Home Runs, Atheists and ESPN

The Home Run Derby, a made-for-TV contest that precedes Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game, is usually a frivolous folly. Players … Continued

The Home Run Derby, a made-for-TV contest that precedes Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game, is usually a frivolous folly. Players blast home runs, the fans ooh and ahh, and everyone has a good time. But Monday night’s event unexpectedly turned into a showcase of religious beliefs. Christians applauded Josh Hamilton’s first-round feats, while atheists took it on the chin from an ESPN broadcaster.

Hamilton, the 27-year-old Texas Rangers outfielder, has seen his life come full circle. In 1999, he was the No. 1 draft pick of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. From there, he descended into a miasma of drug addictions, including crack cocaine, which led to suspensions and rehab stints — losing 3½ years of his career before becoming a devout Christian and putting his life back together.

In 2007, he returned to the major leagues with the Cincinnati Reds. This past winter, he was traded to the Rangers and his career has taken off. Hamilton, who was voted to the American League’s starting lineup, leads the majors with 95 RBI.

Hamilton talks openly about his past as well as his faith and isn’t shy about invoking religion when speaking about his athletic feats, as he did on Monday night when he blasted a record 28 home runs in the first round of the Home Run Derby. Hamilton hit as many home runs in the first round as five of his competitors combined. Ultimately, Hamilton did not win the derby. Justin Morneau, who was added to the competition the day before, beat him 5-3 in the final round.

It was during Hamilton’s prodigious power display that ESPN’s Rick Reilly blurted out: “It’s a lousy day to be an atheist!”

Now, I’m the last one to castigate people speaking into live microphones, but it is interesting to me that Reilly, the longtime Sports Illustrated writer who recently made the transition to ESPN, chose those words.

As might be expected, the atheists were not happy with his comment. Their blogs were inflamed after his remarks. Some were irate, pointing out that Reilly’s comment was an instance of how it is okay to pick on atheists. Others were more resigned about what for them was another example of the misperceptions of atheism.

I’m not sure if Reilly was inferring that God had a hand in Hamilton’s home run hitting or if he was just trying to make a good quip. I e-mailed Reilly, who is in Southport, England, covering the British Open, but didn’t receive a response. I also spoke with ESPN public relations officials who told me that they had received few viewer complaints about Reilly’s remark.

A quick check of the Internet reveals only one newspaper writer mentioned Reilly’s comment. Jim Reeves of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, after taking John Kruk, another ESPN announcer, to task for saying that most of the people at Yankee Stadium were cheering for Hamilton because they want him to play for the Yankees in three or four years when he becomes a free agent, said that the best line came from Reilly.

I really don’t think that Reilly meant to disparage atheists as much as point out that Hamilton, through his faith, has turned his life around. I don’t know Reilly’s religious affiliations. Maybe he really does believe that God has a hand in everything, including home run hitting. More likely, he just got caught up in the moment.

I’m loath to call in the politically correct police. I don’t think we need to sanitize our speech. Yet, it does seem to me that there is somewhat of a double standard here. If it is okay to single out atheists, but not Jews or Muslims, where does that leave us on Buddhists? How about Christian Scientists?

Had Reilly said it was a lousy day to be a Jew or a lousy day to be a Muslim, I don’t doubt we would still be hearing about it and I’m certain the announcer would have faced some sanction from the network. In the end, I think Reilly could have come up with a better way to explain what he was seeing.

About

  • Joe

    Reilly is a phony.

  • Adam Weiner

    As an atheist, I was truly offended when I head the comment. I’ve been a fan of Rick’s columns for years, but he left an awful taste in my mouth for the rest of the night. Was he insinuating that atheists like myself cannot stand to watch theists succeed? Here’s a tiny portion of the long list of Christians who I wish I could be more like and wholeheartedly support: Barack Obama, Bono, Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., the Bishop Desmond Tutu. I know atheists don’t garner the respect of millions of Americans, but I would never have thought to include Mr. Reilly among the intolerant.

  • Neal Obstat

    Reilly made a stupid comment. The fact that a born-again Christian hit a lot of home runs is irrelevant to atheism. Basically, his comment was a non sequitur. And, by the way, was it a bad day for Christians when Hamilton failed to win the Home Run Derby? Did God fail or did he just not care about Home Runs or does he not exist in the first place? Aren’t these questions, in relation to home run hitting, rather ridiculous? So Reilly made a stupid comment. What do you expect from a sports commentator, incisive philosophical commentary? I’m over it.

  • FMJohnson

    Knowing Rick Reilly’s views on the war and the Bush administration, I assume he’s more on the secular humanist end of the scale than the believing end. (I’m an anti-war evangelical conservative, so I’m not saying whether that’s good or bad, it just is.) So when I heard Reilly make his remark during the Home Run Derby, I was actually happy that he was willing to acknowledge Josh Hamilton’s faith and the role it has played in his inspiring comeback, in albeit a humorous, indirect way. Other announcers that night and during the All-Star Game (and press reports of those same two events) often glossed over his faith.

  • Reasonable not hateful

    I think atheists should just lighten up.Many on this forum have no problem mocking “religionists” but when someone makes a comment about them they get all up in arms.I don’t think Reilly was being intolerant, just flippant…

  • Anonymous

    Rick Reilly is biggest hack I’ve ever read. Thankfully he no longer pollutes Sports Illustrated with his trite, idiotic column. He’s the type of writer who thinks that any sentence is automatically funny if he ends it in an exclamation mark! He’s also never met a lame pop culture reference that he didn’t like. (He’s about as popular in my household as Jar-Jar Binks!)

  • Picnic_Basket

    I caught that remark live, and it did jar me to some extent. I am an atheist who is largely tolerant of anyone’s religious beliefs. However, while Reilly’s remark may not have been malicious, it still came across in a way that said Christian beliefs are true, and atheists are mistaken. It also had an air of defensiveness about it. This does seem to reflect an attitude in society that turns freedom of religion into the idea that Christians can speak openly about their beliefs and criticize atheism, but atheists cannot expect to criticize Christianity without people taking offense to it.I have a theory about why this is the case, and it has to do with how religious beliefs are presented in everyday life. Christianity can be openly spoken about because most people are Christians and we’re all used to it being the dominant religion in the US. On the other hand, while the number of atheists may also be large, society has never really grown accustomed to people talking openly about atheism.At a typical day at the office, you can hear people talk about a trip to church or the celebration of a religious holiday. There is nothing inherently wrong with this and it is the norm. However, you will never hear an atheist say any equivalent statement because atheists don’t overtly do anything to show they’re an atheist. An atheist doesn’t go somewhere to *not* pray, or celebrate a specifically non-religious holiday, so ultimately there is never anything for an atheist to talk about that will give away their (lack of) beliefs.With atheism never casually making its way into conversation in the form of these off-the-cuff remarks, it still has this underground nature to it. Because of this, I feel atheism is still somewhat taboo, and Christians feel justified in believing that they are right, and atheists are wrong. They also feel, as Reilly demonstrated, that they are justified in openly stating this belief.

  • Michael

    I am an athiest. And I don’t care what Reilly thinks. I find the remark amusing and not offensive.I wonder though what the reaction would have been had the hitter been an avowed athiest and the comment had been that it was a bad day to be a Christian. Congress would probably order an investigation and hold hearings. Strange world we live in.Z

  • Gavin082

    As an atheist, I’m not for censoring any body’s speech. For the past 2000 years saying “There is no God” was an offense that would get me killed. Freedom of speech, especially religious speech, is something I cherish.That said, Reilly managed to make himself look like an @ss. It’s not really my problem. ESPN will probably tell him to try to avoid saying things that will get them in hot water.But let me propose one question: If Mr. Hamilton found himself in the Home Run Derby against an avowed atheist and said something to the effect that God would help him win – and his opponent hit 28 home runs to his 8 and a TV commentator said “It’s a bad day to be a Christian” how many people would be up in arms? How many organizations would be calling for boycotts of ESPN and how quickly would ESPN fire Reilly and issue an apology?

  • jonfromcali

    “If you believe you’re playing well because you’re getting laid, or because you’re not getting laid, or because you wear women’s underwear, then you ARE!” – Crash Davis in “Bull Durham”I’m glad Josh Hamilton thinks it’s God, or Jesus, or whoever that’s helping him recover from his drug addiction and those tattoos. Was it Jesus who told him to come thisclose to blowing his career by getting the drugs (or the tattoos) in the first place? Probably not–folks tend only to credit religion for their successes, at least in public. If Josh falls off the wagon at any point, can we blame Jesus for that?Where Reilly’s statement is idiotic is in his equation that if Josh credits Jesus for his recovery, and if he hits a lot of dingers in the derby, it must be a bad day for atheists. Actually, I had a really bad moment during the derby–the moment when Josh decided he had to prattle on about Jesus, which is a particularly putrid trend among athletes and pop stars–but I want to thank Jesus for inventing the TiVo, because I was able to fast-forward right through it.

  • Pete in ABQ

    Let’s just end this conversation with Neal Obstat’s summation. That this matter was the subject of Orton’s column resulted in a terrible waste of electrons.

  • LovinLiberty

    How pathetic and egomaniacal it is to think that god choose amongst us. I hit more home runs because of god; my child was saved for some “purpose” (essentially meaning other children aren’t saved for a purpose, aren’t worthy and/or you didn’t pray enough or aren’t devote enough); etc.; etc. To me, invoking god as the reason for your good things is disparaging toward god. It suggests that god favors you over all his other creations. Sorry … I don’t think so. Humility before god is gone in this country. Instead its god as consumption–I get more because I’m more deserving from god. Sad.

  • Vinny

    The little atheists whine again.The little atheists are “hurt” cause somebody used the word atheist in a less than flattering way.It have to say reading threads like this make me smile.Atheism is just foolish, boring, laughable nonsense.Sure folks, every single thing we see today; the entire gargantuan universe itself, the earth with countless system after system, perfectly balanced to sustain life as we have it right now; along with all that LIFE ITSELF all arrived through FAT CHANCE AND LOTS O’ LUCKY THINGS… AND ALL FROM NOTHING AT ALL… BY NOBODY AT ALL.THIS is why it’s a rough road and sorry thing being an atheist.Yet they whine and cry because somebody said the word atheist in a baseball game.Folks, you just gotta love the little atheists!

  • Tyler Durden

    Just wait. Josh Hamilton is a hooker and a crack rock away from falling back into addiction. If the Rangers were to make the playoffs, and I worked for the other team I would send the hottest hooker on earth with a sack of coke to Hamilton’s room. I love how so many former addicts trade one addiction for another – drugs for Jesus. Reilly should be fired. If he had said that about Christians, Muslims, or Jews the outrage would be through the roof. I take no condolence from a society that believes in the idea of an invisible man in the sky that cares about sports but couldn’t care less about people dying from bombs, and floods. What a sham. If I prayed to a god – I would pray to expedite Hamilton’s fall.

  • Tyler Durden

    Just wait. Josh Hamilton is a hooker and a crack rock away from falling back into addiction. If the Rangers were to make the playoffs, and I worked for the other team I would send the hottest hooker on earth with a sack of coke to Hamilton’s room. I love how so many former addicts trade one addiction for another – drugs for Jesus. Reilly should be fired. If he had said that about Christians, Muslims, or Jews the outrage would be through the roof. I take no condolence from a society that believes in the idea of an invisible man in the sky that cares about sports but couldn’t care less about people dying from bombs, and floods. What a sham. If I prayed to a god – I would pray to expedite Hamilton’s fall. Hail Satan!

  • Walk The Line

    I’ve always found it interesting how athletes and other notable figures praise god when they do well but then never blame God for when they do poorly. God has got quite the set up going…always getting praise from believers, but never any blame. How do I sign up for that?

  • Tyler Durden

    Just wait. Josh Hamilton is a hooker and a crack rock away from falling back into addiction. If the Rangers were to make the playoffs, and I worked for the other team I would send the hottest hooker on earth with a sack of coke to Hamilton’s room. I love how so many former addicts trade one addiction for another – drugs for Jesus. Reilly should be fired. If he had said that about Christians, Muslims, or Jews the outrage would be through the roof. I take no condolence from a society that believes in the idea of an invisible man in the sky that cares about sports but couldn’t care less about people dying from bombs, and floods. What a sham. If I prayed to a god – I would pray to expedite Hamilton’s fall. Hail Satan!

  • Tyler Durden

    Just wait. Josh Hamilton is a hooker and a crack rock away from falling back into addiction. If the Rangers were to make the playoffs, and I worked for the other team I would send the hottest hooker on earth with a sack of coke to Hamilton’s room. I love how so many former addicts trade one addiction for another – drugs for Jesus. Reilly should be fired. If he had said that about Christians, Muslims, or Jews the outrage would be through the roof. I take no condolence from a society that believes in the idea of an invisible man in the sky that cares about sports but couldn’t care less about people dying from bombs, and floods. What a sham. If I prayed to a god – I would pray to expedite Hamilton’s fall. Hail Satan!

  • Hail Satan!

    Just wait. Josh Hamilton is a hooker and a crack rock away from falling back into addiction. If the Rangers were to make the playoffs, and I worked for the other team I would send the hottest hooker on earth with a sack of coke to Hamilton’s room. I love how so many former addicts trade one addiction for another – drugs for Jesus. Reilly should be fired. If he had said that about Christians, Muslims, or Jews the outrage would be through the roof. I take no condolence from a society that believes in the idea of an invisible man in the sky that cares about sports but couldn’t care less about people dying from bombs, and floods. What a sham. If I prayed to a god – I would pray to expedite Hamilton’s fall. Hail Satan!

  • Tyler Durden

    Just wait. Josh Hamilton is a hooker and a crack rock away from falling back into addiction. If the Rangers were to make the playoffs, and I worked for the other team I would send the hottest hooker on earth with a sack of coke to Hamilton’s room. I love how so many former addicts trade one addiction for another – drugs for Jesus. Reilly should be fired. If he had said that about Christians, Muslims, or Jews the outrage would be through the roof. I take no condolence from a society that believes in the idea of an invisible man in the sky that cares about sports but couldn’t care less about people dying from bombs, and floods. What a sham. If I prayed to a god – I would pray to expedite Hamilton’s fall. Hail Satan!

  • Gareth Harris

    Hamilton had a really good day. We all enjoyed and benefitted from it. He seems to have this life under control and is doing well. I wish him nothing but the best. But couldn’t all wish the best for each other, even an atheist like me? Reilly?I thank Hamilton for participating in his pure joy of swatting the ball like that and watching it fly. I think one or two are still going. Watch out, Space station!To all who enjoyed a brief moment of Peace on Earth and Good Will to Mankind at the Home Run Derby – even Reilly.

  • Joran

    Actually, the thing I found surprising about the Josh Hamilton story is that no one has raised the spectre of steroids or other performance enhancing drugs in any of the columns or stories that I’ve read. The man just hit 28 home runs in one round; better than Bonds, better than McGwire and I haven’t heard any suggestion that he might be on the juice.I have no proof that he’s on performance enhancing drugs and I really, really hope he’s not, since I want his story to be true (just like Lance Armstrong, even though I have my doubts with him), but I’m just surprised many of the writers have lost their cynicism regarding power numbers.

  • Reader in Houston

    This is one thing about sports – both pro and college – that I’ve never understood: praying for a win. Sports, in the grand scheme of things, is really meaningless. Ultimately, it’s entertainment. Yes, it can be used to teach concepts like teamwork, leadership, good will and even (fadingly these days) morality. But I’ve never understood the appeal to The Almighty for favoritism. To paraphrase one writer whose name escapes me, “Why would the Creator care about you hitting the front end of a 1-and-1 [at the free throw line in a basketall game]?” Praying for God to give one a victory seems shallow and a bit egotistical.If someone wants to bring God into sports, how about praying for any of the following:1. That the officiating is fair and just.Those are just examples. None of them smacks of the sort of “Put me first, Jesus” mentality that seems to afflict so many pro and college coaches.Anybody that ascribes to Vince Lombardi’s attitude that “winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing” are proving that winning isn’t everything. Has anyone seen what’s happening at the Tour De France lately? Guys being pulled from the sport for doping – aka cheating?Sometimes, a “win” isn’t a win.

  • wally bereziak

    What really niggles the religiously inclined, is those who don’t agree with their supernatural interpretation of reality.It is amazing that grown ups are so desperate and deluded that they allow themselves to actually believe this supernatural drivel.

  • Garak

    Hamilton is an evangelical, not a Catholic. So it was a bad day for Catholics.

  • minmah

    To Vinny: Are you saying you’re religious? Judging by the comments you made religion isn’t working well for you. Your comments were despicable. I may not believe in God, but at least I know how to treat others. How does believing in a God justify treating others badly as it seems you do, reading your words? Why does believing in something that you can’t see, feel, prove make you better? It doesn’t.

  • miknugget

    I bet it’ll be a good day for Rick Reilly to be a Christian when he gets HIV/AIDS. He’ll need all the help he can get from his imaginary friends.

  • Alain James

    But – Hamilton didn’t win.Did God let him, and all true believers down?Just when you think that things can’t get any dumber, they do.

  • Annie Savoy

    Maybe this was all that Reilly meant:For what it’s worth, I thought the nuttiest comment of the night belonged to Joe Morgan, who said that he thought Hamilton’s ability to hit major-league pitching after a three-year layoff was the most significant aspect of Hamilton’s story, not how he overcame addiction.

  • Alain James

    But – Hamilton didn’t win.Did God let him, and all true believers down?Just when you think that things can’t get any dumber, they do.

  • Pete in ABQ

    Vinny,Yeah, the universe is a big place dude, and there’s lots of stuff going on, but have you ever considered equilibrium? It’s a dynamic process that you might invoke to explain all those systems and how they exist in their current state – and how they’ll change (evolve) into the state they will occupy at any point in the future.You’re obviously a Pastafarian, since the only way you can explain what you see is divine intervention – noodly appendages moving every cosmic checker.You seem to be the one doing the whinning…

  • Stantheman

    Wow – I’m guessing that old “Vinnie” is a little lacking in quite a few departments, based on his obsession with using the word “little” and his use of semiliterate childish sarcasm to attack that which he does not understand. Has he actually heard any atheists “whine and cry”? Vinnie, I assume that you are oe of the many varieties of Christian. What would be your reaction to an announcer saying – following, let’s say, the strikeout of a professed born again Bible believer – “Dang. Sucks to love Jesus today!” The outcry from the Christians would be deafening.

  • Alain James

    But – Hamilton didn’t win.Did God let him, and all true believers down?Just when you think that things can’t get any dumber, they do.

  • Neal Obstat

    Way to go, Vinny, trotting out the good ol’ argument from design! That’s thinking!

  • Lee

    Quite honestly, if atheists were offended by this comment then they must have doubts regarding their faith (or lack thereof). I’m a baseball fan and atheist who watched the derby. When Reilly said what he did I chuckled. I’m not a militant atheist, I just simply don’t believe in anything. For reasons I won’t get into here, I’ve tried to believe and would like to believe, but I simply just don’t. Regardless of rationale, I am an atheist though. And as an atheist I find it humorous when other atheists are offended at the mention of any type of god or when someone who believes in a god says something to affirm their faith. That’s like me being offended when a child tells me what she got from the Easter Bunny. Atheists shouldn’t be offended by that which they don’t acknowledge. More spefically, when Reilly said, “It’s a bad day to be an atheist” because a Christian hit 28 homeruns in 38 swings of the bat, my response is “why?” By that logic, when I get a raise at work it must be a bad day for a Christian co-worker. So a Christian had a good day…phenomenal day. Great. It’s not a zero sum game. I’m glad Josh Hamilton found faith and turned his life around. Watching the events of Monday night unfold and already knowing his backstory made for a great day for this atheist.

  • Steve

    Wow, I didnt realize people actually listened to Rick Reilly.

  • andrew

    VinnieYou are insecure, and scared that atheists may prick your little fragile bubble of faith and let the real world in. The world that says there is no god who exists outside of a believer’s imagination.If you faith was on firmer foundations, you wouldn’t be so afraid of unbelievers.Relax. there are no gods,and life is even better when you realize this.Sanity is the better bet. You should try it.

  • EnemyOfTheState

    I seriously don’t even know what the comment means, especially in the context of a man hitting a ball. Does belief in a higher power enhance your hand-eye coordination? I would call myself an atheist. On any given day in this country it’s a bad day to be an atheist, so it’s pretty hard to get worked up about the random throw-away comment from someone trying to fill air time.Peace.

  • Ivan Fyodorovich

    If there is a God, could He please smite the Yankees even unto the fifth generation?

  • EnemyOfTheState

    To Ivan: ROFL – great comment!

  • zwrite

    I do love all this overanalysis of Rick Reilly’s comments.Has anybody ever read Reilly’s columns?? He tries to be funny. That’s what he does. That’s why he is so prominent and successful.Everyone needs to relax. Read The New Yorker.Shalom,

  • Jeff Taylor

    If only this much thought and debate were aimed at the future of our country, instead of comments made at the circus.

  • Agnostic

    By definition, atheism is not a faith. It is acceptable to delineate the taboo: criticism based on race, ethnicity, religion, sex, and sexual orientation is inappropriate on, say, ESPN. It is incompatible with atheism to elevate the beliefs to the level of faith; it also demonstrates a fundamental misunderstanding of what the “atheist” claims to believe in. Criticism of a belief or position is acceptable dialogue: look at any number of political shows.Had Hamilton’s reclamation of his life been

  • Woody Smith

    If God helps one player, isn’t that at the expense of another player, similarly one of God’s creatures?Does God favor a prodigal who has reformed over a man who has been righteous all of his days?If I am to be called an “atheist” because I don’t believe some big guy with a white beard controls existence, does that also make me an “ayetiisst” because I don’t believe in the abominable snowman, or an “afaerieist” because I don’t believe in faeries?For the answers to these and other questions, consult… Well, just think, dammit!

  • Woody Smith

    If God helps one player, isn’t that at the expense of another player, similarly one of God’s creatures?Does God favor a prodigal who has reformed over a man who has been righteous all of his days?If I am to be called an “atheist” because I don’t believe some big guy with a white beard controls existence, does that also make me an “ayetiist” because I don’t believe in the abominable snowman, or an “afaerieist” because I don’t believe in faeries?For the answers to these and other questions, consult… Well, just think, dammit!

  • fletc3her

    I find this kind of thing hilarious. Since “God” is just a fairy tale told to allow young children cope with death and other metaphysical crises, who cares what the announcer says?! Baseball is full of superstitions. Thanking a god for your performance on the field is no less batty than wearing the same stinking socks every day for a season because you’re on a streak.

  • Alejandro

    Jeez Vinnie, chill. Trying to explain the “truth” of religion using “logic” just doesn’t cut it. I think you fell out of the short bus. Hurry and run you just might be able to catch it.

  • Chuck

    On the one hand, I imagine most atheists would have to try to have a sense of humor about this sort of thing, I’m sure it was meant in jest.On the other hand, the politicization of baseball, from “God Bless America” being added to the 7th inning stretch, to whatever inane political/religious comments broadcasters may feel free to make in this particular age of radio (where these personalities are forced to fill massive amounts of time droning on about the cultural impact of sports, etc) is not a good thing for the national pastime. Let’s keep it about the game, hey? I’m a huge Josh Hamilton fan, and if the dude needs a higher power to keep him off the sauce then so be it, so long as he keeps ripping the cover off the ball.

  • Picnic_Basket

    Part of the issue was Rick Reilly’s comedic timing. If I remember correctly, he made the remark seemingly out of the blue while Hamilton was on a tear. If he had made the remark right after one of the interview’s with Hamilton, where Hamilton was thanking God for his accomplishments, it would’ve felt much more like a light-hearted joke.Instead, he made the comment at a time where it was seemingly unprovoked. It sounded more like he was saying “Well what do you think about *this*, atheists?”All in all, not a big deal alone, but I think it does say interesting things about the pro-religion bias in society, and the think skin of Christians.

  • Picnic_Basket

    *thin skin

  • Born Right the First Time

    Just remember, that’s the same god that sends tornados to trailer parks.

  • Pierre JC

    When Michael Vick was caught engaging in that disgusting, indefensible animal torture called dogfighting, did Reilly say, as all sportscasters and writers should have: “Let us now acknowledge that anyone who engages in dogfighting is a worthless scumbag who deserves to die a slow and painful death.”

  • JP

    Let me get this straight – there’s a God who cares enough to help someone win the Home Run Derby, but the same God let those little Amish girls get shot to death in Lancaster County last year?And people worship this God?

  • roboturkey

    I have trouble understanding what the controversy is here. It was a rim-shot jest from a pro humorist, a lighthearted bit of a quip aimed at a participant in sports fluff of the fluffiest sort.I thought is was funny, laughed out loud and then promptly forgot the comment until this thread.Yikes. We have become a nation populated by humorless morons, of all religous and non-religous stripes, with enough typing skills to cobble their rage into sorta sentences.Here is the Truth: God is an alcoholic

  • roboturkey

    I have trouble understanding what the controversy is here. It was a rim-shot jest from a pro humorist, a lighthearted bit of a quip aimed at a participant in sports fluff of the fluffiest sort.I thought is was funny, laughed out loud and then promptly forgot the comment until this thread.Yikes. We have become a nation populated by humorless morons, of all religous and non-religous stripes, with enough typing skills to cobble their rage into sorta sentences.Here is the Trusth: God is an alcoholic

  • L.Kurt Engelhart

    Agnostic: “By definition, atheism is not a faith.”I continue to recommend you guys stop saying this. It reveals your ignorance of the terms of belief and destroys your credibility. Atheism is a faith, and it may be a better one. That is for our culture to decide.

  • Pete in ABQ

    JP: yup…

  • replace Atheist with Muslim, or Christian

    What kind of outcry would you have seen? A jihad perhaps? A new crusade? Or Fox ‘news’ saying that there is a war on Muslims/Christians?Maybe all of the above?Maybe us athiests are sick of being pushed to the background, shunned, and generally not included. or misrepresented, or ashamed of our ‘christian’ nation?Maybe it’s all of that? Sack it Jesus. :)

  • Anonymous

    “Since “God” is just a fairy tale told to allow young children cope with death and other metaphysical crises,”Actually it is a fairy tale to help adults cope with death.

  • Dateless Nerd

    Justin Morneau WON the Home Run Derby and scored the game-winning run in the All Star Game.Clearly, God is a Minnesota Twins fan.

  • Stuart

    Well I think it’s funny that the god made Josh Hamilton smoke crack just so he could hit some home runs. What a jerk!

  • Tony

    You know why complaints were so minimal? It’s because atheists are smart enough not to let the quips of newscaster affect our understanding of reality. If Reilly had reversed his statement, the religious right would still be throwing a tantrum. Perhaps its because they’re a little defensive? People that have logic, reason and, dare I say, common sense on their side have no need to be defensive. I don’t know, could it be that religious people, deep down, realize that they’re really playing make-believe?

  • Stuart

    LKurt: “Atheism is a faith, and it may be a better one.”A lack of faith does not a faith make.

  • Huizhe

    “If it is okay to single out atheists, but not Jews or Muslims, where does that leave us on Buddhists? How about Christian Scientists?” You must have missed the US presidential primary last year and this. Of course it’s okay to single out atheists in the USA. That’s what the last 28 years have been about. It’s always okay to single out the weakest individuals and groups. That’s just the way the world works: “Might makes right” is an irrefutable absolute truth, even if it is circular. Still, Reilly’s remark was a less offensive attempt (all mere attempts are failures) at humor than the New Yorker’s most recent cover. PC outrage is little different from road rage.

  • fendertweed

    What a moronic comment, he’s a sports dude trying to be clever, nothing more…As someone once said with exasperation over the holy rollers like Tom LaSorda and others who attribute all their hits etc., to Jesus, or whoever, “I never saw Jesus throw a strike or get a hit.”In other words, good for Josh Hamilton for picking himself out of the gutter, how nice for him to believe whatever he wants to believe re: how he’s done/is doing that.But the attribution of the home run or anything to Jesus, Buddha, Mohammed, or L. Ron Hubbard is a bunch of crap.”Religion is the opiate of the masses” indeed.

  • Yonkers Rob

    When I heard him say it, I recall saying “When is it a GREAT day to be an atheist?”I thought the whole thing was simply a ridiculous comment.Agnosticism – the one and only known TRUTH.Theologists – Think there’s a god; but can’t prove it.Agnostics – Are brave enough to answer with the truest statement of them all: I DON’T KNOW, and DON’T expect to figure it out any time soon.————————–Then there are Scientologists – who are a cult of con-artists following the ‘sacret’ texts of a mediocre science fiction author.Who believe:————————-Agnosticism – “Either admit you don’t know the answer; or sound like a lun insisting you don.”

  • JW

    Next the ACLU will seek a speration between Church and sports.. Or will the Washington Post…

  • John

    Maybe atheists don’t like baseball

  • L.Kurt Engelhart

    Stuart: “A lack of faith does not a faith make.”Your statement expresses very strong faith. The same kind Catholics and Jews have. We need to progress from this kind of absolutism to a position of understanding of faith rather than denial of it.

  • a thought

    The ultimate result of what we believe (our faith) is not completed or finished in how many homeruns we hit (or in anything else on this earth). It is a basic foundation of what we believe will happen to us when we die.Christians believe you go to heaven when you die and spend eternity with God. They believe Christ has forgiven you and accepts you based on your belief that his death (sacrifice) on the cross covers your sin and pays the price demanded by a just God for our sin. (in a nutshell)Atheist’s believe after death all existence ends. Life is over, everything is over. There is no Super being taking into account how they lived their lives. Based on logic I would think it takes much more faith to be a Atheist then a Christian. If the Christians are right then the Atheist’s are in big trouble. They will be expected to owe up to a supreme God who demands justice and will take into account how they lived their life and extract a price for their shortcomings.If the Athiest’s are right. Who cares how you lived your life… Who cares what you believed…After you die there’s no one there to judge you for what you did. it’s over.Just a thought

  • Rick Sveyda

    God works in mysterious ways…

  • jw

    I don’t think the Athesits have a prayer…

  • trblmkr

    As an atheist, I must say “God damn Reilly!”

  • Nick

    From Sam Kinison:(It’s 2am)To “a thought:” That’s called Pascals wager, been around for hundreds of years.To “Yonkers Rob:”Ah Rob, ya can’t prove a negative dude…

  • RJP3

    isnt it curious how people do not fully get the truth of the statement that “(Organized) Religion is The Opiate of The Masses”, even with ENDLESS examples of those with addiction issues turning to “god” (small g intentional) to fill their need for a crutch to ease the issues/voices in their own lives/heads.Spirituality – YesThe issue with these converts is that they are unhappy people who NEED to feel better – and the usual way for them to feel BETTER without their drugs is to try to impose their organized religion onto others …. that is a fact jack.

  • Stuart

    LKurt: “Your statement expresses very strong faith.”

  • steve

    What a dumb discussion. I watched the entire home run derby and didn’t even notice the comment. Who cares?

  • WDR

    A Thought wrote:This is perhaps the most common “sin” committed against atheists in trying to dismiss their beliefs (yes, beliefs, albeit philosophical if not spiritual). That we don’t think that there will be someone/something conducting a “let’s go to the videotape…” type judgment on us after we pass does not mean that we feel we have free reign in our conduct in the here and now.If anything, it argues the reverse: This is the life we are given and it is up to us to make it the best one possible, precisely because it is the only chance we will have. (OK, I may have thrown in a dose of existentialism.)My personal take on it is more a rejection of the fearmongering that typifies most organized religions. I don’t want to be coerced into “good” behavior because of the threat of punishment. I believe the right path should be self-evident on its own merit.But the slander committed against atheists is akin to my characterizing Catholics as believing that they can do whatever the hell they like as long as they repent before they kick. That would be a gross injustice (though I have met a few…)And for the record, yes, my BA is in philosophy.

  • Locke1975

    I thought it was more distasteful when he made the ridiculous comment that there were too many white guys in the derby, or when brainless out of touch Chris Berman made the Christians and the Lions comment that was completely out of place and tasteless, but then again most of what comes out of his mouth is. ESPN needs to send these 2 guys out to pasture. Reilly’s addition has been a mediocre, pointless one at best and Berman is lazy, out of touch and dopey and it shows every time he speaks.

  • RE:Vinny

    “Vinny:The little atheists whine again.The little atheists are “hurt” cause somebody used the word atheist in a less than flattering way.It have to say reading threads like this make me smile.Atheism is just foolish, boring, laughable nonsense.Sure folks, every single thing we see today; the entire gargantuan universe itself, the earth with countless system after system, perfectly balanced to sustain life as we have it right now; along with all that LIFE ITSELF all arrived through FAT CHANCE AND LOTS O’ LUCKY THINGS… AND ALL FROM NOTHING AT ALL… BY NOBODY AT ALL.THIS is why it’s a rough road and sorry thing being an atheist.Yet they whine and cry because somebody said the word atheist in a baseball game.Folks, you just gotta love the little atheists!”>>>>>>>>>>>>>

  • Locke1975

    I thought it was more distasteful when he made the ridiculous comment that there were too many white guys in the derby, or when brainless out of touch Chris Berman made the Christians and the Lions comment that was completely out of place and tasteless, but then again most of what comes out of his mouth is. ESPN needs to send these 2 guys out to pasture. Reilly’s addition has been a mediocre, pointless one at best and Berman is lazy, out of touch and dopey and it shows every time he speaks.

  • Locke1975

    I thought it was more distasteful when he made the ridiculous comment that there were too many white guys in the derby, or when brainless out of touch Chris Berman made the Christians and the Lions comment that was completely out of place and tasteless, but then again most of what comes out of his mouth is. ESPN needs to send these 2 guys out to pasture. Reilly’s addition has been a mediocre, pointless one at best and Berman is lazy, out of touch and dopey and it shows every time he speaks.

  • RE:Vinny

    “Vinny:The little atheists whine again.The little atheists are “hurt” cause somebody used the word atheist in a less than flattering way.It have to say reading threads like this make me smile.Atheism is just foolish, boring, laughable nonsense.Sure folks, every single thing we see today; the entire gargantuan universe itself, the earth with countless system after system, perfectly balanced to sustain life as we have it right now; along with all that LIFE ITSELF all arrived through FAT CHANCE AND LOTS O’ LUCKY THINGS… AND ALL FROM NOTHING AT ALL… BY NOBODY AT ALL.THIS is why it’s a rough road and sorry thing being an atheist.Yet they whine and cry because somebody said the word atheist in a baseball game.Folks, you just gotta love the little atheists!”>>>>>>>>>>>>>

  • RE:Vinny

    “Vinny:The little atheists whine again.The little atheists are “hurt” cause somebody used the word atheist in a less than flattering way.It have to say reading threads like this make me smile.Atheism is just foolish, boring, laughable nonsense.Sure folks, every single thing we see today; the entire gargantuan universe itself, the earth with countless system after system, perfectly balanced to sustain life as we have it right now; along with all that LIFE ITSELF all arrived through FAT CHANCE AND LOTS O’ LUCKY THINGS… AND ALL FROM NOTHING AT ALL… BY NOBODY AT ALL.THIS is why it’s a rough road and sorry thing being an atheist.Yet they whine and cry because somebody said the word atheist in a baseball game.Folks, you just gotta love the little atheists!”>>>>>>>>>>>>>

  • Angry Liberaltarian

    It’s been a lousy eight years to be a Christian…illegal wars, corruption, homosexual trysts, a faltering economy. God sure has fixed the Republican Party good.

  • Jeff

    We live during a time when, in the USA, you can’t say anything without someone being “offended.” No matter how innocuous, every utterance is over analyzed and picked apart by some group. The mindset is, “what matters is what I believe, not what you believe, and therefore, you cannot say that because it offends me and what I hold to be true. You should think of me and not voice what you think and feel.” What a selfish way to live and think. So Reilly said this. Big deal! I can think of many more important things in the world than what this guy said during a sporting event. Believe it or not, folks, what you think and feel just isn’t that important.

  • John Smallberries – Proud Atheist

    This is so stupid and lame. But I laughed when I read what he said. Dumb christians.

  • afpre42

    Reilly’s comment is a total non-issue. I’ll save my indignation for something more important thank you.

  • Mike D.

    Here’s my statement of faith: I have faith that someday there’ll be something worth reading in the “On Faith” blog (or whatever it is). By definition that’s a longshot, but that’s what makes it faith, I suppose.

  • jhbyer

    If Reilly didn’t “so much as want to disparage atheists as point out Hamilton turned his life around” he’d have done it. Ms. Orton’s painful stretch is more offensive than Reilly’s plainly stupid remark. Atheists are the last to deny that desperate people, who lack faith in themselves, may place it instead in superstition to positive effect. Take President Reagan and astrology, for example, except note, in the face of his success, no astrologers were reported to gloat: “It’s a bad day for nonbelievers”. Ms. Orton might consider the role of Christians’ boast of superior humility as a cause of Reilly’s remark.

  • Dumb Christian

    Why would an atheist be so upset..? Somebody made a comment on what they believe in or.. what they don’t believe in.. Yes I’m a dumb Christian.. But a very humble one too.. Thank you God..

  • Ho Hum

    Atheists? Chuck Colson is right. No such thing.

  • asoders 22

    I didn’t hear it, but it sounds like a tempest in a glass of water. People say things on occasions. It’s not that important. We don’t have to scrutinize and take very seriously everything that is blurted into a microphone. (I say that as an atheist.)

  • B-man

    So when a baseball player strikes out…does he *blame* God?If everyone in a stadium is praying for “their” team to win, does God choose sides and *make* one of the teams win.According to Reilly’s apparent logic, everything good in life happens because of God, everything bad in life happens because of humans. This is patent stupidity.

  • B-man

    So when a baseball player strikes out…does he *blame* God?If everyone in a stadium is praying for “their” team to win, does God choose sides and *make* one of the teams win.According to Reilly’s apparent logic, everything good in life happens because of God, everything bad in life happens because of humans. This is patent stupidity.

  • CP

    I watched the HR hitting contest, and it was a little bit of an oddball comment, but I didn’t think it was that offensive. What is offensive is how much of a blowhard Rick Reilly is. He brought up Hamilton’s former heroine addiction 5 or 6 times (and referred to it as such, not as a drug problem), and tried to inject additional significance into every moment that occurred. He’s an a$$. I do agree with the columnist though… if Rick Reilly said, “This is a bad day to be a Jew,” he’d have been panned. Or, imagine if he said, “Hamilton’s a white guy killing the ball… bad day to be black or Hispanic.” Yikes. I can’t even imagine the blowback. Probably bad enough to get Jesse Jackson his career back.

  • CP

    I watched the HR hitting contest, and it was a little bit of an oddball comment, but I didn’t think it was that offensive. What is offensive is how much of a blowhard Rick Reilly is. He brought up Hamilton’s former heroine addiction 5 or 6 times (and referred to it as such, not as a drug problem), and tried to inject additional significance into every moment that occurred. He’s an a$$. I do agree with the columnist though… if Rick Reilly said, “This is a bad day to be a Jew,” he’d have been panned. Or, imagine if he said, “Hamilton’s a white guy killing the ball… bad day to be black or Hispanic.” Yikes. I can’t even imagine the blowback. Probably bad enough to get Jesse Jackson his career back.

  • jad

    Let’s see–over three years as a coke head and he found God. That certainly goes a long way to explain the moral underpinnings of the religious right, no?

  • CP

    I watched the HR hitting contest, and it was a little bit of an oddball comment, but I didn’t think it was that offensive. What is offensive is how much of a blowhard Rick Reilly is. He brought up Hamilton’s former heroine addiction 5 or 6 times (and referred to it as such, not as a drug problem), and tried to inject additional significance into every moment that occurred. He’s an a$$. I do agree with the columnist though… if Rick Reilly said, “This is a bad day to be a Jew,” he’d have been panned. Or, imagine if he said, “Hamilton’s a white guy killing the ball… bad day to be black or Hispanic.” Yikes. I can’t even imagine the blowback. Probably bad enough to get Jesse Jackson his career back.

  • CP

    I watched the HR hitting contest, and it was a little bit of an oddball comment, but I didn’t think it was that offensive. What is offensive is how much of a blowhard Rick Reilly is. He brought up Hamilton’s former heroine addiction 5 or 6 times (and referred to it as such, not as a drug problem), and tried to inject additional significance into every moment that occurred. He’s an a$$. I do agree with the columnist though… if Rick Reilly said, “This is a bad day to be a Jew,” he’d have been panned. Or, imagine if he said, “Hamilton’s a white guy killing the ball… bad day to be black or Hispanic.” Yikes. I can’t even imagine the blowback. Probably bad enough to get Jesse Jackson his career back.

  • dane1

    Three years as a coke head, and then he found God? This does much to explain, I imagine, the moral underpinnings of the religious right.

  • WDR

    jhbyer wrote:”Take President Reagan and astrology, for example, except note, in the face of his success, no astrologers were reported to gloat: ‘It’s a bad day for nonbelievers’. “What success? Talk about believing the myth…

  • John Smallberries – Proud Atheist

    Three years as a coke head, and then he found God? This does much to explain, I imagine, the moral underpinnings of the religious right.———–Hee hee, three years on that stuff will make you believe anything, including the invisible man in the sky!

  • Ricardo

    I am not an atheist….i take offenso to that word…is there a word for someone who doesn’t believe in the tooth fairy or Peter Pan????….point made.

  • Believer

    Atheists see many things in the universe that persuade them that there is no God. Others see things, such as the dramatic turn-around of an athelete’s life, as clear evidence of the hand of God.Atheists often say that it’s got to be tough (if not impossible) to believe in God when faced with . . .It’s no more disparaging for a believer to say that it’s got to be tough to be an atheist when you see . . .Will confirmed atheists disagree and say, “heck no, it’s not tough at all!” Of course. Just as believers are unmoved by many of the arguments advanced by atheists.

  • Think first

    Unfortunately, the defensiveness and insults on both sides of this issue appear to have reduced any hope of a discussion into mere name-calling and casting of broad and lazy generalizations. To assume that every single last one of the many millions of people in the world and throughout history who have chosen to worship a certain faith or belief system all think (or *don’t* think, as the patronizing self-important commenters enjoy saying) in the exact same, unexamined, “sheep”-ish manner is immature and absurd. Whether that shared belief system is in the form of Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, or a firm opposition to all of the above, lobbing base insults is a strikingly uninformed and deliberately contentious way of stating your thoughts. Are you interested in getting your opinion across and perhaps hearing what others have to say, or simply in taking pot-shots at anyone who doesn’t think like you do? I don’t claim immunity to taking shots, but I do try to aim them not at enormous collective groups, but rather at individuals who have already demonstrated an ability and inclination to be pompous jerks. Good luck proving your point, genius.

  • Think first

    Unfortunately, the defensiveness and insults on both sides of this issue appear to have reduced any hope of a discussion into mere name-calling and casting of broad and lazy generalizations. To assume that every single last one of the many millions of people in the world and throughout history who have chosen to worship a certain faith or belief system all think (or *don’t* think, as the patronizing self-important commenters enjoy saying) in the exact same, unexamined, “sheep”-ish manner is immature and absurd. Whether that shared belief system is in the form of Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, or a firm opposition to all of the above, lobbing base insults is a strikingly uninformed and deliberately contentious way of stating your thoughts. Are you interested in getting your opinion across and perhaps hearing what others have to say, or simply in taking pot-shots at anyone who doesn’t think like you do? I don’t claim immunity to taking shots, but I do try to aim them not at enormous collective groups, but rather at individuals who have already demonstrated an ability and inclination to be pompous jerks. Good luck proving your point, genius.

  • Craig

    A THOUGHT:And if any of the believers of the multitude of other religions people have followed throughout history are right, then the Christians are in big trouble too.

  • EnemyOfTheState

    After reading a sampling of posts to this article, I wasn’t able to turn up a single atheist offended at the sports guy’s comment. (I know I must have missed some, since someone, somewhere is always offended at something.) I did, however, see numerous posts by religious people assuming that atheists were offended, and then constructing arguments in vigorous defense of their beliefs as if they had been attacked.If someone is sensitive on this matter, it doesn’t seem to be the unbelievers. Just an observation…

  • numi

    Offended? No. I’ve come to expect such drivel at every turn. I especially appreciate the christian tendency to blame everything good on some invisible sky fairy and evertything bad on some unknown plan. Just another stupid christian trick. Yawn!

  • ernstge

    There is no God. That’s my story and I am sticking to it. Even if there was, do you think he cares about Josh Hamilton’s homers but lets millions die every day? However, people are entitled to believe in whatever fantasy they wish. It’s when they try to shove it down other’s throats that it becomes offensive. The networks need to keep sports in sports and their godviews at home not at work.

  • newageblues

    Seems like a pretty silly comment. Now if so many people who call themselves religious weren’t hardline supporters of violence against their enemies (most certainly including the alcohol supremacist war on users of selected drugs), maybe that would strengthen religion’s appeal at the expense of atheism.

  • Think Again

    Think First: Have you ever participated in this debate before? Because this one has been pretty typical. It’s difficult for people who live by reason and empiricism to understand and tolerate people who live by superstition and abnegation, and vice versa. I don’t wish to contemplate subtleties and flavors of nonsense, just as sheep don’t wish to contemplate independent thought. So while this debate continues for generations (until enlightenment prevails), I’ll continue to be deliberately contentious, and you can lecture as you wish, even though your comments strike me as the most pompous in the whole thread!

  • Timothy

    Notice how this author manipulates the story to get reactions: If it is a lousy day for atheists, nothing more has been said than that we have been witnessing somebody who is doing really well, practices religion, and we think this may be because he has been doing this religious practice. Somebody who practices religion, you can oppose to an atheist. The paragraph about Jews and buddhists is coming right out of the author’s own mind, however. If the reporter had said that it was a lousy day for muslims, or any other religion, he could have meant that islamic, or any other, religious practice leads to fewer results than christian practice. He simply has not said that. You can think of a lot of things Hamilton is, and others aren’t. The reporter just said atheist, nothing more. Also notice the author’s view on the world when she talks about “THE atheists”. Sounds like they are a football team.Have a good weekend, all.

  • B-man

    Atheists don’t believe in patently anthropomorphic fairy tales, whether Christian , Muslim, or Jewish.If you’re a Christian, you’re also an atheist…to the God of Islam, the Gods of Mt. Olympus, etc.Atheists are just a bit more intelligent and go one God further.

  • B-man

    ..and “Atheist” is really a completely useless term.Is there a term for people who don’t believe Elvis is still alive?

  • Think Again

    Vinny,I don’t know what kind of medication your doctor has you on, but it’s sure obvious that the dosage is way too high. Please call 911 before it’s too late!

  • Anonymous

    Just wait. Josh Hamilton is a hooker and a crack rock away from falling back into addiction. If the Rangers were to make the playoffs, and I worked for the other team I would send the hottest hooker on earth with a sack of coke to Hamilton’s room. I love how so many former addicts trade one addiction for another – drugs for Jesus. Reilly should be fired. If he had said that about Christians, Muslims, or Jews the outrage would be through the roof. I take no condolence from a society that believes in the idea of an invisible man in the sky that cares about sports but couldn’t care less about people dying from bombs, and floods. What a sham. If I prayed to a god – I would pray to expedite Hamilton’s fall. Hail Satan!

  • Lu Franklin

    My comment will likely not be read. Especially because so many participants hog the facility. Nevertheless (a favorite word of mine), I would like to point out that the ignorant A__H___S who we see on TV kneeling and/or crossing themselves after a touchdown or home run, etc., thanking this petty God THEY have created in their minds(?) who spends his(sex?) time counting hairs, and birds that fall instead of doing anything about the starving, DYING, and abused millions of children and innocents in this World HE(?) has created – ACTUALLY ORDAINED THEIR TOUCHDOWN OR HOMERUN, ETC.

  • paul taylor

    A true atheist would be amused at Rick Reilly’s rib. There is no relationship between Hamilton’s success and his “born again” religiousness other than he is a very good athlete who has found a new and powerful confidence in himself, through a new-found belief in religion. If the Christian God generally confers special powers on true believers, the believers would easily rule their sports, not to mention rule the world.A true atheist would be happy for Josh Hamilton, that he has found and built himself anew in his religion. Atheists are properly not anti-religion, except where particular religions or agents of religion become aggressive and intrude unwanted into others’ lives. Atheists simply don’t believe in supernatural beings we define as deities. And all the home runs that Josh Hamilton may make in the name of religion in his life-time will not change that equation.

  • Mr Mark

    Er, let’s see, the overt born-again Xian LOST the home run derby contest.I’d say it was a bad day to be an overt, born-again Xian.

  • Bert Chadick

    Nobody ever got fired in America for smacking Atheists around, but that’s OK, we’re tough and can take itIf gods have time to oversee home run derbies how about afterwards they toddle over to the closest children’s hospital and fix a few of those. No fair taking credit for statistical remissions.

  • Chip

    I don’t find the comment particularly offensive, but it certainly diminishes my view of the commentator’s rational cognitive abilities. I’ve always found sports figures who attribute their success to god to be at once incredibly arrogant (to believe that a supreme being would give a toss about their insignificant game), and at the same time, oddly self-loathing (to think it has to do with anything but their own skill, hard work, or luck). My personal opinion of people who go from alcohol or drug addiction to hardcore religion is that they’ve just traded one addiction for another. If it happens to save them from self-destruction then it’s certainly a good trade. We atheists tend to be a pretty thick-skinned and well adjusted lot, as you might expect from people who feel no need to imagine a great protector in the sky to make it through the day.I very much agree that had the comment been directed at any other minority group it would have kicked off a firestorm and the guy would probably have been fired the next day. But this is nothing new. Bush Sr. while running for president responded to a question from a reporter that he didn’t think atheists should be considered citizens or patriots. I don’t think the comment was mentioned at all by the mainstream press. That’s the world we live in, unfortunately.

  • Chops

    Vinny:If god created all, then by logical extentsion of your indepth complex analysis, everything must be created by something, so who created him?Further, whats the problem with with us evolving from primordial ooze anyway? Doesnt bother me.No one knows if god exists or not. Deal with it.

  • Fate

    Just goes to show how secure atheists are in knowing there are no gods of any type. It also typifies the insecurity of believers of every type who have to prop up their beliefs with miracles, then not only get offended when you point out the fallacy of their beliefs but will actually go to war over them.In Hamilton’s case, he traded a destructive addiction for a non-destructive one. Good for him, but he’s still an addict, and the ESPN announcer is a typical insecure “believer”. And this is supposed to be good?

  • Fate

    Vinny wrote: “Folks, you just gotta love the little atheists.”As a former christian I can tell you Vinny that God does not like his chosen ones to lambaste anyone. According to what I was taught you will not sail into heaven. Better read your bible again.As for how the universe and life came about, atheists don’t “believe” anything. They read the scientific research and let the science lead us to the truth. In the case of believers, belief trumps reality, so dinosaurs are believed to have been contemporaries of man, even though there is not only no proof of that but proof against it. But as I said, belief trumps reality. Do you also avoid black cats and avoid stepping on cracks?Since you seem to be so sure your beliefs are the real thing, in spite of reality, maybe you can answer a few questions I asked a nun in 3rd grade and got beaten for:1) How did the kangaroos hop off the ark and make it to Australia?

  • Fate

    Dumb Christian wrote: “Why would an atheist be so upset..? Somebody made a comment on what they believe in or.. what they don’t believe in.. “I agree, there is nothing an atheist should be upset about. The real question is what would have happened had Hamilton been a fervent believer and then, after becoming an atheist, seen his baseball career take off. If the announcer had said its a bad day for christians would christians have seen it as a non-issue, or would this blog be hitting 2000 comments saying how Hamilton and the announcer were going to hell? Another question: What would believers do who think this is divine intervention if they were to find out it was due to steroids? Steroids in baseball??? The horror!!!

  • John Smallberries – Proud Atheist

    god made man. man made steroids. man loves steroids (most notably, sports people). man is made in the image of god. god loves steroids!

  • dream

    why christian so easily change their religion if their bf/gf or when they married a moslem?? in my country so many christian from europe or america countries became moslem when when married the local moslem….even franck ribery the french soccerplayer became moslem just becos his wife a moslem…

  • Neal Obstat

    Anonymous, Atheists don’t hate God. They believe that God is a figment of the imagination of credulous believers. When they say that God should take some time off from the Home Run Derby and visit the children’s hospital, they are being ironic. Their point is that if there were indeed a God, it is rather silly to think that he/she would be concerned with the outcome of a home run contest or, more generally, would intervene in trivial human affairs.

  • KPinSEA

    Reilly is an equal opportunity offender, there’s not much he’s not willing to write or blurt out without wasting a lot of time on consideration of how it sounds.Wherever he works, it’s probably a lousy day to be an editor.

  • George

    Where was god when Attila was hereGad was probably at a baseball game…

  • Neal Obstat

    Fate, I liked your post. But one thing I want to mention is that the Garden of Eden story never mentions Satan, nor does it ever imply that the serpent is Satan. That’s a later revisionist reading that really doesn’t make much sense if you look at the actual text. Interestingly, in the actual text the Serpent tells Eve that if she eats the fruit her eyes will be opened and she will be like gods, knowing good and evil. God, remember, had told Adam that if he ate the fruit he would die. Now what happens when Eve and Adam eat the fruit? The text says that their eyes are opened; even God says that they are now like God, knowing good and evil. They don’t die, and there’s no evidence that their “sin” brings death into the world, that they were going to be immortal until their “sin,” which could have justified God’s claim that they would die. So God apparently lies and the serpent tells the truth. Hmmm.

  • merrill1

    Did I miss something? Who was in the competition that was a self-defined atheist? Anyone? So it wasn’t a “bad day” for atheists. He might as well have said it was a “bad day” for hyenas. Now the other religions that were represented in the competition, perhaps “God” did not approve of their devotion that day …. ?On another note, I find the concept good day/bad day irrelevant to as an atheist. The day is what it is and the events are a culmination of chaos and man’s attempt to control it. So I am not insulted. He simply doesn’t comprehend the basics of atheism. He belongs to a very large subset.

  • Anonymous

    Hi Neil, I said that but perhaps you did not read my post entirely. “FUNNY HOW ATHEISTS ARE ALWAYS COMMENTING ON WHAT “GOD” SHOULD BE DOING OR WHAT “GOD” HAS FAILED TO DO………WHEN THEIR CLAIM IS THAT “GOD” DOESN’T EXIST.”Also, there is no “irony” involved in it, it is matter of faith, and Christians have it and Atheist do not, plain and simple. The irony is that there is no sense arguing over it. Atheists are just “void” of spirituality, period.However, based on what you and other Atheist always post in reference to God, he must be a ‘figment of your imagination” too. Especially, since Atheist KEEP commenting on his decisions, acts, behaviors, personality, and how he handles matter in the world. Let me see, I would love to see one of the devices that Atheist put so much belief in, i.e. the firmaments of this world and get a miracle out of it.But no need to worry Christians see Atheist through and through for what they really are…….God haters, otherwise they would not KEEP criticizing God and the Christian’s faith in God. It is such a pity because that is the very thing that drives a Christian away from an Atheist. Have a good day Neil. :~)

  • Anonymous

    Posted on July 19, 2008 10:38 George: Gad was probably at a baseball game…”Where was the “O Wise Atheist? Huh?

  • Chip

    Merrili wrote “Did I miss something? Who was in the competition that was a self-defined atheist? Anyone? So it wasn’t a “bad day” for atheists. He might as well have said it was a “bad day” for hyenas. Now the other religions that were represented in the competition, perhaps “God” did not approve of their devotion that day …. ?”I’m guessing he meant that this guy’s success in the home run derby is somehow proof of god’s existence – the kind of infantile deduction that’s more deserving of ridicule than offense.

  • Dan

    Ah, Christianity, the latest performance enhancing drug of the masses.

  • Abelard

    Interesting disussion/debate. I would like to ask anyone here–or everywhere else–a few basic questions: What tangible proof do you have that human beings have souls? What positive proof do you have that individual consciousness survives physical death and thus your “soul”–and mine and everyone elses– will “go” someplace? What proof can you supply that there is a god that determines where said souls will spend eternity and in what fashion? Finally, has anyone considered the possibility–the mere “posibility”–that when someone dies, the lights go out and he/she is gone forever? The life cycle of this planet–and I suspect of other inhabitable planets in our vast universe–continues and will continue without our self-centered stubborness to refuse to accept oblivion and would settle for anything but: give me heaven, oh, please give me heaven; give me hell if you must, but please don’t give me oblivion. What a folly!

  • Anonymous

    Abelard:, “What tangible proof do you have that human beings have souls? What positive proof do you have that individual consciousness survives physical death and thus your “soul”–and mine and everyone elses– will “go” someplace? What proof can you supply that there is a god that determines where said souls will spend eternity and in what fashion”Whar proof sir/madam can you offer or do you have that a human heart can feel love, fear, or pain?

  • WashingtonAtheist

    I am an atheist.

  • B-man

    The so-called “atheists” that I’ve known are some of the most spiritual and compassionate people around.I find most Christians to be decidedly un-spiritual and their compassion only goes so deep, as in they support the death penalty, they hunt animals, and they elect politicians who could care less about the millions of Americans who live in poverty.

  • DC Athiest

    I have to say, as an athiest, I thought the quip was funny. Lighten up. I’m much more concerned about teaching of intelligent design and other misuses of religion than I am some statement during a Home Run Derby. Jeez!!… wait, am I allowed to say that?

  • Fuji

    B-man: I find most Christians to be decidedly un-spiritual and their compassion only goes so deep, as in they support the death penalty, they hunt animals, and they elect politicians who could care less about the millions of Americans who live in poverty.– That’s funny, because most of the atheists I know are sorta jerks. Most of the Christians I know contribute to food banks, tithe, and volunteer at homeless shelters. I guess my vote cancels out your vote, huh.

  • Fate:

    Fate: As a former christian I can tell you Vinny that God does not like his chosen ones to lambaste anyone. According to what I was taught you will not sail into heaven. Better read your bible again.As for how the universe and life came about, atheists don’t “believe” anything. They read the scientific research and let the science lead us to the truth. In the case of believers, belief trumps reality, so dinosaurs are believed to have been contemporaries of man, even though there is not only no proof of that but proof against it. But as I said, belief trumps reality. Do you also avoid black cats and avoid stepping on cracks?Since you seem to be so sure your beliefs are the real thing, in spite of reality, maybe you can answer a few questions I asked a nun in 3rd grade and got beaten for:1) How did the kangaroos hop off the ark and make it to Australia?– I don’t believe you. Not for a second. You were never beaten up over these questions. You want to tell me that you asked a nun a question about DNA in third grade? This all smacks of a story worked over at night while plotting ways to “get even” with Christians. Sad.

  • Abelard

    Anonymous: The human heart is a pump, an efficient pump to be sure, but a pump nonetheless. I have no proof that the heart “feels” anything. I certainly do not take it on “faith” that the feelings of love, pain, compassion and other such attributes a lot of living creatures experience are part of what is called life; they are just there. I loved my parents and I love my friends. I cannot “prove” that to you, I just do. Once life ends upon death, I strongly suspect that such attributes die along with the physical body that has been harboring them. Other living things will be experiencing them and the pageantry of life will continue without me. Only the memory of me will remain for a while in those who love me, but that too will pass with time, as all things pass. I have no fear of that. Do you?

  • Fate

    Anonymous wrote: “I said that but perhaps you did not read my post entirely. “FUNNY HOW ATHEISTS ARE ALWAYS COMMENTING ON WHAT “GOD” SHOULD BE DOING OR WHAT “GOD” HAS FAILED TO DO………WHEN THEIR CLAIM IS THAT “GOD” DOESN’T EXIST.”Atheists are simply pointing out that you have your God doing all sorts of silly things, like helping a baseball player hit home runs, while children sit in hospitals, yet talk about God’s mission for man in serious tones like heaven and hell. I mean, its pretty amazing to hear believers tell of how God made an A for them on a test, got a job promotion for them, etc. As the song says: ‘your own personal Jesus’. Anonymous wrote: “Also, there is no “irony” involved in it, it is matter of faith, and Christians have it and Atheist do not, plain and simple. The irony is that there is no sense arguing over it. Atheists are just “void” of spirituality, period.”You are equating faith in God with spirituality. Hmmm, I’ll need to think about that. If God is required for spirituality, I guess you are correct, but I consider spirituality a mix of empathy and selfless charity toward others. You do not need God for that as the godless Chinese proved in heroic ways after the Sichuan earthquake, while Christian America let New Orlean’s drown and its devote Christian president acted as though nothing had happened.Anonymous wrote: “However, based on what you and other Atheist always post in reference to God, he must be a ‘figment of your imagination” too. Especially, since Atheist KEEP commenting on his decisions, acts, behaviors, personality, and how he handles matter in the world. Let me see, I would love to see one of the devices that Atheist put so much belief in, i.e. the firmaments of this world and get a miracle out of it.”What atheists are doing is reflecting what believers say or believe, and show it for what it is, imagination. I thought that was sort of obvious. For example, do your love your neighbor as yourself, or only if that neighbor is also a Christian, a requirement I don’t remember seeing in the commandments.Anonymous wrote: “But no need to worry Christians see Atheist through and through for what they really are…….God haters, otherwise they would not KEEP criticizing God and the Christian’s faith in God. It is such a pity because that is the very thing that drives a Christian away from an Atheist. Have a good day Neil. :~)”You would have to believe in a God to hate that God. But thinking that atheists hate your God for some reason, and not your pushing of your beliefs on others, helps YOU to separate yourself from atheists and define them as an enemy. This is how wars start. Maybe you should start with what you say you believe, that we are all God’s children, then maybe you and atheists can get along. If you start warping the bible into being YOUR religion and OTHERS who hate YOUR God, then you are heading down a dark path anyone, atheist and believer, can easily see.

  • Stuart

    I’m not offended by the comment, I think it’s funny in the same childish and often homo erotic way that most sports jokes are. BUT, Reilly could have interchanged the name of any sect for much more dramatic effect. “It’s a lousy day to be a Muslim!”

  • DC Athiest

    Anonymous: “Whar proof sir/madam can you offer or do you have that a human heart can feel love, fear, or pain?”Setting aside whether the human “heart” feels, I think the more pointed question is what proof can be offered that one human loves another. I think there should be all sorts of evidence that someone loves someone else, so that it should be easy to show someone how you feel (to steal a line from the song “More Than Words”). The actions someone displays–doing nice things, hugging, consoling someone when sad, offering backrubs, sending gifts and flowers, helping someone take their car to the mechanic, etc.–should be some sort of proof. Not absolute proof, but certainly more proof than a wife beater who claims to love his wife. You should be able to look at what someone does and figure out if that person loves the other. That’s the evidence that can be offered.

  • Cletus

    Good for Hamilton that he got his life back together, whatever he attributes it to. O’Reilly’s comment was kind of stupid, but not offensive. We’d all be better off if god confined himself to interfering in baseball games rather than punishing us by causing tsunamis, hurricanes, famines and collapsed buildings.

  • rich Rosenthal

    Watch any world series and you will see both sides praying to God for a victory.

  • B-man

    FUJI says “– That’s funny, because most of the atheists I know are sorta jerks. Most of the Christians I know contribute to food banks, tithe, and volunteer at homeless shelters.”…and support the death penalty, hunt animals, and elect politicians who could care less about the millions of Americans who live in poverty.

  • Daniel Hughes

    We all know that beliefs, whether true or false, can influence our actions. If one believes that the most powerful being in the universe is one’s personal friend—-that would have a powerful effect on one’s behavior. So anyway this baseball player feels that he has met God; well, good for him.

  • Anonymous

    JJ the “reverse prophet”. First he was campaigning for Romney. Romney lost. Then he was rooting for Hillary. Hillary lost. Now he is rooting for McCain.JJ, why not try testing your power? This time, try campaigning for Obama. If Obama will lose the race, you’ll be an instant celebrity/millionaire. You’de be the first person to be hired by candidates to campaign against them.

  • Farnaz

    As an atheist, I have to say, that this is an essay that begs not to have been written. I mean, to put it as gently as possible, who gives a darn?

  • Fate

    Anonymous wrote: “You speak of the war of evil against good, Jesus against Satan. No warping is involved; some are not God’s children. Although the bible says that we all are created in the “image” of God, God also said “if you are not for me then you are against me.”You sound just like Bush. This just shows you are already down the dark path. You have chosen to have enemies and the enemy is people who do not believe in your God. Anonymous wrote: “Why the threat that if someone believes as a Christian then they are on the brink or on the edge of a “dark path?”I wasn’t saying that all believers are heading down that path. I was saying that once you have an us-versus-them mentality, you basically become prejudiced, deciding how good or bad people are based on, in this case, their belief in God. That is a dark path that will lead to evil, always has, always will. As anyone in Al Qaida why it is ok to kill infidels. Anonymous wrote: “Too bad, I always believe as a Christian that “all” are redeemable.”You mean all can come around to your way of thinking, to believe in your delusion. What you are really saying here is that until they do they are your enemy. Anonymous wrote: “The difference between me and you is that I love and depend on God in my life, you however depend on your self. You need to yield respect for my beliefs and not condemnation; that creates a “divide” between you and me.”The divide is created by you saying that unless I believe in your God I am your enemy. As you say, good versus evil, where I am defined as evil though you know very little about me. That is prejudice and is the dark path in life. Anonymous wrote: “A word of wisdom, save you threats of going down a dark path for someone else they do not penetrate me. I am way too strong to let your personal opinion have an affect on my personal Christian beliefs. I am rooted and grounded in the love of Christ and that will not change.”I’ve made up my mind? Don’t confuse me with the facts? The facts are that you cannot prove an atheist wrong. Anonymous wrote: “You believe your way which is, no belief in God, and I believe my way, which is in God. I love God and that is all there is to it.”No, not when you define people as being with God or with Satan, good and evil, with your or against you. I do not accept Al Qaida’s interpretation and I do not accept yours, which is identical. Anonymous wrote: “Your analogy of proof that the human heart feels love, fear, or pain is not proof. Yes, the human heart is a physical muscle but it is “well known” as the center of human feelings.”I was pointing out that in the bible the heart was considered the center of feelings. It is not, yet Christ spoke as though it was as do the writers of the old testament. That leads me to question whether these are God’s words since a God would know the heart is not a center of feelings, but the brain is. In other words, the bible’s testaments seem to have been written by men who did not understand their world very well. That is understandable of men 2000 years ago and older. If they get the heart wrong, the stars wrong, then maybe they got other things wrong too, things you probably choose to ignore less it lead you to question your belief, things I wonder if you have ever questioned. Anonymous wrote: “The fact is you cannot prove the human heart feels love, fear or pain.”Yes you can. Its been done. It feels pain unless you think heart attacks are painless. It does not feel love or fear directly, the brain does, and the hormones the brain releases affect the heart. This has been studied scientifically. The bible is wrong about love being in the heart as it is wrong about many things indicating to me it can not be the word of an omnipotent god. You can choose to ignore that but don’t expect me to cherry pick the words of your religion and ignore the contradictions.

  • m bresciani

    what, athiests dont have imaginations, and figments. Yes and some fragments of figments in their imaginations. Not believing in God could be just a figment of their own underactive imaginations. Solipsism? Yes and poor at that for athiestic views.Grow Up

  • Anonymous

    g martin, did you really expect me to respond with a willingness towards a peaceful end with your “jabs” of critisisms? Your post is pathetic!

  • B-man

    I would point out that some “atheists” do believe in an “intelligent organizing force throughout the universe”–they just don’t demean it by describing it as a childish, transparently anthropomorphic, iron-age fairy tale about a wrathful deity in the sky who takes an interest in home run derbies.

  • Fate

    Anonymous wrote: “Again, read Revelation 12:7-12, I didn’t write the bible but I do believe what it says to be truth, so it is not me versus them, it is God versus Satan.”This reminds me of an old joke where a white man man walks into a bar with an old dog and sits at the bar. Next to him is a black man minding his own business having a beer. The dog growls and bites the black man. The black man tells the white man to control his dog. The white man ignores the black man and the dog bites him again. The black man is getting angry now and demands the white man control his dog. The dog bites him again. The black man is very angry now and screams at the man “What are you, a racist?” The white man calmly looks at the black man and says “I don’t have anything against black people, but ol’ Butch, he doesn’t like black people. I can’t control what Butch thinks.” Your religious beliefs are determining who is your enemy and who is your friend. It IS “you versus them”. Don’t blame your religion for your actions. Control your religion.Anonymous wrote: “No one is asking you to believe, but do not “condemn me for believing as a Christian.”I know many Christians who do not use their beliefs to attack other people’s beliefs or non-beliefs. If you want respect for believing in fairy tales then respect those of us who see the fairy tale for what it is. And don’t try to push your beliefs into public institutions like schools where children of many faiths, and atheists, have to continually watch for your religion’s fairy tales being taught as truth. If you want to live in a deluded world that is your business, just don’t expect thinking people to accept the obvious delusion.As for Revelations, do you know who authored it? Do you know when it was written? What do you base your belief that this text is the word of God on?

  • Fate

    m bresciani wrote: “what, athiests dont have imaginations, and figments. Yes and some fragments of figments in their imaginations. Not believing in God could be just a figment of their own underactive imaginations. Solipsism? Yes and poor at that for athiestic views.Now this is original. You are saying that atheists are “imagining” that there is no God. Well, this can easily be remedied. Prove your God exists.m bresciani wrote: “Grow Up”Ditto.

  • Leftoflarry

    Just another example of hypocrisy and double standards. As an atheist, I guarantee you, it’s never a lousy day. If this so called god is more interested in turning a sportsman life around and making him hit a record number home runs, rather than help the millions of childred afflicted with malaria, then who would want to worhsip this god anyway? Perhaps Reilly was caught up in the moment, but it only goes to show how ignorant it is to be religious… Here is the funny thing…how many atheists are in prison today adjusted for general population ratios? When you look at thos stats, one can say, boy it’s a lousy day to be a christian.I think that this is exactly the example the fallacies of religious belief. You criticize religion and you are rained down wiht a fury from christians that mirrors fundamentalist muslims. However, criticize atheism and it’s no big deal…cause after all this religion of “tolerance” has no tolerance for atheists.

  • Fate

    Leftoflarry wrote: “However, criticize atheism and it’s no big deal…cause after all this religion of “tolerance” has no tolerance for atheists.”One of the problems is that atheism has become akin to being *against* God, actively working against organized religion, hating God for being God, and other nonsense, some of which has appeared in comments below. An atheist is just that, someone without beliefs in any supernatural being be it God or Thor or spirits of the woods. An atheist is always on the defensive against religions of all sorts and not actively seeking their distruction, but that is what some believers think. Why I do not know.For example, when someone takes a public school system to court for teaching religious topics, such as “intelligent design”, to all children, the christians who want that taught in the schools do not look on the lawsuit as someone not wanting someone elses beliefs taught to their children by the state, which is against the Constitution. Instead they see it as a direct assault on them and their God, ignoring that no one is suing to stop churches from preaching their fairy tales or blocking church doors to save the church goers from being deluded by the preaching or setting churches on fire to get them out of their neighborhoods. Christians need to understand that religion is personal, is protected for anyone to practice any religion and that there is NO state religion. Keep religion in your churches and your homes and we will all live as our Constitution wants us to live, side by side as a nation free to believe in whatever God we wish, or no God at all. Few if any people are going out of their way to stop believers. Its only when some believers think their belief should be everyone’s belief that we have these blogging wars, atheists pointing out facts to explain their non-belief, christians citing biblical verses and how atheists will burn in hell forever and ever, but never offering a shread of proof of their claim except biblical citations. Our Constitution allows for the delusional to live in their delusions, but it does not allow them to define a state religion or push their religious views via state mechanisms, like schools or laws. How christians can be horrified by the events of 9-11 and call the hijackers mad men, then turn around and spout the same deluded type of thinking, thinking that God is at war and believers are his warriors, is beyond me. Both groups are deluded. Christians love to point out why Muslim extremists are deluded, but never use the same logic to examine their own beliefs or how they push those belief on others.

  • a thought

    My point on “Pascal’s wager” was to show that everyone has faith in something. God, money, politics..whatever. If that was the only reason to believe in God it would be a shallow faith.God is just that…. faith. As Jesus said “you can’t see the wind but you know it’s there because of the result.” It also takes a certain amount of faith to belief in evolution. No human was there when the world began so no one really knows because no one has witnessed it first hand. So Faith is the basis of every belief.Everyone asks why would God allow a disaster like Katrina or allow children to live in poverty or hunger. Why is there sickness and disease? If God really cared he would never allow that to happen.The answer is free will. That was demonstrated with the first Man and Woman. The earth was created perfectly for them. They were given everything. God created man with a free will to choose right from wrong. Since God is the creator of all things (Satan included) He allowed evil to exist to present right and wrong to man. God explained to man the cost of making the wrong choice and the result is what we have today. Just think of how many children could be saved with the wealth available in the US and middle east. The billions that have been spent on oil could save thousands perhaps millions of starving children. But yet since we have free will we continue to allow people to live in poverty.Don’t think as a believer I’m blaming everyone else for our problems… I’m guilty of my own greed and selfishness.Some people may think God is a puppet master by allowing all this to happen. But free will once again gives us our choice to do right or wrong. Even though we made the wrong choice God still provided a way through Christ and the Gospel. (Which means “Good News”?) Some may think faith in Christ is too simple. But I have found walking with Christ is not simple. Christ demands that we put others before ourselves as Christ gave himself for us. As a believer I have not succeeded in putting others before me. I have failed God in every phase of my life. But the GOOD NEWS is not what I have done for God but what Christ has done for me. And God is still working in me to be more like ChristThat GOOD NEWS as available to all who believe in Christ.Christianity does not leave any room for belief in Buda, Mohammad, Atheism or other religions. But then again Buda, Mohammad, Atheism and other religions do not leave any room for belief in Christ. But isn’t that what makes you a Christian, Hindu, Atheist or a Muslim? It’s a choice and it all comes down to Faith.Sorry for the long letter.

  • Danio

    That Christianity has infused American sports is an undeniable reality, and in general it does not diminish my enjoyment as a spectator. I found Reilly’s comment ignorant and nonsensical, rather than offensive. I did, however write a polite letter both to him and to ESPN about the questionable wisdom of making such remarks on the air. Other commenters here have pointed out that our culture is hypersensitized to political correctness, and that no one should make a fuss about this. I, on the other hand, think it is extremely telling that Reilly was apparently concerned with the ultra-PC climate into which he was broadcasting. He was presumably aware that it would be bad form to target any other non-evangelical group with that remark, so why did atheists slip through his filter? Targeting atheists for disparagement seems to be the exception to this finely-tuned political correctness, and this incident is only the latest example. As an ‘out’ atheist, I support and participate in efforts to raise awareness of our presence in this country and of our right not to be discriminated against. Reilly’s comment in and of itself was not discrimination, by any means, but it underscores some fairly widely-held beliefs which, if cultivated, can lead to discrimination.

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