CNN TV reporter wrong-footed by atheist tornado survivor over idiotic God question

TWO things you can be absolutely certain of in the wake of a disaster: first, it will be blamed on The Gays (see here too) and second, people will be thanking God for saving the survivors.

But not always.

Following Monday’s horrific tornado in Moore, Oklahoma, a young mum with a toddler in her arms had a CNN camera trained on her. After the woman recounted the last-minute escape that saved her family’s life, interviewer Wolf Blitzer stupidly asked:

I guess you got to thank the Lord, right?


The woman, according to this report, hedged, looked down at her baby, and replied:

I’m actually an atheist.

There was a moment of silence, then the two laughed awkwardly. Said Blitzer, clearly taken aback:

You are? Oh, all right. But you made the right call.

Commenting on the question, and the response it elicted, Mark Joseph Stern, writing for Slate, said:

Blitzer’s behaviour may seem startlingly condescending, insensitive, and mawkish. But in fact, mentions of God, miracles, and prayer have become the argot of post-disaster reportage. They shouldn’t be. If you want to pray for Oklahoma or thank God it didn’t kill more people, go ahead. But please, especially if you’re a journalist, keep it to yourself.

He added:

Thanking the Lord for deliverance just doesn’t make any sense. Any God powerful and attentive enough to save survivors’ lives should also be powerful and attentive enough to stop the catastrophe in the first place. It’s insulting, futile, and distracting from the reality of natural disasters to inject your god into a calamity like Oklahoma’s.

Hat tip: Rik




23 responses to “CNN TV reporter wrong-footed by atheist tornado survivor over idiotic God question”

  1. JohnMWhite says:

    The most amusing part is that Blitzer essentially admits that god was useless. He assumes she feels thankful because god ‘saved’ her, then when she points out she doesn’t feel that way, he responds ‘you made the right call’. She, that mother, that human being, made the right call, and even a believer like Blitzer has to acknowledge that it was her own initiative that saved her and any supernatural entity available was irrelevant.

    Maybe god was busy dropping a school on children’s heads and ensuring Republican victories in the local legislature so that no funding would ever be available to have tornado shelters in schools sitting in the middle of tornado alley.

  2. AgentCormac says:

    “I guess you got to thank the Lord, right?”

    Thank him for what, exactly? Inventing tornados? Sending one through a suburb of a major city? Randomly wiping out innocent people? Destroying their homes and wrecking their lives? Does Blitzer seriously not see the irony in the shit that is falling out of his mouth? (That’s a rhetorical question, by the way.) If god existed, why didn’t he stop the tornado? Furthermore, why did he bother designing weather systems that could produce such things in the first place?

    Thank god? No, hate him.

  3. Stephen Mynett says:

    How long before that mother is described of being an agent of satan and causing the disaster? She would seem to be the most likely cause of the devastation, according to the beliefs of over half of the American population.

  4. charlie says:

    Blitzer is NOT a journalist, no way, no how. He IS a complete fool and tool of his paymasters, nothing more, nothing less. Why he stays employed is a mystery. With this interview, he has proven beyond any doubt that he is an ignorant moron, actual decent ignorant morons, no offence intended.

  5. Broga says:

    This response is so typical. Somebody survives a disaster and god is thanked. God is also prayed to when the disaster occurs. As I’ve commented here before, but the episode sums up this attitude, I was in a bad car smash seven years ago. Both cars write offs. The garage man told my wife he had never seen anyone previously come out of such an accident either dead or extremely badly injured. I had a smashed nose and badly bruised ribs and pain for months. And I recovered.

    A religious relative said to my son, “God must have saved your dad for some future purpose he had for him.”

    My son replied, “Couldn’t god have done this without smashing an almost new car, quite seriously injuring my dad and causing such anxiety to us all.”

    Sums up the attitude perfectly

  6. the Woggler says:

    Strange how blitzer”s unforgiving god saved the life of an atheist, then made sure she was publicly interviewed.

  7. Marky Mark says:

    (ensuring Republican victories in the local legislature so that no funding would ever be available to have tornado shelters in schools sitting in the middle of tornado alley.)
    …so true and says the truth about these so called religious, caring politicians. They would have to raise taxes on the wealthy oil corps in their state and that is against god will…better to let the little people have their children die.

    (Blitzer is NOT a journalist, no way, no how. He IS a complete fool and tool of his paymasters, nothing more, nothing less. Why he stays employed is a mystery. With this interview, he has proven beyond any doubt that he is an ignorant moron,)
    …I can’t stand watching that guy and don’t. I turn off his program when watching CNN.

  8. Har Davids says:

    I would have been great had the woman replied: ‘Of course I thank god for saving us. But I especially appreciate him killing our neighbours, who were such a pain in the ass. Just kidding, I don’t believe in your imaginary friend.’

  9. AgentCormac says:


    Sorry to know that you were in a car wreck, but your son was absolutely spot-on with his summation that the incident disproves rather than proves the involvement of some deity.

    As for ‘being saved for some higher purpose’ – yes, to tear down the entire, corrupt, stinking edifice that is religion. I hope your relative has been made aware of your ‘higher purpose’. Long may it continue!

  10. Trevor Blake says:

    Let me complete Mr. Blitzer’s sentence for him…

    I guess you got to thank the Lord (that He killed so many people), right?

    I guess you got to thank the Lord (that other people died instead of you), right?

    I guess you got to thank the Lord (that He invented death and suffering in the first place), right?

    I guess you got to thank the Lord (because if you dont He will kill you), right?

  11. barriejohn says:

    And a lot else besides!

  12. ZombieHunter says:

    I was a bit dismayed when I saw the footage of the people finding their dog still alive in the rubble of what was left of their house after coming out of their storm shelter.

    “Oh our prayers have been answered” they said and I couldn’t help but wonder if the family and friends of those who died had prayed as well.

    Well like the aying goes, “two pairs of hands working will acheive more than a thousand held together in prayer”

  13. Robster says:

    All the Americans it seems, Obama included, felt compelled to utter prayers to the victims of the tornados. The thing is, the prayer thing is designed to make the pray-ers feel warm and fuzzy and nothing more, because they offer nothing more. It’s a shelfish act from people pretending be concerned, nothing more.

  14. Rachel says:

    I wonder if Xenu will help him find a new job after snubbing him like that on TV.

  15. Lazy+Susan says:

    I don’t know what “You made the right call” means. Is it a US idiom, or is it just Blitzer fumbling for words?

  16. Equality Jack says:

    @L+S – Both, I think. It’s like saying “you made the right decision” or “used good judgment”, but his speaking style is unique, to say the least.

  17. Lazy+Susan says:

    Equality Jack – Seems I did understand it then, but I don’t know what decision she made that was right. The decision to be an atheist? Did she hide in a storm cellar or something? I looked at the video clip, and there was nothing there …

    Sorry if I am labouring this! Molehills into mountains, I end up making.

  18. Equality Jack says:

    @L+S – Yes, that was the bit I couldn’t figure out also.
    I’m not even sure he wasn’t being sarcastic or facetious or what.
    But it went well. She’s very brave. I expect her to get attacked.
    She’s even getting lots of money from people, so she can move now if she wants or build a really strong storm-cellar.
    Maybe Wolf Blitzer will say something to explain exactly what he meant, but keeping it a mystery can serve many ends, so I won’t hold my breath waiting.

  19. barriejohn says:

    I can’t understand him either, but they just don’t know what to say sometimes. Some useless individual from, I believe, ITV News was confonted by a poor man on his doorstep the other day (why do they feel the need to push their microphones into everyone’s face?), who was absolutely distraught and holding up a large photo of his missing son. “This is my lovely boy”, he was saying. It was almost to painful to watch. “Is there any chance that he is alive?” asked the reporter (Stupid Question No 1). “Is there anything that we can do?” (Stupid Question No 2). “Can we pray?” (Stupid Question No 3). I don’t even understand why the footage was shown, as it was such an embarrassment to them, but Sky News has a lot to answer for where dumbing down and emotional overload are concerned, I feel!

  20. Lazy+Susan says:

    EJ – Thanks, just so long as I’m not missing out on something that everyone else understands!

    Oh, here is a much fuller video of the interview:

    Apparently the advice is to stay at home during these storms. But when she saw the projected path of the tornado coming close to her house, she got out fast and thus saved her life and her son’s. Blitzer’s comment is a bit clumsy at the end but probably he expected a different response than he got, given the statistics. No big deal, IMO.

    Glenn Beck (who he?) thinks the whole thing was a setup (but he has not yet blamed atheists for the tornado as far as I know). More here:

    It would be possible to ask Blitzer if there is any substance to Beck’s claim. Somehow I don’t think that will happen. Beck won’t want evidence getting in the way of his victimhood!