Last night, Bill O’Reilly discussed American Atheists’ recent billboard campaign featuring a girl writing a letter that says, “Dear Santa, All I want for Christmas is to skip church! I’m too old for fairy tales.”
O’Reilly didn’t invite anyone from AA to participate in the conversation, of course, because then he couldn’t just say nasty things about them without being challenged. So he instead invited psychotherapist Karen Ruskin, who compared AA to bullies and gang members looking to beat up all those Christians:
“[The billboard is] horrifically insulting. It’s really disrespectful. But not unlike the bully who tries to push other people down in order to make themselves feel better, that’s what’s happening here.“
They never explained how Christmas has been ruined, not did they invite on air any families who will no longer be celebrating Christmas as a result of the signs.
But Ruskin wasn’t done analyzing people who weren’t invited to discuss their motives for the campaign:
“When I work with families where one member of the family unit is atheist and the rest are not, they have this relationship dynamic… [where] you have one person who is shouting loudly in their nasty way about how everybody else in the family should be believing what they’re believing, the pushing of other people down, the nastiness…”
Sounds like she’s describing Bill O’Reilly, not atheists…
Anyway, I’m not saying the hypothetical atheist’s jerky response is okay, only that it’s usually in response to snarky, nasty things said by religious family members.
It’s not limited to atheists, either. If there was a single Christian in a family of atheists, I suspect the Christian might want to lash out sometimes, too.
O’Reilly also said that the billboard campaign was “sadistic”… while interviewing a psychotherapist who explained why atheists are such nasty people. You may disagree with the billboard, but only Ruskin’s message will leave any lasting damage on anyone.
It’s amazing how bent out of shape Fox News hosts get over other groups expressing their views in a public forum. But the brave thing to do, if you’re going to say nasty things about atheists, would be to invite someone from the group on camera to defend the signs.
So far, that hasn’t happened. You can’t explain that.
(via Joanna Rothkopf)