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Libertarian commentator Kristin Tate went on a rant against “miserable atheists” who ruin Christmas for everyone else by (gasp) pressuring local governments to follow the law and not promote Christianity at everyone else’s expense.
It’s clear she has no clue what she’s talking about. But at least she’s very confident in her ignorance, since that’s what passes for intellectual discourse in conservative media.

YouTube video

… another group that we haven’t talked about is the atheists.
There are large groups of atheists who are total grinches and, with the ACLU, they go around threatening to sue schools and towns for putting up Nativity scenes or Christmas trees. So a lot of these towns and schools who are canceling Christmas holiday traditions or, you know, renaming Christmas trees are doing this out of fear because they get threatened with lawsuits from these miserable atheist people who don’t even live in the area.
So I think that’s part of what’s going on, too. Them and the social justice warriors…

Rebel Media host David Menzies then chimed in to mock atheists who want “tolerance and acceptance and even affirmation for their atheism, yet there’s no tolerance and acceptance and affirmation for anything to do with Christianity.” Tate nodded along like this was the most obvious thing in the world.
Let’s talk about everything they get wrong in a minute of video.
The atheists who pursue these issues don’t always work with the ACLU. The Freedom From Religion Foundation, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, and the American Humanist Association usually do their own work, thank you very much.
They also don’t sue local governments for merely having a Nativity scene on public property. While local officials shouldn’t be erecting any religious displays, some cities allow outside groups to do just that. The problems arise when Christian displays are the only ones allowed, while other groups are shut out of the process completely.
So if a state official passes a bill to put up a Ten Commandments monument, while Satanists don’t even get consideration, that’s a problem. If a city allows a Nativity scene outside a courthouse but says an atheist sign cannot be put up, that’s a problem. This isn’t hard to understand. Christians don’t own December. The government can’t act like Christians are the only people who matter, even if they’re in the majority.
What do the atheists want? Equality. They want the same treatment as other religious groups, and they don’t want to see governments or schools pushing aside everybody else in order to promote the Jesus myth.
You would think a self-proclaimed libertarian would understand the problem with the government acting as a de facto marketing agency for a religious group…
Finally, the idea that these groups don’t “live in the area” is the dumbest possible critique to make of them. Groups like FFRF don’t seek out these problems just to cause chaos. They send warning letters on behalf of members who live in those communities and ask for help. Conservative legal groups work the same way. If any of the groups actually filed a lawsuit, the plaintiff would have to be someone in the area with legal standing. So Tate, again, is just whining about something she doesn’t understand.
I’ve been reporting on these issues for more than a decade. I know what the atheist groups are doing. I know what the common critiques of them are. And I know when a conservative commentator is merely playing up the “War on Christmas” without any knowledge of the facts.
Instead of lashing out against “miserable atheists,” Tate should take some time and actually read some of the letters sent out by church/state separation groups over these matters. They always explain, in great detail, what the legal problems are. It’s never about atheists demanding their beliefs be taken seriously. It’s always about making sure the government isn’t overstepping its bounds by promoting one religion over another or belief over non-belief.

Hemant Mehta is the founder of, a YouTube creator, podcast co-host, and author of multiple books about atheism. He can be reached at @HemantMehta.

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