University of Nebraska – Omaha Student Challenges ‘Atheist Chicks Are Easy’ Remark

Remember how conservative radio host Scott Voorhees recently said “atheists chicks are easy“? Here’s the context from an interview he did last week with former president of the University of Nebraska – Omaha Secular Student Alliance Luke Hoffman:

Hoffman: … That was why we were such a big deal on campus, because we hosted this event that was–

Voorhees: So you didn’t go out and help build any homes, you didn’t clean oil off of birds, you didn’t help any poor people…

Hoffman: … We participated in democracy…

Voorhees: … you didn’t do any food drives, you didn’t help the homeless. You had a debate. You know why the Christian kids helped you out in your debate? Because atheist chicks are easy. And a lot of them are goth and hot.

Hoffman: Wow… now that’s disgusting, dude. Seriously.

Voorhees: Thanks a lot for your call. [Hangs up on Luke.]

Scott Voorhees (standing)

Well, Voorhees hasn’t issued any apology and the radio station hasn’t done so much as slap him on the wrist. More importantly, as UNO has a connection to the radio station, the university hasn’t said anything, either.

Now, Hoffman is calling on the school to “pressure KFAB for an apology and a retraction.”

First, there’s a letter he sent to KFAB Radio 1110′s Program Director Gary Sadlemyer (the media was CC’ed on it):

Dear Mr. Sadlemyer,

My name is Luke Hoffman. I am the immediate past president of the University of Nebraska at Omaha Secular Student Alliance. During a radio interview July 10 with your talk show host Scott Voorhees, Voorhees made a comment that I challenged on the spot and wish to follow up on now. In reaction to the fact that a Christian club on campus had networked with the UNO Secular Student Alliance to put on a civil debate, Voorhees went so far as to say, “You know why the Christian kids helped you out in your debate? Because atheist chicks are easy. And a lot of them are Goth and hot.” (You can listen to this remark at http://bit.ly/NmcGaG starting at the 14:16 mark.)

In addition to this being another example of what has been termed the “war on women,” it also impugns the motives of the Christian group, suggesting that their cooperation was insincere. I called this sexist remark disgusting at the time (after which I was immediately disconnected) and, in response to numerous calls for further response, wish to readdress the matter now.

The reason that Voorhees was discussing this matter in the first place was because of the forthcoming Midwest Freethought Conference and the Omaha Coalition of Reason billboard on 72nd and Pacific here in the city. This is the fourth Midwest Freethought Conference and, as such, it contributes to Omaha’s economic development.

But instead of discussing this unique community event, Voorhees chose to be dismissive while dehumanizing atheist women. Moreover, when listeners called in to express their legitimate outrage at his comments, he ridiculed them for lacking a sense of humor. But isn’t that the usual cover for bigoted remarks against minority groups? How many times have people tried to excuse racism, anti-Semitism, and sexism under the cover of humor? Radio announcer Don Imus tried this in 2007 with his “joke” about the Rutgers University women’s basketball team and was fired as a result.

In the popular atheist blog “The Friendly Atheist,” Hemant Mehta describes the interaction as “frustrating all around, and that was even before he made his most inflammatory comment.” Voorhees’ misplaced hostility toward people with differing views was, I think, demonstrated by his offensive remarks as well as his apparent unwillingness to really listen to his guests on that occasion.

The membership of the UNO SSA and I, therefore, request that KFAB repudiate Voorhees’ remarks against atheist women and that he personally apologize.

Yours sincerely,

Luke Hoffman
Immediate Past President
UNO Secular Student Alliance

He also wrote to University of Nebraska President James B. Milliken (again, CC’ed the media):

Dear President Milliken,

As has already been brought to your attention by others, during a radio interview of me on July 10 on KFAB Radio 1110 by talk-show host Scott Voorhees, Voorhees made a comment that I challenged on the spot. It was in reaction to the fact that the University of Nebraska at Omaha CRU Christian group had networked with my group, the UNO Secular Student Alliance, last semester to put on a highly-regarded debate. Voorhees declared, “You know why the Christian kids helped you out in your debate? Because atheist chicks are easy. And a lot of them are Goth and hot.” (You can listen to this remark at http://bit.ly/NmcGaG starting at the 14:16 mark.)

In addition to this being another example of the right-wing war on women, it also impugns the motives of the campus Christian group, suggesting that their cooperation was insincere. I called this sexist remark disgusting at the time (after which I was immediately disconnected). Now, in response to numerous requests for further action, I wish to readdress the matter.

Reasonable people might have expected the UNO administration to act swiftly and decisively in criticizing this remark against legitimate UNO campus groups—especially after I brought it to the administration’s attention last week. And not merely because the remark attacked UNO students, both Atheist and Christian, but because that broadcast also challenged UNO’s institutional reputation. After all, Director of University Relations Tim Kaldahl appeared on the same show and had to put up with attacks against UNO for hosting the fourth annual Midwest Freethought Conference. Voorhees openly questioned whether the university was still worthy of public support. And KFAB pays UNO for rights to use the “N” logo and to broadcast Nebraska football. The station calls itself “the Home of the Huskers,” which is the UNO team. (For reference, KFAB is listed on the University website as the Omaha affiliate for Nebraska football at: http://www.huskers.com/ViewArticle.dbml?DB_OEM_ID=100&ATCLID=52 and, on the KFAB website, the “N” logo is displayed on the homepage and at: http://www.kfab.com/pages/Huskers.html.)

In an effort to resolve this internally, I talked with Tim Kaldahl, spoke with Charlene Russel in the campus Equal Access and Diversity office, communicated with Nancy in the Chancellors office, and sent an email directly to the chancellor. I have also discussed the matter with other student leaders on campus.

Adam Maley, immediate past president of the UNO Veterans Student Organization, said: “This radio personality challenges a socially unpopular category of people and, rather than discuss the issues, uses prejudicial and disgusting stereotypes to distract.”

UNO Council for Humanist Thought President John Powers said: “Scott Voorhees… clearly does not understand the issues of the growing local secular community and the struggles of living an atheist or agnostic life.”

Haili Copas-Starke, immediate past director for the Women’s Resource Center, another student-run organization at UNO, showed her support for the UNO SSA by saying, “Religion is a good background to formulate your morals but it’s not the only method, and society allows for you to do that without the guidance of religion.”

The UNO SSA provides valuable support for nontheistic UNO students, as Nicole Miller, the current UNO SSA president, noted when she said:

“The Secular Student Alliance has helped me grow on a personal level, where I’ve made lifelong friends, have become more open to talk about the issues. Especially family problems with coming out as atheist. I feel like I’m making a difference in my community.”

In the wake of this reaction, I must ask why the UNO administration has so far declined comment on an affiliated radio station’s slur that is prejudicial to UNO students and the university itself—and this in the face of a reaction across the Internet. (Just Google the phrase “atheist chicks are easy” and see the online response, which is now in the thousands of hits when, at the time of the broadcast last week, it only garnered two.)

As an atheist, my moral compass compels me to stand up to Voorhees’ dehumanizing remark. Is it too much to ask UNO’s administration to reconsider this opportunity to do the same? Radio KFAB and Scott Voorhees need to hear, in no uncertain terms, that UNO finds the remark in question unacceptable. And UNO needs to demand a retraction and an apology.

Yours sincerely,

Luke Hoffman
Immediate Past President
UNO Secular Student Alliance

If Sadlemyer and Milliken have a sense of decency, they will apologize for what took place and take actions to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

I would’ve included Voorhees in that list, too, but we all know he’s never going to apologize.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • Sue Blue

    I’m an atheist chick, and apparently I haven’t been keeping up the hot, easy image these last 22 years that I’ve been married.  Christian horndogs like Voorhies are just gonna have to find it elsewhere.  Of course, I don’t have sex with assholes – christian OR atheist.

    • Hellbound Alleee

       This reminds me of my time (oh, the memories) posting on /r/atheism. Some members seemed mystified as to why “Christian chicks are so hot,” or the opposite, “why do I always go after Christian chicks?” I found myself blurting out “because atheist women won’t put up with your bullshit.” I retracted soon after, realizing my knee-jerk was kind of offensive too. These “Christian chicks,” according to the frustrated young atheist men, kept dumping them for being godless. Such was their fate. Seems the “Christian chicks” wouldn’t put up with their bullshit, either.

      • johnee

         You both made great points. However the “hot” part, while stereotyping, is not insulting. The “easy” comment is. Who the hell doesn’t want to be thought of as hot? I’m Lebanese and when I hear “middle eastern guys are so hot” my response is “hell yeah we are”! LOL

  • http://twitter.com/arensb arensb

    Correction: his name is spelled “Voorhees”, not “Voorhies”.
    I’m not defending his dickish behavior; I’m just speaking as someone with a hard-to-spell last name.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Hemant Mehta

      Whoops! Fixed. Thanks.

      • http://twitter.com/arensb arensb

         Thanks. You missed the instance in the photo caption.
        (Yes, I’m a grammar cop. Wanna see my badge?)

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Hemant Mehta

          Dammit! Fixed (again).

        • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

          Nothing wrong with striving for accuracy.

      • Chris Kilroy

        Sadly, his last name is the same as the town where I grew up. Sigh. 
        It is also, as you probably know, the same as the serial killer in the Friday the 13th Movies. So let’s send him a mask :)

        • http://profiles.google.com/fader2011 Alex Harman

          Beat me to it.  I love the idea of mailing the guy a bunch of Halloween Jason Voorhees hockey masks.

  • advancedatheist

    I keep telling you this: Christians for generations christians have promoted their model of the Fantasy Atheist (FA) who shows his depravity and alienation from god by engaging in swinging, promiscuous sex, though I don’t see how the FA can work up the energy and enthusiasm for this if she also suffers from angst, hopelessness, despair and so forth. The FA myth will persist for quite awhile longer before the increasing proportions of real atheists in society show the absurdity of this belief.

  • johnee

    It was obviously a weak attempt at humor.  This guy’s a conservative? Strange. He insulted the christian kids as much as he did atheist women. In my experience most people that self describe as conservative bend over backwards to appease and put Christians up on a pedestal.  The old Barry Goldwater conservatives seem few and far between.

    • Baby_Raptor

      If it was a weak attempt at humor, why did he hang up on Luke when called out on it? 

      Don’t defend this ass. It calls your character into question as well. 

      • johnee

        Who’s defending the guy?  Did you read the part where I said he INSULTED the people he was talking about? Trying to be funny with crude insulting remarks IS a weak attempt at humor.

        You’re calling my character into question? We’re supposed to be skeptics and atheists fer pete’s sake! You’re ready to ostracize me because of a simple misunderstanding rather than letting me clarify what I said. Sorry, but them’s the rules in the critical thinking game son.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/QCQ367PUBTZOQFYEIWLWVTIEDQ Henry

    So what if I’m easy!! I’m a proud atheist and I enjoy sex. Tell the christian right to get over it. This is a free country and I”m a consenting adult. I can do what I want. While the comment was offensive in the context it which it was used, I’ll be damned if I’m gonna crawl under a rock and play the remorseful slut or allow them to use the words atheist and easy together to make me be ashamed of my body and sexuality.  If christian women want to play the sexually repressed martyr, let ‘em. I’d rather be called easy if that’s the trade off.

    • https://alexanderschroeder.net/ Alexander Krivács Schrøder

       Wrong. It should be a free country, and you should be able to do what you want as a consenting adult, but there are a lot of things people may want to do that they can’t. The US is certainly not a country where the code “my body, my rules” applies universally.

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/QCQ367PUBTZOQFYEIWLWVTIEDQ Henry

        Wrong! I have no idea what your trying to say. In this country,  consenting adults can engage in sexual freedom to their hearts content as long as they are not doing it in a place that imposes on others ie keep it in the privacy of your bedroom not in a public park. There are no laws banning consenting adults from having sex if they choose to do so.  Please give me an example where government forbids adults from having sexual relations in the privacy of their home.

        • johnee

           Well Henry while you are for the most right about sexual relations, I think he was broadening it to include things like recreational drug use. I mean let’s be real here. It is absolutely stupid for weed to be illegal when alcohol is not.

          Also, keep in mind that until very recently, consensual gay sex was illegal in certain states. The whack job religious right fundies are still pushing  to overturn the supreme court decision so that they can have the sex police  keeping this “christian nation” free of all the “sodomites”.

        • https://alexanderschroeder.net/ Alexander Krivács Schrøder

           I refer you to johnee’s reply for my intended message, but as I can see that you’ve edited your original post to retract your statement, this is really no longer in need of discussion.

    • jose

      Replace what the guy said with this equivalent statement:

      “You know why white kids helped you? Because blacks are funny. They’re all like Eddie Murphy and Chris Rock.”

      Now you don’t have any hesitation.

  • Gringa

    In case anyone else is interested in writing letters, contact information can be found online:  James B. Milliken
    President, University of Nebraska

    Office of the President

    3835 Holdrege

    Lincoln, NE 68583

    (402) 472-8636

    president@nebraska.edu

  • ORAXX

    As a former Nebraskan I remember when KFAB was one of America’s great radio stations.  A 50,000 watt “blowtorch” that covered half the country after dark.  Sadly, KFAB has degenerated into wall to wall right wing hate speech and Fox news.  Evidently, the owners of the station seem to think there is an unlimited market for right wing garbage.

  • http://twitter.com/BrookLaa Andy Laa

    And that, right there, is why I stick to the Red Cross for both my volunteer work and my charity purchases.

    Support secular charities!

    The Red Cross cannot allow a single religious item on its shelves so as to remain “neutral” in all countries.

    (I did chuck out some books which were religious in nature but didn’t seem to be so and accidentally found their ways to the shelves and I will continue to do so – under the manager’s instruction.)

  • http://secularplanet.org/ Secular Planet

    So, he’s implying that Christian men helped the group because they wanted to fornicate or commit adultery with atheist women?  If the atheist women are easy, what does that say about the Christian men, who are trying to commit a major sin?


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