During the CNN presidential debate earlier this month, the Freedom From Religion Foundation aired a 30-second ad featuring Ron Reagan (son of former President Ronald Reagan) declaring that he’s a “lifelong atheist not afraid of burning in hell.” Of course, the message ruffled the feathers of quite a few religious conservatives, one of whom was Tennessee Christian pastor Greg Locke, who tweeted that the ad was proof that the Democratic Party “HATES GOD” and is willing to “destroy the very fabric of this Nation.”
Locke is known for his evangelical belief system that praises his narrow interpretation of “family values” and demonizes LGBT people and abortion. Of course, when it comes to President Trump, his fundamentalist view of morality seems to go out the window.
In his tweet, Locke also claimed that the FFRF lied about the Founding Fathers and the separation between church and state — a claim that got some pushback in the tweet’s comment thread. One commenter asked Locke to present evidence that America is a Christian nation, and then suggested that Locke read the new book written by FFRF attorney Andrew L. Seidel, titled, The Founding Myth: Why Christian Nationalism is Un-American. Seidel then chimed in on the thread and floated the idea of personally sending Locke a copy of his book, to which the pastor wasted no time in replying.
“And maybe I’ll sign it and send it back to you,” Locke fired back. “At least then, it would have someone’s name in it that actually stands against your revisionist nonsense.”
Sure enough, Seidel sent Locke a copy, and the pastor responded by posting a video of himself ranting against the book and ultimately setting it on fire.
Turns out, Locke’s video was a great marketing opportunity for Seidel, who retweeted the video along with a link to his book’s Amazon page.
This preacher filmed himself burning a book I put eight years of work into, The Founding Myth: Why Christian Nationalism is Un-American. You can get your copy here: https://t.co/7suvRnOAr9 https://t.co/hTlNSLBFVN
— Andrew L. Seidel (@AndrewLSeidel) October 24, 2019
Speaking to the Friendly Atheist‘s Hemant Mehta, Seidel said that Locke’s stunt forgets about one eternal truth: “Books can not be killed by fire.”
“Those who burn books are incapable of dealing with the ideas in those books. Nazis, totalitarians, authoritarians, theocrats, and Christian Nationalists,” Seidel said. “Locke may have burned a copy of The Founding Myth, but really he admitted that he cannot comprehend the basic history and facts in the book. He wanted to project strength, but instead, he showed true weakness.”
While it’s not known if Seidel got a meaningful sales boost from all the hoopla (I reached out to him and will update this article if I hear back), atheist writer David G. McAfee once had a similar experience which he told me resulted in a “huge boost” in book sales.
You can purchase copies of McAfee’s book, Disproving Christianity and Other Secular Writings, here.
Featured image via screen grab