February 09, 2007

The New Scarlet "A"

I don't normally watch Paula Zahn (or many other talking head shows), so end up at the mercy of friends sending me interesting bits. Sometimes, they don't get to me until quite late, like this wonderous transaction:

Panel discussion on atheism where no atheists are included

Oh, good.

Now, I don't actually live in a country where this is a problem, but the country that this happened in is a big cultural influence. This sort of thing is a bit frightening to see, frankly, but I suppose it's necessary.

The funniest aspect of this "discussion" is that earlier in the evening, there was an argument on whether affirmative action was necessary in the NFL coaching ranks. Some came down for, some against (sheck out the transcripts).

But when it came to atheists? No challenge, no contest. The story itself is about a familt of atheists being hounded out of their hometown for their beliefs, after they complained that some of the public school time their children attended was devoted to prayer and bible study.

A few of the more egregious moments (with replies):

Stephen A. Smith (sports columnist)
Karen Hunter (Pulitzer Prize journalist)
Debbie Schlussel (attorney)

Hunter: What does an atheist believe? Nothing.

*Sigh* As compared to worshipping Space Ghost, Karen? There's a hell of a lot I believe - one of them doesn't happen to be a god.

Hunter: When does it end? We took prayer out of schools. What more do they want?

They were chased out because they complained of the public shcool their kids were attending set class time aside for prayer and bible study. Maybe you missed that bit.

Schlussel: I think that the real discrimination is atheists against Americans who are religious.

Gosh, of course it is! That must be why we're all for the conversion of churches into abortion clinics! Yep, forbidding religion, that's us.

Schlussel: [...]freedom of religion doesn't mean freedom from religion.

Wow. The utter cluelessness of that statement doesn't even register with anyone there. That is, in fact, exactly what it means.

Hunter: If they had hallmark cards, maybe they wouldn't feel so left out.

Awwww... She cares! She really cares!

Hunter: I think they need to shut up and let people do what they do.

Like force them to pray to a god they don't believe in. Just smell that freedom!

Hunter: I personally think that they should never have taken prayer out of schools. I would rather there be some morality in schools.

Because as we all know, religion = morality. Right? Right? Right? Hmm... I think I'll take ethics over morality every time.

Schussel: And what about this obnoxious Michael Newdow, who went all the way to the Supreme Court 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. They are on the attack. It's obnoxious and they do need to shut up.

First, it's only been in your pledge for 53 years, added at the hight of the McCarthy era, because of paranoia that someone, somewhere, might not believe in God enough. Second, if you're excuse for opposing him is that his kid "doesn't know what's going on", then there goes prayer in schools.

Smith: I'm not even willing to believe that [reports that atheists are the most hated of minorities]. That's news to me. I heard that, I read that, I just don't believe it.

And you'll take beliefs over facts any time, eh? Gotta follow that pattern, Stephen; to thine own self be true!

Hunter: Don't impose upon my right to want to have prayer in schools.

So, don't impose on your right to impose on people...? Care to try that sentence again?

Schlussel: Look where there are more atheists and where they've lost God, where the church is not that strong. Europe is becoming Islamist. It's fast falling and intolerance is increasing.

Can you prove any of this, or is it just some more paranoid bafflegab you've been suckered into repeating because it fits with your preconcieved notions of Europe?

Bizzare. Not only are there no atheists on this panel, but none of them know what atheism is, or even admit to knowing an atheist. Why again are they having this "discussion"? Apparently, it's the family's fault for getting chased out of town. One can only hope they find their own strength from the experience.


posted by Thursday at 4:55 pm


Blogger Gazetteer said...

Ya, but.....

How many discussions of evolution on naturally selected t'head panels even know what, say, semiconservative replication means - not to mention the fact that DNA consists of two complementary strands of nucleotides?


11:42 pm  
Blogger Thursday said...

The unfortunate truth, there!

"Since we have you on the show, Ms. Hilton, could you comment on wave-form physics for us?"

5:10 pm  

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