Of course, everyone has heard of the hostage situation that took place at the Lindt Chocolate Cafe in New South Wales, Australia. Three people, including the gunman, were killed when the store manager leapt on Man Haron Monis, a radical Sunni Muslim and sacrificed herself to save her patrons. Now, the Australian government is trying to figure out how Sheikh Haron, who spent most of the past decade on Australia’s terrorist watch list, could have fallen off and been lost track of. The man was clearly unstable, having written letters to family members of the Australian military, calling them “Hitler’s soldiers”. This is yet another example of what happens when religion and crazy collide.
However, while that is certainly a horror, it isn’t the only thing that I wanted to bring up here. Following the attack, members of the Australian Muslim hierarchy started immediately decrying Sheikh Haron’s actions, as they absolutely should, but it reminds us that they actually didn’t do anything about him and his extremist beliefs before it came to violence. This is a common theme among the religious, we see them pop up and vocally distance themselves from anyone who might appear to be part of their religion but they really don’t do much of anything to control these people before they snap, even when it was obvious that they held extremist views all along. It’s clear that the only reason these people are saying anything is damage control, they don’t actually care about the demonstrable harm that extremism plays in religious violence.
It’s not just the Muslims who have a problem, the Catholics have a long-standing issue where they come out and say how horrible it is that their priests have molested children, yet they take no serious steps whatsoever to prevent it from happening again. Even when they have evidence that a priest is potentially dangerous, they ignore it until the priest has actually harmed a child, then they act all incensed that such a thing could ever occur. You people knew, yet you did nothing at all about it! The same goes for Muslim crazies and Jewish crazies and probably all religious crazies. These people didn’t just appear on the scene one day, they don’t appear with their crazy beliefs fully formed, it’s a process and suspicions about these people are obviously going to develop. In the case of Monis, the reigning Australian hierarchy is now coming out saying “oh, nobody liked him, he was crazy”, but they never actually did anything about it before he went postal on a bunch of chocolate lovers. Why did he still have access to your mosques? Why wasn’t he officially removed from your religion? I know these religions may not be able to get anything done legally but they still ought to be able to “excommunicate” them, for lack of a better term. Why aren’t these people thrown out and reported to authorities at the same time you get a restraining order, or the Australian equivalent? Why do these Imams and Bishops and all the rest only distance themselves after the fact. It’s because they just don’t care.
And that’s yet another failure of religion and another reason it belongs on Horror Show Friday.