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As a former attorney, Fox News's Megyn Kelly should know full well what defamation is, and she should know full well that what she repeatedly said on last Thursday's episode of her show The Kelly File was indeed defamation.

Who is it that Ms. Kelly defamed? Mikey Weinstein, the founder and president of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF). And what did she say that was defamatory? Well, she repeatedly said that Mikey is an atheist and that MRFF is an atheist organization.

In a six-minute segment about MRFF's demand that, due to the numerous military regulations prohibiting such activities (see my previous post), the Department of Defense cancel the planned participation of uniformed military personnel in Shirley Dobson's big upcoming National Day of Prayer shindig, Ms. Kelly verbally repeated her utterly false claim no less than three times, had the same false claim appear on the screen three times, and then repeated it again in the headline for the story on her show's website.

With the words "ATHEIST GROUP DEMANDS MILITARY BACK OUT OF NATL DAY OF PRAYER EVENT" in big capital letters at the bottom of the screen, Ms. Kelly began her lies by saying, "An atheist group is now demanding that no uniformed military personnel be allowed to take part in this event." Then, a few minutes later, she said to her guests, Shirley Dobson and her Focus on the Family founding husband James Dobson, "This is Mikey Weinstein, who is an atheist and challenges a lot of events like yours." And, then, for the rile-up-the-Fox-viewers hat trick, she referred to MRFF as "Mikey and his atheist group." (Mr. Dobson, of course, chimed in in agreement calling Mikey "sort of a professional atheist.")

Watch the video HERE. (If anyone knows how to embed videos from Fox here, please post in comments because their embed code isn't working.)

Now, Ms. Kelly, Mikey Weinstein has made it abundantly clear, on too many occasions to count, that he is not an atheist, and that MRFF is not an atheist organization, and no matter how much more convenient it would be for Fox News if MRFF were an atheist organization, you just can't keep repeating your blatantly false claims that it is. Therefore, Ms. Kelly, you have just become the next lucky winner of one of those letters that MRFF's attorneys send to "journalists" who insist on lying, to remind you about that pesky defamation thing that, as a former attorney yourself, you should know all about.

The truth that Fox News and other dishonest Christian organizations refuse to acknowledge and be honest about? Only 749 of MRFF's 37,312 clients -- only 2 percent -- identify as atheists, agnostics, and humanists. Another 2 percent belong to minority religions. And who makes up the whopping 96 percent that remains? CHRISTIANS! Yes, Megyn Kelly, 96 percent of the clients of this organization that you deliberately and repeatedly called an atheist organization are Christians. They are Catholics and mainline Protestants who just aren't considered Christian enough by the likes of your guests the Dobsons or their fundamentalist and dominionist brethren in the military.

Now, these Christians who have come to MRFF in droves over the past ten years might not be considered "real" Christians by the Dobsons, who would presumably agree with the Focus on the Family (the organization Mr. Dobson founded) Truth Project website's claim that only 9 percent of professing Christians are real Christians like themselves, but those nearly 35,800 or so Christians and the 750 or so service members of other faiths who MRFF represents certainly aren't atheists. And neither are the overwhelming majority of MRFF's staff and volunteers, which include people of all religions, including a number of Christian ministers.

And your claim that Mikey himself is an atheist? Well, Ms Kelly, I think you probably know this already, but, just for the record, Mikey is not an atheist. He is Jewish, sometimes describing himself as a Jewish agnostic who still prays three times a day in Hebrew, but definitely not an atheist. He has actually tried to be an atheist, but just can't quite bring himself to do it, jokingly comparing it to his trying really hard to like the Grateful Dead, but just never quite being able to get there either.

And how is Mikey supposed to defend himself against your "accusation" that he's an atheist without risking offending all the people in this country who actually are atheists? It's like President Obama having to defend himself against the "accusation" that he's a Muslim without sounding like he thinks there's something wrong with being a Muslim. That's what happens when people like you, Ms. Kelly, and your cohorts at Fox News turn a religious belief or ideology into an accusation -- it forces a person, whether it be our president or Mikey Weinstein, into the incredibly awkward position of having to refute what is a false statement about their personal beliefs while at the same time not wanting to offend the many people who really do hold those beliefs. It galls Mikey to feel like he has to add that "not that I think there's anything wrong with atheists" disclaimer to his saying that he himself is not an atheist. There is just no good way for him to say that without him feeling like he sounds like a racist following some statement about their whiteness with "not that I have anything against black people." It would be like "accusing" you, Ms. Kelly, of being a brunette, and you having to defend your blondness without risking offending every brunette who tunes into your show.

Raising the disgust level among us here at MRFF is that, despite the constant accusations by Fox News and others that Mikey is an atheist, there actually are quite a few nice "Christians" out there who do believe Mikey when he says that he's Jewish. How do we know this? Well, from the constant stream of sickeningly vile anti-semitic emails that flows into MRFF's inbox. Emails like these (be sure to sound out the very creative fake email addresses that these bigoted cowards make up):

Subject: Why We Hate Michael Weinstien
Date: March 31, 2014 9:33:39 PM MDT
To: ------- <>

Because he is a devil loving Christian hating, fag loving muslum loving, America hating, military hating athiest commie leftist with a big jew mouth an uppity jew anarchist socialist attitude. Fire up the ovens boys!

Subject: Happy Holocaust Day
Date: April 28, 2014 9:47:44 AM MDT
To: ------- <>

Mr. Weinstein,

What you do to persecute the faithful of Christ in our military today is far worse than anything the Nazis were ever accused of doing to your jewish people. The same jewish people who rejected His grace and love. The same jewish people who crucified Him. Without mercy. (And one of their own.) As you Mr. Weinstein continue to do every day.

Want to talk about a real holocaust day?
You will suffer your own holocaust. Buring in hell forever. Semper Fi!


8 Active Duty Officers, USMC
Living For Jesus Christ in Act, Word and Deed
Spreading His Good News to All Marines We Can in the Corps

Ms Kelly, a few years back, in an interview with GQ Magazine, you said, in answering a question about why you ended up "hating the law" that "The problem with the law is that it's always there." Unfortunately, you now seem to have given a new meaning to your opinion that the law always being there is a "problem," deciding not just that you no longer wanted to work as a lawyer, but that you no longer want to recognize that laws exist -- neither for yourself as a "journalist" nor for the U.S. government and our military, the latter of which was made clear by your giving the Dobsons a platform to boast about how they're circumventing the laws and military regulations that clearly prohibit the military's participation in their event.

By the way, nice pictures of you in that GQ article. I'm sure Ms. Dobson would definitely see those as something she needs to pray about.

I've already gone into detail in my previous post about all the many military regulations that prohibit the participation of uniformed U.S. military personnel in events like Ms. Dobson's "Pharisee Prayer Pageant," as I like to call it, but I do want to briefly address something here that the Dobsons said on The Kelly File.

Not only did the Dobsons admit that their event is, as MRFF has been saying, an event restricted to one religious belief -- with Ms. Dobson saying things like, "Any faith is welcome to attend, but we are the Judeo-Christian expression of the National Day of Prayer" -- but the bigger issue with their statements, which also supports, rather than negates, what MRFF has been saying was their repeated use of the word "attend."

Of course the Dobsons allow -- and want -- non-Christians to "attend" their events! Those non-Christians are the people they are trying to proselytize to! The discrimination is in their restriction on who can speak at and participate in the running of their events. That full participation is restricted to Christians, a few Messianic Jews (Jews who accept Jesus as the messiah, making them essentially Christians), and the occasional non-Messianic Jew who, for some unfathomable reason, supports the Dobsons' Christian nationalist agenda for America. That, Ms. Kelly, is religious discrimination, which is one of the many reasons that their big May 1 National Day of Prayer shindig in Washington, DC cannot include uniformed military personnel, and can't even be held in the Canon House Office Building as planned without violating Congress's own rules on the use of that building.

I have to say that we at MRFF did get a kick out of Mr. Dobson's whistling-in-the-dark claim that "Mikey Weinstein has a habit of losing" and "usually does get nowhere." Yes, Mikey Weinstein loses so much that an entire coalition of large, well-funded fundamentalist Christian organizations has been formed just to fight him. Yes, those of your ilk apparently think it's gonna take over two dozen of their much larger organizations to stop little old MRFF. That coalition has even put out a whole big report that is fascinatingly similar to what we at MRFF call our "achievements list." In fact, the only real difference between their "Clear and Present Danger" report and MRFF's achievements list is that one is full of half-truth versions and misrepresentations of MRFF's achievements and the other is factual. (I'll let my readers guess which one is which.)

Apparently, Mr. Dobson has also forgotten all about that National Day of Prayer a few years back when Mikey and MRFF stopped his wife's National Day of Prayer Task Force's honorary chairman Franklin Graham from speaking at the Pentagon's observance of the day. (Here's a video of Mr. Dobson himself talking about that at his wife's big Capitol Hill Jesus jamboree that year to remind him about that one.)

And, finally, let me just end this piece by congratulating you, Ms. Kelly, on recently being named one "The 100 Most Influential People in the World" by Time Magazine. While I'm sure that people like the Dobsons are thrilled to have someone as influential as yourself to give them a platform for the hatred, bigotry, and lawlessness that they espouse, those of us who believe in true religious freedom find your venomous influence over so many of our fellow Americans to be quite disturbing.

Originally posted to ChrisRodda on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 12:01 PM PDT.

Also republished by Progressive Atheists and Street Prophets .

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (139+ / 0-)
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  •  I get Mr. Weinstein's issue. (34+ / 0-)

    I am a member of a minority religious group myself. I am a neo-Pagan and a polytheist. I dislike mischaracterizations of me as an atheist when I defend the right of atheists to be free from indoctrination, as much as I dislike being called a Christian when I speak up for religious freedoms. It has nothing to do with dislike of the group I'm being placed with, but all about who I am and my right to define who I am.

    Good to see you back here, by the way.

  •  Many Christian conservatives have problems with (24+ / 0-)

    the concept of atheism, seeing it as some sort of threat to their faith.  Hence, Christian apologists assert that atheists hate God for some reason or that, atheists are incapable of moral behavior among other things.  For example, this guy thinks that racists are all atheists.

    Here is another example of how apologists try to wrap their heads around the concept of atheism

    •  They also tend to define people as atheists (18+ / 0-)

      who aren't. I was on a "Christian" Internet site where someone told me, seriously, that "there are only three kinds of people in the world, Christians, pretend Christians, and atheists."

      I took that to mean that either you're a theologically conservative Christian, a member of a Christian denomination she hates, and that she calls everyone else, including polytheists like myself, atheists.

      You can't argue with that kind of person. It's like trying to win an argument with a brick wall.

    •  It IS a threat to their faith (3+ / 0-)

      Theres just no way around the implication of atheism (as opposed to agnosticism) that if you believe in a god or gods youre a fool at best. Its innate.

      •  Certainly, many of them find (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        koosah, Oh Mary Oh

        it inherently insulting, but what someone else thinks doesn't threaten their ability to keep on believing whatever they do.

        "If anybody is wondering about Tom’s qualifications, Tom is the only member of both the cable television and the wireless industry hall of fame. So he’s like the Jim Brown of telecom, or the Bo Jackson of telecom.” President Obama

        by JesseCW on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 01:24:12 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Well, I'm an atheist, and I don't consider (18+ / 0-)

        theists fools.  I know too many smart theists.  I'm just not one of them.  

        Nor do I seek to convert anybody to atheism.  I do argue with people who try to tell me what atheism is when they're wrong, and they sometimes take this as attempted conversion, but it's not.

        To me, being an atheist is like not being a hockey fan.  It occupies pretty much zero of my attention until somebody tries to force others to attend hockey games, or discriminates against those who don't at least pay lip service to following hockey.  (Which doesn't happen, but you see my point.)

        © cai Visit to join the fight against global warming.

        by cai on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 02:00:09 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I went from theism & belief... (8+ / 0-)

          ... in my youth... to atheism, and all because the minister lied to me in confirmation class when he said we were not supposed to dance.  To my repeated questions about 'Why?,' he snapped: "Because they don't dance in the Bible."

          I instantly knew he was wrong, so I proceeded to read a chapter a night in my bible..., and when I got to the crossing of the red sea and read 'Then Miriam, sister of Aaron, with her ladies, took up their timbrels and danced.'  I showed that to the minister the following confirmation class, and if looks could kill, I wouldn't be here.  A chit of a girl all of 14 or 15 showed him up for a liar?!?!?  Heresy!  I continued on and finished the bible just as I would any other book - by reading it..., not taking selected verses out of context and giving them other meanings.  When I was in my early 20s I read it from cover-to-cover a second time.  Then I embarked on ancient histories, and so on and so forth and yadda, yadda, yadda....

          The revealing book (for me) was When God Was a Woman by Merlin Stone.  She had a nice bibliography, so I read some more....

          Eventually I arrived at atheism by studying religion and history.  It was a process over three+ decades, and even then I called myself a 'wishful atheist' for a few more years because I wanted something to exist..., but by the time four decades had passed, I couldn't get over knowing it doesn't, so I finally gave up my wishful thinking.

          I just don't want anyone cramming their idea of religion down my throat.  I did my homework, tyvm, and unless they do their homework and study these things for decades, they don't have the right to force their views on me or anyone else.  No, I won't cram my views down their throats unless they irritate me.  I fully realize most don't have the intelligence to undertake independent study of so serious and personal a topic, so they should not arrive at my conclusions by me telling them my viewpoints.  They have to find their own answers.

          I'm sick of attempts to steer this nation from principles evolved in The Age of Reason to hallucinations derived from illiterate herdsmen. ~ Crashing Vor

          by NonnyO on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 02:42:39 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I liked that story. Tx n/t (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            NonnyO, Oh Mary Oh
          •  Even if they do do their homework for decades (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            NonnyO, ARS, Oh Mary Oh

            they still don't have the right to force their views on me, you, or anyone else.

            © cai Visit to join the fight against global warming.

            by cai on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 03:23:07 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  And ^THAT^ is the over-riding Truth! (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              dotdash2u, ARS

              Any student of history for the last two thousand years knows how much blood has been spilled over the "issue" of religion and governments forcing their citizens to adopt a state religion - or the religion the Vatican wanted to force on everyone.

              Haven't we had enough bloodshed, torture, and burning at the stake, among other atrocities - all over the false "issue" of religion?

              When do we say "Enough!"...?

              I'm sick of attempts to steer this nation from principles evolved in The Age of Reason to hallucinations derived from illiterate herdsmen. ~ Crashing Vor

              by NonnyO on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 03:46:12 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  In my last diary (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            a commenter told me I was ignorant because, in his experience, Atheists lacked knowledge of Christianity except fundamentalism.

            The research and knowledge that led you to Atheism illustrates my answer to him that it has been my experience that Atheists tend to be very informed about religion and that is why in fact they choose to be Atheists.

            Also - just making that comment makes me painfully aware of the Diarist's point of being in the "incredibly awkward position of having to refute what is a false statement about their personal beliefs while at the same time not wanting to offend the many people who really do hold those beliefs."

            I certainly do not think that those who choose to be theists are ignorant or not as well informed as non-theists. Each person finds enlightenment and their own path to belief or non-belief.

            Sometimes that is attained by ignorance, ideally it is attained by knowledge.  

            "There is a special place in hell for women who do not help other women." ~Madeleine K. Albright

            by jodylanec on Thu May 01, 2014 at 10:35:45 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Excellent point, jodylanec... (0+ / 0-)

              When I was a kid, my parents taught us we were not to discuss religion anywhere except at home or in church.  For many years I could abide by what I learned in childhood, even as I'd already embarked on a journey of the historical aspects of religion and was well down the road to atheism.  It was my personal journey and I didn't involve anyone else (few people have my penchant for seeking knowledge for the sake of knowledge, or, in other cases, seeking knowledge I can apply to my own life).

              Then..., the reichwingnut fundies started their harangues, as well as the verbal abuse involved with trying to force others to convert to their wild idea of religion, trying to get people to engage in their 'war on Xmas/Easter,' 'war on religion,' 'war on___[fill in the blank].'

              I couldn't remain silent.

              Belief, or lack of belief, is a matter of personal conscience, and I still think either position (or something in between) must come from the person seeking knowledge as a personal quest - not preachers who aim to get as rich as possible off of a flock of sheeple caught up in a mass cult conversion of some sort.

              I was never one for blind faith in anything - religion or otherwise.  When I ask 'Why?' (which likely leads to Who, When, What, Where, How, and likely more Why questions) I expect a sensible answer.  When it's not forthcoming, I go in search of those answers for myself.  I was a 'full immersion' learner long before I found out there was a term for it.


              I'm sick of attempts to steer this nation from principles evolved in The Age of Reason to hallucinations derived from illiterate herdsmen. ~ Crashing Vor

              by NonnyO on Thu May 01, 2014 at 11:24:46 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  Why is this... (0+ / 0-)

        ... more true of atheists than of other Abrahamic faiths that deny the divinity of Jesus, or non-Abrahamic faiths?

        Never mind that atheists have been participants in welcoming congregations for over a century.

        •  because an atheist is saying 'No' in a much more (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Munchkn, pasadena beggar

          fundamental, bedrock way, not just to their brand of belief, or what name they give to God or how they pray to Him/Her, but to the whole underlying concept of searching for meaning in life in the sense of a personal invisible Shepherd.
          Its not even a question of whether an atheist wears his/her non-belief on their sleeve or tries to convert anyone. The mere presence of the idea is a threat.

    •  We simply don't follow their words (0+ / 0-)

      as being from anyone but other humans.

      No deity(ies) can save their intentions or actions from being tied back to their own motivations, I feel.

      Hate gays?  That's your personal bias.  etc.

      "So, please stay where you are. Don't move and don't panic. Don't take off your shoes! Jobs is on the way."

      by wader on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 06:37:40 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Oh my God Becky! Did you see her pictures? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chimene, NonnyO, ltsply2

    She looks like a total prostitute.  Like one of those rap guys girlfriends.

    There is an endless supply of white men, there has always been a limited number of Human Beings

    by ratprique on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 01:12:40 PM PDT

    •  she sure looks like she's trying hard for a look (0+ / 0-)

      that the GQ man would appreciate, anyway, 8-0 !!!! Adds  to her credibility, I'm sure.

      "real" work : a job where you wash your hands BEFORE you use the bathroom...

      by chimene on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 02:24:20 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  conservatives are terrified of atheists (19+ / 0-)

    I'm an atheist, but just for fun about 20-some years ago I used to claim to be a Satanist instead.  After listening to all the local Baptists spread fear about "Satanic cults" doing this and that, and looking at me with terror because I listened to Slayer, I figured, "Why not wind these clowns up?"  So, I'd jokingly call myself a Satanist.

    Oddly enough, I got along pretty well with Christians when I did that.  I was like their "Satanist friend," and they were always amazed that I was nice and polite and wasn't killing and eating cats and babies and such.

    Then I decided it was silly, because I no more believe in "the devil" than I do any other made-up cartoon people worship, so I said, "Just kidding, guys, I don't believe in any of that, I'm actually an atheist."

    And then they freaked out.

    That scared them way more than being a "devil-worshiper."  Because at least then I was still playing "the belief game."  

    Religion is entirely a matter of faith.  There is no compelling logic or science behind any of it.  People are either trained to believe something and go with it, or they want to believe something and will do so.  They can reason their way around anything... except nonbelief.  That scares them.   Why, I don't know -- general science and an basic understanding of human psychology should be more terrifying to them, but... nope, it's "atheists" who are their big boogeymen.

    Which is kind of fun... but, also silly.  I could care less whether anyone believes in a god or not, as long as they're not trying to force it on me or using it to hurt someone else.

    "Glenn Beck ends up looking like a fat, stupid child. His face should be wearing a chef's hat on the side of a box of eclairs. " - Doug Stanhope

    by Front Toward Enemy on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 01:18:17 PM PDT

    •  Nothing more terrifying (5+ / 0-)

      than discovering that the things you believed in and took to be unquestionably true might not be, be it your religious beliefs, that your parents might not be your birth parents, or that a close friend or romantic partner has been lying to you since you met them about who they are. And meeting someone who doesn't believe in things you believe in, that are central to your self-image and view of reality and till now have never been challenged, can be terrifying.

      It's like the old Platonic analogy about living in a cave all your life and thinking that it was the entire world, only to find out that it might not be. Scary.

      Technological and other advances notwithstanding, the US continues to be a very provincial country and society in many ways, that is ignorant about and fearful of different thought and belief systems and ways of life, especially beyond centers of modern culture and people who subscribe to it.

      "Reagan's dead, and he was a lousy president" -- Keith Olbermann 4/22/09

      by kovie on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 01:39:10 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Well, religion = belief is not always the case. (4+ / 0-)

      It's often about ritual, community, song, dance, meditation, stories, identity, etc.  Whether people "believe" in certain deities or stories isn't really relevant to them.  

      That's also hard for Westerners to get our minds around, as we've grown up around a very Christian, and indeed, very Protestant conception of religion (i.e., a personal relationship with a deity).  But it's just not always relevant.

      © cai Visit to join the fight against global warming.

      by cai on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 02:04:32 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I have a theory... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        NonnyO, cai, dotdash2u

        ...that at least, I dunno, maybe 85% of religious people don't actually believe in a god... they just think the other people in church do and they don't want to be the "weirdo."  They may even think something's wrong with them, so they fake it to maintain their social network, and keep up the comfortable habits they were raised with.

        I faked it for a while when I was a kid just so I wouldn't get beaten up in school.  Sometime around high school I quit faking it and got knives pulled on me twice, so... there may be some wisdom in pretending. :)

        "Glenn Beck ends up looking like a fat, stupid child. His face should be wearing a chef's hat on the side of a box of eclairs. " - Doug Stanhope

        by Front Toward Enemy on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 02:22:58 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Why does anyone pay attention to Dobson? (5+ / 0-)

    He should have become a pariah after that interview he conducted with Ted Bundy.   Allowing a serial killer and rapist to blame pornography for his horrific crimes is reprehensible.   Of course, it was all in the name of Dobson's anti-pornography crusade.   I wonder how the families of Bundy's victims felt.   Too bad the good reverend didn't stop to consider that beforehand.  

  •  Fortunately, fewer than 10% of Christians (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sfbob, Ahianne

    are anything like the Dobsons. Because the Dobsons are pond scum.

  •  Why does it matter if he is or isn't an atheist? (6+ / 0-)

    How is this even an issue? I'm not familiar with this situation but this sounds a little like when someone is accused of being gay defending them by saying that they're not gay, when the thing is that it doesn't and shouldn't matter if they're gay or not. If this person isn't an atheist then that's their prerogative, but why would Kelly accusing him of being an atheist be a bad thing, other than that it's a lie, which is a separate if also important issue?

    Isn't this a little like that pathetic old "But I'm not one of THOSE liberals" attempts at fending off an attack by the right, when the correct response is "What the fuck is it your business what I am, Ms. Douchebag, because I'm proud of what I am and don't think there's anything wrong with it!"?

    "Reagan's dead, and he was a lousy president" -- Keith Olbermann 4/22/09

    by kovie on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 01:31:23 PM PDT

    •  It matters because it's false. (11+ / 0-)

      I fully agree that there's nothing wrong with being an atheist, and it shouldn't matter even if Weinstein were one.  But in point of fact, he isn't.  He's a self-professed Jew, not an atheist.

      Obviously, Fox is calling him an atheist in an effort to discredit him.  They know their viewers have a low opinion of atheists, and so they're spreading this lie to make Weinstein into some kind of freak, which is how lots of conservatives tend to view those who don't believe in a deity.

      And I should hardly need to point out that if they were honest about Weinstein's religion, they might have to confront questions of antisemitism.  Their opposition to his organization looks a lot less palatable once people understand that Jews might be justifiably upset at the attempts to spread fundamentalist Christianity in the U.S. military.

      In the end, Weinstein gets to decide what his religion is.  For Fox to contend that he's something other than what he's professed to be is a lie, and it needs to be condemned as such.

      "Ça c'est une chanson que j'aurais vraiment aimé ne pas avoir écrite." -- Barbara

      by FogCityJohn on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 02:39:36 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I honestly believe that whether he is or isn't (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        dotdash2u, Ahianne, Munchkn

        an atheist is a far more minor issue that whether or not it matters, in this and any other matter regarding the role of religion in public life. Devout Jews, Catholics, Muslims and atheists should be equally repelled by any attempts to insert ANY religion into the military in any official manner. We're not talking about military chaplains and chapels that are there for service members of faith to turn to if they feel the need, which I'm ok with, but an overt effort to indoctrinate them into not just religion in general, but a specific one.

        That should be offensive to people of any, all and no faith.

        "Reagan's dead, and he was a lousy president" -- Keith Olbermann 4/22/09

        by kovie on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 03:15:31 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I agree (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          kovie, BMScott, bluezen

          Nevertheless, I find Fox's conduct reprehensible.  If Weinstein is Jewish, then he's Jewish, and painting him as something else is completely improper.

          In tort law, this would fall under the rubric of "false light."  It's a doctrine somewhat related to defamation, but the statement doesn't have to be defamatory in the normal sense.  So even if there's nothing wrong with being an atheist (and there isn't), it's still tortious to call someone an atheist when he is, in fact, a Jew.

          "Ça c'est une chanson que j'aurais vraiment aimé ne pas avoir écrite." -- Barbara

          by FogCityJohn on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 05:03:54 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  You can be Jewish and an atheist (0+ / 0-)

            The two aren't incompatible as being Jewish is a national, cultural as well as religious affiliation, with most Jews belonging to the first two, like me. I can eat my matzoh while realizing that it's almost certainly based on made-up myths. Now, if someone says that I'm therefore not Jewish, or a "real" Jew, yeah, I'm gonna have a problem with that. But not if they accuse me of being godless. My response to that would be "And your point is?".

            "Reagan's dead, and he was a lousy president" -- Keith Olbermann 4/22/09

            by kovie on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 05:30:33 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  but doesn't it also have to harm the reputation? (0+ / 0-)

        to be defamation?  Sad, sad times these

  •  tippd, reccd & republished (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sfbob, Ahianne, Lily O Lady

    at Street Prophets.  Interesting and important story, Chris.  (I hope you'll post at TTA too!)

  •  so how much are the Dobsons making for the day.. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    while trying to stick the government for the expenses? And never paying any taxes.

    That's what it's all about, playing God's mouthpiece and getting rich.

    This Rover crossed over.. Willie Nelson, written by Dorothy Fields

    by Karl Rover on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 01:38:54 PM PDT

  •  Even if he were, so what? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NonnyO, ltsply2

    IANAL, but can something be defamatory if it's not a bad thing to be?  

    I.e., I am not Jewish, but if somebody repeatedly insisted I were Jewish, I wouldn't consider it defamatory towards me, because there's nothing wrong with being Jewish.  

    I might conclude they were anti-Semitic, and perhaps Jewish groups might find it defamatory if it were in a context of implying that being Jewish were a bad thing.  But it wouldn't defame me at all.

    © cai Visit to join the fight against global warming.

    by cai on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 01:56:02 PM PDT

  •  That second email you posted (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NonnyO, Ahianne, Munchkn, bluezen

    Is it even legal for servicemembers to send stuff like that? I wonder if there's a way to find out who owns the email account and report them.

  •  Before I get too much farther into your diary (8+ / 0-)

    and I'm a finish readin' it, I'm just going to say that equating atheism with defamation makes me itch.

    Mr. Weinstein's religious status notwithstanding, it may be incorrect to categorize his status as atheist, but I really do protest that being labeled "atheist" is insulting.  

  •  Any group for separation of church and state is a (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NonnyO, dotdash2u, Ahianne, Lily O Lady

    patriot group.

    In Georgia, acting the fool with a gun is not only legal, it is encouraged by the governor and the state legislature.

    by Mayfly on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 02:36:37 PM PDT

  •  Megan (0+ / 0-)

    This bitch needs to be sued off the air...dumb blonds just don't measure up in the real world, Megan!!!

  •  Megyn Kelly (0+ / 0-)

    made it through law school? Wow, you learn something new every day!

  •  The bigger story will be when Megyn Kelly (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    allergywoman, dotdash2u, bluezen

    says something factual, honest, and without prevarication.

  •  How is "atheist" defamatory? (6+ / 0-)

    incorrect, perhaps, but defamatory? Why?

    Done with politics for the night? Have a nice glass of wine with Palate Press: The online wine magazine.

    by dhonig on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 03:00:46 PM PDT

    •  According to the letter from his lawyer (5+ / 0-)

      which I found at the link in the diary, they are saying it is defamatory because Kelly and Dobson are potentially inciting violence against him:

      Those making false statements can present a difficult and frightening situation. They are sometimes seemingly calculated to intentionally scare and mislead to the point of inciting unstable people.

      Mr.Weinstein is quite concerned about this problem, particularly given that he and his family have been the subject of violent actions in the past, as well as many threats. Thus, these concerns are very real.

      Your statement that the Foundation is "an atheist group" and Dr. Dobson's statement that Mr. Weinstein is a "professional atheist" are completely false and we believe in this instance defamatory. We are concerned that they add to, and perhaps expand, the potential for incitement to violence of unstable people.

      My first thought upon reading this diary was the same as many others have mentioned ... why would it be "defamatory" to say someone is an atheist?

      But it is true that some people truly hate atheists, to the point of physically attacking them, or worse ... so it's not just a harmless lie.

      While I would rather see challenges to the underlying thinking that atheists are so horrible that they are the victims of threats and actual violence, that is the world we live in. Given that reality, I can see why someone considers it defamatory to label them as such on a Fox News program.

  •  Megyn Kelly (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    made it through law school? Wow, you learn something new every day!

  •  isn't it just a lie rather than defamation (4+ / 0-)

    I thought it was only defamation if you are accused of being something bad or something that could hurt your reputation

    there's nothing bad about being an atheist

    it's like saying you live in a green house when you live in a yellow house.  It's not true, so it's a lie, but it does not "de-fame" you--does not do anything negative to your fame or your name

    Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D.
    Drop by The Grieving Room on Monday nights to talk about grief.

    by TrueBlueMajority on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 03:11:59 PM PDT

  •  I don't even think I rise to the level of atheist. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ahianne, Munchkn

    And yet I don't kick puppies, force people to gay marry or have abortions, or mandate prayer in inappropriate places for inappropriate reasons to deities that may be different than the one or ones they may or may not believe in.

    If that makes me a bad person, I'll wear that t-shirt proudly.

    I might, however, have to disagree that Megyn Kelly would "know better". Look at where she works, ferchrissakes :)

    You wouldn't let a child near your porn stash; don't let 'em near your gun stash.

    by here4tehbeer on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 03:21:18 PM PDT

  •  What's wrong with being an atheist? (2+ / 0-)

    What Kelly said was a lie, if untrue, but not defamation, for god's sake.

    "Let's stay together"--Rev. Al Green and President Obama

    by collardgreens on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 03:55:23 PM PDT

  •  I really hate this response (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Oh Mary Oh, pasadena beggar

    So what if the MRFF were an atheist organization. Freedom is freedom, regardless of the source.

    Perhaps they should, instead of spending their breath explaining how they aren't one of those icky atheists, simply ignore the "atheist" label and focus on freedom for all religions, including the non-religious.

    •  I am an agnostic but I call myself an atheist... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      FishOutofWater, bluezen, Oh Mary Oh

      ...when talking to what I call totalitarian Christians.  I also help Mikey and the MRFF when I can.  

      This Saturday I'm going to hear Mikey speak at the Freethinkers.

      The MRFF  works very very hard at protecting the separation of church and state in the military.

      Daily Kos an oasis of truth. Truth that leads to action.

      by Shockwave on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 05:15:21 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  great diary. typical fox noise bullshit strawman (0+ / 0-)

    argument: make up an accusation, throw it against the wall to see if it sticks, then argue the strawman while ignoring the fallacy behind it.

    tip'd & rec'd :)

    The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness. ~ J.K. Galbraith

    by bluezen on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 07:12:16 PM PDT

  •  I've been reading of and hearing about (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Oh Mary Oh

    Mikey Weinstein's realistic activism within the Air Force for some years now... He's a good guy and Megyn Kelly couldn't  carry his jockstrap (or some similar simile) ...

    Go Mikey!

    How children dance to the unlived lives of their parents. Rilke

    by ceebee7 on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 07:17:09 PM PDT

  •  well, JRR Tolkien (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Oh Mary Oh, pasadena beggar

    had a similar problem when Nazi Germany wanted to publish the Hobbit, but required information from Tolkien regarding the race laws.

    And how is Mikey supposed to defend himself against your "accusation" that he's an atheist without risking offending all the people in this country who actually are atheists? It's like President Obama having to defend himself against the "accusation" that he's a Muslim without sounding like he thinks there's something wrong with being a Muslim.
    Tolkien, handled it thusly in 1938
    Thank you for your letter. I regret that I am not clear as to what you intend by arisch. I am not of Aryan extraction: that is Indo-Iranian; as far as I am aware none of my ancestors spoke Hindustani, Persian, Gypsy, or any related dialects. But if I am to understand that you are enquiring whether I am of Jewish origin, I can only reply that I regret that I appear to have no ancestors of that gifted people. My great-great-grandfather came to England in the eighteenth century from Germany: the main part of my descent is therefore purely English, and I am an English subject - which should be sufficient. I have been accustomed, nonetheless, to regard my German name with pride, and continued to do so throughout the period of the late regrettable war, in which I served in the English army. I cannot, however, forbear to comment that if impertinent and irrelevant inquiries of this sort are to become the rule in matters of literature, then the time is not far distant when a German name will no longer be a source of pride.

    Don't be a dick, be a Democrat! Oppose CPI cuts! Support Social Security and Veteran Benefits!

    by Jeffersonian Democrat on Thu May 01, 2014 at 03:51:52 AM PDT

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