American Humanist Association Stops Public School From Allowing Proselytization Through Toy Drive

In the video below, Megyn Kelly is extremely obnoxious and hostile to American Humanist Association President Roy Speckhardt for having the audacity to stop a school from violating the Constitution. It’s clear from the video she knows he’s right on the law and yet the anger and contempt for him in her voice is striking. And her insinuations that it is his responsibility, and one he is failing in, to provide toys for the kids in lieu of the Evangelical Christian group that was using them as a proselytization tool is a shallow and unfair attempt to make him look bad.


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Also, for two superlative examples for how to deal with the cable news gladatorial arena as a secularist, humanist, and/or atheist, check out the fine work of Amanda Knief and Fred Edwords.

Your Thoughts?

About Daniel Fincke

Dr. Daniel Fincke  has his PhD in philosophy from Fordham University and spent 11 years teaching in college classrooms. He wrote his dissertation on Ethics and the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. On Camels With Hammers, the careful philosophy blog he writes for a popular audience, Dan argues for atheism and develops a humanistic ethical theory he calls “Empowerment Ethics”. Dan also teaches affordable, non-matriculated, video-conferencing philosophy classes on ethics, Nietzsche, historical philosophy, and philosophy for atheists that anyone around the world can sign up for. (You can learn more about Dan’s online classes here.) Dan is an APPA  (American Philosophical Practitioners Association) certified philosophical counselor who offers philosophical advice services to help people work through the philosophical aspects of their practical problems or to work out their views on philosophical issues. (You can read examples of Dan’s advice here.) Through his blogging, his online teaching, and his philosophical advice services each, Dan specializes in helping people who have recently left a religious tradition work out their constructive answers to questions of ethics, metaphysics, the meaning of life, etc. as part of their process of radical worldview change.

  • RhubarbTheBear

    This is exactly the kind of tactical mistake I’d make if I was a public speaker. He should have pointed out that the school chose to cancel the entire program rather than re-align with a more suitable charity. He DID NOT prevent toys from being distributed altogether, and the ball is still in the school’s court on the matter.

  • Snowberry

    What a bad attitude she’s got. He had already suggested the school join up with a neutral charity group, but that wasn’t good enough.

  • kyle s

    This is local for me being from the Denver area. What was really disappointing was AM 760 **progressive** morning show host Gloria Neal buying into the idea that the “War On Christmas” is real. The local media did a horrible job reporting this, treating it as a school just trying to give kids a Merry Christmas but an atheist meanie had to ruin it for them.

    Thought experiment: suppose that as part of a school project kids did something similar but a group sneaked in messages promoting Islam, or Scientology, or Hari Krishna, or even, horror of horrors, freethought. You know damn well that the adults in the community wouldn’t stand for that for one second.

  • Matt Begley

    What have you done Megyn, you mouthy overpaid bitch? Then she cuts him off and laughs about it.

  • TommyNIK

    I could almost sense MK’s latent desire to rip out his throat. Of course
    she used the classic ploy of “what has YOUR group done” bullshit when
    she knew he was right.

    She’s nauseating.

  • bitobonnie .

    What an inconsiderate, rude *itch. She interrupted him and pushed him over and over again, “Yeah, BUT…” Those kids can get toys if people send them without the religious tracts in them on their own. Sheesh. And what is SHE doing to make sure they get their toys if it is so important to her??!! That little card was sick.

  • karlt6

    It’s BS they were putting literature into the boxes, but she’s got a good
    point. Their group should have made arrangements to take-over delivery of the
    gifts.

    • JayM

      Why should their group do that? Like he said, his group is not a charity group, but an advocacy group. He did advise the school to use Toys for Tots for example

    • Pish

      No, the school should have made arrangements to replace the group they were working with as soon as they became aware that what they were doing was illegal.

    • karlt6

      Well, of course. Because if there is one thing that exists in this world it’s an overabundance of groups willing to spend their time and money delivering toys to others. As someone who volunteers quite regularly, that is hardly the case. Say what you want about religious organizations, the majority are always more than happy to help others.

      Being SC, the kids receiving the gifts are likely Christian to begin with. What AHA has done is created an example of the big bad atheist coming in, saying ‘No! You can’t do that’, and then having no solution. Not only to the kids who would have received the gifts but to the school kids who spent their time and money collecting and boxing the gifts. (Also not something you find everyday examples of today)

      If you want to find/point-out a problem, fine, but if you’re going to interfere, you should take the mature, responsible approach and fix the new problem you created.

    • Pish

      You’re missing the point, it doesn’t matter how many, if any, of the kids might come from Xtian families, the school should have started by complying with legislation. How, exactly, is that interference? Would you expect a cop ‘interfering’ with you driving under the influence to find you a taxi home? And to argue that they didn’t find a solution is disingenuous, how difficult is it to google toys for tots? (I have a feeling you might be surprised by the number of charities who specialise in distributing toys. Where I live we have two separate toy distribution outlets we can donate to plus hostels and support workers.) Might look better to have a more skilled spokesperson who can put people like Megyn in their place though ;)

    • karlt6

      It’s the police officer’s job to stop (me). And the solution he provides for those impacted by my actions -the general public- is he arrests me and takes me off the road.

      You obviously have zero clue about Toys for Tots and the amount of demand they face. With 1 month notice they may have been able to absorb the 100 extra deliveries, but I’d wager not, having seen how difficult it is for the local drive.

    • Pish

      As it was the schools’ job to ensure that they complied with legislation, then the schools’ board, and up the chain. How embarassing that it took an outside group to point out that their choice was a Constitutional violation!?

      FYI They had at least 6 weeks notice and the parents were able to choose which charity they donated their boxes to. The parents could have, as individuals, chosen to donate via religious charities or other routes when the schools decided not to proceed either for practical or other reasons.

      You obviously want to make it sound as if there was no other choice, there was.

    • Brett Childs

      You keep saying he offered no alternative. .but twice in the interview he suggested Toys for Tots. This was pointed out to you in an earlier post. Are you ignoring it in order to make a point? By the way. . He didn’t create the problem. The school did. He was trying to fix it.

    • Just Me

      What he suggested was some other group (Toys for Tots) should now be responsible for taking care of the kids his group just strip of presents.

  • JayM

    She says she’s a serious news reporter yet she twists statements she doesn’t like nor agree with all the time. After her “Jesus was a white man too. Get over it.” statement, maybe she should look for another job. This white-wing wackos whine and demand others be fired, Bashar, for example for giving his opinion about Palin, yet these people inflame their viewership to do what the criticize the ‘left’ for doing or not doing.

  • Michael Colwell

    So the Evangelical group does something indefensible and this Kelly woman blames the reasonable and rationale humanist, not high quality television, it would look as bad if not worse in the UK for a TV presenter to show such contempt for a guest on a show. I’m no great fan of Russel Brand but the contrast of how he dealt with atrocious evangelical Christians and showed them for what they were without losing his professional if somewhat wacky cool.

  • Richard Thomas

    Megyn Kelly is a second-rate Ann Coulter wannabe and I can only make it through about half of what she says before I can feel my brain cells committing seppuku in protest. Kudos for Fock Snooze for flushing the rest of their already dubious credibility by hiring this hack of a woman.

  • davidlatkins

    How does anyone take this woman seriously? She is one of the reasons Fox is typically spelled Faux.

    • Williant

      And their version of truth is filled with nothing but the “Focts.”

  • mageeh

    Disgraceful behaviour from a presenter to a GUEST regardless of the issue and also again confirms why FOX News is the worst in the world!! FOR SHAME!! Get her OFF!!

  • Cdat88

    From the person on the street point of view, Roy (and the Humanist group) looks like the Grinch. While they were not required to do so, I really feel that an alternative should have been presented to the school by the Humanists. That is good publicity all the way around. They just gave the church a truckload of verbal ammo to use. It can now be said that those evil atheists hate kids, Xmas and toys… The truth does not matter, only what is perceived. Look at this from a PAO/Marketing point of view. This was a spin doctors wet dream.

    • karlt6

      BINGO!

    • jimlouvier

      Did you even listen to what he said? They suggested Toys for Tots. The school chose to close the whole program rather than to with a secular charity. It’s only a spin doctors dream if they ignore what was actually said.

    • Cdat88

      I listen very closely. Suggesting is easy. Doing, even if it is nothing more than coordinating with Toys for Tots, would have been the point. Just think about the reaction had he said “Hey, just so you know, we tied this in to local TFT programs, and this is still happening!” Had the school turned down the offer, then the onus is back on them. Truth has nothing to do with this. It is all perception. We have to be better than the Xtians. Compassionate, without the strings.

    • Pish

      That would have been great, but according to karlt6 it wouldn’t have been possible…

      (I say this on the basis that karlt6 argues that the school couldn’t have made other arrangements, therefore no-one else would have been able to either. My local groups (note plural, on small island) would easily have accommodated this with the 6 weeks plus notice that would have been possible if the schools hadn’t chosen to use an evangelical group)

    • Cdat88

      Pish, read above. Per karlt6, trying would have been better than nothing…

    • Pish

      Two points:

      1. surely it was embarrassing enough to the schools, school boards etc that it should have to be pointed out to them that their choice was unconstitutional

      2 what would have been the reaction to the AHA finding another partner for the schools – wouldn’t that now be being attacked as being totally outside their remit, how dare they not give the schools the opportunity to find a solution.

      As usual, there is no simple solution other than for the people in receipt of public money to recognise that, regardless of their personal religious convictions, the Constitution is pre-eminent,

    • karlt6

      Pish, you have no clue if other organizations exist in the area. Certainly not secular ones that AHA wouldn’t throw a hissy fit about. The school is in a suburb of Columbia, SC. Common sense would dictate there are likely many faith-based organizations.

      And, again, if AHA is going to step-in and ruin/interfere with the program, THEY should be the ones providing the solution. It’s easy to stand-back and be the one to point fingers. They should have stood-up and did something to help. This isn’t a chunk of stone in front of a courthouse, this taking away kids Christmas presents.

    • karlt6

      As I noted to Pish below, you obviously have no clue the challenge local Toys for Tots programs already face. Adding 100 families to their delivery plan with 1 month’s notice may or may not have been possible. .

    • Cdat88

      So what about enlisting local Atheist/Humanists to help? Think about that as an appearance. I am not arguing with you Karlt6, just mentioning this would have been a golden opportunity to put our money where our mouth is.

    • karlt6

      Would have been better than doing nothing. I don’t care if it was AHA members of the area or (other) atheists from the impacted area.

    • Pish

      And as I pointed out, it wasn’t 1 month, they had at least 6 weeks and that’s not counting the time between choosing to affiliate with an evangelical group and receiving the letter.

    • Brett Childs

      He did offer an alternative..toys for tots. He mentioned it twice.

  • Malcolm Reynolds

    Hey Megyn, I’ve got something useful for you to use that mouth of yours for…

    I can’t stand her.

  • N J H

    The constitution is of no importance to children or anyone else is it?

    • ragething

      i would suspect neither is the birth of some kid 2000 years ago. but if you believe it, ill give you a toy…

  • Micah

    How is it that Fox News is constantly going to battle in the name of “preserving the constitution”, yet are completely aware of the separation of church and state? The interviewee mentioned more than twice alternative places where one could contribute to children during the holidays. Anyone who can think for one’s self can see through the rhetoric during this more than embarrassing “news” segment. The Hypocrisy of Fox during this interview is mind-numbing. Trying to chastise someone for standing up for the constitution…? Its laughable. Sorry it doesn’t fit the Fox News Narritive.

  • Soup Waiter

    In the middle east, groups like Hezbollah and the Muslim Brotherhood gain traction by handing out food and clothes to poor people. It undermines capitalist democracy and keeps them in conflict. Conflict is also how a small number of tea-baggers are running the political agenda, pointing fingers is much easier than thinking of answers.

  • Francis Michael Pitchford

    If that had been a muslim organisation proselytising islam with toys then this woman would be on the guys side.
    Bloody hypocrite


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