Tacoma Coffeehouse Owners Change Their Mind About Letting Atheist Folk Singer Shelley Segal Perform In Their Shop

The other day, Hemant posted about the difficulties Camp Quest organizers ran into when they tried to put on a fund raiser at Oklahoma Joe’s BBQ. The fundraiser had been cancelled abruptly because  the owner’s “Christian philosophy” didn’t mesh with Camp Quest’s secular beliefs.

On the very same day, crew members of Ask An Atheist received an email regarding an event they had been organizing to host Australian atheist folk-singer/song-writer Shelley Segal. The email was from Anthem Beverage & Bistro, the venue where Shelley’s performance was scheduled to take place this Sunday.

Originally, plans for the event were going great, with Anthem staff saying they’d even be willing to stay open late as long as there were enough people ordering food to keep the kitchen open.

Shelley Segal

Of course, throughout their email correspondence, the Ask An Atheist folks made it clear that they were the ones who would be hosting this event. They never hid who they were and what kind of event they wanted to host. But Monday’s email made it clear that things had changed:

This isn’t something that we feel comfortable promoting or hosting because it doesn’t align with what we believe and stand for.

Anthem Beverage & Bistro, Tacoma

Additionally, a new Eternity Bible College email address had been cc’ed into the email conversation, seemingly to further drive home the point that they’re Christians who don’t want to cater to atheists. As a community organizer myself, I know how challenging it can be to find a good & suitable venue for an event and how frustrating it can be when things are changed unexpectedly. What happened to the Ask An Atheist organizers wasn’t just bad form; it was blatant discrimination.

The one silver lining in all of this is that they were able to find another venue on short notice. Doyle’s Public House has been a long time friend to the Tacoma atheist community, is a sponsor of Ask An Atheist, and is often the location for their post-show gatherings. Sadly, this means the event is no longer all-ages but they do have great food and tasty beers. So if you find yourself in the Tacoma area this Sunday night, stop in to Doyle’s at 5:00p for dinner, a pint, and some great godless folk music. (Suggested donation: $5.)

About Ericka M. Johnson

As a lover of science and reason, Ericka M. Johnson has an affinity for evolutionary biology and is the president of Seattle Atheists. She revels in any opportunity for a thoughtful debate on the meaning of life, the universe, and everything (especially over a pint.) Follow her on twitter @ErickaMJohnson