Last week Keith Olbermann went after the anonymous atheist who donated $10,000 to the atheist bus ad campaign in New York, giving the anonymous donor the bronze for June 29th’s “Worst Persons in the World” segment:
Tonight’s worst persons in the world. The bronze: To the person who donated the scratch for ten thousand dollars worth of ads on the sides of buses in New York City, promoting atheism. They read, “You don’t have to believe in God to be a moral or ethical person.” The hope, from president Ken Bronstein of the group NYC Atheists, is to get people to stop hiding their non-belief — to stop hiding it. No complaint about the message — however, while Bronstein says, “We want to get atheists to come join us, to get out of the closet,” unfortunately the donor who made the ads possible is keeping his identity anonymous!
Notice that Olbermann did not attack atheism as such, but the idea that a person might hypocritically invite people into a movement for which he (or she) is obviously ashamed to have his (or her) name associated with. I think that is a fair critique. If you want others to get on the atheist bus, the least that you can do is not wear a paper bag over your head as you wave and shout atheist slogans from your atheist bus window. It’s hardly a profile in courage.
The same goes for those wealthy individuals who were outraged that their bigoted large-sum financial donations for Proposition 8 (the anti-gay rights bill in California) were made public. If you want to enter the political or religious arena of discourse, you should go in unmasked.