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The only good Atheist is a dead Atheist.

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These were words spoken by the family of Arthur Shelton, a Christian extremist and Scout Leader who murdered his roommate because he was agnostic. I found this story this morning and find myself asking a very simple question: where are all the good Christians to denounce this behavior, if there are any? I see that asked on a weekly basis about Muslims, why aren't the supposed good ones denouncing terrorism, and all that. Hogwash is what it is, people who had nothing to do with these acts have no responsibility to apologize for them.

The difference I think isn't that those who choose not to apologize are bad and guilty by association, but that people who do choose to try to make amends even when they don't have to are good above good. They deserve extra recognition, not the other way around where others deserve scorn. I don't believe that anyone has to apologize for what Arthur Shelton did except Arthur Shelton, but that's never going to happen. This sick f*** is actually happy with what he did, he thinks this is what God wants good Christians to do. Atheists, according to Shelton, are evil, and act in concert with the devil.

Speaking in a fifteen minute conversation with a 911 dispatcher, standing over the dead mutilated body of his victim, Shelton was recorded by tape saying that "I'm a Christian and an Eagle Scout and I wouldn't lie," and "don't worry about me, I'm fine, but he's the devil", and later in court, "In the eyes of the law I was wrong and will probably spend the rest of my life in prison, but in the eyes of God I have killed an evil person -- the devil himself." I have news for Mr. Shelton: God disagrees.

Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave room for the wrath of God; for it is written, "Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord." No, "if your enemies are hungry, feed them; if they are thirsty, give them something to drink; for by doing this you will heap burning coals on their heads." Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

If you believe in this stuff, then Arthur Shelton is every bit as likely to go to hell as his victim is. Naturally, the narrative wasn't self contained. What kind of trial would it be without an equally zealous family showing their true colors of hate in court.

On Day two when George and I, together with Joe Milon, entered the court room the taunting began immediately. Within an hour the Judge announced that those making gestures and faces had better cease or they would be removed. For the balance of the day the Christians wore their neck crosses on their backs, as we were seated in the back row, while constantly flopping them about with their hand. When we returned from lunch (without court escort) the Christians were waiting for us on the seventh floor and lunged at us with small signs they had painted -- 'Jesus lives', 'God loves you' -- and, again, thrusted their crosses within 2 or 3 inches from our noses. Tempers flared and a brief shouting match began. Brief because the court officers were there in a flash.

Religion corrupts when biblical law is placed above actual law, and this is what you get.

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Jan 4, 2007, 4:20:00 PM
Sure, I'll denounce it. Just so you know, your blog was the first I'd heard of this story. I'd like to do some more research and post over at my place, if necessary.

But you make a really good point. Christians (and I'm one) need to publicly denounce those acts of evil that are done in the name of Christ.

You ended with an interesting statement: "Religion corrupts when biblical law is placed above actual law, and this is what you get." It's interesting that Christ told us to "render to Caesar what is Caesar's". In other words, follow the laws of the land. I don't think I've ever read in the Gospels anything about Christ telling us to kill somebody else for his sake.

Jan 4, 2007, 11:46:00 PM
When people use religion to enrich their lives, and not to rule their lives, I think it best serves them that way.

In my opinion, killing is bad pretty much in any situation, except maybe for saving your own life.

Thanks for stopping by, I enjoyed your comment.

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The text of this article is Copyright © 2006,2007 Paul William Tenny. All rights reserved. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 United States License. Attribution by: full name and original URL. Comments are copyrighted by their authors and are not subject to the Creative Commons license of the article itself.