Indiana Atheist Appears on Fox & Friends

Atheist Eoban Binder appeared on Fox & Friends this morning to talk about the Indiana Atheist Bus Campaign’s recent victory!

Eoban handled himself well, especially considering I wanted to scream when either Steve Doocy or Pastor Tony Taylor said anything.

Recall the ad in question:

goodgod1

What was Taylor’s response to it?

“I feel it’s an outright attack on Christianity. I feel like the language of it is inflammatory… I think that this is just an agenda trying to get passed by the Left.”

Wow.

Taylor would probably have had a heart attack if he saw the more popular atheist bus ad:

Doocy’s criticism is that the ad mentions the word “God”:

Mr. Binder, you know, if you’re anti— if you’re not religious, you don’t believe in God, yet you put “You Can Be Good Without God” in your message, why didn’t you have more of an atheist message, like, “You Can Feel Good About Yourself” or something like that. Why did you have to include God?

Would someone please explain to me how “You Can Feel Good About Yourself” is a more atheist-ical message than the current ad?

Eoban did send a message to FOXNews earlier today to correct a few mistakes that Taylor made:

The Constitution, and therefore the Bill of Rights, does have legal standing, but God is not mentioned in it. Therefore, the entire premise of Mr Taylor’s argument is false. Given that our campaign surely has many detractors as it does supporters, I was disappointed that Fox News was unable to find a guest who was capable of delivering any kind of remotely sensible argument against our campaign, but then again, I suppose I could have been expecting too much anyhow.

All the same, thank you for having me on your show.

I’d like to think they read it but I’m not holding my breath.

  • panoram

    I don’t understand how the ad is an attack on Christianity, or God for that matter? First of all, Christianity really is not about being good or bad.

    So are those who are offended by the ad saying that God makes you good? Then why are there so many bad Christians?

  • joel

    This idiot and Brian “Racial Purity” Kilmeade are both on the same show together. That’s way to much stupid in one room.

  • http://persiflagethis.blogspot.com/ Persiflage

    As a Christian myself, I can say that there is nothing in these ads for Christians to be offended at. Taylor is blowing smoke up his own a**.

  • bill

    seriously?! what the fuck is offensive about this?! it doesn’t attack any real beliefs of any religions, and yet that pastor tries to interpret it as some type of conspiracy or agenda or whatever against christianity. yet it in no way specifically mentions christianity. it could be applied to any god, including the all powerful spaghetti monster and google. and INFLAMMATORY?!?! how is it in any way inflammatory? i HATE foxnews, fair and balanced my ass….

    edit: way to go bloomington again. seriously. a legitimate big victory and i can’t wait for more bus ads, hopefully in west lafayette before too long after i saw a creation museum ad on a bus earlier this year…

  • Marlon

    What a stupid question. “You don’t believe in god so why did you use god in your campaign?” Seriously, do christians have a trademark on the word “god”.

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Beth

    “…the agenda to try to remove god from anything public or politic”

    And? In no way does this impede your right to practice your private religion. In no way does this impede your freedom to believe as you wish. It simply says you can’t force your beliefs onto other people.

    *headdesk*

  • Dan W

    Fox “News” is the most ridiculously bigoted, biased TV station I’ve ever seen. They try to insert their messed up interpretations into everything. And the number of dumb questions and comments made by the Fox “News” commentator and that pastor in just the span of that video… it’s just pathetically sad.

  • Thilina

    I feel it’s an outright attack on Christianity

    Every bloody thing seems to be an “outright attack on Christianity”. And this guys seems to no idea of the difference between an atheist message and a message that has nothing to do with any religion what so ever. Maybe he should be asking for christian messages to be more christ-like first.

    Seriously of all the religious nutcases at fox “news” this is the best they could find for an argument against the bus ads.

  • Tony

    I find it stunning that anybody could be offended by the statement on the ad. It is so benign as to be almost wishy-washy!

  • http://www.pandasthumb.org RBH

    That pastor exemplifies the persecution complex of Christian fundamentalists. That someone doesn’t believe in their god is perceived as an insult. That someone dares say it out loud seen as offensive and constitutes persecution. How fragile their beliefs must be!

  • Matthew T.

    I love how the pastor says the bus ads are an attack by the “Left.” That is always the conservative Christian argument/assumption when they really can’t find an worthy argument. I’d like to let him know that not all atheists are “left” either. Christians just love to play the victim on tv…

  • BruceH

    I noticed that the Pastor inserted the word “God” into the Constitution where it does not, in fact, appear. What is it with these clowns? Are they simply incapable of not lying even where the truth will suffice?

  • http://www.impious.ca Alan

    Wow do interviews like this rile me up. I shouldn’t be watching them so late, thanks Hemant!

    I think the slogan would be improved with the letter “A”. For example: “You can be good without a god”.

    How can the christians be upset with that? There’s no proof we’re talking about their god. There are many of them after all.

  • Ryan W.

    Fox news handled the opposition abominably ( both the Fox spokesman and the pastor. )

    The question should not be whether people are offended by the ads. Would churches remove their messages if atheists were offended? No, they wouldn’t and they shouldn’t and that standard cuts both ways.

    At the heart of this whole debate is the fundamental moral question of ‘what is good?’ After all, who doesn’t think that they’re good? There are probably a few mobsters who still consider themselves ‘good’ people because they follow some moral code. But such people still do a lot of harm, objectively, to others. (I’m not a moral relativist.)

    The ancient Romans called Christians ‘atheists’ because the Christians didn’t worship the Roman Gods. And while this seems like a different use of the word than the modern usage, practically speaking I don’t think it’s that different. We’re still just dealing with groups of people with different ideas about what ‘good’ means. That’s worth discussing.

    A sane opposition would have jumped at the chance to discuss what “good” meant and argue for their definition rather than just sitting around saying how offended people would be.

  • Richard Wade

    BruceH asked,

    I noticed that the Pastor inserted the word “God” into the Constitution where it does not, in fact, appear. What is it with these clowns? Are they simply incapable of not lying even where the truth will suffice?

    They grew up believing lies, they make a living repeating those lies, they base their entire lifestyle on those lies, they believe that believing those lies is a virtue, and they tell more lies about anyone who challenges their cherished lies, so yes, they are simply incapable of refraining from lying even where the truth will suffice.

    When you tell yourself lies long enough until you believe those lies, then even innocuous truth is extremely painful.

  • Mark C.

    seriously?! what the fuck is offensive about this?! it doesn’t attack any real beliefs of any religions, and yet that pastor tries to interpret it as some type of conspiracy or agenda or whatever against christianity. yet it in no way specifically mentions christianity. it could be applied to any god, including the all powerful spaghetti monster and google.

    Not sure about that. “God” was used as a name in the bus ad (it didn’t say you can be good without a god), and based on cultural context, it would be talking about the Abrahamic god of Christians (and probably also Muslims and Jews).

  • georgie

    So atheists aren’t allowed to use the word god? They own that word now too, like they own the word marriage? That whole interview was a waste of time, just another way they can push their closed minded views on the people who watch that channel. I really question why any sane person would even attempt to debate such stupidity, after all it’s not like they care what anyone with differing opinions think.

  • http://hoverfrog.wordpress.com hoverFrog

    This is fantastic news. Fox want to remove the word “god” from all public places. That’s what he meant, right?

  • louis

    I laughed when Dooly said

    As an atheist, you do not believe in god, and yet you sued to include god in your ad. why?

    yea, you clearly have a grasp of the issue and thus whatever statements haphazardly drip out of you mouth must be based on well researched facts.

    But seriously, inflammatory language? That has to be the most benign message an atheist could come up with, ever.

  • http://triangulations.wordpress.com Sabio Lantz

    Go Indiana Atheists ! Good job.
    This site needs a “Spiritual Facts” label to disclose its high nutritional value.

  • Indigo

    “I feel it’s an outright attack on Christianity. I feel like the language of it is inflammatory… I think that this is just an agenda trying to get passed by the Left.”

    I swear to God the religious right has some kind of game where they pick buzzwords and see how they can be fit into everything they say.

  • http://primesequence.blogspot.com/ PrimeNumbers

    Are Christians the new Muslims? Given how they “take offense” here, it certainly sounds like it…

  • http://thesciencepundit.blogspot.com/ The Science Pundit

    The good pastor doesn’t know the difference between the Bill Of Rights and the Declaration of Independence.

  • Todd

    The point here is that it doesn’t matter what we say, we are offensive. As we all know, a few atheists are okay, but it’s the ones who voice an opinion who are militant, intolerant, evangelical, fundamentalist atheists.

    Makes me just want to go back to bed.

  • Carlie

    Love the screen shot tableaux – dour atheist with his cold eyes of doom, Fox news guy who has his eyes shut tight to ward off the horror and prevent him from learning anything he doesn’t want to, pastor with his mouth hanging open and his tongue stuck in it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mary_issima mary

    I am offended everytime I drive past a ‘Christian ‘church or see a cross, as I am indirectly being told that I will burn in a lake of fire..for eternity.

    Revelation 21:8 “But for the cowardly and UNBELIEVING and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”

    Also: Deuteronomy 13:6-10

    Ouch.

    You can be good without God. But the better question: Can you be good without God?

  • beckster

    I love how Christian fundies assume that since they have a stranglehold on the Republican party that atheists must have the same kind of hold on the Democrat party. If only it were true . . .

    I am an avowed “leftie” Democrat and attend party functions constantly. There is always some kind of really long prayer beforehand.

  • The Unbrainwashed

    The big question the Fox people seem to be harping on: “Why must you include God in the ad?”

    Umm, I tihnk the answer is obvious. Because God is a culturally entrenched concept that is inexplicably (and falsely) linked with morality. Thus, the campaign is a direct response to the assumption that morality is solely the domain of the divine. It specifically opposes that axiom.

  • Tom

    As a Christian myself, I can say that there is nothing in these ads for Christians to be offended at.

    I agree.

    What if…

    As a Christian myself, I can say that there is nothing about these ads for Christians to be offended at.

    I would disagree. There is no hiding that this bus ad is meant to challenge religion’s power in our world. The FOX anchor asks a relevant question about an atheist organization even acknowledging god in their own ad if they don’t believe in it. They see it as an implicit affirmation of the existence of god. It’s a little embarrassing that the atheist was not able to pick up on that, even when asked twice.

  • Tom

    What a stupid question. “You don’t believe in god so why did you use god in your campaign?” Seriously, do christians have a trademark on the word “god”.

    No, no, no. They’re not as obviously retarded as you might hope them to be. Let me help clear this up for you:

    Why did you use god in your campaign if you don’t believe in god?

    Reversing the question changes a lot. It makes the main interest “why are you an atheist?” instead of “why are you using OUR word?” These people are curious about us. I think if you were a little more curious as to what these people want to know, there could be more headway made in dialogs like these. Most people communicate with a lot of off-the-record features, like emphasis and intonation. Had the FOX anchor said it like “why are YOU using god,” I would be more likely to agree with the majority of posts here.

    Instead, he stressed it like “you SUED to put GOD in your AD.” More stress on the actions then on the person’s ownership of words. If it was “YOU sued to put GOD in YOUR ad,” you all might be right and they would probably be fixated on using “their” word.”

    Human communication is a lot more nuanced than simply quoting words may lead us to believe. We have an entire biology of off-the-record communication that goes into crafting messages.

  • http://. Marsha in TN

    I like the other bus ad better:

    “In the beginning, Man created GOD” Ain’t it the truth?

  • TXatheist

    Tom, I thought about this and then read your question. God is a myth and therefore used in the slogan in that way. Atheists understand by definition god is a myth and therefore stating we don’t believe in god is just one way of phrasing we acknowledge god….is a myth.

  • http://miketheinfidel.blogspot.com/ MikeTheInfidel

    What is it with these clowns? Are they simply incapable of not lying even where the truth will suffice?

    Well, it’s simple, really:

    “What harm would it do, if a man told a good strong lie for the sake of the good and for the Christian church…a lie out of necessity, a useful lie, a helpful lie, such lies would not be against God, he would accept them.”

    – Martin Luther

  • Tom

    Tom, I thought about this and then read your question. God is a myth and therefore used in the slogan in that way. Atheists understand by definition god is a myth and therefore stating we don’t believe in god is just one way of phrasing we acknowledge god….is a myth.

    But then you must concede that to a believer, god is not a myth. So my point about the Fox anchor and the pastor laughing when they ask why we use god is that they see our usage of their word as an acknowledgement of their power. They can feel good because we compliment them by using language they invented, even if we don’t believe in it.

    It’s kind of like the “there is no such thing as bad publicity” idea. If we were to make an ad saying “Being a 9/11 truther is a horrible thing” we implicitly use their claim of having “truth” on this issue.

    When we borrow words from the religious, we are showing we need them. And those two on TV knew it, and they had a feel-good chuckle about it too.

  • christi

    Ah… so the ad should have said, “you can be good without a supernatural deity”…

    And once I read that out loud, Tom, I realize just how right you are. Eliminating the word “god” makes religion seem like fairy-tale nonsense! I may just start replacing “god” in my everyday communications.

    Great discussion!

  • Kevin

    But… But… Why did you sue to put God in your ad if you don’t believe in God!? That must prove that you believe God exists, since you are willing to mention the almighty in your ad!

    Come here and let me give you a big old baptism, and afterward we will eat the body and drink the blood of our savior!

  • Siamang

    Wow… what a dumb tv show. I think the atheist had the right response… don’t even engage their baiting. The host was clearly trying to trip him up in a semantic bind… trying to use the word as a gotcha.

    Really strange.

    And I agree that pastor was a poor choice. He sends the message that the mere existence of atheists is offensive to him.

    I love that the atheist didn’t even seemed perturbed or apologetic or anything. He was nonplussed by the idea that people are offended by it. His whole attitude was “the fact that THIS offends you says more about you than it does about me.”

    And thanks to Persiflage for coming here and posting.

  • JSug

    I would have liked to hear Eoban call the pastor out on some of his statements. Steve Doocy really let him ramble for a while. It would have been a simple matter to interject and ask him what, exactly, he found inflammatory in the language. Or why he felt that it was an attack. I would like to have heard the response to that, because honestly I can’t think of anything that doesn’t make him seem like a big crybaby.

  • Josh

    Honestly, friends – honestly – is anyone responding in this forum actually SURPRISED that a Fox news debate was not “fair and balanced” or even logical? We can all be outraged and disappointed, but surprise is not a reasonable reaction. :-)

    But seriously, Mr Binder did not phrase the argument as well as he should have. The argument for the ads is not “they said no, so we sued under a loophole and the phraseology was inflammatory but we don’t really care” – I know that is not what he said, but it was easy too to spin that way. The argument is that too many Christians and other religious groups say “atheists are not good because they don’t believe in God” and we are trying to educate the public that is simply not true.

    And I agree with other posters – someone really should have asked how it is offensive or how it is an attack on ANY religious group, let alone Christianity specifically.

    And to the “feel good about yourself” comment, the response should have been “because our message has nothing to do with feeling good about ourselves and I think you know that. The argument that morality is religious is simply not true. And that’s what it’s going to say on the bus.”

  • Richard Wade

    Christians like Taylor are offended by the very existence of atheists, so even a grocery list written on a scrap of paper by an atheist is offensive to them. To them, an atheist breathing is an attack on Christianity. They’d prefer that we stop doing that.

  • seathanaich

    If that’s what passes for journalism in the US, no wonder that country is (a) so religious, and (b) so, sorry to offend thinking Americans, but so effing retarded. If I had to live among idiots like that it would be impossible NOT to be angry every time one of them opened his bigoted mouth.

  • http://beefybass.wordpress.com Randy Rose

    Faux News. ‘Nuff said.