The Said What?!? August 2011

I’m an atheist, and in Zanesville, Ohio, in 2008, you asserted that no organization receiving taxpayer funds would be able to discriminate in hiring or firing based on a person’s religion. You have not rescinded this executive order that permits this type of discrimination. In a time of economic hardship when it’s difficult for a person to get a job based on her skills, what would you say to a woman who has been denied employment because of her religion or lack of religious beliefs by a taxpayer-funded organization.
Amanda Knief’s question to President Obama at a town hall in College Park, Md.
CNN, 72211

Well, this is a very difficult issue. It’s very straightforward that people shouldn’t be discriminated against for race, gender, sexual orientation, religious affiliation. What is happened is that there has been a carve-out dating back to President Clinton’s presidency for religious organizations in their hiring for particular purposes, and this is always a tricky part of the First Amendment. Now, I think that the balance we’ve tried to strike is to say that if you are offering — if you have set up a nonprofit that is disassociated from your core religious functions and is out there in the public doing all kinds of work, then you have to abide generally with the nondiscrimination hiring practices. If on the other hand, it is closer to your core functions as a synagogue or mosque or a church, then there may more leeway to hire somebody that is a believer of that particular religious faith.
President Obama’s answer to Amanda Knief
CNN, 72211

I saw Calvary in the midst of all the wreckage, the disaster. It was a sign . . . that God didn’t desert us.
Frank Silecchia, commenting on a cross-shaped steel beam he found in the rubble of the World Trade Center and is being moved to the National September 11 Memorial Museum
NBC New York, 72411

There is really no such a thing as an atheist or an agnostic. If you think of yourself as such, you are self-deceived. Deep down you know that God exists. We all do.
Columnist Vasko Kohlmayer, “Atheist or agnostic: We all know God”
The Washington Times, 72511

By offering “read meat” about [Pastor Dean] and Congresswoman Michele Bachmann — however malicious, misleading and false — to its leftist, secular atheist and/or pro-“gay rights” audience, it is able to further this objective.
Pastor Bradlee Dean’s allegation in a $50 million defamation lawsuit agains Rachel Maddow, MSNBC and the Minnesota Independent
Talking Points Memo, 72811

We’re not for legalizing marijuana, even if it’s for medical reasons, because marijuana is very addictive. We believe that healing comes through God and through holistic means, rather than through marijuana.
Rev. Sarah Barbour, New Birth Family Life Worship Center pastor and founder of Yes MAMM (Mothers Against Meth and Marijuana)
Indianapolis Star, 72811

I, the Lord God in heaven, call upon the court to now cease this prosecution against my pure and holy way coming against my church. Let it stop now. I am the Lord God over all that speaketh. I will wrest your power from you. I shall judge you. I shall let all peoples know of your unjust ways. I shall send a scourge upon the counties of prosecutorial zeal to be humbled by sickness and death.
Mormon polygamist leader Warren Jeffs’ statement at his Texas trial where he was convicted of assault for raping a 12-year-old girl and impregnated a 15-year-old, both of whom he calls his “celestial wives”
Salt Lake Tribune, 72911

Keep them from the pit of disunity and discord. And empower them to build bridges of cooperation. Give them the courage and humility to do what is right, knowing that you are the only constituent they absolutely must please.
U.S. Senate Chaplain Barry Black’s prayer asking for divine help to raise the debt ceiling
The Washington Post, 73111

The religious factions that are growing throughout our land are not using their religious clout with wisdom. They are trying to force government leaders into following their position 100 percent. If you disagree with these religious groups on a particular moral issue, they complain, they threaten you with a loss of money or votes or both. I’m frankly sick and tired of the political preachers across this country telling me as a citizen that if I want to be a moral person, I must believe in A, B, C, and D. Just who do they think they are?
The late Sen. Barry Goldwater, R-Ariz., speaking in 1981 and quoted in Richard Dawkins’ The God Delusion The Washington Post, 71311

This article makes a mistake that I’ve seen becoming more and more common recently. It assumes that atheism is something special, odd or unique. It is voiced in a manner that indicates that atheists are the abnormal ones, rather than religious folk. Demographically, we’re a minority, but religion isn’t something a person is born with, everyone is birthed as an atheist. Why does there have to be something wrong with us?
John K., commenting on a column about FFRF’s “Out of the Closet” billboards in which the author says he doesn’t need to know if someone’s an atheist, 6811

I glanced at it, and it looks like Jesus. I thought, “You can’t spray Jesus with Roundup.”
Kent Hardison, on “Kudzu Jesus” (actually trumpet vine) growing on a utility pole near Kinston, N.C.
Associated Press, 63011

If you really care about a rape victim, you would want to protect her from the abortion, and not the baby. A baby is not the worst thing that could ever happen to a rape victim — an abortion is. Press release on the “Conceived in Rape” tour to support a fetal personhood amendment in Mississippi, 6211

Promised Land Paintball is America’s best Christian paintball park!
Website promo for business in Trevor, Wis., 72411

We cannot elevate nature above people. That’s against the bible and the Bill of Rights.
Edna Mattos, Citrus County [Fla.] Tea Party Patriots, opposing protections for manatees
St. Petersburg Times, 71311

The Internet has given atheists, agnostics, skeptics, the people who like to destroy everything that you and I believe, the almost equal access to your kids as your youth pastor and you have.
Josh McDowell, Campus Crusade for Christ, “Internet the greatest threat to Christians”
The Christian Post, 71611

Dear Friends, I just launched Praised be our Lord Jesus Christ! With my prayers and blessings, Benedictus
The pope’s first message on Twitter, entering urban folklore as “Tweet Jesus”, 62911

Senator Ensign told Ms. Hampton that he wanted to marry her while they attended the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington.
Special counsel’s report to the Senate Select Committee on Ethics investigating former Nevada Sen. John Ensign’s extramarital affair with his aide’s wife, 51011

It’s up to each individual community. I think God is the answer. Washington or Nashville is not the answer. God is the answer.
Sheriff Mike Cross, at the Scott County [Tenn.] Prayer For Meth Rally at the courthouse
WBIR News, 4811

I think if teachers are going to teach evolution they should send home a permission slip asking parents if their child can participate in that chapter, unit, etc. They send home permission slips for controversial movies why not subjects? I personally am a Christian and do not believe in evolution. But I wouldn’t be against my children hearing the views and opinions of others. Who knows maybe it will grab their interest enough that they make it their lives work to disprove the theory.
Valerie [no last name], commenting on Tennessee House passage of a “critical thinking” bill that lets teachers discuss creationism and intelligent design along with evolution
Knoxville News, 4711

Since prior to your report the diocese was not aware of any problems the priest may have had, it was determined that the diocese cannot be responsible for the actions of a priest which are performed for his own ends and which are condemned rather than approved by the Church.
1994 letter to Todd Frey from Rev. Paul Helwig, Diocese of Harrisburg secretary for clergy and religious life, denying financial compensation after removing the priest who molested him as a boy
Harrisburg PatriotNews, 41111

But as we look around us, we can see that things have gone terribly wrong with God’s design. When man disobeyed God, the connection between God and man was broken, the relationship between husband and wife was affected and healthy masculinity and femininity became damaged and confused.
Jeff Johnston, gender and homosexuality analyst, Focus on the Family, 41511

All I was thinking was that I had to detonate myself near as many people as possible. When I decided it was the right time, it was a moment of happiness for me. I thought that there would be a little bit of pain, but then I would be in heaven.
Umar Fidai, 14, a suicide bomber who survived the explosions he and another teen set off, killing 50 people in a Sufi shrine in Pakistan
BBC News, 41811

Just because you’re offended doesn’t mean you have the right.
Pamela Dahl, Tri-County Tea Party president, supporting Lady Lake [Fla.] Commissioner Ruth Kussard’s statement that atheists “could come back after the prayer” opening commission meetings
Orlando Sentinel, 41911

There’s something about the resurrection of our savior Jesus Christ that puts everything else into perspective.
President Obama, speaking at his Easter prayer breakfast in the East Room of the White House
USA Today, 41911

I think, like all liberals, he’s an atheist.
Ann Coulter, denying that Obama is a Christian or a Muslim
Fox Business Channel, 42711

I love the fact that it is Christian-based. They are closed on Sunday. You know the beginning of every week, come the following week, you can be home to see your family.
Libby Knupp, a West Virginia resident attending her 70th grand opening since 2007 of a Chick-fil-A restaurant, this one in Orangeburg, S.C.
The Times and Democrat, 42111

Freedom From Religion Foundation