I don’t say this often, but with all the political news going on right now, cable news shows probably shouldn’t waste time covering minor First Amendment battles. Then again, for Fox News, reporting things that are actually happening might disappoint their viewers. So bring on the atheists.
Last night, Tucker Carlson had atheist activist Dan Barker on his show to discuss the Tennessee elementary school whose coercive, teacher-led Bible club was shut down after a warning from the Freedom From Religion Foundation.
It was a silly segment to begin with since there’s really nothing to discuss. FFRF has the law on their side, so this was really just a game of getting an atheist to defend something unpopular to the Fox News crowd.
Still, when Barker had the opening, I enjoyed hearing him take a question about whether he’d be okay with teachers leading an atheist group in the same way (the answer is no) and using it to talk about the “brutal alpha-God… in the Bible who threatens violence and fire, and a Jesus who talks about being enslaved and gouging out body parts.” (He’s not wrong about that.)Carlson didn’t like that.
He insisted the teachers had a right to run a Bible club in their off-hours, but the timing of the club meetings is irrelevant here. As FFRF attorney Rebecca Markert said in her letter, the established law says “school employees may not organize a religious club for students.” That makes sense even if you’re not a lawyer. Kids are taught to respect and listen to their teachers — as they should — and when those same teachers are telling them why Jesus is magic, and this is happening in the school, it’s natural that kids will also take that seriously. That’s why this is, in essence, government promotion of religion.
Carlson might understand that if he wasn’t too busy perfecting his all-encompassing trademark look.