You All Amaze Me…

I made a post about Damon Fowler last night and set up a ChipIn widget where you can contribute toward a scholarship for him — just one way to show how much we appreciate him standing up for church/state separation.

I’ve been gone most of the day, but when I looked tonight, I saw you that 244 of you had chipped in over $5,500

I’m amazed at how much support you’re all giving him. I’m so proud to be part of this community.

Whatever you contribute in the next week will be given to Damon. (I’ll provide proof that it happens.) Updates on what happened with his graduation will be coming soon.

  • grlnxtdr

    Our pleasure, I’m sure.

  • Rich Wilson
  • http://www.sbsoapbox.blogspot.com/ Susi

    That is AWESOME! Enjoy college Damon and keep fighting the good fight!

  • http://www.AtheistsHelpingtheHomeless.org Joe Zamecki

    That’s some nice teamwork. :)

  • Justin Powell

    So do we know as of yet what happened tonight at the graduation? I’m extremely interested to know.

  • Mr Z

    Hemant,
    Atheists have no need or reason to not be humane. In fact, without religion a person is MOAR likely to award value based on merit than anything else. A kindness done for my cause or concern is a kindness done for me, and a kindness should always be returned if possible. Think of it like this, more than 250 people have said (with their wallet) fuck the school board, they will not win, fuck Quin she deserves punishment for her deeds. In Intarweb-tubes did their thing too for exactly the same reasons. Anonymous spoke anonymously again. I don’t speak for them, but often they speak for me. The ‘people’ have spoken and they said ‘oh no you didn’t’ …. it should not surprise YOU that atheists are good people.

  • Alex

    And next time you’re on Facebook don’t forget to “like” the Fire Mitzi Quinn” page!
    http://www.facebook.com/home.php?sk=group_170534842971641&id=214680198557105&notif_t=group_activity#!/pages/Fire-Mitzi-Quinn/200614399983443

  • ihedenius

    OFF TOPIC.
    Post Rapture idea I simply have to spread:

    Scatter lots of empty shoes around, filled with dry ice…for that “Just Raptured” steaming look.

    And let loose hundreds of blow-up dolls filled with helium at the same time……

    From a liberal christian.

  • Callie K.

    I’m proud the positive impact of this may be the longer felt for him and that you’re ensuring it be felt long beyond while this is in the news. Thanks Hemant!

  • crowepps

    I know it’s cynical but from long years of experience, I would strongly suggest that so long as Damon is still underage, that you NOT give the money directly to him. Since he is a minor, his parents have the legal right to take it right out of his hand. I’d suggest keeping it for him until he hits 18, paying it on his behalf as a nonrefundable deposit at his college, or letting his adult brother hold the money for him.

  • Larry Meredith

    what amazes me is that this has raised more money in less time and with almost double the amount of contributors than the Camp Quest fundraiser.

    Send 1 kid to college or send thousands of kids to freethought camp. Clearly you people have your priorities in order…

  • Alex

    Really Larry? You’re going to criticize people for doing something nice because they didn’t do the nice thing YOU feel is more appropriate and logical? C’mon. :(

  • Drakk

    Larry, you do realise Camp Quest fundraising have two chipins because of the whole PZ-versus-everyone-else competition?

  • cypressgreen

    Um, and although Camp Quest certainly needs the $$, parents like me who are sending a kid DO pay a camp fee…Damon’s mom is OBVIOUSLY not doing anything for him! So I chipped in on Damon as a real mom to him!

  • cypressgreen

    Oh, and Hemant – give him a signed copy of your book with the $$! :)

  • Megan

    Hey Christians – why is “god” providing for Damon when he is just a big stupid atheist jerk and you are all pious worshipers? No fair!

  • grlnxtdr

    Megan, duh!!! Because the Devil is running this whole thing, don’t you remember?

    I always have to remind myself that they believe in Satan, too, and that in their minds, the Devil makes us do it.

    Satan, hahahahaha so stupid! Take some frakkin responsibility for your own actions, Christians!

  • http://merinnan.wordpress.com Merinnan

    Crowepps, Damon’s brother said on Reddit that Damon’s over 18, so his arsehole parents taking the money from him won’t be an issue.

  • The Pint

    This is great, but will someone explain what the fresh hell is going on in the comments section of the original post? It’s been blown up by tone/concern trolls and an astonishing number of “he’s in the minority, it’s his own fault for not shutting up and accepting it” comments?!?

  • anAtheist

    its for a scholarship so he can get educated and not for lawyers right? I mean that is what the title says… can it be trusted?

  • http://cincinatheist.blogspot.com Cincinatheist

    If Hemant says it’s for scholarship, then it’s for scholarship. Why would it be needed for lawyers. Even if anything ended up in court (which is still even TBD,) I’m sure the ACLU or FFRF (or one of the other numerous organizations who fight these battles) will foot the bill. Damon wouldn’t need money for lawyers.

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Hemant Mehta

    @anAtheist — Yes, this is for his education and not for any potential lawsuit.

    When the money is transferred to his college, I’ll find a way to document it. There are a whole bunch of readers on this site who can/will hold me to it.

  • Larry Meredith

    @Alex
    Yes. You have it exactly correct, even though you put a nice little selfish spin on it. Although it’s a very nice gesture to help this kid who obviously is too ostracized to get the support elsewhere, Camp Quest is much more deserving. If you gave to both, that’s just fine, but there’s a lot of people who apparently think funding 1 kid’s college fund is more important than funding a freethinkers camp that could reach out to thousands of kids.

  • anAtheist

    I see, you have state somewhere it will be handed directly to the donee.

  • http://cincinatheist.blogspot.com Cincinatheist

    Kudos folks. That’s a heck of a lot of money raised in a few days. Good on ya Damon.

  • Alex

    Larry both are good causes but I don’t think you can say sending atheist kids from atheist homes to atheist summer camp is MORE worthy than helping out a kid who is in dire straits because he was brave enough to not just stand up for his own non-belief but for the Constitution of the United States and the rule of law and endured great personal risk in so doing.

  • anAtheist

    the pint, are you calling me a troll? And what is with the word hell? Why do you use it so much? Whats so special about hell?

  • crowepps

    If you gave to both, that’s just fine, but there’s a lot of people who apparently

    You know, Larry, I understand your indignation, because there’s TWO charity links and people are given the option, but the thing you seem to be missing is that it’s our money and we get to decide whether we wish to give and to whom we wish to give it. Some of us have likely already donated to one (not necessarily here) and then given an ADDITIONAL amount to the other. You have an equal freedom to decide how to distribute your money and hopefully nobody will post a snotty buzzkill about how they think there’s apparently something wrong with you because of your choice.

  • Dustin

    If you gave to both, that’s just fine, but there’s a lot of people who apparently think funding 1 kid’s college fund is more important than funding a freethinkers camp that could reach out to thousands of kids.

    Sorry Larry, but if I’m only able to give to one of the two it won’t be to Camp Quest. You know why? I’d rather pitch in to save one person from severe religious persecution than fund help send ‘thousands of kids’ to an atheist summer camp.

    Weighing the balance of needs those kids will do just fine, with or without the camp. The only kids that get sent to Camp Quest are those from open-minded, if not outright atheist, families. They’ll get a great deal of enjoyment from camp but they will also be just fine without it.

    Damon, however, was kicked out of his home and his community for standing up for his rights as an atheist. He’s lost the financial and logistical support of his parents at a critical time in his life. Without outside assistance these acts will most certainly harm his life and future.

    If that doesn’t count as a more pressing need of the atheist communities assistance I don’t know what does.

  • Richard Eis

    Larry,

    The guy has been disowned by his parents apparently. He’s practically on the run from his own parents and town.

    Not to mention the fact that the christians have not only thrown this in our faces, but also decided that we were going to turn violent for it.

    This is the better alternative in my opinion…well if you can’t afford to donate to both.

  • Walter

    Since I have donated money to Damon’s fund I think I am entitled to express this opinion: all the money should go straight to him to a designated account (by Damon) for him to do as he pleases. There were no string attached when the collection was advertised. It is simply our expression of appreciation for him standing up to the whole town. So, please don’t delay this and don’t try to avoid this transfer by looking for college he will attend. He may have other needs to satisfy right now. Unless this money is transferred to him directly with no string attached this will be the last time I donate to any cause advertised on this page. Sorry, don’t mean to be a spoiler, Hemant. Just send him the money on May 28th, 2011. OK?

  • crowepps

    Walter, I was the one who suggested the money go to a third party, but that was because I have seen cases where parents emptied out their teen’s bank accounts and kept the money themselves, something they are legally entitled to do. Obviously, as he’s no longer a minor, that’s not a concern.

  • Alex

    Well the contribution widget itself says it’s for a scholarship. Some scholarships are paid directly to the school and others are paid directly to the student and still others are split between the school and the student in some way. This was done in some haste so I understand the confusion. Perhaps the best way to satisfy all parties (and, most importantly, help Damon)would be to do a split, with say a quarter of the overall donations being released directly to Damon and the remainder being sent to the school he ultimately enrolls in. That way he could have some much needed money for his immediate needs while he gets settled in in Texas and those who donated in good faith thinking this was to go to tuition will know that the bulk of the funds will indeed be used for that purpose. Just a suggestion.

  • http://personman.com Danny

    $14K! That’s impressive. I agree with Walter’s comment above. I’m fine with you just giving the money directly to Damon.

  • anAtheist

    Then why is it called a scholarship? I going to bust out my dusty dictionary, i hope not for nothing.

    A scholarship is an award of financial aid for a student to further education.

  • anAtheist

    Walter, did it say scholarship on the paypal page as well as multiple times on this blog? If it says scholarship in so many places, yet it is not a scholarship, Thats one heck of a thing to misrepresent. The question is why? what purpose does that serve?

    I’m asking you directly Walter. Your statement about never donating again concerns me.

  • Jen

    I support you! The world needs more people like you. I’d also like to call out the “Christian” behavior that he has had to endure. WWJD?

  • Josh Murphy

    What Would Josh Do, you ask? Well, throw in some money for this young man being treated illegally & shamefully because of a pitiful cultural relic (hint: it’s monotheism with an anthropomorphized exaltation of humanity).

  • Zaphod

    @anAtheist – If Damon brings a lawsuit against the school, he is likely to win, in which case the school will be paying the lawyers. If the ACLU, FFRF, etc., take the case for him, and he does not win, he will not have to pay any fees.

  • Walter

    @ anAtheist. Dear friend, I was concerned with Damon not getting access to this money. But let me start from the end. Following my comment I went back and saw that the fund is not moving fast enough for me past the $15K mark so I’ve broken my own promise to myself and chipped in additional $10 to push it over $15K. That was $10K ago.
    Now to the beginning. I know this fund was labeled “college fund”. But it presumes that Damon would go to college in the first place. But what if he doesn’t want to go to college? Now we know that he declared that he wants to go to college. But then I had no clue. And what if he wants to go to college in two or three years? I would like to think that my own reaction to him taking the stand for the Constitution, as well as most of other people was an emotional one. He did what many of us would not do for many reasons. So, I see this “chip-in” process as a reward for courage and also as a response his community refusal to follow the law and to their ostracism of Damon for him taking the stand. I have to trust that Damon, since he is an adult now, can be trusted with this money. I also believe that he needs those fund now for his immediate needs, since he was disowned by his own parents and does not have their financial support. That is if there were to be a vote on how and when to disburse the fund to him I would’ve voted:”as soon as possible”.
    Now, this fund keeps on growing, and I suspect that it may keep on growing to a much larger sum that just meager $25K. [ :) ]. And it’s growth in itself is a statement about us, those who give, as it is a reward to Damon. So, my current position, on May 27, 2011, is that we should let this money grow for as long as it grows relatively fast, and then turn it all over to Damon to do with it as he pleases.
    Now, if Damon turns out to be a fool and spends it all on candy… well we haven’t lost anything.
    On the giving side of the equation, what all those who donated money did, was putting their money where their mouth was. Even if Damon were to return to his Christian roots, even if he looked back and decided this was the wrong thing for him to do, no matter for what reason, it would be still all worth every dime we have donated.
    For myself, I have regained confidence in the fact that actually there is power base out there consisting of people who put their money where their believes are. It is so much better that all that noise that comes out so often from many of my “spiritual” atheist friends.
    As to me getting anxiety attack over the disbursement of money I’m pretty sure now that Hemant will be able to deal with money as is needed. I have full confidence in him.

  • Walter

    And BTW, I’m so proud of all of you, whether you have donated or not. It’ nice to know that that you are all out there. Maybe the next step should be an attempt to organize our community into a more tightly woven network?
    For moral support if for nothing else.

  • Angela Terrell

    Hero of the day – DAMON FOWLER! While I am unable to contribute financially at this moment…my sincere and deep gratitude goes out to Damon for his courage, to Damon’s brother for being there for him, to the atheist community of this Louisiana town who came to his aid, and to Hemant Mehta for creating this opportunity for each one of us to help Damon. WOW!!! Some people can be incredible cruel…and closed minded, and others can blow your socks off with their kindness and generosity! WWJD? :) GO DAMON!

  • upset

    i dont understand why yall would bash his parents about this yall dont even know them…. they would never take money from him and damon left on his own his parents miss him deeply. they are not mean ppl they raised all 5 of there kids the best they knew how and showed them more love then they could ever ask for…… the more damon and his siblings bash her on the internet the more there breaking there moms heart….i cant stand ppl that wants to bring attention to there-self……its in Gods hands now…..js

  • godlessaussie

    I am an elderly ex-teacher from Melbourne Australia. My husband and I would like Damon, his wonderful brother and sister, and all their supporters in the States to know that Damon’s bravery in the face of the ignorance, bigotry and shameful (un-Christian!) behaviour of his schoolmates and community (especially that of his teacher Mitzi Quinn) is noted here down under and we wish him well. We’re ‘chipping in’ too, to show our (modest) financial support. Good luck!

  • Rozmarija Grauds

    The Founding Fathers would have been proud of this boy’s bravery, an AMERICAN standing up for Constitutional rights of freedom OF and FROM religions. A publically funded school is not entitled to having religious services, such as prayer, in its operations. That is why we wisely have assured tax-exempt status to all places of worship.

  • Agnostic Actually

    I’m not an Atheist, but I find what happened absolutely appalling. I’m happy to donate something to someone who stood up for his constitutional rights. It’s not American to “just sit down and shut up, and go with it” if it’s clearly against the law. He took a big risk, and paid an almost unbelievable price for it (what are his parents thinking?!). Very patriotic! +$20 (wish I was able to give more!)

  • angelfire1712

    There’s something to be said about a teenager who has a lot more brains than his parents..yes, I take real offense at these people. Damon, must at times, believe that he was adopted…I can’t see Damon doing that to his offspring. If your kid is being bullied and tormented and your parents join in..well there’s absolutely something wrong with the mentality of these folks and I strongly believe they need an intervention.
    They are abusive parents…and they get away with it because they have the support and “understanding(?)” of the self righteous, pious community they live in…Thank goodness Damon has left the building. Good luck to you…and go to college Damon; perhaps a political science major is in your future…but go.

  • ChuckR

    Church/State Separation isn’t the ultimate core value here: what’s at stake is the freedom to choose and live your own beliefs and not be coerced into subscribing to the beliefs of others. The struggle to preserve and defend this freedom is noble, but it’s hard to see that nobility when it’s fronted by snarling masks of resentment, rancor, and contempt. Isn’t one lynch mob enough? Be the good guys: this a good guys’ cause!

  • Anna Haston

    I cordially invite Damon to attend Oberlin College in Oberlin, OH. I think it would be a great fit for him.

    If nothing else, try attending Tulane or Loyola. Tulane is the better choice of the two. Oberlin is the best choice :) .

  • Jxn

    Wow, nearly $30k. Nice.

    Spoken like a true Obie, Anna. But unless he’s absolutely certain about music he really should go out east, to Bowdoin…otherwise, you’re just too far from civilization. ;)

    Glad he’s standing up in the heart of the South for what’s right. We only win in baby steps, and only survive by supporting each other.

  • Georges Sioufi

    I wanted to donate but the “event has ended”? I only learned about this 5 minutes ago!

    Anyway, to Mr Fowler, you have helped us to see once again how savage some people can become when their faith gets resistance while paying dearly.

    I hope the Atheist Community of Austin hears of this and mentions you. It be also be nice to hear you on the show!

    GO DAMON!

    Cheers from Canada and God LESS America.

  • iago

    having learned of this only today, i missed the deadline for contributing. if you plan to extend it, please let us all know.

  • Steve Fairbrother

    Would also like to contribute if the deadline is extended.

  • Tracie F Gib

    I wrote to Hemant a week or two ago when I had been unable to contribute. I had been unaware that the appeal had involved an auction of some type. Here is the answer that he sent me. HTH

    Hi! I appreciate the thought, but the auction has ended. (I need to cut it off so I can move forward with getting the money to Damon.) Please consider giving to FFRF or the Secular Student Alliance :)

  • Steven H

    Why has the chip-in event ended? Seems premature, no? “Move forward with getting the money to Damon”???? That seems very odd. Why stop at that level? This seems very wrong-headed. After six months, a year perhaps, but a few DAYS??? Really? REALLY?

  • peet

    over 31K$ – awesome!


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