The atheist bus campaign got some coverage on cable news tonight but not really in a good way. Here’s the clip from tonight’s Countdown with Keith Olbermann.
What I believe Keith fails to appreciate is the potentially serious ramifications of “coming out” as an atheist. It can be a career killer. No, forget that. It can be a family killer! I’m sure the donor had perfectly justifiable reasons for not wanting to come out. Every atheist’s situation is different. Some can afford to take off the mask, and some, such as myself, cannot. Today, in America, if you are a business owner, or a job seeker, or many other things, you cannot afford to “come out” or you will endanger your family’s livelihood. How about you do a story on that Keith?!
Another thing about this segment that irks me is that he says that the purpose of the campaign is to encourage atheists to “come out”. That’s only one of the purposes. The more obvious purpose is to convince the theistic among us that atheists can be moral people. Indeed that is literally what the ad’s statement says. Atheists are the most marginalized minority in the U.S. precisely because our neighbors believe we are untrustworthy and evil. That is the negative stereotype this campaign is trying to address.
In this segment he uses a narrow focus on the wrong message in order to blow this completely out of proportion and make an issue where none exists. He didn’t understand the issues involved and, frankly he made an ass of himself. Keith, these are the tactics of your enemies. I thought you were better than this. Very O’Reilly-ish of you.