Home / Polls / This week's poll: Is religious belief an acceptable excuse for criminal behavior?
This week's poll:  Is religious belief an acceptable excuse for criminal behavior?

This week's poll: Is religious belief an acceptable excuse for criminal behavior?

Last week, a Florida man was accused of assaulting his wife for "using the Lord's name in vain" by smacking her head during an argument.  He said the Christian bible's third commandment prohibits "using the Lord's name in vain."

Earlier this month, once he found out he would not be receiving the death penalty, a cult leader pleaded guilty to killing a 4-year-old boy he suspected was gay because the Christian bible calls gays an abomination and says they should be killed.

After 13 days of testimony last year, Muzzammil Hassan, formerly the CEO of Bridges TV, an American Muslim media outlet, was found guilty of second degree murder for stabbing and beheading his ex-wife.  Many characterized the murder as an honor killing even though Hassan was not a devout Muslim.

It was not much longer after that when Warren Jeffs, leader of the FLDS polygamy cult, was convicted by a Texas jury for aggravated child sexual assault in his  "spiritual marriages" to two underage girls, ages 12 and 14.

Children with treatable illnesses die because of faith healing, a practice that is legal in some states.  Others are killed in exorcism rituals.

The foregoing are just a few of many news stories reported here and elsewhere where religious belief and faith is used to justify criminal behavior.

In America, everyone is entitled to defend himself.  But is using religion as an excuse or as a mitigating factor because of perceived religious morals warranted to justify what society deems to be criminal behavior?

This unscientific poll will remain open until 7:00 a.m. Pacific time on Sunday, June 24, 2012.  Although our polling software records IPs to void double voting, your personal identity will remain anonymous when you vote in the poll.  Comments and discussion are welcome and appreciated, particularly if you do not agree with any of the poll's answers.

Thanks in advance for voting.

Is religious belief an acceptable excuse for criminal behavior?

  • No. (95%, 87 Votes)
  • Sometimes -- if the religious belief is sincere. (3%, 3 Votes)
  • Yes. (2%, 2 Votes)

Total Voters: 92

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  • Prostheta

    The pre-amble to this poll goes to prove that people use their faith to justify actions (or inaction) which a reasonable sane thinking person just would not do.

  • This poll reveals that people, whether they admit it or not, prefer rationality and secular (non-religious) laws in favor of religious doctrine. I wonder how one's faith can be reconciled with the law written by man – how can someone be truly faithful when they hold secular laws above their own faith?

    • skater60

      I think one's Faith/Religion should arise from God's Word which is: Love, Compassion, Understanding and Forgiveness. Religious doctrines, secular laws (as well as personal behavior) should always reflect those values as much as possible in an imperfect world. Or as Jesus (the one from Nazareth) might say today: "This ain't rocket science folks – do to others as you'd have them do to you."

      • Sharkies

        Exactly, and i find most Christians don't know this.
        But the "God" of the people is an ancient war god, who became the main god of a early people in a time of war. So he is a war loving creation, which is why so much of the people is full of war and crimes against humanity. The earlier texts in the bible, refered mainly to a different god or more than one, as seen in the Genesis text, when he uses the word "us" and "our"

    • skater60

      Here's a site you might want to explore in response to your question:

    • By keeping a wall between Church and State, that's how they do it.

  • The people may believe the crap, but IMO spewing religious text, dogma, and beliefs is only an attempt to get away with a primitive, barbaric, and heinous crime in the modern age. Of course, if I had my way, such people would be thrown into a high security mental institution, such a Federal medical prison, separate from substance abusers, of course.

  • Anesthetic Please

    Any old excuse is good enough for criminal behavior – love, hate, religion, weather, M&M Plain instead of Peanut, etc. etc.

  • I voted no for the crimes described. Quakers have long violated laws from requiring them to return runaway slaves to their owners to refusing to serve in the military on religious grounds. I believe that actions such as these are justified, even though "criminal".

    • Good point and in such cases, I'd be on the side of the Quakers.

  • Vickie

    Poorly worded question. Secularists just get the laws changed to that evil is now good… like abortion. Resisters to Nazi and Soviet Regimes were considered criminals by their government.

    It is never licit to do evil that good may come of it.

    • SJ

      No, secularists just think that insane works of fiction handed down by word of mouth by ignorant bronze age goat herders and then edited for manipulative individuals benefit does not constitute a reasonable premise for an enlightened society. Secularists also make decisions on right and wrong based on reality, not the supposed words of an infantile, genocidal, misogynist, who expects you to grovel merely for your existence. Further, secularists don't fly planes into buildings because people don't bow before your idiotic beliefs.

      If religion still had the reigns on society, law and morals, we would still be living in the dark ages.

      Secularism > religion. And lets hope man kind NEVER gets dragged back.

  • Lore

    Let us not forget the Dr.'s that perform abortions. How many of them have been killed based on religious beliefs?

    • Deborah_B

      Great point!

  • bibleisright

    Of course it is. That is why I still have slaves, have about 3 wives (working on the 4th), and I'm sure to summon she-bears to kill all the children that make fun of my bald head.

  • hadeshelmet

    But when one considers the multiple rapes, slaughters, tortures, murders, etc that were committed in response to god's demands in bible, then the answer has to be yes.

  • Jessica

    religious belief is NEVER an excuse for criminal behavior

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