Only about five percent of Americans identify as atheists, but CNN played up the "very activist atheist movement" and touted celebrity atheists like Julianne Moore and Mark Zuckerberg, on Thursday.
"Various surveys put the number of atheists in America around five percent. And according to the Pew study in 2012, one in five people claim they have no religious affiliation at all," anchor Carol Costello noted. She didn't mention that having no religious affiliation might not even be close to atheism.
"Then there's a very activist atheist movement underway," Costello hyped before pointing to YouTube's "The Amazing Atheist" who was "rallying against Christian Evangelicals, who after the Newtown massacre tried to put the blame on godless schools."
And Costello hyped a "massive" crowd at last year's "Reason Rally," even though it was estimated at only several thousand attendees and included people other than atheists, like secularists. If only the 2012 March for Life, attended by tens of thousands, got as much respect from CNN.
"Last year, a massive crowd braved the cold on the National Mall for what was billed as the 'Reason Rally.' Atheists and all secularists invited to attend. Speakers pledged to battle prejudice and bias," Costello reported.
But the fight against "prejudice and bias" looked mighty hypocritical when Richard Dawkins mocked the Catholic Church, as the MRC's Brent Bozell noted:
"Dawkins advised the cheering crowd to ask Catholics, 'Do you really believe that when a priest blesses a wafer, it turns into the body of Christ? Are you seriously saying that wine turns into blood? Mock them, ridicule them!'"
A transcript of the segment, which aired on CNN Newsroom on February 7 at 10:17 a.m. EST, is as follows:
CAROL COSTELLO (voice-over): Here is a riddle: what do comedian Kathy Griffin, actress Julianne Moore, and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg have in common?
BILL MAHER, talk show host: I am hopefully one of America's most famous atheists.
COSTELLO: They join Bill Maher in counting themselves among those in America who say they do not believe God exists. Various surveys put the number of atheists in America around five percent. And according to the Pew study in 2012, one in five people claim they have no religious affiliation at all. But why? The answers vary.
One reason, perhaps, is that the word "religious" is no longer necessarily associated with being a good person.
Then there's a very activist atheist movement underway. Getting its message out not in the mainstream media but on social media. Take these Facebook pages, for example. Each has hundreds of thousands of likes as atheists challenge their critics on any number of news items and social issues of the day.
Activist atheists have also taken to YouTube, with huge audiences following. Meet "Amazing Atheist Guy," that's what he calls himself. Here he's rallying against Christian Evangelicals, who after the Newtown massacre tried to put the blame on godless schools.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We kicked the Ten Commandments out of schools. We've kicked God out of our public school system. And I think God would say to us, hey I'll be glad to protect your children, but you've got to invite me back into your world first.
"THE AMAZING ATHEIST": God didn't save the kids, because he's not allowed in school. So all of a sudden God just respects the law of man? Isn't he an all-powerful being?
COSTELLO: Last year, a massive crowd braved the cold on the National Mall for what was billed as the "Reason Rally." Atheists and all secularists invited to attend. Speakers pledged to battle prejudice and bias.
SEAN FAIRCLOTH, Dawkins Institute: I am here for those children in Texas and other states who are being told lies about history and science printed in taxpayer-funded textbooks. It's going to stop.
COSTELLO: Atheist.org is putting its message up on billboards across the country. This one in Patterson, New Jersey, home to a large Muslim population, reads, "What do you see? 37 million Americans know myths, when they see them." And it's written in both English and Arabic.
(End Video Clip)
COSTELLO: Food for thought.