Todd Stiefel’s Gift to Religion News Service is an Ethical Investment

Different websites are reporting on the fact that philanthropist Todd Stiefel, through his foundation, gave $65,000 to the Religion News Service over the past two years so that they could write stories about the non-theistic movement.

Rob Kerby at BeliefNet wonders about the ethics. Billy Hallowell at Glenn Beck‘s site, The Blaze, just takes that article and puts a right-wing spin on it.

***Update***: Billy Hallowell wrote the piece that appears on both websites, though I still feel like raising the ethics question in the Blaze headline was unfair. My apologies to Billy for the error.

I’ve said this before: I think Stiefel’s grant to RNS is one of the smartest investments he can make. He doesn’t get any editorial power over their articles and while he admits to suggesting article ideas, RNS usually doesn’t take his suggestions.

He’s not paying them to make atheists look good.

He’s paying them to cover things that are going on in our world — things that even non-atheists might be interested in. (Did I just use the term non-atheists? Yes. Yes I did.)

Anyway, I hope other groups join Todd and support RNS in the future. The organizations and individuals in our movement do a lot of good work and we deserve to have it covered just as churches do.

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.


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