Message to Brother Jed: Atheists Love All!

You all remember notorious campus preacher Brother Jed, the victim of The Boot Protest, and his colleague Sister Cindy:

(Sister Cindy has nothing to do with this posting… I just love that image.)

Anyway, Jed showed up at the University of Kansas on the first day of classes. Sounds like a crappy way to begin the school year, but there’s a happy ending to this story.

KU student Conrad Hudson explains on Facebook what happened (he refers to the president of the campus atheist group, Joey Subatai Ralph):

There sits Brother Jed, staff in hand, wearing a shirt that reads: “You Deserve Hell.” A gay KU student is handing him a rock and asking him to stone him if he is so intent on preaching the literal truth of the Bible.

Joey has just walked up behind him with a sign reading “Atheists Love You All” which was met with a round of applause from the fairly large crowd on the steps of Wesco. It was the first and only applause from the crowd that day.

Beautiful.

And here’s the picture:

I love it. And I don’t feel bad for Jed at all.

The more atheists can provide an alternative, reasonable voice to the crazy campus preachers, the less influence those preachers have. We can make them look even more out-of-touch with reality than they already are. Let’s never forget: We’re the rational ones here.

Kudos to Joey for the great sign. Next time, let’s have a chorus of atheists join him with their own.

  • fritzy

    That’s awesome!

    Brother Jed used to come to the University of NE when I was a student there almost 20 years ago. Frighteningly, he doesn’t look a day older in that picture than he does today. Maybe there’s an aging portrait of him in his attic…

  • Michelle

    The kid with the stone is really amazing too. It is so easy to ignore hateful behavior and it really does take a bit of courage to directly respond to it in a clear and rational way. (Yelling names and hurling insults at a distance does not count). The true power of freedom of speech and assembly is to respond with it.

  • http://politicsandpucks.blogspot.com Mike Brownstein

    We have Brother Jed coming between September 29-October 1 at Purdue…how convenient!

  • Adi

    A few years ago, I went to a Peace March organized by several different groups, mostly different churches, but open to anyone. I wore a button that said “Atheists for Peace: We Believe in People” and was met with hostile stares and shunning from the other marchers (except my mom!). And, politically, these folks were the left of the left. It really brought home for me how the word “atheist” is perceived in our society, even among many liberals. (I actually prefer the term “skeptic,” but I think that term is just as misunderstood, if not more so.)

    Bravo, Joey! We have to just keep spreading the good news.

  • Danny

    Makes me want to try the rock thing on the next street preacher I encounter.

  • http://claire-chan.livejournal.com/profile Claire Binkley

    I can be the Soprano in the atheist chorus! My voice does not allow for Alto, Tenor, or Bass very well.

  • http://www.redheadedskeptic.com Laura

    Love it!

  • Bossman

    Wow, Cindy showed up at Arkansas in the late 70′s, hard to believe she’s still around, kinda scary actually.

  • Bertram Cabot, Jr.

    The trouble is, for every atheist saying they “love us”, there are many more calling Christians “delusional”, “psychotic”, etc. over here at KU.

    “Friendly” atheists? I have never met one.

  • Richard P.

    Well I hope Brother Jed did what was right and pumbled the little prick.

  • Richard P.

    just kidding….

  • http://onestdv.blogspot.com OneSTDV

    Anyone else surprised atheists got applause at the University of Kansas?

  • Roxane

    I’m not really surprised that they get applause at any university. But alas, not every town has a university.

  • http://secularshawshank.wordpress.com Andy

    People like Brother Jed are the some of the best possible advertisements for atheism we could ever ask for. Bless them.

  • http://themousesnest.blogspot.com Mouse

    It’s Wescoe Hall with an ‘e.’ I practically grew up in that building, so I can’t help but be picky.

    I’m not too surprised to hear of atheists getting applause at KU. It is the school Phelps pickets as “Gay U” after all.

  • m

    “Let’s never forget: We’re the rational ones here”
    Be careful, you’re starting to sound like the ones you criticize.

  • Gabriel

    As someone who is always ready to fight I am very impressed by the people who are able to respond with humor and positive statements. I just want to hit the bastards harder and faster than they can hit me. Good for those kids, they are better than I am. I am no better than a lot of christians.

  • AxeGrrl

    Bertram Cabot jr wrote:

    “Friendly” atheists? I have never met one

    Sure you have…..you probably just didn’t know they were atheists :)

  • Adam

    I attend the university and was there sporting my “God Free” hat; he glared at me the entire time.

  • jejaime

    The trouble is, for every atheist saying they “love us”, there are many more calling Christians “delusional”, “psychotic”, etc. over here at KU.

    “Friendly” atheists? I have never met one.

    Ya gotta love the irony and lack of self awareness in this asinine post. Something tells me that the atheists he comes in contact with have very little reason to be “friendly”.

  • A Portlander

    m,

    Your concern is noted.

  • Bertram Cabot, Jr.

    Q.E.D

  • http://www.facebook.com/meiselke K

    As a KU alum I must say,

    Rock Chalk
    Jayhawk
    Go KU!

    (The chant is obligatory!) :)

    The KU campus, like any campus, has it’s fair share of crazies – religious or otherwise (see:White Owl). I always ignored them because, well, it’s easier to do so. The guy with the rock made a great point and I think his approach is appropriately confrontational. I appreciate his method as he personalizes the level of hate implied by Brother Jed’s presence and the message on his t-shirt. I do, however, take some objection to the wording on Joey’s sign as it seems incorrect to make the statement that “atheists love you all”. You just shouldn’t make the claim that “this specific group of people loves everybody” as it is false. Perhaps the message is more correctly presented as, “atheists don’t hate you on religious basis as they do not subscribe to religion”.

  • muggle

    I agree with K. That was my first thought. Uh, no, I do not love this asshat. Besides, no one’s gonna buy that hooey. We don’t love everyone. It’d be stupid to love someone as despicable as Phelps for instance.

    I do, however, love what the gay guy did. I wouldn’t have had the nerve. I’d be too afraid I’d get hit in the head with a rock.

  • Joey Ralph

    Friendly Atheist:

    Thanks for the shout-out. I’m glad you enjoyed the story and the picture. Hopefully you’ll hear from us again in the future!

    Bertram Cabot:

    I’m sorry you haven’t met many friendly Atheists. You should stop by a SOMA meeting… I know hundreds of them. :)

    K:

    A well-deserved and appreciated criticism. Brother Jed and I actually had a discussion on that very issue, and I had to clarify that I meant we do not “hate” certain people because they are different.

  • Bertram Cabot, Jr.

    I have not seen “hundreds” of people at the SOMA meetings, although admittedly I have not dropped by one for over a year and a half.

    But I do remember the former Pres, Andrew somebody.

    When I mentioned my views, WHEN ASKED, I got ridicule and stares.

    Friendly?

    Who ya kiddin, Joey?

  • fritzy

    Bertram;

    We tend to see in people that which we set out to see. We also tend to get the treatment from people that we expect to get from them.

    I’m sorry you have not met any “friendly atheists.” However, considering I have met several atheists I considered very friendly, long before either of us knew the other was an atheist I’d like to think that if you look hard enough, you might find one of us. Good luck :)

  • http://www.correntewire.com chicago dyke

    i hope this doesn’t get me kicked off the FA site, but no. i don’t “love” all people. i try very hard not to give in to hate, but i’m a flawed, human being and evolutionarily speaking, those emotions exist in me for a reason. when people want to literally kill me just for being what i am (queer, atheist, black) it’s very hard not to respond in kind. and seeing as how i don’t believe in superstitious stuff about “love my enemy” i don’t really feel that bad about all that.

    still: violence and hatred are rarely “the answer,” and as a rational being, i understand that. but don’t tell me i am supposed to “love” believers, esp those who are busy making hay out of me being alive. i don’t love them, and never will.

    if i’d been there, i’d be with the A with a stone. and i would focus on the bible passages that relate to shrimp, women speaking in church, and those who mix fabrics and meat and cheese. i don’t like the notion that atheists accept (even tacitly) the concept of “sin.” i prefer to be more direct, as in: you don’t live according to this “holy” code, and i can prove that by the clothes you wear, and the food in your belly, and the fact that you’re in speaking in public.” i prefer that tactic rather than some sort of construct of “i’m more compassionate than you.” i *am* more compassionate than most believers, but i don’t think that fact will ever convince them of anything.

    a big part of being a believer is denying your own hypocrisy, but cloaking that fact in the reality that it’s very hard for most to judge people according to “moral” grounds. when it comes to things like food, clothes, giving money away to the poor… that is something concrete i can point out, and they have NO ability to deny that they are not, in fact, doing most of those things.

  • muggle

    I had to clarify that I meant we do not “hate” certain people because they are different.

    Then why in heck isn’t that what your sign said instead of being so convoluted and misleading?

    I still think the one who should have gotten the applause was the guy who handed him the stone. Now that was creative, took guts and was challenging.

    chicago dyke, I’ve been commenting a long time and I don’t see Hemant kicking you off the site for being forthright. If he kicked people off for being blunt, I’d have been out of here a long time ago. He’s friendlier than that. Fortunately.

    I like your style so if he does I’ll stick up for you. Well said. It drives me nuts how they focus on the gay thing while ignoring all those other pesky Old Testament laws. When you ask them why they garble something about Jesus fulfilling the law but have no answer for why do the Ten Commandments and the no gay thing still apply then.

  • Darwin’s Dagger

    The only problem with handing stones to Christians is that one day your gonna find one willing to throw it at you.

  • jejaime

    When I mentioned my views, WHEN ASKED, I got ridicule and stares.

    Yeah, ok Tom Johnson. Ridicule and stares? I highly doubt that. Who the hell acts like that to a complete stranger? A chat room, I’d give you the benefit of the doubt. Real world, face to face? Unlikely. And if it really did happen, then judging from your initial post in this thread, you probably provoked it.

    A persecution complex and an axe to grind is a bad mix.

  • Chris mankey

    “Friendly” atheists? I have never met one.

    Honest Christians? I’ve never met one!

  • http://twitter.com/brianjaygilmore Happy

    Dude, I was there at KU… about five feet to the left of the photographer.

    By the way, where can I get one of those shirts Bro Jed is wearing? I want one SO GODDAMN BAD.

  • http://www.atheismresource.com/ Adam

    I am so proud to be a member of this group. SOMA has been such a good thing for me and they are helping loads of people on KU campus see that’s it ok to be an atheists… and they are very friendly. Anyone that says otherwise is welcome to come to a meeting anytime.

  • http://angryastronomer.blogspot.com Jon Voisey

    Just plugging a few of my own writings on brother Jed:

    During one of his rants at MSU, Jed listed 10 things that were unforgiveable and would certainly doom you to hell. I wrote them down and they became the Brother Jed 10 Commandments.

    I also got a copy of his autobiography. And I read it. And reviewed it. Although not described anywhere, I read this review to his collected audience at KU in the fall of 2007. Watching him try to rationalize his hypocrisy, sexism, poor parenting, and worse logic when I could quote it at him from his own book was priceless.

  • Heina

    AAR @ UCI did a counter-protest as well. We had signs saying “Smile! There Is No Hell” and “Have a Nice Day!” and we went around telling people that they were awesome. It was fun and positive.