The LA Times published Charlotte Allen’s anti-atheist rant last Sunday.
Yesterday, editorial writer Jon Healey tried to defend the paper’s decision to run the piece.
Allen isn’t the first to take the gloves off, or to use hyperbole as a way to get readers to sharpen the edges of an issue. Although we’re not exactly Provacteurs Inc., we regularly run pointed material from the likes of Bill Maher. Nor do theists have a monopoly on our page. In addition to the aforementioned Maher, see, e.g., our Sam Harris op-ed from a couple years ago, which ran on Christmas Eve. How’s that for provocative?
Find us guilty, then, of running material that occasionally pushes your buttons harder than you care to have them pushed…
Wow. That’s almost as ignorant as Allen herself.
What part of Allen’s piece should we consider “hyperbolic”? What is she exaggerating? I think she believes everything she wrote.
Bill Maher is a comedian. He exaggerates for a living and he’s funny because we know exactly when he’s doing it. When he “offends,” I’ve found that his subject is deserving of it. More importantly, Allen never gives off the impression that she is joking about what she writes — she actually believes her own tripe.
Sam Harris’ piece was excellent. But the decision to run it on Christmas Eve didn’t make it any more or less provocative. He’s not writing about why Christmas should be banned or why Jesus never existed or anything like that. He’s writing about the myths and truths of atheism. He’s clarifying the rumors that persist about atheists due to people like Allen. That’s precisely the type of opinion piece that should be running regularly in newspapers.
Atheists enjoy having our buttons pushed. We’re not afraid of that. We get that on a regular basis in this country. The problem is not that atheism (or an atheist) is being criticized. The problem is with the awful, unsupported, unsubstantiated, and just plain bigoted writing. It’s not a credible opinion.
If this was the LA Times‘ way of defending their decision, it’s pathetic.
I stand by what I wrote before. If you replaced the word “atheist” with the word “Jew” in her piece, there would’ve been an uproar on a national level.
The Allen piece should never have been published and the LA Times Op-Ed team should just grow some balls and apologize for their mistake.