Mea Culpa

Bob Schieffer
Weekly commentary by Chief Washington Correspondent Bob Schieffer.

Last Sunday I took a swipe at the political leaders who were playing the blame game over who was at fault for the blackout, while the people who were caught in the blackout were putting politics aside and just helping each other cope. I remarked that a long time ago someone said that in wartime, there are no atheists in foxholes. And I reckoned that there were no partisan Republican or partisan Democrats in a crowded subway car stalled underground in pitch-black darkness.

Well, I did not hear from any partisan politicians, but I did hear from scores of atheists, two of whom said they were in the military serving in Baghdad. In various and in no uncertain terms they reminded me that freedom of religion also means the right not to believe and they said my remark unfairly challenged the sincerity of their views.

I am a believer and that is central to my life, but they are correct. They have every right to their belief and I would never challenge their sincerity. On this one, we all come to the table with equal expertise. So to all of you who took offense, I can only say that none was intended and I regret a poor choice of words.

Well, let me amend that slightly. I direct those words to all who wrote, except the guy who capped his criticism by calling me a `doddering old retard.' He has my personal invitation to stuff it.