home
RSS
September 9th, 2013
03:29 PM ET

Fox News host: Atheists 'don't have to live here'

By Daniel BurkeCNN Belief Blog Co-Editor
[twitter-follow screen_name='BurkeCNN']

(CNN) - Fox News pundit Dana Perino said she's "tired" of atheists attempting to remove the phrase "under God" from the Pledge of Allegiance, adding, "if these people really don't like it, they don't have to live here."

The co-host of Fox's "The Five" was referring to a suit brought by the American Humanist Association in Massachusetts, where the state's Supreme Judicial Court heard a challenge to the pledge on Wednesday.

The group's executive director, Roy Speckhardt, called the suit "the first challenge of its kind," but Perino begged to differ.

Perino, who was White House press secretary for George W. Bush from 2007-2009, said she recalled working at the Justice Department in 2001 "and a lawsuit like this came through."

The former Bush spokeswoman added that "before the day had finished the United States Senate and the House of Representatives had both passed resolutions saying that they were for keeping ‘under God’ in the pledge."

"If these people don't like it, they don't have to live here," Perino added.

David Silverman, president of the American Atheists, called Perino's comments "bigotry."

"I, for one, am tired of those Christians, like Ms. Perino, who think that equality is somehow un-American," Silverman said. "If Ms. Perino doesn't like being only equal, it is she who will have to leave America to some other country that doesn't value religious liberty."

READ MORE: Famous Atheists and Their Beliefs 

In 2002, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sided with atheist Michael Newdow who argued that the words "under God" in the pledge amounted to an unconstitutional government endorsement of religion. The Supreme Court overturned that ruling.

Congress added the words "under God" in 1954 amid the red scare over the Soviet Union. In November 2002, after the Newdow ruling, Congress passed a law reaffirming "under God" in the pledge.

Greg Gutfeld, another co-host on "The Five," continued the discussion after Perino, saying the Pledge of Allegiance "is not a prayer, it's a patriotic exercise. In a sense, it's basically saying: Thanks for giving us the freedom to be an atheist."

The Massachusetts case, which was brought by an unidentified family of a student at a school in suburban Boston, will be argued on the premise that the pledge violates the Equal Rights Amendment of the Massachusetts Constitution.

READ MORE: Behold, the Six Types of Atheists

It is the first such case to be tried on the state level: All previous attempts have been argued in federal court on the grounds that "under God" was an unconstitutional violation of the separation of church and state.

CNN's Kevin Conlon contributed to this report.

- CNN Religion Editor

Filed under: Atheism • Belief • Church and state • Courts • Culture wars • News media • Schools • TV

soundoff (7,255 Responses)
  1. fumota68

    bigots complaining about bigots, I can smell the misery and hate in the air tonight.

    September 9, 2013 at 11:08 pm |
    • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

      Take a shower.

      September 9, 2013 at 11:09 pm |
  2. jbird68

    I can CHOOSE to live here or not, and no one can choose my religion for me.

    September 9, 2013 at 11:07 pm |
  3. jbird68

    But I can CHOOSE TO live here or not, and no one gets to choose my religion for me!

    September 9, 2013 at 11:06 pm |
  4. TARA

    IIf you don't like it, you don't have to say it.....It really is THAT simple.

    SO much more to worry about in our country right now!

    September 9, 2013 at 11:05 pm |
    • G to the T

      So we should just ignore it because there's more important issues going on? Glad no one thought that about the civil rights movement what with the Cold War going on at the time.

      How about we remove it and you can say "under god" if you want? That make any sense?

      September 10, 2013 at 1:16 pm |
  5. Dave

    I don't have to leave, either.

    September 9, 2013 at 11:03 pm |
  6. Karin

    Wow. Just watched the video. These people are absolute idiots. Lets see God was added to the pledge and money in the mid to late 50's, yet requesting it to be removed is shameful? They don't have an agenda do they, LOL 🙂
    Reality check, America holds a very diverse populace. Regardless of the size of any given group or minority, everyone counts! If you don't feel this way, well How Un-American of you! The old and original pledge included everyone. We need to return to it.

    September 9, 2013 at 11:02 pm |
  7. If I had a hammer... I'd whack you in the morning

    Fuax news can stuff if.

    September 9, 2013 at 11:02 pm |
  8. Fox who?

    Fox "news". If faux doesn't like reality it can go sell whatever it is they sell somewhere else. Our they could just kill themselves on live tv. Get a good rating.

    September 9, 2013 at 10:56 pm |
  9. wilbie

    The pledge of allegiance is just another means of indoctrinating our children so they have these ideas cemented in their developing brains before they reach the age of reason. The last thing this country or any country wants is an independent thinking citizenry. The USA is not alone; this same brainwashing is practiced by many other countries, perhaps most.
    Guaranteed to keep the soldiers coming and the bombs dropping.

    September 9, 2013 at 10:53 pm |
  10. soul68

    Ahh the conservative viewpoint: we believe in freedom so long as you believe what we believe.

    September 9, 2013 at 10:52 pm |
    • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

      I'm a conservative and that's not my viewpoint.

      September 9, 2013 at 10:59 pm |
    • Ron

      Not quite. But Christians have a right to be themselves, too. Atheists just like to steal away hope from those that need it. And replace it with nothing. Atheists only attack Christians because they are too cowardly to attack Islam.

      September 9, 2013 at 10:59 pm |
      • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

        I'm also an atheist and that's a very inaccurate description.

        September 9, 2013 at 11:01 pm |
      • Observer

        Ron,

        Atheists and agnostics often pick on Christians because Christians are often HYPOCRITES that pick and choose from their Bible to support whatever they want and then ignore what they don't like.

        September 9, 2013 at 11:04 pm |
      • Karin

        Did you even think about your rant before you posted? I am an atheist and am in no way shy or in capable of stating my disbelief’s. Nothing? What exactly do you mean by nothing? I am sure you don't believe in fairies or, leprechauns or, Zeus and Thor. Am I to assume that you are replacing your non-belief with nothing? How ludicrous of you. No, we are not replacing your belief of said god with nothing. We are simply denying your claim that a god exists as there is no proof. No different than stating that we don't accept a claim of Zeus, Thor, fairies... Grow up please!

        September 9, 2013 at 11:09 pm |
      • Rational

        Oh come off it. We offer you rationality and science that give you and billions of others food, health, and a spectacular appreciation of what is in the universe. Unless, of course, you deny that it all exists and is just an illusion. Your choice. It's a free country. Thank ... rationality.

        September 9, 2013 at 11:15 pm |
      • Kevin

        Islam is equally silly. As far as hope goes, what use is false hope? It's just Santa Claus all over again.

        September 10, 2013 at 7:21 am |
  11. Karin

    The old and the original are much better served. Will live amongst a diverse populace and pushing only one agenda just isn't right. I realize that Christians like to push their belief of their God down our throats but, wrong is wrong and their agenda is even more wrong.

    September 9, 2013 at 10:52 pm |
    • Rick

      We Christians are not trying to push our beliefs down anyone's throat. You heathens are the one's trying to do that. We will never allow you to do it, and you know that and that's what irritates you so much. I don't normally gloat because it is arrogant and Jesus taught that it is wrong, but just for once, CHOKE ON IT! ... LOL

      September 9, 2013 at 11:03 pm |
      • Karin

        Hmmm. You state that Christians are not pushing anything down are throats and than state: Choke on it. Typical hateful little minded people.

        I wouldn't go as far as being proud of who you are due to your belief in a magic man. Take a look at what happened in the middle east. They use to be the fore runners of the most advanced thinking in the world. Algebra and many other advancements. Yet, today they are entirely backwards. All because a religious dude claimed Algebra was evil. So the entire geographical area when religiously stupid!!!

        School pray was taken out of school thank goodness. It has only been about 60 years since god has been added to our currency and our pledge. I foresee it being removed. There is a slight chance that the majority of the populace will go stupid as what happened in the middle east but, I am hoping that it won't turn out that way. But, as long as we have folks such as yourself that prefer to blindly except what ever is told to them, than the rest has to suffer. Seriously, you hold a belief in a super being without a shred of evidence. AKA: Faith.

        September 9, 2013 at 11:20 pm |
        • Rick

          I have never said anywhere that I believe every word that is written in the bible and there must always be a place next to faith for science and logic. This is Necessary with a capital "N". But you people act as though faith is going to destroy the world, and you go to such lengths to push it out of not only your lives but everyone else's as well, that you have gone totally over the edge into insanity. So be it. But I will NOT go over the edge with you and I will try to hinder you in every way I can think of because I TRULY believe that the vast majority of you are as insane as the Muslims. The very FEW atheist friends I have are calm and logical and realize that things can't go on like this. They are not shrill and illogical to an extreme and they realize as Benjamin Franklin did, that we must all hang together or we SHALL surely hang separately.

          September 9, 2013 at 11:52 pm |
        • Kevin

          @ Rick – If you don't believe every word of the bible, then how do you decide which parts are true and which are not? Is the holy word of god, or isn't it? How can you know which parts god really meant, and which parts were just god joking around? What a kidder – he sure had Abraham going, didn't he?

          September 10, 2013 at 7:24 am |
  12. infonomics

    Of Christianity's many problems the most severe is the Christians themselves.

    September 9, 2013 at 10:51 pm |
  13. baffledbyyourignorance

    I've heard Dana Perino put her foot in her mouth so many times since she's been on fox. It doesn't surprise me to hear more right wing ignorance coming from her. She's a bigot but tries to act like she's not a bigot. Unfortunately she's just not smart enough to pull the wool over anyones' eyes. She should stick to being a talking head & just relay info like she did for Bush. When she voices her own opinion it just shows how naive & ignorant she really is.

    September 9, 2013 at 10:51 pm |
  14. pothead

    Man is the dream of the dolphin

    September 9, 2013 at 10:47 pm |
    • rika

      Yes pothead! exactly 🙂 This thread is getting tired, just like Christianity.

      September 9, 2013 at 10:50 pm |
  15. Jeff Johnson

    If you cant get want you want then sue. If someone disagrees with you call them a bigot. Liberal strategy at its worst. Oh well.

    September 9, 2013 at 10:47 pm |
    • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

      I'm a conservative and I fully support any lawsuit defending the First Amendment.

      September 9, 2013 at 10:50 pm |
    • Observer

      Common Christian strategy: be a HYPOCRITE and just pick and choose from the Bible to support whatever you want and ignore the rest.

      September 9, 2013 at 10:53 pm |
    • Dina

      If it was added in the 50s during the red scare/cold war, famously absurd Hoover years, why not return it to the original version? "Originalists" and tradition-loving Christians should be all for it. What is "liberally strategy", anyway? Liberals tend to care more for the poor and downtrodden, you know, just like Jesus asked us to. Is that the Liberlal strategy you find so offensive?

      September 9, 2013 at 11:04 pm |
  16. rika

    I don't say the pledge or sing the national anthem when told to on queue and its my "American" born right not to do so. As for my kids, I do not instruct them as to what they should or should not believe in, it is their inalienable right and freedom to make their decision for themselves not for me to shove religion down their throat like a Nazi as one person so eloquently pointed out.

    September 9, 2013 at 10:46 pm |
  17. Nate

    I'm an atheist. My country promises freedom OF religion, not freedom FROM religion. You are likely to be exposed to any freedom you are granted in ways you may not appreciate. Such is the nature of freedom. I hear expressions of freedom of speech that I do not agree with, but such is every American's right. I would not seek to be free from religion. Strangely enough, having a pledge of allegiance that contains the words "under god" has somehow never coerced me into joining a particular religion. My religious freedom remains intact. I've also never seen a nativity scene that somehow forced me to become Christian.

    People are too thin-skinned, and it is just about time that we all realized that words only have whatever power over us that we choose to give them. It can be tremendous, or it can be inconsequential. That is for every individual to decide for themselves.

    September 9, 2013 at 10:45 pm |
    • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

      Freedom of religion and freedom from religion are interlinked. To be a secular society, the state can't sponsor religion.

      September 9, 2013 at 10:49 pm |
    • Kevin

      Don't you understand that "under god" means that all authority is subservient to god, meaning that religion trumps all the nation's laws? Is that something we should be required to recite as children?

      September 10, 2013 at 7:27 am |
  18. mickeyg

    Under god should not be in the Pledge of Allegiance. There are more heinous violations of the separation of church and state that should be eliminated . The US Tax Code gives favorable treatment to churches and other faith based organizations. The clergy are given special considerations in the tax code. Religious organizations derive benefit from donations that are tax deductible. I am sure there are other provisions of the Tax Code that would illustrate the point.

    September 9, 2013 at 10:43 pm |
  19. terri

    As a Christian, I would like to file suit for the bigotry shown during every nature show I watch – where evolutionary beliefs are widely touted as fact. Such statements amount to treating Christians as non-persons and unequal, which amounts to bigotry.

    September 9, 2013 at 10:38 pm |
    • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

      I can never tell if comments like this are facetious or not.

      September 9, 2013 at 10:40 pm |
    • DerpDDerperson

      Then watch Christian shows. You people have entire channels devoted to your magic sky fairy and his tales.

      September 9, 2013 at 10:42 pm |
    • Doris

      LOL. Oh, here's some more entertainment for others:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-AS6rQtiEh8

      September 9, 2013 at 10:43 pm |
      • HeavenScent

        Wendi is so stupid she can't even say the big words she uses, correctly. She says "ad homineN", repeatedly. She makes a number of other grammatical errors that prove she actually is the stupidest woman on the Earth, and has no education. But she can show her teeth. THAT means a lot. But that's about all she can do. Show her teeth.

        September 9, 2013 at 10:47 pm |
    • Johnny Cage

      Because there's measurable evidence to support it as being fact. I'm pretty sure eggs come from chickens, but that guy over there thinks they come from spirits directly into egg cartons. I'd laugh if he tried to file suit because I told him they come from chicken butts.

      September 9, 2013 at 10:43 pm |
    • HeavenScent

      Every university in the world knows that Evolution is a fact. The retard who still resist it prove how uneducated they are. DNA proves it. Every time you use an antibiotic, or go to a hospital lab YOU use, it. If YOU were jailed unjustly, YOU would use Evolution. You are just too stupid to get why.

      September 9, 2013 at 10:43 pm |
      • Vic

        It is ONLY a theory!

        September 9, 2013 at 10:47 pm |
        • John W.

          You're inane logic suggests that theories are all wrong and contain no truth whatsoever. Another moron who doesn't even understand what a "theory" even is.

          September 9, 2013 at 10:50 pm |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

          So is gravity. Are we really going to have to go into the definition of theory in science again?

          September 9, 2013 at 10:51 pm |
        • Vic

          In scientific terms, a theory is not proven to be fact.

          September 9, 2013 at 10:55 pm |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

          In science, virtually nothing is proven as fact.

          September 9, 2013 at 10:58 pm |
        • Randy

          It's only a theory like the theory gravity is only a theory. Try stepping off a roof 10,000 times & let us know if even once the theory is wrong.

          September 9, 2013 at 10:59 pm |
        • Vic

          Gravity is a proven effect but with UNKNOWN cause, and it is testable; however, "Evolution of Species" is not proven scientifically, and it is NOT testable!

          September 9, 2013 at 11:05 pm |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

          I fail to see how evolution isn't testable seeing as thousands of evolutionary biologists do it daily.

          September 9, 2013 at 11:17 pm |
        • LeRoy_Was_Here

          The Encyclopedia Britannica: Evolution, or the common descent of all living organisms, is a fact as well-established as the facts that the Earth is round, rotates on its axis, and revolves around the Sun.

          The Britannica is correct. Evolution is BOTH a fact AND a theory. The theory of evolution is an attempt to explain the observed fact of evolution, just as we have various theories of gravity that attempt to explain the observed fact of gravity.

          September 10, 2013 at 11:05 am |
    • Damon

      So which Christians are we talking about here? I was born a Catholic, and the Church's stance on this matter is that evolution is not incompatible with God. As a Catholic Christian I find your statement a non-argument.

      September 9, 2013 at 10:45 pm |
      • Greyhound37

        Actually you weren't born a Catholic. You may have been born into a family that followed Catholicism, and you may have even adopted that philosophy yourself after having been pushed through all the indoctrination that children in that, and other "faiths" are indoctrinated. You were, however, born with no religious philosophy – the same as everyone. If you have one now it is because you have learned it – either by seeking it out yourself or being subjected to that doctrine from a young age by your family.

        September 9, 2013 at 10:53 pm |
    • Blondie

      Oh Dudette, seriously you need to get a life.

      September 9, 2013 at 10:48 pm |
    • John W.

      It IS fact. I wonder how well you did (or how far you got) in school. it is easy to believe the answers are "not well" and "not very." You choose to ignore hundreds of years of science to embrace a novel written BEFORE science even came to be. I understand the people of that ancient time needing "answers" to all of life's mysteries, but anyone who still thinks this way today? Functional morons.

      September 9, 2013 at 10:49 pm |
      • Vic

        "Evolution of Species" is a non-scientifically proven theory, it is NOT fact!

        September 9, 2013 at 11:00 pm |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

          Gravity is also not a fact. Do you believe in intelligent falling?

          September 9, 2013 at 11:02 pm |
        • Vic

          Gravity is a proven effect but with UNKNOWN cause, and it is testable; however, "Evolution of Species" is not proven scientifically, and it is NOT testable!

          September 9, 2013 at 11:16 pm |
        • Henry Exhaust

          Vic, are you saying all of this because of your beliefs, or only to "stir a pot". Your comments are nonsensical and blatantly not provable.

          September 9, 2013 at 11:18 pm |
  20. Mark

    If being a Christian were a crime there wouldn't be enough evidence to convict anyone.

    September 9, 2013 at 10:38 pm |
    • Robert P.

      @Mark -> so true. I don't know why people argue about this so much. Who cares what people claim to be? I've lived on this planet for 50 years and all I see are people who call themselves Christians but in no way live like and follow Christ. Just because you go to church and say 'Praise the Lord' doesn't mean a thing. White washed sepulchers are they all, deceived and empty.

      September 9, 2013 at 10:56 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79
Advertisement
About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.