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The "Oklahoma Atheist" gets some greenbacks. A S.C. Christian school needs a dinosaur lesson. And the "hugging saint" is hugging her way around the U.S.

Categories: Culture

Lauren Markoe

Lauren Markoe

Lauren Markoe covered government and features as a daily newspaper reporter for 15 years before joining the Religion News Service staff as a national correspondent in 2011. She previously was Washington correspondent for The State (Columbia, S.C.)

7 Comments

  1. FROM THE ARTICLE: The “Oklahoma atheist” is showered with donations from impressed fellow atheists who appreciated her poise on national television as she noted her lack of faith amidst the tornado rubble, but didn’t blame anyone for “thanking the Lord.”

    MY RESPONSE: How curious. From the overly-aggressive and over-the-top, vitriol-filled manner in which most atheists attack those of faith, one would never have guessed that they’d appreciate poise and tolerance among their ranks.

    Perhaps all the donations came from atheists who recognize the bad behavior of their brethren, and decided to reward someone who broke from the ranks.

    The whole thing was, in any case, an embarrassment for CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, who should never have said what he said in the first place. Indeed, the woman’s reaction called more attention to it, but even before she responded, he almost sounded like he was one of those conservative and confrontational-about-the-Bible Christians… like… um… what’s his name… the former child actor… and the banana guy…

    …oh, yeah, Kirk Cameron and Ray Comfort. Watch any of their confrontational street preaching videos, and you’ll recognize what Blitzer was doing as eerily similar. So I, personally, think he got exactly what he deserved. It wouldn’t surprise me if the Lord, himself, arranged for that woman to be whom he asked such a ridiculous question, in such a ridiculous way, on live TV: to teach him the lessone of his career.

    And bear in mind that I’m clergy. I just think there’s a time and place for everything, and Blitzer was in the wrong time and place for both what, and especially how, he asked what he asked. Heck, I’m now thinking of sending the woman a donation, myself!

    Gregg L. DesElms
    Napa, California USA
    gregg at greggdeselms dot com

    • David Thompson

      Gregg, I think you misinterpret the responses from atheist. There’s been too long of time when atheist were just quite about their disbelief and that could probably have gone on, but the US has erased the line between church and state. It didn’t happen overnight. Reagan ushered it in with the Moral Majority and Bush established the Office of Faith Based Initiatives in the White House. Congress starts its session with a prayer. Children are learning that man and dinosaurs walked together less than 10,000 years ago and evolution isn’t true.

      Those are just a handful of the nonsense that goes on everyday with ignorant religious people being in your face. Wolf Blitzer as an example. I think what you hear and see is a response to all these things, plus misogyny, homophopia, and xenophobia. It’s enough to make me angry. Believe whatever you want but stop telling people how to live their lives according to your beliefs.

      If religion turned back to a private thing, I think you would see atheist be less in your face. It’s a cultural shift.

  2. Wow, another incredibly good RNR by Ms. Marcoe. I want to read and explore everything highlighted in the RNR by her today but as usual probably won’t find thhe time for it all. Might just have to work really hard to find it today.

  3. Hey greg, what David just said. I’d consider myself not an atheist but certainly not a conservative Christian in the mold of today’s one, and there has been plenty of times lately where I’ve sometimes just wanted to stand up and scream, sometimes have here on these pages. I think David hits it on the head and futhermore the atheist’s I know, while outspoken, often it takes them seeing or experiencing some sort of discrimination/injustice before they will actually speak up. Often, I’ve known most atheists to be just like the woman from Oklahoma, who has her belief’s, isn’t afraid to speak about them, but also doesn’t condemn or ridicule others for their beleifs. Now, if we could get the neo-con Christians to adopt that style we would all be better off. Many times it is them telling myself and others that it is our beliefs or lack thereof, that has caused problems, judgements etc. I’m blind, and actually have been told that it is because I didn’t have enough faith to be healed is why I have not been healed. This was within thhe 1st month or so of becoming blind, and I have not forgotten the extreme pain it caused me at the time. I do not attend church now, and in at least some small part that comment, along with many others, is a big reason why I no longer attend church. I prefer not to be insulted, intentionally or not, by judgemental people who have forgotten the words of Jesus and somehow think themselves to be in the mold of Saul before his conversion. My favorite saying: Religion is the opiate of the people. Karl Marx was bullseye on that one! Though those ultra religious of any stripe would not understand why he said it, and why it is/was such an important observation. Okay, off the soapbox for now, thanks for letting me vent a bit as I do retain beleif just in different ways and definately better ways! Shalom to all!

  4. Gregg, you are incorrect that most atheists launch over-the-top, overly-aggressive, vitriolic attacks against believers. Most atheists never say a word about their atheism to anyone but friendlies. If you doubt that, please find all of the examples you can of these attacks and then divide that number by, say, 6.3 million (a very conservative estimate of the number of atheists in the US). That will give you a rough idea of the number of aggressive atheists in this country.

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