Joy Behar Calls Atheists “Pathetic” on The View

On yesterday’s episode of The View, the ladies were discussing the Inauguration and the (more liberal) Joy Behar made the following comment about how she appreciated the inclusive nature of Barack Obama’s speech (emphasis mine):

I’ve never heard a presid — we were talking about this this morning — I’ve never heard a presidential speech where they also acknowledged non-believers. I mean, there was a lot of Jesus and a lot of religion, but to actually say we’re reaching out even to you pathetic atheists out there, you know, who don’t believe, I thought that was a great thing.

While I appreciate her sentiments — and I know she’s speaking in favor of the inclusion of atheists — you *know* there would be hell to pay if she said “pathetic Jews” or “pathetic Koreans” or what-have-you.

We’ve come to expect absurd statements from the conservative hosts of The View. But Joy?!

*sigh*

Even our “friend” uses derogatory terms when talking about us — and I don’t even think she meant it that way!

Is this an overreaction or should she have to apologize?

***Update***: Many commenters are saying she’s being sarcastic. I understand that. Like I say in this post, she’s usually on our side on issues and defends us. I don’t think she’s trying to purposely attack atheists. I can also usually understand her humor. But even as a joke, I don’t think she’d get away with this if she substituted a different word in for “atheist.”

If you want to see that comment in context, by the way, you can do so by going here, clicking on “watch now” (under “Watch Free Episodes”) and going to the 8:40 mark of the 1/21 episode.

  • http://blueollie.wordpress.com ollie

    Paying attention to ANYTHING said at “The View” is an overreaction. :)

  • http://duoquartuncia.blogspot.com Duae Quartunciae

    Never heard of the “View” or of Behar, but that’s appalling. She should definitely be called to task and the prejudice involved should be pointed out plainly and emphatically.

    Whether or not she apologises is up to her; if she’s a decent human being she’ll make the apology.

  • PrimeNumbers

    She should apologize. What she said was rude and insensitive. Imagine if she’d talked about pathetic blacks, pathetic Jews.

    There are very few Jews in the country, but they’d raise one hell of a fuss if anyone called them as a group “pathetic”. There are vastly more atheists and we should demand apologies!

  • mikespeir

    I wish I could have heard the comment being made. (I tried watching the video, but apparently there’s no way to skip the first 8:40. I’m not going to sit through all that.) It’s entirely possible she was using “pathetic atheists” as though coming from the mouths of others who really do think that way. She might have been deriding those people, not atheists.

  • http://www.midwesthumanists.com Jason S

    I agree with ollie that The View is probably better ignored. But it is watched by a lot of people, many of whom may be less than critical in their thinking (to put in delicately).

    I think some sort of apology or at least an acknowledgement of misspeaking would be in order.

  • Dawn

    I think mikespeir is right. Her humor is typically quite sarcastic and usually takes the role of resident “religion basher” on the View. I don’t think she was calling atheists pathetic, she may even be one herself.

  • Takma’rierah

    I don’t know without hearing it, but my impression upon reading is that she was being sarcastic, as mikespeir said.

  • http://www.otmatheist.com hoverFrog

    I’ve often wondered whether atheists were considered worse for not believing in any gods than those who believe in the “wrong” gods. Now I know.

    I still don’t know why though.

    Joy either didn’t think about the comment or she was trying to score points at atheists expense. If it was the former she needs some awareness training. If it was the latter then I can’t see how she gains from it.

  • http://www.myspace.com/ciaransidheag ciaransidheag

    Joy was clearly being facetious and I see no reason that she need apologize for the comment. I would, however love to see more mention of atheists/atheism in the media.

  • Jeff Satterley

    I believe that Joy Behar IS an atheist (or at least she calls herself an agnostic).

    I’d be willing to bet she inflected “pathetic atheists” in an overtly sarcastic way, to make fun of people who look down on atheists, not atheists themselves. I couldn’t see her deriding a group of people that way, whether religious or not. But I didn’t see it, so I can’t know for sure. I’ll have to check out your link, Hemant, later tonight.

  • http://darwinsdagger.blogspot.com Darwin’s Dagger

    Since when did the Friendly Atheist become the stupid atheist. She was being sarcastic, mocking the majority view that atheists are pathetic. Now me, I’m just insulting you, or this particular post anyway.

  • llewelly

    I didn’t watch the video (I hardly ever watch videos), but to me it reads like a sarcastic remark – an attempt to denigrate people who think atheists are pathetic. So I’m with mikespeir.

  • PrimeNumbers

    You’ve got to be awfully careful when using sarcastic humour….

  • http://sinnersaintshiksa.blogspot.com/ Modern Girl

    I agree with others that she is the resident “religion basher” on the view. She does make Jewish jokes and Catholic jokes, and pretty well everything aside from Muslim jokes. If she’s now including Atheists in her jokes, that’s a good thing, right?

  • http://www.freewebs.com/guitarsean Sean

    I watched it, she is being sarcastic. I guess the problem is if there are people who don’t know her sense of humor out there, they’ll take it seriously. She could have made her inflection a bit stronger.

  • Vincent

    Yes, her joke was to poke fun at Barack Obama’s speech as if HE were saying “christians, jews, and those pathetic atheists”.

    It was a jab at the POTUS for being part of the majority that disregards atheists; as though POTUS had thought “I’ll toss those idiots a bone and include them in my speech.”

  • Mark

    Its so appropriate that Joy would use the word “pathetic” because that’s exactly what she is.

    Her contempt for anyone who is not like her is showing. How Christian is that?

    This reminds me of my highschool yearbook. There was a minor outrage over the little girl working on the yearbook editorial staff who put in a statement about Jesus.

    The funny thing is how the minor outrage grew into a major outrage when that little ignorant Christian girl publicly apologized and said she didn’t mean to offend the Atheists. The problem was that it was the Jewish community that objected to the Jesus reference, not Atheists.

    But, to her, anyone who isn’t a Christian must be an Atheist.

    Pathetic? Yes. Very Pathetic.

  • SarahH

    Yeah, sarcasm ftw. I could never watch more than sixty second of The View in one sitting though – I think my brain might start to melt. I react to the craziness and interruptions so that about 100 things are bouncing around in my head at once, and most of them involve being annoyed. I could even end up convinced that I’m a misogynist, but then I remember Rachel Maddow and smile.

  • http://recusatorysarcasm.blogspot.com/ Sam

    Since I believe my Atheism to be simply a description I use when asked of my religious views and not an Identifier I am not offended. I find atheistic attacks amuzing regarless of who flings them.

  • Nightowl35

    I saw the clip and truly thought she was being sarcastic. She’s an atheist,too, I think.

  • Orson

    Submit your comments to the show here:
    http://abc.go.com/daytime/theview/ask

  • http://skeptigator.com skeptigator

    um… yea.. lighten up. She was being sarcastic or facetious or sarcasticly facetious.

    my question to you Hemant is “Did you watch the video despite how utterly awful ABC’s video player is?”

    Her intent was clearly a jab at people who actually think that way. It’s a very effective way of ridiculing people, if you get the joke…

  • http://blargen.com/blog/ postsimian

    I wouldn’t respond with outrage, just some consciousness-raising.

  • Doug Stewart

    The statement “pathetic atheists” was said mostly in jest. The sentence prior to that was congratulating President Obama for including all faith groups, as well as non-believers, and received a round of applause. I think she was echoing the stereotype that other people feel.

    To an extent, we atheists bring it on ourselves. You don’t see other groups promoting their negative stereotypes such as, all Jews are greedy, all blacks are lazy, all Irish are alcoholics, all French are arrogant, anywhere near the extent that we do. Even though I personally find it amusing and entertaining, I guess Hemant is as much to blame as anyone with the baby eating paraphernalia.

    I made an Atheist Cooking video where I had puppies in a big pot on the stove and was chopping up vegetables over them with the sound of Hank Williams ‘Hey good lookin, what ya got cookin’ in the background and the following recipe moving past the screen: -

    Four tasty plump succulent puppies – Sorry, got carried away there
    Water – Not the holy variety
    Half a bag of crackers – Transubstantiated for that meatier taste
    One potato – Preferably with the image of the Virgin Mary
    Simmer for one hour – Starting when the agonizing creams turn into slight whimpers
    While cooking, run around the kitchen fornicating – preferable the homosexual variety

    I didn’t post it on YouTube because I thought it promoted our negative stereotype just a little too much.

  • http://hjhop.blogspot.com Bing McGhandi

    I take it in the sense that Christ said “Even that stupid f–ing Samaritan knows what is right.”

    But I paraphrase.

  • http://www.bernerbits.com Derek

    Even that stupid f–ing Samaritan knows what is right.

    The Samaritans don’t take nearly enough abuse anymore. I think we should start that up. It would help put that story back in context.

    Man, I hate those goddam effing Samaritans.

  • Jeff Satterley

    I can’t believe no one has said the word yet, but here goes.

    Y’all got Poe’d by Joy Behar!

  • Siamang

    But even as a joke, I don’t think she’d get away with this if she substituted a different word in for “atheist.”

    The fact that she couldn’t get away with it if she said it about someone else is no reason to act like the spoiled baby who is the one man Catholic League.

    Why is the ADL awesome, and the Catholic League non-awesome?

    Because the ADL doesn’t scream bloody murder at a hangnail. They confine themselves to substantive, actual defamation, and not every time anyone makes a joke (like “Suck it Jesus”).

  • http://auryn29a.livejournal.com Auryn

    I watched the show yesterday and chuckled when Joy said that. I watch the show pretty regularly and Joy at least plays the part of a non-believer and regularly says bad things about religion. It was definitely a joke.

    As for not being able to get away with saying that any other group is pathetic…she pretty much does. She tends to say outrageous things.

  • Luther Weeks

    Ah us po pathetic atheists.

    And those great masses who spend their exhausting lives in service of a jealous triple headed myth

  • «bønez_brigade»

    Hemant, you need to write another book and try to get on the View to plug it. I think you would be well received, especially since you are the _Friendly_ Atheist™.

  • http://thehappyhuman.wordpress.com John

    Hemant, if Joy needs to apologize for a single facetious adjective, then I think you need to apologize for the baby-eating jokes. After all, it’d be offensive if you talked about Jews or Koreans eating babies, wouldn’t it?

  • http://www.baconeatingatheistjew.blogspot.com/ The Atheist Jew

    I’m almost convinced Joy Behar is at least agnostic if not atheist.
    So I take the comment as completely sarcastic.

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Hemant Mehta

    Hemant, if Joy needs to apologize for a single facetious adjective, then I think you need to apologize for the baby-eating jokes. After all, it’d be offensive if you talked about Jews or Koreans eating babies, wouldn’t it?

    Well, you see, I think Jewish babies and Christian babies and Korean babies are all equally delicious. So there! :)

  • Maria

    Many commenters are saying she’s being sarcastic. I understand that. Like I say in this post, she’s usually on our side on issues and defends us. I don’t think she’s trying to purposely attack atheists. I can also usually understand her humor. But even as a joke, I don’t think she’d get away with this if she substituted a different word in for “atheist.”

    yes she would. Gays.

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