If You’re Up Early on Saturday Morning… June 16, 2011

If You’re Up Early on Saturday Morning…

Barring any breaking news, I will be appearing on “Fox & Friends” (Weekend edition) on Fox News Channel at approximately 7:50a (Eastern time) on Saturday morning to discuss the church vandalism story.

Pastor John Bluebaugh of Christian Life Center will be there, too.

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  • John


    I’ll speak for myself, though I don’t think I’m alone here. To avoid mixed messages, those of us who support the donations (such as myself) still believe that is, as one person I spoke to called it, “a bigoted, science denying church that causes real world problems for a lot of people. Showing them any compassion is too much. They put themselves in a position to be hated. While I condemn the vandalism as an immature act, there should be no mixing of signals that this organization deserves mockery and derision, not compassion.”

    Please keep the signals from being mixed when you go on Fox–we do not support churches. This gesture should serve to distance our community from the vandalism, and nothing more.


  • Adam

    I just really hope they actually allow you to be seen in a positive light on Fox. They’ll look for a reason to make you look like a monster.

  • Matto the Hun

    It’s a Trap!

  • Sadly, and by sadly I mean thankfully, I do not get FOX News Channel. (My cable co. makes us pay for it.) I’ll have to wait for the YouTube clip.

  • Claudia

    Please keep the signals from being mixed when you go on Fox–we do not support churches. This gesture should serve to distance our community from the vandalism, and nothing more.

    I think that a variety of motivations are at play in those supporting the gesture. I personally would not recommend Hemant saying “We only did this to distance ourselves from the vandalism” because that sounds calculated and cynical. Many people did it because they think it’s the right thing to do and because they wanted to overwhelm the negative actions of a few morons who would be identified with the community with positive ones. I do agree that it would be good (especially given the ex-gay ministry of one of the churches) if Hemant could stress that this was done in spite of us most certainly not sharing their beliefs.

    On the other hand, this being Fox & Friends, we don’t yet know if Hemant will be given space to express himself fully. Let’s remember in advance; Math teacher, not Senator.

  • Danielle

    Wow, I can’t believe I’m getting up early on Saturday morning to watch Fox. but it’s definately worth it =)

  • SlipperyWhenWet

    Fox and Friends DON’T hat atheists. Unless they do anything none christian. I’m sure they’ll be as respectful to you as they were with the Ebay story.

  • Craig Hansen

    Are you sure you couldn’t have found an opportunity to appear on a television network that is more fair and balanced toward atheists? Maybe the We Hate Atheists Network?

  • So early! I’ll check it out when the inevitable posting of the video gets put up later.

  • Just be yourself and be articulate, even tempered, and well spoken.

    Assuming the following strategy:

    phase 1. get a respected place at the table along with the other theological viewpoints.

    phase 2. argue for our theological viewpoint and against the others.

    You could play it as simply “phase 1” or you could do a little “phase 2”.

    Of course, if you want to get asked back, then you would need to present yourself so that their ratings go up.

  • Gordon

    I agree with the assessment “it’s a trap”

  • Surgoshan

    Remember; ten second sound bites. The more compact your expression, the less they can edit around you.

  • JD

    I’ve always understood the point being to show that the wider atheist community is against the use of vandalism and violence to promote a viewpoint. To suggest it means you’re supporting a church is to wildly misconstrue the intent.

    How we should handle disagreements is to talk about them, not deface each other’s property. Offering to help clean the defacement is in no way an affirmation of the beliefs of those that own or use the property, it’s just being neighborly. I think those that don’t understand that really need a civility check-up. It’s really unfortunate that there are people on both sides that seem to be unwilling to put down the verbal swords to clean up after the clowns.

  • I have a bad feeling about this.

  • GregFromCos


    I hope this goes well.

    But if the hosts try to twist things, make sure to have some examples of recent cases where FreeThinking billboards were vandalized. I’m sure an email to ffrf would yield some very quick examples from the last year.

    I remember one in Wisconsin that was vandalized near a Christian College that was reported on. I’d just have them ready, just in case those hosts get all preachy as they so often are prone to do on FOX.

  • Richard Wade

    Fox. Ugh.
    Hemant, be ready to experience a line from Kipling’s “If.”

    “…to hear the truth you’ve spoken
    Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,”

    Your host is likely to try to spin atheists as the culpable villains in this news report.

  • Tom Lewis

    will there be anyway for us lot over the pond to watch it?

    (Hemant says: I hope someone will get a video capture of the segment)

  • Nordog

    I think that a variety of motivations are at play in those supporting the gesture. I personally would not recommend Hemant saying “We only did this to distance ourselves from the vandalism” because that sounds calculated and cynical.

    I think that stating, “We only did this to distance ourselves from the vandalism” would still be a good thing.

    Not to offend, but I think it cynical to see such a statement as cynical.

  • Rich Wilson

    My worry is that they’ll portray it as pandering, and only being concerned with our image, not the underlying good will. I mean, without something to give us morality, where could we possibly get it from? Right?

  • Neoteny

    I feel that, as a ten dollar donor, I deserve a TV shout out.

  • Fiddler

    “So Hemant, do you admit that this was a case of guilty conscience? You felt the need to cover expenses because you know that most atheists need good press to cover up their vile lifestyles?” Asks the attractive bigot…

  • Digitus Impudicus

    Let us know when it is on YouTube. Good luck.

  • Trace

    ¡Es una trampa!

  • Just post the video later so nobody has to accidentally watch any more than is necessary.

  • You play like you prepare.

    Please, prepare for FOX.

  • Josh

    What do you know, I guess this was a good idea after all. The money is going to a good charity instead of a church and Hemant gets to go on TV to talk about us.

    By the way, I do hope you’ll mention the wide spectrum of opinion on this, including those of us philosophically opposed to supporting a religious institution.

  • SeekerLancer

    I’m always up early. I’ll try to remember to watch. Just keep things positive and it should go fine.

  • Drew M.

    “So Hemant, do you admit that this was a case of guilty conscience? You felt the need to cover expenses because you know that most atheists need good press to cover up their vile lifestyles?” Asks the attractive bigot…

    I thought he was going on Fox and Friends?

  • It’s a trap!

  • Revyloution

    Heh, its going to be like a lion in a den of lambs. Slaughter him Hemant. And by slaughter, I mean show how morally superior atheism is over theism.

    I mentioned before that Bend is my town. Just a fun FYI about his church: The son of one of the former pastors started our local atheist meetup group 🙂

  • Noah

    This is going to end badly. I hope you like fast-paced fallacy recognition, Hemant. And remember, no one knows who really did this. There’s no proof it was an atheist, and even if it was that has no reflection upon other atheists.

  • jenea

    I’m with GregFromCos. Don’t let them pitch this as yet another attack on Christians. When have we seen a church take up donations to replace a “godless” billboard?

  • Alex

    Hemant, I hope you can clarify that you only speak for yourself and those that support what you are doing. Atheists don’t organize around non-belief. It’s all about free thought and the right of independent conscience. You could say it’s the real American value that seems to be overlooked by most religions.

  • ewan

    I still think this was a bad idea, but if the aim was to get press out of it, then it Hemant certainly seems to be putting the effort in to make that happen.

    I hope it works out.

  • Nordog

    I suspect that Hemant will do fine.

    Well, as long as he stays away for the eating babies jokes of which he was once so fond.

  • michaelSATX

    Praise the Lard for DVR.

  • Sinfanti

    I hope you’ll be able to post a link to the video. I’m curious to see how Fox spins this. Good luck, Hemant.

  • They are going to ask you the old standard questions about moral grounding, Hitler/Stalin, the tides, etc. You really should make sure that you have a well thought out response to those standard attacks. They will play the “I’m uneducated but atheism doesn’t answer these silly questions” game.

    Let’s face facts, there don’t give two shits about the story they are covering. They just see this as an opportunity to bash atheists on stupid questions that they really know better to even ask. Please be prepared!

  • Dan

    They’re going to paint you as a fool.

    They salivate over a story of an atheist doing something wrong, and they need to bring an atheist on their show to beat down in front of their enraged elderly Christian audience. And you’re not white! That’s good meat for them in this situation!

    Better watch out, I’m serious. I’d cancel.

  • I love you dearly, sir, but that’s too early on a Saturday. That said, when my godless butt crawls out of bed, I’ll hit the DVR and check it out.

  • Chris aka "Happy Cat"

    Blonde mannequin: “Next up on Faux and Friends: A token atheist who raised money to defray the cost of cleaning up graffiti mocking Christianity. Mr. Mehta, before we go into details, can you please tell us why you atheists hate Gawd and Baby Jesus?”

    Hemant: “We don’t hate–”

    Creepy wax figure with immovable hair: “But The FSM is often used by atheists to mock religious belief and you felt it was right to come forward and remedy the actions of someone obviously anti-Christian.”

    Hemant: “We don’t know the person who did this was an atheist. All over the country atheist and secular billboards have been defaced–”

    Another blonde mannequin with frosted lipstick: “Billboards are one thing. A house of worship is another. This was a hate crime, not just vandalism. So, again, why do atheists hate Gawd?”

    Fair and balanced. Right. The chance of changing Faux Nooz viewers’ hearts? Pretty slim.

    Were CNN, msnbc or Wendy Williams uninterested in an interview?

    In other news, developmentally challenged gays kicked out of a KY public pool. Told by employee “it’s our pool” who then told them the Bible gave him the authority to remove them. But that poor, poor church and its pray-the-gay-away ministry.

  • KPL

    Remember to call them out if they interrupt you.

  • Amy

    Ugh, setting my DVR to record Fox is something I NEVER thought my remote would do. Make me glad I did it Hemant!

  • Hugh

    Pick one soundbite and stick to it – e.g. “people can be good without god” – keep bringing it up no matter what the question. Don’t worry about sounding like a broken record. Whatever they hit you with, keep going back to your soundbite. It might register with a few people that way. Let’s face it, most of the people watching won’t be intellectual giants.

  • Chris aka “Happy Cat”

    On a less snarky note and to build on what Hugh said above: if they ask about atheist morality, I suggest pointing out that ALL Christians cherry pick Biblical passages that simply support their own personal ideas of morality (and prejudices) and ignore the rest.

    Whether they admit it, they make the moral decisions, not the Bible. I hope they let you make a single point without interrupting.

  • I agree with Hugh. Pick your message and stick too it. Defend their attacks and then stay on your message. Repeat, repeat, repeat, and repeat it again. If you don’t know an answer, suggest a website (pick your favorite atheist resource or wikipedea) where the answer can be found. Then repeat your message again!

  • Tracy

    Give ’em…er…hell? You’re going to kick ass, Hemant. You know what you need to do. I don’t doubt you for a second.
    Awww…damn! I just thought about what this is going to do to my Tivo Suggestions. Thumbs down, thumbs down, thumbs down!

  • Chris “Happy Cat”: Is it weird that I read the Fox and Friends parts of that conversation in the Dalek voice? “EXTERMINATE! EXTERMINATE!”

  • I agree. It’s a trap.

  • ACN
  • It’s a trap!

  • For comic relief, you could bring a big stylized mute button to push when/if the others get defensive and don’t let you complete sentences.

  • Hitch

    The Young Turks covered the story. Well done.


  • DVR it Hemant and put it up here! 🙂

  • Jay

    I watched the news coverage of this story and was a bit annoyed by: [Rod Kirk, the director of facilities for Westside Church. “But the bottom line is that God is the one that’s going to get revenge — we aren’t.”] Yes it was wrong what they (the vandals) did but I can’t support in anyway (financial or with labor) an organization that believes in revenge (amongst the many other things I disagree with).

  • Tom Bourque

    I’ve been working on a device that prevents Fox News from putting you in a negative light while you wear it. What I’ve done is take two small pieces of wood and glue them together in sort of a cross shape. Then I drilled a hole in the top and put a string through it.

    If you wear this, Hemant, you’ll be immune.

  • Nordog

    Okay, move along now, no prejudice to be seen here.

    I’ll DVR this tomorrow and suspect that Hemant will be treated well; could be wrong. However, for some here the Fox and Friends crew probably can do no right tomorrow short of praising him for leading them to embrace atheism, or at the the noodley goodness of the FSM.

  • keystothekid

    Can someone dvr and rip this to the webz? I’d like to see it but don’t have cable. Although it would be excellent if the fox ratings spiked insanely high for the segmant with Hemant and then sharply dropped just after it. 😀

  • Although I missed the beginning, I filmed it with my iPhone and published it to YouTube. You can see it at the following link.

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