A(n Honestly) Classy Apology from the Gelato Mio Owner

Andy, the owner of Gelato Mio, just posted a more extensive apology to atheists on Reddit.

This isn’t just PR-speak. I think he genuinely feels bad about what he did and wants to make things right. You can decide if he accomplishes that:

To the World:

Hello, my name is Andy and I’m the owner of Gelato Mio, a gelato shop located in Springfield, Missouri. There has been quite a lot of buzz and discussion concerning a picture of the sign I briefly posted in my front window Saturday evening. I’d like to take this opportunity to tell my story and offer a heartfelt apology to your community. I messed up, plain and simple. This is NOT an excuse, but how it happened from my perspective.

I decided to welcome the convention downtown by offering the attendees 10% off their purchases at my store. A lot of the group from the convention were stopping by, being very polite and enjoying my Gelato. Saturday night started out as a great night. Once the store slowed down, I decided to walk down the street to learn more about the convention, fully thinking it was something involving UFOs (“skeptics”). What I saw instead was a man conducting a mock sermon, reading the bible and cursing it. Instead of saying “Amen”, the phrase was “god damn”. Being a Christian, and expecting flying saucers, I was not only totally surprised but totally offended. I took it very personally and quickly decided in the heat of the moment that I had to take matters into my own hands and let people know how I felt at that moment in time.

So, I went quickly back to my business, grabbed the first piece of paper I could find, wrote the note and taped it in my front window. This was an impulsive response, which I fully acknowledge was completely wrong and unacceptable. The sign was posted for about 10 minutes or so before I calmed down, came to my senses, and took it down. For what it’s worth, nobody was turned away. I strongly believe that everybody is entitled to their beliefs. I’m not apologizing for my beliefs, but rather for my inexcusable actions. I was wrong.

Guys, I really don’t know what else I can do to express my apologies. I’ve received dozens of calls and hundreds of emails since the incident, and have done my best to reply to each and every one and express my regret for what happened. For the thousands of you whom I’ve offended, I sincerely apologize. I hope you can find it in your hearts to forgive me. This is me as a human being sincerely apologizing for my actions.

To those of you who accept my apology, Thank You; it means a lot. To those of you who haven’t, I hope you will. I’m just a 28 year old small business owner who made a big mistake. I hope you see that I have not made any excuses, I’ve owned up to what I did, and I apologize.

For what it’s worth, an Atheist reached out to me to help me work through all of this and contact your community directly. I graciously accepted his offer.

I will give everyone who comes to my store this week 10% off as a token of my apology. Really, what’s more universal than ice cream?

Sincerely, Andy

I appreciate that. It’s actually unfortunate because it sounds like he walked in on a performance by “Sam Singleton Atheist Evangelist,” who was giving a fake sermon designed to offend religious sensibilities. Had Andy seen virtually *any* of the other talks, including mine, he would’ve seen that the tone was almost overwhelmingly positive (and far from anti-Christian) at the event.

Anyway, Andy made an impulsive mistake, but he’s been quick to rectify it. That’s exactly the type of response we want from people who may not agree with us. I don’t know what more we could ask from a Christian. I forgive him. Hell, next time I’m in Springfield, I might even buy some gelato from him.

He didn’t ask for this, but I’m sure it would make a world of difference to Andy if people could go to Yelp, Urbanspoon, and Facebook and post some positive feedback.

Let’s show him that we don’t hold grudges, especially not against people who admit they made a mistake.

***Update***: PZ Myers doesn’t accept the apology:

That’s the problem with being a contrarian. You have to voice dissent even when it’s completely uncalled for.

No one’s letting Andy off the hook for being a bigot. He still disapproves of atheism. Who cares. The point is that he (now) knows that his act of discrimination was wrong. We ought to show some appreciation when someone admits they made a mistake, even if the person isn’t completely on our side of the big picture. The next step is to get him to realize why there’s nothing wrong with what was said at Skepticon in the first place, but that’s a separate battle.

This was a sincere apology from Andy for what he did. You can act like it’s not important, but you’re giving off the impression that tiny steps don’t make a difference. They do. Now, he can begin to take more of them.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • Nate Hays

    This is awesome!  What a good person.  This makes me wonder what’s worse:  A performer planning out an offensive performance purposefully with the intent to offend others, or a guy who reacts to that performance and offends others in a brief moment of frustration.    

    • http://www.facebook.com/d3st88 Morva Ádám

      Although up until now I haven’t even heard of Sam Singleton, but what the hell is wrong with a mock sermon?

      It doesn’t sound like something I would enjoy -perhaps I would-, but I think it’s highly likely that I’d be more offended by an authentic sermon that glorifies god, the destroyer, that commits treason against reason and compassion by claiming that the sermon crackers and wine turn into the body of a 2000 year dead jew, who was fine with slavery, and taught that if you love your partner or children or parents or any of your fellow human beings that jesus or his dad then you absolutely deserve to rot in hell forever and suffer unspeakable pains for all eternity.

      Think about that.

      • JV

        So, its ok for you to be offended but not for him? The act was intintially offensive, don’t act suprised when it has the desired effect. His initial actions were wrong and dealt with appropriately. We can’t really expect anything more (thought we can always hope.)

      • Anonymous

        There is nothing wrong with it and mockery is necessary in some cases, but you should be able to understand how he got the wrong impression if that’s all he saw

      • Pseudonym

        There’s nothing wrong with a mock sermon, but it sounds out of place at a skepticism conference (though perfectly acceptable at an atheism conference). PZ Myers may approve, but neither Martin Gardner nor Carl Sagan would have, and Phil Plait probably wouldn’t either.

    • Anonymous

      Would you also condemn a comedian that mocks the Noah story?  How about the guy that laughs at Poseidon, Jupiter, or Baal?

      • Pseudonym

        I wouldn’t condemn a comedian who mocked the Noah story, but it probably wouldn’t be especially funny. Now a comedian who mocked someone who believed the Noah story was history… that’s a different story.

        • Anonymous

          Actually Ricky Gervais was hilarious when he did it.

    • Anonymous

      No one has the right NOT to be offended.  However, what Andy did wasn’t offensive, it was illegal. 

      • NU

        No, no it wasn’t.

        • Anonymous

          Civil Rights Act of 1964 – Title IIOutlawed discrimination based on race, color, religion or national origin in hotels, motels, restaurants, theaters, and all other public accommodations.

          • NU

            “race, color, religion or national origin”

            Which of those categories does “Skepticon Attendee” fall under?

            • Anonymous

              “…religious discrimination occurs when someone is denied the equal protection of the laws, equality of status under the law, equal treatment in the administration of justice, and equality of opportunity and access to employment, education, housing, public services and facilities, and public accommodation because of their exercise of their right to religious freedom.”

              U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, 1979: Religious discrimination. A neglected issue. A consultation sponsored by the United States Commission on Civil Rights, Washington D.C., April 9–10, 1979

              The facts, as admitted by the business owner are:

              1.  He saw a performance that was mocking his religious beliefs.
              2.  He took the action of posting a sign excluding the group of people that were exercising their first amendment rights to speak about religion.
              3.  That sign included the words “My Christian Business” as a pointed rebuke to the group in question that they were being excluded based on their incompatible religious beliefs.

              That is exactly what makes a “Skepitcon Attendee” fall under a protected class.

  • http://www.facebook.com/d3st88 Morva Ádám

    I almost felt sorry for the guy..
    Then I noticed..

    HE CAPITALIZED THE “A” in atheist.
    How dare you! It’s written in small caps.

    But seriously, although I live on the other side of the world, I don’t think the community should hold a grudge against this bloke. He also seems sincere.

  • pinko

    I dunno man, I guess I appreciate that he’s sorry and there’s really nothing else you can do but say sorry, but no one was turned away?  Yeah, they were.  I mean, the sign turned people away so he didn’t have to do it himself.  Just seems like a dude trying to handle bad PR more than anything.

    • Anonymous

      I agree with this… it may have been up for only 10 minutes, but he had the sentiment and he put it up.  I think someone quickly told him it wasn’t a prudent business decision and he realized how much money he could lose, so he pulled it down, perhaps not knowing someone had taken a picture and that no one would be the wiser.  Too bad people have cell phones and internet connections, eh Andy?

      I’m not there, but as an atheist, I accept his apology with conditions.  I would forgive him but I would not frequent his business.  He has the right to his beliefs and his anger at that moment.  I also have the right to not frequent businesses that would judge me on the actions of one person who may share my nonbelief.  I accept all Christians regardless what the Phelps clan or other intolerant asses may do… so should he.

      • Anonymous

        I’d guess someone told him that it was much more than just a bad business decision, I’d wager someone told him it was illegal.

        • NU

          You keep saying that it was illegal like that is somehow magically going to make that true. Stop it.

          • Anonymous

            You keep saying that it wasn’t illegal like that is somehow magically going to make that true.  Stop it.

          • Anonymous

            You keep saying that it wasn’t illegal like that is somehow magically going to make that true.  Stop it.

            • NU

              File a suit or cram it. There was nothing illegal. If you think otherwise then get the lawyers involved. Pretending that “Skepticon attendee” is a religion is just dumb.

              • Anonymous

                He made it about religion.

                • Pseudonym

                  Whoever booked Sam Singleton made it about religion.

          • Anonymous

            It doesn’t matter if Skepticon is a religion.  The sign is discriminatory because the owner excluded people on religious GROUNDS as soon as he put ‘CHRISTIAN business’ on the sign.

            “It is an unlawful discriminatory practice for any person, directly or
            indirectly, to refuse, withhold from or deny any other person, or to attempt
            to refuse, withhold from or deny any other person, any of the accommodations,
            advantages, facilities, services, or privileges made available in any place
            of public accommodation, as defined in section 213.010 and this section, or to
            segregate or discriminate against any such person in the use thereof on the
            grounds of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, ancestry, or
            disability.”

  • Danciora

    Seems like a sincere apology to me especially when you consider what he witnessed and put your self in his shoes.

    • Anonymous

      What he witnessed was someone exercising their First Amendment right to free speech and decided to use it as an excuse to violate other peoples’ rights.

  • Scramble

    We’ve all felt kicked in the gut by something that seemed more offensive than it actually was. We’re humans; overreacting is pretty universal to the human experience. This fellow recognized that for what it was, and apologized. This is NEVER an easy thing to do for anyone-in large part because even in our most heartfelt moments of apology, we can be accused of insincerity and opportunism-as some here are doing already.

    Is an apology really not enough? Do we expect him, or anyone, never to make mistakes in the first place? That’s just so unfair. I’m glad my nearest and dearest don’t hold me to that standard. 

    This is a wonderful opportunity to prove that we don’t need religion to be decent people practicing decent values such as forgiveness.

    • Anonymous

      It’s not an apology.  It’s a capitulation to pressure that everyone else said he did something wrong.  He explains no realization, no “a-ha” moment, no lesson.

      Even Stan on South Park can step forward every week and tell us what he learned.

      • Semipermeable

        We won’t know that for sure unless we read his mind. However if we reject a sincere apology then what lesson are we teaching? If we reject this we are only asserting the stereotype that we have an irrational hatred for religious people and no moral forgiveness. We can forgive imperfect people because we are all imperfect people, no god required. 

        • T-Rex

          What makes you think that apology was sincere? Initial reactions are sincere. He sincerely dislikes atheists/non-Xians. He apologized after people pointed out that he was being a bigoted dick. Then he realized he was pissing away a lot of $ by being such a dick. Don’t be so naive.

          • http://thegodlessmonster.com/ The Godless Monster

            I made a bigoted comment about Christians on The Naked Pastor’s blog. I was called out on what I did and I apologized.  I wrote something shitty in the heat of the moment and it was not a reflection of who i am as a person most of the time. They were all gracious in accepting my apology…which by the way…not one of them asked for.
            If he broke the law, then he should be prosecuted. Even so, nobody should be judged by a single snap-shot of their life.

            • T-Rex

              Ya, well this single snap shot shows exactly how this guy feels about atheists/non-Xians. Just like when people get drunk, their true feeling come out. He can apologize till Jesus comes back for the rapture but he’ll still be a bigoted dick who apologized only after someone pointed out to him what a dick he was being and how much $ he was going to miss out on by discrimnating against an entire group of people. Maybe people should think things through a little more before wearing their hearts on their sleeves/business extablishments.  Either way, I wouldn’t patronize his business after this incident. We’ll just have to agree to disagree.

              • http://thegodlessmonster.com/ The Godless Monster

                “Either way, I wouldn’t patronize his business after this incident.”
                That makes two of us, and if you read some of my other comments, you’ll see that I am not opposed to him being prosecuted for civil rights violations if such a charge would stick. My point is that while he should be held legally accountable,there’s no percentage in judging this dumbass for a single incident. We all make mistakes. I expect everyone to pay for their mistakes, but I don’t see it as beneficial to stick someone with a label based on single incident.

              • http://thegodlessmonster.com/ The Godless Monster

                “Ya, well this single snap shot shows exactly how this guy feels about atheists/non-Xians.”
                Actually this single snap-shot shows how an ignorant dumbass reacts when someone makes fun of his religion. He took it personally and he acted out like an ignoramus. It doesn’t excuse what he did and it makes his actions no less reprehensible, but it does us no good to misrepresent or misinterpret what really happened here.  He may not have even had a well-defined opinion on atheists until he stumbled across this convention.  You have to admit that this is a possibility…

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Brian-Macker/518709704 Brian Macker

            His initial reaction was to take down the sign.

            • Travshad

              What?  His initial reaction was to put the sign up.  After whatever time period and whether it was his own thinking or intervention from others (employees or business partners) he then removed the sign. 

              • Will

                10 MINTUES!  that’s pretty darn quick.  I’ll take 10 minutes rather than leaving it up for the entire conference until people were protesting outside his store.  TEN MINUTES!  Heck atheists can get over this and it’s been DAYS.

          • Will

            don’t be so religious..geez.. where did you learn such hatred and anger?  Must have been a Catholic of Southern Baptists at some time…

        • Anonymous

          This is not about moral forgiveness.  He stated:
          ” I’m not apologizing for my beliefs, but rather for my inexcusable actions.”
          So he admits that his actions are “inexcusable”, but does not apologize for his “beliefs.”  I see that as a simple statement that says “I believe I have a right to be so offended that I go and break the law.  Once I’ve broken the law, I’m soooo sorry that you should forgive me for breaking the law.”

          It is yet another example of a Xtian that believes that their religion justifies breaking the law as long as they say “so sorry” afterwards for their action, not their belief.

          • Pseudonym

            Have you honestly never done anything in the heat of anger that you later realised was wrong and deeply regretted? If not, you’re either a Vulcan or haven’t lived.

            • Anonymous

              I have said many things in the heat of anger that were wrong and I deeply regretted later.

              However, I’ve never been in a bigot in the heat of anger.

              • Pseudonym

                Really? I have. I have, for example, said horrible things about all council parking inspectors in the heat of the moment. Luckily for me, none of them were in earshot at the time.

                I don’t believe this to be evidence of any latent bigotry that I hold against public servants who are entrusted with making sure that the car parking system works smoothly. It was just the catecholamines talking.

              • Will

                but what Sam was doing FELT like it was bigoted to this guys beliefs.  And someone explained it was a comic performance.  I mean, if it had been people in blackface in front of a black owned store….and they were just “making fun” … no one would have blamed the guy for the sign.  The weird part is he took it down so fast.

                • Anonymous

                  You make it sound like this store owner was forced to be exposed to this.

                  Andy walked into Skepticon, into a conference room, and saw this performance on private property that had been paid for by the people that were occupying it.

                  He witnessed a citizen of the U.S. exercising his first amendment rights to free speech.  He then proceeded to walk back to his public place of business and break the law by excluding a class of people from his public place of business.

                  It was not in front of his store, no one forced him to see it.  He didn’t ask any questions, he walked into a performance of his own volition, made his assumptions, and then proceeded to break the law.

                  Also, your example reverses a fact.  Non-believers, at least publicly declared ones, are not a majority in this country.  Christians are.  Your example is that of a Majority making fun of a minority.  Which, in any case, would have been perfectly legal as well, and the store owner would also have been breaking the law in your example.

            • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ Anonymous

              You don’t get it. HIS BELIEFS were, apparently MORE IMPORTANT THAN OUR RIGHTS.

              His “apology” came about ONLY because his business took a nosedive, ratings-wise. NOT because he’s genuinely sorry for being a bigoted fuck-wit with a giant hard-on for Jesus.

              • Pseudonym

                His feelings were more important than your rights. I don’t know you, but I’m willing to bet that when you’re pissed off (rightly or wrongly), your feelings are more important than anyone else, too.

                Let he who has never mouthed off while angry cast the first stone.

              • Will

                in 10 minutes?  If his BELIEFS were the point… and I’ve read my Bible, he would have left the sign UP.  He changed his mind.  Martin Luther King would have been thrilled if this had happened during the civil rights movement. A few skeptic leaders should go to his store, educated him a bit, and shake his hand.  Hate will only bring more hate.  Talking and staying rational and calm (we’re critical thinkers here people!  not the Spainish Inquisition.) will do far more good.  What people want a headline of “hate filled atheists close business even after apology?” …that’ll bring a lot of love and acceptance the atheist way.

              • Nordog

                I don’t know what I find more inspirational, the depth of compassion you hold for those you disagree with, or the utter class in which you express it.

      • Scramble

        I will say it again: I am glad my nearest and dearest don’t hold me to this standard that apologies are inherently worthless, and the only way to make amends is never to have behaved badly at all. 

        people do bad things, it is pointed out to them, they consider their actions, and they may ro may not apologize. Having one’s poor behaviour pointed out to them does not make their apology-essentially their agreement with the person doing the pointing out-insincere. It means they’ve changed their mind about their behaviour.

        Ask yourself this: when your partner, or your kid, or your brother, or a close friend, or your mom, does something bad or hurtful, and you point that out to them, and they apologize, do you counter to these loved ones with, “no, actually you’re not sorry. You’re just saying so because you got in trouble.” Do you really make your beloved partner, your child, your good friend explain the lesson they learned from their bad behaviour before you accept their apology? (Ok, I can see where this might be good for kids to do sometimes.) But overall, I call that shaming, unecessary shaming on the part of the one being apologized to, just to make themselves feel more powerful. “Accepting” apologies this way poisons relationships.

        I have to say, the toxic rhetoric that spewed forth from this community after Elevatorate was terrible. As a woman, I felt deeply unwelcome, and often outright hated, by some commenters and bloggers in Skeptic-Atheist-Land. But that didn’t stop me from reading, and posting the occasional comment, and participating in my small way, because sexism is everywhere and I really saw the potential for progress arise out of elevatorgate. But here we are again, ruthlessly attacking someone because we disagree, publicly flogging and shaming him because we are numerous and he is not. 

        Until this “community” develops some maturity and decides to grow a heart, I’m out. Keep up the good work, Hemant (and Richard Wade, and Greta Christina). I’ll keep reading, but it’ll be a long time, if ever, before you see me commenting again. (Though I may make an exception for Greta’s Fashion Fridays.) 

        • sansdeity

          Byeeeee.

        • Anonymous

          You are making a generalization out of a specific case.  Apologies in and of themselves are not worthless, this particular non-apology is.

          What if his sign had truly said “NAACP attendees are not welcome at my White business.”

          Then, once his business was being destroyed by non-violent attack, he wrote a letter of apology that included: “I apologize for putting up the sign, it was inexcusable behavior, but I don’t apologize for my beliefs.”

          My issue with this is that people seem to be willing to accept this non-apology as contrition that the sentiment that caused the action is wrong, and I don’t see that at all.  I see him trying to save his business while keeping intact his “belief” that others have no right to mock his inherently mockable beliefs.

          Not once did he apologize for breaking the law.  For saying that it is unacceptable for a businessman to bring religious discrimination into a public place of business.  Not once did he say that he was sorry for hating non-christians simply for the fact that they did not hold reverent what he does.  

          He said he was sorry for saying it out loud.

          Maturity is not about burying your head in the sand when you are discriminated against by a bigot.  Saying “grow up and I’m taking my ball and going home,” does not demonstrate maturity.

          • Will

            maturity is in knowing when to say “enough” and “I can stop hitting back again and again and again”.  It’s knowing when to end the hate on your side and using our intelligence to talk to this guy and stop “guessing” and “I KNOW WHAT THIS IS” stuff.  It’s not “I get the last word in and I WIN” it’s “let’s use this as a lesson, perhaps to educate people including store owners”  What do we want the public lesson of this to be?  We are tolerant, we are big enough to accept an apology without crucifying this guy… and atheist react DIFFERENTLY than other groups, especially religious groups, because that’s what being a critical thinker is about.  We ARE different and that difference is what makes us successful in our lives and business and should be an example for others.  

            • Anonymous

              You seem to think this is about hate.  This is about not accepting a half-assed “I’m really sowwy” for breaking the law.  I’m not crucifying him, nor would I want to.

              I was content to simply know that I would never patronize his business until he started trying to issue a non-apology in a venial effort to get me to patronize his business in the future because he didn’t mean to say it out loud.

  • Anonymous

    But it’s okay that the shit in the Bible, that many, many people live by, and think others should live by, offends me. 

    • Scramble

      I’m not sure I take your full meaning. Please elaborate?

      • Anonymous

        The shit in the Bible offends me. Listening to people preach and use it, never shutting up about it, offends me. But, if I had my own business, I wouldn’t put up a sign that read “no Christians, no Bibles allowed”. 

        He was offended, so what? Deal with it. 

        Maybe this guy is sincere. I hope so. I hope he begins to actually think about his beliefs.

        But it seems that many Christians are offended by the very existence of those who don’t believe what they believe. I’m not going to kow tow to them or act like a second class citizen. 

  • Rod Chlebek

    So if it WAS an atheist convention the sign would have been justified? I accept his apology, but I don’t think he sees what’s going on here.

  • http://thefloatinglantern.wordpress.com/ Tim Martin

    Now THAT is how you apologize for something! Someone arrange for this man to meet the Pope and Joe Paterno for some students on showing remorse!

  • steve Zara

    I’m surprised by PZ’s reaction to this on Twitter.  I mean, what else could the guy have said?  It was a total apology and retraction.  To not accept that is just pointless, and achieves nothing.  

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=613751245 Alex Manuel

      It’s not what he did after that even concerns me. He admitted that, “in the heat of the moment”, he had to let everyone know how he felt. I do not believe that this action, now, is how he really feels; I believe the action he took when he felt it was just him, in his store, with a couple of atheists hanging around, atheists most other people probably wouldn’t tolerate either, and he could basically do whatever he wanted with probably minimal scrutiny. That kind of reaction is a telling one. 

      Seriously — what if it had been blacks, and his first “instinct” was to write “No [N-words]” across the door? If that expression is within him and was the first immediate thing to come out, then obviously, somewhere inside, THAT is how he feels about us. When we express our disdain for his religion (not HIM, mind you, even though he probably conflated that at the time — his religion. A completely separate thing from his specific person), we’re not welcome. 
      I think this *would* accomplish something; namely, if enough people were properly outraged about a local business owner practicing discrimination, he’d lose customers and learn how absolutely not okay discrimination is, “heat of the moment” or not. I doubt such a pivotal learning moment would ever come again in his lifetime, and here I’m seeing people just saying, “Eh.” 

      • steve Zara

        “I do not believe that this action, now, is how he really feels”
        We can’t mind-read.  He gave a thorough apology in writing – quite an astonishingly apologetic apology too.  That’s great.  Job done.  If we atheists got that kind of apology from those who were prejudiced, it would be great.

        Not to move on from this seems to me to be petulant for the sake of being petulant.

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=613751245 Alex Manuel

          You’re right; we CAN’T mind-read. I’m only interpreting his words, and as I’ve stated previously, without any actual delving into what happened that just spontaneously changed his tone from “To the back of the bus with you!” to “Wow, I was wrong; let’s all hug it out, guys”, I can’t but think that those words are empty words with one of any number of possible motivations behind them — annoyance at the angry emails, fear of losing business, fear of negative publicity, etc. 

          I’m sorry, but that’s a major leap of faith you’re asking for, to believe that someone who could basically banish people for their religious commentary is suddenly a changed man with nary an explanation as to why. 

          I’ll say one thing he can do, and PZ put it very succinctly: if he’s willing to admit that we have every right to say anything we want about his religion (not inviting us to DO it in front of him, but just acknowledging that basic right), then I might believe him. That would show me he understands the *why* of what he did wrong.

        • ed-words

          Are you the Steve Zara from “across the pond”?

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=622166576 Colin Thornton

        To see that sort of hateful bigoted mockery of his core beliefs would surely cause him to react in an equally hateful and bigoted way. You say that this person wasn’t criticized – just his religion. That’s a little like saying that you weren’t mocking the transvestite – just the idea of gender switching. When we mock another group’s choices, we are guilty of bigotry. The anger and persecution you feel? It’s the exact unwelcoming feeling he felt when he encountered an atheist revivalist at a convention that (if it had lived up to it’s name) should have been promoting science and critical thinking. Hypocrisy!

        But go ahead and continue to rate him low on Yelp even after his apology. It shows that we are the hateful, unforgiving robots that we have been labeled.

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=613751245 Alex Manuel

          Your Stockholm Syndrome is your business. Sure, I could mock gender-switching as an idea rather than the transvestite who practices it, but why would I do either? Gender dysphoria is a proven phenomenon; it’s never once hurt anyone or caused any discrimination inherent to itself — what would I be mocking? 

          Their gods, their mythos are all both unsubstantiated and party to some of the worst persecution both of old and of late. They can inextricably immerse themselves in it all they want; doesn’t make it my responsibility when they take personal offense to my laundry list of flaws and malicious acts their god is said to have committed, among other things.

          I have no doubt Skepticon itself was devoted to critical thinking (as I see Skepticon as inherently separate from a few who chose to attend it), but I also believe that exceptionalism regarding critical thinking as it applies to RELIGION is bogus. Just because it’s more offensive to more people to see Judeo-Christian dogma dissected than it is for people to be skeptical about things like homeopathy or cryptozoology doesn’t mean they aren’t well within their rights to do it, or that they’ve done anything wrong (especially to warrant the treatment they got from Andy). Unless you’re about to tell me that there’s no way to prove their religion wrong, and then I’m just going to laugh at you for being silly.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=622166576 Colin Thornton

            I see. It’s acceptable to apply bigotry to groups that deserve it? Is that your argument? I think we can all see how sticky that path can become if you follow it.

            Proving a religion wrong, arguing for evolution and an ancient Earth, are far different than blaspheming their god for a communal laugh. By all means, share the scholarly evidence for a naturally derived world — that’s the kind of skepticism that represents our best qualities. But when you intersperse that with a bigoted comedy show, you undercut everything else by making us seem like bullies. And then to keep harping after an apology continues this bullying attitude indefinitely. Sometimes it goes too far, and there are a select few who don’t want to identify with this behavior.

            The reason that old school skeptics aren’t comfortable with atheism being the new skepticism is not entirely because of branding confusion or accommodation. The real reason is that performances like Sam Singleton’s are an antithesis to the outreach and science advocacy pioneered by Sagan (and others). It belongs at an atheism convention.

            • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=613751245 Alex Manuel

              Last I heard of the account, Sam Singleton did not walk up to Andy, secure his acknowledgment that he was a Christian, then launch into an anti-Christian tirade just to upset him. He was talking amongst other friends well outside of his establishment, and Andy happened to hear it. Are we to simply keep these discussions to ourselves for fear of offending someone? What other discussions do we need to censor to avoid offense? Does the offense they generate make the points any less valid? 

              Personally, I think you make the mistake of assuming that Christians aren’t aware that we’re generally normal people; I’m sure there are some exceptions, but for the most part, we don’t have horns and we don’t necessarily stand out in a crowd. We’re human beings; it isn’t US they hate, as if we’re some dangerous species. What they hate, what makes them uncomfortable, is how our dissection of Judeo-Christianity creates cognitive dissonance (or amplifies that which already exists). It doesn’t allow them to comfortably have those beliefs, to allow them to go unchallenged. What you’re basically proposing is that we capitulate, and NEVER speak of the flaws and holes in Christianity around a religious person. 

              If you’re okay with that, then good luck to you. I’m not okay with that. 

              Religion is an incredibly powerful force in the world; therefore, to act as if we need to keep skepticism at arm’s length from it to avoid hurt feelings or to further promote science is just . . . wrong. Do you honestly expect someone to truly and openly show interest in skepticism when he has to keep religion in a guarded part of his mind? Because eventually questions in all other areas of life that religion touches (and that’s most of them) are going to rear their heads, and the mind is going to spring shut again like a steel trap. Stop insisting religion somehow be held sacred and “safe” from skepticism. If ANYTHING deserves to be under that particular microscope, it’s religion. Whether it LEADS to atheism or not is of no consequence; to essentially shut down the skeptical inquiry of religion before it even begins because you don’t want to hurt Curtis the Christian’s feeling does nobody any favors.

              • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=622166576 Colin Thornton

                You can’t control who gets offended, but you can control the type of message that you send. When you send a message that is intended to exclude and ridicule the cherished beliefs of a particular group, you not only alienate that group but you also alienate people within your own movement. Alienating ourselves not because we are questioning the cognitive dissonance of believers within our movement, but because we are doing it in a thoughtless and unkind way. Do we need to censor our content to satisfy critics like me and gelato-Andy. No, go ahead and support reverse bigotry at skepticon — just don’t act like some sort of persecuted minority when you see that same sort of bigotry reflected your way. It’s the height of hypocrisy.

          • Jake

            Whatever happened to being polite?

        • PZ Myers

          Grrrrrr.

          Skepticon was promoting science and critical thinking. Where do you get the idea that treating the bullshit of faith respectfully is somehow the way to promote science?

          When people believe stupid, wrong things, it is not bigotry to point that out. And that is precisely the mechanism so many theists use to shelter their pathetic beliefs: “boo hoo, you’re a bigot for pointing out how wrong we are!”

          • InsideTheSkull

            This makes them rethink their beliefs critically how?

            • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=613751245 Alex Manuel

              I should say that an unapologetic demonstration of the inherent lack of sense and savage immorality of the Judeo-Christian faith (as is typically the case in Sam’s mock sermons) is likely to go much further in causing him to rethink his beliefs than either 1. never having brought up the subject in his presence or 2. immediately caving at the first sign of feigned contrition, just for the sake of appearing “big” for the gesture. 

              It’s obvious he’s not used to having his ideas challenged. I’d assume that, judging by his reaction, the mock sermon made him consider some things about his religion that he REALLY didn’t want to consider — unless he honestly believes that an all-powerful god capable of leveling cities and earth-wide deluges truly can’t defend himself against the words of one human being. It had nothing to do with defending “god”; he was defending the already fragile integrity of his entire belief system. 

              Is it not clear to you by now just how poorly Christianity stands up to scrutiny? It is not obvious that this is WHY Christians take offense to criticisms of God’s character? 

              Those beliefs CAN’T stand up under scrutiny. They have to be left alone to be left intact.

          • Jake

            It costs nothing to be polite.

            However, I’m sensing politeness isn’t exactly your area of expertise.

            • Dave R

              At pharyngula, arguing for politeness automatically makes you a troll:

              pharyngula -> wiki -> Tone_troll

              • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=553145445 Gordon Duffy

                well, obviously!

            • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=553145445 Gordon Duffy

              sigh..

            • Anonymous

              Actually, it costs people the opportunity to stand up for their rights.  So, out of politeness I should allow someone to keep me from a business based on religious grounds because to say otherwise is impolite? 

              Gee thee to the back of the bus, Jake!  But smile nicely while you go because you don’t want to risk being impolite!

          • Anonymous

            That doesn’t mean everyone needs to be offended on purpose to achieve that goal. I have nothing against the atheist preacher being there, but I can understand how it created the wrong impression.

            There is nothing gained for either atheism or science by dragging out this incident. He isn’t a hate preacher. He isn’t a creationist. He isn’t an anti-gay activist. He isn’t a moral crusader. He has a ice-cream shop and he realized he made a mistake. He won’t hurt people again

          • Nordog

            “Skepticon was promoting science and critical thinking.  Where do you get the idea that treating the bullshit of faith repsectfully is somehow the way to promote science?’ 
            Wow, a known scientist just whips out the false dichotomy like it was somehow rational or something.
             
            Myers, why don’t you just admit you like being a bigot, and drop all the fallacious rationalizatons.  Embrace the truth.  Open your mind to the fact that you are filled with hate.  Everyone else knows it; join the club.

          • Pseudonym

            In situations like this, I ask a simple question: What Would Martin Gardner Do?

        • Anonymous

          Then he could retaliate by mocking those who’ve mocked him.  However, Andy chose instead to illegally violate the civil rights of a group of people.  Andy owns two businesses, he should understand what public accommodation is and how posting such a sign violates it.  He should be penalized besides just loss of business.  At the very least he  needs to understand why posting the sign was illegal.

    • PZ Myers

      Accepting it is pointless and achieves nothing, other than to make it known to christians, who already think mumbling a few words is sufficient for redemption,  that all it takes to get atheists to back off is some superficial contrition.

      I live in a country where I am a member of the most despised minority, where the bigotry Mr GelatoGuy expressed is regarded as perfectly acceptable by the majority. I am going to stand up to it forcefully, and I’m not going to back down because the guy felt some economic heat and realized he was screwing over his business.

      He has the right to be offended. That does not compel me to have any obligation to accept his apology, and I won’t. That’s where it stands; I’m certainly not advocating public flogging, I’m just saying I will not give bigotry a pass.

      Also, I’m disgusted by the atheists who respond by throwing Sam Singleton under the bus, as if it’s perfectly reasonable for a Christian to start discriminating against atheists after hearing, oh horrors, Brother Sam. What is this crap about “THE WORST POSSIBLE TIME”? Gawdamn, I have to work harder at making all the time the worst possible time for godbothering ninnies.

      • Cd1809

        “GODDAMN! Feels good, don’t it?” I love you Sam! Please come back to Everett/Seattle… I’ll buy you both another round

      • Jake

        Yeah, nah, you’re just being difficult for the sake of being difficult.

        Guy made a genuine mistake, realised that he was mistaken, and apologised. That is the best possible outcome of someone making a mistake.

      • http://www.facebook.com/fieldsb Brian Fields

        Some of us will accept his apology, some of us won’t, those are the consequences of his actions.

        However, I’d like to point out that if we’re going to bring the pressure of our community to bear on someone, that when they cry “Uncle!”, it’s in good form to let it go and count it as a win – Unless they continue the bad behavior.  It looks bad for us to NOT do so.

      • http://thegodlessmonster.com/ The Godless Monster

        I have a difficult time reconciling what I know of you with what some others here are accusing you of being..specifically a dick. I’m not seeing it.
        What I’m wondering is if you may…just MAY be giving some of your fellow human creatures a bit too much credit when it comes to the intelligence department?
        Is it remotely possible that your issue with forgiveness in this particular instance is that you assume the fellow is more intelligent than he actually is? Is it not possible that this young man is just not educated or mentally astute enough to understand what he did wrong and why it was wrong? If so, should we be as hard on him as say, for example, some PhD. creatard from The Discovery Institute?
        Don’t get me wrong, PZ, if he broke any laws, I’m all for  “making an example” of him in a court of law. I can’t say that I’d be inclined to patronize his business, even after an apology, but I’d still shake his hand and accept his apology if he offered it to me.
        Of course, I’d mutter, “dumbass”, as I walked away…

      • Anonymous

        Go to Pharyngula and see what dissent will get you. See what any criticism of Myers will get you.

        • Pseudonym

          To be fair, that’s censureship rather than censorship.

      • The Captain

        “I’m certainly not advocating public flogging” That’s all you do anymore, It’s just an “internet” version of public flogging. Your legions of worshiper (Er um… “followers”) who do anything you say will harass, email, humiliate anyone you disapprove of and you know it. 

        Do I accept this guys apology?… Well sure, I got news for you, people can say, and do stupid (and sometimes bigoted things) and actually be sorry for them. As someone who has lived in the south, I know bigotry, bigots and people who may do stupid things are a much more complex thing in real life. I know strange isn’t it, even people we label as “bigots” are still all individuals who can’t be put into categories like “bigot” and all be treated as the same. Gasp!

        Also as someone who “offends” a lot of people, I understand that there are times when one truly is sorry for offending people. I do this all the time and I find myself apologizing to people I do not know (clerks especially) all the time. But then again I sometimes actually care about what others outside my little circle of friends, think of me sometimes and would like to get along with them. 

        And please, Even though I agree with what Sam was doing,  no one is was “throwing Sam Singleton under the bus” for criticizing him. I know it’s above reproach for anyone to disagree with anyone in your little “cool kids skeptic club” but to act like a drama queen over a few internet comments critical of your friend, while hoards of your followers harass some powerless (comparatively) guy while targeting his real life lively hood, just makes part of the skeptic community look no better than some spiteful, cliquey, Mean Girls club.

    • Pseudonym

      PZ’s reactions rarely surprise me any more.

      • https://twitter.com/OffensivAtheist Bismarket

         How about now a years gone by, has he mellowed, lol? Seems to me at least a lot of people are waking up to just what a piece of shit the guy really is. P.Z. Myers has been given a pass from this community for too long IMO. At last people are calling him on his B.S!☮

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=613751245 Alex Manuel

    I completely disagree that this makes everything okay. Say he heard that Pride Day was going on and thought it was some patriotic gathering; he instead saw gay couples kissing, and subsequently banned them from his establishment as a kneejerk panicked response? That would not be quickly forgiven, likely by many; why should this be treated any differently when the bigotry was just as real? 

    Bigotry against atheists is *not* okay, and I’m frankly sick of being expected to be the “bigger woman” for the sake of example. That they hold irrational, incorrect beliefs about which they’re so insecure as to take any contrary view as a direct, hostile, PERSONAL attack is not our problem. I think the reaction thus far has been more than reasonable — his first instinct was to rebuke atheists from his establishment, so we now willingly stay away (along with anyone else who finds that kind of bigoted reaction objectionable). Nobody’s visited his house, nobody’s kicked his dog or anything even remotely close to that. I think he’s gotten a fitting, decent response. 

    Seriously. I’d never advocate anything that wasn’t legally protected and generally encouraged as a form of protest, but I’m also appalled so many are willing to chastise others for voting with their dollar the moment he approaches with his cap in hand. These kinds of reactions are the EXACT problem that so many atheists in even LESS welcoming parts of the country face when trying to live their lives openly and as they see fit. The very fact that Christians have the privilege they do is a direct reason why I think so many of us feel the need to forever extend the olive branch, stroke their hair and reassure them that everything is alright.

    To hell with that. This was wrong, and there’s no reason why he can’t face the natural consequences of such. If you’re inclined to just shrug and forget, fine. But don’t act as if the rest of us don’t have every reason to want to keep our hard-earned money out of his hands.

    • InsideTheSkull

      He apologized. He was a dick, and he made a big mistake, but he’s at least partially learned from it. No reason to be obnoxious about it.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=613751245 Alex Manuel

        Who’s being obnoxious? Not accepting his apology and resolving not to frequent his place of business is obnoxious, really? 

        I missed the part where we were calling in death threats, egging his house, sending him goatse pictures, etc. If this is obnoxious, then I’m honestly stunned — what will someone actually have to do to make you think, “Gee, whiz, maybe WE should stop seeing civility and tolerance as a privilege and more as a RIGHT”? 

        • InsideTheSkull

          I didn”t say that atheists should pander to people like him, because obviously, they shouldn’t. What he did was stupid and completely unreasonable.

          Look, no one has to go to his gelato shop. That’s fine. But if he’s offering an apology, acknowledging he screwed up, why shouldn’t we accept it?

        • JV

          I think you’re confusing “obnoxious” with “illegal”… there’s a big difference.

        • Will

          ouch Alex, the HATE THE HATE!!!  Alex sounds like she was trained in the same churches that the intolerant believers she is so angry about belong to.  Only like so many atheists she has simply joined the “Church of No God” with their zero tolerance level that most churches has.  Thing is.. critical thinkers and atheists are different.  Most of the ones I know, even the supposedly hateful Richard Dawkins, go about how they convert in a much more intellectual and engaging manner.  Intellect, reason, engagement, and indeed that one thing missing from most religions…tolerance and reason instead of EMOTION EMOTION EMOTION is what makes being an atheist and a critical thinker different…and why in the end we don’t need to sink to their level to win.  Let’s not adopt the hate and anger policy of the church, let’s keep the emotions at bay and with the knowledge that humans are capable of making mistakes and learning from them, keep the “lack of faith” going.  We don’t need this guys life story.  But he will never ever put up a sign like that again and other people have learned.  You don’t need to put the guy out of business (and yes LOTS and LOTS of hate email directed to this guys restaurant site and well as endless hate twitters and fb posts…which are STILL going on…thanks to people like Alex.).  Alex, you are the reason WWI started, because you can never ever just say “oh ok, that’s reasonable”.  No you want the “other person” to SUFFER and SUFFER MORE and it would never be enough for you.  The hate to this man continues far past the point of doing anything but harm to the atheist movement.  

    • Anonymous

      I think this should be treated with the same amount of outrage as a sign that said “No Jews” or “No Blacks” or “No Gays”.  He needs to do much more than apologize.  At the very least I think he needs to state he acknowledges that he violated people’s civil rights and he will address his ignorance by taking a class in civil right’s law for business owners.

      • Anonymous

        Exactly… if a sign like that were posted in a business owned by a nonbeliever or some other religion, but said “No CHRISTIANS,” the outrage would be palpable and FOX News would be debating it and talking about it for months to come.  But it was atheists and skeptics, etc., so no harm, no foul.  I’m sorry, that doesn’t work for me.

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Brian-Macker/518709704 Brian Macker

          It didn’t say “No Atheists” it said “Skepticon is NOT welcomed to my Christian Business”.   Skepticon, the group he just saw mocking his own beliefs, which he probably took as mocking Christians.  

          Pretty sure you are not up on mocking gays, right.  Suppose a gay owned the store, went to Skepticon, and saw a play mocking homosexuals titled “Brokeass Mt”.    Would you have the same reaction to a sign put up in the heat of the moment that read, “Skepticon is NOT welcomed to my Gay Business”?

        • Will

          it didn’t say NO CHRISTIANS.  stop trying to make yourself a victim!  Geez… what would you consider a victory…when someone burns down the store?

        • Will

          if a sign were posted for 10 minutes and an apology given, it would make the news…but it would also ONLY be a win if the Xians said “that’s ok, we forgive him and accept his apology”  It’s a BIG WIN if it makes the news and everyone is “he apologized but we don’t believe him and are going to continue are email and twitter hate campaign against this guy.  See, the WIN is in showing how NICE we are to accept this apology and try to start a dialogue with the man.  The LOSE is if we look like total assholes that aren’t tolerant of mistakes.

      • NU

        Did the sign say “No Atheists”? No. so, your premise is crap from the start. Give the guy a break. He fucked up, realized it, and apologized. Get over it.

        • Anonymous

          It’s not crap.  He identified a group of people and then excluded them on religious grounds.  What he did is equivalent to posting a sign that says “No Jews” or “No Blacks” or “No [whatever class of people named here]“.

          • NU

            Skepticon is a religion?

            • Anonymous

              OK, one more time. The owner excluded people from his business based on his perception that they were non-believers in christianity.  As soon as he said ‘christian business’ he MADE it a religious based exclusion and therefore it was illegal. 

              I can say I believe in HypnoBunji Cat and if he says I am not welcome in his christian business then he’s excluded me based on religious grounds.  Also, if I state I’m not a christian and he says I’m not welcome in his christian business then he’s discriminated against me on the basis of religion.  It was adding “christian business” to his sign that made excluding people from Skepticon an act of blatant religious discrimination.

              • NU

                If you think that is was illegal then file a suit. Until then you’re full of shit. What the dude did was tacky, but not illegal. Get over yourself.

                • Will

                  being  victim is a great excuse also.  Martin Luther King and other great leaders of change knew a culture of victimization was dangerous.  It’s just an excuse for not even trying and for all your personal failures.  “They didn’t promote me because I’m an atheist”.  “they didn’t rend me the apartment as I’m an atheist” blah de blah.  Penn Jilette pointed out that atheists are the MOST SUCCESSFUL group in the US on an economic and educational level.  yes there is prejudice.  But we can work on it from the level as people that have actually BENEFITED from our choice to get more education and not use religion as a crutch but to make our lives better through our own efforts.  Atheists aren’t Jews in Germany or Blacks in the South.  We can throw really wonderful conventions and fill them with people that can afford to attend them.  So let’s use our SKILLS to change things, not whine about how much people hate us.

                • Anonymous

                  Civil Rights Act of 1964 – Title II
                  Outlawed discrimination based on race, color, religion or national origin in hotels, motels, restaurants, theaters, and all other public accommodations.

                  It was illegal, and we can’t sue, we have to get the government to file criminal charges.

                • NU

                  Individuals can file civil suits if they believe that they have been discriminated against. Pretty straight forward. This was not discrimination that is actionable. Morons just keep running their mouths because they want to feel like victims.

                • Anonymous

                  Again you are incorrect.  You cannot sue if you “believe you have been…”  You have to actually show damages to have standing to sue.  The Government represents the people (or at least is supposed to) in actions that are to protect the common welfare, like the prevention of civil rights violations.

                  As to calling me or anyone else a moron simply because they disagree with you, or can show that you are wrong, is just a waste of words.  Sorry, don’t want to take your bait to stoop to that level.

                • Will

                  nope you are just LAZY.  LAZY LAZY LAZY…because it can be done as our local skeptic group did this with a restaurant that did not want to allow an atheist group to meet there.     All it took was a simple phone call and the govt handled it for us.  Now we have a great place to meet, AND the owner has decided we aren’t so bad after all (he even sends over a free pizza for Sagan day… )

                • Anonymous

                  Um… You are repeating what I said when you are calling me lazy. I don’t understand, my exact point was not to sue and use the government to handle it.

                • Will

                  …and the point will be WHAT?  You can ASK, and you can file a private civil suit.  But who is going to win the battle in the minds of the public.  The “oh wow, the atheists accepted my apology and were very nice about it.” or the headline “ATHEISTS TARGET SMALL BUSINESS OWNER DESPITE APOLOGY, DEMAND LARGE CASH SETTLEMENT THAT WILL PUT HIM OUT OF BUSINESS!”

                • Anonymous

                  So I should just shut up and go with the flow and accept his apology when I think it is wrong? I won’t change my opinion to win a pr war. That’s hypocrisy.

                • Will

                  nono, “file a suit”?  “take action”? get out from behind the keyboard of hate?  Oh he’s not THAT commited to this atheist/critical thinking thing!  come on!!!

              • http://www.facebook.com/people/Brian-Macker/518709704 Brian Macker

                “The owner excluded people from his business based on his perception that they were non-believers in christianity.”

                Absolutely not.    It is pretty clear at this point that he wrote that Skepticon attendees were “not welcome” because he didn’t like his beliefs mocked.    That was the point of putting “Christian Business”.   It obviously to point out that he is of the group that he felt was being mocked.

                • Anonymous

                  This ‘mocking’ didn’t even happen at his business.  He went down the street and heard someone saying something he didn’t like.  As soon as this guy wrote “christian business’ on the sign he was excluding people based on religious beliefs.

                • http://www.facebook.com/people/Brian-Macker/518709704 Brian Macker

                  No more so than identifying your business as a “Black Business” .   As in, “No KKK allowed in this  ‘Black Business’”

              • Will

                oh boy… and so NOT learning… how about Ghandi?  If you can’t read any of his books, rent the movie dude.  You want to be a victim too hard.  Real victimization ends when you stop accepting yourself as a victim and start making real efforts to educate and change minds.  Going arond “I’m a victim I’m a victim!” and getting all emotional… rent the damn movie dude.  

              • Will

                And so, since we critical thinkers are JUST THE SAME AS THE HATE FILLED RELIGIOUS… we must respond with HATE and anger and not take an honest apology because gosh knows this is the WORST thing happening right now to atheists…relgious tactics will not work with atheism or critical thinking.  THINKING will  … remember, you QUIT the church, why hold on to anything they taught you?

          • Will

            w0w, yeah because I think if someone posted “NO BLACKS” which was legal… and took it down…and offered an apology, Martin Luther King would have gone into that shop and shook that man’s hand.  We should embrace this guy changing his mind and offer the hand of friendship.  See, that’s how change happens.  Also he didn’t then go and gas the atheists that did come into his shop….(so I can see why so many atheists of Jewish cultural heritage are deeply offended by the guys posting this is just like what happened to the Jews.) No, it isn’t.  Not even close.  Crack a history books.

            • Anonymous

              Really?  Because atheists and non-believers haven’t been oppressed for centuries?  No atheist has been beaten, tortured or even killed?  Oh, and I’m sure no president in the 21st century has claimed that atheists shouldn’t even be allowed to be citizens of the US.  Are you sure you want to claim that atheists, skeptics and other non-believers have NEVER faced serious economic, physical, emotional or other consequences for their views (and especially for daring to expressing them).

              • Will

                don’t talk to me, talk to the statistics.   And join the party dude.  Women Jews Muslims Blacks the disabled Catholics, non Catholics, Buddhists, Quakers, the Amish, gays, the over weight, the homeless, poor people… the list goes on and on and on and on….get in line and do the work that needs to be done that these other groups have. They just don’t whine VICTIM, they take control and ARE the change theywant.  Penn Jilette talked about the “Whiner victim mentality” and if anyone is a militant atheist he is.  But then again he DOES stuff…not tippy tappy as a key board activist.

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Brian-Macker/518709704 Brian Macker

           Yes, and he realized it within ten minutes according to our best evidence.    Unless someone comes forward and says the sign was up for longer than that.

    • JV

      A guy took offence at something that was intentionally offensive and that offends you and PZ. Who’s the real bigot here? This is the kind of attitude that caused me to unsubscribe from PZ’s blog.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=613751245 Alex Manuel

        Intentionally offensive to whom? Was the sermon about how Andy’s a slovenly dresser and kisses his mother with tongue?

        No. It was about a guy. A guy in a book old Andy happens to like. But it’s only because 1. MILLIONS of people happen to like the same book and 2. they have managed to carve out a privileged and protected social class for themselves that we’re to believe that any attack on any of that book’s characters is somehow an attack on the people who like them. And this is absolutely false. 

        No one threatened him. No one insulted him. They mocked his religion. I mock Twilight — millions LOVE Twilight. Is it okay for someone to ban me from their establishment because I said “Edward Cullen is not real”? Especially if the reality was that Twilight fans were already a disproportionately protected social class in the country, whose discussion groups don’t have to pay taxes (while everyone else does), and who are constantly trying to get daily Team Edward devotional time shoved into schools or curriculum acknowledging sparkling vampires as a proven scientific fact shoved into science classes? 

        So he was offended; no right exists that states that he should never ever be offended by what someone says about his religion. So his response was absolutely unwarranted and uncalled for.

        • JV

          No, he has every right to be offended. What he doesn’t have is a right to expect to not be offended. I’m not saying the offending act was wrong, I’m just saying we shouldn’t get all huffy when someone gets offended. His initial reaction to being offended was wrong (offensive), and proper action was taken in response. Assuming his apology is sincere, he appears to have learned an important lesson.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=613751245 Alex Manuel

            I’m certainly not huffy that he got offended (although it’s still ridiculous — an all-powerful deity can’t stand up for himself? Truly? Are their beliefs that fickle?). I’m huffy that he justified discrimination with his offense, then quickly backpedaled and is now all hang-dog, talking about learning his lesson, without even a clear explanation as to HOW he learned said lesson. All I’ve heard is “I’m sorry” and “I was wrong”. 

            Okay; so previously, you were to the point of telling us all to bugger off because you were so offended. Now, you’re wrong. What happened between these two states? What life-changing thing caused this shift? 

            The assumption that his apology is sincere is not one I feel in any way inclined to make without more information.

            • JV

              telling us how he came to change his mind would be an interesting dialogue and I would love to hear it too, but I don’t think he owes it to anyone to provide it.

              All we can really do is take his apology at face value. Unless there is evidence that he was not sincere, I have to trust him as much as I would anyone else. Theists are people to. :)

              That doesn’t mean you have to frequent his business or anything. If choices are available I will avoid overtly christian businesses out of principle. Does that violate their civil rights?

              • Travshad

                You can also not take his apology at face value.  I don’t automatically assume all strangers are trustworthy.  I find it smart to be skeptical to a degree of all people, I don’t have blind faith in a higher power or my fellow humans.  Based on this owner’s actions, I see no reason to believe his apology. This is the same as I would treat any person (of whatever religious belief) who committed a comparable action and followed through with an apology under similar circumstances.

                • Gra

                  “Okay; so previously, you were to the point of telling us all to bugger off because you were so offended. Now, you’re wrong. What happened between these two states? What life-changing thing caused this shift? “Exactly this. If you apologize just because lots of people complain, then it’s not worth a pinch of shit. The real question is why does this person now believe it’s wrong?

      • Anonymous

        I find much of what Xians say to be very offensive and morally reprehensible.  However, if I take that reaction and put up a sign on my business denying them access then that would be a violation of their civil right to public accommodation.  As an owner of 2 businesses Andy should know that he can’t exclude a class of people from his business on religious grounds.  His apology isn’t addressing the real issue–that his actions were a violation of people’s civil rights.

      • Dave R

        I completely agree. On top of that, he didn’t even write that *atheists* aren’t welcome, he said that the conference attendees aren’t welcome after feeling that this conference was specifically about mocking his beliefs.

        You can still disagree with him, but at least consider that your analogy is completely flawed. Seeing a gay couple kissing and then writing a sign “no gays welcome” is simply not equivalent to being offended by someone mocking your beliefs and then writing that that specific group of people is not welcome -  *and* then regretting it, taking it down and apologizing.

      • Carrie

        Me too!

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=553145445 Gordon Duffy

        good riddance.

      • Lana C

        I’m just going to point out, the guy wandered in, did not buy a ticket, did not sit down, came in right in the middle, and made a stupid knee jerk reaction to something he could not have possibly followed from the beginning.  It’s like Donnie wandering in to the middle of a conversation in the Big Lebowsky.  And then he has the nerve to state that the audience members were not welcome at his ‘christian business’ because he was offended by what might have been a comedy routine for all he knew…  He admitted that he had no idea what skeptics were all about.    You can argue that PZ and others are being hateful all you want, but PZ didn’t start this.  And if he doesn’t want to accept an apology that he assumed was more business decision than emotion, that is PZ’s right. 

    • Anonymous

      I agree with you completely… apology accepted with conditions.  He realized he was wrong to do that but his decision to remove the sign and apologize are for business reasons, not because he truly thinks he was wrong.  It is motivated by money and his bible, and I don’t accept that.  Why do we always have to kowtow to believers by saying, “Sure you can kick me and continue wanting to kick me, it’s okay, I know it makes you feel bad doing so.”???  No more.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Brian-Macker/518709704 Brian Macker

        Do you have any evidence for these claims?   Because I don’t see any.  It’s conjecture.

      • Will

        so what do you want?  Kowtow?  I think not, I think this was a great success.  why can’t you celebrate it for what it is?  TEN MINUTES!  that’s great it didn’t stay up!  you were KICKED?  You mean like the OWS people are being kicked and pepper sprayed?  Like the civil rights movement workers were kicked and pepper sprayed?  You are equating this with that?  So no matter what the motivation, he took it down.  Like I said if a store owner in the South had taken it down and issued an apology Martin Luther King would have been in there shaking the guys hand.  Jonathan Daniels is a civil rights worker (white) who went to buy some sodas at a racist store in the South. HE WAS SHOT DEAD.  and NO ONE went to jail for it.  He was also an Episcopalian seminary student.  So dont give me this is like being “kicked”.  A ten minute sign and an apology is no way equates to the REAL kicking people are suffering and have suffered in the name of civil rights for all.  

        • BinaryStar

          If he is really an Episcopal seminary student, I would expect him to have had more of a sense of humor himself. The Episcopalians aren’t exactly fundamentalists, in general.

          • Will

            ummmm, he’s supposed to have a sense of humor that he was shot dead?  While attempting to buy a soda at a store owned by a racist?  (should be noted he was a white student from New Hampshire…the nice thing is that all the leaders of the Civil Rights movement came to bring his body home and give thanks).  I dont see quite what he would have to laugh about here… “sense of humor” well yeah I guess it was funny the guy got off with shooting him….

  • Anonymous

    First saw it on Blag Hag. Already commented on Reddit to say thanks. I wasn’t at skepticon, but I thought this a very classy gesture, and heartfelt apology. It takes guts to admit when you’re wrong.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1601680373 Kent Gordon Schlorff

    People fuck up. Poor guy made an honest mistake. He seems like a genuinely nice guy. I mean, to be fair, he walked in AT THE WORST POSSIBLE TIME. Too bad old PZ is being all bearded and pissy about it…

    • Denis Robert

      So the guy gets offended, and then breaks the law. He says Oops, sorry, but you’re still not allowed to exist, and that’s ok with you?

      What is it about us atheists that makes us such self-loathers that we feel like we should self-censor all the time? Christians certainly don’t feel that way.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1601680373 Kent Gordon Schlorff

        I’m not self-loathing, nor or most atheists. We just choose to live by the mantra “Don’t be a dick.” 

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Brian-Macker/518709704 Brian Macker

        Self loathing?   Nothing in that comment indicates self loathing.     Besides Denis, atheism is a lack of belief.   One can loath other atheists without it having anything to do with oneself.    I loath the compulsory communists who killed over one hundred million people.   I happen to share their lack of belief in Leprechans.    That doesn’t make me self loathing.   They also happen to lack a belief in god, and are therefore atheists.   I loath them for their beliefs, not what they don’t believe.

  • Anonymous

    Still, what he did went beyond wrong and unacceptable, it was discrimination and illegal.  There needs to be a bit more than just an apology.  Perhaps he should consider getting some training/education on civil rights especially as it pertains to businesses and public accommodation.

    He could try the classes offered here:

    The Missouri Commission on Human Rights provides training to inform people of their rights and responsibilities under the Missouri Human Rights Act.
    http://labor.mo.gov/mohumanrights/Training_Institute/training_institute.asp

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=613751245 Alex Manuel

      To add insult to injury, his idea of reconciliation is 10% off *at his place of business*? Are to we think that maybe he’s afraid of losing business, and not only is he trying to stop that from happening, but is also expecting us to use OUR money to prevent it? The same people who weren’t welcome when they insulted a handful of characters in a book he likes? 

      “Hey, black people who I forced out of my diner — please forgive me for being so awful, as I forgot that your money spends JUST LIKE white money. Tell you what — how about you keep frequenting MY establishment, but just pay maybe 10% less as a favor to me . . . er, you. Deal?”

      Preposterous.

      • InsideTheSkull

        Comparing this to black/white is so woefully inane it’s not even funny.

        It’s not like he coldly and deliberately put up the soon. He put it up in a heat of the moment decision without actually thinking about what he did. Does it make him a dimwit? Yes. Does it make him a bigoted a-hole? I don’t think so.

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=613751245 Alex Manuel

          And I’m saying that those heat of the moment reactions honestly say a lot — especially if simply hearing “Boo, Jesus!” creates some sort of fight-or-flight response in his mind. This is what’s so maddening; the guy talks as if people were holding down a family member and punching him/her in the face repeatedly, rather than saying some irreverent things about a character in a book that he’s decided he likes. It’s this kind of panicky, “OMG, what do I do?!” reaction that shows exactly the kind of sheltered privilege Christians are automatically afforded in this country, to the exclusion of everyone else. 

          And it was in the midst of such a reaction that a discriminatory action felt JUSTIFIED — it wasn’t that he actually felt in danger, it wasn’t that he felt threatened. He even admitted it: he had to let everyone know how he felt. 

          I believe *that* was the honest reaction. He says that’s how he felt; I believe him. I believe him so much that I believe that’s how he *still* feels, even if he’s now vaguely aware that his reaction might have brought down a lot of wrath and possible damage to his business on top of his head. He says he “knows he was wrong”, but doesn’t explain how he came to that sudden and miraculous understanding.

          I used to do that as a kid; it’s what’s known as a desperate attempt at getting out of trouble. It’s being upset that you got “caught”, so to speak, not that you actually did something wrong.

        • Anonymous

          Religion is a protected class just as race.  It’s not inane to see this as a serious civil right’s violation.  If he had tried to patronize a business and saw a sign that said “Christians are NOT welcome in my SECULAR business”, I’m sure he’d be deeply outraged.  I also wouldn’t be surprised if a group showed up to protest outside the shop.

          Whether he posted the sign with cold deliberation or in the haste of anger does not really matter.  Posting such a sign is not lawful. 

          • InsideTheSkull

            No one said it was lawful. He himself said it was “inexcusable”

            And what if the situation was reversed like you said? If an atheist gelato shop guy got offended by something and posted a stupid sign in heat of the moment, and he apologized, would Christians forgive him? Would we agree with the Christians if they didn’t?

            Intolerance is unacceptable. But, is ostracizing him the way to go, especially after he seems contrite? I just don’t agree.

            • Anonymous

              It’s not just intolerance, it’s illegal discrimination.  His contrition isn’t enough, he should have to pay a penalty for posting a sign like that.  I think he should be fined and should be required to take a class in civil rights laws for business owners.

      • http://thegodlessmonster.com/ The Godless Monster

        “To add insult to injury, his idea of reconciliation is 10% off *at his place of business*?”
        Aside from offering free oral sex to the first 300 atheists who walk in his establishment, what do you expect him to offer?
        Sure, you may see it as insulting to your sensibilities, but the guy is trying to make it up in the only way he can.
        I’m assuming you don’t own a business and/or have no clue as to what it takes to operate a successful enterprise.  For this guy, 10% off is a big deal, expecially if it’s for a large number of customers.
         Believe me, he’s not operating on a huge margin to begin with, especially as a small business with very little leverage when it comes to pricing from wholesale suppliers. He’s a peon so he pays top wholesale prices.
        What he’s offering is actually quite substantial from his standpoint.

        • Cheron22

          How about he donate 10% of the weeks profits to some secular charity instead of trying to make some money of the people he offended. 

        • http://www.bynkii.com/ John C. Welch

          Oral sex wouldn’t be enough, he’d still be a theist. At this point, there’s two things the guy can do that would be “enough”:

          1) Sell the store to an atheist and never run/own a business again.
          2) Yeah, i’m out of ideas. Suicide maybe? That might be enough of an apology at this point. Ah, the mob mentality.

          I’m amused to note that all the skepticon attendees being so brave and righteous here seemed to have a terrible attack of the meeks when they were actually AT skepticon and could have walked in and been all righteous and brave, you know, to the guy’s FACE.

          Funny that.

          • Pseudonym

            Point of order: I have a strong suspicion that most of the people pulling self-indigence act here were not Skepticon attendees.

            • Anonymous

              I don’t believe that is relevant.  I can be offended at someone’s actions that I hear about without ever witnessing them.  I can also forgive them when they apologise.

  • Mrs. B.

    I can’t imagine most Christians NOT being mightily offended hearing the Bible mocked and cursed. He reacted the same way you and I would have reacted to a speaker at a convention talking about what a bunch of amoral, pitiful, evil, baby-eating, devil-worshipping, sexually perverted abominations atheists are. If I thought a convention was being held by people who held those views, I probably wouldn’t want to serve them either. Then I’d stop and think about it and realize that I knew other religious people who didn’t think that way and calm down.

    He overreacted to something MEANT to cause offense, and after a few minutes he calmed down and realized that he had already had good experiences with some of the folks from the convention.

    His apology is exactly as an apology should be — he’s not making excuses for himself, just apologizing for his behavior. And I might add, nowhere does he ask for anyone to apologize for offending him with the tirade against the Bible. I don’t know what more the guy could do. I like him and I don’t even know him.

    • Anonymous

      No, I wouldn’t react that way Andy did.  He reacted to being offended by excluding an entire class of people from his business.  This is a civil rights violation and Andy needs to acknowledge this.  However, Andy has yet to apologize for violating the civil rights of those he tried to exclude from his business. 

      • Dave R

        Skepticon is now a “class of people”?

        • Anonymous

          Excluding people on the basis of belief or non-belief is a protected class under the law.  His statement about Skepticon is not, in-and-of-itself, addressing a protected class; however, he crossed the line and addressed it to a protected class when he said “My Christian Business.”

          This is a clear intent that he was saying that other religious, or non-religious, beliefs that are in contradiction to his are not welcome.  That is discrimination on the basis of religion and is a clear violation of the Civil Rights Act.

          • Dave R

            “This is a clear intent that he was saying that other religious, or
            non-religious, beliefs that are in contradiction to his are not welcome”

            Come on. Yes clearly his intend was to say that no atheists, Hindus, Muslims, etc. are welcome. Or maybe, you know, it was that people who attend a conference to mock his beliefs are not welcome. Is that over-generalization? Yes. Putting up the sign a mistake? Yes. But I don’t see where he discriminated against any particular belief, yes, not even atheists.

            • Anonymous

              He discriminated based on religious grounds as soon as he said ‘christian business’.  That’s all that’s needed to make it unlawful discrimination.

              • http://www.facebook.com/people/Brian-Macker/518709704 Brian Macker

                Actually no.    No more so than identifying your business as a woman’s business or a gay business.     Just like it wouldn’t be against the law to post  “No homophobes welcome in this ‘gay business’”

                • Cheron22

                  Did you just equate Skeptics with Homophobes and Christians as gays….

                • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ Anonymous

                  Of course he did. He’s a troll.

                • Will

                  no he’s not a troll, unles you define troll as “anyone that does not agree with me 100%”

                • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ Anonymous

                  You haven’t been here long. And speaking of trolling, YOU’RE defending the bigoted asshat who posted the sign.

                • Will

                  whoa, defedning him?  so what would youdo? so not only are youdictating his behavior, youare dictating the behavior of other atheists?  Yousound like partof the “fewer but better atheist”club.  Yep, hate whoI hate or youaren’t one of US! Yikes!  

                • Wil;

                  good anology because it’s about what is right and now WHO was offended and who wasn’t.  So any group you insert will work

              • Will

                OK Isilzha, why not contact the store owner and ask that he address the civil rights issue?  I think you feel strongly enough about this that you would take the time to do so, and report back here to let us know what he says, or even if he doesn’t respond.  In a way your eloquence should be put to a real use rather than just bitching here.  Bitch to him, let’s see what he says!

          • http://thegodlessmonster.com/ The Godless Monster

            “This is a clear intent that he was saying that other religious, or
            non-religious, beliefs that are in contradiction to his are not welcome.
             That is discrimination on the basis of religion and is a clear
            violation of the Civil Rights Act.”
            That’s how I would interpret it, but prosecuting something like this all depends on whether or not the prosecutor’s office thinks they can make the charge stick or not. If it’s not a cut and dried case, they’d likely pass on it.

          • Will

            so rather than slamming this guys business personally .. one could take it to court.  But wait that would require getting up from behind the keyboard!

            • Anonymous

              Your assumptions are incorrect.

              Taking it to court would require a law degree and either an appointment as a District Attorney or standing with a client.

              I don’t have a law degree, and district attorneys around the country have been shown regularly to be biased against non-believers.  I don’t have a lot of money.  I work 70 hours a week, so the keyboard I would have to “[get] up from behind” is a mobile one.  I give what I can to the ACLU and the FFRF so that they will find someone with standing and take on these cases.

              • NU

                “I don’t have a law degree”

                That’s abundantly obvious.

                • Anonymous

                  Ah, perhaps you should really place a bucket to prevent staining with such dripping sarcasm.

                  My statement that I did not have a law degree did not have any bearing on the fact that I have a basic understanding of the law.  It simply means that I did not pay $150,000 so that I could take the bar exam and then stand before a judge and argue a case.  It has zero relevance to my understanding and interpretation of what I believe the intent of the law and legal procedure is.

                  I also notice that you had no argument to counter me with after your assumptions proved incorrect.

                • Will

                  call you state atheist group.  they tend to have a lot of lawyers….use the system.  it isn’t always skewed against atheists.

                • Anonymous

                  As I’ve said twice elsewhere, my point exactly.

                • BinaryStar

                  What a fucking ass you are.

              • Will

                we did ONE CALL to our local state rep and he handled our problem with a local bar that would not let our atheist group meet. We also got our local newspaper involved (they love a good story like this) TWO phone calls.  TWO!  and you know what?  We now meet at the bar, and everyone at the bar now LOVES us because we tip well and bring in a lot of business and they found out atheists ARE just real people.  IT’s easier than you THINK.  Call the ACLU or text them.  It’s EASY….that’s what theyare there for.  Our atheist group has done this more than once.  And just assuming “oh no one will care” is silly.  You never know until you send that email or make that phone call.  (especially the local paper, they would be all over this)  also is there a state atheist group?  Our state has one and they have lovely retired people that LOVE it when we call with something.  It’s not a lot of time, money, or work.  It’s simply asking…

                • Anonymous

                  As I said elsewhere, exactly what I was advocating.

  • William Garvey

    What more does PZ want?  A public flogging?

    • Drew M.

      Who cares what an asshatted megalomaniac wants?

      • Sideshow Billybob

        Methinks you dropped a fallacy when you climbed up on your high horse.

        • Jake

          Calling PZ an asshat isn’t a fallacy, it’s perfectly accurate.

          • Pluto Animus

            Don’t be jealous.  PZ can’t help it if he’s God.

          • http://www.facebook.com/d3st88 Morva Ádám

            I have no clue what you muggles have against PZ.
            He’s an all-around cool and nice guy.

            • bhoytony

              Please tell me you are a child borrowing Mummy’s computer. Surely a grown-up wouldn’t  call somebody a muggle.

    • Mike Williams

       Did you read what PZ wrote?  He doesn’t want anything, he simply refuses to accept this “apology”.

      • NU

        No, what he wants is to ride around on his highest of horses and pretend that he’s never made a mistake. PZ LOVES being indignant. This is just one in a series of incidents that he has seized on to pretend that he is better than everyone else.

        Normal people accept apologies and move on with their lives, but not PZ. He wants “examples” to be made.

      • Will

        yep that’s because he’s the Pope of the Church of No God… and he loves something like this… if he’s not a victim….he’s not got anything to rant and rant and rant against.  And for goodness sake PZ< STAND UP STRAIGHT WHEN YOU WALK. Geez.

    • Sware

      Take him to the public square and stone him!!!  Smite him until we cannot smite anymore!  Oh wait…that’s what the religious folk have a nasty history of doing. 

  • Patent

    Bluntly, feeling offended is for irrational, insecure people who harbour emotional doubts about what they believe.

    I don’t have any use for it, personally.

    • 59 Norris

      If what you say is true, then either you’ve never felt offended, or you’re an irrational, insecure person harbouring emotional doubts about what you believe.

      Of course, what you said is not true.  People are offended for what seems to be infinitely many reasons.

  • Dan W

    Well, I’m glad to see he realized how stupid he was and owned up to his mistake. Many other bigots would never admit any wrongdoing in a similar situation. So, I accept his apology. However, I’m not sure that I’d choose to frequent his business if I ever find myself in Springfield, MO.

  • Sdorst

    I strongly disagree with PZ on this. Why should we only make an example of his mistake, and not of his recognition of said mistake. Surely what we want is for people to let go of the intolerance their religion inculcates, and to accept atheists as equal members of society. He is a great example of someone doing just that.

  • Anonymous

    The guy acted like a dick in the heat of the moment, then realized his mistake and apologized. PZ doesn’t have that excuse. He is being a bigger dick.

    • Carrie

      I stopped reading PZ’s blog a while ago because I couldn’t take the constant spewing of negativity anymore. I’m not surprised by his comments and he’s not doing us any favors by being a perpetual dick.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=553145445 Gordon Duffy

        you must be reading a different blog. It probably exists in the same alternate universe as the aggressive Dawkins.

        • NU

          No, PZ is pretty much an ass all the time. I’m sure that this current outrage will really accomplish something… We’ll show that shop owner who’s boss. Pathetic. PZ and the Pharyngula crew are a hatefilled bunch that do a disservice to level headed freethinkers everywhere.

          • T-Rex

            The guy dislikes atheists/non-Xians. Period. His “initial reaction” was to post a sign stating as much, which means that is how he really feels. His apology came from his wallet, not his heart or his brain. Anyone who thinks that apology was sincere is either naive or just plain ignorant. I wouldn’t give this guy one penny of my business, much less the time of day.

            • The Captain

              Oh so your a mind reader now?

              • Travshad

                No, but I think that is a reasonable assumption to make based on his actions.  That is generally the way we judge other people in a civilized society.

                • The Captain

                  No, that’s the way you judge people in an uncivilized society. Spur of the moment, out of context, and in total.

                • Will

                  his actions of taking the sign DOWN and making an apology.  And listening to people.  Because we FORGET most people have little or no contact with atheists (so far as they know)  I love Sam and his performance but if I didn’t KNOW it was a performance…and know Sam… I would be “oh my gawd, who are these people?”  It’s comedy, but you have to know it’s comedy….his action wasn’t unexpected but his taking it down when he cooled down in 10 minutes…was unexpected and a win.  If someone had been lap dancing a buddha in front of an Asian grocery story, or dressed as an Indian and singing dirty versions of native american sacred songs in front of a reservation… I expect they would have gone “well that’s scaring me” and put up a sign also….but he TOOK IT DOWN AND APOLOGIZED, sincere or not it’s a WIN.

            • Will

              so we string him up?  We close his business and his kids don’t go to college, and the kids working at his store to pay for college don’t get to go… you seem to be saying “oh well there is nothing you can do that will make me happy, because I will believe nothing you will say….so go out of business and starve!”  Ohhhh, that’s almost tea party-ish.  I don’t like you, starve.

        • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/DJRVGKGG36KNLNMZAVT4EXOF3M Ed-words

          NU sounds a little hateful.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=750428174 Paddy Reddin

        Totally agree, I also stopped reading PZ around the time of “Elevatorgate” and when he tried to redefine the word Atheist to suit his own ideas.

        I do agree there are times when you have to play the dick card, but that doesn’t mean you have to be a dick all the time.

        I’d like to think he’s smart enough to have deliberately set the tweet in irony, the “make an example of him”, but I fear his bigotry blinded him. He can no longer see the people, just their beliefs.  Sad really.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jukkalattu Jukka Lattu

    I say, let’s give him the benefit of the doubt. He’s a human being and as such prone to make bad decisions based on rash emotions, so I wouldn’t pin him as the Adolf Hitler of the 21th century just yet.

  • Di

    You know he’s only apologising because he realised what effect it was going to have on his business. Not sincere. AT ALL.

    • http://rrlane.blogspot.com rrlane

      Saying you KNOW he isn’t sincere sounds to me like those who KNOW I only call myself an atheist because I’m “mad at god.”  It frustrates me when people tell me what I think.

      Therefore, I try not to do it to others.

  • Cd1809

    I stand with PZ. I think Andy explained what happened… And that’s about it. Seems he is like a child that knows he is in trouble, but DOESN’T UNDERSTAND WHY.

    It comes down to: I’m just a 28 year old small business owner who made a big mistake.” (and I don’t want to lose my business).

    I feel he was greatly surprised by the response from the reprehensible atheists who he thinks are a tiny minority in our country. AND surprised by the lack of support from his christian brothers.

    • A Portlander

      I see it this way: I fully understand that there’s a culture war happening in this country, and I’ve picked my side, but I also respect noncombatants.  I never give money to businesses that wear their religiosity on their sleeves.  This guy checked out Skepticon, was taken aback, and decided to make a statement.  Then he realized what he was getting into, and he walked it back. I’m fine with the apology.

      • Stogoe

        Did you ever read MLK Jr’s Letter from Birmingham Jail?  There aren’t any non-combatants in the culture war.  There’s the tip of the iceberg, the obvious opponents screaming obscenities and spraying pepper spray and using firehoses against children, and then there’s the rest of society, those who provide the inertia, the resistance to positive change, who prefer the absence of tension, to the presence of justice.

  • Anonymous

    When someone apologises for something that they do wrong I think that it’s only right to accept that apology at face value.  He was wrong to act in the way he did and has apologised for it.  So he’s a Christian and has all the crappy baggage that goes with that, nobody expects him to change that or to have an epiphany.  That’s asking too much.

    • Travshad

      Accepting something always at “face value” requires far more blind faith than I can muster.  I need at least some actual proof that the person apologizing is sincere, regretful of the consequences to the victim (not themselves), and willing to make changes so that the offense doesn’t reoccur. For me personally, I don’t see that in this apology.

      • Anonymous

        When there are two ways of interpreting something I think that it is better to choose the good way rather than the bad way.  I’m not interested in keeping score of how many slights I receive.  If someone is big enough to acknowledge an error and offers an apology then I am going take it as sincere until such time as I am shown to be wrong.

        I, of course, never make mistakes or speak out of turn (riiiight) but if I did I would hope that people would extend to me the same courtesy.

  • Anonymous

    I think we do have to keep in mind how shocking Sam Singleton can be for someone who doesn’t know the act, is not accustomed to religious satire and expected something else entirely.

    For those crying 1st ammendment, he has not questioned it. He has not suggested such things should be banned. He was just really offended. Do I think it was that offensive? Well no, but if he felt the way we feel he’d be an atheist and not a Christian.

    I think the important thing to recognize is that he is explaining what led up to the sign being put up, but not trying to excuse himself in any way. Many people asked what “the incident” was that led up to the sign, so he told. His apology seems about as sincere as they come and I’m willing to accept it and take his word that he truly regrets it.  I don’t see that there is much more he can do to convince people he is sorry. Some people will never be convinced, unfortunately, but IMO, given the relatively small impact of the event (it’s an ice cream shop, not a hospital) this should close the matter.

  • Venture Free

    There are generally indicators when someone is apologizing for purely selfish reasons, and this guys apology doesn’t appear to me to have any of those indicators. It seems like a genuine and heartfelt apology to me. For that reason I think it’s appropriate to accept his apology as given.

    Having said that, accepting his apology does not have to mean complete capitulation. Just because he feels bad about doing what he did doesn’t mean we should ignore the fact that he did it. If you still want to boycott his business I think you are perfectly justified.

    I think it’s clear from PZ’s comments that he doesn’t accept this as a valid distinction. As far as he’s concerned you either forgive and take no action whatsoever against the guy, or you don’t forgive and take whatever action you deem necessary. But the two concepts are not mutually exclusive. You can accept his apology and acknowledge his (hopefully) sincere attempt to make amends while still making it clear that his behavior is not acceptable and cannot just be ignored. You can say something like “I accept your apology, but I can’t in good conscience allow your actions to stand without consequence. I’ll not be visiting your establishment any time soon.” This leaves the door open for some future action that does more than pay lip service to the wrong he has done, and which might just change my mind about him and his business.

  • Anonymous

    We can never really guess if an apology is sincere or not. So, if we can live and let live, let’s visit his establishment and put this behind us. If we feel that he is insincere and indeed bigoted, we needn’t patronize his establishment.
    Simple as that.

  • Daztimms

    I’m sorry but I believe he only apologised because he realises his business was going to be screwed if he kept the sign up.  Do we have any evidence that the sign was only up for 10 mins? 
    In my experience, if they can get away with it – they will try.
    This one obvioulsy realised he couldn’t, and swiftly changed his mind

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Steven-James/100000199887850 Steven James

      Agree.  The repeated references in his apologies to being a ‘small business owner’ indicate he’s thinking with his profit margin here.  If nobody had said anything, and he wasn’t perceiving a loss of business, that sign would still be up.  They’d be interviewing him on Fox and he’s be proud of it.
      So he got hurt when we wouldn’t let him get away with it and now he’s apologizing as a business plan. 
      It’s rather trivializing.

  • Denis

    I REALLY disagree with you Hemant. The guy is essentially saying: you can be atheists as long as you don’t act like atheists, as long as you never ever express the fact that, being atheists, you don’t believe in God. So essentially: It’s ok to be atheist, as long as you keep it in the closet.

    That is just not acceptable. I’m with PZ on this one.

    • Adam Hayter

      But that’s not it at all.
      As Hemant says, he was specifically offended by a part that was expressly designed to offend. Had he seen the rest of the conference I think he would have been more understanding.

      He’s not telling us to not be atheist as you claim. He’s telling us to stop mocking his religion. We get angry when people deride atheists as being immoral, unguided, sinful e.t.c.. We can’t expect religous people to not be angry when we do the same back to them.

      If we want to hold the line that people should keep religion private and to theirselves, then we need to start appreciating that it’s a two way street.

      • Mike Williams

        Except he wasn’t being derided or being called immoral, unguided etc.  His beliefs were being ridiculed because they are ridiculous.  Basically he believes in the Loch Ness Monster and got offended when someone pointed out that that belief is silly.  He used that offense to justify bigotry.  That is not acceptable.  Responding with bigotry should not even have crossed his mind.

        The bigger issue is that most all of us are okay with being openly skeptical and harshly critical of Nessie, but much less so when it comes to Jesus.

      • Denis Robert

        But, as an atheist, I consider his beliefs as unjustified, and as laughable, as those of an adult who would believe in Santa Claus or the Tooth Fairy. So in effect, you are saying that I should not be expressing that view; in fact telling me to stay in the closet.

        Everyone has the right to their opinions, and to express those opinions. But one does not have the right to not be offended. So what if he was offended?? I’m offended by Christians every day. I find the fact that they pull out their Bibles, a book I find obscene, in public. I find the fact that they pray in public obscene. Would that justify my not serving them? Of course not.

      • Anonymous

        He can scream all he wants for us to stop mocking his religion.  He has a right to do that.  What he does NOT have the right to do is to post a sign excluding people from his business on religious grounds.  By posting that sign he violated the civil rights of other people.

        Also, from what he stated he wasn’t offended by something someone did while in his business.  No one was mocking him to his face.  He was just offended by people expressing their own right to free speech. 

        Even if something had happened inside his business he could kick out an individual, but does not have the right to exclude an entire group of people because they may have different religious views than he does.

        If he doesn’t want to serve non-christians then he just needs to close his businesses.  He has a right to do that.

  • http://thegodlessmonster.com/ Admin

    There are two separate issues here; one legal and the other moral. I don’t get a break from the feds if I’m late in filing my quarterly returns or employment taxes. Nope, I get nailed with penalties, no matter how nice a guy I might be.
    To those who just want to continue to be pissed at this guy and withhold forgiveness; you make the assumption that this individual and others like him are intelligent or educated enough to understand  the ramifications and seriousness of their behavior. You are wrong. Way off base. I assume you know there are dummies in this world, but it appears that you don’t really understand the extent of the ignorance and stupidity that surrounds you. They are everywhere. Don’t assume that everyone is as intelligent or educated as you are. Most people are just fucking stupid, even a good number of so-called educated individuals have no clue, like packaging engineers or my soon-to-be-ex-attorney for example.
    You’ve led sheltered lives, perhaps? How else can one explain the shrill cries of indignation at what this moron did?
    If there are legal consequences for what he did, then he should suffer them. Period. Jail, fines, whatever…I don’t give a fuck if he apologized or not. If he broke the law, then let the law deal with him. If he gets off without punishment, I don’t care, as long as the system works.
    Otherwise, accept the ignorant sods apologies and go on your way.
    Shit happens.

  • http://thegodlessmonster.com/ The Godless Monster

    The “Admin” comment posted was from The Godless Monster. Apologies for any confusion that may have been caused.

  • http://twitter.com/zenbuffy Buffy

    Wow, there’s an awful lot of offense going around. I’m afraid that I’m going to have to come down on the “accept the apology” side of things, and risk the ire that this will, doubtlessly, bring.

    I tend to subscribe to the “don’t be a dick” philosophy, because being a dick doesn’t help get the point across, and mostly just tends to upset and alienate people. For anyone who would like to respond by telling me that they are a discriminated against minority who face abuse every day, and therefore have the right to be a dick, I will pre-emptively counter by reminding you that I live in a country which has, enshrined in it’s employment equality law, the right of a religious, medical, or educational organisation to discriminate on the grounds of religion, and where the vast majority of schools fall under religious patronage, meaning that it is almost impossible to educate one’s children without faith. With that said, please do me the courtesy of not dismissing what I say because I “don’t understand” the discrimination people face.

    I think that Andy, like all of us, is human, and that he responded stupidly to something that was designed to provoke a response. He is by no means the only person guilty of such a crime, and I would wager that, if we were to check our own blogs, emails, and Twitter feeds, we’d probably find messages that we regret posting, or that we think now, with hindsight, were posted too hastily. Many people who believe strongly in religion do not merely see religious criticism as criticism of the religion, but as a very personal attack too – I could talk here about the various regions of the brain thought to be associated with religious thought, and the psychosocio-development of religion, but it’s probably more succinct to say that religion and faith are very personal and important things to those who believe, and those who believe tend to identify that belief as a large part of themselves as a person. In short, Andy, as a believer, has an emotional attachment to his faith, and when he saw something that ridiculed that faith, it also felt like something which ridiculed him directly, and his feelings were hurt. He acted, like many of us with hurt feelings do – by lashing out. 

    Am I aware that it’s irrational? Yes. Am I aware that it is illegal? Yes. Do we all sometimes do irrational, and possibly even illegal, things when we are feeling hurt and upset? If we’re honest, yes. Do we all apologise, publicly, for our irrational behaviour once the fog of upset has cleared? Well, no, actually. Mostly, we don’t. We shroud ourselves in a cloak of indignation, rights, beliefs, and other such emotional things, and declare that we were right anyway, or that it’s a matter of opinion, or other such placations. We use the cloak of indignation to bat away anything that might damage or tear the cloak, lest it expose the flawed logic beneath it. Privately, we might admit that we were hasty, but publicly, we do not want to lose faith, so we gather our indignicloak about us and continue on. Does that sound like the kind of behaviour that skeptics revere, or more like the kind of thing that we are renouned for ridiculing? It is, I think, much easier to maintain an air of indignant offense than it is to accept that trashing a menu online  or posting hundreds of fake bad reviews was also an emotional reaction that, in hindsight, may be unjustified.

    I’m not saying that what Andy did was ok – demonstrably, it wasn’t; it was offensive, and illegal. What I am saying is that he seems to have realised that his behaviour was offensive and illegal, and taken steps to remedy it. Frankly, he could have simply left the sign there, turned away patrons, and picketed the con for the rest of the weekend, and depending on the area he was in, he may well have received popular support for such actions. The fact is that that’s not what he has done. He took down the sign once his initial upset had cleared. He apologised, and has done so again, explaining (but not making excuses for) his behaviour. 

    People like Andy don’t understand our beliefs (or lack thereof) simply because we browbeat them into submission. People like Andy may never understand how or why we don’t believe in Jesus or Mohammed or any other deity. It would be nice if, in the future, everyone understood everyone’s beliefs, but if we are honest with ourselves, we might realise that, while we know about the beliefs of Christians, for example, we don’t understand them. I can think of many reasons why someone might have faith, but I don’t understand them because, to me, they seem illogical or hollow or simply weak. I speak the language of science, and evidence, and proof, and they speak the language of belief and faith. 

    I’m not saying that atheists should lie prone on the ground and allow people to walk all over them, but what I am saying is that responding like an aggrieved extremist group does not do anyone any favours. Do you honestly think that, if his shop goes out of business, he’ll suddenly have a conversion experience, become an atheist, and start attending Skepticon himself? Do you think that a non-acceptance of, what really appears to be, a sincere apology makes you seem like the better person? Do you believe that making a loud example of this person will help anyone, in any way? I don’t. Tiny steps matter.

    • http://twitter.com/ColdDimSum The Red Pill

      I made similar noises on PZ’s thread (Dark Star):  http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2011/11/20/how-not-to-make-an-1100-person-convention-welcome/comment-page-1/

      Not so well received.

      • Anonymous

        What a surprise. It’s bad enough if you sow dissent. If you criticize the master, your ass is grass. Good science stuff at Pharyngula, but you have to swim through shit to get to it.

    • Drew M.

      That was incredible. Thanks, Buffy.

    • Anonymous

      This is a good response, the only problem I have with your argument is:
      “He apologised, and has done so again, explaining (but not making excuses for) his behaviour.”
      He did make excuses.  He said directly that he apologizes for his actions, but not his beliefs.  When you say that in an apology to me, I hear you say “Sorry I said it out loud, but I feel perfectly justified to feel the way that I do.  I just realized that saying it out loud was illegal as well as immoral.”

      • Sulris Campbell

        so what?  i dont think he should be held accountable for his thoughts.  he need only be held accountable for his actions.  he regrets his actions, that’s all that matters.   he can think anything he wants

        • Anonymous

          I don’t think he should be held accountable for his thoughts.  As I have said previously, the only objection I have is that he thinks his so-called apology fixes anything.  He apologizes for his action, but says that it is perfectly ok to hold that kind of bigotry as long as you don’t talk about it.

          I don’t think it is.

          What you think in your mind is yours and no one should hold you accountable for fleeting thoughts. However, defending your right to be a bigot in your mind while saying that acting on that bigotry was totally wrong, doesn’t cut it for me.

  • Moxiah

    Is this too far gone to post a short reply? Andy over-reacted, did something silly, realised it, cowboyed up, and apologised, all in a very short timespan. We, which is to say not I, are still bleating about it. For god’s sake, people, doesn’t the world’s skeptic/atheist/rationalist/humanist/whatever community have bigger things to tackle than some poor little fella and his ice cream shop?

    • http://thegodlessmonster.com/ The Godless Monster

      “For god’s sake, people, doesn’t the world’s
      skeptic/atheist/rationalist/humanist/whatever community have bigger
      things to tackle than some poor little fella and his ice cream shop?”
      Aside from putting up confrontational and obnoxious billboards to make fun of other people’s religious beliefs during their favorite holiday?
      No.
      And we wonder why so many people can’t stand us.
      Bunch of fucking whiners.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=553145445 Gordon Duffy

        we always have “bigger things” there is always a “bigger thing” – that doesn’t mean we should let everything but the single biggest thing we can think of slide!

        • http://thegodlessmonster.com/ The Godless Monster

          “…that doesn’t mean we should let everything but the single biggest thing we can think of slide!”
          I never stated or implied that this is what we should do. What I am implying is that we need to pick and choose our battles carefully if we are going to win the “culture war”.
          We can win all the battles and still lose the war.
          “Hearts and minds” and all that…

          • Mike Williams

            Hearts and minds, really?  You think we have to prove to the Andy’s of the world that we’re not actually monsters?

            Screw that crap. If they refuse to treat us like humans simply because we are humans, I’m not going to set about licking their boots to try and curry favor just because they’re in the majority.

            And really, when a group of people thinks they have authority from the Omnimax Creator of Everything, it doesn’t matter how many bake sales we hold for sick kids, we’re still going to be looked at as Other and Wrong.

            Do good things because it’s the right thing to do, but do not ever expect that believers will consider you an equal.

            • http://thegodlessmonster.com/ The Godless Monster

              Mike,
              Whether it was intentional or not I cannot know, but you entirely misrepresented what I said.

              • Mike Williams

                It sounded like you were saying this wasn’t important enough for us to put any energy toward. 

                It’s certainly possible I misread you.

              • Travshad

                I got the same impression as Mike from reading your posts.  Maybe what you wrote doesn’t respresent your opinion, but I don’t think Mike’s post is a misrepresentation of your post.

            • http://thegodlessmonster.com/ The Godless Monster

              “…when a group of people thinks they have authority from the Omnimax
              Creator of Everything, it doesn’t matter how many bake sales we hold for
              sick kids, we’re still going to be looked at as Other and Wrong.

              Do good things because it’s the right thing to do, but do not ever expect that believers will consider you an equal.”

              I’m actually in agreement with you. Somehow, my message isn’t getting across.

              • Will

                well and that’s life.  Believers will never believe non believers.. or people that don’t believe what they believer.. their equal.  Many men will never consider women their equal.  Many whites will never consider blacks their equal.. .heck Europeans will never consider gypsies their equals.. it’s the way of the world.  But can we all agree to somehow live together without killing each other (probably the answer is no… but let’s at least try).  Hate, and retaliation, and demanding somehow this equal world exsist and we’re going to fight to get it… not gonna happen….welcome to reality.

            • Will

              and that has hurt you personally how?  Men will still think women drivers are horrible.  People will still look sideways at a woman in a head scarf just shopping but obviously Muslim.  People won’t go to a doctor that isn’t a Christian.  Christians will still have their homes fire bombed in Asia… it’s a whole world of hate and the one strong point of Atheism is that we don’t have those excuses for hate.  We have reason on our side.  We’re different.  Or not.  Because some people can’t get it’s never goign to be FAIR, but being right the average atheists can live a happier and more accepting life than any religious person can.  “You believe in a talking kangaroo as your god?  Whatever!  I don’t believe in anything!  And I can also work with that dude that believes a giant pea pod is his personal savior….whatever, because I THINK”

        • Will

          but no one did let it slide.  It happened, and now some people are beating a dead horse.  Because it’s a lot safer to tackle this guy on the internet rather than show up in person at a school board meeting to talk about how to keep ID out of the classrooms in the public school you help pay for with your taxes. Want to be treated in a very horrible manner?  But want to make sure real change?  Nah, the internet is safer… 

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Brian-Macker/518709704 Brian Macker

        It’s my favorite pagan holiday also.   They ruin it with all this Christ stuff.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Anthony-Okafor/1759887752 Anthony Okafor

        actually, Christians can’t stand us because we
        1. EXIST
        2. Don’t believe what they believe
        3. THink we worship Satan

        And since when does a billboard = whining? If anyone’s whining it’ the christians who get butthurt about a freakin’ sign on a highway

        • Will

          but atheists complain about things like the giant crosses put up around highways in Houston.  A lot and loudly.  It’s on private property!  

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Anthony-Okafor/1759887752 Anthony Okafor

            Land around highways is private property? LOL. That’s a new one…Well, nothing right gets done in this country without “complaints”. I guess you can say women were “complaining” for equal rights……

            • Will

              Yes, in Houston Texas a church bought up PRIVATE property near highways.  Lots.  And put up GIANT CROSSES.  It’s legal.  A LOT OF PEOPLE DON’T LIKE IT!  But, it’s legal.  Atheists could do the same thing, and believe it or not courts could do nothing about it (giant A’s I guess?).  Now would people complain?  you betcha!  One atheist group is trying to raise money to do just that.. put up a good billboard.  yes it is true, you can buy property near freeways  (why would that be odd?)  and you can put up whatever you want.  

  • Trace

    Andy, you are OK in my book! Apology accepted.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Bob-Down/100001310114443 Bob Down

    He was offended by somebody saying ‘god damn’ so what did he do? Turn the other cheek? Love his enemy? No! He rushed back to his shop and broke the law!

    My guess is that he eventually realised just how serious it was to
    discriminate with that sign and quickly wrote the first apology to
    cover his arse in case someone tried to sue him. And now, after a
    weekend to discuss it with the family, he has decided to publish more
    weasel words – just in case.

    • NU

      Pretty certain that “Skepticon Attendees” is not a protected class.

      • Anonymous

        He made it about religion when he said “Christian business”.  Not sure is MO state law goes as far, but in some areas you can’t keep someone from your business even if they are dressed in a way that identifies them as a member of a group (ie, hippies, police, etc).  So, I think it even  “Skepticon Attendees” could be considered a protected class.

        • NU

          Nice stretch. Not buying it. There is no religious mandate surrounding Skepticon. Are you saying that Christians aren’t welcomed at Skepticon? Only atheists are welcome there?

          • Anonymous

            Read up on ‘public accommodation’ under civil rights laws.  You can not prevent people from patronizing your business based on religion.  The shop owner identifies his business as a “CHRISTIAN business’ and excluded a group on religious basis. 

            • NU

              No, he didn’t. He posted a sign excluding people that were attending a con. Get over it. He did something stupid (but not illegal) and apologized for it. The only thing of value in this whole thing is that PZ provided another example of what an ass he is.

          • Anonymous

            Read up on ‘public accommodation’ under civil rights laws.  You can not prevent people from patronizing your business based on religion.  The shop owner identifies his business as a “CHRISTIAN business’ and excluded a group on religious basis. 

  • http://twitter.com/DangerousTalk Staks Rosch

    I’m a big fan of Sam Singleton. I am also glad that we were able to mount a large enough complaint that Andy had to issue a full apology. Being able to admit one is wrong about something is pretty important to our community, so if Andy is willing to do that, that is a big plus. He may soon realize that he was wrong about other things too. Maybe he can host a small Sam Singleton show and hear what it is all about. That would be great. Goddamn!

  • http://twitter.com/PensiveAfeto Not You

    It seems more like an act to try not to lose business rather than a sincere apology. I won’t ever be in the area to patronize his business so it doesn’t really matter.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Brian-Macker/518709704 Brian Macker

      He took down the sign immediately.   So no harm done.   No harm then not much to apologize for.    The undisputed fact he took down the sign withing ten minutes is far more evidence of his sincerity than your conjecture that he only took down the sign and apologized not to lose business. 

      In fact, if he is in a predominantly bible thumping Christian area, the controversy might actually increase his business.

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/DJRVGKGG36KNLNMZAVT4EXOF3M Ed-words

    What does he have to do? Flush Communion wafers down the toilet?

    • Mike Williams

       How about admit that there’s nothing inherently wrong or bad about non believers and that he’s completely fine with someone criticizing his beliefs and wouldn’t bat an eye the next time he comes across someone doing that?

      • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/DJRVGKGG36KNLNMZAVT4EXOF3M Ed-words

        He may believe what he likes.
        He may NOT discriminate in his place of business.

      • http://thegodlessmonster.com/ The Godless Monster

        Are you kidding me? You want to control what people THINK and BELIEVE?
        How should we accomplish this bizarre task? Legislation? Water-boarding? How’s about we just shoot all these folks? Would that make you happy?
        Hey now…I’ve got a crazy idea…
        How about just reigning in stupid behavior via societal pressures and legislation?
        WTF dude.
        Really.

  • David Shores

    I’m inclined to accept the apology.   His apology comes across as sincere and from me he’ll get the benefit of the doubt.  Public contrition is in short supply these days, especially when directed at non-theists of any stripe.  Thanks Andy.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Marcie-Miller-Spence/1322445534 Marcie ‘Miller’ Spence

    I think I’d have to forgive him.  Especially if he walked in on what was supposed to be an offensive sermon.  Poor guy was thinking he’d hear something about UFO’s, it’s kind of funny.  Sounds like an honest mistake, how many of us have posted things in the heat of the moment and regretted it later?

    • Cheron22

      But officer she answered the door in a nightgown it was just an honest mistake, made  in the heat of the moment ..How about next time I let her choose the positions we try, is that a good enough apology ?
      A lot of victim blaming going on here.

      • http://thegodlessmonster.com/ The Godless Monster

        You may want to rethink that analogy. Comparing what this witless fellow did with aggravated sexual assault does nothing to promote your point of view. It’s a bit much for anyone but the most extreme drama queens to digest.

        • Cheron22

          The results are different, but the thought process that makes it ok to firebomb newspapers or behead writers is the exact same that goes into denying people bad icecream (gelato eck).  How dare people not respect his sincerely held beliefs, and woe unto anyone who makes public their dissent.

          • http://thegodlessmonster.com/ The Godless Monster

            It appears that what you are telling me is that this is not a difference of kind, but of degree. I understand your point.
            There is something to be said for this stance, however, without a lot more information, I’m not quite ready to make that leap.

            • http://www.facebook.com/people/Brian-Macker/518709704 Brian Macker

              So you’re thinking about buying the idea that maybe if you increase the degree of “not welcoming someone” that becomes “forcing your penis into someone”.  

              I guess that’s true if they are trying not to associate with the person.  Since the world is spherical and they might just be facing in the opposite direction with a boner.    Once they travel far enough away they’ll circumnavigate the planet and ass rape the other person.

              I know he didn’t put it that way but it’s what he’s assuming when he claims the thought processes are the same.   

          • Travshad

            I agree about the gelato, it is not ice CREAM it is ice MILK.  There is barely more butterfat in gelato than whole milk, but atleast it has a whole lot more sugar. 

            Also I completely agree with the rest of your post.

      • NU

        Yeah, because not being welcomed at a shop because of a conference you are attending is TOTALLY the same thing as rape. Dumbass. I’m sorry that the big bad gelato shop owner hurt your feelings.

        • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/DJRVGKGG36KNLNMZAVT4EXOF3M Ed-words

          Have you considered an anger management
          class?

        • Anonymous

          A rape analogy may be a bit extreme, however, posting the sign was an illegal act.  I think the issue needs to be addressed as a civil rights violation.  Now, I don’t think the guy deserves jail time or even driven completely out of business.  However, he should pay some penalty beyond loss of business and definitely needs to take a course in civil rights issues for business owners.

          • NU

            Illegal how? Is “Skepticon attendee” a protected class? If he had said “no atheists” you might have a point, but he didn’t.

            • Anonymous

              He named a group of people and then excluded them from his ‘christain business’.  It was an exclusion based on religious views.  He can not exclude a group of people based on religious grounds.  As soon as a group gets identified based on religion then it’s protected.

              • http://www.facebook.com/people/Brian-Macker/518709704 Brian Macker

                He didn’t “exclude them on religious grounds”.   His sign in fact included any Christians who were at the Skepticon conference also.   They weren’t welcome either.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Marcie-Miller-Spence/1322445534 Marcie ‘Miller’ Spence

    Lol, says the atheist who is currently uploading christmas music to her ipod…

  • Anonymous

    I propose to dub this unfortunate incident: GelatoGate. All in favour?

    • Anonymous

      How about “Tempest in a waffle cone”?

      • Anonymous

        Good one, but I’m following in the tradition of “that which causes the ruckus” followed by gate. Starting with Watergate and ending with ElevatorGate and GelatoGate.

        • Anonymous

          Yes. And I was making  a play on words. A play on words can be a pun, or in this case, a wry substitution within a common phrase to make light of the present subject matter. The original phrase was “Tempest in a teapot”, but I substituted “waffle cone” for the teapot the tempest was happening in. A waffle cone is a kind of sweet, waffle-textured frozen dessert holder that you might find in a gelato parlor…

          I guess the point I’m trying to make is that I haven’t been locked in a basement without a TV since the Nixon orchestrated Watergate Hotel break-in in 1972. As a result, I haven’t missed out on hearing about most of these:

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_scandals_with_%22-gate%22_suffix 

          I didn’t want to give you that impression, because it seemed to me like you got that impression.  ;)

          p.s. – I hope I didn’t give you the impression that you didn’t know what a “play on words” was or a “waffle cone” for that matter. That was a Joke. Was that everything? Yes, I think it was.

          • Anonymous

            No foul intended.

  • The Captain

    It’s almost comforting to see that PZ is still being the giant internet bully he is.

  • RhubarbTheBear

    [snark mode on] Oh, no.  The guy isn’t forgiven by PZ Myers.  How will he ever go on living? [snark mode off]  

  • Anonymous

    It’s a wonder PZ hasn’t buckled under the weight of the baggage of all those grudges he’s holding onto. (Oops, there goes another one. Bend at the knees). It must be hell in there. It’s nice to know he’s got all of those friends to support him. I can see his side of it. After all, forgiveness is such a Christian value. Heaven knows, we mustn’t go there. Remember kids: you can be good without God, but it’s not a strict requirement.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Brian-Macker/518709704 Brian Macker

      “Remember kids: you can be good without God, but it’s not a strict requirement.”

      Nor is it a strict requirement to be good with God.  There are so many exceptions and contradictions in the bible after all.     In fact sometimes God makes it a strict requirement to be an even bigger ass than PZ is.    In case you haven’t figured it out the Westboro Baptist Church is taking the strict requirements more seriously than the rest of the Christians. 

      • Anonymous

        Thank you for that. You’re preaching to the converted, mind you.

        As the audience for this post was very likely made up entirely of Atheists, I thought it would be apparent that the emphasis on that note would be on “being good” as opposed to “without God”, as in it’s not a strict requirement to be good. Therein lies the joke. Ha ha, etc… And it’s dead. Call it! 8:45 PST. Now, if you don’t mind, I need a moment alone to say goodbye. No prayers please. Just keep it in your thoughts.

  • Nordog

    I’m amazed the lengths to which bigots like Myers go to justify their bigotry.

    Rationalizaton does not equal rationality.

    Their hatred blinds them.

    Sad.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=553145445 Gordon Duffy

      the irony is burning my eyes!

      • Nordog

        Yes, I see your point.  Someone like Myers calling anyone else a bigot does seem to be a great irony.

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=553145445 Gordon Duffy

          nice deflection. Might your hatred be blinding you?

          • Nordog

            Obviously you consider me a bigot.  What exactly have I said that was bigoted?  Calling Myers a bigot, perhaps?

            • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=553145445 Gordon Duffy

              the irony is that all your comments on this tread seem to be rabid anti PZ rants about how PZ is rabid and ranty.

              I don’t know whether you are a bigot, I have no reason to suspect you hate anyone other than PZ

              • http://www.facebook.com/people/Brian-Macker/518709704 Brian Macker

                Why is that ironic?  Ironic means unexpected.   Do you expect comments pointing out that someone is bigoted to be flowery and sweet?  

                How do you point out a bigot without flagging your supposed “irony” meter?   

              • Nordog

                “I don’t know whether you are a bigot, I have no reason to suspect you hate anyone other than PZ.”

                Thank you.

                FTR, I don’t even hate bigots like PZ or Fred Phelps, though I must admit often I must resist the temptation.  However, I still think they both need to be called out, often.

                • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=553145445 Gordon Duffy

                  whereas I find the comparison fatuous.

  • http://www.bynkii.com/ John C. Welch

    (this was going to be a reply to PeeZus, but he’s hardly the only one acting this way. Besides, he only listens to his sycophants anyway.)

    How much of y’all’s ass will he have to kiss before y’all stop calling him a bigot, (which, by the way is what y’all’re being)? I’m just curious? Will he have to become an atheist? Give all atheists free gelato for life? Spit on a christian? Shit on a bible? Piss in a font? I’m just curious how much of your ass has to be kissed here?The dude, in the heat of a moment, did something STUPID. Everyone, EVERYONE on this goddamned spitball planet has done the same thing. Me, you, everyone else has done something STUPID in the heat of emotion and regretted it and apologized, with the reasonable expectation that the apology will be if not accepted, at least not spit on.But that’s not good enough, because YOU CAN READ MINDS! YOU KNOW THE ONLY REASON HE APOLOGIZED WAS BECAUSE HE MIGHT LOSE MONEY. It’s *unpossible* that he, maybe with the help of a friend realized that he was being an ass, and took the sign down because he realized he was being an ass. Nope, he’s a christian, and CHRISTIANS CAN NEVER BE GOOD PEOPLE.  Dirty, no-good christians, they shouldn’t be allowed out with decent people. They’ve been stupid and hateful towards atheists, so by not-god, atheists will be just as hateful back. That’ll show them.

    Congratulations, you’re treating this guy exactly the way some christians treat atheists. 

    Clap.

    Clap.

    Clap.

    You’re now just as good as them. Eye for an eye eventually means we’re all blind.

  • http://religiouscomics.net/ Jeff P

    I’m happy that he took the time to offer a more sincere apology.  According to his beliefs, we will all burn forever after we die so it is nice that he is big-hearted enough to let us at buy ice cream in his shop for the brief time that we are living here on Earth.  That is all we really want anyway.  To be treated fairly and without discrimination while we are alive.  If the God that he loves so much exists and wants to burn us forever in some kind of afterlife, then so be it.  We just want fair and equal treatment in the here and now.   

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_7H7RPZW4GN34RATPUXO5TNGSG4 Jim

    PZ is being unnecessarily obnoxious.

    “And until 150 million Christians rise up and show some respect for common humanity and reason, and apologize to me and every godless citizen in this country, I will not be magnanimous”
    Come on! That is an impossible standard. What do you want him to do next? Have an epiphany and start a blog asking other Christians to join the movement to accept atheist? What all Christians did so, except Fred Phelps (I know, I am stretching it)?

    Seriously, you will never accept a single Christian individual’s apology before ALL the thousands of Christian sects accept atheism as a valid point of view, though it flies in the face of what they strongly believe – however bigoted that may be – and make them un-Christian?

    Believing people who mock him for his strongly inculcated beliefs as evil is a thought crime that cannot be forgiven – at any cost – now? I thought this is still a free country.

    This is the same kind of standard bigots like Robert Spencer hold Muslims to. If you are a Muslim, you believe in Koran, which has (tons of) hateful verses. Ergo, all Muslims are terrorists. If you don’t personally apologize for 9/11 you are a terrorist. And if you do, we know you are lying.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Brian-Macker/518709704 Brian Macker

      “Come on! That is an impossible standard.”

      … and?   That’s what makes PZ tick.   He’s, dare I say it, irrational.   What else can you say of someone who holds others to impossible standards.

  • Stogoe

    Meh.  I say keep the heat on until his businesses go under, and then point and laugh.

  • JimG

    I am another former Pharyngula reader who got tired of PZ’s disdain for anyone who isn’t PZ.

    I’m fine with taking Andy’s apology at face value; whatever our opinion of his sincerity, I think we should take this opportunity to demonstrate that atheists are not the ogres he (and many others) imagine. Demonstrate that we’re more magnanimous and (by definition) more reasonable than his fellow Christians. Let’s take one of the Bible’s bits of useful advice and repay his initial animosity with kindness. If we really want to persuade people that they’re wrong about us, we need show that we’re better than we’re perceived.In short, let’s be Friendly Atheists. It works.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=553145445 Gordon Duffy

      Friendly to everyone except PZ right?

      • JimG

        The difference: This guy apologized with surprisingly good grace, given the wave of denunciation he received. I have yet to see PZ display anything similar in the face of criticism.

        I felt friendly, indeed admiring, toward PZ for a long time; but his ego and vitriol got old. While atheism and skepticism certainly need fearless, hard-hitting champions, contemptuous sneering is not an appropriate or effective tactic in every situation.

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=553145445 Gordon Duffy

          I have never seen this vitriol. It’s like bigfoot to me. People say they’ve seen it, and have grainy photos of what might be some leafs…

  • Cheron22

    “This is NOT an excuse, but”….Here is my excuse.
     “something involving UFOs (“skeptics”). What I saw instead was a man conducting a mock sermon, reading the bible and cursing it. Instead of saying “Amen”, the phrase was “god damn”.”
    I thought you were making fun of a stupid belief I also think is stupid but it turns out you were making fun of a stupid belief I think is true.

    “For what it’s worth, nobody was turned away.”
    Just those folks who saw my sign and for some strange reason didn’t feel welcome in my shop.
     
    “those of you who haven’t, I hope you will. I’m just a 28 year old small business owner who made a big mistake”
    Please take pity on me, I’m a poor underprivileged and often discriminated against section of the population …. a Christian male.
     
    “hope you see that I have not made any excuses”
    If you ignore the “mitigating circumstances” of mean Brother Sam making fun of my beliefs.

    “I graciously accepted his offer”Look how magnanimous I am letting you heathens interact with me. “I will give everyone who comes to my store this week 10% off as a token of my apology”Instead of making amends to the people I hurt by maybe donating 10% of the weeks profits to a non religious charity; why don’t you folks spend money in my store instead.. that will learn me honest.

  • http://twitter.com/almightygod almightygod

    I’m on Team Hemant in this case. Andy has issued a series of apologies and I take him at his word that he understands why he was wrong. We have ALREADY made an example of him and we can be sure he won’t repeat this mistake.

  • Aaron Scoggin

    So he wrote an apology to appear sorry, and to save his business.

    And we accept the apology to appear forgiving.

    Can we not do anything that’s real anymore?

  • http://www.bblss.org Miki

    The apology fit the offense, and I see it as sincere.  Apology accepted. 

    Also, PZ Myers is very necessary.  He’s a good reminder that sometimes you can screw up irreparably in some folk’s eyes.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Brian-Macker/518709704 Brian Macker

      About as necessary as  the concept of God.

  • Nordog

    PZ Myers is like the Fred Phelps of atheism.

    • Nordog

      PZ Phelps

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=553145445 Gordon Duffy

      I think of him more like a friendly uncle

  • http://twitter.com/Garnet_Wolf GarnetWolf

    Seems like the owner of the gelato place did this dumb thing as an overreaction. Really, who has never, ever overreacted and done something stupid they later regretted?

    Andy apologized, so I see no reason why he should continue to be dumped on. All the bad reviews could really mess up his business and while I totally disagree with what he did, I can’t say I wish for him to go out of business. He apologized and I think people should accept that and move on.

  • Anonymous

    For those that see the sign as unlawful discrimination, you can report him to the Missouri Commission on Human Rights:

    http://labor.mo.gov/mohumanrights/

    • Nordog

      Why don’t you report him?  Or have you?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=553145445 Gordon Duffy

    Wow. It seems like the only person it is ok to hold an irrational grudge against is PZ!

    • Nordog

      Like Myers did earlier, you offer a false dichotomy.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=553145445 Gordon Duffy

        look who’s come over all nuanced!

        • 59 Norris

          I take it you have a great appreciation for certain elements of rhetoric, but not necessarily a certain appreciation of great rhetoric.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=553145445 Gordon Duffy

            I just think you are spwing bile… about how you think PZ is spewing bile.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Brian-Macker/518709704 Brian Macker

      PZ makes a point of not apologizing.

    • NU

      It’s not irrational to hate PZ. The guy is a total jackass who undermines what others are trying to do. He’s self aggrandizing. His whole schtick is pretending that everyone else in the world is worthless unless you toady to him and his bigoted, blindingly irrational agenda. Criticize him and you are instantly persona non grata. Atheism would be so much better off without him.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=553145445 Gordon Duffy

        this must be a PZ from the parallell universe where aggressive dawkins lives.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Brian-Macker/518709704 Brian Macker

    “Others may accept his apology. I don’t.  Until he accepts that non-Christians can freely mock Chirstianity, it’s a not-apology.” - P Z Miserly

    I didn’t attend Skepticon so the guy never banned me, and therefore he doesn’t owe me an apology.     That’s is he didn’t ban atheists in general.  Just the participants from Skepticon, and only the ones that showed up for a ten minute period if you are to believe him.   Which was likely a ban on any christians, jews, or muslims who were in attendance at Skepticon.  

    So perhaps a couple people are actually due a real apology.   Maybe the guy who took the photo, and anyone who saw the sign and left without going in.

    The set of people owed an apology is very unlikely to include P Z Myers so who cares whether he accepts it or not.    The guy has got a big chip on his shoulder to say the least.   He’s truly unforgiving.    His ultimatum is ridiculous.     How does he even know what the guy accepts or doesn’t about mocking Christianity.   Since he took down the sign immediately that is good evidence he accepts the right to mock.

    Note that had I been turned away I would certainly accept this apology, and I’m with Hemant 100% on his response.

  • http://profiles.google.com/conticreative Marco Conti

    I was happier with the second apology than I was with the first. It seemed more sincere. 
    I am not fooled in thinking that he would have issued it had we not raised hell over the original sign, but he could have very well told everyone to go fuck off and the reality is that yelp would have filtered most of the negative comments (as it has already done – it’s an automated filter and was probably triggered by the number of review appearing in too short of a time) and in a while it all would have been forgotten.

    But I tend toward accepting the apology, with reservations. At the same time, I don’t blame PZ or anyone else if they choose to not accept it.  Is it obligatory? 

    One thing I would like to do is send Andy some material on discrimination against free thinkers and atheists and ask him to read it. Right now, he most surely apologized because of the financial repercussions, but his initial reaction was more about ignorance (he thought skepticon was about UFOs) than militant discrimination. He seems like a simple man, raised in a religious environment; an environment he never had any reason to question. Now he has a reason to at least look into the people he briefly banned and their beliefs. 
    I am not talking about “converting him”, but I am talking about giving him the chance to learn about who we are and what we believe and how we are persecuted because of those beliefs. 
    I don’t expect him to become an atheist overnight or even to read the material, but to give him a chance to know something other than Christian propaganda. 

    Many atheists were believers. Most changed slowly and many had something trigger their doubts. Even if he never changes his mind but sincerely learns some tolerance, it would be  progress. 

    Bottom line, I don’t blame either PZ and his camp nor those that consider the apology sufficient. I am in both camps myself, as unlikely as that may seem. Part of me accepts the apology, the other part will never be able to forgive his actions, but I can at least forgive the man.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Brian-Macker/518709704 Brian Macker

    Does this sound like a nice guy.   I mistakenly thought he had removed an article and posted a comment claiming that.  He got all indignant about it said he’d ban me unless I proved it.  I searched again, found the article and wrote, oops my mistake I missed it somehow.   Then he banned me.  Yep, that trivial.  If for the claimed reasons he’s a pretty petty fellow.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Brian-Macker/518709704 Brian Macker

     Does this sound like a nice guy.   I mistakenly thought he had removed an article and posted a comment claiming that.  He got all indignant about it said he’d ban me unless I proved it.  I searched again, found the article and wrote, oops my mistake I missed it somehow.   Then he banned me.  Yep, that trivial.  If for the claimed reasons he’s a pretty petty fellow.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Brian-Macker/518709704 Brian Macker

     I posted this in reply to Morva Ádám.   Somehow it ended up at the bottom with a double post.

  • Patrick Elliott

    Skepticism and science have long played the game of “working with” the
    stronger “religious” element, and surrendering to it. The same could be
    said about working people, versus corporations. Having finally gotten past his disertations, later retracted, on “German Culture”, and the, “wonders of Shoepansomething or other and Kant”, I finally got into some of the more interesting stuff by Nietzsche, I find myself looking at the, “He apologized”, view in this matter,  in light of one of the bits I just read:

    “Of the right of the weaker – If one party, a city under siege, for example, submits under certain conditions to a greater power, its reciprocal condition is that this first party can destroy itself, burn the city, and thus make the power suffer a great loss. Thus there is a kind of equalization, on the basis of which rights can be established. …”

    Mind, just refusing the do what they want, so long as the power in question allows itself to be bound by at least the “appearance” of civility, and thus making self destruction an unnecessary element, is usually sufficient in modern times. And, one need not “burn the city”, if one makes it equally unusable for all parties. I present this argument in challenge to those that presume both to respect an apology given as means of repentance, not change opinion, and to the myriad clowns, on other discussion threads, who try to make similar arguments against the “inconvenience”, “disturbance”, or “offense” of others who belong the those in power, by those without, or having less, of it, in every instance, be it religious, political, economic, etc. If there is no reciprocal offense possible, they can be no basis to establish rights for either party. On the contrary, where such reciprocation of offenses is not possible, what one is left with is dictates from the powerful, and destruction as the only option from those apposing, at which point, we are right back with the “uncivilized” version that Nietzsche describes.

  • DangerAardvark

    Alex mentioning Stockholm Syndrome resonates as I read all these posts lapping up the crumbs that the Christian majority deigns to feed you.  You’re mistaking the bare minimum of tolerance for kindness.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Brian-Macker/518709704 Brian Macker

      Who claimed he was being kind?  

  • James

    Okay, this is a long one, but just bear with me on this.

    I am in agreement with Hemant on this issue.  I’d like to think that we are big enough to accept his apology and move on with life (regardless of whether or not he is sincere in his apology).  As much as I loved PZ’s talk on Saturday, and as much as I love reading the Pharyngula posts (be they on biology or atheism-related news), I disagree with his methods of handling this.  Sure we should be mad and fight back when we are discriminated against, but we shouldn’t go to war with a small business in Southern Missouri over a misguided moment of heated anger and rash actions.  From what I heard while at Skepticon (although this may be incorrect), the store is partially owned by an Atheist and by a very liberal-minded Christian and that it is the husband of the latter who posted the sign in the window after the described event of seeing Sam’s little show.  Again, this may be incorrect (and may seem contradictory to the apology letter), but if it is true, then I would certainly be against holding a business responsible for the acts of one person who isn’t even the sole proprietor of the business.

    The thing I loved about Skepticon is that it had something for everyone: Dave and Gretta got to rant, there were lectures on Biology, Paranormal investigation, Probability, and Hemant’s great talk about critical-thinking in math classes.  Sam was providing a different sort of service: comedic entertainment in the form of mocking the religion that pretty much everyone in the convention disagreed with and therefore found humorous.  There is NOTHING wrong with this, but for someone to just wander in off the street (into a free convention open to everyone, I might add) and see how we represent ourselves – well, I’ll just say that Sam’s is not the presentation I’d want my religious friends to see if I had invited them along (Greta’s would have been much better for that).  I am NOT saying we should censor ourselves or change how we hold skepticon in any way.  All I’m saying is that we should understand why he was upset by what he saw, and take him at his word that, after taking the time to cool off and realize what he was doing, he had retorted inappropriately.  Maybe if someone were to calmly explain to him who/what we are and what we are about (rather than letting our comedy acts do it for us) then we’d be able to reach a better understanding and he’d understand why he was wrong to judge us so hastily (and not just that he was wrong for business reasons or civil rights reasons).

    When I was reading all of these crazy arguments, I remembered I had received this little red slip of paper from the convention with a map of the area and a list of stores that were sponsoring and supporting Skepticon (mostly in the form of 10% discounts). That list actually includes the Gelato store in question.  Clearly the store owners were in support of Skepticon and, presumably had some knowledge of what Skepticon was. Sure, Andy was angered by what he saw as making fun of his religion (which…yeah, it was, we just happen to find it funny), and no, that doesn’t make his knee-jerk reaction alright, but I’ll take his apology and leave it at that.  Just as how the black community will have to take the word of the white community that they are sorry for their ancestors’ practice of slavery.  Or how the Jewish community will just have to take the word of the Germans who apologize for the Holocaust (not saying that these are in proportion, but I think you get where I’m coming from).  Holding grudges forever will get us nowhere, so let’s just move on. 

    On another note, it’s things like this and elevator-gate that I think truly show the diversity within the Atheist movement.  How we all hold different beliefs that have nothing to do with religion.  Some of us are spitfires and others are diplomats; some are conservatives, or libertarians, or liberals, or socialists, or what have you; some of us care deeply about the issues of gender-equality and gay-rights, while others see those as irrelevant to the Atheist movement and only care about religious issues.  It’s this amount of diversity that make me laugh at the idea of an Atheist political party, or the attempt to treat us as if we all want to fall under the banner of the American Atheists.  We are a group destined to faction – coming together only under our common belief that there are no gods and the promotion of critical-thinking and skepticism.  I believe Dave Silverman was wrong this weekend to claim that all other titles (freethinker, agnostic, bright, secular humanist, etc) should just be done away with in favor of the title Atheism, because a secular humanist view (a view which I have) is certainly NOT Atheism – it is merely a compatible world-view that many Atheists share.

  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ Anonymous

    He’s only sorry that his business took a ratings dive.

    I don’t buy this “apology”.

  • Charles Black

    I think this guy has had enough condemnation already, lets move onto more important issues such as global warming & water pollution.

  • Forrest Cahoon

    I think you have to evaluate his actions in the context of his society and upbringing. I suspect he’s always been a Christian, always bought that the “other” is evil without ever having met any — and what would lead you to question that, if you’re comfortable in your faith. He saw something that shocked his sheltered sensibilities and had an emotional reaction. Given time to reflect, he backed off, and wrote a sincere apology.

    The thing that make me feel certain that this apology is sincere is the fact he invites us into his head, to see things from his perspective. It would seem that he spent some time doing the converse, attempting — although it’s surely difficult for him — to see things from the conference goers’ perspective.

    Don’t berate him for taking a small step in the right direction — of openness to others’ beliefs — because it’s a damned hard step to take when it goes against everything you’ve ever been led to believe.

    And as to whether he had financial motivation, based on bad reviews — maybe so, but I don’t think it matters.  This is not a pro forma apology. This is the real deal.

  • Anonymous

    I’m going to attempt to summarise this for my own clarity of thought:Local business owner sees something done by a group he is unfamiliar with that shocks him.He disapproves and bans the group from his shop.He changes his mind after calming down and apologises for his overreaction.The group see a photo of the sign and post it online.The group and affiliates are outraged and respond by posting social commentary about the business.The business owner responds with a stronger apology.Lots of sceptics argue about whether an apology is sufficient restitution for the dickish sign.Is that about it because I am hard pressed to understand the depth of outrage that this story has generated.  That’s a statement of my own ignorance rather than a judgement on those who are angry.I was not significantly hurt by his actions.  I got a bit righteously indignant at the slur but to be honest it is what I expect from Christians so it just adds to the bubbling anger I feel towards them as a group.  Yet another example of why Christianity is a bad thing for society.  I’m not going to go to his shop.  Ever.  I’d have to go halfway round the world for a start so that’s hardly an issue for me.  My actions remain unchanged.  His apology took a little of my righteous indignation away.  I thought it was well intended (if perhaps a little self serving) and I’m big enough to let it go at that.What I find interesting and significant about this is that my (English) righteous indignation is clearly much weaker than my American cousins fury at his actions.  I think that this is because nobody cares that I’m an atheist.  My family are all atheists, back and forward a generation, and the vast majority of my friends are also atheists or disinterested agnostics (apatheists).  Those religious people that I know either don’t care that I’m an atheist, respect my right to disagree with them or are just plain too embarrassed of their faith to speak up.  My career is completely unaffected by my lack of gods too.  Nobody has ever even brought up the subject at work apart from boiler room bigotry at “those Muslims” that someone was repeating from a red top tabloid.My education and the education of my children is unaffected by religion.  True we have mandatory religious assembly in schools but they haven’t changed since I was a pupil and I didn’t know that they were supposed to be religious then.  Instead they are all about school business.  Religious education (or ethics and philosophy as it has been rebranded) truly does cover world religions.  My youngest is comparing a prominent Catholic with a prominent Muslim for his latest E&P homework.  Scientists aren’t much restricted in their research by religious sensibilities unless you happen to be an internationally renowned biologist and writer who makes a career of talking about atheism.It’s true that there are filthy child molesting priests still plying their wicked trade and still protected by the privilege afforded to the Bishop of Rome but he’s openly mocked and held in low regard.  I don’t even know any Catholics who would think of defending their church.It is true that we have unelected Lords Spiritual in our legislature but these ineffectual old boys do very little but cream some expenses from hard working tax payers like me.  It’s no worse that the 650 parasites who sit in the Lower House do and hardly much to do with religion at all.  It annoys me true but I am so furious with politics in general that I can barely summon up the additional energy to warrant anger against a few well meaning but deluded old duffers.  They’re rather comedic when you think about them, a bit like the Queen and her corgis. I haven’t lived with religion.  Ever.  This is all very different from what it must be like in the United States of Jesusland where atheists are an untrusted, even despised, minority, where civil rights are stomped all over by greedy and insensitive churches and bigoted citizens who can barely conceive of life without some sort of deity.  It must be horrible that businesses can and do deny atheists services and access to goods on nothing more than that they have to get up on a Sunday to apologise to a magic man in the sky for being human.  I acknowledge my privilege and understand the anger at the GelatoGuy.  He probably doesn’t get it either and he certainly has a lot more invested in it that I do.It’s fine to teach somebody that they are wrong and to explain why what they did was wrong.  If the apology isn’t enough then that’s probably because he just doesn’t understand why it isn’t enough.  Nor can he make up for a lifetime of being treated like a second class citizen because his myths aren’t our myths.  He’s the one with the privilege and he has made a step to acknowledge that.  I think he should get a bit of credit for that even if he has some way to go.

    This comment is much longer than I intended.  Sorry.  

    • Anonymous

      Longer than you intended, but very well said.  Thank you.

  • http://twitter.com/GoddessGeek Naomi

    I think it was a nice apology.  For what it’s worth, I run a large skeptics group in a very large US City. On our calendar, I cross-posted a meeting from the city’s atheist meet-up group, which was a show by the same Sam Singleton, located at the same pub the skeptic group frequently meets at.  I did not attend the show.

    A few days later I got a call from the manager of the pub. She told me that we would no longer be welcome at their location.  Why? Because of the language coming from Sam Singleton and some of his audience.  It could be heard in the main bar – whose patrons were more offended by the language than the content, and by the rude behavior of Sam’s audience as they came in and out of the closed room to get drinks or food.  I tried to explain to the manager that we were a smaller group that usually had science talks, but it didn’t matter. The crowd was rude, rowdy, and vulgar, so that finished that.

    And PZ is an ass, unless you meet him in person, when he’s a bland milquetoast. You don’t have to be a dick to get your point across.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=553145445 Gordon Duffy

      so… you were discriminated against… and you blame someone other than the person who discriminated against you… and you endorsed their bigotry by saying “but we’re the quiet doormat types”?

  • Sware

    I was 30 years a believer.  I would one day find out that some very nice people I knew were atheists.  One of the first thoughts I had upon this revelation about my friends was, “wow, they are atheists????  But they are such nice people. ”  Luckily I was wise enough not to state this thought out loud as I’m sure it would have insulted their intelligence.  This was not the final moment that made me determine my own atheism but was a very crucial seed planted in my mind in realizing what it meant to be good without god…that it was even possible to be good without god.  This incident with this shop owner reminds me that our example to others really is important.  He apologized appropriately and sufficiently as he should.  To hound the guy out of business and demand he change his point of view over night is beyond reasonable if you ask me when as others have stated it could be prime opportunity to demonstrate that we are better than the religious institutions we love to despise.
     
    On another note, a local ice cream shop in my area has expanded to selling packaged ice cream in local grocery stores.  I noticed that they print bible verses on their packaging and I then made a conscious decision not to purchase their product going forward.  Just seems like a stupid business move which made me feel like my money was not just purchasing ice cream any longer but supporting propaganda that I do not subscribe to.  Guess I just need to stick with Ben & Jerry’s from here on out.  ;0)

  • http://www.houseofbetazed.com Mriana

    Hi, Hemant.  I spoke to him personally at his restaurant today and I’m working on the article for God Discussion.  After speaking to him face to face, I agree and truly feel that his apology was heartfelt and sincere, despite the fact that he feels no one’s views should be mocked.  He’s not doing it just to save his business either.  I saw it in his face at least once, that he is sorry for what he did.

  • Tort

    have to agree completely with Sam Singleton’s response: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=fAtxB3Ix8U8

  • http://www.facebook.com/sanctum.lost Casper Rigsby

    Uhm…. I live in the bible-belt and there are businesses everywhere that post signs and stuff about how they are “christian run” and what not. I actually appreciate it. It lets me know which businesses I DON’T utilize. This dude was definitely a douche, now people know he’s a douche. I don’t care WHAT the sign said, because what it REALLY said is “I value my religious views over other peoples personal freedoms, civil rights, or anything else on this planet.” So he can apologize till he’s blue in the face, but at this point it’s KINDA like a KKK member saying, “Sorry about hating all those black people.”….. you just kinda know where he stands. (*shrugs*)

  • Alex Reynard

    Wow. PZ’s tweets. What a pig.


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