Apparently, Coral Ridge Ministries have been sending out a mass e-mail, warning their flock about the “New Atheist Crusade to ‘Evangelize’ America.” I quote a paragraph:
Just this summer, while our children and grandchildren were away at Bible camp, hundreds of other children were attending a new, nationwide network of camps designed as training grounds for young atheists. These camps feature talks on famous “free thinkers” such as Isaac Asimov and Ted Turner . . . and games such as the “invisible unicorn exercise” where campers must try to prove that imaginary unicorns, used as a metaphor for God, don’t (STET) exist.
Whoop-whoop-whoop-whoop! The target-rich area alarm is going off — helmsman, set the deflector shields to Screensaver 2 and put the Long-Range Bogosity Sensors on full scan.
First, let’s observe that the “training grounds for young atheists” feature speeches about free thinkers. While I think there are certainly a great many free thinkers about whom children should be informed, summer camp might be better spent looking through telescopes and hunting for fossils. Not surprisingly, that’s what Camp Quest does, plus creating UFO photos, roasting s’mores and the like. Maybe the Coral Ridge folks are projecting their own obsession with prophecy and Leader figures onto the freethinkers?
Second, what’s with that big “STET” notice? Are they afraid that a copy editor will change “don’t” to “do”? Or should “(STET)” really be “[sic]” — maybe the Coral Ridge evangelists are afraid of giving the impression that invisible unicorns don’t exist?
Finally, out of all the freethinkers in the world, why did they pick Isaac Asimov and Ted Turner? (I doubt Coral Ridge’s description has anything to do with what Camp Quest actually does.) Maybe Turner is fresh in their memory from his remarks about Ash Wednesday and his calling pro-lifers “bozos.” Now, that’s mild compared to the people whom freethinkers really respect, like Bill Hicks:
Boy, I’ve never seen an issue so divisive. You ever see — it’s like the Civil War, isn’t it? Even amongst my friends, who are all very intelligent — they are all totally divided on abortion. It’s unbelievable.
Some of my friends, for instance, think these “pro-life” people are annoying idiots. Other of my friends think these “pro-life” people. . . are evil fucks. How are we going to come to a consensus? You ought to hear the arguments around my house: they’re annoying! They’re idiots! They’re evil! They’re fucks!
Brothers, sisters, come together! Can’t we once just join hands and think of them as evil-annoying-idiot-fucks?
One commenter at the Richard Dawkins Forum suggests a reason why they might be upset with Asimov:
Maybe they just want their money back after seeing “I, Robot.”