A Catholic Website’s Sneaky Spin on the Atheist-Lit Case in Georgia

If you have to resort to making stuff up in order to “prove” that secular Americans are out to attack Christianity, your case is probably pretty weak.

Take this recent headline from Catholic Online:

That’s the website’s take on the offer by American Atheists president David Silverman to send non-theist literature to Georgia, to be placed in state park cabins. Silverman made the gesture after Governor Nathan Deal said that the Gideon Bibles are fine and that “in fact, any group is free to donate literature.”

By using the preposition atop in that headline, Catholic Online childishly stokes the Christian-persecution narrative, implying that the atheists are trying to literally cover up the Bible. The word alongside would have been fine, thank you very much.

The dishonesty continues in the article:

Since the atheists are enjoying success in supplanting the Bible in Georgia, there is some concern they could attempt to replicate it elsewhere.

To supplant means “to supersede and replace”; or more specifically, according to the dictionary definition, “to usurp the place of, especially through intrigue or underhanded tactics.” American Atheists doesn’t seek to supplant; the group just wants equal access, literature-wise (per the First Amendment as well as per Governor Deal’s invitation). Catholic Online knows this full well, considering that it summed up Silverman’s position accurately two sentences earlier:

“Silverman said that neither [type of literature] should go into the rooms, but if the Bible will be there, then so should literature about atheism.”

The website closes its article with this smirking passage:

For now, [this controversy is] only in Georgia state parks. Of course, donated literature can also be taken home and enjoyed, so it’s unclear how long Silverman’s books will last or if he will be able to keep up with demand.

That reads like a subtly-veiled nudge to destroy or deep-six the atheist literature, rather than leave it in the bedside drawer for the next guest to find. Classy.

The faithful don’t need much encouragement in that regard. Religious believers have a rather poor record of tolerating even the mildest of atheist utterances. My guess is that Silverman will have to re-supply Georgia’s state park cabins a lot more than the Gideons will. We’ll see.

About Terry Firma

Terry Firma, though born and Journalism-school-educated in Europe, has lived in the U.S. for the past 20-odd years. Stateside, his feature articles have been published in the New York Times, Reason, Rolling Stone, Playboy, and Wired. Terry is the founder of Moral Compass, a now dormant site that poked fun at the delusional claim by people of faith that a belief in God equips them with superior moral standards. He joined Friendly Atheist in 2013.


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