A Lousy Night for Atheists?

John Hamilton of the Texas Rangers was in the Home Run Derby tonight. He needed 8 home runs in round one to advance to the next round.

mlb_hamilton4_412.jpg

He cranked out 28.

In the first round.

13 in a row at one point.

(The previous record was Bobby Abreu‘s 24 first round homers in 2005.)

At the end of that first round, Lance Berkman and Justin Morneau were tied for second place. With 8 home runs each.

Hamilton has a history of drug use — heroin and cocaine — which he has since stopped doing.

He’s also a Christian:

… on this particular night, a little boy of about 9 or 10, wearing a Reds cap, handed me a pen and something to sign. Nothing unusual there, but as I was writing the boy said, “Josh, you’re my savior.”

This stopped me. I looked at him and said, “Well, thank you. Do you know who my savior is?”

He thought for a minute. I could see the gears turning. Finally, he smiled and blurted out, “Jesus Christ.” He said it like he’d just come up with the answer to a test. “That’s exactly right,” I said.

So when Hamilton was ripping off home runs tonight, ESPN announcers were talking about his past. They mentioned how he was a crack addict and how he “found God” and turned his life around.

When Hamilton was being interviewed after his performance, he thanked God for helping him turn his life around.

At one point, announcer Rick Reilly said this:

“It’s a lousy night to be an atheist.”

Is that offensive? For me, not really. Reilly was referencing Hamilton’s faith and needed something that was the opposite of Christianity to make the phrase work. He wasn’t critiquing or criticizing atheism or purposely trying to malign atheists.

But a lot of people are starting to talk about this comment… and making a bigger deal of it than I think the phrase deserves.

Then again… if an openly atheist player had the same first round success and a commenter said, “It’s a lousy night to be a Christian,” Bill Donohue and James Dobson would be calling for his head.

Your thoughts?

By the way, since scores are reset after the first two rounds, Hamilton made it to the final round but ended up losing to Morneau.

(via Deadspin)


[tags]atheism, Home Run Derby[/tags]

  • http://terahertz.wordpress.com THz

    It is offencive and derogatory for the simple fact that he could have said Jew or Muslim (since they don’t credit JC for the home runs) and he would be out of a job tomorrow. Another case where open discrimination of atheism is still acceptable.

  • The Unbrainwashed

    I actually kind of liked it. Is that bad? I think it was clearly a joke and I like that he acknowledges atheists actually exist. Maybe the announcer is an atheist and that’s why he said it.

    Having said that though, I completely agree with the above comment as well. I see both sides.

  • UNOME

    The Bible said that we would face tribulation so I guess they would say, \”It is no suprise\”

  • EKM

    So when Hamilton was ripping off home runs tonight, ESPN announcers were talking about his past. They mentioned how he was a crack addict and how he “found God” and turned his life around.

    I am an atheist and I have NEVER taken drugs. If you think you need some religion to prevent you from destroying yourself, you are just stupid.

    I may post another comment later, but right now I am not able to articulate exactly why this whole “I was self-destructive but now I have God” mentality bothers me.

    While you are waiting, make that “weapons-grade stupid”.

  • http://www.saintgasoline.com Saint Gasoline

    The issue with the remark isn’t necessarily that it is a terrible thing to say. Instead, it is a matter of consistency and double standards. As you said, the remark would be less tolerated if one had said, “It’s a lousy night to be a Christian”. Or the possibly one of the worst cases, imagine if he had said, “It’s a lousy night to be a Jew.” No doubt he would have lost his job in the ensuing shit storm in that case.

    Personally, I agree with your assessment that his intentions are not to malign anyone. In fact, I generally think people take words way too seriously and often ignore people’s intentions in using language, being all too quick to interepret remarks as unsavory, bigoted, and so on. I think that is silly and definitely a problem. However, the point still stands that a double standard exists. Even though people SHOULDN’T get up in arms about this remark, the fact that they WOULD get up in arms had something similar been said about Jews or Christians just shows why this is a real issue that needs to be addressed. If people are going to be unreasonably oversensitive when it comes to such things, they had damn well better be fair and consistent about it, at least.

  • Siamang

    “Let him have it. It’s not wise to upset a wookie.”

    “But sir, nobody worries about upsetting a droid.”

    “That’s because a droid doesn’t pull people’s arms out of their sockets when they lose. Wookies have been known to do that.”

    “I see your point, sir. Artoo, I suggest a new strategy. Let the wookie win.”

    Throughout Wafergate, this exchange has been playing around in my head.

    It’s always a good night to make an anti-atheist joke.
    It’s always a lousy night to make an anti-believer joke.

    Why? The danger they might go wookie on you.

    That said, this doesn’t peeve me. I think people need to learn to grow up and take a joke once in a while.

  • Christie

    I’m with FA and Siamang. This week has been such an overwhelming onslaught of people taking things far too seriously. It’s refreshing to see someone say they’re *not* offended by something.

    BTW, great blog. Thank you for being here.

  • Mythprogrammer

    I’ll let it ‘slide’ this time ;)

  • Richard Wade

    Yes I find it offensive in a kind of technical way, but this one just doesn’t sir my innards enough to want to do anything about it. Just because two professional kvetches like Donohue and Dobson piss and moan every time they see a non-Christian cloud in the sky doesn’t mean we should follow suit. We shouldn’t model ourselves after the likes of them. I hear or read dozens of these stupid remarks every week. Sometimes it’s the last goddamn straw and I write long, earnest and stern letters to whatever dopes said it, and at other times it just wears me down and I say “Oh, screw it,” and I wonder what the heck am I doing spending so much time being so concerned about these issues. I had another life around here somewhere, now where did I put it?

    THz is right, we’re the last acceptable doormat. I know it will only change when not a single insult gets by without a protest, but I get tired sometimes. Like Christie says, I’ve had my fill of righteous indignation this week. Next week however, watch out!

  • pdf

    Apparently though, it was an excellent night to be a douchebag…

  • http://groundedinreality.blogspot.com Bruce

    Actually, I don’t even think the “joke” is really all that funny or makes that much sense to begin with. I’m guessing the majority of baseball players consider themselves religious because the majority of people in this country consider themselves religious. Thus, it is nothing out of the ordinary when a religious person does something noteworthy because that is the norm. It only really works the other way, if the guy were an admitted atheist, then it would be a good joke to say “It’s a lousy night to be a Christian” because good things are supposed to happen to Christians, not atheists.

    So I’m not really offended by the comment because it really doesn’t do what the announcer intended it to do. But I am offended as a comedian.

  • http://lfab-uvm.blogspot.com/ C. L. Hanson

    True, he could have said “Jew” or “Hindu” or some other religion, but didn’t.

    I think it’s a positive thing: Even if atheists are harmless in the sense of Siamang’s comment, it’s clear the Christians are starting to recognize atheist ideas are the real competition these days.

  • Christophe Thill

    The fact that this comment supposes that Christians and atheists should automatically play in opposite teams should be shocking, I think, to anyone who takes this blog seriously.

  • http://www.freethoughtbooks.org frikativ54

    What amazes me about Rick Reilly’s quote is that it was so “out of the blue”. My Dad, my brother, and I were watching the Home Run Derby, when all of a sudden, Reilly makes this about atheism. While Josh Hamilton’s belief in Jesus has helped in overcoming his drug addiction, one’s religion isn’t relevant to the Home Run Derby. Why do the commentator’s intentions matter in the least bit? The bottom line is that Reilly insulted a whole class of people, namely, atheists. And there is nothing right about doing that. Maybe Hamilton took those Jesus-infused recovery programs to heart. But the bottom line is this is baseball not Church.

  • ash

    i guess i’d’ve laughed if the commentator had followed it up with “well, maybe Jesus doesn’t love him *that* much after all…” when he lost to the other guy.

    not laughing at a lame gag is not the same as being offended by it though.

  • cipher

    The fact that this comment supposes that Christians and atheists should automatically play in opposite teams should be shocking, I think, to anyone who takes this blog seriously.

    Of concern, perhaps – but “shocking”? It’ actually what one would expect.

  • Spork

    It’s a lousy night to be a Muslim.
    It’s a lousy night to be a Jew.
    It’s a lousy night to be a woman.
    It’s a lousy night to be a black man.
    It’s a lousy night to be a Mexican.
    It’s a lousy night to be a Pole.
    It’s a lousy night to be a Bhuddist.
    It’s a lousy night to be a Christian.

    Gee. What could be offensive about any of that? Good thing you’re so polite and never get upset, even about things that should upset you…

  • Ron in Houston

    It reminds me of the quote from Hamlet that goes something to the effect of “tis nothing good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”

    Since I’m 48, I see that life is short. I’ve been going to a lot of funerals lately. Sure you could get upset over that asshat announcer. I’ve got a whole lot more important things on which to spend my emotional energy.

  • http://www.tuibguy.com Mike Haubrich, FCD

    I live in Minnesota and have no idea what Morneau believes. But he won a competition in an American sport and he is a Canadian. So maybe it was a lousy night to be an American, after all.

  • Chris_O

    I think it’s funny. He meant it to be funny, there was no malice, and he didn’t imply that atheists were evil or wrong. Basically he said that god must be helping the batters.

    If you can’t laugh at yourself, you don’t have the right to laugh at anyone else.

  • http://artificialhabitat.wordpress.com artificialhabitat

    I agree with Bruce, the joke doesn’t even really make sense.

    The fact that some christian might happen to hit a ball with a stick the right way a certain number of times (or whatever it is that counts as being good in this game) is really neither here nor there to me.

    I suppose there could be an implication that it’s be a bad night to be an atheist, because atheists hate to see a christian doing well at anything and can only take pleasure out of seeing them fail and be miserable. Which is quite an offensive thing to imply.

    Alternatively I could be massively overthinking it ;-)

    Since the guy makes a living out of commenting on how well people hit balls with sticks, my estimate of his intellectual capacity indicates that he might lack the subtlety to have deliberately intended it in that way.

    Either way, I can’t motivate myself to get angry over it. Especially when there are so many other things to get angry about

  • Rose

    “And now there’s a beach ball on the field…”

  • Kate

    I am an atheist and confident in and content with that. I’m also a huge baseball fan. I kind of rolled my eyes when I heard that comment, but that’s all. I don’t feel the need to be defensive about what I believe and get offended over an attempt at a joke. Even if every other person hated atheism, that doesn’t change what’s in my heart and mind. I never understand why people go all “wookie” (funny analogy – lol) over the stupid things that come out of other people’s mouths. I define me to myself and that’s what matters. You – and what comes out of your mouth – defines YOU and is a reflection of you. He made himself look a little stupid, but so what? Why should I take it personally? Why should I care so much what a baseball commentator thinks about my non-faith? This blog is a good discussion to have though, especially with so many easily-offended people in the media recently.

  • http://www.thehumanist.org/humanist/articles/Schlicht.Hurricane.pdf Steve Schlicht

    I understand that some atheists may not feel that any response is necessary for the impulsive slight of Reilly as it is not an earth shattering event on par with the larger sorrows in this world.

    However, this is an element in a recipe that deems it acceptable by society to target atheists for demeaning comments and further supports other, even more demonizing mis-characterizations perpetuated on an more general scale.

    Additionally, for this one vocal and pro-active atheist and community activist…watching the annual Home Run Derby event with my family, with my kids and having a great time cheering Hamilton on, it was a disheartening moment that Reilly chose to publicly isolate me from the human family.

    It just needs to be addressed reasonably or our silence implies consent.

  • Aj

    Not offensive at all. It doesn’t make any sense, unless the announcer is suggesting that doing well at sports, and claiming God helped, is somehow evidence for God, the Christian one. Atheist isn’t the opposite of Christian, he could have said Muslim, Jew, Hindu etc… and that betrays his bias against us. It’s not an insult to me that he’s stupid enough to believe this means anything . It’s like the atheist’s nightmare (*spoiler* it’s a banana), stupid but not offensive, accept to reason of course.

  • http://www.skepticalmonkey.com Ted Goas

    IT’S BASEBALL. Who cares!

  • TXatheist

    I think it’s ridiculous to thank god for turning around your life but some people fail to give themselves credit. I still think we can cherish Kathy Griffin’s moment “suck it jesus”.

  • Al

    I’m a Christian – stumbled onto this blog.

    Personally – should have just left the atheist comment out completely – not the announcers place to do that. It just breeds conflict – as the comments above show. Each to their own. It’s ok to discuss your beliefs (or unbeliefs) with me and vice-versa – as long as at the end of the day I accept you as you are – and you me. As far as the player being a drug user – if Christianity helped him move on from that – amen brother – regardless of your beliefs on Christianity – that is a good thing.

    Regards,

    Al

  • JustinM

    Since the guy makes a living out of commenting on how well people hit balls with sticks, my estimate of his intellectual capacity indicates that he might lack the subtlety to have deliberately intended it in that way.

    Now that is offensive and smacks of someone talking about something they know little, if anything, about. No, baseball doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things, but who are you (or anyone else) to decide which hobbies are okay for people to pursue and which ones aren’t? I don’t paint or draw, but I’m not going to dismiss people who write about art as “commenting on how well people doodle on a sketch pad”.

    For the record, and this is not directed at anyone in particular: Rick Reilly is not an announcer or commentator; he’s a writer for Sports Illustrated. I didn’t see the proceedings last night to know why he was in the booth, but he is not typically on the air during sporting events.

  • Miko

    By the way, since scores are reset after the first two rounds, Hamilton made it to the final round but ended up losing to Morneau.

    So in other words the whole thing really had more to do with statistics, just like every baseball game in history. Seeing as this makes baseball about as interesting as watching a random number generator, I’ll forgive the announcers for having to come up with something inane to say.

    Gee. What could be offensive about any of that? Good thing you’re so polite and never get upset, even about things that should upset you…

    I’ve come to the realization that there are very few and perhaps no things in life that *should* upset you, given that it’s almost always more pleasant to not be upset. In a world in which cartoonists get death threats and comments about crackers are “worse than hate crimes,” I for one would be glad if we could all agree not to care about things like this.

  • http://www.celticbear.com/weblog/ Liam

    More like, it was a lousy night to be one of the millions of people starving or being murdered or raped while the omnipotent and merciful God is busy helping some guy get some home runs.

  • http://www.friendlychristian.com Bill Cecchini

    Your thoughts?

    28 in the first round – wow! Way to put the bat on the ball!

  • http://del.icio.us/jcchurch James

    People still watch baseball?

  • http://omega-geek.blogspot.com Spook

    Honestly, I think I’m just growing numb to the casual “haha, god-free people suck!” nonsense lately. Someone made such a comment to me directly and I just let it go — I was offended, but was largely gambling on her not realizing how offensive she was being.

    Some fights just aren’t worth it.

    Maybe I’m just the “Desensitized Atheist.”

    Anyway, I don’t know much about baseball, but that sounds like a heck of an accomplishment. More power to him.

  • http://mnatheists.org Bjorn Watland

    Here’s a bit of Justin Morneau trivia for you. At a home game, Justin Morneau and his wife have a foundation and sponsored tickets for a group called Positive Alternatives which masks itself as a “Family Planning” center, similar to Planned Parenthood, except guilting you into always delivering your pregnancy. Michelle Bachman, number one fan girl of George W. Bush has been a key supporter of that organization.

  • Justin

    My reaction to the comment is just to roll my eyes a bit.

    P.S. Do baseball players tend to be superstitious? (i.e. use a rabbit’s foot or lucky unwashed socks?)

  • Desert Son

    Justin said,

    P.S. Do baseball players tend to be superstitious? (i.e. use a rabbit’s foot or lucky unwashed socks?)

    Among the most superstitious, traditionally. Watch certain players approach the plate to bat and you’ll watch a series of twitches, hand waves, shoulder rolls, foot shuffles, head sways, and so on that would make you dizzy, each particular sequence lovingly and exactingly enacted in precisely the same manner each time. Lucky unwashed socks? You bet. Not shaving during the playoffs because it might change a team’s luck? All the time.

    A previous commenter made a good observation about the intricate relationship baseball has with statistical probability, and therein lies an interesting dynamic. In the midst of one of the most statistically intensive sports ever devised by humans, there is a large amount of hope resting on some sort of either divine providence or other supernatural force that will somehow transcend the nature of the game’s play, complete with it’s human fallibility and all the physics involved.

    Was it a lousy night to be an atheist? Depends, I suppose. An atheist suffering through kidney stones? You bet. An atheist sitting down to a nice meal with family and friends to enjoy good company and good conversation? Sounds like a good night to me.

    I guess a better question is, was it a good night to be a Christian? Maybe. But even on the best night, there’s still no proof that there’s a god that made it possible.

    During the U.S. Civil War, participants on both sides, from the battlefield to the halls of government, regularly invoked “Divine Providence” as the reason, not only for any victory that side might achieve, but also merely as the certainty of support extant. The same holds true today: often times, major sports figures, at least in the United States, continue to hold god responsible for their on-field victories. It’s funny, though. You never hear a press conference where a player says, “if it hadn’t been for god, we would have won the game.” In binary outcome sports, if god helped one side win, then god must not have been on the other team’s side. To return to the statistics, if it’s true that god supports players in sports, then in baseball’s history, it’s clear god is a Yankees fan, by virtue of total World Series victories alone. By extension, that means god hates the Red Sox, sports delegates representing the largest city in a commonwealth founded by a particularly robust and severe group of adherents to radical Christianity.

    It’s interesting, too, to note parallels that often occur among individuals having recovered from dire straits of physical and psychological addiction embracing an almost super-devotion to religious “deliverance.” It may be that Hamilton has traded one dependency for another.

    Regardless, Go White Sox!

    No kings,

    Robert

  • Siamang

    Ted Goas said,

    IT’S BASEBALL. Who cares!

    Okay, NOW I’m offended!

  • http://www.friendlychristian.com Bill Cecchini

    P.S. Do baseball players tend to be superstitious? (i.e. use a rabbit’s foot or lucky unwashed socks?)

    Extremely. Watch the glove(s), helmet, bat/swing, and shoe motions a batter goes through before every pitch. It’s insane.

    I know batters like to wear the same helmet w/o cleaing it whenever they’re on a decent hitting streak.

    I just hope that they don’t do the same with their underwear. That’s just sick. :-)

  • http://artificialhabitat.wordpress.com artificialhabitat

    JustinM said,

    who are you (or anyone else) to decide which hobbies are okay for people to pursue and which ones aren’t?

    Well, then, I retract the part of my comment where I said it wasn’t OK for people to pursue baseball as a hobby. I did actually say that, right? It might also be pointed out that since none of the people mentioned are doing it as a hobby anyway, your comment is slightly off target.

    I don’t paint or draw, but I’m not going to dismiss people who write about art as “commenting on how well people doodle on a sketch pad”.

    Meh. Maybe you would if you were making a lame joke.

    Sorry if my comment was a little unfair.

  • JustinM

    Sorry, I meant not that the players were pursuing a hobby, but those of us who follow sports are. Regardless, interest in sports, even if it’s enough interest to be one of the people writing about it, has absolutely no bearing on the person’s intelligence.

  • http://artificialhabitat.wordpress.com artificialhabitat

    Sure. Point taken.

  • EKM

    On July 15, 2008 at 10:44 am, Desert Son said,

    No kings,

    Robert

    Great sig. I might use it myself.

  • PuckishOne

    What Reilly said isn’t offensive to me on a personal level because I, too, generally don’t get bothered by what the world thinks of me. But I also understand that saying something like that is indicative of the negative stereotyping of atheists in the US and the fact that it would not have been remotely aceptable to substitute any other social group (anyone for “It’s a lousy night to be gay”?). In this case it’s easy to see how silence would be mistaken for acceptance of the current state of affairs. So my response to this would be that it’s a great opportunity for us to educate and promote understanding – either via blogging, education, or just in our daily interactions with other people. It needs to be acknowledged on some level that we are aware of what’s going on, but not to a Wafergate, arm-waving, flare-sending-up extent, IMO.

  • Siamang

    Hemant, you wrote:

    But a lot of people are starting to talk about this comment… and making a bigger deal of it than I think the phrase deserves.

    Any linky? Who are these “lot of people”? Is there a chance that Reilly has heard them?

    I wonder if anyone has tried to contact Reilly with a simple:

    “Yo dude, it’s cool. I dig the way you bring the game to life in your writing. I’m not going to blow the outrage whistle and atheists aren’t going to freak out and play the ‘I’m so offended card.’ Just want to say, atheists are just plain folks too. And yes, we enjoy baseball. We even enjoy it when a person of any religion hits some home runs, provided they’re not on the Yankees. Anyway, that off my chest, we’re cool. I just wanted to say that if it’s a warm summer evening with the smell of pine tar in the air, it’s not a lousy night for anyone who loves the game.”

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Hemant Mehta

    Any linky? Who are these “lot of people”? Is there a chance that Reilly has heard them?

    A quick Technorati search for “atheist” and “Josh Hamilton” will return many, many links regarding this issue.

    Has Reilly heard them? Probably not. My point in the post is that it’s not worth writing letters or getting too worked up over.

  • http://metroblog.blogspot.com Metro

    From now on, I’m referring to any over-the-top reaction to anything as “Going Wookie”.

    Thanks, Siamang

  • Scott

    Remember the Dave Dravecky flap? Giants pitcher gets bone cancer in his throwing arm, makes a lot of press statements saying he’ll pitch again “if God wants him to”, gets medical treatment, returns to the mound, his arm snaps in two and he has to get it amputated. Great story.

    I would like to have some atheist catch phrase or hand sign that would be the equivalent of crossing myself or pointing to the heavens or kneeling. Suck it Jesus works for Kathy Griffin but I’d like something more positive… you know for when I win the Tour de France or something and the cameras are pointed at me.

  • Desert Son

    Scott said,

    Remember the Dave Dravecky flap? . . . returns to the mound

    I still remember that game. I’m not usually squeamish about stuff, but seeing his arm go on that pitch still gives me what is known in official medical parlance as the heebie-jeebies.

    {shudder}

    No kings,

    Robert

  • Bob Russell

    I don’t watch ESPN and have no idea who Rick Reilly is…I googled him and learned that he is a huge supporter of Lance Armstrong who I believe is an atheist….sooooo I wonder if he was taking a jab at Christians with this comment……just a thought…

  • Siamang

    I went to Rick Reilly’s site. He seems pretty cool. I gave some money to a charity he supports that falls in line with my interests… mosquito nets for poor people in Africa.

    I left this message, which is mostly what I wrote above:

    Yo dude, it’s cool. I dig the way you bring the game to life in your writing. I’m not going to blow the outrage whistle and atheists aren’t going to freak out and play the ‘I’m so offended card.’
    Just want to say, atheists are just plain folks too. And yes, we enjoy baseball. We even enjoy it when a person of any religion hits some home runs, provided they’re not on the Yankees. Anyway, that off my chest, we’re cool. I just wanted to say that if it’s a warm summer evening with the smell of pine tar in the air, it’s not a lousy night for anyone who loves the game.

    Anyway, I want to say thanks for turning me on to Nothing but Nets. Good on you for bringing attention to them. You’ve got class.

  • Spork

    Well, at least he didn’t call anyone “nappy-headed atheists,” so that makes it okay, right?

  • Richard Wade

    Graciousness, thy name is Siamang.

  • http://atheistgamer.blogspot.com AtheistGamer

    I blogged about this pretty much immediately after it happened, and I’m wishing I hadn’t. I think I may have overreacted based on a comment that at the time I wasn’t entirely positive I heard right. I just happened to be in the mood where that set me off. I still believe that it was an inappropriate joke. I’ve seen many Christian blogs call out the phrase specifically and use it in their favor.

    As others have mentioned, if he used any other religion related demographic, he wouldn’t have his job. I’m glad he still has his job, although I’ve never been fond of his articles myself. I do hope the line gets removed from repeat broadcasts, but I’m not going to call for someone’s head if it doesn’t.

  • Keith

    Way to be, Siamang

  • Siamang

    Thanks folks.

    It does help that Reilly’s website had a charity that falls in line with my interests, and he does more for them than I ever could.

    I read around enough about the guy that I’m pretty sure it was not something he says often. I’m not sure he even meant it.

    But also, I think that as a broader strategy we’re playing a losing game if what we want as atheists is to get people to shut up about religion for fear of offending.

    I WANT people talking about atheists and atheism. I want people talking about religion… and not just identifying and then being silent. I think people should discuss religious tenets and why they believe what they believe.

    Political correctness has driven our society to not discuss religion or politics in polite company. I think that’s good in that it allows multiple religious viewpoints to coexist in the united states without major strife… but at the same time it has the effect of isolating and segregating religious issues into groups of like-minded people only.

    I’d like those discussions to come out of the inside feedback loop and get out into the national conversation again. I think that inside feedback loop causes radicalization of those ideas, and I’d like them to become de-radicalized by allowing people… encouraging people to discuss them outside their in-groups.

    So instead of playing the ‘I’m so offended’ game, (which is religion’s game, not ours) and demanding that we be not mentioned like you’d not mention other religious groups…. or instead of coming down on people who do mention atheism such that people walk on eggshells when discussing it. I think we should do the opposite.

    When someone public mentions atheism… even disparagingly, I think we should encourage the conversation more fully. “Oh, you think religion should be discussed on this forum? BY ALL MEANS! Let’s discuss specific religious beliefs and practices THOROUGHLY.. starting with yours, in depth and with proper historical and evidentiary support please! After all, you were the one who wanted us to discuss this! Let’s have a very, very open discussion.”

  • http://thinkmonkey.livejournal.com G

    I was half-watching and listening to the home run derby, but that comment jumped out and grabbed my full attention. The sheer inanity and out-of-nowhere inappropriateness of the comment, the careless idiocy of a professional broadcaster insulting approximately a tenth of his audience for no legitimate reason… well, it caught my attention. I addressed a few choice words to the broadcaster as I walked over and turned off the television. I really don’t need to be insulted in my own living room.

    I think Hamilton’s story is inspirational (although probably not in exactly the same sense that Hamilton thinks), and I applaud his successful battle against drug dependency. But the implication that atheists should somehow take his successful struggle as actual evidence that there is a God is ludicrous, as is the implication that a successful struggle against addiction requires religion – which it very evidently does not, because atheists have in fact successfully overcome addiction. So the comment just left me with an annoyed “Why the fuck did you just go there?” impression. Talking about Hamilton’s struggle and the role his faith played in that struggle was appropriate and respectful. Dissing atheists out of the blue for no discernible reason was not.

    Here’s the thing: I am not a particularly friendly atheist. When a god-bothering idiot does something stupid, I don’t hesitate to call them on it (Paging Bill Donohue!), and I don’t go out of my way to be polite. But I also don’t insult or denigrate or dismiss religion and/or religious believers when the subject isn’t even on the table, when it’s not the topic of discussion or relevant or even interesting. I don’t greet each new discovery about the workings of the universe which require no deity, or discovery about the workings of the mind which explain religious impulses by saying, “Ha! It’s a bad day to be a theist.” Because that would be utterly asinine. And childish. And stupid.

    Which is why I think Rick Reilly needs a whack upside the head with a clue by four.

  • Doubting Thomas

    I haven’t read every single comment here, but some of you are just damn funny. I agree with TX Atheist about praising Kathy Griffin, and I’ll quote her one more. “I’d like everyone here to know that no one had less to do with this achievement than Jesus Christ” Actually that shouldn’t be in quotes, but that was the gist of it.
    The Infidel Guy once had a show that pointed out that it’s ironic that when people accept awards and give their praise to their lord for helping them achieve whatever it was that they did, that if they
    had help from a supernatural being then they didn’t actually achieve or deserve the accomplishment. If you thank god for helping you get to where you are then you cheated. I thought that was a great perspective. But I guess that perspective also gives credence to a supernatural being actually being real.

  • http://www.fabulouslyinthecity.com Fabulously in the City

    I can see both points.

    I thought it was clever.

    But then I thought of Kathy Griffith’s “Suck it, Jesus” line, and that does say its unequal.

    But, then again, it just seems like Americans are hell-bent on somehow getting offended. I think I’ll just take a step back and enjoy from afar :-)

  • teammarty

    I am severly offended by that nazi asshole’s comments. If he had said anything about any other group, he would be fired or at least suspended.
    If you go on the ESPN chatlines (whatever they call it), it’s a big joke to them and the fans.
    But what it really means to me is this their way of reminding us that despite the fact that we were born here, grew up here, work here, pay taxes that go to their bullshit war over whose bullshit god has a bigger dick than the others (and of course, stealing as much oil prophet as they can. Say what you want about how big a failure w the userper is, his most important policy has been a smashing success, if you don’t believe me, just look at a gas pump), and exercize our rights here (which REALLY pisses them off. Why don’t we just shut up and ZIEG HEIL to Jesus when they tell us to.), we still are not part of THEIR country.

  • teammarty

    Also, it wasn’t a joke. It was a statement that he was saving for a dramatic (as dramatic as glorified batting practice can be). Oh, and by the way, the junkie lost in the final round. To Justin Moreneau (sp??), a Canadian no less. After swearing at the TV, I had a good laugh listening to the announcers all but break down and cry. Once again, their imaginary jesus couldn’t produce the goods.

  • Drew

    Well folks, since Morneau is a young Canadian, he’s statistically quite likely to be an atheist.

    Of course, it’s always a good night to be a Canadian. And an atheist.

    This bigotry of these announcers is routine in American society. It would be less likely in other advanced nations, since we’re all less religious than Americans. American atheists need to stand up against such comments, because the bigotry isn’t going to diminish until they do.

  • http://TLCTugger.com Ron Low

    There were WAY more atheists watching than Jews, or Muslims, or Mormons, or Scientoloists, etc., etc. (Probably more atheists than all 4 of those combined).

    So why is it third-rail suicide to make a crack about those guys but not about us? Because we’re sane and not unstable?

  • Pingback: CelticBear’s Musings » Blog Archive » The right to persecute.


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