Kellyanne Conway Says Anti-Religiosity Caused Jewish Massacre

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Kellyanne Conway, counselor to President Trump and suspected Wheeler from Return to Oz, made headlines this week by claiming that the recent massacre of eight Jews at the Tree of Life Synagogue was caused by “anti-religiosity” amongst people, particularly comedians, in the US. Conway said, “The late night comedians. The un-funny people on TV shows. It’s always anti-religious. And remember, these people were gunned down in their place of worship.”

Now that’s some piping hot bullshit. Atheists make up about 3% of the American population, while 9% of Americans identify with neo-Nazis. Yep, three times as many Americans are cool with neo-Nazi ideas than are atheist — that’s 22 million people. So yeah, gosh, I don’t know, is it more likely that the problem is atheists, who have absolutely nothing in common with one another except for a lack of believe in any gods, or is it more likely to be 22 million people who are sympathetic to those who think Jews and black people are subhuman? Was the murderer in this instance, Robert Bowers, an avowed atheist or did he quote the Bible in support of his hatred of Jews?

Obviously this is yet another clumsy attempt by a shitty administration to distract from their nonstop fear-mongering and dog-whistles, but I also find it interesting because it’s not new for Christians to latch onto the unique oppression of Jews as a way to garner sympathy and to make themselves appear, well, holier somehow. Consider the idea of the US as having a “Judeo-Christian tradition,” a phrase completely fabricated by Christian evangelicals to make it seem as though their blurring of the line separating church and state isn’t a selfish desire, as though they are going to include Jewish people in their dream theocracy. Spoiler alert: they aren’t. Of course, many of them love Israel, but only insofar as they believe that supporting Israel will hasten the end-times. They don’t actually care about Jews as people, and that shows in the virulently Christian KKK and neo-Nazi movement.

So no, Kellyanne, it’s not atheists making fun of all religions on late night television that leads to the mass murder of Jews, women, and black people. It’s racist, misogynist, bigoted conspiracy theorists like your president. In fact, a recent study shows that the people most likely to believe “fake news,” and conspiracy theories that lead to this violence, are dogmatic religious people.

Researchers at Yale found that people who scored higher on dogmatism and religious fundamentalism were much less likely to be able to recognize fake news when they saw it. These people were less likely to be open-minded when it comes to potentially changing their minds based on the evidence in front of them. Skepticism is an important tool but it’s one that you have to constantly apply to even your most cherished beliefs, or else it’s absolutely useless. And sure enough, dogmatic fundamentalists don’t do that, and that leads to sharing dangerous and bigoted conspiracy theories, and that leads to events like the massacre in Pittsburgh.

Here’s me, an atheist who makes fun of Kellyanne Conway and other supposedly religious hypocrites saying that we shouldn’t be gunning down innocent Jewish congregations. We should be voting pieces of bigoted, close-minded, anti-skeptical trash like Donald Trump out of office in a few weeks.

Rebecca Watson

Rebecca is a writer, speaker, YouTube personality, and unrepentant science nerd. In addition to founding and continuing to run Skepchick, she hosts Quiz-o-Tron, a monthly science-themed quiz show and podcast that pits comedians against nerds. There is an asteroid named in her honor. Twitter @rebeccawatson Mastodon Instagram @actuallyrebeccawatson TikTok @actuallyrebeccawatson YouTube @rebeccawatson BlueSky

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