Best of the Hate Mail: Feedback from

By Erin Williamson

“Consider Humanism,” the largest and most far-reaching atheist ad campaign ever to launch in the United States, challenged the Religious Right this holiday season. Comparing humanist values such as equality, freedom, peace, and rationality to negative quotes from the Bible and Koran, “Consider Humanism” earned quite a reaction from mainstream media and individual commentators alike.

Given the volume of public opinion on the campaign, we at AHA wanted to share some of the more colorful comments by people not restricted by journalistic “neutrality” (is it possible to claim anyone on Fox News neutral?) with our readers. This is not to say we don’t appreciate a well-founded disagreement, but some of these gems in our inbox are too painfully misinformed to keep to ourselves.


December 3, 2010 by user YourMomma:

Why the hell are you putting up signs knocking Christmas but you don’t do that with any other religions. Oh that is right if you did that with the Muslims you would get death threats. Not sure why you don’t knock or put down Jewish holidays or any other. I guess you’re just idiots looking for a fight with passive people in a religion that teaches nothing but peace and love. See you guys act like the Terrorists only giving out half truths, only part of passages to try to get people to see things your way or misinterpretations. Good luck with that a******.

Myth #1: We didn’t address hypocrisy and cruelty inherent in religions other than Christianity.

Response: “Fight everyone in the way of Allah and kill those who disbelieve in Allah.” (Hadith Ibn Ishaq: 992) from “Consider Humanism: On War and Peace.” Well, we are pretty sure that one isn’t from the Bible or any other Christian text. Death threats? None yet.

Myth #2: “…[P]assive people in a religion that teaches nothing but peace and love.”

Response: “If a man lies with a man as he lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.” Peace? No. Love? Only a certain kind is acceptable.

As Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman from Mythbusters would say, “Myths busted!”


November 13, 2010 by user Stacy:

I felt the need to contact you after seeing your new commercial on television. The fact that you would use ONE verse from the entire Bible to generalize Christianity is irresponsible. Even after reading the info on your website, I am still not 100% what you stand for. However, I do know that criticizing a religion that is a way of life to many people in this country is a narrow minded and insulting way to do it.

Myth #3: “The fact that you would use ONE verse from the entire Bible…”

Response: The entire campaign uses eight Biblical quotes and two Qu’ranic.

Myth #4: Religions (she only accounted for Christianity, apparently, but let’s be honest right Stacy? No “real” Americans practice Islam) that are a way of life for many people in this country are criticized by this ad campaign.

Response: The accusation that these quotes were taken out of context was a common defense found in the hate mail. First of all, Stacy, the hypocrisy is evident- humanism and other forms of nontheism are a way of life for many people in this country. Yet, how many theists in America criticize those of us who choose that way of life for being immoral heathens? To the original point, “Consider Humanism” compared direct quotes from religious texts to those of humanist thinkers. Since when does presenting two opposing viewpoints, and asking people to critically compare them count as narrow minded?

Two more myths busted!


November 13, 2010 by user Antichrist:

Masters of your own universe. Time will reckon you to reality beyond your nose and the confines of this small world. You can not control your destiny and ultimate knowledge. A finite mind claiming to grasp and control infinite wisdom. You may be a God amongst frail humanist but your throne will soon fade into the reality that you were created to love but not be the source of your own love. Gladly surrender to the one much bigger then you aspire to be.

I don’t even have any myths to bust for this one. It’s purely for your entertainment.


Despite the negative comments from mostly non-humanist viewers, we reached out to a number of Americans who had never heard of humanism or the AHA before and discovered that their values aligned with us:

December 6, 2010 by user Ecco:

Thank you, thank you and thank you. I’m sure you are all getting a lot of hate right now, but the fight for the betterment of humanity, especially vs. their imaginary friends that some hold so dear, can feel daunting. For years my S.O. and I have felt alone. Wanting to do something like this web page ourselves, but were under the notion that it would be great amounts of fire for little movement, if any. Thank you. Ecco

December 6, 2010 by user Amy:

I have been reading the press regarding the seasonal billboard campaign and I just want to say thank you. Every comment made by your representatives really hits home for me. It would be easier to be gay in my conservative christian family. I cannot be honest about my true beliefs and now in my thirties with my own family it is very helpful to know that I can find resources to help define theism and humanism with my child. I am thankful that your ad campaign lead me to your website and I hope that someday it will be easier to say & “I do not believe in god”

These and others from around the world show that nontheists do not all look to vilify those who are religious but rather are people who look for a community of people who have a similar worldview as themselves, who respect their personal beliefs, and who appreciate principles of mutual respect, equality, cooperation, and of course, a separation of church and state, as they do. Ecco and Amy are only two of the individuals out there who were inspired by the ad campaign and the tenets behind it.

With the “Consider Humanism” campaign, the American Humanist Association strives to exhibit that humanists, atheists, agnostics, and freethinkers can be moral, patriotic, neighborly, and caring individuals without the influence of religion or a higher power. We’re grateful for the support of the Stiefel Freethought Foundation and all of our supporters for helping to make this campaign a success..

Erin Williamson is the development and communications assistant at the American Humanist Association.