GOP candidate from 'Duck Dynasty' clan blames Richard Dawkins, atheists for Sandy Hook massacre
Dawkins (Screen capture)

A Republican congressional candidate in Louisiana and nephew of Duck Dynasty patriarch Phil Robertson has engaged in a war of words with evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins.

The Blaze reports that candidate Zach Dasher is striking back at Dawkins after the prominent atheist accused Dasher of possessing the “warped” perspective of those whose politics consist of “a right wing, Jesus-loves-us debauch of Homophobia, Intolerance and Militarism.”

Dawkins was replying to comments Dasher made about the killings at Sandy Hook Elementary, which he said were not caused by "mental illness and guns," but because atheists "have denied that man is made in God's image. This is the 'why' -- the reason why this happened is that we have denied as a culture that man is made in God's image."

Of Adam Lanza, the Sandy Hook shooter, Dasher said "he has in some way rejected reality -- the reality that man is made in the image of God and because of that he is intimately precious." Atheists, he insisted, argue that "you don't matter -- all you are is chemical, all you are is material."

Because of this, he claimed, atheists are incapable of condemning tragedies like Sandy Hook, or preventing future ones from happening.

Writing at Time, Dawkins and his co-author, Robyn Blummer, attacked Dasher's contention that atheists are to blame for mass murder.

"Apparently," they wrote, "the premier driver was not the mental illness from which shooter Adam Lanza clearly suffered, nor was it that an unstable man was able legally to amass a stockpile of weapons, thanks to his mother supplying them."

As to Dasher's claim that atheists lack a morality capable of condemning such tragedies, Dawkins and Blummer wrote that "unlike Dasher, who believes there is another existence -- a better one -- outside the temporal, atheists, humanists and freethinkers believe they have one life and one chance to do something meaningful with it. With no supernatural arbiter to fall back on, nonbelievers know it is up to them and them alone to promote justice, compassion and a fair society."

Dasher responded to the pair's editorial yesterday, writing that "the tragedy at Sandy Hook points to a much larger societal problem of moral decay. In the absence of God man becomes the determiner of all things, including the value and meaning of life. I’m a Christian who believes that man is made in the image of God and is therefore incredibly precious."

"Our society is suffering from mass moral decay because we have removed God from the halls of Congress, our Universities, and as the foundation of liberty," he added. "It’s time that Washington and the academic cultural elitists respect Christians and our Faith."