There’s this thing called Google that protects you from sticking your foot in your mouth.
Minister David Brassfield of the Newalla Church of Christ in Oklahoma must not have discovered it yet, because he gave members of his church the following handout over the weekend, suggesting that atheists can’t be found in times of crisis:
After our recent major loss of life and property, thousands of people and many organizations stepped up to help. The list included churches, benevolent groups with religious ties, and even local casinos. What you did not see on the list were groups who have been critical of religion and are unbelievers in God.
The Freedom From Religion group got the 10 commandments removed from an Oklahoma school, but they could not be bothered with helping the victims of the storms. Neither could you find the ACLU, any agnostic or atheistic organization, nor anyone or anything associated with the Humanist Movement on the list of those who were helping the hurting. People who are members of these organizations are conspicuously absent whenever people need comforting, whether it is from natural or manmade tragedies.
Like I said, you have to try really hard to avoid finding evidence of atheists helping out tornado victims.
Kai Tancredi does a nice job listing what atheist organizations have done for Oklahomans at Red Dirt Report:
Foundation Beyond Belief: The Humanist Crisis Response program of Foundation Beyond Belief has raised $44,100 in online donations as of May 28th specifically for Oklahoma recovery, in fulfillment of its mission statement to “serve as a focal point for the humanist response to major humanitarian crises. Our purpose is twofold: to bring resources to those in desperate need, and to raise awareness of that need in the humanist community and beyond.”
Local atheist organizations: Members of local atheist communities the Oklahoma Atheists, Atheist Community of Tulsa, the Lawton Area Secular Society, Norman Naturalism Group, the Oklahoma State Secular Organization, (and others) have been on the ground since the first storms on May 19th, organizing volunteer, resource and blood drives. To be fair, these groups have no tax exempt status and therefore can’t exactly afford to have the t-shirts for everyone to wear so that you know when they are out in force during a volunteer effort.
Kai’s list is much longer that that — and it’s worth checking out in full so you can see how much generosity is in the atheist community given our limited resources. While a lot of media attention has gone to Rebecca Vitsmun and the amount of money raised just for her family, the atheist outreach in Oklahoma has gone far beyond that.
I’ve sent a message to Brassfield asking for a response to the piece and I’ll provide an update if/when I hear back. I’m guessing he’s going to ignore the message, though, since he’s already proven he tunes out anything that tries to poke a hole in his bubble.
(Thanks to Andrew for the link!)