Quantcast

«

»

Mar 03 2013

As usual, it’s not the message, it’s the mere existence of atheists

American Atheists have put up a new set of billboards, with a “go godless” campaign theme.

new-atheist-billboard-split-story-top

What’s interesting, though, is the media response:

Atheists ratchet up rhetoric, use billboards to attack Republican politicians

Hang on there…”Go godless instead” is ratcheting up the rhetoric? It seems like a rather mild suggestion to me — presenting an extremist religious position and then offering an alternative is an entirely reasonable approach.

As for attacking Republican politicians…has CNN noticed that the religious right has staked itself out in the Republican party? If Democrats were saying things as stupid as the Republicans, I’m sure Dave Silverman would be ripping on them just as aggressively. And if the Republicans were not basing bad policy on religious dogma, there wouldn’t be much concern about them and they wouldn’t be appearing on those billboards.

51 comments

Skip to comment form

  1. 1
    robertbaty

    Speaking of Dave Silverman, he is scheduled to appear tonight on Michael W. Jones (aka Kaine Diatheke) show along with Eric Hovind, Sye Ten Bruggencate and some others:

    http://www.ustream.tv/channel/ncg-studios

    The show is scheduled for 8-10 CST.

  2. 2
    Dick the Damned

    “Go godless” hardly qualifies as rhetoric, & the religious nutjobs have made the statements which the media sees as an attack. So whoever wrote that “Atheists ratchet up rhetoric, use billboards to attack Republican politicians”, presumably sees the nutjob comments for what they really are, at a subconscious level. Too bad they don’t bring it into full consciousness, & realize the craziness of the religious mindset.

  3. 3
    Chuck

    “How can I trust you with power if you don’t perform mindlessly repetitive ritualistic thought-acts that are ridiculous in the face of what you believe to be an omniscient deity?”

  4. 4
    Gregory Greenwood

    Atheists ratchet up rhetoric, use billboards to attack Republican politicians

    The media culture in the US (not that it is much better over here in the UK with our screeching, bigoted red top papers) would be funny if it wasn’t so toxic – ‘Go Godless Instead’ is pretty mild, and hardly qualifies as ‘ratcheting up the rhetoric’. What Dan Merica is interpreting as ‘atheist rhetoric’ is simply the use of quotes of those Republican’s own words, and not statements ‘quote mined’ and deliberately taken out of context and distorted to misrepresent their positions – these quotes are very much in context and accurately convey the positions of the people they are attributes to. These fanatics are proud of their fundamentalism and make no effort to hide it.

    It has gotten to the point now in the US that simply noting the publicly acknowledged (and invariably deeply bigoted and stupid) stance of Republicans on the issues is characterised as some cynical, manipulative political attack rather than a simple statement of the facts, while the most monstrously inaccurate and defamatory lies (not to mention violent or even outright elimantionist rhetoric) can be spouted by the xians and the media doesn’t even lift an eyebrow most of the time.

    As an example, Merica goes on to discuss the quote attributed to Palin;

    In one billboard, a picture of Palin is featured on the left, with a quote attributed to her. “We should create law based on the God of the Bible,” the quote reads. Underneath the graphic is a tag line “GO GODLESS INSTEAD.”

    The billboard, however, misquotes Palin. In an interview with Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly, Palin addressed the growth in American secularism by saying America’s founding fathers “would create law based on the God of the Bible and the Ten Commandments,” not “should.”

    Talk about a distinction without a difference – is Merica seriously trying to claim that Sarah Palin – a known evangelical fundamentalist – is not in favour of shoehorning her religion into America’s legal system by any means possible? Palin pratically defies the founding fathers; when she says that this is what the founding fathers would do, what she is really saying is that it is what modern America should be doing.

    Here is the the Young Turk video about the interview – it seems pretty clear to me that Palin is stating that America is based upon christianity, and that by implication US law should be based upon the bible. I simply can’t imagine how Merica missed that…

  5. 5
    Reginald Selkirk

    If Democrats were saying things as stupid as the Republicans, I’m sure Dave Silverman would be ripping on them just as aggressively.

    A common tactic would be to look for a Democratic leader saying something stoopid in the interest of “balance.” But you would have to look hard to find a Dem offering what the Republicans are serving up in heaping helpings on a regular basis. Like Michael Shermer’s recent weak attempt to report a “liberal war on science,” it would take so much effort to present such “balance” that it would be dishonest.

  6. 6
    SallyStrange

    Republicans say that atheists and gay people are filthy and immoral, but when atheists quote the Republicans and say, “Go Godless,” THAT is “ratcheting up the rhetoric.”

    Okay, media. Please continue revealing your biases. Maybe Barbara Bradley Haggerty should cover the story.

  7. 7
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    How can I trust you with power if you will not send me money?

  8. 8
    naturalcynic

    The billboard, however, misquotes Palin. In an interview with Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly, Palin addressed the growth in American secularism by saying America’s founding fathers “would create law based on the God of the Bible and the Ten Commandments,” not “should.”

    Well, gee Sister Sarah, maybe they would have if they had wanted to, but I don’t see the evidence.

  9. 9
    davemuscato

    The quote from Palin in context reads: “Go back to what our founders and our founding documents meant– they’re quite clear– that we would create law based on the God of the Bible and the Ten Commandents, it’s quite simple.”

    Although she did say it as a jussive subjunctive, the exact wording she used was “would” and not “should.” However, if you ask me, it’s clear from the context that she is imploring us to create law based on the Bible, in her reasoning, because this is what the Founding Fathers meant for us to do.

    Dave Muscato
    PR Director, American Atheists

  10. 10
    JdRock

    As always, CNN’s comments are hilariously messed up.

  11. 11
    sqlrob

    Well, gee Sister Sarah, maybe they would have if they had wanted to, but I don’t see the evidence.

    There’s evidence, just not of the type Sarah would like. It was suggested that Jesus be in the text, but that was rejected.

  12. 12
    Marcus Ranum

    If that’s “ratcheting up the rhetoric” someone’s overton window needs to have a brick thrown through it.

  13. 13
    mikehuben

    Calling them politicians is dubious: none of them holds a political office.

  14. 14
    ck

    As always, CNN’s comments are hilariously messed up.

    Of course. I was half tempted to troll the person who brought up Hitler, Stalin, Mao, et al. and suggest incarceration and/or extermination of all atheists to see if it was possible to elicit any humanity from those people, but I’m far more afraid that they’d agree with that suggestion.

  15. 15
    unclefrogy

    When the “media” makes comments like that with that kind of slant my sense of incredulity “how could they be serious?” suggests to me that if they are not reactionary hacks themselves they make the comments slanted out of fear of the vindictive nature of the far right.
    There is also the other possibility of starting a big yelling match controversy and its plus for their bottom line.
    What ever the motivation I can speculate about one thing is pretty clear it ain’t truth.

    uncle frogy

  16. 16
    Anthony K

    Janine, love the DMST ‘nym!

  17. 17
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Calling them politicians is dubious: none of them holds a political office.

    One doesn’t need to hold political office to be a politician. It just makes them more visible. Their partisanship makes them politicians.

  18. 18
    Argle Bargle

    mikehuben @13

    Calling them politicians is dubious: none of them holds a political office.

    While Jeffress has never held a political office, the other three all have.

  19. 19
    F [is for failure to emerge]

    You know how it is. Quoting Republicans directly is an attack. Because reasons.

  20. 20
    Randomfactor

    ““How can I trust you with power ”

    Said the guy who told two ex-wives and presumably the current one he could be trusted.

  21. 21
    Algonquin on the Bayou a/k/a Sharon

    Here’s my very own Go Godless billboard inspired by PZ’s Why I Became an Atheist series.
    The World Cracks Wide Open

  22. 22
    Anri

    Talk about a distinction without a difference – is Merica seriously trying to claim that Sarah Palin – a known evangelical fundamentalist – is not in favour of shoehorning her religion into America’s legal system by any means possible? Palin pratically defies the founding fathers; when she says that this is what the founding fathers would do, what she is really saying is that it is what modern America should be doing.

    While that’s a perfectly reasonable assumption in regards to Palin, it’s still not what she said. It’s still not a quote. It’s still not mysterious, or obscure, or hard to verify. If it’s an interpretation, it shouldn’t be in quotes.

    We are free – and I think rightly so – to dislike it when one of ‘ours’ is misquoted by one of ‘theirs’. We consider it questionable (at best) when they change a quote based on their assumptions about what we think. And we often consider it dishonest if it the sort of thing that’s easy to check and presented prominently.
    I honestly don’t know if AA put up a billboard with an incorrect quote knowing that they did or not knowing that they did.
    Either was preventable, either is wrong.

  23. 23
    feralboy12

    How can I trust you with power when you had it once and were reprimanded for ethics violations?

  24. 24
    unclefrogy

    I have heard Palin try to talk coherently on TV and because you can’t find those exact words on tape yet does not suggest she did not say them as quoted some where at sometime.
    uncle frogy

  25. 25
    Gvlgeologist, FCD

    Palin’s quote was technically incorrect, even if it correctly reported the meaning. All that really needed to be done was for the quote mark to be moved slightly:

    We should “create law based on the God of the Bible.”

    would have gotten it across fine.

    I was fairly relieved that so many of the comments called Merica out for his outright bias and agreed with the sentiment in the billboard.

    They might also have quoted GHW Bush:

    “No, I don’t know that atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered patriots. This is one nation under God.”

    Maybe too wordy.

    SallyStrange:

    Republicans say that atheists and gay people are filthy and immoral, but when atheists quote the Republicans and say, “Go Godless,” THAT is “ratcheting up the rhetoric.”

    QFT, but IOKIYAR.

  26. 26
    Wowbagger, Designated Snarker

    How can I trust you with power when in your mind any wrongdoings you may indulge in, no matter how heinous, can be forgiven simply by your asking your imaginary friend to wave his magic wand over you to make it all okay?

  27. 27
    tomh

    @ #25

    They might also have quoted GHW Bush:

    “No, I don’t know that atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered patriots. This is one nation under God.”

    I’m glad they didn’t use that, since the question has never been settled whether it’s true or not. Reported by a single reporter, (Rob Sherman, American Atheist News Journal), from an airport tarmac, at a campaign stop by Bush in 1988, there was no recording of it, nor did any of the other reporters who were there report hearing it. It’s possible Bush Sr. felt that way, but whether he actually said that is dubious at best.

  28. 28
    Ichthyic

    We consider it questionable (at best) when they change a quote based on their assumptions about what we think. And we often consider it dishonest if it the sort of thing that’s easy to check and presented prominently.

    absolute and utter bullshit you have written here.

    When those of us here have criticized the right for misquoting, it is because the quotes are being used to ascribe an OPPOSITE meaning to what the author meant in context. That’s called quotemining.

    There is NO POSSIBLE way you can construe changing “would” to “should” in that quote from Palin as changing the meaning of what she said to something opposite from context.

    sorry, but your response is disingenuous twaddle.

  29. 29
    Ichthyic

    Reported by a single reporter, (Rob Sherman, American Atheist News Journal), from an airport tarmac, at a campaign stop by Bush in 1988, there was no recording of it, nor did any of the other reporters who were there report hearing it.

    notable is the fact that Bush himself never denied having said it. Nor did anybody else ever contradict Sherman.

    Moreover, lawsuits were filed relating to the incident, and the judge didn’t at the time didn’t think it irrelevant.

    and… Bush was asked for an apology for saying that, and not only didn’t he deny it, but his aide replied with:

    “As you are aware, the President is a religious man who neither supports atheism nor believes that atheism should be unnecessarily encouraged or supported by the government.

    so.. yeah, maybe not worth playing up, but not worthy of dismissal either.

    the slighted group, AA, still has the history of the exchanges on file (examples copied to this website):

    http://www.positiveatheism.org/writ/ghwbush.htm

  30. 30
    Rev. BigDumbChimp

    the comments at the CNN articl….

    Humanity must be snuffed out for the good of the Universe.

  31. 31
    indicus

    I don’t know why they just don’t hunt down the remains of Torquemada and run them in ’16. Certainly in line with their core platform and about as much personality as any of those smiling idiots.

  32. 32
    tomh

    @ #29

    lawsuits were filed relating to the incident

    At about the same time as this, Sherman filed a lawsuit about his son having to say “under god” in the pledge of allegiance, but I’m not aware of any lawsuits over this incident.

  33. 33
    strange gods before me ॐ

    The message is fine.

    The billboard design is a busy mess, as usual for AA.

    Maybe they could have made something like this work as four separate billboards.

  34. 34
    garydargan

    Re your previous post: Al-Qaeda has a magazine, Christian fundamentalism has a political party. Which one is a bigger threat to the world?

  35. 35
    chigau (違う)

    The billboard design is a busy mess, as usual for AA.

    Amen.
    Especially if they are road-side billboards.
    How much of that can you catch at 100kph?

  36. 36
    myeck waters

    No Real Murkinz use those commie kill-o-meters, chigau.

  37. 37
    chigau (違う)

    myeck waters
    ahem
    How much of that can you catch at 62.1371mph?

  38. 38
    Azuma Hazuki

    @31/Indicus

    No, no, Corpsemada is going to be the new secretary of defense on the Repub ticket. They are apparently trying to cobble together the remains of Greg Bahnsen, Cornelius van Til, and…well, Ted Nugent (shush, he’s braindead) for President.

  39. 39
    indicus

    Considering that months after the election they STILL won’t shut the fuck up about rape, I don’t think there is anything that party can do which would surprise me.

  40. 40
    chrisv

    SallyStrange on 3 March 2013 at 12:47 pm
    Republicans say that atheists and gay people are filthy and immoral===>Sayeth the Party Of The Wide Stance.

  41. 41
    Anri

    absolute and utter bullshit you have written here.

    Except for that whole bit about it being accurate.

    When those of us here have criticized the right for misquoting, it is because the quotes are being used to ascribe an OPPOSITE meaning to what the author meant in context. That’s called quotemining.

    Or, they are being taken out of context to shade the meanings into something the quoter prefers. Or that the quoter believes the quotee actually thinks but refuses to say.
    Changing someone’s quote to more closely match what you think they believe is not honest. Even just a little bit, yes.

    There is NO POSSIBLE way you can construe changing “would” to “should” in that quote from Palin as changing the meaning of what she said to something opposite from context.

    You are incorrect.
    The argument can be made that the founding fathers meant to create law based on the bible. It’s a bad argument, but it can be made.
    And the person making that argument can disagree with their motives in doing so.
    A person would therefore say “would” instead of “should”.

    sorry, but your response is disingenuous twaddle.

    So, this is an acceptable misquote?
    Why bother if they get the quote yanno, close enough – they really shouldn’t be expected to be right, right?

    I’m not saying the quote presented isn’t similar to what she actually said. It is.
    I’m saying they presented it as a direct quote. It isn’t.

    She said something quite specific. The quote’s available. They didn’t get it right. No amount of coulda, woulda, shoulda, changes that. They’re making assumptions about what she thinks, and they’re presenting it as a direct quote. That’s careless if done accidentally, and dishonest if done purposefully.

  42. 42
    strange gods before me ॐ

    chrisv,

    The takes-one-to-know-one homophobic jokes are still homophobic jokes. Please don’t.

  43. 43
    Crissa

    Wait, how is it homophobic to note closeted behavior?

    They do X. They say they won’t do X. They get arrested, doing X. Mentioning X about them is not Xphobia.

  44. 44
    rorschach

    Dear Mr PR Director for AA,

    please find the work experience student who “designs” your billboards some alternative job.

    Kind Regards

    (Also, in the context of images of 4 godbothering politicians, what kind of message is ‘Go Godless”, exactly? I’m at a loss who this slogan is for, even if someone could read it going past at 100 kmh)

  45. 45
    Ichthyic

    So, this is an acceptable misquote?

    followed immediately by:

    I’m not saying the quote presented isn’t similar to what she actually said

    like I said. disingenuous twaddle.

    run along.

  46. 46
    sc_2f4951cea5b2bf1e266655d61207054a

    Tomb @27 – I remember seeing Bush1 saying that on an interview broadcast on the BBC back when I still lived in the UK. I was disgusted then and am horrified by it now.

  47. 47
    sc_2f4951cea5b2bf1e266655d61207054a

    Oh FFS it’s timrowledge under the ‘kin googlemess

  48. 48
    strange gods before me ॐ

    They say they won’t do X.

    Bullshit. The Republican Party does not have a policy of excluding same-sex-attracted people from membership, they do not claim to have no same-sex-attracted members, and they do not claim to have no members who will ever break the law.

    Wait, how is it homophobic to note closeted behavior?

    It’s homophobic to use the personal tragedy of a closeted man as a bludgeon to attack one’s political opponents. That’s not showing concern for same-sex-attracted people’s lives or the tragedy of widespread public homophobia that pushes some of us into risky behaviors. It’s merely showing delight at finding another weapon to attack political opponents.

    Just criticism them for having policies which hurt gay people; that’s the real problem with them. Don’t act so excited to use one man’s self-destructive behavior — a man who has undoubtedly lived a very sad and painful life — as a bludgeon to indict the party for alleged hypocrisy.

    Overt raging homophobes are critical of hypocrisy too; pointing out hypocrisy isn’t a pro-gay activity. I remember the excitement when Craig was arrested. Plenty of homophobes were absolutely delighted to have a spectacle to talk about. Making jokes about him only signals interest in the spectacle. It doesn’t make you any better than insufferable homophobes like Jimmy Kimmel or Bill Maher. “Ha ha! He’s gay!” It’s tiresome, get over it.

    Dear ostensible liberals: you can signal that you’re not a homophobe by doing what homophobes won’t do: just criticize the party for their destructive policies.

  49. 49
    Anri

    like I said. disingenuous twaddle.

    run along.

    Ah, so the quote was accurate?

    Then I apologize.

  50. 50
    rupicapra

    AA has apologised: “We are issuing an official apology to Sarah Palin for misplacing the quotation marks and falsely attributing the word “should” to her.”

  51. 51
    anchor

    I don’t understand what CNN is fussing about. All the photos they selected of these people are quite becoming.

    It isn’t as if its anywhere nearly as grotesquely sincere as any routine newsmax poll ad, for example…

    Oh, i see… one has to read it in order to appreciate how diabolical and unfair the billboard is to point out what these innocent public figures think. How dare those nasty atheists sneak a fast one in under the camouflage of toothy smiles. What a low blow cheap shot.

    CNN is sensitive to protecting the interests of their respected viewers, whom they know as well and esteem as much as anyone in the commercial industry. Selling news is hard thankless work. Poor things, they struggle so to squeeze content out of appearance. Keeping up with FOX is exhausting.

Comments have been disabled.