“Another Shining Example Of Religious Tolerance”
The Parading Atheists of Central Pennsylvania (PACP) recently won a challenge to participate in the Millersville, PA community parade. Parade administrators in a blatant violation of their First Amendmentrights were initially denying them entry into the event. Letters were sent in protest, which resulted in a successful challenging to the denial.
Basking in their victory, and while awaiting their participation in the Millersville Parade, the PACP participated in a Halloween Parade, sponsored by the city of Mechanicsburg, PA. The PACP donned costumes depicting zombie renditions of the Pope and the prophet Muhammad and joined the lineup.
It’s All About Free Speech…
The purpose of their message is right to free speech, a cornerstone of the rights and privileges granted by the United States Constitution. These rights are not just for believers who choose to hold signs that denigrate the LGBT community, threaten eternal torture in hell for those who do not believe or shove pictures of dismembered fetuses in the faces of women who are just trying to get through a legal medical procedure. These rights extend to everyone, including the atheist community.
The PACP exercised their rights by speaking out about the tomfoolery that surrounds the numerous “zombie gods”that the religious believe have risen from the dead. Not really all that controversial, nor unheard of, and quite entertaining.
The PACP set out with the rest of the participants for the event, and in less than a minute, things went very bad, very quickly. A Muslim decided that an appropriate reaction to the sight of an undead Muhammad would be to choke the individual who was wearing said costume while he was walking in formation with the rest of the parade participants. The assailant approached the PACP participant, grabbed him by the neck and proceeded to choke him, in spite of the entire thing being recorded on video.
What is also disturbing is that while the attack was in progress, and for the three blocks that had to be traversed before finding a law enforcement official, nobody in the crowd offered to come to the aid of the PACP member. Nobody called 911; nobody tried to find a cop.
The police took a report and the case is now under investigation for the possibility of charges being filed against the assailant by local law enforcement, and by the PACP member, himself.
This incident is another shining example of how violence is often used in the attempt to silence unbelievers. It also reflects how some members of the religious community often interpret various doctrines to justify acts of violence.
Commentary about this incident raised the question of the responsibility that the PACP members have in provoking this attack. It should be pointed out that there is virtually no difference between the belief that a woman is responsible for a sexual assault by virtue of her wardrobe and the belief that someone depicting a religious icon in negative way is somehow deserving of getting choked for it.
Hopefully, the assailant will end up behind bars and given plenty of time to reflect on the error of his ways. Realistically, though, it will more than likely exacerbate his martyr complex and further fuel his delusion. Religion, indeed, poisons everything it touches in one way or another.