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– April 5, 2006

NBC, COURIC AND TODAY SHOW NEED TO HEAR FROM YOU NOW OVER “NO ATHEISTS IN FOXHOLES” CLAIM, LACK OF BALANCE IN “GOD, AMERICA AND WAR” SEGMENT

Katie CouricIn a piece aired on Wednesday, April 5, 2006, NBC “Today Show” host Katie Couric introduced a segment on religious faith in time of military conflict. The piece was narrated by reporter Lester Holt. Ms. Couric stated: “Perhaps you have heard the expression ‘There are no Atheists in foxholes,’ and the men who have occupied the oval office have also turned to a higher power…”

The program included mention of Jon Meacham’s book “American Gospel” which discusses the religious faith of national leaders, and featured brief clips of President Bush invoking God. There was, however, no Atheist on the program to challenge the unsubstantiated and inaccurate claim (“There are no Atheists in foxholes”). Nor was mention made of the secular roots of our history, and the fact that our Constitution provides for the First Amendment separation of church and state.

The “no Atheists in foxholes” cliche marginalizes and insults millions of Americans who profess “no religion” (American Religious Identification Survey), including those who are serving – or have served – with honor, patriotism and distinction in our nation’s armed forces. Hundreds of these men and women rallied in Washington, DC last Veterans Day for the first “Atheists in Foxholes” Parade and recognition rally.

YOUR CALLS, E-MAILS and LETTER DO WORK!

ABC host Bill Weir made a comment similar to that of Katie Couric, claiming that “There are no Atheists in foxholes.” Following a national campaign initiated by American Atheists, Mr. Weir courageously apologize for his remarks. We hope that producers at the TODAY SHOW will do the same. The lesson is clear, though; your letters, phone calls and e-mails can and do have a positive impact! Take action today.

Imagine if a leading television network had repeated a similar slur against, say, blacks or gays or some other group! But Atheists continue to be “fair game” as long as we do not speak out to correct this unfortunate stereotype.

CONTACT NBC and the “Today Show” now asking for a clarification and apology over the “no Atheists in foxholes” cliche! We urge you to send letters and e-mails, and phone call to NBC. Be polite and concise. Point out that many Americans who are Atheists, Freethinkers and humanists have answered the call and served our nation in times of war and peace!

Address your concerns to:

NBC News
attn: The Today Show
30 Rockefeller Plaza
New York, NY 10112

(212) 664-4249

You may also send E-mails to: today@nbc.com

  • Ask for a reply to your concerns! Politely ask that the network clarify the inaccurate claim that “There are no Atheists in foxholes,” and point out that this statement is not supported by credible evidence. Many Atheists, freethinker, humanists and other nonbelievers have been “Atheists in foxholes” serving our nation!
  • Share your letters and replies on this web site
  • Spread this Action Alert! Post to discussion boards, e-mail groups and web sites.

Letters

Dear NBC Today Show,

Katie Couric's comment that "There are no atheists in foxholes" was uncalled for and demeaning to heroic atheists who are fighting in our armed services.

I am proud to be an atheist and would never pray to an imaginary god under any circumstances. Religion falls under the category of Superstitions as there is nothing there. People should look for evidence before they believe claims about supernatural beings. There is NO evidence of a god, heaven, hell, devils, angels or a soul that leaves the body. They are all figments of our imagination.

Jimmy Dunne, Houston


To Katie Couric or whoever reads her e-mail,

I understand that Katie Couric stated on her tv show that "there are no Atheists in foxholes." If she actually said that, and meant it, she needs to be educated a bit.

Here is the website of the Military Atheists, Agnostics and Freethinkers: http://maaf.info/

Here is the website of the Foxhole Atheist March on Washington: www.atheistfoxholes.org

Now when I served three years in the Texas Army National Guard, I was a proud known Atheist. I never served in combat, but in the years before and since then, I have faced several life-threatening situations. Situations that made me fear like never before. I never once had any reason to cry out to a god for help.

You should all be made aware that millions of proud, loyal and dedicated combat veterans were 100% Atheistic at the time. But MY question for you all is, why do you feel a need to make such a sweeping and hurtful insult against so many millions of people? What exactly did we do wrong to you?

I expect the good morality in you to come out in a reply e-mail to me, and I only ask that Katie Couric issue a blanket apology to the millions of Atheists around the world who she insulted. I would love to report to our readers that she learned about her mistake, an honest mistake, and reversed it by apologizing. Also having a representative from a national Atheist group like MAAF on her show in person to explain this myth would go very far in rectifying this situation. I can only assume that it was a mistake, and your network isn't that ignorant and mean spirited.

Joe Zamecki, Editor,
Atheist Community News
Atheist Community of Austin, Texas
http://atheist-community.org/library/newsletters/


Dear People,

How preposterous it is of you to state there are no atheists in foxholes. This is a denigration of atheists in the U.S. and is totally untrue and unnecessary.

If you are believers, I have no problem. I would never try to marginalize your belief and would expect the same courtesy from you.

In fact, there is a cemetery in Alabama with the remains of many atheists in foxholes. Currently, there is an Atheist in Foxholes chapter in Iraq that includes members of those U.S. servicemen currently on active duty.

One of my best friends is Philip Paulson of San Diego. He served two tours of duty in Vietnam and is a decorated veteran who saw much front-line combat. He is baffled by those who question the willingness of atheists to serve in combat situations. Another colleague, Mike Lewis, of Oceanside, CA, served in the U.S. Marines in Vietnam and was in many life-threatening battles. When they asked him his religion for his dogtags, he said, "atheist." The person giving them out said, "There's no such a thing," and provided whim with dogtags that said he had no religious preference.

It is time to stop bashing atheists. We play an active and creative part of U.S. society. Ninety-three percent of the members of the National Academy of Science proclaim they are atheists. Many of our great entertainers and artists are atheists, such as the recently-passed Katherine Hepburn. Fewer than one percent of prisoners on death row are atheists. In other words, we supply a disproportionate amount of intellectuals, scientists and educators to the U.S., while supplying a minuscule number of violent human beings.

Isn't it about time that you throw your personal prejudices aside and give us the credit due? We ask for nothing special: only not to be denigrated by lies and misperceptions.

Sincerely,

Jeff Archer
President, Atheist Coalition of San Diego
La Mesa, CA 91941
lekkerspikkels@msn.com


Katie,

“No atheists in foxholes,” is an insult to those many Atheists who have served and are serving in our armed forces to protect your freedom to lie about Atheists.

Yes, there are Atheists in foxholes. I am one of them. It was offensive to hear you repeat the slander that we do not exist.

America always has had, as now, Atheists in foxholes. We owe our freedoms to them as much as we do to those Americans who follow one of the many different religious faiths our way of life permit to exist free from the tyranny of an established religion.

Rather than attempting to state religious views as facts, please do us the courtesy as Amer­icans and patriots of informing your audience that there really are honest, decent, hard work­ing, loyal Americans who do not share the belief that all good people, or at least all frightened people under fire, must believe in a god.

Please don't lie about us. It is neither good religion nor good journalism.

Hoping for a response to this, and to a retraction and an apology, I am

Edwin.

Edwin Kagin,
National Legal Director
American Atheists, Inc.
ekagin@atheists.org


My goodness! Of course there are atheists in foxholes!

Perhaps you should have some atheist members of the Military on your show to explain that.

Perhaps Ms. Couric's remark was not a claim that there ARE atheists in foxholes, since she said: "Perhaps you have heard the expression 'There are no Atheists in foxholes.'" However, considering that there was no atheist representation on the show to point out that many atheists have served their country, and even died serving their country, it is appropriate that Ms. Couric follow up that statement with an explanation and an invitation to atheist representatives to appear on her show. Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers http://maaf.info/, an honorary member of the Secular Coalition for America www.secular.org, would be happy to speak on behalf of atheists in the military.

Carol Smith, Secretary
Atheist Alliance International
www.atheistalliance.org


Congratulations go to Katie Couric for her impending career move to CBS.

I watch NBC News daily and want to have trust in those who bring me the news. I want very much to trust Katie Couric but I just can't give her my full confidence because of a comment she made a year ago by saying there were no atheists in foxholes. That was a terribly disrespectful thing to say to those of us who are atheist and also served in the military. I spent two years in the Army during the Korean war and was proud of my atheism then as now. Perhaps Katie could somehow rescend that remark since she obviously cannot recall it. If she cannot make amends, perhaps she will be alert in the future not to offend atheist ever again. We are proud Americans and proud Atheists. Please remember that.

Clyde Baxley, Anchorage, Alaska.


Dear Today Show and NBC,

I have been made aware of Katie Couric's inconsiderate remark the there are no Atheists in foxholes. This is a very ill-considered and ignorant remark. There have been many Atheists who have served this nation in defending its freedoms and this is not what they deserve. I attended the Atheists in Foxholes rally in Washington D.C. last Veterans' Day and heard stories from people who depended on their own wits to get through their battles and not from any alleged "divine intervention." It is absurd to think that with the diversity in America's population that no Atheists would have been in the military. It is also of note that Pat Tillman, who left his lucrative football career to serve this country, was an Atheist. Does he and others like him not count because of their lack of belief in the supernatural?

Lance M. Wilhelm


I would like to express my dismay over the comments made by Katie Couric on the Today show. She made the comment that there are no Atheists in foxholes. As an Atheist and also a veteran I find this kind of comment very discriminative and bigoted. This is religious bigotry that was stated on mainstream network television. Is this the message your station wishes to send to America? That it’s okay to victimize a minority based on religious beliefs?

I would like a public apology from Ms. Couric on the Today show. There are millions of Atheists in this country and while we may be a minority at this time, we are no less Americans than anyone else. We fiercely defend this country and many of us have died doing so. I myself retired from the US Navy after 20 years. I am tired of getting slapped I the face because I don’t happen to share a monotheistic belief.

I think it’s very appropriate that we receive a public apology immediately.

Bart Meltzer, USN (Ret.)

Bart Meltzer,
Director of State and Regional Operations,
American Atheists, Inc.
bmeltzer@atheists.org


Dear Sir

You continue to perpetuate a tired myth on your recent program by saying, "There are no atheists in foxholes." The sheer inaccuracy of this statement ought to be obvious, but apparently is not.

There are atheists in foxholes. So many in fact, that they are organized into a group called the Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers. History tells us that far more atheists come out of foxholes than go in, the horror and carnage of war devastating many people's belief in a benevolent higher power.

You probably did not intend to offend the diverse community of forty million Americans with no religious identification. In the future however, please refrain from implying a person's morality and humanity is diminished simply by virtue of their atheism. As the nation is now engaged in yet another war, your refutation of this illogical myth is appropriate.

Sincerely, Jonathan P Smith


How rude!

In this age of heightened awareness and sensitivity, it is truly disappointing that a national media personality can still slur the good character of an entire group of people. Atheists, for your information, represent a large and growing group of citizens who are just as hard working, trustworthy, brave and patriotic as any other group of Americans.

When you repeat that old canard about Atheists not inhabiting foxholes, you are either saying that Atheists are cowards and unpatriotic, or, the strength of their convictions is easily shaken by the threat of death. Either way you interpret it, it's false, it's rude and it is an entirely undeserved insult.

I hope Ms. Couric and NBC will recognize the error in their poor choice of words and quickly apologize.

Timothy M. Ruppert, P.E.
New Orleans
http://timsnamelessblog.blogspot.com/


We have heard the phrase "There are no Atheists in foxholes" …

…and we say, "wrong"!

Katie Couric spoke the words: “Perhaps you have heard the expression ‘There are no Atheists in foxholes,’ and the men who have occupied the oval office have also turned to a higher power…”

Such a statement made on national television, left to hang, begs address, especially at a time when we should be supporting ALL of our men and women who sacrifice to serve their country, not pandering to the religious at the expense of these men and women.

We absolutely owe them the basic respect and decency of not promoting ignorant and diminishing phrases like "There are no atheists in Foxholes". The atheist and agnostic men and women who serve our country don't deserve to be so diminished.

Of course there are atheists in foxholes!

NBC, The Today Show and Ms. Couric owe these individuals an apology for promoting this myth meant to demean atheists.

It might behoove NBC, The today show producers and Ms. Couric to know that The Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers exists to support these troops who put their lives on the line with the same commitment believers do.

It is difficult enough to be a minority in a Nation that believes we should all be under God(s), but to suffer the slurs and stereotypes aired on National TV is an injustice to these people we should not remain silent about.

You people know better.

I hope you will find it in your collective consciences to do the right thing and retract the slur, or you've not only lost a viewer, much worse, you will have lost credibility in pandering to bigotry…for what gain, at what cost?

http://www.maaf.info/
http://www.maaf.info/expaif.html
http://www.mindspring.com/~alutiiq/atheists-in-foxholes.html
http://www.atheistfoxholes.org/

In Reason, Allison Schmitt


Katie Couric's "there are no atheists in foxholes" comment during the April 5 Today Show suggest her victimization by the politically powerful Evangelist Christian movement, at the expense of fact and reason.

Non-religious members of the military have served valiantly, though unheraldly, in all of our country's wars.

The conspiracy to hide the heroism of atheists in foxholes included the media silence about the avowed atheism of the lionized ex-footballer Marine, Pat Tillman, whose brother, in exasperation with the "he's in a better place" assurances at his funeral ceremonies in California, colorfully clarified Pat's non-belief. Other than the San Francisco newspaper, I saw nor heard no other media report of this revelation.

In a spirit of fairness and truth, we deserve an apology from and air time on Today.

Harry Greenberger, President
New Orleans Secular Humanist Association


Dear NBC Today Show,

Ms. Katie Couric's comment that "There are no atheists in foxholes" perpetuates a mythology that is not worth of Ms. Couric’s generally fine standards. In the military there is the “don’t ask don’t tell” rule regarding homosexuality. There is also the “don’t ask don’t tell” rule regarding the naturalistic worldview. It is quite imprudent to believe that in all the wars we have fought, that individuals who are free of supernatural beliefs did not serve in the U.S. military.

A gentle apology is in order.

Bright Regards

Dr. Paul Geisert (a disabled vet – but never in a foxhole)

A member of The Brights’ Net


To Katie Couric,

I hope you realize now that to give any credence to the ignorant saying "no atheists in foxholes", you have grossly insulted the large numbers of atheists who have indeed spent time in foxholes, defending our nation and its freedoms. Among our freedoms is freedom of religion, to believe and profess to believe whatever one truly believes.

You, who have presumably never spent time in a foxhole, owe a sincere public apology to those atheists who have, whose religious orientation you have denied. They put their lives on the line, and you have casually declared that no one who has done that could possibly be an atheist. Not only are you incorrect, you have been quite inconsiderate. I hope you will do the right thing, and apologize to those brave people.

There are a lot of us atheists, despite the fact that thoughtless public statements are often issued as though we don't exist. But we do. Atheists can be nice people, and brave, and staunch defenders of liberty. Please give us our due.

Sincerely,

Pete Wernick
Colorado


I am writing on behalf of the Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers to express my dismay that once again the “no Atheists in foxholes” myth has reared its ugly head, especially when it involves an otherwise fine and well-regarded program (Today Show, 5 April 2006). Atheists have served proudly and with distinction in every branch of the service under the same dangerous conditions as our religious counterparts, and to claim otherwise does all of us a disservice and is especially disrespectful to the Atheists who have died or suffered life altering injuries due to their service. I believe the Today show team owes all us “foxhole Atheists” a retraction and an apology.

Sincerely,

K.A. Johnson
Master Sergeant, US Army
Founder, Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers
American Atheists Military Director


As an atheist, I found Ms. Couric's statement to be wildly offensive and all too typical of a society in which an anti-atheist bias seems to be the last remaining bigotry acceptable. As a Marine who has served this country for five years, including two tours in Operation Iraqi Freedom, and has recieved multiple individual awards, I feel Ms. Couric's statement shows that she does not appreciate the sacrifices I and my fellow atheist veterans have made for her benefit. I would suggest that she take up a rifle and defend herself from the religious extremists bent on the destruction of our secular world, but I know that our military is stronger and our country is safer without someone of her character involved.

I'm no fan of the Today Show, but I am a loyal viewer of many other NBC projects, and I expect your company to publicly explain it does not share Ms. Couric's bigotry.

Thank you for your time,
Matthew Beatty,
Farmingdale, NY


In a report last week Katie Couric resurrected the old saying, "There are no atheists in foxholes." I understand that she mentioned it AS an old saying, and did not necessarily say that it was true or that she believed it. Unfortunately, however, that distinction was no doubt lost on much of your audience.

I assume that by now you have heard from several atheists who have been in foxholes or who are or have been otherwise involved in the U.S. armed services. Atheists and agnostics serve our country in the military and all other capacities. I'm sure that they cringe every time they hear the "foxholes" cliche, especially when it is broadcast to a national audience.

But it was not the atheists, military or otherwise, who I worried about when I heard of Ms. Couric's statement. Rather, it was the theists who have an uninformed, cliched opinion of atheists. Prejudices are often built subtlely, over time, reinforced by every offhand comment, every throw-away line that supports the prejudiced viewpoint. When such comments are made by respected figures such as Ms. Couric, the damage can be especially significant.

I have never been in the military, so the "foxhole" comment does not address me personally. I am a stay-at-home mother to two young children. I am a former National Merit Scholar. I love to read. I used to run 5K races. I just celebrated my 10-year wedding anniversary. I drink wine, but not beer. I went to public grade school and Catholic high school I'm allergic to cats. I earned a degree in chemical engineering 23 years ago and am now going back to school for a master's degree in statistics. I hate housework, country music, and cold weather. I love to dance but am a terrible singer. I procrastinate. I had good attendance at Sunday School as a child, but went to church youth group meetings primarily to flirt with the boys. I color my hair. I take a yoga class once a week. I was Chairman of the Board of Deacons at my church in 1991. I love donuts and flavored coffee. I frequently exceed the posted speed limit. I'm probably a lot like many of the people you know.

And I'm an atheist. I have no horns, no pointy tail, no dark cloud hanging over me. I don't go around stealing things or hurting people. I don't even cheat on my taxes. I just don't believe in God.

I hope that in the future the Today Show will make an effort to avoid comments such as the "atheists in foxholes" statement. Contrary to what many people probably think, the problem with such statements i not that they offend the people they concern. The problem is that they reinforce stereotypes and build prejudices.

It would be great if you would acknowledge the other side of the argument, and interview some atheists who have been in foxholes, or in military planes or pentagon offices. It would probably be even better if you would casually mention the lack-of-belief of some of the people you interview on the show, famous people or everyday Joes. The only way to defeat prejudice is to recognize the humanity, the "just-like-you" qualities of people who tend to get labeled and judged as an "other." I bet you and your viewers would be surprised to find out how many "normal" atheists you already know.

Sincerely,

Dina Appleby
Kennett Square, PA


Dear Sir or Madam:

In a piece titled "God, America and War" which aired on Wednesday, April 5, 2006, host Katie Couric introduced the segment by stating: “Perhaps you have heard the expression ‘There are no Atheists in foxholes,’ and the men who have occupied the oval office have also turned to a higher power…”

Ms. Couric's comment that "there are no atheists in foxholes" perpetuates an oft-repeated myth that is no more true than stating there are no Christians in foxholes. Ms. Couric and NBC may feel that this comment is harmless but it is in fact an insult to the many atheists who have served, and currently serve, in the US Armed Forces and they deserve better.

Does NBC and Ms. Couric honestly feel that we atheists would abandon our philosophy in a foxhole any more than a Jew, Buddhist or Muslim would abandon theirs and pray to Jesus? Please do all faiths and philosophies a favor; stop repeating this statement that serves no other useful purpose than stroking people's religious ego. Those of use who serve our nation and sit in foxholes do so not as atheists, Christians, Jews, Muslims or Buddhists but as Americans – do us a favor by throwing your support behind all service members, not just the religious ones, and issue an apology.

Thank you for your time.

Major Todd Dart
US Air Force


To NBC News,
RE: NO ATHEISTS IN FOXHOLES

(Wednesday, April 5, 2005, NBC "Today Show" host Katie Couric introduced a segment on religious faith in time of military conflict)

Having lived with it all my life, Im so sick of one sided reporting misrepresenting atheists. A recent poll showed that the average person trusts Muslims, gays, lesbians and immigrants more than atheists. Portraying atheists like this demonize minorities that do not have to political power to fight back. In reality atheists are gay, straight, immigrant, etc. And we are in the military as well, fighting and dying alongside other Americans (whatever their color or religion). I have no idea why atheists were portrayed in such a disrespectful way. As a minority with no public voice of our own, it seems all we can do is hope you and those like you will stop hurting us. A much better choice of programming in the future would be to mention the secular roots of American history, and how the separation of church and state was intended to give all of us the freedom of religion that we so proudly sing.

Robert Mckee


Well, the evening news just gained another "credible" new anchor in Couric (not). Her totally insulting segment regarding atheists in foxholes shows her lack of intelligence, understanding and total "go with the mob" mentallity. The "free press" is there to help protect the "minority" of this country and not just the mouthpiece of the majority. Such segments, and the pandering by NBC, et al, to the "mob" serves no purpose but to undermine the credibility of a "free press" and is a long way down the road away from our Founder's intentions of a free society. Sad.

Dwayne Free
Melbourne, FL
321 757-7708


Dear Persons:

There is no connection between patriotism and superstitiousness or religious devotion. Indeed in 1971, if not prevented by the draft lottery, I would have gone to Vietnam just because I trusted our government. However, my naivety did not blind me to the fact that humans have always created gods or God according to their own imagination. The restless and untrained human mind also generates an endless stream of other fictions such as astrology and palm reading in just the same way.

The defense of ones kinship group, on the other hand, is innate and far more primitive than notions of religion or spirituality. Individual sacrifice for the good of the group occurs in many animals. I recall the account of one observer of a troop of monkeys. One of the younger males made a suicide attack on a stalking tiger to give the others time to escape. Certainly such examples are ubiquitous.

The assertion that there are not atheists in foxholes would be bigotry if it were not just idiotic drivel. Please respond to this email and make a public apology for this lapse into arrogance and ignorance.

Sincerely,

Guy Josserand III
guyjoshaol.com


This is my concern ! Please clarifie the inaccurate claim that "There are no Atheists in foxholes," this statement is not supported by credible evidence. Many Atheists, freethinker, humanists and other nonbelievers have been "Atheists in foxholes" serving our nation!

There you have it


To Ms. Couric and the producers of the "Today" show -

Please allow me to add my voice to others objecting to the factual error and insulting tone of Ms. Couric's use of the absurd religious cliché that "There are no atheists in foxholes".

People who rattle off that canard would be quick to scoff at the divinity of Zeus, Ra, and the deities of primitive tribes; yet they are selectively blind to the fact that the god they still believe in is no different from those ancient myths - a comforting but completely imaginary answer to questions for which humans at that time did not have natural explanations.

Atheists do see that parallel and act accordingly. Having recognized the failings of all forms of supernaturalism, atheists are not going to rediscover belief in a god during a crisis any more that Ms. Couric would sincerely pray to the Easter Bunny to provide food during a famine.

An public apology for this presumptuous slander on the integrity and sincerity of people who do not share her supernaturalistic views is called for.

A little open-minded investigation into and reporting on the attitudes and behavior of non-believers (by talking to us, not just our detractors) would be welcome.

Joseph Callahan
Longmont, CO
Joe.Callahan@UMontanaAlumni.org


I am very offended by the piece regarding atheist in foxholes. It shouldn’t matter if the soldier has religious beliefs or not, as long as they are fighting for our country!! This country was founded by people who wanted religious freedom, if Americans have the freedom to choose there religion, we should also be able to choose not to be religious and not be criticized for it! The story was stupid, and very irresponsible on NBC’s part. Where was the atheist to challenge the argument? You call this journalism? I call it RELIGIOUS CRAP!! KEEP IT TO YOURSELF YOU JESUS FREAKS!!


"Houston Atheist" Blog


I was offended by the Katie Couric remarks about there being no Atheists in foxholes. I have been an Atheist all my life, and I have always been very tolerant of Christians, and really of all religions. That is the thing I love so much about this country. I will defend to my death, your right to worship whoever or whatever you chose, so long as it does no harm.

It seems to me that we are reaching a point in America that those basic rights are being threaten. I think the reason you don't realize that so many of us (Atheist) are among you, is that we never had any reason to speak up or speak out, as it was a non-issue to us, until recently. The seperation of church and state is esential if America is going to remain a truly free nation. Is just a form of discrimination, as I see it. We have as much right to be here, as you do.

I've spent the last 20 years of my life in service of the federal government. I'm a very proud American. I love my country, very much. And I'm an Atheist.

Shirley Setterbo
www.atheistexposed2.blogspot.com


NBC News
attn: The Today Show
30 Rockefeller Plaza
New York, NY 10112

To the Today Show Management:

Ms. Couric's departure could not have come at a better time; however, she should have been fired for her remark on April 5, 2006 that "there are no atheists in foxholes." Obviously, this would have happened had she made such a disparaging canard about the supposed cowardice of Christians, Jews, Muslims, or Buddhists.

Despite The Today Show's blatant appeal to mainstream mediocrity, biases and assumptions, NBC's former "star" should be held accountable more for her blatant ignorance than her insensitivity.

Sincerely,

Catherine Don Diego


The remarks made by Ms Couric about no atheists in foxholes was highly insulting to the many millions of American atheists and to this long time viewer personally. As a result of her inaccurate and insulting remarks I will no longer be a viewer in the future and will pass the word to all of my Atheist friends.


April 26, 2006

To whom it may concern,

I am an Atheist, someone who believes that all gods are the created in the imagination of humans. My wife and our three sons are also Atheist. We know of many Atheists, Freethinkers and Humanists who serve our country in the military yet we often hear comments like the one recently made by Katie Couric, that there are no Atheists in foxholes. This is inaccurate and misleading. It has been the experience of myself and many other non-believers that we who do not believe in a god and an afterlife have a greater appreciation for life than many who profess god-belief. This difference is encouraged by teachings that Christians are “not of this world” and they await an afterlife where they will be rewarded while others will be tormented for eternity. The Atheist in the foxhole has a much clearer more realistic view of events and is not swayed by religious manipulation and lies which places a diminished value on the life of a non-believer.

The Bush administration, in their embrace of evangelical Christianity, has taken hold of a powerful tool to manipulate believers using god to elevate emotional response and reduce the ability to reason rationally. It is also a tool to encourage discrimination against any who have a different religion or no religion . Claiming that there are no Atheists in foxholes opens the door for intolerance toward Atheists, Humanists and Freethinkers who serve our country for the same reasons as those who call themselves Christian. It is a slap in the face to servicemen and women who are rational thinkers and do not succumb to superstition.

It would be appreciated in the future to remember that there is a growing number of non-believers in the United States; men and women who see through the deception and corruption of religion; and we expect to receive the respect that we have earned as rational individuals who refuse to be intimidated by the religious. We also love our country and serve our country but without being slaves to myths. We are Atheists but we are Americans.

Sincerely,

Brian Khairullah


NBC TODAY, Have you people retracted your foxhole slur and apologized, for being so insensitive, yet?

Although I have never been in a foxhole; I am an atheist and feel you, unjustly, attempted to diminish me and growing millions who have the courage of our convictions.

I was on your air for years in “Father Knows Best”, another show that lacked good judgment: Its first moral failing was rolling over for the drug pushing TV sponsors, Kent Cigarettes, when they demanded the question mark that had followed the shows title, during its 5 yr. run on radio, be removed! They preferred a declarative statement: No Irony! Robert Young told me “it was a deal breaker!”

Makes you wonder, huh? Well, they did know something we didn’t. They knew they were KILLING PEOPLE.

I think you might be vary surprised by the “real” number of non believers, were people to be candid, after all, we ALL start out with no belief in a god and it is only after concerted effort by parents and clergy, do some of us drink the cool aide, and others pretend to just to avoid the hassle, wile still more are actually terrorized and will say or do anything to avoid the promised eternal damnation.

Ask yourself. Do you really buy it?

Be honest! You don’t have to say it out loud – but you’ll feel better, if you do!

I just joined American Atheists and I feel sure they would be glad to have someone appear on your show to talk this matter over; giving you the opportunity to make inroads into this potentially immense demographic and get on the right side of history to. What a coup !!

I believe Robert Young had it right the first time – Father Knows Best?

You know best (for you)

Billy Gray

billy@billygray.com



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