The Morning Jolt

Politics & Policy

Ah, the Spirit of the Season… Whining Atheists With Double Standards!

Ah, the Spirit of the Season… Whining Atheists With Double Standards!

I see the American Atheists are at it again, convinced they’re so edgy and brave:

This year’s American Atheists holiday campaign depicts a mother reading her daughter’s text messages to a friend.

In the exchange, the daughter says she’s not going to church because she “doesn’t believe in that stuff anymore” and her parents “will get over it”.

Hey, fellas, try putting those sorts of billboards, telling people not to go to their mosque or believe in Allah in Dearborn, Michigan, and see how that goes.

What, no campaign urging people to skip Eid celebrations? No ads telling people it’s okay to eat during the day during Ramadan? What’s the matter, guys, you suddenly lose your nerve?

I notice the group’s past and ongoing legal cases focus on crosses on public lands, references to God in public documents, etcetera. They’ve never had a disagreement with any mosque anywhere in the country? No interest in noise ordinances and minarets? Nothing to say about prayer rooms in public buildings or headscarves on driver’s license photos?

Gee, why might atheist organizations, which allegedly oppose all religious beliefs, be strangely reticent to take on one faith community and oddly pugnacious when it comes to taking on another one? One almost wonders if there’s a transference here – like they’re afraid of the consequences of taking on one faith community, so they take it out on one they don’t find so menacing.

Every once in a while, atheists say it out loud:

“I know what keeps me from critiquing Islam on my blog is just fear,” Phil Zuckerman said at a discussion on religious liberty at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. “I’ve got three kids.

“So I know I can say anything about Christianity or Mormonism, and I’m not living in fear, which is a testament to Christianity and Mormonism, and that’s wonderful. Thank you,” said Zuckerman, who is a self-described atheist and professor of secular studies at Pitzer College in Claremont, Calif.

So he spends his time criticizing the faith that he knows is no threat to him, and avoids saying anything about the faith that actually scares him.

Yeah, yeah, everybody’s so tough when it comes to taking on nuns, like the Obama administration taking them to court to make them buy birth control.

The Wrong Kind of Fake News

As I noted yesterday, it’s a little rich to hear the sudden media-wide panic over “fake news.”

Just ask Dan Rather about those memos. Or ask Brian Williams about his war stories. Or ask Rolling Stone about those ritualistic gang rapes on the University of Virginia’s campus.

We haven’t seen anything like this “fake news” on social media since… Katie Couric’s blatantly misleading editing in her documentary, Under the Gun.

Or Washington Post reporter Janet Cooke’s fictional 8-year-old heroin addict.

Or the tall tales of Jayson Blair at the New York Times.

Or USA Today’s Jack Kelley’s wild tales from abroad.

Or Stephen Glass’s New Republic reporting on the hacking of “Jukt Microtics.”

Or Jonah Lehrer’s made-up quotes from Bob Dylan.

Or those Research 2000 polls that may or may not have been conducted.

Or the trucks rigged to explode on NBC’s Dateline.

The false accusations against the pizzeria are abominable but not unprecedented: just ask the Duke lacrosse team, Richard Jewell, Ted Stevens, and the Central Park Five.

Our Kevin Williamson points out that as much as the media fumes that Aunt Edna believes what she read on Facebook that President Obama sold the state of Nebraska to the Chinese, plenty of other false beliefs permeate the comfortable class in the blue states: Chevron is up to no good in Ecuador, that vaccines cause autism, and so on.

The Country’s Most Unpopular Governor Is…

Yeesh. I knew New Jersey Governor Chris Christie wasn’t popular in his home state, but come on, man, get it together.

New Jersey voters disapprove 77 – 19 percent of the job Gov. Christopher Christie is doing, the lowest approval rating for any governor in any state in more than 20 years of the Quinnipiac University Poll, according to results released today. 

Voters say 48 – 43 percent that Gov. Christie personally ordered the “Bridgegate” traffic jam on the George Washington Bridge in 2013, the independent Quinnipiac University Poll finds. 

Voters also say 71 – 22 percent that Gov. Christie knew his aides were causing “Bridgegate.” His potential involvement in the scandal should be investigated further, 56 percent of voters say, while 41 percent say it has been investigated enough. 

Christie gets negative ratings from every party, gender, racial and age group measured, ranging from a negative 39 – 53 percent among Republicans to 9 – 90 percent among Democrats.

By comparison, President-elect Donald Trump remains somewhat more popular in New Jersey, with a 38 percent feeling favorable to him and 51 percent feeling unfavorable. 

ADDENDA: Here’s how yesterday’s CNN hit went.

I wouldn’t pretend to be an expert on Australian politics, but I’m rapidly becoming a fan of Matthew Canavan, the Minister for Resources and Northern Australia, and a Senator for Queensland. If nothing else, the man has extraordinarily good taste in reading material.

As politicians escape from Canberra, their holiday reading lists are not far from mind. A survey of 30 frontbench government and opposition MPs on what books they have enjoyed this year and what they plan to read over summer is, as always, reassuring and revealing.

Infrastructure Minister Darren Chester is keen to read Turia Pitt’s Everything to Live For and Bruce Springsteen’s Born to Run. Resources Minister Matt Canavan has at the ready John Judis’s The Populist Explosion and Jim Geraghty and Cam Edwards’s Heavy Lifting: Grow Up, Get a Job, Raise a Family and Other Manly Advice.