"Edgy" Christian Outreach Fail #6,703,489

Shannon Burgdorf points us to the website of The Rock, a South Carolinian church, where they were using this tasteless image to promote themselves:


What’s so wrong with this? As Terry Munger puts it on my Facebook page, “It is such a huge problem to treat animals as commodities rather than as living creatures that have been brought into someone’s life and home. It’s not ethical or acceptable to promote a message like this in order to spread dogma, period.” And Adrian Allen writes, “More than tasteless. Just shows that some of them are so obsessed that they have no respect for anything but Jebus.”

Prompted by atheist disgust and contempt, Kevin Childs, the church’s pastor, gave an apology which missed half of the point and managed to unwittingly insult atheists specifically while he was at it:

The question I have faced the most has been this: “Any regrets?  Would you do it again?” And I have quickly responded with “YES!”

Now, frankly, I’m not so sure. Not because I don’t believe in the message we wanted to send out. Not because our motives were wrong. And not because I’m shrinking or caving in because of harsh criticism. But if MUCH of the criticism is coming from the very people my own heart longs to reach, THAT stops me in my tracks. I could pretend otherwise. I could stick my jaw out, think up some zinger come-backs, and pretend I’m “earnestly contending for the faith.”

Listen, if fussy over-churched little Pharisees slam us, I honestly could not care less. If their unbelieving neighbors say that we’ve pushed them FURTHER from faith, that will keep me up at night. If our attempt at edgy irreverent outreach cast our church and Christianity in a bad light, blame me. Just me. And I apologize. If you actually did have a small child get traumatized by what you received in the mail from us, please believe that was absolutely not our intent, and I personally apologize for that too.

I hope those don’t sound like the “if you’re offended, I’m sorry you’re offended” non-apologies that don’t impress me either.

Martin Wagner scratches his head:

Apparently, Childs is surprised and disappointed at the criticisms he’s getting, not from his congregation (whom he dismisses, strangely, as “fussy over-churched little Pharisees” — seriously, this guy’s on douche overload), but from atheists.


So, Kevin, what you’re saying is that you really intended your card as an outreach to atheists? Because somewhere in that cracked clay pot you call a brain pan, you got the idea that we’re such disgraceful, immature, heartless and morally bankrupt people that we would look at an image making a joke of animal cruelty and totally go “LOL! Dude, I used to think religion was bullshit. But this church looks like the fucking bomb! Look at that little bunny’s guts! LMAO! I gotta go to this church now. Maybe if I get lucky the pastor will sodomize a couple of kids and put a kitten in a microwave!”

I mean, really?

Look, dude. You want to reach out to us? Fine. Here’s a protip. We like things likearguments, and evidence, and discussion, and rational discourse. We’re not a bunch of overgrown frat boys lighting farts and doing our best to extend our arrested adolescence into our fifties. (Can you actually light a fart, by the way?)

I admit, the last part is where Martin’s atheism does make him ignorant. Had he grown up in youth group like I did he would have learned that you can actually light a fart. Not that I had any interest in learning this myself. But it was demonstrated to me several times at a Christian youth conference.

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About Daniel Fincke

Dr. Daniel Fincke  has his PhD in philosophy from Fordham University and spent 11 years teaching in college classrooms. He wrote his dissertation on Ethics and the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. On Camels With Hammers, the careful philosophy blog he writes for a popular audience, Dan argues for atheism and develops a humanistic ethical theory he calls “Empowerment Ethics”. Dan also teaches affordable, non-matriculated, video-conferencing philosophy classes on ethics, Nietzsche, historical philosophy, and philosophy for atheists that anyone around the world can sign up for. (You can learn more about Dan’s online classes here.) Dan is an APPA  (American Philosophical Practitioners Association) certified philosophical counselor who offers philosophical advice services to help people work through the philosophical aspects of their practical problems or to work out their views on philosophical issues. (You can read examples of Dan’s advice here.) Through his blogging, his online teaching, and his philosophical advice services each, Dan specializes in helping people who have recently left a religious tradition work out their constructive answers to questions of ethics, metaphysics, the meaning of life, etc. as part of their process of radical worldview change.

  • Aliasalpha

    My first thought is that you can tell this is a new level of awful when it puts sane people on the same side that PETA would probably take

  • Carla

    I’m thinking this was probably a misguided attempt to do a zombie Jesus-style meme. Flip the premise, I guess. “If atheists think zombie Jesus is funny, maybe a dead Easter bunny will strike them as humorous as well.” It may have been significantly more effective if done as a cartoon. Or if it offered proof that Jesus was any more real than the Easter bunny. You know, details.

  • herewegoagain_a

    This is absolutely disgusting. Sheesh! Where is this man’s brain? Unbelievable.

  • http://www.laughinginpurgatory.com/ Andrew Hall

    Well, I never knew that one could light a fart.

    You know, I feel bad (and I know I’m going to be in the minority here) for the minister. He tried to make a funny and ended up with a not-funny dead bunny.

  • ambassadorfromverdammt

    fussy over-churched little Pharisees

    Well, at least he’s honest about his congregation.

  • http://anythingbuttheist.blogspot.com Bret

    I don’t understand why a bad joke would get you hopping mad.

    • Aliasalpha

      Because this is a serious business, its not bunny!

  • eric

    Listen, if fussy over-churched little Pharisees slam us, I honestly could not care less. If their unbelieving neighbors say that we’ve pushed them FURTHER from faith, that will keep me up at night.

    Translation: I don’t care about Christian ethical objections to the means of conversion, just whether the end is achieved.

  • Kevin

    Yes, you can light a fart.

    I’ve seen it done.

    • http://freethoughtblogs.com/axp/ Martin Wagner

      And smelt it, I suspect.

    • http://freethoughtblogs.com/camelswithhammers Daniel Fincke

      Not really, they burn right up.

  • Pierce R. Butler

    If their unbelieving neighbors say that we’ve pushed them FURTHER from faith, that will keep me up at night.

    Dumb bastard’s in for a lifetime of insomnia.

    *Plays tiny violin*

  • http://www.silveroutlinedwindow.com Shannon Burgdorf

    I have a hard time believing that atheists being “pushed FURTHER from faith” is keeping him up at night.

    My advice to this bunny-hatin’ Jesus follower would be:

    What Would Jesus Do?

    ** I barely kept a straight face**

    Or, how about not using death as an “edgy irreverent outreach” tactic to get butts in seats. Not bunnies, not fetuses, not apes, not anything that actually exists.

    Just sayin’.

  • http://blogingproject.blogspot.com/ Ing: I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream So I Comment Instead

    Buddy your symbol is already a mostly naked dead guy nailed to wood with thrones driven into his skull. you are sufficiently ‘edgy’