I can bash religion as well as anyone else, but I draw a strong distinction between attacking the fallacies of religion and attacking people for their religious affiliation or expression. Mashable juxtaposed two New York tabloid front pages, both of which I consider seriously offensive. The Daily News quotes four politicians, expressing sentiments such as “our prayers are with the victims,” and declares in huge letters, GOD ISN’T FIXING THIS.” The Post says, in slightly larger letters, “MUSLIM KILLERS.”
It’s common for people to express sympathy for someone’s loss with expressions like “My prayers are with you.” It doesn’t generally mean they’re requesting divine intervention; it’s just their way of saying they care. The Daily News is so eager to make a political point, though, that it ridicules such expressions as “meaningless platitudes.” The Post sinks still lower, pandering to tribalism, xenophobia, and outright religious hatred. Hollywood Reporter calls the two front pages “sharply diverging” and Mashable says they’re in “sharp contrast,” but they’re both doing the same thing.
Religion is, in practice, many things besides a set of assertions about the creation and governing of the universe. It’s a way people relate to their community and their culture. It’s one thing to consider its ideas absurd, another to mock people for conventional, benevolent religious expression or membership in a religious community.