Four days after a more than 1-mile wide tornado ravaged Oklahoma, the media is awash with victims-standing-in-front-of-their-ruined-houses interviews. CNN's Wolf Blitzer was in the midst of conducting such an interview with Rebecca Vitsmun, who escaped her collapsing home with her 19-month-old son. After proclaiming that Vitsmun and her family was blessed, Father Blitzer said, "I guess you've got to thank the Lord, right? Do you thank the Lord for that split second decision?"
Clearly a little uncomfortable (who wouldn't be? What the hell kind of question is that to ask in an interview, Blitzer?), Vitsmun pauses and says, "I'm actually an atheist." "You are, alright. But you made the right call," responded Blitzer. The mother took the bizarre questions in stride: "We are here, and I don't blame anyone for thanking the Lord."
The awkward moment passed, but for atheists groups, Vitsmun became suddenly became a face for their beliefs. Atheists Unite, an Indiegogo community, reacted almost immediately to Vitsmun's casual assertion that she was atheist. By Friday, more than $7,000 have been raised for her to reconstruct her home, thanks to the campaign's fundraising efforts:
"It's important that our community shows that we have you back when it come out publicly as an atheist. Let us show the world that you don't need to believe in a god to have human compassion nor does all charity all under the banner of religion."
This whole thing is kind of a bucket of weird. First off, Blitzer asking Vitsmun whether she thanked the Lord or not was rather forceful than conversational. His nervous laughter after realizing his faux pas (assuming everybody is praising Jesus, Amen) could have been handled a little more graciously, too. But let's take Blitzer's gaffe to the next level, shall we?
Enter Glenn Beck:
"I think [Wolf Blitzer] was fed some information about the guest he had on before-hand, you know, that's what producers do, given some questions that he should ask, etc. etc. Some producer 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. It doesn't have to be nefarious."
Okay, Beck. You're sipping on the crazy juice, but it's Crazy Juice Light. I can maybe, maybe say that you have a vaguely valid argument. It was kind of a weird question. But you had to go and chug the strong stuff, huh:
"We are not fighting against flesh and bone. We are fighting the forces of spiritual darkness."
Rebecca Vitsmun probably didn't state that she was an atheist as a political statement or as a way to become the face of the atheism community, whatever that is. Now she's another object, human meme, being used as fodder for atheists and believers to pontificate. At least she's getting money to rebuild her home from it?