Gary Sherrill, 51, of Phoenix, Arizona, has confessed to murdering his son David because he believed that he was possessed by a demon and was going to eat him. Police found the body of 13-year old David, covered in lacerations caused by an axe.
Sherrill’s brother, Andy, said that Gary was mentally ill and would never have harmed anyone if he was in his right mind. Yes, he was insane, he believed in demons, which ought to be a clear sign, yet with all of the religious privilege that we have in this country, people who claim to believe in demons and angels and other supernatural nonsense don’t get the help that they need.
Friends and neighbors expressed concern about Sherrill’s mental state and said that he had recently purchased an assault weapon, yet I’d be more worried about his choice in tree-chopping tools.
“It is difficult, we find it hard to believe that there are people still out in this world who would do this kind of harm to another person, even more so, to their own child,’ Phoenix Police Department Sargent Steve Martos told AZ Central. No, what I find hard to believe is that we still think people who believe in religious nonsense and rant about their beliefs to be totally normal and harmless. Clearly, in this and many other cases in the Religious Horror Show, this is not the case.
Had Sherrill not been religious, he could have gotten the help he needed before this tragedy. The widespread acceptance of religious adherence as normal does nothing positive for society, it allows things like this to happen, it’s happened many times in the past and will continue into the future until we decide that irrationality is not an acceptable position, religion be damned.
Welcome to Horror Show Sunday, yet another example of the harm that religion can and does do.