When Godless Money Hurts a Business

We’ve all seen examples of passive-aggressive atheist activism: Downvoting pro-religion posts on Reddit. Putting a warning label on hotel room Bibles. Crossing “In God We Trust” off of dollar bills. We can debate whether any of that makes a difference, but the point I want to make is that we believe these actions hurt no one. You make your point. You move on.

But a recent story out of Shreveport, Louisiana shows that our silent protests can sometimes affect people who have no dog in the fight.

It seems that an atheist went to a local business called Julie Anne’s Bakery and paid for his/her purchases with “Godless” dollars bills. A black marker had been used to cross “In God We Trust” off the back of the money.

No big deal, though. It’s still legal tender. The store owners took the money and put it right back into circulation, just as they should have.

Then someone else came to their store. When she received her change, the Godless money was inadvertently given to her… and she assumed it was the owners who had crossed off the phrase. So she went right to Facebook. (The screenshot below comes from a secondhand source):

Thankfully, before the issue blew up, the store owners clarified that they had nothing to do with the markings:

We would like to take a moment to address a situation that has recently been brought to our attention, it seems that there has been an issue with some currency that some customers have received from our bakery with black marker on them. We would like to assure you that we would never mark anything out on any money, we have seen some of these bills coming through our bakery, but from a business standpoint, if they aren’t counterfeit, they are still valid currency, so if you have received any of these bills, it was only because we were given them, and then they made their way back out as change. Please feel free to bring them back here or exchange them at any bank. We sincerely apologize for any negativity that this has brought about.

The person who began the accusations quickly apologized and took down the original post.

I’m glad that worked out and the business didn’t suffer because of any anti-atheist sentiment, but it just goes to show that our actions have consequences, even when we think they won’t have that sort of impact.

Just something to think about next time you’re crossing that phrase off your money.

(via James Burns — Thanks to Randall for the link!)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the chair of Foundation Beyond Belief and a high school math teacher in the suburbs of Chicago. He began writing the Friendly Atheist blog in 2006. His latest book is called The Young Atheist's Survival Guide.

  • Philbert

    I’ve never seen such a bill, though I have seen some with Bible verses written around the borders. I don’t really appreciate propaganda from either side on my currency, for precisely this reason: I use currency to buy and sell goods and services and I’d rather do it without any implication that I agree with (or am the author of) what some loser decides to scrawl on the money. If you want to spread your message, whatever it may be, please just print it on your own paper instead of a shared resource.

    And yes that includes “In God We Trust”, but that’s different because everyone who picks up a dollar bill from me knows I didn’t put it there. 

    • Isilzha

      The thing is…I doubt most reasonable people would blame the business for whatever is written on a dollar bill they’ve received in change.

      • http://www.flickr.com/photos/chidy/ chicago dyke

        exactly. i refuse to believe i have to walk on eggshells all the frakking time because a bunch of religious dunces are easily offended and often so without respect to understanding the facts. somebody put a mark on a dollar bill. it’s not the end of the world. get over it. 

        • Isilzha

          Why does it seem that the atheists are the ones who must walk on these eggshells??  I, for one, am very tired of that assumption!  Why are atheists suppose to respect and preserve the status quo for the religious?  How is THAT at all “friendly” for the atheists??

        • Antinomian

          Believe it Sister. The butthurt locker is deep with the Christ and God Whisperers.

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/A37GL7VKR3W6ACSIZPH7EID3LI rlrose63

        Exactly… that was a HUGE jump from this customer to receive a (or many) bills from a business and immediately assume first, that the store did it, and second, that they do it to EVERY dollar that comes through the store.  That is the extent to which, in my experience, believers will go to make their point.  Reasonable people would not go to that extent.  I’ve received MANY bills with bible verses over the years and never once thought the business did it.

  • C Peterson

    I don’t see this as a negative result from the action of marking out the money. Quite the opposite, the publicity generated means that whomever did it got a little more bang for their buck(s).

    It also emphasizes the ignorance and antisocial nature of at least one customer of the bakery, who would automatically make the assumption that the business was modifying the money, and who felt that Facebook was the first place to go, as opposed to the bakery itself.

  • C Peterson

    I don’t see this as a negative result from the action of marking out the money. Quite the opposite, the publicity generated means that whomever did it got a little more bang for their buck(s).

    It also emphasizes the ignorance and antisocial nature of at least one customer of the bakery, who would automatically make the assumption that the business was modifying the money, and who felt that Facebook was the first place to go, as opposed to the bakery itself.

    • Isilzha

      Why would you even take it to the business?

      • C Peterson

        Well… normally I wouldn’t, for the simple reason that I wouldn’t assume the business marked the money. I have also seen money marked with bible verses, and have never assumed that it was the business I received the money from that put it there. However, if I had some reason to believe that a business was marking up bills, I might well go to them- to offer my support for marking out “In God We Trust”, or to voice my negative opinion of adding bible verses. In any case, social media wouldn’t be my first stop!

        • Isilzha

          Well, obviously you’re a sane person, lol!

          • C Peterson

            Thanks. A few people around here have suggested otherwise…

            • Glasofruix

              Well, you do have your moments :p

    • Zugswang

      Whenever I receive my change and see that George Washington is suddenly sporting devil horns or a goatee, or that the Eye of Providence has “New World Order” scribbled over it, I don’t automatically assume the people at my local bakery are responsible.  I know it’s the anarchist hipster kids who live nearby and also happen to love pretzel rolls.

    • Michael

      One of them has also posted a libellous review on Google +

      Anyone know about their policies for getting this kind of thing removed? Might also be worth people in the vicinity being nice and dropping by and giving a more honest review.

      https://plus.google.com/101002784782353327860/about?gl=US&hl=en

      • Custador

        I messaged the author of that post and asked her to remove it.

        • John

           It’s still there, but at least “0 out of 20 found this review helpful.”

  • WoodwindsRock

    This is total B.S. because that phrase does not belong on our money to begin with. I haven’t ever marked it out on any my money, but it’s still just flat out ridiculous altogether.

  • ortcutt

    And this is why we shouldn’t have controversial religious statements on our money in the first place.

    • http://www.facebook.com/george.rivet George Rivet

       ”We” don’t put religious statements on our money, the FEDERAL RESERVE does. The Federal Reserve is not the Federal Government, it is a private organization that is owned by foreigners who in turn own the Federal Government.

      • ortcutt

        For one thing, you’re wrong in that the Board of Governors is a Federal Agency and the Federal Reserve Banks are considered “Federal instrumentalities”.   Second, the requirement to include “In God We Trust” was a legislative action of Congress signed by the President, not an individual decision.  I’ll refer you to 31 USC § 5114.

        http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/31/5114

  • http://www.holytape.etsy.com Holytape

    Everyone has a dog in the fight, whether they know it or not.   Issues of prejudice and intolerance affect society as a whole.  The people who claim not to have horse in the race, are usually the people who are benefitting directly or indirectly from a privilege associated with not being the underclass. In this case, people who aren’t normal used to having to deal with religious intolerance are forced to see that it exists.    I haven’t crossed out in God We Trust on my money, but I am tempted to do so now.  

    • http://twitter.com/TychaBrahe TychaBrahe

      Greta Christina on crossing out “In God We Trust.”

      http://thehumanist.org/september-october-2012/how-confrontationalism-can-open-doors/

      The woman came back with my coffee and said, “If you don’t mind my asking—why do you do that?”

      And the door opened.

      I said (again, paraphrasing here), “Because it shouldn’t be on the money. Whether you believe in God or not, the government shouldn’t be taking sides on the issue. I don’t happen to believe in God—it’s okay with me if you do, you certainly have that right. But the government shouldn’t be telling me that I’m supposed to believe in God. It shouldn’t be telling any of us what to think about God. If we want religious freedom for everyone, the government should stay out of that question.”
      And she thought about it for a moment, and nodded, and said, “Yeah, I guess I can see that.”

      • Cecelia Baines

        Sorry, having Great endorse and talk/write about anything takes away from our cause. She is horrid; she begs for money from her sycophants; acts as a loud and shrill harpy and endorses hypocrisy. Sorry but Greta is not a source anyone should take seriously. 

  • Cecelia Baines

    The idiot who got the bill made up a story based on what? Their own fetid imagination? Really that is what this comes down to. The receiver of the bill(s) had no information that actually was based in reality vis-a-vis “owners crossing out ‘In God We Trust’ on every bill”. If anything, the idiot who posted that little gem (lie) should be sued for libel.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/A37GL7VKR3W6ACSIZPH7EID3LI rlrose63

      Exactly… I don’t see this as a rampant problem with this one act of rebellion.  I see this as an isolated incident with a religious zealot and her kind.  I’m glad the bakery stood up for itself and nipped it in the bud and that said zealot took down the post (quite reasonable after her completely UNreasonable initial act).

  • http://nwrickert.wordpress.com/ Neil Rickert

    I would never cross out “In God we trust” on a dollar bill.

    I consider it the best and clearest statement that America’s real religion is worship of The Almighty Dollar.

    • Renshia

       Well it is, isn’t it?

  • http://www.facebook.com/chrisbrock.nc Chris Brock

    I’m glad you made us aware of a potential unforeseen consequence of marking out religious statements on currency, but I’m not sure we should censor ourselves out of fear that it may cause crazy people to act irrationally.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/A37GL7VKR3W6ACSIZPH7EID3LI rlrose63

      Yeah!  There’s bound to be collateral damage from friendly fire in ANY war, right?

      • Baal

         I don’t agree that striking god off the currency represents a war.  The incident mostly illustrates that ceremonial deism is bunk and that the phrase is supporting xtianity as an established religion.

      • Baal

         I don’t agree that striking god off the currency represents a war.  The incident mostly illustrates that ceremonial deism is bunk and that the phrase is supporting xtianity as an established religion.

  • Grumble F Kitty

    I fail to see how the ignorance, spite and malice of the christian who made a fuss over this money is the fault of the person who marked out those words. If we stop expressing ourselves out of fear of irrational responses like this, the bullies will have won.

    • Blacksheep

      Defacing currency shows ignorance, spite, and malice. 

      • Revyloution

        Defacing currency is a peaceful protest against the encroachment of religion into our government.    Some of us have jobs, families, and video games to play. We don’t have the time to set up a picket line in front of City Hall to address our grievances,  so we do our part in little ways.   

      • Pureone

        I’ll remember that the next time I see a bible verse on some cashola.

      • Cecelia Baines

        Yes, and when the ‘guvment decided to put “In God We Trust” on our bills, that was the ultimate expression of ignorance, spite and malice, only it was done under the watchful eye of the sky-fairy and the flag, so that doesn’t count, right?

        Fucking idiot.

        • just me

          Why would you care if God really does not exist?  Do you also get upset when they make movies about the toothfairy?

          • rth

            If a large percentage of the adults in my community believed in the toothfairy, based their lives on the rules that the toothfairy supposedly made for them, and believed that people who didn’t believe in the toothfairy deserved to be punished for eternity, I would be upset.

            • just me

               If someone told me that I would be punished for eternity and I really did not believe in what they were saying, I would not care or get upset about it.  What part of the rules do you not like, do not steal, do not kill, etc. This subject should not be an issue to people who do not believe in a higher power other than their opinion that those that do believe are a little off their rocker.  No reason what so ever to get angry, if they are right.

              • Cecelia Baines

                Apparently “Burger King” is giving out free lobotomy coupons with Whoppers again.

              • Travis Dykes

                Im curious as to where in the country you live (nothing specific obviously, Im no creeper lol).  If you live in a place like Shreveport, and you can keep your apathy as to what the religious do, good for you.    However if you live in a generally secular place and not a place where religion is a part of EVERYONES lives whether they want it there or not, you might want to save your breath as you do not understand.  In a place like Shreveport (Im currently living there) it does matter what the religious believe, because it directly affects the lives of the very very few in town who do not believe.  

                Shreveport is the kind of town where its very easy to lose your friends and hurt your career if you are known to not be Christian much less being an atheist.  I mark my money to protest this (though I know this bill wasn’t mine because I only cross off the God and usually put “^E pluribus unum” that or I add an “s” to the God”).  I hope my protest doesn’t hurt any businesses, however, in a town with such a small town atmosphere, its a fairly safe assumption that the business owner will know someone who knows the person who was offended and can straighten them out about things.

                • just me

                  Good post, you actually sound rational.  I can relate to losing jobs or friends as I have been in those situations due to my sex and race.  My intention was to get an honest answer as to why there is so much anger.  Not just with the dollar bill issue.  In my opinion, which isn’t much, I think most people who claim to be athiest or agnostic are treated the way they are because of there behavior and not what they believe.  Just look at the anger directed to me for asking a simple question.  In no way was I  being ugly to anyone posting here.

                • rth

                  When was anger directed at you? It looks like everyone has been very nice.

              • rth

                The point I was making was that they believe that atheists DESERVE to be punished for eternity. That can have an impact on how they treat atheists.

                I agree with the rules against stealing and killing and with some of the other of the Ten Commandments. (The first four are the ones I have a problem with. Also, I’m not sure that coveting is such an evil thing.) Of course, the Ten Commandments are a tiny percentage of the rules that Christians, Jews, and Muslims are supposed to follow. I’m more bothered by some of those other rules. I mentioned the rules that supposedly come from the toothfairy or some other supernatural source because basing one’s sense of right and wrong on something that doesn’t exist can so easily lead people to do horrible things. 

                Finally, I didn’t say I was “angry.” I said I was “upset” (which was the word you used in your question). I meant “upset” in the sense of being “bothered.” I am bothered by mass delusion.

          • John

             Because people don’t try to make laws about the Tooth Fairy and treat people who don’t believe in it as second-class citizens.  Either you’re trolling or you have absolutely no idea what we actually care about.

      • John

         Putting a black mark on a dollar bill hurts no one.  Attempting to start a boycott of a small business for a harmless thing that they didn’t even do potentially hurts many people.  How the hell can you possibly compare the two?

  • Luc Duval

    The way you say, “our actions have consequences” suggests that it was the fault of the person who marked the bill that this business almost suffered from bad PR. In fact, it was the fault of specious and illogical public criticism.

    While the sentiment is relatable, I think it relies upon a causal fallacy. Maybe this situation is a bit of a grey area, but it reminds me of how often we have to point out to people that dressing sexy is not a cause of harassment.

  • Snorfla

    Wait… what?  People are so F*ed in the head that getting “corrected” money in change from a bakery leads them to trash the bakery, and this is OUR FAULT?
    F* that

    • Isilzha

      No kidding!  I’m tempted to get a few hundred ones and fives from the bank and spend some time taking a sharpie to them.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jasontorpy Jason Torpy

    Oh. Now it’s my fault that psycho fundies find stupid reasons to boycott businesses? I spent a year in the desert fighting for Freedom (other questionable reasons for the war weren’t my reasons). I am going to do everything I can to eliminate any idea that God = America. I’ll be crossing it off the dollar. And those that catch flack for my activism will be enlightened about the kind of discrimination atheists face every day.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1306655921 Rolf Boettger

    Tempest in a teacup provoked by a knee-jerk reaction from a Christian who saw her faith and values challenged by a felt tip marker.  Maybe she should join her local Faux News station, her faux outrage would fit right in.

  • Isilzha

    Oh, good grief…this isn’t about atheism or even crossing out “in god we trust” on a bill.  This is about one ridiculous customer of one business who can’t grasp the idea that a dollar bill changes hands numerous times and sometimes they will receive one that has been written on.

    Maybe that particular dollar had been shoved in someone’s g-string a few days before too!  Is the bakery suppose to somehow screen for that?  Oh, and better make the business drug test their money–never know when someone’s rolled up a bill and snorted some blow through it.

    • http://criticallyskeptic-dckitty.blogspot.com Katherine Lorraine

      Actually, about 90% of paper bills ARE contaminated with cocaine. Trace amounts of it catch between the paper fibers. This is one of the reasons why some countries are going to plastic monies (also plastic reduces chance of other nasties getting into the fibers.)

      • Isilzha

        Yes, but much of that is cross contamination and doesn’t mean anyone actually sucked up cocaine from the bill.

      • The Captain

        Yea, but have they tested them for how many have stripper sweat on them?!

        • Antinomian

          Or tears?

    • cathouseumbrella

      It really is bizarre that she’d assume the marking came from the place she got the bill. I get money that has various kinds of writing, etc. on it all the time, and never once has the thought even entered my mind that that the markings came from the person who gave it to me as change. What a freak.

  • Baby_Raptor

    No, the real lesson here isn’t “Atheists, shut your mouths.” 

    It’s “Christians will do FUCKING ANYTHING to feel persecuted. And their entitlement knows no bounds.”

    • http://www.facebook.com/george.rivet George Rivet

      How about the “overly hypersensitive” atheist who feels  threatened by
      the words “in God we trust”. Looks to me like  the pot and the kettle
      are both black.

      • Pureone

        It’s on there because of some “overly Hypersensitive” Christians decided to say “Fuggit” to the First Amendment in the 50′s during the Cold War. Looks to me like you don’t know your history or Constitution.

      • Shawn

        And if muslims were to one day be in majority and changed the money to say ‘in Allah we trust’ you can me damn sure the xtians will be the second one’s doing this, right after us atheists. Hey here’s an idea, why not replace it with, oh I dunno, E pluribus unum, which just so happens to not be needlessly divisive.

  • Pedro Lemos

    Wonder if they would find it normal if we also started rejecting any money with statements we disagree with. When you receive any bill saying you trust in god, give it back and ask for one bill without such claim. If they don´t have any marked notes, they would have to start  marking it themselves.

    (And how come I never thought of that? I´ll start marking the “Deus seja louvado” statements from my Brazilian Reais bills too.)

  • jdm8

    This isn’t the fault of whoever marked up the bill. A religionist jumped to conclusions based on a sample of one. The accusation was doubly stupid because altering bills isn’t a profitable activity.

  • http://benny-cemoli.myopenid.com/ Benny Cemoli

    So let me get this straight.

    A hypersensitive Christian made an unverified assumption and posted it on Facebook criticizing the bakery for allegedly crossing out the phrase “In God We Trust” on a bill instead of just  calling the  bakery and asking, “What’s up with this bill I received as change. Did you do this?” and then has to pull the posting because the bakery said, “Nope, we didn’t do that but we have gotten some bills with the phrase crossed out and since it’s still legal tender  we took it. If you are so offended by it please come in and we will give exchange the bill for another or simply go to the bank and do so. Sorry.”

    And somehow Hemant thinks that this is an atheist’s fault? 

    The only person that may have “hurt the business” is the overly hypersensitive Christian person who made unsubstantiated accusations on a most public social network against the bakery because their religious sensibilities were so horribly offended.  Accusations that could have been easily  debunked with a simple call to the bakery.

    But, it’s all the atheists fault for crossing the phrase out in the first place.

    Whatever.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Hemant Mehta

      Never said it was the atheist’s fault. It was obviously an overreaction from the Facebook poster.

      • http://benny-cemoli.myopenid.com/ Benny Cemoli

        When Godless Money Hurts a Business

        Seems to imply to me that if it wasn’t for the atheist marking out the phrase on the currency then the bakery would never have had to deal with the resulting bad publicity and possible loss of business because an ignorant Christian choose to misinterpret who did the marking.

    • http://www.facebook.com/george.rivet George Rivet

       How about the “overly hypersensitive” atheist who feels  threatened by the words “in God we trust”. Looks to me like  the pot and the kettle are both black.

  • Blasphemous_Kansan

    To quote Michael Bolton from Office Space (in reference to another horrific entity):

    “Why should I change?  He’s the one who sucks.”
    In this case, why should this form of passive-aggressive protest stop?  They’re the ones throttling innocent business owners over non-issues like this. 
    Did anyone else catch the slight flavor of a supposed “war on….” some secular holiday that’s coming up, maybe?  Do businesses distributing godless currency go on the naughty list, also?  I mean, how many seconds of thinking does it take to conclude that just MAYBE the cash you received as change at a bakery might actually not be cash that was there at the beginning of the day?  This was someone with a severe case of xian persecution syndrome, or someone who both knows how facebook works and doesn’t understand how money works.  Or both.It is heartening that the original accuser recanted, though.  Hopefully they have a more nuanced appreciation of the issue.

  • John of Indiana

    And that is what happens when a member of the 80% believes that FAUX NOOZ garbage about how they’re being “persecuted by us in the 6%…
    Did she notice that the “gawdless” carried as much purchasing power as the bills WITH the magic spell on them?

    This is a bit of a stretch, Hemant. It’s like saying somebody took the manure from my barn and made saltpetre out of it which somebody else made into gunpowder so any mayhem resulting is my fault for having a crapping horse in the first place.

  • Aaron Scoggin

    You’re absolutely right. By this reasoning, it should be easy to get that “motto” off of the money to prevent any further confusion.

  • http://skepticink.com/dangeroustalk Dangerous Talk

    It is so sad that Christians have to lie and make such a big deal out of shit. I will continue to stamp out my bills with my Normal Bob Smith stamp. Christians should grow up and if they won’t take mt money, I’ll either take it to someone who will or sue their asses.  

  • http://www.everydayintheparkwithgeorge.com/ Matt Eggler

    The problem here is clearly not with the atheists but with the religious.

    “They mark out “In God We Trust” off of every dollar of any value that goes through that business.”

    Really? Someone receives a bill or even a handful of bills as change with “In God We Trust” marked out and they jump to the conclusion that the people running this bakery are devoting time and energy to make sure that every bill that passes through their store is marked this way? This is utterly irrational. I receive bills as change with marking on the all the time, including once receiving eight dollars where all four bills were stamped http://www.wheresgeorge.com, but never assumed the business was responsible.

    Any rational person would realize that there is no way of knowing how may hands that bill passed through so marked before it came into their possession. These people immediately jumped to a wild conclusion because it gave them the opportunity to get on their high horse and feed their religious persecution delusions.

    • The Captain

      I contend that this goes beyond acting irrational and falls flat into the “lying” category.

  • http://skepticink.com/dangeroustalk Dangerous Talk

    I agree. I would get more information. But since when did religious believers start caring about facts. 

  • http://skepticink.com/dangeroustalk Dangerous Talk

    How is this the fault of atheists? To start with, Christians put their religion on dollar bills that belong to us all. A Christian jumped to an illogical conclusion base on insufficient evidence (big surprise there), and other Christians believed the bullshit (again nothing surprising there). Why are you blaming atheists Hemant? 

    • Isilzha

       I’m wondering that too.  It doesn’t seem very friendly to the atheists, does it!

  • Vukota

    If anything this has inspired me to start crossing out those words myself. 

    • Currency Corruptor

      I’ve never defaced a single dollar before today. But I just took a marker to every bill in my wallet in the hopes that some poor helpless christian will be persecuted into next week! TREMBLE BEFORE MY WICKED SHARPIE!

  • Jon Peterson

    Is it sad that I’m not surprised to see the reaction post claiming “this is the truth” about something they assumed (a: new management, b: policy of marking bills) based on very little evidence (received a marked bill) that’s entirely circumstantial anyway?

    (Yes, it is very sad.)

    • Isilzha

      They must have served some gay people or something.

  • ed

    So crossing those words out is not meaningless and actually has an effect? Awesome!

  • Drakk

     The more this happens, the more christians get exposed as hypersensitive, irrational morons.

    Start stocking up on sharpies, I say. I’d do it if I had any reason to handle US currency.

  • HughInAz

    ‘”We shouldn’t allow gun reform, because either we let every idiot and psycho arm himself to the teeth with no training or background check required, or the jackbooted federal thugs will be kicking down our front door and grabbing our guns so that they can round us up into concentration camps…”

    See the similarity? We shouldn’t be held hostage by the entitlement and laughable persecution complex of the fundocrats, just as our gun policy shouldn’t be held hostage by the mindless extremism of the NRA.

  • The Captain

    What’s lost in this little Facebook kerfuffle is that the good christian who first posted this lied. 

    While all the christian mob is now saying good job to the bakery for not actually doing this, I didn’t see anyone ask the original poster why the hell did you lie about this and hold them accountable.And yes, the OP did in fact lie. “They mark out in god we trust off of every dollar of any value that goes through that business” To extrapolate that from getting a couple of bills with the marks goes well beyond “misunderstanding” and flat out into making up bullshit lies about someone! Yet I bet they’ll pay no price fro that shit either.

  • ORAXX

    Conservatives are very much in favor of personal choice except when it comes to the reproductive rights of women and printing their relifious beliefs on our currency.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1351473675 Matthew Baker

    A few questions Who still uses cash these days? Second who even looks at their bills other than to make sure they are the right denomination? Does the self righteous indignation make the money lose any of its intrinsic value? Does it not still spend the same?

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

      I still use cash; no, self-righteous indignation does not change the value of the money; and yes,  yes, it still spends the same.

  • http://www.facebook.com/vinimarques Vini Marques

    Why should anyone cater to the ignorant on anything? Sorry, Hemant, not siding with you this time. ;)

    • Isilzha

       I agree…this one is silly!

  • vexorian

    The solution is  , of course, to cross In god we trust from more if not all dollar bills.  That way angry customers won’t be able to trace back a bill on any given business.

  • Achron Timeless

    Yeah, the money didn’t hurt the business. It was the lie that the business was forcing their employees to do this that hurt the business. That’s a libel suit if it actually impacted the business.

    What kind of idiot gets a couple dollar bills with “god” marked out and decides that the business is orchestrating a massive scheme to oppress them? Seriously, up the dosage of whatever they’re taking.

  • W_Walker

    When you cross out the religious phrase, don’t stop there.  Consider writing in “e pluribus unum.”  I think it makes a nice statement.

    • Isilzha

      And one that the religious right will make an effort to protest!

  • Epinephrine

    So – someone committed libel, and this has something to do with atheists?  

    Give me a break.  The title shouldn’t be “When Godless Money Hurts a Business,” but rather, “When Christians Jump to Conclusions and Attempt to Get their Way by Leveraging Their Majority Status to Boycott Businesses Based on Faulty Assumptions”

  • Michael Stone

    I see no reason to feel guilt or blame atheists for this – it was religious extremists who threatened the business, not atheists or other freethinkers.

  • GretaChristina

     And when atheist billboards get vandalized, it creates problems for the billboard companies. Sometimes people even get angry at billboard or transit companies for “allowing” atheists to run ads. Should we therefore not run billboard campaigns? Should we be blamed because some people are incapable or unwilling to think for two seconds about who is actually responsible for whatever it is that’s making them angry?

  • http://www.last.fm/user/m6wg4bxw m6wg4bxw

    TL;DR – I agree with most everyone. The assuming Christian is to blame.

    I think this situation highlights the necessity for critical thinking skills. The bakery patron obviously made several mistakes. And any Facebooking potential bakery boycotters? They should bother to check the facts too. If the population were better at this stuff, a silly mistake like this COULDN’T hurt that bakery.

  • David Starner

    I once got a dollar bill with an Arabic message on it. Should I have worried about letting it go through my till in case a customer thought we were writing Arabic messages on our dollar bills? (It was pre-9/11, so maybe it would have taken a couple years to cause a fuss.)

    (In any case, I replaced it with a bill from my pocket and had some people online translate it. Having people blow up over “I love you, Fatima” written on a dollar bill would have been hilarious.)

  • Lagerbaer

    Note that the harm done here isn’t because of the Atheist’s silent protest but because someone who gets offended easily jumped to conclusions.

  • the moother

    i suppose, if you’re dumb enough to believe in god you are also not smart enough to figure out that it probably wasn’t the bakery that marked the bills…

  • http://www.facebook.com/matt.dillahunty Matt Dillahunty

    Seems my comment didn’t get posted.

    I’ve thought about this, as suggested – and I’ll be marking out the motto more often than I previously have.

  • Bdole

    “…the
    mark out ‘in God we Trust’ off of every dollar of any value that goes through
    that business”

    Let’s catalog the stupidity:

    1) The totally baseless
    assumption that the business did it and not the far more reasonable assumption that they’re just circulating the bills. Although they could have asked first, facebooked later.

    2) Even a cursory attempt at
    verification would have probably shown that not “every dollar” was
    blacked out. So, they just made shit up out of thin air without even the
    tiniest effort to test their hypothesis.

    3) a dollar – singular – only ever has one value, namely $1.

    4)The phrase, “under new employment.” Unless this business is run by the politburo, businesses come under new MANAGEMENT.

    That’s just one sentence and it’s packed with idiocy.

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/GodVlogger?feature=mhee GodVlogger (on YouTube)

    The solution would be to have WAY MORE dollars that ALL have the “God” crossed out on the bills, So that no individual business would be out of the ordinary in having such bills.

  • Antinomian

    I would and have ‘Soup Nazi’d’ a customer like this… “Get out!! No baked goods for you!”

  • Beverly Stapleton

    I can’t believe that there was ANY fallout over this. How completely ignorant of the person to ASSume anything about this business and then broadcast it for the world to see. Some Christians need to get a grip. Really.

    I’m sorry Hemant, but this is not the Athiest’s fault here. We have freedom of speech in this country, but that does not mean you are free from being offended. If this person was offended by the little bit of black marker, it ‘s because they CHOSE to be. Maybe they aren’t so secure in their faith, such that something as simple as a black magic marker could cause them distress.

    If they had to have any reaction at all, perhaps they could have said a prayer to their Sky Wizard on behalf of whomever DID write it, and not make baseless assumptions about the business and their practices.

  • Custador

    Let me tell you why this post is bullshit: Because a harmless act of free expression from one atheist is not responsible for a brainwashed Christian idiot jumping to a moronic conclusion and spreading an outright lie. That action is entirely the fault of the brainwashed Christian idiot, NOT the atheist who marked the bill. This blog post is thoughtless and lazy.

  • Gary

    Actually, reading the bakery’s facebook page, it appears that they got a nice bump from the publicity.

    I just cross out the ‘god’, and change it to read “In Reason We Trust”.

  • Custador

    Censoring my post for pointing out that this post was thoughtless and lazy… Way to prove my point, HM. Grats on the inability to take criticism, by the way.

    • Isilzha

      No, your post is there.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Hemant Mehta

      I didn’t censor a post. May have gotten caught in the spam filter.

  • Duke OfOmnium

    You have to remember that christians typically aren’t very bright (or they couldn’t be christians), so the subtleties of “who marked the money” is going to be lost on them.

  • DougI

    According to the Christian’s line of reasoning, we are being persecuted because their god is stamped on the money.  Not that they’ll ever admit that of course.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/SMVTMGVS7B5ZJ45DLCYO2U7U2E wallflower

    I’ve been doing a little project using a hole punch to remove “God” from dollar bills. (I’ve saved them all in a specimen jar.) The guy at the liquor store said “I’ve seen these around – someone mustn’t like god” as he shoves it in his till.

    • Duke OfOmnium

       Funny.  The hooker said the same thing to me.  Only she didn’t shove it in her till

  • Caddyshak343

    So you blame the people who made valid political points rather than people who overreacted and didn’t verify their facts before tossing around accusations?

  • Phillip

    I’m disturbed that someone made a rash, irrational move like this without thinking through all of the possibilities of how that currency ended up where it did.  Did it not occur to them that the money was just recirculated?  Did they go there on multiple visits and notice that most currency from there was not marked out?  Did they get friends who are customers there to show them their change and make an observation?  Yes, I’m glad they removed their post and apologized, but the fact that people do not think critically anymore really disturbs me.  (Cue Will McAvoy from the Newsroom here and ask him what makes us the greatest country.)

    Further, do Christians really believe that the battle for the soul of this country is going to be lost or won over something trivial like jingles, shibboleths, and slogans?  ”In God We Trust”, “Get God back in school, Get more guns, Get rid of all Gays”, “Pro-life, Pro-war, Pro-death penalty, “Support the Troops with a worthless ribbon or sticker but don’t bother to call my Congressperson or Senator and ask for better pay and benefits for our troops and veterans”.

    What about where the money is spent and how it is used?  That it is spent on countless hours of mindless entertainment, accumulation of junk, wars, disenfranchising the lower classes?  That our society is mimicking Roman society before it fell?  That we use it to consume 80% of the world’s prescription narcotics and more anti-depressants and anxiolytics than other industrialized nations?  Not that I think the nontheistic person was anymore enlightened by their black mark across a piece of paper, but from what I can tell, we are already a nation of atheists, functionally so anyhow.    

  • KeithRoragen

    It seems odd you would blame atheists rather than the bigoted individual that received the dollars. The headline here ought to be, “Anti-athiest Bigotry Hurts Everyone.”

  • RobertoTheChi

    I have lost count of the number of times I have received money with something written or stamped on it and never once did the thought cross my mind that the business I received the money from did it. Then again I’m not a brainless lunatic like this lady. The bakery would be lucky to lose this crazy asshole as a customer. She is obviously a busy body and a not very bright one at that.

  • Pat68

    And at least question the person you’re getting the money from versus rushing off to post online something that may or may not be accurate.  

  • Sheilacole

    The person who posted this on Facebook trying to destroy someone’s business and reputation should be disgusted with herself. I’d hate to see what happens when she picks up a slightly undercooked muffin or coffee that’s just a little too hot or too cold. It’s one thing to post your dissatisfaction with a business that has provided a poor product or customer service. But this woman LIED stating incorrectly that the employees were using the markers to hide the “in god we trust.” The business could sue for libel.  

    • MGBSE

      …you mean just like chik-fil-a?

  • Robster

    The atheists aren’t the problem, it’s the over the top response from the easily offended godbot individual that made the post. Jees, you’d think there’d be more important issues to consider.

  • Don

    ” This idiotic article is actually blaming the atheist for crossing out a violation of the constitution when it’s the xitans fault for falsely accusing a business of crossing it out and then going further by accusing the business of making it a regular habit when she had no proof, never saw an employee doing it, and just downright ASSumed and created a story and posted in on Facebook. She’s lucky they didn’t sue her ass for libel!

  • Keulan

     I cross out “In God We Trust” (and sometimes write in the names of other fictional deities like Zeus, Odin, etc.) from my bills because it’s unconstitutional for the government to be promoting religion. I’m not going to stop doing this just because one unreasonable person assumed that the store wrote on their bill.

  • http://www.zazzle.com/atheist_tees The Godless Monster

    This post should have been titled, “When a  Baseless Assumption Hurts a Business”
    This incident is a perfect demonstration of what unreasoning people accept as actionable evidence.

  • http://profiles.google.com/brotheratombombofmoderation Steve Caldwell

    As a resident of the Shreveport-Bossier City metro area and occasional shopper at Julie Anne’s, I posted the following comment on Facebook in response to Julie Anne’s clarification:

    Question
    for Christians in Shreveport, Louisiana — isn’t assuming that Julie
    Anne’s Bakery marked out “In God We Trust” on the currency and accusing
    the restaurant without asking them first about this a violation of the
    Ten Commandments (bearing false witness against one’s neighbor)? A
    simple phone call to the bakery would have cleared this up before
    posting a false accusation on Facebook.Perhaps
    Shreveport residents who are hyper-sensitively religious should ask
    questions first before violating their religious ethics by making false
    accusations that are later retracted.

  • http://www.twitter.com/alcrans Aloysius Cranston

    I black out the phrase on all bills I receive. Once, a cashier spent a few minutes scrutinizing the currency I gave her (1′s and 5′s), then said, “Excuse me a moment,” and walked through the door to what I assume was the manager’s office. She came back several minutes later, apologizing for the wait and explaining how there is “a lot of counterfeit money out there these days, and did you know the government sells the plates they make the money from to other countries like Afghanistan, etc.?”and she wasn’t accusing me of counterfeiting or anything, but, you know. I asked her if the absence of “In God We Trust” had anything to do with it, and she said,”Yeah, that was part of it.” So there’s one more cashier out there who now knows blacking out the phrase doesn’t render the bill worthless. “The more you know.”

  • Mdwelch27

    I had not thought of this, but I am marking it out on all of my money from now on.  Let’s see how many bills we can fix.

  • Joshua Barrett

    I always assumed someone would look at it and not like it. If some moron blames a business thats no ones fault but the moron.