Fair and Balanced

My fifth video on atheism. I respond to the CNN segment that aired January 30th, 2007 which was almost entirely a child-minded atheist bash.

YouTube link

[youtube JX_sXsfCb9A]

Transcript follows:

Hello, I’m Al. I’m an atheist, I actively believe that supernatural gods don’t exist.

Actually, I have something to confess. I’m not an atheist. I actually became born again conservative Christian shortly after my birth.

I just couldn’t wait.

But I hope you’ll still watch this video and hear me out. Let’s start this over.

Hello, I’m Al. I’m a theist, I actively believe in a supernatural God.

On January 31, CNN’s Paula Zahn hosted a panel to discuss the supposed discrimination against atheists.

First there’s journalist Karen Hunter:

Karen Hunter: What does an atheist believe? Nothing.

(chuckle) Atheists don’t face discrimination.

Karen Hunter: I think this is such a ridiculous story.

Wow, this is off to a great start. I really like the backgrounds they have:

(shot of background which reads: “Why do atheists inspire such hatred?”)

That is both fair, and balanced.

They also had right-wing pundit Debbie Schlussel.

Paula Zahn: Are any of you going to defend them here tonight?
Debbie Schlussel: No, I agree with her 100%.

Wow, the second guest also hates atheists. What about you, sportswriter Stephen A. Smith?
Stephen A. Smith: We’re a Christian country, there’s no question about that. I love the Lord. So does Karen, so does everyone I know.

Ah, so Stephen’s going to be the one who presents the atheist side of the debate.

So let’s talk about discrimination.

Debbie Schlussel: I think the real discrimination is from atheist against Americans that are religious.

Yeah, there’s no real discrimination against atheists. Those laws that prohibit atheists from holding office, testifying in court, or deserving equal protection under the law have either been overturned by the courts or aren’t enforced.

And they’re only in Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Arkansas. 8 states is hardly a majority of the US.

That’s 42 states, oh and Texas too. That’s 41 states where bigotry against atheists hasn’t been officially codoned. That’s 82% of the states. That’s like a B- for civil liberties.

Discrimination, shrishimistation. Those atheists have it pretty good.

Karen Hunter: They have a horrible PR rep, and they don’t have good marketing. I mean, look, if they had Hallmark cards maybe they wouldn’t feel so left out. You know, we have Christmas cards, we even have Kwanza cards now, maybe they need to get some atheist cards and get that ball rolling so more people can get involved with what they are doing.

Yeah, we should give those atheist their own holy day which can become a soulless tribute to cheap commericialism celebrated through overpriced greeting cards. Maybe then they’d shut up.

Karen Hunter: I think they need to shut up.
Karen Hunter: They need to shut up. I think they need to shut up.
Debbie Schlussel: It’s obnoxious and they do need to shut up.
They need to shut up and stop using those violent, militant tactics. Like video blogs or the legal system.

Karen Hunter: Don’t impose on my right to want to have prayer in school.

Those atheists would say that they didn’t remove prayer from school, just state-mandated prayer, and that students can still form Christian clubs and pray on school grounds. But we need state-sanctioned prayer.

Debbie Schlussel: You had a case in California where school children were forced to dress as muslims and learn from the Quaran.

But we need state-sanctioned Christian prayer.

Debbie Schlussel: And what about this obnoxious Micheal Newdow who went to- all the way to the Supreme Court to for his child, the child doesn’t know what’s going on, to try and get “under God” taken out of the Pledge of Allegiance.

You could argue that the parent does have legitimate grounds for filing a lawsuit since he has a vested interest in their child’s education in a public institution.

In the Dover Area School District creationism case, the plaintiffs were parents of the high school students or had children who would later attend that high school.

But maybe the child wanted to pray, or at least be forced to pray.

Paula Zahn: What I think is so interesting is when you look at those statistics that says they were the most hated of all the minorities. Gays-
Stephen A. Smith: I’m not even willing to believe that. That’s news to me. I mean I heard that, I read that, I just don’t believe it.

Yeah, don’t believe every controlled study with a sample size of thousands that you read. Atheists aren’t discriminated against. There are plenty of non-theist congressmen. One. From San Francisco.

But let’s look back to our deist founding fathers.

Debbie Schlussel: But this is a Christian country.

As we all know, the official religion of the state is Protestant Christianity, it says so right in the Establishment Clause (picture of Bill of Rights with scribbles)

The mixture of religion and state is what makes the United States as great and tolerant as it is.

Debbie Schlussel: Europe is becoming more islamist, it’s fast falling, and intolerance is increasing.

Well, I know that sounds like a vague and generalized statement, but it’s true. Check out this graph. (Graph with positive trend of “Islam” and negative trend of “Europe” and “Puppies”)

In fairness I’d like to say that the correlation between the rise of Islam and the decline of Europe and puppies does not necessarily indicate a causal relationship.

You know another thing about these atheists-
Karen Hunter: Crying wolf all the time and saying they’re being imposed upon.
Karen Hunter: What does an atheist believe? Nothing.
And what are these athe-
Karen Hunter: They need to shut up. I think they need to shut up.
Also who are they to-
Debbie Schlussel: They are on the attack, and it’s obnoxious.
Karen Hunter: They need to shut up.
And, uh…
Karen Hunter: (laughing)
Debbie Schlussel: (to Karen) Right on.

Debbie Schlussel: They do need to shut up.

I’m sorry. I can’t keep up the straight face through such absurd bigotry.

Such blatant hateful words and is the reason why many atheists harbor such a bitter hostility towards religion.

Part of the reason why I decided to start making these videos is because I felt the voice of the positive side of atheism wasn’t being heard.

I was fortunate enough not to grow up in a very religious community. I didn’t face a lot of the antagonism and hostility that my friends from small towns faced from their neighbors, or teachers, or even their own family.

Karen Hunter: You can’t pick an atheist out of a crowd, I mean, I’m sorry-

Although it probably helped that I also never told anyone I was an atheist. I just mumbled something about not being very religious before changing the subject.

A lot of what I was seeing in atheist videos and web forums was this intense anger from mistreatment and not being given the same level of respect as people of other beliefs.

And despite the gains in tolerance we’ve made, it still seems like its societally acceptable to bash atheists on a CNN segment without even bothering to have one present to defend their view.

Debbie Schlussel: That’s the one reason our country has not become like Europe, because we strong Christians. And because the atheists are not strong. And I think that’s a good thing.

I don’t think that lobbing belittlement and insults makes one strong.

I don’t think that strong Christian is one who needs to coerce others to pray their prayers, needs to everyone testify God on every coin, or needs to stay willfully ignorant about what the beliefs of others really are.

Strength comes from having the courage to put your beliefs up for inspection, and willing to give up beliefs that are comforting but untrue.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this video, and you have anything to say to me about it or about atheism in general, please leave a comment.

Thanks for watching.

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