Another Homegrown Terrorist, This Time in Tennessee

Police: Man Shot Church­go­ers Over Lib­er­al Views

Knoxville, Tennessee—An unem­ployed man accused of open­ing fire with a shot­gun and killing two peo­ple at a Uni­tar­i­an church appar­ent­ly tar­get­ed the con­gre­ga­tion out of hatred for its sup­port of lib­er­al social poli­cies, police said Mon­day.

That makes a lot of sense. This whack­job is unhap­py because he lost his job, gets a let­ter say­ing he’s los­ing his food stamps too, and instead of blam­ing the Repub­li­cans who have been in charge of the coun­try for the past eight years, he trots off to the near­est UUA con­gre­ga­tion and opens fire dur­ing a children’s per­for­mance.

Two peo­ple are dead, one because he gave his life in an attempt to save oth­ers. Five more are injured–no chil­dren, at least.

What did those peo­ple do to upset the home­grown ter­ror­ist?

The Uni­tar­i­an-Uni­ver­sal­ist church pro­motes pro­gres­sive social work, includ­ing advo­ca­cy of women and gay rights. The Knoxville con­gre­ga­tion also has pro­vid­ed sanc­tu­ary for polit­i­cal refugees, fed the home­less and found­ed a chap­ter of the Amer­i­can Civ­il Lib­er­ties Union, accord­ing to its Web site.

Good­ness. How upset­ting. Obvi­ous­ly, they caused him to lose his truck­ing job. Yep. Makes a lot of sense, doesn’t it?

Sam Har­ris’ views on reli­gion make more sense every day.

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ToTD: Fran Lebowitz

Take away a man’s actu­al sense of manhood–which is con­ven­tion­al­ly based on the abil­i­ty to work, to earn mon­ey, to be self-suf­fi­cient, to pro­vide for children–and you’ve got to give them some­thing else. And they did.

This hideous reli­gion that’s all over the country–these huge church-malls–that’s what sub­sti­tutes for these lost towns. But that’s not a town. That’s a cult. A town is diverse, in a real way, not in this fake way we have now. A com­mu­ni­ty is a butch­er and a doc­tor, a min­is­ter, a town trou­ble­mak­er. A ‘com­mu­ni­ty’ is not a bunch of peo­ple unit­ed by some griev­ance. That’s just self-righteousness–incredibly dan­ger­ous and anti­de­mo­c­ra­t­ic. Peo­ple have become so rigid; their opin­ions seem to them like them­selves. When that hap­pens (and it has hap­pened) peo­ple can’t change their minds. If you are iden­ti­fied by your opinions–if that is the very basis of yourself–how can you change your mind?

Fran Lebowitz, Rumi­na­tor Mag­a­zine inter­view with Susan­nah McNeely (August/September 2005)

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TotD: Thomas Szasz on Language

The Untamed TongueReli­gion and the jar­gon of the helping/hindering pro­fes­sions are com­prised large­ly of lit­er­al­ized metaphors. That is why they are the per­fect tools for legit­imiz­ing and ille­git­imiz­ing ideas, behav­iors, and per­sons.

Ordi­nary lan­guage com­bines all of these qual­i­ties. It can be used lit­er­al­ly and pre­cise­ly, to con­vey mean­ing; metaphor­i­cal­ly or poet­i­cal­ly, to move peo­ple; or ‘reli­gious­ly,’ to blind and numb peo­ple, mak­ing them feel ele­vat­ed or debased.
“In the nat­ur­al sci­ences, lan­guage (math­e­mat­ics) is a use­ful tool: like the micro­scope or tele­scope, it enables us to see what is oth­er­wise invis­i­ble. In the social sci­ences, lan­guage (lit­er­al­ized metaphor) is an imped­i­ment: like a dis­tort­ing mir­ror, it pre­vents us from see­ing the obvi­ous.

That is why in the nat­ur­al sci­ences, knowl­edge can be gained only with the mas­tery of their spe­cial lan­guages; where­as in human affairs, knowl­edge can be gained only by reject­ing the pre­ten­tious jar­gons of the social sci­ences.

Thomas Sza­sz, The Untamed Tongue: A Dis­sent­ing Dic­tio­nary

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