Karen Hunter's first response to criticism of her anti-atheist bigotry and commentary is posted in the discussion thread on Richard Dawkins' Official web site:
For the record, to compare atheism, again a choice, to someone who is black is definitely off.
Let's put this to rest. I hate no one. you have the right to believe or not believe anything you want. Just don't compare your plight to some sort of civil rights issue. It's not. You choose to be an atheist. I didn't choose to be black. I have never seen a sign that read: Christians Only. You never had to sit at the back of the bus because you're an atheist and I cannot recall a single atheist being hung from a tree or drag from behind a truck until his limbs fell or shot at 50 times just because he was an atheist. So while you are in the minority in thus Judeo-Christian society, you are far from persecuted
A second response is posted shortly thereafter:
Soundbite television does not give anyone an opportunity to fully express their views. I hate no one, I believe people have the right to believe or not believe anything they want. Just don't impose your views on me. I want prayer in school. If you don't want to pray, don't pray. you won't be locked up for not praying, nor should you be vilified or bothered. That's your right. But if I want to pray with my students, I can be fired.
You chose to be an atheist. You weren't born that way. It's a belief system and no one has to know unless you walk around with a sign or throw in people's faces. Live and let live. Do what you want. But if I believe that this society lacks morality and I believe that the kids in my neighborhood would be better served by having a little of that in their lives, please don't go to the Supreme Court to ensure that they don't. It doesn't impact on your ability to not believe on iota, does it?
First, you'll note Karen Hunter's repeated use of the myth that a person "chooses" to be an atheist and, therefore, discrimination against atheists is presumably more acceptable. Neither side of that "logic" is valid. First, not believing in any gods is no more a "choice" than not believing that there are elephants in my kitchen — beliefs aren't acts of will, but simply conclusions we accept based on what we know and already believe. Second, even if atheism were a choice, that wouldn’t matter. Would it be acceptable to discriminate against or express bigotry against Jews because being Jewish is a "choice"? Would it be acceptable to discriminate against or express bigotry against Catholics because Catholicism is a "choice"? Of course not — even if atheism is a choice, that's ultimately irrelevant to the issue at hand. Brining it up is simply a convenient way to avoid explaining why one thinks atheists should be treated as second-class citizens.
Closely related to this are the myths that atheism is a "belief system" that a person isn't born with. Both of these are just as incorrect: atheism is merely the absence of belief in gods and isn't even a single belief, much less an entire system of beliefs; atheism is something that everyone is born with because everyone has to be taught to believe in whatever gods happen to be popular in their culture and family at the time. Theism and religion are learned beliefs; if they weren't taught, most people would remain atheists.
Next, notice the implicit standard Karen Hunter sets for persecution and civil rights. Apparently, unless there are signs that deny you admittance to certain areas, unless you sit at the back of the bus, and unless members of your group are lynched, then you are not "really" being persecuted. That's a pretty high standard and it's clearly not an appropriate one. Discrimination, prejudice, persecution, and bigotry take many forms and can be expressed in many different ways. Some are worse than others, of course, and it's true that the situation for atheists isn't nearly as bad as it once was for blacks, but it's impossible to justify anti-atheist bigotry by pointing this out. The fact that one group doesn't have it as bad as another group did in the past does not and cannot mean that the situation for the first group is acceptable.
In fact, we can say with a great deal of confidence that Karen Hunter herself probably doesn’t believe this standard because on the Paula Zahn Now show Debbie Schlussel claimed that atheists are the ones discriminating against religious Americans. Are religious Americans being forced to sit at the back of the bus? Are religious Americans being lynched? Of course not — but you didn't hear Karen Hunter object at the time. On the contrary, she implicitly agreed with Schlussel when she complained that she is being imposed upon because there aren't any official, state-written and state-sanctioned prayers in schools.
Speaking of prayer in school, it's interesting that Karen Hunter continues to insist that atheists are "imposing" their views on her because she wants prayer in school. Obviously there is already prayer in school because students are free to pray on their own whenever they want, but that's apparently not enough for her. Yes, it seems that students having the right to pray what they want, how they want, and when they want just isn't enough for Karen Hunter. Instead, she wants to ability (in theory, since she doesn’t teach in public school) to use her position as a government employee to lead a prayer with her students. Should teachers have that ability? Certainly not — public schools aren't churches and public school teachers aren't priests.
If Karen Hunter wants to pray with students, she can do so in her church or Sunday school classes. Public school teachers do not and should not have the authority as government employees to single out any particular religious rituals to lead other people's children in. Is there some reason why Hunter doesn't try to argue that government employees should or do have the authority to lead students in religious rituals while on government property and during school time? She would need to in order to justify her position, but I haven't seen anything even remotely like that from her (or from anyone else who holds this position).
Finally, let's look at the claim that "society lacks morality" and the implicit insistence that this is somehow due to atheists preventing the government from choosing her personal religious beliefs to promote, encourage, and endorse. Karen Hunter's basic argument seems to be that either religion generally or her religion in particular are necessary for personal or social morality and, moreover, that atheism prevents morality from taking hold. Several times she insists that she doesn't "hate" atheists, but how seriously can we take this protest?
When a person insists over and over that there can't be morality without religion and theism, all the while promoting blatant falsehoods about atheism, how is compatible with not "hating" atheists? If I spread falsehoods about Judaism and argue that Jews are responsible for economic problems in America, would anyone believe me if I said I didn't hate Jews? If I spread falsehoods about blacks and insisted that blacks are responsible for crime in America, would anyone believe me if I said I didn't hate blacks? If that's "love," it's a love I would rather do without and I suspect that most people would agree.