Bill Maher Goes After Focus on the Family’s Disastrous ‘If Obama Becomes President’ Letter

In case you missed Real Time with Bill Maher on Friday, one of his New Rules involved the Focus on the Family letter from 2008 (dated 2012) letting all Christians know how the world had been screwed over because Barack Obama was elected President. As it turned out all of their predictions turned out to be untrue.

The relevant portion begins at the 1:50 mark:

Love the part where Maher asks Focus on the Family:

“If you’re doing God’s work, and God is perfect, how come you’re always wrong?”

It’s been a couple of weeks since Focus on the Family was called out for their ineptitude on the letter. No apology from them or even an acknowledgment that they were wrong. Are you surprised?

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the chair of Foundation Beyond Belief and a high school math teacher in the suburbs of Chicago. He began writing the Friendly Atheist blog in 2006. His latest book is called The Young Atheist's Survival Guide.

  • Jenny

    Clearly I need to start watching this guy’s show. o-o

    • http://www.agnostic-library.com/ma/ PsiCop

      Be careful. He’s an anti-vaxer. His critiques of religion are certainly valid, but it’s possible to give him too much credit.

      • http://www.youtube.com/user/GodVlogger?feature=mhee GodVlogger (on YouTube)

         None of us should get put on a pedestal and worshiped as being always right on every issue.

        Yes, we can be disappointed that Bill Maher is an anti-vaxer, and that Neil deGrass Tyson  doesn’t publicly call himself an atheist, and that David Silverman’s American Atheists billboards have a different font or color scheme than you might like, and that FFRF maybe once sent a letter over a church-state case that you thought was trivial enough to let slide.

        Or, we can appreciate that ALL of these folks, and many many more, are doing AWESOME work at chipping away at religion in America.

        I “tip my hat” to them all.

        • coyotenose

          Anti-vaxxers measurably increase the number of children who die for no reason. Those people aren’t really comparable in their flaws.

          • http://www.youtube.com/user/GodVlogger?feature=mhee GodVlogger (on YouTube)

            Yeah, I’m not advocating saying Bill Maher is correct on anti-vaccine issues. I say we call him out on such crap. 
            But we can meanwhile embrace him in his anti-religious views and the hilarious way in which he often tackles religious issues. 

            Don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater. 

            • http://twitter.com/silo_mowbray Silo Mowbray

              I’m on the same page as you. I don’t get the sense that Maher is against flu vaccinations because he’s being a conspiracy theory dork or is simply being mendacious (as 3lemenope mentioned above). He’s a fairly bright guy, good at thinking on his feet, and is otherwise an ally of rational thinking.

              He’s reachable on Twitter, so maybe we can engage him and find out WTF he’s really on about with the flu shots.

            • TnkAgn

               Well, we can at least all agree that Bill Maher is not part of the herd, for immunity, or anything..

              • 3lemenope

                [Rimshot]

        • http://www.agnostic-library.com/ma/ PsiCop

          That Tyson doesn’t call himself an atheist is not based on a lie. That Silverman’s billboards don’t have the design elements one might wish for, is not based on a lie. Those things are all subjective distinctions on which people of good faith can still differ.

          Being antivax, however, IS based on a lie. And it’s not even in question any more; Wakefield’s study was fully fraudulent. Only Wakefield and his idiotic sycophants refuse to admit it. This is an objective, verifiable fact, and no one acting on good faith can differ with it.
          What this means where Maher is concerned, is that we’re down to one of two possibilities: Either Maher knows his antivaxism is based on a lie, and is still going with it anyway; or he’s unaware that it’s a lie, and hasn’t found out otherwise.

          These two possibilities, in turn, mean that Maher is either a malicious liar in his own right, or an outright ignoramus and buffoon. Neither is an attractive proposition. Defend Maher all you want but I’m not his fan and am never going to be his fan, until he grows up, ‘fesses up, admits he’s wrong about vaccines, and apologizes for being either an outright liar or an ignoramus.

          • usclat

            Ok, so don’t be Maher’s fan. Jeez. Grow up.

            • http://www.agnostic-library.com/ma/ PsiCop

              Why should I have to grow up? I’m not the one spewing a lie on national television, nor am I defending someone who spews lies on national television. I haven’t done anything wrong, in fact, except point it out.

        • usclat

          Well – F-ing – said GV! 

      • Heidi

        I like to hold out hope that he can learn. Granted, that’s more credit than I give most anti-vaxers.

      • Glasofruix

        Haven’t he revised his position? I thought i heard that.

        • 3lemenope

          Apparently he’s an anti-flu vaxxer, but does support vaccinations for other diseases, as he argues that vaccinations should require a cost-benefit analysis before being implemented (which he didn’t think the swine flu inoculations passed). I’m not quite sure if that position is more or less bizarre than simply being an anti-vaxxer, though it definitely leans more heavily on the side of him being uninformed and confused rather than mendacious.

          • P. J. Reed

            I don’t think it’s unreasonable for a person to be anti-flu vaccine, since there has been a causal link shown between the flu vaccine and Guillain-Barré Syndrome (http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/247669.php).

            I’ve got a friend who developed GBS several years ago and is still recovering from it.  It’s pretty terrible.  I would personally rather take my changes of catching the flu and dealing with the symptoms normally than take the risk of getting GBS (even if it is very small).

            • 3lemenope

              My thing is, there are serious risks associated with most human activities, risks which while serious tend to be uncommon enough that folks don’t tend to think about them very hard. A person, for example, is much more likely to die in a car crash than develop GBS from a bad reaction to a vaccine, and yet most people don’t think twice about getting in a car but are terrified of the rare side-effects of medications and vaccines. 

              Under most circumstances, a person makes their own choices about what to care about, since they are the person who primarily has to deal with the consequences. Even in cases where a secondary cost is passed on to society at large (such as the case of bad health habits), I’d say that analysis still controls; we can’t reasonably arrogate to ourselves the power to prevent people from eating half-pound cheeseburgers and smoking cigars, because the primary cost (and benefit!) is to themselves, and the rest of the cost is too diffuse to make a case that overrides our interest in autonomy. 

              BUT! Vaccines are a bit different, since the consequences of an improperly vaccinated population can mean pandemic; casualties from influenza in particular can reach millions. In these cases, the harm to others is fairly direct, and so a compelling moral case can be made that a person owes it to the society they live in to be vaccinated.   That, plus the remarkable unlikelihood of harm coming to any given individual (the risk, while serious, is small; much like driving a car), makes it rather hard to make an argument based on a possible serious side-effect of a vaccine be compelling.

  • http://twitter.com/zerodash Gregory Shefler

    “Is there no penalty anymore for just being wrong?”

    *cough* anti-vax 

    *cough* alternative medicine

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Rocky-Morrison/100001552602936 Rocky Morrison

      Dobson is a Hater.  So is Maher.  How come guys like that always get famous?

  • Renshia

    They prayed  and got forgiveness, why would they have to respond, all is forgotten. Isn’t that how their religion works??


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