Oklahoma Atheists Were Featured on CBS Sunday Morning

For a couple of weeks now, the Oklahoma Atheists have known they would be featured in a piece about the “rise of the Nones” on yesterday’s edition of CBS Sunday Morning.

What they didn’t anticipate, as no one did, was that their piece would be framed in light of an awful tragedy.

It’s not a bad piece. It’s just tough to get excited about atheists in the Bible Belt when our minds are elsewhere.

Abbie Smith was excited that her group was going to be featured in the segment, but after the events of last week, that enthusiasm all but disappeared:

Murdered people, devastated communities, were not supposed to be our ‘in’ to talking about atheism.

And like that *snap* 20 kids were taken from us, not by cancer, but for nothing. Six school admins, who had so much more to give those children and future children, gone.

Again, it just makes everything seem futile.

I am not an officer of OKC Atheists, I barely have time to show up for meet-ups anymore, but I can speak for myself saying that I in no way, shape, or form want to use this tragedy as an excuse to talk about atheism. It wasnt supposed to be like that for the CBS show.

I think most of us are in the same place. It was hard to get excited about anything the past few days. We just want to see some action taken by our government so that these things stop happening… at least less frequently.

All that said, congrats to the Oklahoma Atheists on their segment.

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.

  • WoodwindsRock

    I thought I was the only Atheist in Oklahoma.

    Lol, just kidding. But it is interesting to see an Atheist group here show up in a place like this.

    Anyway, otherwise I find it shocking that “Nones does not mean ‘no faith’” has to even be pointed out.

  • Todd Libasci

    @WoodwindsRock: Nah, there’s at least four of us, including my family.

  • http://twitter.com/shrike1978 Jeremy Mullins

    In my experience, groups tend to show up earlier and grow faster in more religious areas because people have a need to come together more where they are more repressed.

  • Ibis3

    Is Smith in the vid? If so, I don’t want to spend my time watching it.

  • sunburned

    Constantly talking about it  gives the perpetrator  exactly what he/she was looking for.

    I for one am remaining not-so-blissfully ignorant.  The public giving these people the attention that they crave only ensures that someone will follow in their footsteps.

  • Soulra74

    Oh my, it’s the SCHISM reeling it’s ugly head again. Grow up and stop the petty shit.

  • http://skepticink.com/backgroundprobability/ Damion Reinhardt

    Any time you interview with major media you are putting your reputation in the hands of their producers and editors. Unless you have some reason to expect they won’t spin you badly, expect that they will.

    This same thing happened to us in the KFOR segment several years ago, but it wasn’t quite this bad. I’d love to see, just once, a story about unbelievers that isn’t artificially ‘balanced’ by giving time to preachers and other people of faith.

  • de

    I find it interesting that many of the nones who say they are spiritual but not religious claim they don’t claim a denomination because of their views on social issues.  It seems that the few churches that have tried to take a more socially liberal stand are the fastest declining.  

  • Ibis3

    No SCHISM. Just my choice not to spend a moment of my attention on someone so repulsive. If there was a vile white supremacist atheist on some morning talk show, I wouldn’t want to listen to that either. Nor would I want to condone any group or event they were participating in. So if Hemant had posted a video without making it clear whether they were in it, I’d be asking the same question.

  • Eric

    One of my facebook friends responded to this by complaining that CBS did a segment on the death in Newtown followed by a segment on the death of religion but didn’t even spend 3 words examining the correlation between them.

    When I politely asked “Are you referring to the correlation where crime has been going down over the past 20 years?” he defriended me.

  • katamari Damassi

    Nice way to imply that Abbie is a white supremacist yet maintain deniability through the use of weasel words.  You must contribute SO much to the secular community.

  • http://www.bynkii.com/ John C. Welch

    Bless your heart.

  • http://aboutkitty.blogspot.com/ Cat’s Staff

    This follows a predictable pattern for news segments talking about atheists.  Start with a shot of people worshiping in a church, talk a little bit about the atheist issue, talk to some religious leader, talk a little more about the atheist issue, then exit with talking about religion, or references to religion.  We’ll know things have changed when there’s a news story about religion where they start and end talking to us…or at least a news story about us that focuses only on us.

  • Allison

    Ibis3 is one of PZ’s little bootlickers.

  • lisa simpson

    Abbie is a strong, intelligent woman who’s actually accomplishing something in the field of science.  It’s a shame that in 2012 women like this are still considered “repulsive” to some, but I think we’re making progress.

  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

    Agreed. Those not familiar with Abbie Smith ought to check out her “lovely” side-forum, The Slime Pit — full of misogyny, hate, and abuse.

  • KiwiInOz

    Please do check us out. Misogyny and hate are in short supply. But mockery, wide ranging discussions, funny stuff, music, and needlepoint are there for the viewing.

  • KiwiInOz

    Oh. And it’s Slymepit.

  • Dilurk

    If there was rampant misogyny and hate on the Slympit I would not be posting there. I’m more terrified of people like you than I am of the people on the ‘pit. You are guilty of association fallacy, propaganda, doxing because we refuse to buy into your dogma. My branch of feminism honours strong women and does not try to put them down as “chill girls” or “gender traitors”. Why can you not just respect Abbie for what she does and keep your own *hate* and *abuse* off of here? She’s busy finding a *cure* for HIV, what are you busy doing besides snarking on websites? Grow up both of you little girls. 
    My daughter was more mature as a young lady, than you two are as supposed adults.

    - From a 60 yo grand mother. 

  • Clayton Flesher

     As the VP of the group, you are welcome any time. We have multiple events a week and stuff spread all around the metro area.

    There are also active groups in Tulsa, Lawton and Norman, and a Secular Parenting group.

    Oklahoma has some of the most active atheists organizations in the country. We even have a conference. http://freeok.org/

  • Allison

    “wmdkitty” is another one of PZ’s groveling little butt-kissers.

  • Guest

     That’s not helpful, Allison.

  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

    Chill Girls and “gender traitors” are PROPPING UP AND SUPPORTING THE GODDAMN PATRIARCHY. There is NOTHING “strong” about that.

  • Georgina

    … and they wonder why so many atheists think that religious people are bonkers. 

  • Dilurk

    Anyone that resorts to using all caps is like a little child stamping their feet because they did not get their  own way.

    Take your brand of hateful spiteful radfem off of here and leave Abbie alone. Abbie Smith has done more for humanity in her lifetime so far than you will ever do.

    There you have it folks. The feminism my generation fought for so hard, stolen by petulant  spoiled little brats.


    Fuck you and fuck your idiot goddamned delusions, you pathetic piece of shit.

    Oh noes, TEH PATRIARCHY!!!!!!!!

    The call of the person who enjoys more freedom and privilege, with less responsibility, than people in almost any other place or time, yet still can’t accept responsibility for anything and has to blame the big, bad “other” for all their own failures.

  • lisa simpson

    Abbie’s been harassed by men, who stalk her, try to get her fired, and try to bully conferences into shunning her.  She’s in a male-dominated field; she’s a threat to them.  Unfortunately that still happens in this day and age.  But it’s also precisely why she and Harriet Hall and other women in science are vilified by modern-day feminists.  How do you sit back on your butt and claim “We women are too oppressed by patriarchy to do anything” when women are out there kicking ass?

    Abbie, Hall, Porco, etc. are blowing it for the feminists.  They’re all gender traitors and chill girls.  (That’s sarcasm, if that wasn’t clear.)

  • http://www.bynkii.com/ John C. Welch

    Funny how your response to any woman not toeing your party line is to attack her and try to silence her. How rational of you. Nice to see you live up to the standards of equality you demand from others.

  • http://www.bynkii.com/ John C. Welch

    You mean like how you blame Abbie for yours?

  • http://www.bynkii.com/ John C. Welch

    Well, that’s their real problem with her. Instead of being like laden, Myers, and the rest of the FTB crowd, who do nothing other than collect speaker fees and blog, Abbie is actually doing science. She’s been instrumental in ferreting out two cases of scientific fraud, (behe and mikovits) and is doing active work in trying to find a cure for HIV/AIDS.

    When she does speak at conferences, it’s about science and her work, and the vast, VAST majority of her blog posts are on science. She also won’t speak at any conference out of driving range, and is on record as actively encouraging atheist/skeptic groups to use local folks instead of flying in the same people over and over, so that new people get heard.

    Her biggest “sins” are not placing her lips on the appropriate butts, and actually doing stuff.