More Atheist Responses to ‘The Thaw’

The other day, I posted a video from Christian group Reach America called “The Thaw.” It featured young Christians talking about how they’re “persecuted” for their faith:

I also posted a video response that offered a crude-language-laden rebuttal to those claims… mostly because it cracked me up. But some of you were hoping to see a rebuttal that wasn’t so blatantly incendiary.

So I’m happy to link to a couple of really good responses that address the issues without trying to piss people off in the process. (Even better: They both allow comments, which is more than I can say about the original Christian piece…)

This one’s from TheBarkingAtheist:

This one’s from Livelife8072:

If there are more we should see, please leave the links in the comments!

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.

  • Jack Lawrence

    This is an excellent response (and one of the first) from EssenceOfThought, “The Flaw, Correcting The Thaw”:

  • MD

    I can’t watch any more replies. They all include clips of the original mess of a propaganda video.

  • Garret Shane Brown

    I’m a fan of TJ’s (TheAmazingAtheist)
    Though his is mostly for comical relief.

  • Reginald Selkirk

    without trying to piss people off in the process.

    Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

  • hailey

    The kids in that Thaw video have really disturbing ideals. The way they talk, it sounds like they are ready and willing to kill in the name of their god. The organization they belong to is worthy of being on the FBI’s terrorist watch list.

  • Sandra Stott

    My husband said pretty much the same thing. Someone starts talking about war, or fighting one, etc like they do in this video, and it doesn’t matter if it’s meant rhetorically, they are going to be paid attention to by the government.

  • Space Cadet

    Well, if the government takes an interest in this due to that language, then I hope the focus is less on the kids and more on the adults who are pulling their strings.

  • JET

    Yes. Please explain the conceptual difference between these kids and the Muslim brotherhood.

  • Lagerbaer

    Depends. If what you are saying is a necessary truth that happens to piss people off, there’s nothing wrong with that.

    But if you have to go out of your way just to make an insult, ask yourself what good it would do.

  • Lagerbaer

    TJ… what to say. He’s very sharp when it comes to religion and politics, but I absolutely despise him for his misogynistic borderline-MRA views. Same goes for Thunderf00t.

  • Gus Snarp

    I may not always like Dusty’s style, but I have to admit, he has brevity on his side. How could it take twenty minutes to rebut that silly video?

  • Spuddie

    None. The only difference is access to political power.

  • KMR

    Was “The Thaw” actually supposed to be a serious commentary? I read your original post a few days ago but didn’t watch either video at the time. Not that I got through the first couple of minutes this time around either but that’s not because of personal time constraints. It’s just really bad. Like laughable. Surely it’s not meant to be taken seriously……

  • Artor

    I watched a few of TJ’s videos, and though they were well-reasoned, until he went off the deep end with misogynistic rape threats against atheist women for having the temerity to suggest, “Hey guys, please don’t do x,y, or z. It’s not cool.”
    In short, fuck TJ in the neck. I don’t want to hear what he has to say.

  • Jay

    “When fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross.”- Sinclair Lewis

  • Space Cadet

    Oh it’s definitely real. If you have the time (and patience, and stomach, etc) check out their website, linked in Hemant’s post. There’s a number of blog posts up by the church leader, Gary. I’m having a good time reading through them and laughing and laughing and laughing.

    Here’s a gem:

    If your Christian children and/or teens are attending school in a public school building, they are being immersed in a sex-saturated,
    anti-Christian culture where idolatry abounds.

    Ahhh, memories. Those first period orgies we had at my public school really set the tone for the rest of the sin-filled day.

  • Space Cadet

    “When fascism comes to America it will be encased in ice, slowly melt and then topple over on top of a flag, symbolizing…something.”- Me

  • Miss_Beara

    Cafeteria orgies were the best. All the food and beverages… ah, good times.

  • Blacksheep

    “If what you are saying is a necessary truth that happens to piss people off, there’s nothing wrong with that.”

    Well said.

  • allein

    Damn, I went to the wrong public school…

  • gwf1213

    nowhere in my 17 years of being sexually active have I had more luck than in places of worship. Not actually in them but (well sometimes) . CHurch camp was the best.

  • Pirulitus

    I’d rather be forced to watch Ray Comfort’s videos in a Clockwork Orange style setting while being punched in the balls instead of being paid to watch “TheAmazingAtheist” on youtube.

  • Space Cadet

    When did you graduate? Was it before public schools adopted the No Orgasms Left Behind Act?

  • GeorgeLocke

    Inspiring unpleasant feelings in others is a transaction cost. Sometimes it’s worth it and sometimes it isn’t. Saying that there’s nothing wrong with pissing people off is pretty close to saying that we should all be prepared to accept whatever abuse is thrown at us, but I don’t think you’d like that implication.

  • gwf1213

    we need an AMA with one of the kids from that video.

  • Hat Stealer

    They really added to the second period Bible burnings.

  • Gus Snarp

    I think it’s funny that they don’t think Christian schools are sex-saturated, anti-Christian cultures where idolatry abounds. Everything they described about the behavior of kids at public schools sounded like it’s probably identical to behavior at Christian schools.

    I’m also really curious to know how many of the kids in that video attend public school.

  • allein

    I guess so…1993…

  • Space Cadet

    In my neck of the woods it was the biggest Catholic high school that was the den of decadence. That was where we went when we needed a “bag of drugs”.

  • Space Cadet

    Same year as me. I guess you did go to the wrong school!

  • Gus Snarp

    Oh man, the make out sessions in the back of the church bus…..

  • allein

    Maybe I’m just in the wrong state…? (NJ, ftr)

  • Gus Snarp

    Oh man, the website is just a treasure trove.

    On this page they use a picture of a horrible, giant, aluminum, roadside cross. I can’t remember where that thing is, I think it’s somewhere along I75 and more than fifty feet tall.

    They also state that they have an,

    “Education Partnership.” Middle and high school students can come to Reach America each morning, Monday-Friday, for optional tutoring. Most of our students are enrolled in an online school. Some are home schooled.

    Which answers my question about whether the kids in the video go to public school.

    And the “team” consists of Gary Brown and his adult daughter Mindy, who having been a teacher for four years must be the sole source of knowledge about public schools for them.

    I remember seeing this video somewhere else where it was presented as some kind of grass roots thing driven by the kids, maybe I’m wrong, but this website, with it’s blog posts entirely by Pastor Gary, certainly doesn’t speak to any kind of real involvement from the kids.

  • MD

    This one time at band camp…

  • Edwin Woodruff Tait

    Well, apparently they aren’t so crazy in claiming to be persecuted. Or at least, if you had your way they would be. (Putting people on a terrorist watch list for using metaphorical language about “spiritual warfare” is certainly a form of persecution. If the FBI put any Muslim group that used the word “jihad” on a terrorist watch list, we would rightly call this persecution.)

  • JA

    I like the Barking Atheist’s take in that the video sounded like a jihadi recruitment video.

  • DrMcCoy

    Butbutbut, The Thaw is an episode of Voyager!

  • Space Cadet

    Wow. Words fail me on this one:

    Each morning, Monday through Thursday from 8am-12pm, Reach America
    provides tutoring free as a service to our member families who are
    educating their youth at home

    (emphasis mine)

    Membership in the Reach America program is $2,400 annually or $240 per
    month for the first youth and $1,800 annually or $180 per month for
    additional youth in the family

  • allein

    So, free gift with purchase, then.

  • Quintin van Zuijlen

    If it was explicitly clarified that it’s a metaphorical war at every mention of it, it might be persecution. If not, it’s not.

  • Quintin van Zuijlen

    That was a great one. EoT makes great videos so definitely subscribe.

  • meekinheritance

    Orwellian doublespeak is common in marketing. :-/

  • C Peterson

    I expect that the FBI does have a watch list that includes every domestic Muslim group that uses the word “jihad”… as it should, and that’s hardly persecution. And it should be watching dangerous Christian groups (like the one in the video) as well. And again, that’s not persecution. Nobody is limiting their beliefs or actions, just recognizing that they display warning signs for cultish violence, and somebody needs to keep an eye on them.

  • Skeptic Fence

    Hey Hermant,
    Thanks for posting my video (LiveLife8072). I total appreciate it. Keep up the great work you do.

  • Roger Peritone
  • Roger Peritone

    As messed up as those kids are, I don’t think that they’re actually advocating violence; it looks like they’re using metaphors when talking about “army”. At xian camp when I was a kid and still a believer, we sung songs that had that terminology in it and no violence was ever actually implied.

    It’s more a call to be annoying “witnesses” than anything.

    Ok, Edwin beat me to it about the metaphorical language point.

  • Peter Thurston
  • Peter Thurston

    Thank you both :P

  • Estproph

    Effingham, IL is the location of Christ’s Giant Eyesore. Just FYI

  • dcMartin

    Has anybody else noticed that most of the kids in that video look related, like they are all part of the same “quiverful’, homeschooling family?

    And way to rail about the desecration of American ideals while desecrating a flag by laying it on the ground and melting a hunk of ice all over it.

  • David Kopp

    You realize that disagreeing with someone isn’t persecution, right? Nobody’s saying they can’t say the things they’re saying. We’re just saying they’re either idiots or brainwashed.

    Persecution is when Christians threaten atheists so much so that they need police protection going to school simply because the atheist had the gall to ask them to follow the law. (You might read some about Jessica Ahlquist if you’re not familiar with it).

    Christians in the US are as far from persecuted as it gets.

  • Kate Monster

    Why? All the answers will be “Jesus”.

    (Here from Libby Anne’s blog)

  • Paul D.

    What starts as metaphor may easily become reality whenever religious and political leaders need a way to make people support a war or some other violent injustice.