In season of giving, atheist groups’ charity rebuffed

28

‘Tis the season for giving — but not always for receiving.

As the holiday season peaks, atheist and humanist groups around the country have seen their charitable impulses rebuffed by both Christian and secular organizations. Recent incidents of “thanks, but no thanks,” include:

  • A group of Kansas City, Mo., nonbelievers was told their help was not needed after they volunteered to help a local Christian group distribute Thanksgiving meals.
  • A $3,000 donation to a Morton Grove, Ill., park, collected by a local atheist group, was returned. Park officials said they did not wish to “become embroiled in a First Amendment dispute.”
  • A group of Spartanburg, S.C., atheists  was denied the opportunity to help at a Christian-run soup kitchen. The soup kitchen’s executive director told local press she would resign before accepting the atheists’ help and asked, “Why are they targeting us?”

And in what is perhaps the biggest rejection, the American Cancer Society, in 2011, turned away $250,000 from the Stiefel Freethought Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to humanist causes. Though the society never cited atheism as the reason, many atheists drew that conclusion.

Written By: Kimberly Winston
continue to source article at religionnews.com

28 COMMENTS

  1. “Atheists was denied the opportunity to help at a Christian-run soup kitchen”

    I find it a bit churlish to take issue with an obviously religious group declining the help, I would have been more impressed by the atheists establishing their own community initiative, rather than complaining about not being included in someone else’s, sorry but that’s my take on it.

    Now the issue with Morton Grove not accepting the donation, seems to me an entirely different thing altogether, there is good cause to call foul in that case, it seems to me that the only conclusion to draw is that an atheists money is not as good as anyone else’s…

  2. Why did the all loving, all powerful, Christian God create a world where charity is even needed ?

    Why do people accept charity as something normal ? “The poor and needy will always be with us” ? I don’t accept that view for one moment. Charity is a symptom of a society in which the basic needs of human beings are not being met. God won’t do anything, it’s up to we humans to change the situation.

    • In reply to #3 by Mr DArcy:

      Why did the all loving, all powerful, Christian God create a world where charity is even needed ?

      Excuse me, but you haven’t been paying attention. ;-)

      The world god created was perfect in every way, but we (well, our distant, hypothetical, not-so-common ancestors) fucked it up by eating a piece of fruit. So we have nothing to complain about!!

      (/sarcasm)

      Steve

  3. And in what is perhaps the biggest rejection, the American Cancer Society, in 2011, turned away $250,000 from the Stiefel Freethought Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to humanist causes. Though the society never cited atheism as the reason, many atheists drew that conclusion.

    Odd,that.When they ask for funds:Every donation is a gift of a future without cancer. Help us finish the fight.

    Makes you wonder, sometimes.Is this Society about helping people** first and foremost,** giving them another birthday as they say.Atheist money is as good as any,maybe better in some cases because they haven’t stolen the ‘widow’s mite’

    And considering the fact that their god is doing a piss-poor job at keeping his creation in apple-pie order,this behaviour is..words fail me so i’ll borrow alf1200′s(comment 1) word. Christian.

  4. Various groups have proven their unwillingness to accept atheist donations for a while now, but anyone who knows atheists planned to make those donations has to admit they were feeling charitable. If we can earn brownie points for that ethically, eventually our money might not be dirty. In the mean time, we can offer the same money over and over again and demonstrate our generosity each time. I’m not saying we should make insincere offers whose bluff we doubt they will call, but we could increase the list of causes that we consider donating to, since we won’t be allowed to in many cases. Whatever the real-world ethics of this, I’m sure a competent comedian could make a funny sketch on the subject.

  5. $3,000 donation to a Morton Grove, Ill., park, collected by a local atheist group, was returned. Park officials said they did not wish to “become embroiled in a First Amendment dispute.”

    “First Amendment dispute” is the name of a deamon that magically pops up when you mention his name

  6. They tell me that this time of year blood donations are lower, just because of the season. I think I’ll go down to the local Catholic hospital and offer a half-liter of my good type O blood, but first warn them that it would be coming from an atheist. They may have to call a meeting to discuss whether to accept it.

    • In reply to #12 by 78rpm:

      They tell me that this time of year blood donations are lower, just because of the season. I think I’ll go down to the local Catholic hospital and offer a half-liter of my good type O blood, but first warn them that it would be coming from an atheist. They may have to call a meeting to discuss wheth…

      Why don’t you actually try doing that? Because I would bet you serious money what would happen is they would smile politely and tell you they are more than happy to accept your blood.

  7. “The soup kitchen’s executive director told local press she would resign before accepting the atheists’ help and asked, “Why are they targeting us?”” How paranoid and delusional does one have to be to think that someone volunteering at your soup kitchen is a personal attack? Does christianity make people batshit insane, or does it merely attract the already batshit insane?

  8. If Christian-managed soup kitchens won’t accept donations from disbelievers in the supernatural, then atheists should set up their own soup kitchens. Where would the indigent prefer to have a bowl of chili – at a table where they must put up with proselytizing or one where they can eat peacefully because they are fed merely out of kindness with no ulterior motive?

  9. “A $3,000 donation to a Morton Grove, Ill., park, collected by a local atheist group, was returned. Park officials said they did not wish to “become embroiled in a First Amendment dispute.””

    This is ridiculous. Does the city refuse donations from Christian groups as well?

  10. Do what I do, keep your religious preference to yourself when you go to donate or offer help. After working with people, showing yourself to be a human that cares, donating time and money, then come out to them at the end! I had one old lady that said, well, I never thought I would like an Atheist, but I do. Yes, you will have a few scoff and walk off, but the next year those people you worked close with remember how easy you were to work with and how much effort you put in to helping. So, when the next year rolls around your buddies will stand up for you. Tried and true method.

  11. The soup kitchen’s executive director told local press she would resign before accepting the atheists’ help and asked, “Why are they targeting us?”

    This is a neat demonstration of the twisted thinking of some religious people. It boils down to: “If you aren’t with us, you are against us”. Therefore an atheist offering help must be trying to attack them, or mock them or something, so they feel threatened. Scary people. The kind that you never want to put yourself in the power of because at the end of the day their beliefs are what matter most to them. Not (as in these cases) being able to serve more hungry people, advance the research for a cancer cure, or fund the operation of a park.

  12. I see nothing wrong with the first example. Perhaps the help wasn’t needed…. There’s also something slightly disingenuous about atheists offerinlg to help a local Christian group distribute Thanksgiving meals.

  13. Yes, it is a sad fact that some Christians snub the humanitarian efforts of humanists. Yes, it is also patently ironic. The truth is that the commentary on the human condition and on humanitarian efforts to rid the world of suffering is becoming more and more within the remit of humanists and less and less within the remit of Christianity. When it comes down to it, Christians are more interested in their imaginary friend than in their living, breathing, suffering neighbour. Christians are unable to imagine any meaning in a human condition that involves anything short of high brow morals. Ignoring the reality of human nature means that they fail to understand the beauty of human nature. My advice is for all humanists to continue, unabated, the material, medical, social, psychological and emotional assistance of fellow man. The suffering need us and in a way that can be understood only by those lacking the ignorance veil of high faith. How can a suffering man expect to be understood by a Christian who lives a faultless life and worships only that which is untarnished? He cannot. Humanists unite.

  14. Give it time… and sincerity on our parts. And, always, honesty, but especially here not pushy, self-deprecating honesty. Being in the right, mostly, we have time (and everything else worth having) on our side. We won’t have to wait all that long.

  15. Very obviously these charity groups are not interested in charity per se. They are mostly interested in perception of their ‘charity’ work by others, perhaps mainly by their imaginary friend. This is a charade to score brownie points and secure a golden ticket to paradise. All in all a less than noble motive.

  16. A few here have commented that perhaps these atheist groups should create their own programs rather than collaborating with religious groups. That may be a workable long term strategy, but it would be a damn shame if it’s necessary. Take the instance of the Spartanburg, SC soup kitchen: Spartanburg is not a large town. That church run soup kitchen is well established, and so that’s where the poor people are going to be. It would be grossly inefficient to set up a parallel program somewhere else and try to get word out about it. You won’t reach many homeless people by advertising on the 6 o’clock news because few highway overpasses or cardboard boxes have television installed. As I recall, that atheist group, once rebuffed, set up an impromptu thing across the street and handed out whatever they could scrape up, and the church group took even that as an attack.

    I can understand why some atheist groups might want to identify as such while helping. Many of us feel socially marginalized in this Bible Belt, and want people to know that we are not evil. But that’s beside the point of helping the poor. And I can almost understand how Christian groups would be uneasy about our attempts to help. If I were running a charitable organization and someone came up and said, “I represent the Ku Klux Klan or the American Nazi Party and I want to help”, it would give me second thoughts. And yes, some Christian groups really do think of us in that light. But that’s also beside the point of helping the poor.

    }}}}

  17. As a Christian I feel it’s very sad to me that some Christian groups seem to see Atheists as an enemy. That’s exactly opposite of Jesus’ teaching. At least at the end of the full article it’s stated one Christian group was willing to work with them and had an excellent experience.

Leave a Reply