pope is selectively campaigning against other things like condom use, the Beatles, and gays that is the problem. It is that he has actively and deliberately attempted to cover up these crimes. As spiritual leader of about a billion people, he seems to think he is above the law.

No one can focus on all crimes or all issues we disagree with and find immoral. We selectively focus on those issues which we feel passionate about. Just because Dawkins or someone else doesn’t talk about a particular issue doesn’t suggest or even imply that such an issue is morally acceptable.

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  • 1225truth

    Dawkins does not correlate from an authoritative standpoint with the political extremist crimes of the mid-20th century. The Catholic Church, by glaring contrast, does correlates with crimes committed within the purview of its extensive (and at least past) global authority.

    The parallels drawn by Fitzgerald are ridiculous and the opposite of well-reasoned argument ~~ completely surreal.

    • http://www.dangeroustalk.net Staks

      Like I said, there are many problems with Fitzgerald’s article. I could go on all day.

  • PRG

    One reason for selective focus is also b/c maybe enough other people focus on the thing you’re not focusing on, and you’re tired of people bypassing some other thing. I feel that way about atheists talking about Christianity vs Islam. Plenty of attention has been given to Hitler and Stalin, but the Catholic Church (which played a significant role in leading up to the Holocaust, doing nothing to stop it, and helping Nazi officers escape afterward) stifled criticism for centuries. It would be monotonous if people had to have some disclaimer or give equal attention to every damn thing when you want to talk about one thing in particular.

  • kirk

    Not many christianists would accept the charge that the second amendment leads to hand-gun deaths or that hate speech leads to hate crime. Just to be clear, I am wildly in favor of the Bill of rights and I am not making either claim myself. I am just pointing out that the causal network of many events are very much more plausible than the “X was an atheist so all atheist share in the crime” trope.