CNN’s Erick Erickson: Obama’s Arizona Moment Of Silence Intended To “Accommodate Atheists”

Yet more ridiculous political commentary arising out of the tragic shootings in Arizona.

Yesterday, President Obama led the nation in a moment of silence for the victims of the shootings in Arizona. It’s something that’s become fairly common in the United States when events like this occur, but that didn’t stop CNN talking head, and owner Managing Editor of Red State, Erick Erickson from using it as an opportunity to bash the President and anyone who doesn’t happen to fit into whatever vision of Christianity he adheres to:

I feel the need to make a political point here about why this President is getting bashed for his “moment of silence” when other Presidents, from Carter to Reagan to Bush to Clinton to Bush, did not.

He recently made people mad by quoting the Declaration of Independence and leaving out the bit about the Creator. During his inaugural address he mentioned atheists and subsequently proclaimed us not a Christian nation.

In yesterday’s “moment of silence” he wanted prayer or reflection. Here’s the problem — when conservatives push for school prayer and advocate for a “National Day of Prayer,” they include “or reflection” to get around namby-pamby atheist objectors.

But the left uses it too. The left uses it to accommodate atheists.

President Obama’s statement stands out because it is just another verbal telling that he’s ideologically of the left. He already has problems with a public perception of him and his faith. That things like this keep coming up suggests the general public is right in their skepticism of the sincerity of his faith.

If you are on the left, you are seeing red right now. Everyone else is nodding slowly in agreement.

As Erickson notes earlier in the piece, on September 11, 2001, before he left the Emma Booker Elementary School, President Bush appeared on camera and asked for a moment of silence (not a moment of prayer) for the victims in the still-burning Trade Center and Pentagon. When Obama does the same thing, however, Erickson bashes him and cites it as evidence in favor of those who continue to question President Obama’s faith despite his continued statements that he is, in fact, a Christian and, perhaps most offensively, to assert that the President specifically choose a “moment of silence” so that he could “accommodate atheists” when there was no serious person making similar allegations when Presidents Reagan, Bush 41, Clinton, or Bush 43 did the same thing. That isn’t political analysis, its personal hatred of the President disguised as political analysis and its hackery.

Even worse than that, though, is the clear implication in Erickson’s propaganda disguised as commentary that there is something wrong with a government official taking into account the fact that not all of his constituents share his religious beliefs, or those of the majority of the country. He doesn’t explain exactly what’s wrong with this, although considering the audience he’s writing for at Red State, I guess he doesn’t really have to because that’s clearly a universe where non-Christians are suspect to begin with and atheists are only one level above Muslims in their version of Dante’s Inferno, maybe even a level below Muslims. However, that isn’t the universe we live in, and Erickson obviously needs an education in the First Amendment and America’s long tradition of freedom of thought when it comes to religion.

This is the problem that Social Conservatives have when it comes to religion. They want the government to reflect their beliefs, but they have zero respect for the beliefs, or non-beliefs, of others. To borrow a phrase that they are always eager to throw around, that’s just un-American.

Photo Credit: The Washington Post

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FILED UNDER: Barack Obama, Politicians, Religion, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. mantis says:

    At least he didn’t threaten to use his Second Amendment rights to deny us atheists our rights guaranteed under the First. This time.

  2. PD Shaw says:

    Wait a minute, is Erickson saying we know Obama is being hypocritical about moments of silence because the Right is being hypocritical about it too? Because it sounds like he is saying nobody truly believes in a moment of silence.

  3. mantis says:

    Let me also remind folks that our 41st president stated all too common thoughts (on the right) about atheists (when he was VP):

    Bush: No, I don’t know that atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered patriots. This is one nation under God.
    – Chicago, IL, August 27, 1987

  4. mantis says:

    Wait a minute, is Erickson saying we know Obama is being hypocritical about moments of silence because the Right is being hypocritical about it too?

    IOKIYAR. It’s OK if you’re a Republican. He doesn’t mind when Republicans do it because they are just avoiding conflict with those annoying atheists, but when a Democrat does it that means he secretly agrees with the atheist and hates Jesus. All you need to know to tell the difference is the letter next to their name. It’s their secret code.

  5. PD Shaw says:

    What Erickson is also doing is dealing in that same sort of “dog whistle” meme as the Left: There are certain words or phrases that have secret meaning known to his own partisans. While the bulk of humanity interpret a “moment of silence” as a solemnizing public show of respect, Erickson would have his readers believe that he has delivered a secret code to the Left-Wing, who right now are raising their fists to cheer. “Screw the wars, the detainees, the tax cuts for the rich and the public option, he is one of us!!!”

  6. Michael says:

    Obviously Erickson doesn’t think Atheists should be allowed to share in the national mourning of those killed and injured in Arizona. There’s probably some bible verse that makes mourning an “institution” that must be protected from Atheists who want to destroy it by participating.

  7. James H says:

    Has Mr. Erickson considered reading Matthew 6?

  8. MarkedMan says:

    A poll: Do you think Erickson really believes this tripe, or is he just doing it because he knows causing controversy will get him invited back?

  9. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    Doug, Red State is more widely read than your blog. I guess the job of the intelligencia here is to criticize the opinions of others. while repeating the priniciples of Marx and Stalin. Mantis, go suck an egg.

  10. Gustopher says:

    At the risk of being intemperate, or further coarsening the political discourse of this nation, I must point out that if Mr. Erickson got testicular cancer, I would laugh at his suffering.

    If only there were a way to ensure he got testicular cancer… Oh, very well, I call on the Testicular Cancer Fairy to visit his house.

  11. Matt says:

    I suspect atheists are definitely in a deeper part of the Inferno – after all, radical Muslims hate gays and Jews too, so there’s at least some commonality.

  12. tom p says:

    >>>However, that isn’t the universe we live in, and Erickson obviously needs an education in the First Amendment and America’s long tradition of freedom of thought when it comes to religion.<<<>>The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the members of the several state legislatures, and all executive and judicial officers, both of the United States and of the several states, shall be bound by oath or affirmation, to support this Constitution; but NO RELIGIOUS TEST SHALL EVER BE REQUIRED as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.<<<

  13. tom p says:

    Somehow or other, “Art. VI, Para.3 ” did not come thru on that last post….

  14. tom p says:

    MM: Erikson believes this tripe.

  15. tom p says:

    I hope you all appreciate my restraint here tonite…. I almost posted a comment mentioning the Baby Jesus, anal sex, and Republicans in the same sentence…

  16. mantis says:

    Erick “Goat F*&king Child Molester” Erickson has a follow up:

    Through it all though, well meaning people on both sides of the ideological and partisan divide are not talking about the one thing that should be talked about — a saving faith in Jesus Christ.

    Giffords, for one, is Jewish.

    Here’s hoping Erickson is taken from his house and beaten to a bloody pulp, as he thinks citizens should do to their representatives.

  17. castanza says:

    Erickson: CNN. Mataconis: not.
    Erickson: radio show. Mataconis: not.

    I suspect there are a lot more who care what he thinks than you, you bitter little tool.

  18. tom p says:

    Castanza: apparently you care more about Erickson than you do….

    Aaaaahhhhh, never mind.

  19. Neil Hudelson says:

    Dammit Top! Now I really want to know what that sentence was. Only for its poetic and creative effects of course, not because Erik Erikson is a goat f***er

  20. tom p says:

    Oh… and for the record? I am going straight to hell.

  21. tom p says:

    Neil, taking the fact that I am going straight to hell, AND the fact that poets get no passes into heaven, unless they kill 72 virgins in a blaze of Allah induced glory (wait a minute… do I have that wrong???????)

    Ahhhhh the hell with it. I will go to hell on my own, alone. I will not sentence others to the hell and damnation that awaits me by tempting them with my visions of carnal delights with those of the right….

  22. ponce says:

    You have to wonder why the dreaded Em-Ess-Em seems to only hire the shrillest, least intelligent wingnuts like Erickson.

    Is it a deliberate attempt to make the American Right look bad?

  23. Bleev K says:

    “Erickson: CNN. Mataconis: not.
    Erickson: radio show. Mataconis: not.

    I suspect there are a lot more who care what he thinks than you, you bitter little tool.”

    Castanza, let’s push this brilliant concept further:

    Mataconis: OTB, Castanza: nnot

    I suspect there are a lot more who care what he thinks than you, you bitter little tool.

  24. tom p says:

    >>>>Is it a deliberate attempt to make the American Right look bad?<<<<

    Ponce, probably, but they didn't have to look far, did they?

  25. steve says:

    “Is it a deliberate attempt to make the American Right look bad?”

    Red State is a very popular blog. At least among blog readers, his opinions probably resemble most of those on the right.

    Steve

  26. Rock says:

    But some of you folks use worse hateful language that you accuse others of doing. Go figure!

  27. An Interested Party says:

    Speaking of hateful…

    http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/georgepacker/2011/01/tucson-revisited.html

    “Only one side routinely invokes the Second Amendment as a form of swagger and intimidation, not-so-coyly conflating rights with threats. Only one side’s activists bring guns to democratic political gatherings. Only one side has a popular national TV host who uses his platform to indoctrinate viewers in the conviction that the President is an alien, totalitarian menace to the country. Only one side fills the AM waves with rage and incendiary falsehoods. Only one side has an iconic leader, with a devoted grassroots following, who can’t stop using violent imagery and dividing her countrymen into us and them, real and fake. Any sentient American knows which side that is; to argue otherwise is disingenuous.”

  28. G.A.Phillips says:

    Ronin, spamalot?

  29. anjin-san says:

    Beyond silly. I am 52, have been involved in countless “moments of silence” in my life, in tiny groups and at major league sports events with 50K people in the stands. Never heard a peep about it. Until now. The rights endless campaign to prove Obama “is not one of us” does not miss a beat.

    I was talking to a relative in Texas the other day. Politics came up. “That Obama” she said. “He does not give a hoot about real Americans. All he wants to do is take our money and give it to the foreign people… his people.”

    This stuff is coming from somewhere, they are not pulling it out of thin air.

  30. Rock says:

    Those who worship at the altar of Obama and the Democrats are having a difficult time right now. Forgive them their moments of silence.

  31. An Interested Party says:

    “Those who worship at the altar of Obama and the Democrats are having a difficult time right now. Forgive them their moments of silence.”

    Project much? It seems to be those on the other side of the aisle who are frothy and defensive right now…they seem far too apoplectic trying to defend Sister Sarah (whose camp really should have kept silent rather than come up with the ridiculous “surveyor’s symbol” explantion)…

  32. Rock says:

    Good morning Interested Party, how are you this fine day?

    The map was Phase 1. We are beyond that now.

    Phase 2. ?

    Phase 3. Gunfire!

    Please identify phase 2.

    If there is a phase 4 I can identify it for you:

    Phase 4. Obama appoints a Map Czar.

  33. sam says:

    Just when you think Rock and Co. have reached the nadir in taste, he one-ups, or rather, on-downs himself.

  34. An Interested Party says:

    Thank you, Rock, for proving my point…much appreciated…

  35. anjin-san says:

    Too bad Rock was not around in ’68. He could have had a field day with “Black Widow” jokes…

  36. Ben says:

    “Question with boldness even the existence of a god; because if there be one he must approve of the homage of reason more than that of blindfolded fear.” – Thomas Jefferson