Richard Dawkins was supposed to speak about his new book The Magic of Reality at the Wyndgate Country Club in Rochester Hills, Michigan last night… but, as you know by now, the owner canceled the event (after the contract was signed) after finding out that Dawkins was an atheist.
Kimberly Danner is a student at Oakland University, close to where this all went down as well as the school Dawkins is visiting later today.
She spoke to an employee at the country club last night. This is how it went:
Today, Richard Dawkins will be giving a lecture from 1:00-2:30p at Oakland University. After hearing about his recent incident, I am embarrassed beyond belief. We are extremely grateful of this once in a lifetime opportunity and have worked very hard to provide a memorable visit for Dr. Dawkins.
Yesterday night, I gave a friendly phone call to the country club to ask a few questions. I asked the receptionist why Richard Dawkins was cancelled and she replied, “I don’t know… We have so many events all day, every day, and all weekend,” the receptionist stated. She has been an employee of this country club for 13 years but this is the first time she’s seen discrimination like this happen.
“No information was provided to me,” she stated. She mentioned that she hadn’t noticed any protestors (see below), read any of the current news, or watched the local news regarding the situation. “We were not informed of this change,” she stated. She offered to forward me to manager Joe Tignanelli’s voicemail at the country club. When I requested his email address she declined by saying, “I’m not really comfortable sharing that with you in light of what you are telling me.”
They are usually open until 9:00p unless there is an event. I made the phone call around 7:00p and was told there were no other employees there. She also advised me to call the Royal Park Hotel (where the Dawkins event was relocated) because they might have more information for me.
(It seemed odd to me that someone who supposed had “no clue” what was going on did know where the event was relocated…)
Incidentally, American Atheists held a last-minute protest at the Wyndgate last night. No word yet on how that went…
There is also a petition making the rounds calling for an apology for anti-atheist discrimination from the Wyndgate Country Club.
Finally, Chicago Tribune columnist Eric Zorn wonders what the outrage would look like if Dawkins happened to be a Mormon.