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During an appearance on FOX News yesterday, Rabbi Benjamin Sendrow of the Shaarey Tefilla Congregation was discussing the recent shooting in California when he effectively blamed a lack of religion for the rise of violence at churches, mosques, and synagogues.

But don’t worry. He didn’t say all atheists were potential mass murderers. He definitely said the number was less than all. (The segment begins around the 25:45 mark in the video below.)

YouTube video

HOST LELAND VITTERT: … Is anti-Semitism in America making a resurgence?

SENDROW: There are more anti-Semitic acts, that’s undeniable. I maintain that America is not a racist, nor an anti-Semitic society. The percentage of bad actors is infinitesimally small. But we know all too well that it only takes one bad actor to wreak havoc on a community. And that’s what we’ve seen.

VITTERT: … What’s happening in the world?

SENDROW: I believe that at least a piece of it is the decline in adherence to religious values and an adoption of secular values. Now I’m not at all saying every secularist is a potential mass murderer. But I think there is a sickness in the soul of our society, and I believe that a symptom of that is our decline in religiosity as a society.

Huh. Thanks for the nuance there…

Needless to say, the fact that more people are moving away from organized religion has nothing to do with the rise in mass shootings, including those at places of worship. Some of the recent attacks could be attributed to faith-based violence (like in Sri Lanka). Many of the attacks we’ve seen in the U.S. — including the shootings at Congregation Chabad in Poway, California and the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina — were caused by white supremacists who believe in a harmful ideology that is neither religious nor anti-religious.

If anything, belief in irrational dogma is still to blame for the violence we’re seeing.

There’s also the relative ease with which these killers acquire weapons in the U.S.

There’s also the hateful rhetoric that gets amplified under this administration and the inability for social media websites to clamp down on hate speech.

There is, in other words, plenty of blame to go around. And yet Rabbi Sendrow chose to blame the non-religious, because we’re always a convenient bogeyman whenever something awful happens. Even though anti-Semitism, specifically, has never been some sort of guiding force for the non-religious crowd.

I guess Sendrow is unaware that the least religious nations in the world are also the least violent. Then again, he appears to be unaware of a lot of things.

(via Raw Story. Thanks to Brian for the link)

Hemant Mehta is the founder of, a YouTube creator, podcast co-host, and author of multiple books about atheism. He can be reached at @HemantMehta.