Pharyngula

Hedges has been totally nuts for the last few years: he’s got this crazy irrational hysteria about atheists that makes him utterly unhinged whenever he writes about us. His latest is of a piece with his mania:

The gravest threat we face from terrorism, as the killings in Norway by Anders Behring Breivik underscore, comes not from the Islamic world but the radical Christian right and the secular fundamentalists who propagate the bigoted, hateful caricatures of observant Muslims and those defined as our internal enemies. The caricature and fear are spread as diligently by the Christian right as they are by atheists such as Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchens. Our religious and secular fundamentalists all peddle the same racist filth and intolerance that infected Breivik. This filth has poisoned and degraded our civil discourse. The looming economic and environmental collapse will provide sparks and tinder to transform this coarse language of fundamentalist hatred into, I fear, the murderous rampages experienced by Norway. I worry more about the Anders Breiviks than the Mohammed Attas.

What? Muslims riot over cartoons, Breivik massacres young people in the name of reactionary Christian nationalism, and Hedges blames the atheists? Madness. Pure madness.

Don’t read Hedges. Read Sam Harris, who as calmly as is possible when you’ve been slimed by a lunatic, tears Hedges to pieces. It’s a lovely read.

I disagree with him, slightly, on one point. Harris is concerned about a jihadist regime getting their hands on nuclear weapons, because they will lack the ethical restraint to hold back from using them. I have another worry: a crusading regime in the US military. Our men and women who are trained to use nuclear weapons are getting instructions…from Christians.

Reports show the mandatory Nuclear Ethics and Nuclear Warfare session, which takes place during a missile officer’s first week in training, is led by Air Force chaplains and includes a discussion on St. Augustine’s Christian “Just War Theory.” Also included in the PowerPoint presentation is a slide containing a passage from the Book of Revelation that attempts to explain how Jesus Christ, as the “mighty warrior,” believed war to be “just.”

The presentation goes on to say that there are “many examples of believers [who] engaged in wars in [the] Old Testament” in a “righteous way” and notes there is “no pacifistic sentiment in mainstream Jewish history.”

Now that’s chilling. Perhaps Hedges should take note that it isn’t atheists telling soldiers that it is just to annihilate your enemy by all means possible.