I’m sure you’ve all seen Phil Robertson, hero to social conservatives and reality show star, demonstrating his Christian love by openly wishing that someone would rape and castrate atheists. Or specifically, rape the family members of atheist men because Robertson clearly sees women as extensions of their fathers and husbands and so he kind of talks about rape and murder like it’s a matter of vandalizing a man’s property:
“I’ll make a bet with you,” Robertson told the religious gathering. “Two guys break into an atheist’s home. He has a little atheist wife and two little atheist daughters. Two guys break into his home and tie him up in a chair and gag him.”
“Then they take his two daughters in front of him and rape both of them and then shoot them, and they take his wife and then decapitate her head off in front of him,” Robertson continued, “and then they can look at him and say, ‘Isn’t it great that I don’t have to worry about being judged? Isn’t it great that there’s nothing wrong with this? There’s no right or wrong, now, is it dude?’”
He then imagined the assailants cutting off the atheist’s penis.
“Then you take a sharp knife and take his manhood and hold it in front of him and say, ‘Wouldn’t it be something if [there] was something wrong with this?’” Robertson said. “’But you’re the one who says there is no God, there’s no right, there’s no wrong, so we’re just having fun. We’re sick in the head, have a nice day.’”
You could have a field day psychoanalyzing this fantasy, of course. It’s unsettlingly obvious that Robertson would like to dish out a little violent punishment against people who disagree with him. You can really see, in this speech, how easy it is for religious fanatics like Robertson to start convincing themselves that God wants them to bring bloody retribution onto the infidels. Which shows that it’s not God holding them back so much as more secular institutions like the police, ones based on humanist principles like the social contract.
I wish I could say that this whole rant surprised me, but it really didn’t. It’s just a particularly vivid illustration of a widespread tendency amongst the Christian right of wishing all sorts of horrors to be visited on people whose only “crime” is having different beliefs and values than yours—even and especially when those different beliefs and values don’t impact conservatives at all. The most common example is when conservatives fantasize about all sorts of lurid punishments they believe/hope the universe will visit upon people who reject their narrow, prudish beliefs about sexuality. Under the guise of “warning” people about the dangers of sex, you see conservatives spin out all sorts of lurid fantasies all the time in just this way, from wishing early death or some kind of embarrassing bowel problems on gay men to wishing grotesque STIs on women who have sex.
Indeed, this urge is the engine that drives the anti-choice movement. Anti-choicers believe that unwanted childbirth is the punishment you have coming if you dare have sex and they are absolutely beside themselves that it’s legal for women to opt out. That’s why they love flocking to abortion clinics to shame women going into them. If they can’t force you to have a baby, they can at least perform the 21st century version of throwing vegetables at the woman put in stocks for fornication.
Of course, the whole fantasy of “hell” is this urge, codified directly into a religious belief. I get the feeling that folks like Robertson think that heaven is an eternity of standing above the non-believers roasting in hell and enjoying watching them suffer for disagreeing with you. Which is why the whole notion that he’s some kind of arbiter of morality is beyond hilarious. This guy is a sick sadist who has, apparently, no moral compass of his own and needs a fantasy figure in the sky telling him no-no in order to know that murder is wrong. The lack of basic human empathy here is astounding. Indeed, the fact that so many people listen to him suggests not only that religion doesn’t make you more moral, but that it can make you less moral that you would entertain this kind of sadistic blather for even a moment.