The Fox News Facebook page became a forum for hate after the news source interviewed Blair Scott of American Atheists on July 28th. The organization is filing a lawsuit protesting the inclusion of a crossbeam from the wreckage of the World Trade Center in the September 11th Memorial and Museum, angering many religious Americans. Interfaith Alliance President Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy wrote that in an issue such as this, context is everything: It is wrong to secularize the cross by turning it into a universal memorial symbol, but as this particular cross was found in the rubble of the 9/11 attacks and was itself a piece of the buildings, it holds historical significance and thus has a rightful place in the museum.

Social networking sites such as Facebook can sometimes facilitate positive discussion and debate, but in this case, the anti-Atheist comments came in the form of merciless death threats. Such comments included “Shoot em. At least we know where they’re going, waste of oxygen” and “I love Jesus, and the cross and if you don’t, I hope someone rapes you!” Fox News deleted the hateful comments, but not before many were captured and posted elsewhere.

The hypocrisy that self-professed Christians are writing such hateful comments is mind-blowing. The Ten Commandments mandate “You shall not kill,” and Jesus preached to “Love thy neighbor as thyself.” These are such basic tenants of Christianity, and they seem to be lost when addressing nontheists.

It’s especially ironic that this hatred stemmed out of a discussion relating to the attacks of September 11th. The terrorists set out to kill as many Americans as possible—whether they were Christian, Jewish, Muslim, or atheist Americans didn’t matter because Islamic fundamentalists label all these groups as “nonbelievers.” The Christian fundamentalists that posted the hateful comments similarly expressed death wishes toward non-theists. Even though they work with a different definition of “nonbeliever,” the sentiment of all fundamentalists is the same: Kill those that don’t believe what we think they should. Regardless of whether or not American Atheists is right in its complaints, the hypocritically hateful response from people claiming to be religious does nothing to honor that which the museum is seeking to commemorate.

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  • Luke Mastalli-Kelly

    The reactions of those on the Fox News page are self-evidently unacceptable. That said, I feel Blair Scott is over reacting to the inclusion of the cross beam. Firstly, the beam has sufficiently significant meaning to merit inclusion without any religious associations. Secondly, the fact that some will view it as having additional meaning in no way reduces its intrinsic value. If some religion considered the rectangle to be holy, would Scott advocate the redesign of most of the buildings in the US?

  • Bil Dake

    Hi,

    I am President of Ohana Road Runners and conduct Run/Walks for SF Food Bank, a Lady’s Home and for LEAP to End the War on Drugs. I want to do one for schools and would do even more fundraisers with enough support. I was thinking about doing AM practice Walk’s (ok to run) on Saturday mornings in Golden Gate Park and other bay area locations. I would like to have someone from different religions (rotated) say an inspirational prayer, before we start.

    I’m Catholic and met a Rabbi from Interfaith Drug Policy Alliance at a Conference for Students for sensible Drug Policy, who inspired me to go in a direction of togetherness. Ohana is Hawaiian for Family and I started the Club to fundraise for the needy and to bring all local running and walking clubs together for fundraisers. I need volunteer support and usually come up a bit short. It would be great if Synagogues, Mosques and Churches informed their people that there is a Run/Walk to feed the Hungry on November 20, 2011 and to support it as their Entries are 100% TD and 100% of all pledges & donations go to the Food Bank. I do not get paid and it is almost all volunteers, but invoices for T-shirts, Permits, Insurance and whatever equipment we need have to be paid. I am very frugal and provide a run that looks similar to others, but most of the venues have been reinvented so as to save expenses. We actually give more than the others as we take a finish video w/time clock framed in the picture and post it on the web site where they can also download a High Definition finish photo.

    Pease forgive me for going on and on; I did not intend a novel. I really feel that we can help each other’s efforts to make the world a better place. If any of this has appeal, let me know.

    Thanks,

    Bill Dake
    650-291-8531

  • Douglas

    I think Don’s claim that atheists posing as Christians write hate mail about atheists to discredit Christians is a little bit of a stretch, and not at all credible. If we know anything about atheists, it’s that, as a group, they are not consumed by religious dogma and passions. What they do stand firm on is tolerance for non-believers and believers alike. Their posture is, toward other religions is “if it floats your boat, then sail with it, but it’s not for me, so stop trying to save my soul with your beliefs.” By contrast, it is entirely believable that fundamentalist Christians — specifically — are the ones most likely to write hate mail about non-believers, i.e. the ones who don’t believe as they do themselves. The sad thing about it is that they come by their rhetoric by listening to some of their leaders and clergy who have difficulty controlling their passions in speaking to their congregations and other followers. In other words, they are taught hate and don’t realize it; a preacher’s hate is OK because it comes from a preacher, supposedly a man of God, and God is OKing the hatred. Therein lies the major sin of Christian fundamentalism toward other religions.

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