October 28, 2013
There is a serious problem with the article published on October 27, by Deseret columnist Joseph Walker entitled “Atheists plan Salt Lake convention”, and I believe a prompt retraction and clarification is called for.
By extremely selective use of quoted material, Mr Walker has made it appear as if American Atheists’ Public Relations Director Dave Muscato has said that atheists are coming to Salt Lake City to have fun at the expense of members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Here is the sentence that appeared in the article:
‘Some of that “fun” will come at the expense of members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Muscato said.”
You’ll note that the only actual quoted word by Muscato in that entire sentence is “fun”. I think this is very irresponsible journalism indeed. You need only read the comments to see what poor impressions of atheists readers have received from the article. “ulvegaard” from Medical Lake, Washington writes “…I suspect though, that [atheists] are not coming to enhance the economy but to pick a fight. Interesting how most of the intolerance in this world is generated in the hearts and hands of those who pretend to abhor it the most.”
I will be attending the American Atheists’ convention in Salt Lake, and I can assure Mr. Walker that the very last thing I want is for residents to feel as though I’m coming there to fight with them. Mr. Walker owes the atheist community a retraction and a clarification.
[name withheld by American Atheists]
cc: Joseph Walker [email protected]