Updates on the ACLU’s Rejection of an Atheist’s Money

If you haven’t seen it, the ACLU of Mississippi has apologized to the American Humanist Association for not accepting donor Todd Stiefel‘s donation.

There are quotations and links to the aftermath on the original posting. Lots of good stuff, including soundbytes from the people involved in the story, ACLU national, and Stiefel himself.

  • Lynx

    I could be wrong about this, but I find the reactions a little too strong. The ACLU claims that the NYTimes story distorted the position of the organization and that in fact the whole debacle was based on the individual actions of an employee.

    They could be lying of course, but it seems unlikely. The speed and profusion with which they apologized, in press release and in emails not just to the AHA but to ordinary people who wrote in to complain, indicates that there was no hesitation. The minute they found out about it, they reacted and reacted well.

    I guess my point is that some of the quotes indicate that the ACLU of Mississippi still has some anti-atheist action to make up for, and I simply don’t see what. It was a fuck-up. They apologized and explained. The ACLU and the non-theist community are natural allies, I think that, barring any further evidence, we should all move on.

  • dglas

    Did we ever find out what the cited “conditions” were?

  • http://www.eurovisionamerica.com Michael (SQFreak)

    I’d bet ACLU-NC wouldn’t reject the money. The Christian Right already hates everything about them as a result of the Forsyth County Commissioners prayer case. It doesn’t matter that (I think) everyone who works there is at least nominally Christian.

    I still want to see the full e-mails from the ACLU-MS to the AHA. I want to know how reject-y this rejection was.

  • Charles Minus

    Having been around for a lot of years, I have developed tremendous respect for the ACLU. When a controversy such as this comes up, it is always best to cut the ACLU a little slack until all the facts are all in. They have terrific judgment and a lot of nasty enemies.

  • triscele

    As an adoptee, I have found the ACLU troublesome. They’ll defend every right winger on principal but have never tried to get equal rights for adoptees. They have courage and cowardice under the same umbrella. I could see them going either way on this.

  • chicago31415926535

    Is this an April fools joke?!

  • Aaron

    According to the AHA, the conditions were that the AHA got the same credit as anyone else who donated a similar amount.

  • http://www.agnostic-library.com/ma/ PsiCop

    This looks very strange to me, and is even stranger now than the initial reports. First someone at the ACLU makes a crack about Mississippians “trembling” at the thought of atheists. In-context or out, that’s still a very odd thing to come out with.

    Next, the ACLU of MS complains about the remark being “taken out of context” and the NY Times distorting the story. Bu there is no distortion, the Times reported what they got, and the “context” of the remark literally doesn’t matter: It was made, and it’s strange.

    Now they’re saying it’s not up to them to accept the money or not, and they have no idea if it will be accepted. That sounds like a lawyerish evasion to me.

    So we have a strange remark, a claim of “distortion” and lack of context, then a disavowal of having anything to do with accepting the money at all.

    Sorry, I’m not buying it. Something really odd is going on here and this update does nothing to explain it … in fact it only makes the whole thing seem even stranger than it was to start with.


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