Gordon Klingenschmitt, who’s running on the Republican ticket for a state house seat in Colorado, has some serious words for atheists. According to Right Wing Watch, he thinks atheists need to undergo exorcisms, to get rid of the devil inside them, so they’ll feel comfortable in church. They’ll also then be “free to enjoy the worship of Jesus Christ.”
Klingenschmitt was referring to a court case that the Supreme Court refused to hear. In that case, a Wisconsin school district was under fire for holding its graduation ceremonies at a local church. Because the school in question is public, the 7th Circuit Court ruled that holding graduation ceremonies at a church was unconstitutional, according to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. The Supreme Court refused to hear the case earlier this year.
Klingenschmitt said, according to Right Wing Watch:
“If the atheist complainer is so uncomfortable when they walk into a church that there’s something inside of them squirming and making them feel these feelings of hatred toward the cross of Jesus Christ, don’t you think it’s something inside of the atheist complainer that’s wrong?”
Well, no, actually. That’s just one of the many tropes that narrow-minded, tunnel-visioned evangelicals love to trot out when talking about atheists. They literally can’t imagine people really thinking that way, so if someone does, obviously it’s demon possession. That’s the only possible answer. Other stupid tropes include: Atheists are angry with God, they can’t possibly know right from wrong, and they can’t be good people without knowing the love of Christ.
In short, evangelicals like Klingenschmitt don’t understand atheists at all. Atheists aren’t uncomfortable in a church per se, they’re uncomfortable with having religion shoved at them as though it’s the only “decent” way to live and breathe. They’re uncomfortable with someone deciding for them that they must go into a church to see a graduation, when a graduation is not a religious ceremony, and the school is not a religious school. Atheists would most likely see the situation completely differently if the ceremony in question was religious in nature, or at a religious school.
They might even “brave” the “discomfort” of entering a church if we were discussing a Christian ceremony. Sometimes, people who aren’t Jewish attend things like bar mitzvahs, which are held in synagogues. They’ll go into the synagogue for it, instead of protesting the location, because they know it’s a Jewish ceremony. For Klingenschmitt to assume that atheists are uncomfortable with merely even walking into a church shows that he’s like most evangelicals. He doesn’t get it.
Watch him prove he doesn’t get it below, via Right Wing Watch: