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Ingraham on The O'Reilly Factor Tells an Atheist: “You Should Be Afraid of Hell. Hell's Not a Fun Place.”

Reported by Julie - December 26, 2009 -

On December 22, 2009, guest-hosting The O'Reilly Factor, uber-”Christian” Laura Ingraham – complete with shiny gold crucifix to prove it to the world – hosted a segment on The O'Reilly Factor entitled, “'Tis the Season.” Ingraham, despite all the “goodness” she pretends to display with the nice gold cross, can't combat what she considers to be the forces of evil, especially atheists and heathens. I imagine good old Christian Ingraham believes there's a special place in hell for heathens . . . but wait, I thought the “motivating force behind the Christian life is love.” With video.

Kicking off the “Culture War” segment, Ingraham trumpeted, “The war on Christmas heads to Sin City. Atheists have taken their anti-God show to Las Vegas and other cities across America with signs featuring creative messages like this: 'Heathen's Greetings,' and 'Yes, Virginia, there is no God.' Merry Christmas to you, too.” Talking about taking a show on the road . . . Ingraham talks the talk, but when it comes to that whole “love thy brother” thing, she misses the mark – completely. And don't even get me started on the evils of religious persecution. Wait, wait -- wasn't Ingraham also the one -- yes, I'm sure she was, because Jon Stewart does not lie, especially when he referred to Ingraham as "hyperbolic and paranoid" -- who read a Holocaust poem at the December tea party event? Just askin'. Anyway, assuming she's secure in her own religious beliefs (and I use that term loosely), ya gotta wonder why she, and Fox, is so concerned about the religious beliefs – or lack thereof – of others. As noted by atheism.about.com, “What kind of world do we live in where good, god-fearing Christians feel justified in discriminating against and even committing violence against atheists, but atheists are the intolerant ones for simply making public their disdain for Christian doctrine and dogma? What sort of nation is America if blasphemy can be treated as worse than bigotry, discrimination, or violence?” Ingraham clearly didn't get that memo.

Ingraham introduced Annie Laurie Gaylor, the co-president of the Freedom from Religion Foundation, the group who bought the heathen ads in question. Ingraham, respectful of others, as always, quipped, “Merry Christmas, by the way,” to which Gaylor shot back, “Well, merry winter solstice.”

Gaylor, a soft-spoken, calm woman, talked about the winter solstice being the “natural holiday” and “the reason for the season,” to which Ingraham sneered, “That's right, because a lot of people would care about the winter solstice were it not for this thing called . . . Christianity.” Uh, Laur, people can believe both, you know.

Ingraham started right in on her religious persecution, saying, “Now these ads are meant to do what? Are they meant to provoke and get people, you know, 80 percent of the country basically is Christian. So is it meant to kind of like rain on their Christmas parade?” Actually, according to Newsweek in April 2009, the percentage of people who identify themselves as Christians is 76% . . . and has fallen steadily since 1990, from 86 to 76%. And people who don't identify themselves with any particular faith has doubled in recent years, and is now 16%.

What's the deal here, anyway? Why is it okay for Fox to wage wars on non-believers, for Fox to promote Christianity, against all other faiths, but when atheists state their beliefs, according to Ingraham, “. . . [A]s far as I can tell, you're just making a pain of yourself.” Where's the love, Laur?

Gaylor explained that the ads were meant to “say something true, that there isn't a God. There are many Americans — 30 million Americans who do not believe in a God. And we're here in December, too. And 'Heathen's Greetings' is one of our other billboards and 'Reason's Greetings,' and I think it's fun . . . Reason is always in season.”

Gaylor went on to explain that during the winter solstice people celebrate with “evergreens and festivals and gift exchanges because they're recognizing the real new year, natural holiday, the beginning of the new year.” Sounds nice. Sounds simple. Sounds like it doesn't interfere with anybody's Christian beliefs, or Muslim beliefs, or Jewish beliefs. So what's the beef?

The beef, apparently, is, according to Ingraham, “. . . [T]here seems to be an orthodoxy and even a religious dogma among atheists, just as strong as that among, you know, devout Christians or Muslims or Jews, but you all call it winter solsticism or atheism or whatever the trendy way of referring to it is now . . . But you guys are just as dogmatic as the people you say are crazy because they think this, you know, this little baby was born in a manger . . . I mean, dogma about the fact that there is no God. You're obviously dogmatic about that, are you not?” Right, right – Fox' Christian-right belief system is not based in dogma, it's just “normal,” but anything outside the box is “dogmatic.”

Gaylor did an excellent job maintaining poise in the face of Ingraham's Christian-right xenophobia, and clarified that God can't be proven, and “If there is no proof for something, we should not believe it. And more people have been killed in the name of religion for something that cannot be proved than for any other reason. And I think that many people might be pleased to know there is no God. There's no person watching over you ready to send you to Hell.”

Ingraham attempted to imply that atheists don't perform any public service work, such as the Catholic Church and evangelicals and Mormons do.

“So the idea,” Ingraham sneered, “That Christians are not magnanimous and incredibly generous is really silly.”

Gaylor responded, “If there are being people magnanimous in the name of religion, terrific. But many times, it is religion that gets the credit and taxpayers that get the bill. As you know, Catholic charities get a huge amount of infusions of federal money from taxpayers.”

Never one to miss a chance to swipe at a liberal cause, Ingraham sniped, “Planned Parenthood does, too. But you won't have a problem with that.”

Gaylor said that Freedom from Religion Foundation has 14,000 members nationwide – which Ingraham dismissed as being an insignificant number – and that a quarter of its members are volunteers. Gaylor quickly said, “Well, quality over quantity, I guess,” to which Ingraham replied, “Oh, quality members. Oh, that's true. Numbers don't matter.”

Gaylor told Ingraham that she was brought up a “third generation free thinker . . . free from religion . . . My parents did not believe in indoctrination. I do not believe that small children should be indoctrinated in abstractions that they cannot have any real way to determine whether it's true or not.”

Gaylor made the firm claim that raising children in a religious faith is indoctrination, that raising children with a fear of Hell is child abuse, and that children should be able to make those decisions for themselves.

“Yeah,” Ingraham cried, “You should be afraid of Hell. Hell's not a fun place. Yeah, of course, they should be afraid of Hell.”

“Well, smile,” Gaylor replied nicely, with a smile, “There is no Hell . . . I mean, I think this is a primitive notion. And it's very harmful to small children to have ideas that are that fearful inculcated in them by their parents and their churches.”

Ingraham asked Gaylor if it bothered her when Christians pray for her soul as a non-believer, and Gaylor said firmly, “. . . You're wasting your time . . . You can pray for me if you want to, but there is no God who's going to answer that prayer.”

Ingraham claimed that Christians have been “kind of been put upon for a couple thousand of years,” to which Gaylor replied incredulously, “Put upon!” Not on Fox, that's for sure.

But there has, true, been Christian persecution in our history. But, as noted by infidels.org, “Morally speaking, Atheism has a great advantage over religion. The great failure of religious morality comes from their illusion of a morality above right and wrong . . . In the name of their 'god' and a 'higher morality,' Christians have waged holy wars of extermination, have plundered, tortured and murdered those who could not agree with their religion, or who had never even heard of it. In the name of this 'higher morality' Christians have hated, hunted, persecuted, and burned alive the 'heretic,' the 'infidel' and the 'atheist.' And today, as always, when the religious person does a thing that even he recognizes as being wrong and immoral, his illusion of a 'higher power' and a 'greater morality' allows him to perform some ritual, confession, or prayer, and presto, miraculously, 'all his sins are taken away', and he is free again from all pains of conscience and regret.”

“But we celebrate the fact that we have a free country, and you can say whatever you want and take out these ads,” Ingraham continued. Of course, if she had her way, atheists would no doubt be stoned in the public square. And if it were up to her, it would be either her Christian way, or her other Christian way.

“We should be able to get along with the separation of church and state,” Gaylor replied sweetly.

You don't have to be part of any organized religion to catch the hypocrisy in Fox' war on all-things-not-right – and in particular, the Christian right. In my view, it's how you live, not how you worship. Although Fox fronts as pro-American, it apparently missed the memo that “America was not established to have any dominant ideology, The United States was meant to be 'a free marketplace of ideas,' where every opinion could be heard and considered.”

And one more thing, Laur – a cross does not a Christian make.