Here’s a quick lesson in how the media frames stories, inadvertently or not, to make atheists look bad.
Here’s a headline from conservative website The Daily Caller: “Local Church Leaders Refuse To Let Atheist Group’s Convention Tarnish Easter.”
And here’s the headline from a more mainstream publication, The Oklahoman: “Christian leaders say they aren’t fazed by atheists’ metro gathering.”
Based on that, you’d think a bunch of atheists are planning to trash every church in the area next weekend. Or maybe they’ll barge into churches on Sunday and protest Easter services.
Just look at the quotations from these obviously persecuted Christians declaring how they will not allow the atheists to ruin their sacred holiday!
“We ought not to be threatened by people who don’t believe,” said the Rev. A. Byron Coleman, senior pastor of Fifth Street Missionary Baptist Church…
The Rev. Randy Faulkner, senior pastor of Metropolitan Baptist Church… shared a similar view.
“Their presence in our city will not in any way diminish our joy in celebrating the resurrection of our Lord Jesus,” he said.
What exactly are these horrible atheists doing to make Christians feel so threatened that they have to go on the defensive?
They’re meeting for the American Atheists annual convention next weekend — AA always holds a convention on Easter weekend; it’s not like atheists have anywhere else to be — where they’ll listen to some talks, enjoy each other’s company, and maybe walk away a little more inspired to fight against religious irrationality.
They’re also doing a public service project:
[National program director Nick] Fish said about 100 people have signed up thus far for a service project set for Sunday that will involve volunteers packing meals to be distributed to a local charity.
This is what the media suggests will ruin Easter for Christians — but don’t worry, local pastors aren’t going to let those nasty atheists and their volunteering for charity get in the way of their Easter celebration!
There’s no conflict here. In fact, not a single pastor quoted in the piece expresses any genuine concern about the atheists who are peacefully gathering in their community. Yet the headlines give you a very different impression. It’s the result of journalists desperate for a controversial story that isn’t really there.
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