Professor links high US crime rates to evangelical beliefs
A new book by criminologist Elicka Peterson Sparks, above, claims that Christianity is to blame for America’s high crime rates because its followers believe that the Bible gives God’s ‘blessing’ to violence.
According to this report, in The Devil You Know: The Surprising Link between Conservative Christianity and Crime, Sparks points out that the Christian Right thinks America is a “modern day Sodom and Gomorrah” and prefer vengeance to forgiveness.
She also says that typical Christian fundamentalists use religion to feel self-righteous and employs double standards in their thinking and judgment
Sparks, an associate professor of criminology at the Department of Government and Justice Studies at Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina, argues that, at its core, Christian ideology is close to fascism and is “criminogenic”, meaning that it actually causes crime.
She claims that fundamentalist Christian ideology has been the inspiration for terrorism and figures like radio host Rush Limbaugh are damaging America by helping “promote vengeance seeking”.
The United States also has a very high rate of violent crime, and particularly high rates of lethal violence – compared to other similarly situated nations.
This is not a coincidence … this belief system, and the culture it inspires, lends itself to many types of criminal activity including the promotion of violent crimes against a variety of victims, terrorism against those of different faiths, and even crimes against the environment.
Sparks further argues that Christian fundamentalism has “set the United States on a dangerous course” that is creating a “tide of social problems”.
The book singles out leading figures of the Christian Right such as Limbaugh as having managed to “infiltrate American culture” and now wield disproportionate influence.
Christians who talk about family values are hypocrites as their family values are actually insulating themselves against non-believers.
Sparks says that “at its heart, Christian nationalism includes the language of war, theocracy, and even fascism.
In a chapter titled: “When did Christians get so mean (again)?”, She writes:
Conservative Christians got mean when they embraced political power as an instrument of religious coercion. They do not play well with others, because a significant feature of their ideology holds that others must convert to their views or perish.
In a review of the book in The New York Journal of Books, Sparks is quoted as saying
I clearly do not believe in God … do not view the Bible as the literal word of God . . . I view the Bible as fiction …