The infamous Jonestown Massacre occurred 43-years ago today.
The settlement became internationally known when, on November 18, 1978, a total of 909 people died at the settlement, at the nearby airstrip in Port Kaituma, and at a Temple-run building in Georgetown, Guyana’s capital city. The name of the settlement became synonymous with the incidents at those locations.
In total, 918 individuals died in Jonestown, all but two from apparent cyanide poisoning (a significant number of whom were injected against their will), in an event termed “revolutionary suicide” by Jones and some Peoples Temple members on an audio tape of the event, and in prior recorded discussions. The poisonings in Jonestown followed the murder of five others by Temple members at Port Kaituma, including United States Congressman Leo Ryan, an act that Jones ordered. Four other Temple members committed murder–suicide in Georgetown at Jones’ command.
Religion is an evil that, by displacing and disparaging reason, soils whatever it touches. I rejoice that it is in decline everywhere.