‘I’m Actually An Atheist’ Shirts Being Sold to Help Out Atheist Who Spoke to Wolf Blitzer

The organizers of the FreeOK Oklahoma Freethought Convention are doing a nifty fundraiser to help out Rebecca Vitsmun, the atheist who told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer “I’m actually an atheist” in response to his question about whether she thanked God in the wake of the recent tornado.

To help out Vitsmun, who was referred to yesterday as the “only atheist in Oklahoma” by Rush Limbaugh, they’re selling t-shirts with Vitsmun’s phrase on it:

These shirts will be sold online and at the FreeOK Convention in June for a $25 donation to a relief fund designated to help our heroine and her son get through this very difficult time. All tees are black, 100% cotton with “I’m actually an atheist” screen printed in white with the scarlet letter A that has come to be associated with atheism. Ladies cuts are available. When ordering, you may choose to have your tee shipped or have it waiting for you at the convention on June 22nd. As always, your support is appreciated.

Awesome :)

If you’d like a shirt and the chance to help out Rebecca and her family, go here and place your order.

(Thanks to Aimee for the link)

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.

  • Gus Snarp

    Don’t generally like T-shirts with slogans, but I’m considering this one.

    • eonL5

      I’d get this one, but it’s gotten to the point where I have so many black t-shirts saying various (mostly geeky) things, I refuse to buy another. No more black-only t-shirts! Gray? White? Green? whatever.

  • TiltedHorizon

    Rebecca Vitsmun is certainly in need of our help but so are a thousands of others. Given the current situation, how is a fundraiser that only benefits one family a good thing? I’ve read elsewhere that Rebecca is a Personal Assistant/Caregiver. How about we raise funds that helps the many by making donations in her honor instead?

    • Gus Snarp

      I have no problem with helping this one person who needs help. But what I would suggest is that there ought to be a top limit to donations above which further donations will go to a more general relief fund, and this ought to be clearly stated.

      • TiltedHorizon

        I like your idea, it would definitely address my concerns. I wish that intent was expressed in the fundraiser link which specifically stated: “designated to help our heroine and her son get through this very difficult time.”

        However, Rich Wilson’s link does put my concerns at ease.

        • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

          Sigh, Disqus. Hope this doesn’t dup.

          We are more driven to give to an individual story. I think it’s great that we have a story of our own to identify with. I mean, better not to need them at all, but given that the tragedy occurred.

          It’s something those “sponsor a starving kid” charities learned long ago. Send pictures and letters from one kid, and use the money to help the community.

          I don’t think anyone’s concern that we help everyone, not just ‘our own’ is unwarranted.

    • Phil Morgan

      Or we can trust that she will continue to help others.

      • TiltedHorizon

        Where did I imply a lack of trust?

    • http://gadlaw.com gadlaw

      You know, you are free to donate to the Red Cross at http://www.redcross.org/charitable-donations . Nobody says you can’t or shouldn’t. How about you do what you want and let other people decide to donate also to someone who was singled out the by the Great Satan himself Rush?

      • TiltedHorizon

        I did give to the red cross, I’ve even been trying to find a way to do more in person. For the record, I never stated “can’t” or “shouldn’t” in my post. I asked a question and offered an alternative which addressed my concerns and still honors Rebecca.

      • randomfactor
    • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

      Rebecca has already stated that donations above what they need will be given to the Red Cross.

      https://www.facebook.com/rebecca.vitsmun/posts/10100518926269870

      • TiltedHorizon

        Thanks for the link. She is every bit the caregiver.

    • JET

      I personally admire Rebecca for her honesty on national television. But there are thousands of others who have suffered just as great a loss, if not more. If Baptists, Catholics or whatever said they wanted to make donations only to like-minded believers, I would be denouncing their inhumanity. Although it is everyone’s personal right to donate or not donate as they choose, my donation went to the Red Cross and I will depend on them to make sure that help is handed out where it is most needed.

    • ATHEISTBOB

      i think the idea here, tilted, is that we should support one of our own AND be generous to others. if you look at that vid., she was very hesitant to answer. wonder why? maybe because she knew of the vitriol that would ensue. i understand that she already received threats and nasty comments, so i think we certainly need to support her for her brave comment to the NATIONAL AUDIENCE!

      • TiltedHorizon

        I don’t disagree with you Bob. This just ‘feels’ not quite right to me. (‘felt’ to be specific as I wrote what I wrote based on the information I had at the time) As a group we argue for inclusivity so a fundraiser that, as the description is written, only benefits one family affected by a natural disaster did not sit well with me. I’m not saying it is wrong or telling others what to do, simply trying to accomplish the same task, i.e. help others and Rebecca, while also trying to address the dissonance created in my mind.

        • anniewhoo

          I understand where you are coming from Tilted. At the same time, I think that in times of crisis, people turn to their community for help. We are Rebecca’s community. I have given to more inclusive fundraising efforts, but I will also buy a t-shirt. I can only imagine how difficult it is for an Oklahoman to come out as an atheist on national television. I look at this as similar to the scholarships and cash awards we give to the brave young people in our community who speak up. I trust that Rebecca will be fair and compassionate to others with additional funds.

          • TiltedHorizon

            Thank you Annie. Your perspective has added to my insight.

            • Pepe

              I like this response a lot. Normally whenever I see a difference in
              opinion in the comments here, it mostly ends up in some sort of name-calling
              (or something like that).

              Edit : Have an upvote :)

  • morgantj

    Thank the lord!?This drives me crazy how every post-disaster believers want to thank the lord for surviving, etc… but never blame the lord for allowingcausing the disaster in the first place. Argh!

    • hailey

      I know, right? It’s ape-shit crazy how strongly the average Christian has been taught not to question anything related to God and to always view God’s plan as good, even to the point of labeling tragedy as God working in “mysterious” ways. They aren’t capable of critical thought when it comes to their religion. I wish they’d wake the f up and smell the reality.

    • Bryce

      I’m more bothered that they frequently forget to thank the real people. First responders, doctors, people that actually made a difference.

      • Guest

        There is an acquaintance of mine that was temporarily paralyzed in an auto accident years ago. To this day she still insists it’s gawd that healed her and made her able to walk again. According to her, the doctors, nurses and physical therapists that helped her recover were just his tools apparently and didn’t really have much to do with her recovery. It was all due to her faith and prayers in her mind. When I asked her why her gawd didn’t just prevent the accident in the first place and why he chose to heal her rather than provide food, shelter and medicine to those around the world that are truly in need of assistance, she stated that age old adage about his master plan. I haven’t spoken to her since that reply.

  • Essex Dee

    (I wish it came in “agnostic” as well!)

    • C Peterson

      Why? Atheist and agnostic virtually always mean the same thing, and “atheist” is a more accurate word.

      • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

        I disagree. Atheism/agnosticism appears to be a scale, and people can place themselves along the scale how they wish. If Essex Dee or anyone wishes to call hirself agnostic, who is anyone to tell hir ze’s wrong?

        • Stev84

          I really don’t like the scale interpretation. You can be both at the same time. (A)gnosticism refers to knowledge and (a)theism refers to belief.

          • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

            This is true and not-true all at the same time. It’s when the dictionary definitions and connotative definitions are close but not identical that things get wonky, as with this labeling snafu.

            In common use, atheists are clearly more certain of the lack of existence of god(s), but many also clearly state they don’t know for sure. They don’t think there is one as all the evidence they have suggests there isn’t one, but they shy away from absolute disbelief as a counter to absolute belief. I guess one could call them agnostic atheists, but if a person wants to claim either label, I see no problem with it. I do see a problem with saying that they mean the same thing and that a person is wrong for claiming either label.

    • randomfactor

      CafePress will print one for you. Mazel tov.

  • Miss_Beara

    It figures that Rush Limburger spews an ignorant comment.

    • Michael W Busch

      Just to add the numbers to that: the number of people identifying as Nones in Oklahoma is significantly lower than the national average, but it’s still ~12%. And 3%-4% percent of the population currently identify as atheists (given social pressures, we might expect the actual fraction to be higher, but I don’t have the data necessary to correct for that).

      Limbaugh just denied the existence of a hundred thousand people.

  • A3Kr0n

    Actually, I’m not able to get it to work. I get to PayPal, but there’s nothing to buy, and $0 balance. That’s a bummer, because I need a new t-shirt!

    • Chris

      Me too! Bummed :(

      • A3Kr0n

        Try again. It just worked for me.

  • SJH

    Rush Limbaugh was speculating about something that I had previously thought about. Blitzer sounds somewhat awkward and asks the question in a weird way. I thought the whole interaction was just odd. It was odd enough to me that it sounded staged. I instantly wondered if Blitzer actually sought out an atheist just so he could ask the question. I thought it was an absurd idea so I blew it off. Then Rush comes out and basically makes the same speculation. Of course, it wouldn’t be the first time he makes an absurd statement so take it for what its worth, just a thought.

    • Anna

      That’s a little conspiracy-ish for my taste. I think the awkwardness was just because the question didn’t come naturally to Blitzer, but since so many of the other people they were interviewing were all “thank the Lord!” and they were in rural Oklahoma, he just assumed Rebecca and her family had the same mindset. It makes for a good human interest story, getting people to talk about how grateful they feel about being spared in a tragedy, that it’s a “miracle,” etc. Like I said on the other thread, I don’t believe Blitzer would have asked that question if they’d been in California or New York.

      • SJH

        You’re probably right.

    • Gus Snarp

      It’s completely absurd. Yes Wolf was awkward, but it’s not the first time he’s been awkward on camera. And the atheist in question certainly wasn’t staged. Her reaction carries so much reality, the pause, unsure what to say, the little laugh to cover her slight embarrassment, the tone when she said it. I’ve never seen anybody fake being forced into saying something they generally don’t talk about that well. If she was staged, she’s the best actor in the world.

      • Kenny223

        agree, that was as authentic as I could ever imagine

      • Guest

        Exactly. These people have just been through a life-altering tragedy.

        My mother and I couldn’t help but laugh when we went to visit my sister just outside of Boston the night after the bombers had both been caught/killed. Wolf was interviewing the chief of police from Watertown, and asked him what they (the brothers) had been shooting with. The chief does a qiuck blank stare and says, “Shooting guns.”

  • ortcutt

    Glenn Beck’s fevered brain has already found out about CNN’s nefarious agenda.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U1t48BB1H9E

    Inadvertently show a happy, smiling atheist mother on TV, and religious wingnuttistan loses their minds.

    • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

      Ok Glenn, let’s play along and assume “That was there for a reason”

      What exactly is wrong with ‘what was there’?

      I know, #preachingtothechior

    • Gus Snarp

      I think Glenn Beck may be dangerously mentally unstable.

      • ortcutt

        It’s very lucrative though. I’d feign mental illness for $80 million a year.

        • Gus Snarp

          But would you really? I mean, more and more I have trouble believing it’s an act, but if it is, I just can’t even fathom that level of immoral behavior. To knowingly enable people with real mental problems and encourage them in their delusions while trying to convince people with no real mental problems to believe those delusions as well all for money? How do you even rationalize that?

    • JET

      Glenn Beck: “That was there for a reason.” Yes, Glenn, it’s a conspiracy.

    • http://profiles.google.com/kristenefournier Kristen Fournier

      I love that everything that he disagrees with is ‘nefarious’.

  • busterggi

    I see no reason to donate to theists who count on their god to take care of them – if that god won’t pony up to help them then they bet on the wrong horse.

    • Mairianna

      …which is exactly why I just donated to FreeOK. :)

  • randomfactor

    Bought one. Great idea.

  • Rain

    Those would make great ties or maybe hats too.

    EDIT: Also they would look great on a billboard.

  • A3Kr0n

    Woo Hoo! Paypal finally worked, and the T-shirt should actually be on the way!

  • ant-eye-christ

    would have been funnier if after he asks “do you thank the lord” she replied “yes, i thank satan every day.”

  • maddogdelta

    I used to be proud that Wolf Blitzer came from WNY and went to the University at Buffalo.

    Now I’m really embarrassed. But at least I can still say “That schmuck went to Kenmore West, _not_ Kenmore East”!

  • Magiq

    Who created the tornado – The Lord
    Who caused thousand of houses, businesses and schools to be destroyed – The Lord
    Who caused the death of 24 people including 9 children – The Lord

    Yep, thanks Dude but no thanks… Get Lost

  • Red-Winged Blackbird

    What I like most about this interview is the way Rebecca does not live up to the stereotype many theists have of atheists. She didn’t appear angry, bitter, hostile, or
    arrogant. She didn’t utter any obscenities or get loud. She appeared to be a friendly, likeable, loving mom who didn’t mention her atheism until pressured into it.

  • Barefoot Bree

    The “only atheist in Oklahoma”? I guess Rush has never heard of Seth Andrews, host of the Thinking Atheist podcast out of Oklahoma. (Not that this would be surprising, but still….)

  • Lloyd Benjamin Hunt

    Surprise she didn’t rip that baby’s head off and eat it. (JK)


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