Camp Quest Responds to Oklahoma Restaurant’s Cancellation of Fundraiser

Earlier this week, Camp Quest Oklahoma was scheduled to hold a fundraiser at Oklahoma Joe’s BBQ (in the city of Broken Arrow), but the owner of the place told them — after the event had already started — that he would not be giving them anything because he disagreed with their beliefs.

There has been an outpouring of support from across the Internet in response to this treatment, and Camp Quest issued this statement on their website:

Since the cancellation, Camp Quest Oklahoma has raised over $5,000 in donations, and these donations have come from Christians as well as members of the secular community. We know that Mr. Davidson’s views and actions do not represent all Christians, and have been especially heartened to see messages and donations from Christians like one man on facebook who said “I am Christian and read on Reddit what happened. Donated because what they did was ridiculous. Hope it helps.”

It’s disappointing, that in light of the restaurant’s prior approval, Mr. Davidson let his ignorance about secular people get in the way of honoring the commitment that his restaurant made to hold this event. We hope that Mr. Davidson learns that supporting children going to a camp where they have positive adult role models, science activities, and are encouraged to think for themselves is consistent with both secular and Christian values.

It’s never too late to support what Camp Quest does, in Oklahoma and elsewhere.

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.

  • Mackinz

    I’m really happy to hear that Camp Quest has fundraised more than they would have if they had gone to Oklahoma Joe’s. 10% of the cost of everyone there… really isn’t that much.

    Silver lining?

  • advancedatheist

    in the city of Broken Arrow

    I wouldn’t exactly call Broken Arrow a “city.”

  • digitalatheist

    I love the last line on the note in the door (minus the name and position!): “We will provide service to anyone”.
    But you just got done saying that you wouldn’t provide service. Make up your mind.
    Sigh.. “chritianity”; a cult from which I’m glad I shook the dust off my feet.

  • George Wiman

    Camp Quest “didn’t disclose their beliefs”? I find that a little hard to believe, since their website tag line is “The Secular Summer Camp”. It’s right on the title bar.

  • Ed Selby

    Have we heard from Joe Davidson at all? I am curious as to how he could approve the fund raiser then cancel it after it started. Is he practicing to be in Congress – approve it find out what’s in it?

  • invivoMark

    Mr. Davidson learns about the Streisand Effect!

    I don’t think that teaching kids about science and how to think for themselves is really in line with Christian values. It’s more in line with secular values that some Christians have decided to borrow. Christian values are more along the lines of learning to obey one’s parents or get put to death by stoning (Deut 21:18).

  • rhodent

    In fact, if you look at the flyer about the event, it clearly states that “Camp Quest provides an educational adventure shaped by fun, friends and free-thought, featuring science, natural wonder and humanist values.” It would have taken deliberate ignorage on the part of Oklahoma Joe’s to not know what Camp Quest was about. I’d think they planned to back out from the start except that I think that’s crediting them with more cleverness than they actually possess.

  • rhodent

    No, he never said he wouldn’t provide service, just that he wouldn’t honor his word. In short, “Just because we refuse to honor our agreement with you filthy, stinking atheists doesn’t mean we don’t want your money. We’ll gladly take that!” I think we all know who Oklahoma Joe’s real god is…

  • Byron C Mayes

    This is why we should always do business with signed contracts. And if they had one, then Davidson is clearly in breach of it and should be sued. It’s possible that he still can be as some states recognize the “verbal contract” as legally binding.

  • Richard Wade

    I imagine what happened was that Mr. Davidson was too busy counting his money, so he left the details of the arrangement with Camp Quest up to one of his subordinates. That person had no problem with Camp Quest’s values, so the fundraising agreement went forward. Then at the last minute somebody told Davidson that they’re a bunch of evil atheists, and he put the kabosh on it, fearing a backlash from the small town-small mind-small heart locals. The subordinate who approved the agreement is probably in deep poo poo.

  • blasphemous_kansan

    Is this the same “Broken Arrow” that has a population of over 100,000 and is the 4th largest city in Oklahoma, and the largest suburb of Tulsa?

    A large part of the economy seems to be agriculture-based, but it seems to meet every definition of a “city” that I can come up with. The buffoonary of the parties involved in this story are good enough material for mockery without resorting to geographical elitism (says the guy who is sick of humoring ‘Wizard of Oz’ and trailer park/tornado dodging jokes from east and west coasters alike).

  • Geoff Boulton

    My thoughts exactly. Maybe a few people could write and thank Mr Davidson for the success of his inadvertent fundraising efforts on behalf of us nasty atheists.

  • advancedatheist

    Excuse me. I grew up in Tulsa, and I would consider Tulsa marginally a city, at best. Broken Arrow amounts to some suburban sprawl to the southeast of Tulsa proper.

    I left Oklahoma because of its inadequacies in general. It has too few people, and second-rate ones at that. Tulsans live more than a comfortable day’s drive away from a real city – and Oklahoma City doesn’t count. By contrast, even though I now live in a rural part of Arizona, I can get in a car and in an hour arrive in Phoenix, America’s sixth largest city with a metro population of 4 million, more than the entire population of the state of Oklahoma. And Phoenix does have cultural resources despite its reputation as a redneck-inhabited wasteland. Lawrence Krauss teaches at Arizona State University, for example.

  • blasphemous_kansan

    I gotcha, fair enough. The lack of context made your comment sound like it could have been some coastal chuckling at those of us in the middle of the country who can’t be bothered to get off our tractors, and not necessarily the perspective of someone who has seen it for themselves.

    Though both situations were likely, as you can see I tend to kneejerk toward one of those scenarios in the absence of other evidence.

    A lifetime of people asking how big the farm you were raised on was and if your dog’s name is Toto… wears one down after awhile.

  • kevin white

    Sounds like a plan

  • Reginald Selkirk

    A few years back, a local Christmas light display on private land was vandalised, so I and a few other atheists send them a little money for repair/replacement.

  • pRinzler

    When *are* you going to get off your tractor? You’re getting a little bit of a red sunburn right above your shirt collar.

    Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go back to my brie and chablis. ; )

  • Artor

    I hope the Xians who donated to Camp Quest also notify Davidson of their donations, and explain why his actions inspired them to do so. I’d respect Xians a lot more if they actually started policing their own, and condemning bigoted ignorance like this incident.

  • Artor

    No, I think he was just really ignorant, and didn’t know until someone else translated English-to-Redneck for him.

  • LutherW

    Or Davidson approved it and then had a friend/customer/parishioner/minister complain to him.

  • LutherW

    Anything but pray for more Davidsons

  • Anonymous Atheist

    If anyone is curious and hasn’t seen it yet, here is the timeline I put together of how we ended up with multiple ‘Oklahoma Joe’s’ restaurants, some separate and some not:

  • Verimius

    Do not attribute to malice what can be explained by incompetence.

  • kaydenpat

    So I guess no Muslim fundraisers either. Wonder how Christianists would feel if an atheist-owned business acted in the same manner as Mr. Davidson.

  • rhodent

    I had considered the possibility that he wouldn’t be familiar with “humanism” but that if that was the case he’d ask. But I suppose that assumes a level of intellectual curiosity in his part that we can’t necessarily assume, doesn’t it?

  • PsiCop


    “… are encouraged to think for themselves is consistent with both secular and Christian values.”

    But … thinking for oneself is NOT “consistent with … Christian values.” Christianity demands that people never “think for themselves.” Thinking is off-limits!

  • Timothy R Alexander

    If I remember reading right, it was only verbal. Some people say camp quest could still sue over that but I think simply move on is the better choice

  • TheBlackCat13

    He kicked them out.