Oops! When the Hate Mail Doesn’t Match the Narrative

Recently, Jerry Coyne received some antisemitic hate mail and posted it on his blog. This one looked real to me, as it lacked the over-the-top spelling errors and didn’t have the arguments-that-make-you-laugh. Even though that hate mail did not have any religious overtones, Coyne’s readers, relying on their uncanny Gnu sense of critical thinking, began to connect the hate mail to Christianity. Here is some of their Atheist Think in action:

I’ve never understood how “good Christians” could condemn the Holocaust and then turn around and express horror that a Jewish person might move into their neighborhood! It is attitudes like that

and

They killed Our Savior. Haven’t you heard?

and

It doesn’t help that in my life time Catholics have been taught that Jews are “Christ Killers”. Good grief.

and

I’ve always thought that anti-Semitism stems from some Christians and Muslims suffering from the dreaded psychological condition known as Jew Envy.

But then some of Coyne’s readers determined the identity of the person and Coyne outed him.

It turns out the sender of the hate mail was not the Christian who haunts the minds of the New Atheist. He was someone who decribes himself as an “anti-Christian.”

If you read through the links in Coyne’s posting, you will find the the author of the hate mail was some teen from Australia who not only describes himself as an “anti-Christian,” but also says he likes science and is an atheist who was raised in a secular household. What’s more, he says he never got excited about atheist activism until he began watching YouTube videos of New Atheist leaders and then began to donate money to The Cause. He’s become disillusioned with the movement, largely because he thinks atheists need to unite to fight against such things as creationism in the schools.

So while Coyne’s readers were itching to blame the antisemitic hate mail on some Christian, it turns out it came from within their own tribe – a fellow New Atheist.

Maybe that’s why Coyne suddenly felt the need to move on – “And that’s all I have to say about the bilious and odious Gerard O’Neill, neo-Nazi and antisemite” and some of his readers began to comment, “He’s a kid. There is hope for him yet- maybe something will come along and he will see some light.Sounds kind of desperate but looking around and curious” and “The only thing I can aay in his favor is that he seems to be an equal-opportunity hater. Says he hates christians, too” and “I do feel rather sorry for him. Maybe if the internet had been around when I was his age I would have used it to vent my spleen with the world.”

Advertisements
This entry was posted in atheism, Hate, New Atheism and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Oops! When the Hate Mail Doesn’t Match the Narrative

  1. Dhay says:

    > “The only thing I can say in his favor is that he seems to be an equal-opportunity hater. Says he hates christians, too”

    This kid hates both Christians and atheists. In different circumstances he could have become a peaceful Goth, or a Manchester United supporter – yes, they’re found worldwide; but what he has actually become (or adopted the persona of, or based his identity around) is a hater – and as Jerry Coyne has found out, has become a troll. It makes no sense to ask whether such as him is a Christian troll, an atheist troll, or an anti-semitic troll: he is a troll, and the content of his troll-mail is whatever is (in)appropriate for the website or person he is trolling.

    The goal of outrageous behaviour is the resulting outrage, and there he has succeeded magnificently; his seventy-two words have resulted in two blog posts by Coyne himself, and 266 responses. More fool Coyne.

    > “I do feel rather sorry for him. Maybe if the internet had been around when I was his age I would have used it to vent my spleen with the world.”

    Looks like this Coyne responder recognises they, too, could have become a troll, given the opportunity. No mention there of venting their spleen as an atheist troll on Christians, or as any particular flavour of troll – just a generic anti-world troll.

    When there’s generic anti-world trolls about like these idiots, whose flavour of hate will be whatever is appropriate for knee-jerking outrage from the target chosen, one should not automatically suspect or assume that the hate-mail to a flavour of website comes from the opposite flavour of troll.

  2. Another Steve says:

    Somebody with a genuine case of Jew Envy would convert to Judaism.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s