Amidst the aftermath of the tornadoes that devastated Oklahoma last week, Wolf Blitzer made a bit of a gaffe. As Wolf tickled the feet of a tornado survivor’s smiling baby, he asked the woman if she “thanked the lord” for not being crushed to death. The woman giggled, smiled a big, nervous smile, and replied, “I’m actually an atheist.” She added, “I don’t blame anybody for thanking the lord.”
It was awkward.
This tiny gaffe just goes to show that assuming someone is religious can be potentially threatening. You can tell by the woman’s reaction that she’s not that bothered by it initially – again, she’s probably glad she wasn’t crushed to death – but that sort of question puts a lot of pressure on an atheist to act as though they are religious, even though they are not.
OR IS IT ALL A CONSPIRACY?
Conspiracy theorist / worst historian ever Glenn Beck certainly thinks so. Refusing to accept that awkward gaffes occasionally happen on news, Beck gave his own interpretation of the situation, based on literally zero evidence,
“I think he was fed some information about the guest that he had on beforehand — that’s what producers do — given some questions that he should ask, et cetera, et cetera. Some produce who is sympathetic to the atheist plight, or just doesn’t like Christians, or whatever it is, thought it was important to point out that, in the middle of the heartland in America, where most people are God-fearing, there are atheists there, too.”
Beck’s statements get more confusing from there. He kind of backtracks and says that he likes atheists, but not atheism, essentially. His statement is not very clear-headed and it’s mired in contradictions and weird references to conspiracy theories. Glenn Beck, of course, thrives on the convoluted and confusing – if you make a big enough diagram, you can connect anything to anything, prove essentially any point you want, and Beck is super good at this. You can read Beck’s whole statement here.