Sportin’ Life writes:
I liked Brown’s overall style--relaxed, non-aggressive, “soft and fuzzy,” yes, but firm on principle. She came across as innocent of the fact that O’Reilly was playing “gotcha” at a couple of points and trying to bait her. I don’t know if this reflected lack of experience or conscious strategy, but it worked well.
Just one problem, though:
There was one thing I caught that seemed a bit rough. That was right at the beginning when O’Reilly got Brown to seemingly acknowledge that “secular” really means “atheist.” Right-wing talking point alert! His question technically had to do with the name of the Coalition, and of course Brown answered truthfully. But I think there was a propaganda motive behind asking it that she might have responded to.
Brown’s specific constituency is the godless Secular Coalition, but the broader (lowercase) secular community includes lots of believers too. Theoretically, it should include everyone who supports the Constitution because “secular” refers to the civil sphere as distinct from the church, right? There must be a clear and concise way to get this point across when it comes up in the future. It seems an important one.
This is indeed something Brown will have some problems with. As the author notes, the people whom she personally represents is a a group of godless secularists; the general principle which she promotes is secularism — and secularism is something that exists equally for believers and nonbelievers. If she were representing a group of godless car wash dealerships, it wouldn’t be a problem because no one imagines that running a car wash is necessarily for atheists. Conservative theocrats, though, have been pushing the idea that secularism is atheistic and it’s important not to let them claim victory with this bit of rhetorical dishonesty.
Even if we were to push the idea of secularism to its extreme and insist that no support of secularism could be religious, it still wouldn’t be limited to atheists. There are atheists who are religious and theists who are irreligious, so secularism would still include both believers and nonbelievers. Such an extreme view of secularism is inaccurate, though, and it does indeed include religious people who think that civil, government institutions should not be religious in orientation.