Saturday, June 18, 2005

TAE still pedantic?

The BBC today reports on this depressing story about a Californian man who was convicted of killing his nine children, some of whom were the product of his incestuous relationships with others of the children. As the BBC report put it:

A US court has convicted a man of killing nine of his children, many of whom he had fathered through incest.

Marcus Wesson, a 58-year-old religious zealot who ran his family like a cult, could face the death penalty.

The “religious zealot” characterization strikes me as odd. Reading on, the “cult” reference seemed reasonable (tyrannical control over the family, forbidding contact with the outside world, presenting himself as divinely inspired). But there was nothing to suggest that Wesson was driven by an excessive commitment to a particular religious doctrine. He is just plain disturbed. He seems more like a Charles Manson type figure, who himself headed a cult and even referred to himself as Christ, but who, as far as I am aware, was never characterized as a “religious zealot”.

I checked into other sources on the story – the AP and Reuters seem to be the primary source for all of them – and while all of them made the “cult” reference (as did the prosecutors at the trial), not one of them characterized Wesson as a “religious zealot”.

Am I being too pedantic, or is the BBC, in its general suspicion of and hostility towards religion (except, of course, Islam), vaguely laying the blame for this on religion rather than simply on a warped mind?


Blogger Al said...

the "religious zealot" branding does not surprise me. For a long time I have been watching the BBC, who blame much of societies problems on American Christianity. The problem is that they always choose the psychotic weirdos to represent Christianity. Then will never look at ordinary people. Thus religious evangelicals innot just Americ, but in Europe, are scarred by this misrepresentation made by the BBC.

Have a look at my blogs, and feel free to link if you want:

12:29 AM  
Anonymous Mark V said...

You may want to have a look here: . It appears this awful individual was vaguely associated with some christian sect called "Seventh Day Adventism". While this in no way passes the blame to the church from Wesson, it's clear that he treated his family much like that other fanatic David Koresh - another religiuos zealot.

I think you're being slightly pedantic, and starting at shadows (so to speak). Don't forget, we British view any strong belief as mildly deviant - we're not comfortable with anything stronger than the Church of England.

8:28 PM  

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