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Our high-crime religious states

Our high-crime religious states

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I would like to respond to Tim Stratton’s Pastor’s Pen commentary in the October 9 Weekend Hub. Stratton’s first assertion is that a Creator is necessary for there to be any morality, human rights or purpose in life. I do agree with him that creation requires a Creator. If life sprang from a “cosmic accident,” where did all the building blocks, the quarks, leptons and bosons of our universe come from in the first place? Something does not come from nothing. Logic demands that a Supreme Being exist as the original creator of those building blocks.

Where I disagree with Stratton is his assertion that morality, human rights and purpose require a theistic worldview. The most objective information I could find to evaluate this assertion is from a 2011 Institute of Economics and Peace survey. Of the 10 least-religious states, six are also among the 10 lowest-crime states; while only one, Utah, is among the 10 most-religious states. Conversely, of the 10 most-religious states, 6 are among the 10 highest-crime states; while only one, Nevada, is among the 10 least-religious states. Therefore, based on social behavior, there is no factual basis for stating an atheist is more or less moral than a religious person.

Stratton’s second assertion is that Critical Race Theory is racist. Unfortunately, he uses the classic “straw man” fallacy, where something is incorrectly explained, then criticized for those incorrect explanations. A brief description of CRT might be: Social inequities resulting from long-standing racism cannot be repaired through race-neutral laws, when those inequities were caused by racist social policies in the first place. Ruth Bader Ginsburg described it well in her famous 2007 statement: “It’s very hard for me to see how you can have a racial objective but a nonracial means to get there.” In other words, if you want to create equity in housing, employment, education and elsewhere in society, you must address the root cause of people of color being treated unfairly for centuries by our society and include them in any solution designed to correct those inequities. Stratton does a disservice to the cause of social justice proclaimed in the Gospel of Jesus by referring to CRT as “racist” only because its proposed solution specifically includes those who were actually harmed by racism.

Brad Stephan, Kearney


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