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Barry Saunders is a local columnist for Raleigh News & Observer who I never thought was very funny (there is a mysoginist streak in his writing) so I rarely read him these days. But the other day I could not help but notice that he started his column with the old “no atheists in foxholes” stupidity – in context of the VT massacre, of course.

I was far too busy these last couple of days to do anything about it myself, feeling confident that he was gonna hear about it from many others. And, sure he did. Just like Katie Couric, Tom Brokaw, Bob Schieffer and John Burnett (the latter two publically apologized), he got inundated by mail. But unlike the others, he refuses to see how insulting the phrase is and instead calls the atheists “anal” and thinks he’s funny. Just digging himself deeper.

You can read my old take on the phrase here. Perhaps Saunders needs another loadful of e-mails to set him straight….(barry.saunders@newsobserver.com)

Comments

  1. #1 Devil
    April 24, 2007

    Maybe he’d be offended at some toss-off line about how Hell is full of Christians?

  2. #2 Vorpal Blade
    April 24, 2007

    No atheists in the foxhole?

    Wrong. Under attack, the injured and the terrified do cry out.

    Number 1 is “Medic!”

    Number 2 is “Mommy!”

    Number 3 is unprintable in polite company.

    Way down the list are Mother Mary and those of that ilk.

  3. #3 Jason Torpy
    April 24, 2007

    Thanks for picking up this story. At MAAF, we followed up with the first story right away. Although he still has a certain style — he stated sarcastically that he might be called “Mr. Sensitivity” — the substance of the second article is something I can support.

    First, he admits that he used the ‘no atheists’ comment without thinking. He continues that he doesn’t know what the big deal is, but he recognizes that he sees that it is a big deal to us atheists. Moreover, he says that he’d vote for us and he appreciates our service.

    Sure, he called us ‘anal’, but I think that’s his style. Also, to be fair, we atheists are skeptical, rational, logical, focused on details, and although ‘anal’ is a negative word, I think I’ll take it as a compliment.

    We atheists have a lot to be outraged about, or at least annoyed about. I think we should take the opportunity to send thanks for Barry’s second article. He addressed the issue and said a number of positive things as well.

    Jason
    MAAF

  4. #4 Alan Kellogg
    April 24, 2007

    Atheists have the sense to get into a bunker instead.

  5. #5 barry
    April 25, 2007

    uh, that’s a shame. speaking as a media academic and atheist, also named Barry Saunders.

  6. #6 Lazarou
    April 25, 2007

    I always prefer to turn that phrase around anyway. Sure there are no atheists in foxholes. We’re out there charging the enemy positions while the religious hide in the foxholes and pray to their sky-daddy for salvation :-)

    Note – Please, please, please don’t flip this into yet another scenario where the PZ/Dawkins/Harris-style atheists charge the front lines while the Chamberlain atheists dodge the bullets. Oops, too late!

  7. #7 mjjp
    April 26, 2007

    There is a monument to “Atheists in Foxholes” in Lake Hypatia Alabama.
    http://ffrf.org/foxholes/