In a bizarre criticism of American Atheists’ recent billboards urging people to “skip church” this Christmas, Colorado Springs radio host Richard Randall said that he’d respect atheists a lot more if they went after Muslims instead.
He made the comments on KVOR 740-AM last Thursday:
Hey, atheists? All of you atheists and people who would fund the American Atheists? I will respect you a whole heck of a lot more when, instead of putting something that says, “Atheist Christmas: The more, the merrier,” and telling young people not to go to church, why don’t you put one up that says “Skip Ramadan this time of year.” When will you start telling Muslims that “they should abandon their religion”? Let’s see how far you get with that.
Because, the thing about Christians are, they’re a great bunch of people to pick on. Why? Because they are Christians! That’s in their heart! Why do you have to do that?
There are two problems with Randall’s suggestion.
1) Atheists don’t have to speak to Muslims through billboards like these because Muslims aren’t the ones shoving their religion in our faces in this country. It’s not like they complain when non-Muslims ignore Ramadan. They’re not calling for boycotts because Starbucks didn’t acknowledge their religion on cups. They’re not trying to pass laws discriminating against LGBT people based on what the Qur’an says.
2) American Atheists literally paid for a billboard aimed at a Muslim audience back in 2012 — and they even did it in Arabic!
At the time, AA President David Silverman said,
“We are not trying to inflame anything… We are trying to advertise our existence to atheist in those communities. The objective is not to inflame but rather to advertise the atheist movement in the Muslim and Jewish community.”
So they’ve done it. They’re not afraid of it. And American Muslims didn’t whine about it like Christians do every damn time there’s a billboard calling out the religious majority in this country.
Media critic Jason Salzman had a different response to Randall, invoking the treatment Muslims receive on a regular basis:
The bigotry of talk radio hosts would be bad enough if we didn’t have a bigot president-elect who’s proposed creating a Muslim registry. But since we do, we need to be ready to respond if Randall, [KNUS host Peter] Boyles, [Donald] Trump, or anyone else in these hateful times goes after our Muslim neighbors.
In other words, Muslims are already targets in America, and they’re under attack from self-described Christians. Atheists have every reason to go after the more powerful group, not the people who have enough to deal with and aren’t fighting atheists on church/state separation issues.
I look forward to Randall apologizing for his ignorant comment, made with no research whatsoever. It’s coming soon, right?