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. Thoth

    Treaty of Tripoli

    By their actions, the Founding Fathers made clear that their primary concern was religious freedom, not the advancement of a state religion. Individuals, not the government, would define religious faith and practice in the United States. Thus the Founders ensured that in no official sense would America be a Christian Republic. Ten years after the Const.itutional Convention ended its work, the country assured the world that the United States was a secular state, and that its negotiations would adhere to the rule of law, not the dic.tates of the Christian faith.

    September 10, 2013 at 10:23 am |
  2. Mark

    Funny, but my father, a WWII veteran, NEVER said "under God" when he recited the Pledge of Allegiance while in uniform! WHY??? Because it was not IN THE PLEDGE. Congress added it later (and we all know what a wonderful job COngress does....).

    I for one, will NEVER recite under God when saying eh Pledge

    September 10, 2013 at 10:22 am |
    • Shootmyownfood

      Same here. It came to my attention in junior high, as I had a quality history teacher at the time. Since that time, I omit those words as well. I feel it disenfranchises all American citizens who do not practice a religion or who practice a religion that has more than one god.

      September 10, 2013 at 10:25 am |
    • TM

      Exactly. AND Francis Bellamy was a minister!!

      September 10, 2013 at 10:27 am |
    • Ray

      Same for my parents Mark. Greatest generation did not need under god. Republican Taliban does

      September 10, 2013 at 10:27 am |
    • Bob Strange

      United States of America was also added later, should we delete that as well?

      September 10, 2013 at 10:27 am |
      • What is going on? FREEDOM

        Added later? No it wasn't.

        September 10, 2013 at 10:29 am |
        • Anymoose

          Yes it was. Google is your friend.

          1. I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. (1892)
          2. I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. (1923)
          3. I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation, under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. (1954)

          September 10, 2013 at 10:53 am |
      • Truth Quester

        That question is actually irrelevant. Adding "United States of America", to the pledge, does not infringe upon our First Amendment Rights. Adding "under god" on the other hand does.

        September 10, 2013 at 12:10 pm |
    • jeff

      Yeah...that's why 85% of the country doesn't trust government.

      September 10, 2013 at 10:28 am |
    • Tom in ATL

      Mark, why do you hate GOD so much? Where did that come from? Parents? A bad experience?

      Sad thing is Christians have to 'put up' with atheists every day. In fact, every government high school in this country preaches atheism in its teaching of evolution in science class. We need to separate the study of 'origins' from 'science'. Origins is never proveable and hence is not scientific. If it were proveable, we wouldn't have a controversy at all. Evolution is a belief system, and by definition, is a religion... period. It's time to focus on getting your humanist religion (i.e. evolution) out of science class. And since you asked... to me, that's hypocritically offensive.

      September 10, 2013 at 10:45 am |
      • cedar rapids

        'Tom in ATL
        Mark, why do you hate GOD so much? Where did that come from? Parents? A bad experience?'
        Hard to hate something you dont believe in.
        'Sad thing is Christians have to 'put up' with atheists every day.'
        Actually the reverse is true.
        'In fact, every government high school in this country preaches atheism in its teaching of evolution in science class.'
        Evolution has nothing to do with atheism. Even the pope has declared the catholic church has nothing wrong with the idea of evolution and no issue with the idea that god uses it to make life on the planet.

        'Evolution is a belief system, and by definition, is a religion... period.'
        Dont be stupid all your life, take a break sometime. To believe in something doesnt make it a religion. I believe the sun will rise tomorrow but that doesnt mean I worship the sun. To claim evolution has no scientific basis is also to bear false witness, a supposed big no no for you guys.

        September 10, 2013 at 11:20 am |
  3. Searcher

    Well, if you were wondering if FAUX NEWS deserved it's reputation, you got it between the eyes this time. What a bunch of bozos....

    September 10, 2013 at 10:22 am |
    • locohoya

      I'm with ya

      September 10, 2013 at 10:28 am |
  4. AtheistFools

    Here's a good example of what an atheist world would be.

    http://www.newsrealblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/dont1.jpg

    September 10, 2013 at 10:20 am |
    • Observer

      AtheistFools,

      Why not do some research on Einstein so you won't make so many WRONG statements?

      September 10, 2013 at 10:21 am |
    • What is going on? FREEDOM

      Yawn. You are just reading material that have no basis on the future of the world. Stop trying to predict Atheism destroyed the world.

      September 10, 2013 at 10:22 am |
    • PennyK

      I'm more worried that some Christian zealots in high office won't manipulate things to bring about some kind of war in the Mid East that they can call "Armageddon".

      September 10, 2013 at 10:27 am |
    • Ivan Libya

      Ah the sheeple. More people have been killed in the name of god than all the wars of the world combined, learn some history.

      September 10, 2013 at 10:28 am |
    • AtheistFools

      None of you blind atheists seems to get whats in the picture lol.

      September 10, 2013 at 10:39 am |
      • G to the T

        So you equate atheism with being gay AND with being a communist? What a colorful world you must live in! I'm afraid your name is only half right and you make more of a fool of yourself with each comment...

        September 11, 2013 at 11:16 am |
  5. A.G. McMurry

    Here we go again.. First they want to make having an abortion illegal, Then if you have kids,, no.. no help with welfare. Life before birth Great!! Life after birth. On your own,, Then when people talk about amending an Amendment. NOOO You can not change what they wrote..etc etc.. So. we have the pledge which was also written by man. Its ok to change it to fit the needs of people. Thats ok. Double moral at its best.

    September 10, 2013 at 10:19 am |
  6. Really?

    You can say 'OMG' but not 'one nation under God'. What a bunch of Blue whales???

    September 10, 2013 at 10:19 am |
    • The Five

      That is called "the tail wagging the dog".

      September 10, 2013 at 10:21 am |
  7. Kolin

    Non belief in a sky God is "Small Minded". Right...

    September 10, 2013 at 10:19 am |
  8. Jack Lail

    If this Perino cnt doesn't like living in the land where folks are free to not believe in fairy tales and invisible deities, she can go live in Australia with her boss Rupert Murdoch.

    September 10, 2013 at 10:18 am |
    • Kat

      Thanks for reminding everyone that it's always best to do exacty what your opposition does when you're trying to make a point. She may have said something out of line but calling her names and being rude won't help your cause.

      September 10, 2013 at 10:28 am |
  9. Gyh8r

    Phauk tha atheists Waco people!

    September 10, 2013 at 10:18 am |
    • Doris

      If your aim is as good as your spelling, you're never going to "Phauk" anything.

      September 10, 2013 at 10:19 am |
    • kch

      Another brain dead dumbo!

      September 10, 2013 at 10:23 am |
    • Anymoose

      What do you have against Waco, TX?

      September 10, 2013 at 10:27 am |
    • doobzz

      Hillbilly ebonics.

      September 10, 2013 at 10:45 am |
  10. A.G. McMurry

    To make things easier. Remove it!!! Then we ask god which version is best. When he answers so everyone can hear and see, we add it back if needed.

    September 10, 2013 at 10:17 am |
  11. Mopery

    Let's break down the statement "under god", what does this really mean? Taken literally, it would mean that this "god" person is above us, yet whenever I look up I do not see it. Is there some evidence that this "god" exists, or was the phrase put in simply as an appeal to ignorant people who think that their beliefs dictate reality? Keep looking up, I guarantee that you will never see any god above you, nor any leprechaun, satyr, unicorn, elf, diva, etc...

    September 10, 2013 at 10:16 am |
    • Kat

      So based on your interpretation, would you say that the wind doesn't exist then? I can't see it. I can only feel it. The same goes for God. You can see the wind moving the trees. You can feel it on your skin. Those who believe in God can feel him in the same way and can see him doing good things in their lives.

      Just pointing out that so many people use the same words you have but it doesn't really prove God doesn't exist.

      September 10, 2013 at 10:20 am |
      • Mopery

        The burden of proof always lies with the believers, not the doubters. Your story about the wind is pointless, personal experience and heartfelt testimony are no match for actual evidence. I could claim to be the King of Mars, who rides rocket powered dinosaurs beyond the orbit of Pluto lassoing comets and meteors with a magic rope made of unicorn hair, and I would have just as much evidence for my claim as you have for your god.

        September 10, 2013 at 10:26 am |
        • Kat

          So with your point, if I had some type of physical evidence (such as someone's cancer being cured after being prayed for or someone getting the Holy Ghost) you would agree with me? GREAT! Well, I have my proof, so where's yours? The burden of proof always lies with the one who first opens their mouth (or types the first word, in this case). Thanks for proving my point.

          September 10, 2013 at 10:32 am |
        • Mopery

          Wow Kat, you're just all sorts of insane, aren't you?

          September 10, 2013 at 10:37 am |
        • cedar rapids

          Kat, unless you can actually show that it was god that cured the cancer then you dont have proof.
          I can go to any country in the world, regardless of religion, and show you people that claim so and so was cured after they prayed to their particular god. I guess that proof that their deity exists as well, right?

          September 10, 2013 at 10:38 am |
        • truthprevails1

          Kat: Someone getting cured of cancer is not evidence for your imaginary friend nor are your personal experiences. You are a liar to claim you have proof!

          September 10, 2013 at 10:38 am |
      • cedar rapids

        'Kat
        So based on your interpretation, would you say that the wind doesn't exist then? I can't see it. I can only feel it. The same goes for God. You can see the wind moving the trees. You can feel it on your skin. Those who believe in God can feel him in the same way and can see him doing good things in their lives.'

        I can hook up a wind tubine and physically see the turbines moving as a result of the wind. We can measure the wind speed and see the direction it is coming from.
        Let me know if at any time we can do the same with a deity.

        September 10, 2013 at 10:29 am |
        • Kat

          There's so much more evidence that God exists than just "you can feel him". You may want to do some actual research on someone else's beliefs before thinking you can come at me with that. If you disagree with someone, say so. Don't just flap your gums and think you made a point.

          It's hilarious that people who DON'T believe in God get so upset when their "beliefs" are challenged but when someone who DOES believe in God is in the same situation, they normally don't get that upset.

          September 10, 2013 at 10:35 am |
        • truthprevails1

          Kat: You're a special brand of crazy.

          September 10, 2013 at 10:39 am |
        • cedar rapids

          Normally dont get that upset? Doesnt this fox news article suggest that might not be true? Or even your own posts suggest the same?

          'There's so much more evidence that God exists than just "you can feel him". You may want to do some actual research on someone else's beliefs before thinking you can come at me with that.'

          Then show that evidence Kat....Don't just flap your gums and think you made a point.
          And it needs to actually be evidence, simply falling back on the old 'look around you at the planet so therefore god exists' argument doesnt hold water.

          September 10, 2013 at 10:42 am |
        • doobzz

          @ Kat

          What's hilarious is that you assume non believers haven't done any research. Many of us were raised in religious homes and probably know more about the bible than you.

          September 10, 2013 at 10:52 am |
      • Joey D

        Wind can be measured with an anemometer and therefore quantified. That's a pretty lame argument for the existence of a god.

        September 10, 2013 at 10:30 am |
      • Jason

        The tide goes in, the tide goes out...

        September 10, 2013 at 10:42 am |
    • Voice of reason

      God exists your just too dumb to realize it. Do you see gravity? Does it exist. DO you have a soul? Where did it come from? You must be made of Styrofoam.

      September 10, 2013 at 10:23 am |
      • cedar rapids

        'DO you have a soul?'
        most likely not, no.

        September 10, 2013 at 10:25 am |
      • Mopery

        Let suggest a refresher course in high school physics for you, perhaps you'd learn a little about the actual world around you. Gravity's effects can be measured. Read that last line again. Now tell me, can you measure "god's" effects? What units do you use to measure it? Is it a measure of energy? Work? Asking if I have a soul is like asking if I have a Leprechaun, as neither exist. As for the styrofoam comment, take a biology course along with some chemistry, it will be difficult for you, but at least at the end of your day you won't find yourself nearly as dumb as you are right now.

        September 10, 2013 at 10:32 am |
      • Anymoose

        Sight is not the only means of sensory perception. I can prove gravity exists because I can predict the future with it. If you toss a coin and I know the mass, initial height, and force vectors, I can tell you where it will land and when. As we learn more, these laws and theories get refined and improved. God (and I only capitalize it because it's at the beginning of a sentence) is merely a way for simple people to stop asking questions. You're all children, terrified to live in a world where meaning is not handed to you on a silver platter.

        September 10, 2013 at 10:33 am |
  12. Owen

    "It is the first such case to be tried on the state level..." What about Frazier v. Alexandre in Florida?

    September 10, 2013 at 10:16 am |
  13. Mary

    The current pledge "under god" was NOT what our forefathers laid out and was a perversion added in the last century by right wingers afraid of Russia .

    We should honor our forefathers and way of life established for Centuries by eliminating their alteration and returning to our True pledge .
    It is time to tell the religious nazis to take their religion Back to Their church and stay OUT of government .

    September 10, 2013 at 10:16 am |
  14. Herbh

    I believe in God. I don't believe in religion. Seems to me that religion is an excuse for "God fearing people" to kill each other and blow things up.

    September 10, 2013 at 10:15 am |
  15. Brian

    I've always wondered how people can actually watch FOX News and not just laugh at how obvious their bigotry is. But, I am thankful for them though. They give Jon Stewart great material everyday.

    September 10, 2013 at 10:15 am |
    • Mopery

      Faux News: Fairly Unbalanced

      September 10, 2013 at 10:18 am |
    • The REAL Truth...

      My first thought on the Fox host comment was the atheists probably feel the same bigoted way about Christians.. .. and Jews, and Muslims and Buddhists, and wiccan's and... but they're not announcing their prejudice on national TV.

      September 10, 2013 at 10:28 am |
      • Mopery

        Atheists never burned anyone at the stake for their beliefs, the same can not be said for the religions you've listed...

        September 10, 2013 at 10:34 am |
      • Anymoose

        I'm actually rather fond of wiccans. They are a very peaceful and loving people, in general. I don't think they've gone on any crusades in the last 2000 years, either.

        September 10, 2013 at 10:50 am |
  16. TheElder1971

    I am all for the right to not believe or believe. I'm also all for the seperation of church and state. That being said, I'm also all about democracy (for the simpletons in the audience, democracy is will of the majority). If the MAJORITY of U.S. citizens believe in God and want it on money or in the Pledge, then it should be there, as the MAJORITY has spoken. If the MAJORITYof U.S. citizens want to celebrate Christmas, then they should be able to say "Merry Christmas" and celebrate it as such....none of this neutral "Happy Holidays" BS. Why should the MAJORITY have to bow down to the wishes of the tiny MINORITY on everything????

    September 10, 2013 at 10:15 am |
    • Anymoose

      That's what "rights" are for. To provide EVERYBODY the ability to have certain things protected regardless of what the majority wants. Also, consider that just because a statistical majority believe / want something doesn't mean it's right.

      September 10, 2013 at 10:23 am |
    • Manzarek

      So if the majority want to own slaves then it should be allowed? If the majority want the US to be 100% Christian then it should be allowed? The US is not a Democracy, it's a Republic. I'll pass on mob rule.

      September 10, 2013 at 10:23 am |
    • patNY

      And what about protecting the minority from the tyranny of the majority? You forgot that little tid bit in your definitation of democracy.

      September 10, 2013 at 10:24 am |
    • Someone Reasonable

      This is the exact reason we have checks in place to defend the rights of minorities. If the majority always got what they wanted, we would still have slavery.

      September 10, 2013 at 10:24 am |
    • cedar rapids

      'If the MAJORITYof U.S. citizens want to celebrate Christmas, then they should be able to say "Merry Christmas" and celebrate it as such....none of this neutral "Happy Holidays" BS.'

      Why would you want to be insulting and exclusive when you have the option to be considerate and inclusive?

      September 10, 2013 at 10:27 am |
    • doobzz

      You might feel differently when you are in the minority.

      September 10, 2013 at 11:03 am |
    • Lau

      At one time the majority wanted slavery. Sometimes the minority has to be protected by the majority.

      September 10, 2013 at 12:43 pm |
  17. Chuck in Dallas

    The days of believing in the "sky fairy" hopefully are numbered. Religion could kill the human race if we don't snap out of it.

    September 10, 2013 at 10:15 am |
  18. Datruth

    Look. this is the type of statement that makes me hate religion in general, look its a constant schemes played on both sides, its a power trip, whether your an atheist or non atheist, its all about power and money. Our court system shouldnt be wasting time on these matters, there are far too many people on opposite sides, nothing good will come of it. This reporter should of lost her job for the remarks made for unprofessionalism . Your suppose to report the news not your own opinion.

    September 10, 2013 at 10:14 am |
  19. southernwonder

    europe would work out quite well; it loves atheists.

    September 10, 2013 at 10:14 am |
    • doobzz

      This is my country, too. You don't get to tell me what to say and what to believe.

      Would you feel the same if the Pledge said "under Moximon"? You don't have to say it if you don't believe in Moximon.

      September 10, 2013 at 11:07 am |
  20. Ralph_in_FL

    How about the atheists stay and the Faux Noise idiots leave?

    September 10, 2013 at 10:13 am |
    • ironman59

      They seem to forget that "under gawd" is not in the original pledge. Like much of the other religious nonsense forced on the secular public it was added in the 1950's as part of the "red scare". I suggest she go find a theocratic country to live in if she loves religion that much.

      September 10, 2013 at 10:17 am |
    • Naota

      How about you and the other 4% of atheists leave instead.

      That would leave 96% of the country intact.

      September 10, 2013 at 10:23 am |
      • John, NS

        Hmmm....4% or 26%. Funny, you are still living 50 years ago in belief and statistics!

        September 10, 2013 at 10:33 am |
        • Mopery

          The only numbers that matter to believers are the ones they say right after the name of the specific book they just quoted. Memorization of bronze age fiction for the win!

          September 10, 2013 at 10:47 am |
      • Searcher

        So, Naota, you name yourself after an anime cartoon character but you want to force us to believe in your God? You are a conflicted little troll....

        September 10, 2013 at 10:48 am |
      • Steve Schofield

        "If all the atheists left the USA,
        it would lose 93% of the National Academy of Sciences
        but less than 1% of the prison population."

        September 12, 2013 at 4:03 am |
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.