Yesterday, right-wing gun-obsessed MAGA cultist Kaitlin Bennett, a former correspondent for InfoWars and longtime purveyor of misinformation online, announced she was no longer an atheist.
She had found God, she said, and was now a Catholic. Okay. Fine by me. They can have her. That’s a bit of a surprise, however, because she’s been promoting Christian Nationalism for years. Who knew she was ever an atheist, much less one for the past decade?
Anyway, here’s the video, full of overly dramatic music and containing all the natural charisma of a mannequin.
In short, Bennett talks about how her “incredibly devout Catholic” husband wanted to get married in a church last year, so they did… and then one day, her cat got sick, and she prayed to Saint Francis of Assisi, and then her cat got better, therefore everything the Catholic Church says is true.
I don’t get it either.
The whole video reeks of a Christian apologist trying to convince everyone — and probably herself — how bleak her life was as an atheist, and how incredible everything became after she stopped asking critical questions. It’s all very predictable and unconvincing, but I’m obviously not her target audience. She’s just shoring up her own profile among her conservative base.
But let’s not pretend her past atheism represented some huge shift from where she is right now. It’s not like she was talking about it openly, which might be understandable if she didn’t spend years playing the role of a religious believer.
Just consider her wedding. She says in the video it took place in a Catholic church because her husband “wanted to make sure our marital vows were sealed by Christ and fulfilled through the sacrament of holy matrimony” and adds that, “over the next year, I would continue to reject religion altogether.” She’s basically implying that she went along with her husband’s wishes to have a Church wedding, but it wasn’t something she necessarily wanted for herself. (There’s nothing wrong with that! It’s a compromise that many couples have made to appease their partner or their families!) When she tweeted about getting married, though, she celebrated her “Church wedding” as if having it in a Church made it better. Her husband said the same thing.
Just for the record, to get married in a Catholic Church, both parties have to be Catholic, though there are some tweaks that can be made for a marriage to a non-Catholic Christian. If you’re not a Christian at all, though, but you still want a Church wedding, then the Church at least needs you to promise that your kids will be raised Catholic. I’d love to know which of those options she went with.
Maybe that’s a small nitpick and we can forgive someone who just lies to a priest to get married in the Church and keep the families happy. (It wouldn’t be the first time.) But during that following year of supposedly rejecting religion, Bennett had no problem urging people to pray or implying that she was doing so herself.
Again, none of this is to call her a liar about her own biography. My problem is that she’s playing up her atheism like she lived on one end of the religious spectrum and is now, miraculously, on the other side. There’s no single way to “be” an atheist, but let’s not confuse someone who questions religious dogma or looks for evidence and finds none… with the Kirk Cameron-style religious apathy that people like Bennett just equate with atheism.
Case in point: She described growing up with a fear of Hell and Satan — and thinking that calling herself an atheist while still believing in those things was a way to make it all go away. It kind of misses the entire point.
Anyway, it’s her life. It’s her journey. But conversion stories like hers, with all their logical flaws, are a dime a dozen in Christian circles. Stories of finding God are always more effective when you can play up how awful things were before that point. Since her pre-Catholic life was just as privileged, she’s rewriting her own history to made her conversion seem like a bigger deal than it really is.
That said, this anti-mask tweet seems rather hilarious given her newfound faith: