Secular Student Alliance makes benign appearance on CNN…receives death threat

Jesse Galef, Communications Director for the Secular Student Alliance, appeared on CNN this morning discussing the recent Pew survey that found a growing number of Millennials are doubting the existence of God.

Get Jesse signed up for the Jedi Academy right now. I have no idea how he kept his cool during such an inane, biased interview that accused the SSA of “indoctrinating children.” You know who indoctrinates children? Every religion on the planet. I guess all those people who were baptized as infants and forced to attend church throughout their childhood don’t count as being indoctrinated…but teenagers voluntarily wanting to discuss God’s existence? Indoctrination!!!

Despite Jesse smiling his way through the interview and being polite where I would have popped a vein, people are still upset. Jesse and JT at the SSA office immediately received angry phone calls from an individual who called them faggots, threatened to “shut them down,” asked how they’d feel sweeping their teeth into dustpans, and said he’d come to their office at 1pm to tear his head off.

Christian compassion, everybody. Thankfully the guy never showed up.

This is why what the SSA is doing is so important. We’re assisting students who are organizing on their own, and we’re seen as indoctrinating the youth. We appear on the news to amicably talk about that support, and we receive a death threat. Our existence is threatening to the religious because our existence says “You’re wrong.”

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  1. says

    You know, just once in my life, I would like to find out who that threatening little pissant is, go find him and have a go at tearing his bullying little head off.
    Then, after a moment’s reflection, I decide that the best course of action is to let him continue to wallow in his own toxic stew of hatred and stupidity.

  2. Craig says

    I really love the phrase “some people.” It’s a big flag to me that says “This is my opinion, but as a journalist I’m not allowed to have an opinion, so I’m going to pretend that someone else is asking/saying this.” The ways in which reporters lie, obscure and mislead change more and more every day; it’s comforting to know that these two words remain as blatant as always.

  3. Tony Fyler says

    Just want to say thanks to Jesse for addressing the questions calmly and with good humor, despite, as has been noted, the preposterously slanted approach of the interviewer – “you’re in schools so you’re indoctrinating them when they’re too young to have that” rather ignoring the constant actual indoctrination of a faith-based society.

    He did what I think is the key thing whenever we as atheists are given a popular mouthpiece – he made it clear that atheists can be intelligent, non-combative people and good role models for those watching. He essentially embodied the best characteristics of a life free from deity-faith.

    That the response was so hostile is depressing and unfortunate, but thankfully it has so far proved impotent. Well done Jesse and thanks to the SSA (from an atheist here in the UK)

  4. gworroll says

    Religious whackos need to shut the hell up.

    If their views on the nature of the universe are correct, science, allowed to do its thing without interference, will eventually find the evidence to support that.

    If their lifestyle leads to greater happiness, this will be apparent in their life. Simply living their life and providing that example would be an incredibly powerful evangelical tool. A hugely important moment in my life was seeing an old friend of mine(all the way back to kindergarten) and her wife. I knew same sex couples could be happy and stable and had supported them as a concept for years before meeting the wife or even hearing about the marriage(we had been out of touch for years), but there is something especially impactful about actually seeing that in real life.

    The pushiness needs to go. Like the evangelical Monopoly Chance parody cards I find at work from time to time. Though I might come to like those cards, if it’s who I suspect there may be a full time position opening for me if they get caught leaving them.

  5. says

    @6: Those are called “Weasel words”. And yep, it tends to mask the writer/speaker’s own opinions behind “Some people claim”, “Many people say”, etc.

  6. Amanda M says

    I’m generally really laid back about the whole atheism thing. And I’ll admit, I do slip into a complacent mindset occasionally when I wonder why you get so riled up about these things…… then you post something like this and I’m reminded why. You’re absolutely right, it is hugely important to have a strong, supportive community. I’m sorry that sometimes I forget that. (But thanks for constantly reminding me and keeping me from becoming complacent.)

  7. says

    ‎”Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful.” -Seneca (Roman philosopher, mid-1st century AD) / Gibbon

  8. Quatguy says

    Way to go Jesse, you are very well spoken and did great credit to your cause. CNN blows.

  9. Craig says

    My favorite was when Obama was about to do a speech, and he fist-bumped his wife just before he went up to the podium – next day, our good friends at Fox did their duty in reporting that some people were calling it a ‘terrorist fist jab.’ That moment should be shown in every single journalism course, as a reminder of how obvious it is when you insert your opinion into a report.

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