Threats to rape and kill atheists? Stay classy, Fox News viewers.

Title says it all. This happened a few days ago, and was buzzing around Reddit and Facebook. In case you missed it – click to embiggen.

Threats of Rape and Murder of American Atheists from Fox News viewers

The one that catches my eye the most is this one: “I love Jesus, and the cross and if you dont, I hope someone rapes you!” by Sindy.

Fox News Viewer "I hope someone rapes you". Directed at atheists

Which of course was subsequently ‘liked’ by 2 more people. I’m baffled.

You can’t live in fear of Fox News viewers, or else the Tea Partiers have already won… or something. Seriously though, what is this? Is this a feeble attempt at humor in the vein of Howard Stern wishing cancer upon people? If so, how warped is your sense of religion and spirituality? Surely this must be what is called “taking the lord’s name in vain”.

Doesn’t Sindy realize that we are going to laugh at her for an entirely different reason? Her comment goes right into the “How Christian of you” flavor of Hate Mail infamy. The kind that Richard Dawkins reads to a room of wide-eyed atheists who can’t help but laugh uncontrollably at the bizarre statements.

embedded by Embedded Video

YouTube Direkt

I believe that’s the 2nd time I’ve re-posted that video. Still funny.

Na-Nu Na-Nu

Readers may remember when the Rock Beyond Belief space antenna picked up incomprehensible signals from the moon’s chaplain. What motivates people to write about their religion this way? I’m not exactly sure. But a comment on that thread just came in from a person with an epic name.

Old Chaplain Turned Skeptic” writes

I went through the US Army Chaplain Basic Course with Drunkenmiller back in 1988. He’s one of those hyper-extroverted, shallow, know-it-all Baptist preacher types. That was my impression of him back then. From his remarks, I see he has not evolved at all despite his years of military service. Drunkenmiller suffers from a common malady that fundamentalist ministers often have: They are taught- and come to believe – because they “know the Bible” they are experts on everything.

His level of education is very shallow. He is a graduate of Jerry Falwell’s “Liberty University” and actually served as one of Falwell’s body guards while going through school there. I have several friends who went through Liberty U. and the “education” basically consist of forcing the students to memorize a host of bigoted, ill-informed ideas with no basis in real history or science, and then handing them a graduate degree in theology. Ignorant is as ignorant does.

I also received this email from the same Old Chaplain:

Thanks for your article Justin.  I was actually an endorsed chaplain for The Chaplaincy of Full Gospel Churches, which had as its mission to flood the different branches of the military with hyper-fundamentalist chaplains who would to be missionary to all the lost – and deceived – members who didn’t “know Jesus.”  I was part of a charismatic-theocratic religious movement whose aim is to take back America from all those godless liberals and “secular humanists” who we saw a ruining our country and turning it away from God. They now control big chunks of The Republican Party.  Scary!  I went through a deconversion experience and now label myself an agnostic. I’d like to see what else “Brother” Drunkenmiller sent you.[*]  Keep up the good work!

[*]Note: he’s referring to a second 8 page email response I got from ex-chaplain, David Druckenmiller. I haven’t released it, though I may someday. I promise you, there are many chaplains that are firmly on our side. But I don’t want my atheist friends to think that all chaplains are like this. One indecipherable wall of text is enough (for now.)

Kill them with kindness.

But should we, and if so, how should we respond to these vile personal attacks and slurs? I think we should engage in most circumstances. Don’t feed the trolls, but silence isn’t the only way to starve them.

First, Kill them with kindness. Like the many foxhole atheists who politely informed me that I wasn’t the only one to come up with this idea: volunteering for 24 hour staff duty every Christmas.

Second, Rape and Kill them with kindness. Respond with on-topic humor that makes your point. When done right, it can be more effective than the actual logic and reason (hopefully) underlying the humor. Dawkins’ hate mail. “No Chaplains in Foxholes”, etc. Nearly every picture on /r/atheism, No Atheists In Fox News, etc.

There are no atheists in fox news - bill o'reilly subtle

Out of the closet! Tally-ho, and what not!

—-

**Edit: Within minutes of me posting this Gregg B. said: “Cue the “They aren’t real Christians” in 3…2….1….” And he is exactly right. The No True Scotsman fallacy seems to be used by some theists against fellow theists sometimes!**

**Edit #2: A few people’s troll-detectors are going off with Sindy Clock. Her profile now refers people to a “hopeyougetraped” URL, and the userpic is different. The others are almost certainly not trolls, and inexplicably 2 people some how still managed to ‘like’ the rape comment.**

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About Justin Griffith
  • claudette saylor

    I am so sorry you feel this way. As you well know, there is ignorance and extremists on all sides. I consider myself an Independent who some would like to say “Tea Party” member though I’m not. I’m just another citizen who wants jobs to return to our country. Please do not only pick those statements that give Christians a bad name. Than you!

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/rockbeyondbelief/members/justin/ Justin Griffith

      I’m afraid that the initial grass-roots ‘tea party’ momentum was hijacked by the new leaders of the Tea Party movement pretty early on. These self-identified Tea Party leaders are most certainly in step with the religious right.

      I know that there are clear-minded tea-partiers too. My dad is one of them. I can’t even tell if he even believes in god at all anymore, though he’s not really an atheist either. Secular Christian? I don’t know, something like that. He’s also the smartest person I’ve ever met, and I don’t write him off, or his political views as christian-based. However, both you and he share the same fault: neither of you realize that the vast majority of people in general consider the Tea Party to be lock in step with hard-line ‘social conservatism’ (which is inescapably religious) as well as the obvious fiscal positions. Perception is reality, and you should be angered at the religious zealots who stole your identity (again!)

      Thanks for the respectful dialog though. Your posts will not need moderation anymore.

  • Jude

    FOX News continually uses inflammatory, emotional language to get people riled up, angry, threatened and paranoid. These comments prove it. FOX is completely irresponsible. Both in its journalism and for letting these comments stay on their page.

    The people who wrote these things need to get out of their mob mentality before they create a nut case who actually goes out and starts murdering people.

    • beerslayer

      Are you sure they haven’t already done so?

  • beerslayer

    “Fair and balanced”, my ass. Which they can kiss.

  • Kevin C Jenkins

    Sometimes I wonder, what if all the atheists, agnostics, and secular-religious (moderates who understand the need for church/state separation) all picked up and moved to places like Europe and Canada. When these wilfully ignorant fascists lose the great majority of their scientists and teachers, will they turn cannibal and implode their society, or will they manage to hold it together long enough to create a theocracy capable of taking the rest of the world down with them?

    Without people that understand the need for secularism within social justice, this country would not exist. That applies as much today as it did in recent centuries past.

    • Dale

      Kevin, if all the militant atheists and others who swoon at the very mention of religion left the country, millions of us would no longer have anyone to laugh at.

      I’m an atheist. That said, my goal in life is not to convince religionists they are wrong or spread atheism like a freaking religion. An additional bonus would be for those who worship at the church of AGW to go with them although I suspect that once the militants leave, quite a few far leftists and global warming fanatics will naturally be in their numbers.

  • J. White

    I’ll be praying for rain on your big day.

    • CK in Raleigh

      How very loving of you, Mr/Ms. White. What a wonderful witness you present for your abusive god.

  • Seamus Ruah

    Fox News – The only ‘news’ organization with a court ruling that says “it’s okay, they can lie.”

  • http://twitter.com/doctordave Dr. D

    I’d like to find Sindy’s Facebook page and offer to send her some inspirational, hand-made “Who Would Jesus Rape” bracelets!

    • CK in Raleigh

      I simply reported her, and sent her a polite message saying that as a rape survivor I find it completely abhorrent that she would wish sexual assault on others.

  • Dragon Lady

    3 “fox viewers” out of the millions who watch fox made or supported a horrible comment. Based on that, you write “Fox news viewers threaten rape”???? Please, is there not enough hate in the world for you that you have to try to stir the pot even more? I am a Christian. I do not hate, nor do I wish any harm to atheists – nor agnostics. This is America and, so far, you have a right to believe or not believe how ever you wish – as do I. prayers, always.

  • Yukiko

    I’ve read this blog twice as well as the comments. I can see a few undocumented accusations of hate speech by Fox News viewers but no proven evidence. You folks should try to back up your statements with written proof. Until such time I will have to believe you are nothing more than a bunch of crackpots.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/rockbeyondbelief/members/justin/ Justin Griffith

      There are screenshots….?

  • Lacey Michelle Simon

    Great entry. ONe of the best weapons against trolls is humor. YOu’re right on there. no a.

  • Mike in Murrieta

    Its quite curious how you folks can get so excited about believing in nothing. its easy to believe in nothing, its hard to believe in something other than yourself. That can be called called faith, and hope.

    We live in a great country, and you are entitled to your belief, or lack thereof, just as we are. We propose ideas based on our belief that God is present in our lives and gave us this blessed country and you believe in human intellect and power, but without a moral compass since there is none to be found without God’s law.

    Thankfully, we can both propose our ideas, but they are subject to democratic rules of acceptance. We have no right to push our ideas on you, and you therefor have no right to push your unbelief on us. So lets continue to propose ideas and let majority rule as it has for hundreds of years.

    if your ideas do not sway the public, so be it. You’ll have to wait for next election. if they do, more power to you.

    Just stop trying to force your unbelief on a society where the majority believe in God.

    if you’re unhappy, move to an atheist country and start your own government. This America, land of the free.

    • CK in Raleigh

      How is atheism being “forced” on anyone, sir?

      Put your answer right here:_______

    • Bruce at Fort Bragg

      Mike in Murrieta,

      “This is America, land of the free.”

      Exactly the point–we are free or organize, celebrate, and assemble. While I am a “closet” atheist–I don’t push or preach my beliefs unless directly asked, its nice to see people like myself that I can associate with.

      No one is “forcing” an unbelief on anyone–simply just asking permission to practice the same rights afforded to everyone else–how is that threatening?

      Last, why should I move? Atheists don’t ask Christians to move. I have done 5 combat rotations fighting religous extremism–why can’t I have some moderation where I live?

    • http://twitter.com/doctordave Dr. D

      The US **IS** an atheist country. And a Muslim country. And a Buddhist country. And a Christian country. If by which you mean a country which allows those groups the free exercise and practice of there respective religions. But it is a country founded on a principle that the MAJORITY, whomever they may be shall not receive any special treatment or consideration. So the fact that the majority of Americans are Christian is therefore irrelevant, since “the government shall respect no establishment of religion.” In this sense the US **IS NOT** an atheist country. Or a Muslim country. Or a Buddhist country. Or a Christian country. It never ceases to amaze me how many Christians seem not to understand this fact, when it is THEY as much than the atheists who should be CELEBRATING it.

  • Babci Cathy

    I am an atheist and I find this sad and pathetic. I don’t understand why people insist upon “sharing” personal choices in public about their sexuality, spirituality, philosophy, etc. with the rest of us. Why hold parades and concerts and art festivals to “celebrate” our fetishes. Privacy, integrity, self-control and self-confidence seem adult to me…all this defining and exposing oneself seems so adolescent.

  • Adam

    Be careful about lumping Tea Partiers in with the crazy christian right. I have been a Tea partier and Libertarian for a long time now. Democrats want to control me economically and the GOP wants to control me personally. I prefer FREEDOM.

    De Oppresso Liber

    Adam

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/rockbeyondbelief/members/justin/ Justin Griffith

      I do understand the two separate pieces, my friend. My dad is very much like you, and is the smartest person I know. I really like your libertarian t-shirts that you wear to MASH meetups – funny shit :)

      But you have to understand that as a whole, the lumping has already been done by the public. They co-opted your movement to include social conservatives at the forefront. Michele Bachman, Sarah Palin, etc. These are the darlings of the Tea Party in the eyes of the public. Scary would-be theocrats, and admittedly so. Those Texas congressmen who want to have by default, all burials for military vets to include 4 separate private groups’ ceremonies and prayers for Jesus… all are self-identified tea party activists. They hijacked your movement man (‘again’ as some would say.) LITERALLY over my dead body…

      Look at the word “Hacker” and how it has completely shifted in connotation. Bill Gates was a ‘hacker’ who tinkered with mobo’s and soldering irons. And Topiary (LulzSec) is a ‘hacker’ who well… he did a little more than that :)

  • max

    Remember -

    if you wear God on your sleeve, then you don`t have God in your heart.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/rockbeyondbelief/members/justin/ Justin Griffith

      Also, if you wear God on your sleeve, he might get boogers all over him. Especially if you’re a kid.

      • max

        so that`s what that is…

  • http://www.fairmindeddude.com james

    Check out Pat Condell’s website and the hate mail that he gets, especially from many Muslims and Christians. They say things like, “Islam is a religion of peace, so you should DIE if you disagree!” or “You killed Jesus, you Jewbastard!” (Condell is from an Irish-Catholic background, though he lives in England).

    Yes, Condell can be sarcastic and offensive, but the reactions of some religious people are so disproportionate, threatening and hysterical that it’s very hard to fathom.

  • Vic

    It is an interesting issue. To say that Faux News is the Tea Party network is ignoring the simple fact that they pretty much ignore the man that sowed the seeds that was the grassroots tea party movement, Ron Paul. Even Jon Stewart on The Daily Show made mention of it last night on his show. Frankly, there are jerkoffs on every side of the issue. Atheists can be as harsh as the comments exampled above by “Christians”.

  • DragonStar

    I, personally, am agnostic, but am very open to others beliefs. Not, mind you, that I want to be flooded with “well, believe in THIS God, because He is the only/best/most powerful/etc” crap…it just means you have your beliefs and I have mine. Or non-belief, in the case of Atheism.

    That said, it still amazes me, as I have been on the receiving end of comments similar to these, that a “kind, loving God” can spawn haters of this magnitude. No, not all Christians (of all denominations) are bullies, nor do all Christians push their beliefs. But of those that do, what is it you are really fighting for, your beliefs or your hatred of anything different than you?

    Kudos, Justin, for sticking to your guns (military pun not intended, I swear), and I wish you luck in your endeavors. And a note to all the Christian haters that think you have no right to be in public with your “heinous” lack of beliefs: pull your swollen, righteous head out of your rectal sphincter.

  • Bob

    This answers the age old question. What do croaks do when they aren’t out blowing up planned parenthood clinics


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