You may be aware — especially if you’re an American — of a recent incident in Washington DC involving the police shooting of a suspected terrorist at the Capitol Visitor Center. It would normally be outside the scope of this blog, but the Washington Post has a news story about the suspect, Larry Dawson, that captured our attention. Their headline is U.S. Capitol gun suspect has a troubled past.
To be fair, we’re not specifically told that Dawson is a creationist, but we think it’s reasonable to suspect that he is. Even if he’s not, his story is a good one because creationists are always lecturing us that, as “secularist, naturalistic evolutionists,” we have no basis for morality. Here are some excerpts from what the Washington Post reports about Dawson, with some bold font added by us for emphasis:
Nineteen months before he allegedly pulled out a gun at the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center, Larry Dawson sat before a regulatory panel in a nondescript room in Nashville trying to explain why God had called him to send sexually suggestive letters to a 15-year-old girl.
That, dear reader, is a great leading sentence! Then they say:
At issue was whether the Tennessee Board of Funeral Directors and Embalmers should grant him a license. More specifically, whether Dawson had the “good moral character” to hold such a license given, among other factors, that he once said he considered the girl to be the Virgin Mary and wanted her to have his baby. “As my faith was tested,” Dawson acknowledged to the funeral directors board in a video-recorded session, “I kind of got into some problems.”
Dawson’s “good moral character” is the thread that runs throughout this post. Let’s read on:
In the past, Dawson, 66, has worked as a pastor, funeral home director, car salesman, school bus driver and security guard — a history that is drawing attention after the chaos Monday afternoon at the visitor center. Authorities said Dawson entered the center and pointed a weapon at police before officers shot him.
Verily, it’s a fascinating career. The news continues:
Why Dawson was in Washington remains unclear. But there are hints, based on previous altercations at the Capitol and information posted on the website of St. Luke’s Community Church in Antioch, Tenn., where Dawson is listed as pastor. In a video on the site, Dawson is holding a sign that advocates raising the minimum wage from $7.25 to $15. Text that appears with the video states that Dawson will be “taking a journey” to Washington to push for the increase and seeks donations for the trip.
This is the website for Dawson’s church, which does indeed show Dawson as a pastor. We looked for some kind of statement indicating that it’s a creationist denomination, but we couldn’t find anything, one way or another. Back to the news story:
Dawson grew up in Tennessee, according to records at the funeral directors board, and graduated from mortuary science school in Kentucky in 1968. His grades there were modest — a D in the opening quarter of embalming, for instance, but later a B in mortuary management.
“Starting in 1980, Dawson worked on and off for the Williamson County (Tenn.) school district as a cafeteria worker and bus driver, a schools spokeswoman said. In the spring of 2001, Dawson was fired for writing inappropriate letters to a female student, the spokeswoman said. A short time later, the school system received a letter from Dawson containing comments “that were perceived to be threatening,” according to Franklin police records.
A year later, a 15-year-old student received harassing letters from Dawson, who formerly drove her school bus. According to one letter, Dawson told the student that he wanted her to have his child. “He sees her as the Virgin Mary,” police wrote in an incident report. “He feels that the Lord sent him here for her to have his baby. Mr. Dawson is a reverend.”
In 2003, according to police records, the same student told police that Dawson was writing her again, saying he was doing God’s work. He also wrote that he and the girl were to be the “Mary and Joseph” of the next millennium, according to the records.
According to records from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, Dawson was found not guilty by reason of insanity on two counts of harassment, and another charge in the case was dropped.
At this point, dear reader, you can probably understand our confusion. Is he a creationist, or isn’t he? He certainly could be. Here’s more:
At the 2014 funeral directors board hearing, members of the board grilled Dawson about criminal charges against him. Dawson told board members that he was found not guilty by reason of insanity.
“You are quoted in here as saying: ‘It was the word of God that told you to write these harassing letters to this 15-year-old girl,’ ” one board member said incredulously as she reviewed materials.
Dawson described the incident as a “test” and said he had to write the letters even though he would suffer consequences. “Anytime that a minister is being led by God and he gives you a direct command to do something, it’s not up to you to do it or not to do it,” Dawson said of the incident.
The board denied Dawson’s request for a license.
That’s where the news story ends. We’re still not certain that Dawson is a creationist, but there’s no doubt that he’s a man of faith. Therefore, according to what creationists say, he should be far more moral than … well, than someone like you, dear reader.
What will the creationist websites we follow have to say about Dawson? We doubt that they’ll defend him. They’ll have to ignore him, because they refuse to deal with evidence that contradicts their dogma. We understand that, because faith isn’t based on evidence, so it means nothing to them.
What do we learn from this? We’ll let you decide, dear reader.
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