A few days ago, I wrote about how a Philadelphia Weekly reporter searched for all the groups in the area that made the American Family Association’s “Bigotry Map“… and couldn’t find a single instance of a group that was “anti-Christian” or hateful or bigoted in any sense of the word.
Now, a reporter in Grand Rapids, Minnesota has done something similar. But Nathan Bergstedt is genuinely trying to understand why the Grand Rapids Atheists and Freethinkers would be included on the map:
When asked if GRAF had done anything that the AFA would consider bigoted toward Christianity, [President and founder Ken] Eck said that they have recently been involved with a situation at Robert J. Elkington Middle School, when it was brought to their attention by a student that there was a sign for a prayer meeting at the school. With it being unclear whether this was a school sponsored prayer group or not, though the sign suggested as much, members of GRAF contacted the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) regarding the “prayer time,” since it is illegal for public schools and teachers to promote religious activity.
In other words, GRAF was trying to make sure the government remained neutral on matters of religion.
And for conservative Christians, neutrality is somehow anti-Christian. (Eck later said they probably made the list because they’re a chapter of the Freedom From Religion Foundation.)
It gets better, though. Check out this testimonial:
“We were actually approached by members of [GRAF] to enter dialogue, so that shows me… how can you label someone ‘anti-Christian’ when they want to have conversations with Christians?” said Kimbrel Johnson, Pastor at Community Presbyterian Church.
When local Christians can vouch for you, there’s really no reason for you to be on some anti-Christian hate list.
Bergstedt tried to get AFA to explain its inclusion of GRAF on the map… and, as usual, AFA had nothing to say:
The Herald-Review made numerous attempts to reach AFA for comment regarding their inclusion of the local atheist group on their list, but they were unavailable for comment as of press time.
Don’t hold your breath.
I’ll say this again: The Bigotry Map is just a tool to play up the Christian Right’s persecution complex because 1) They can’t find any actual instances of anti-Christian bigotry in the U.S. and 2) Their donors are too ignorant and gullible to ask any tough questions about why these groups are on the map.
It’s an attempt to extract money from paranoid Christians who think the AFA’s bullshit smells like roses.