Right-Wing Writer Slams “Atheist Hate Group”… Before Agreeing With Its Points November 16, 2021

Right-Wing Writer Slams “Atheist Hate Group”… Before Agreeing With Its Points

The right-wing “news” outlet PJMedia just published a hit piece criticizing the Freedom From Religion Foundation — which is evident from the headline — but the problem is that the article ends up agreeing with FFRF’s position on just about everything.

Here’s the relevant backstory: Over the weekend, a group of MAGA cultists held a “ReAwaken America Tour” event at Cornerstone Church in Texas, home of preacher John Hagee. The event made headlines for two reasons. First, convicted felon Michael Flynn said “we have to have one religion” in America… by which he meant his interpretation of Christianity. Second, the crowd began chanting “Let’s go, Brandon,” the right-wing Jesus-approved euphemism for “Fuck Joe Biden.”

FFRF sent a letter to the IRS asking them to investigate whether the church had violated the Johnson Amendment by taking part in what was obviously a political rally.

Enter PJMedia editor Paula Bolyard, whose headline about all of that refers to FFRF as an “Atheist Hate Group.”

Here’s the problem: Throughout the piece, she repeatedly agrees with FFRF’s position and has her own concerns about what occurred at the church:

Before I get to the claims of the FFRF, I’d like to assert a point of personal privilege and say that I don’t like these types of events being held at churches… A political rally, no matter how couched it is in religious language, is not something that falls under the church’s purview. Jesus didn’t seek political power, insisting that his kingdom “is not of this world.” He admonished his followers to pay their taxes and obey the governing authorities.

The left is freaking out over [Flynn’s] calls for a theocracy, which is dumb because Flynn has neither the power nor the influence to accomplish such a thing. The videos circulating are truncated, so I can’t say for certain what the context is

All the same, the idea of a national religion is an absurd proposition that should be rejected by all Christians

To FFRF’s credit, the group has also denounced Democrats who “violate” the Johnson Amendment, recently denouncing Kamala Harris and Terry McAuliffe, both of whom used churches to campaign in the Virginia gubernatorial election. FFRF has called for an IRS investigation into the tax status of those churches as well

So Bolyard agrees the church shouldn’t have hosted the political rally, agrees that FFRF is consistently calling for enforcement of the Johnson Amendment, and agrees that Christianity (or anything else) should not be some kind of national religion. She also says she can’t say for sure the context of Flynn’s remarks, implying that they are indeed problematic given what she’s seen.

But somehow FFRF is still a “hate group.”

How does she defend that label?

Like I said. FFRF is a hate group. It hates Christianity and seeks to destroy it. Never mind all the good churches do…

She’s got nothing. There isn’t a hayfield large enough to create a straw man that huge. She’s just making this up as she goes along to justify her inaccurate headline because admitting the truth would violate the non-existent ethical standards at her company.

FFRF promotes atheism, sure, but that doesn’t mean its staff “hates Christianity.” Saying that is as lazy as claiming every churchgoer in America inherently “hates atheism.” They might not agree with it, and they may passionately argue for their side, but that’s about it. If FFRF were a hate group, then they fail pretty miserably at their mission given how they seem to ignore 99% of the churches in America and focus only on the ones breaking the law.

This is how right-wing propaganda works, though. Bolyard must know that most of her readers never look past the headline, so she packs in the prejudice right up front. It’s not illegal to misunderstand the difference between disagreement and hate, but if you’re incapable of doing it, you sure as hell shouldn’t be the editor of a media outlet.

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