Christian Minister Who Hasn’t Heard of Google: No Atheist Groups Have Helped Victims of Oklahoma Tornado

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!)

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.

  • JohnnieCanuck

    Fancy that, a Christian minister lying. Again.

    • icecreamassassin

      “Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.”

      • Dobbstown Koolaid Vendor

        “Any sufficiently advanced stupidity is indistinguishable from malice.”

        • Beet LeRace

          “Big gulps, huh? Well, see ya later!”

    • Mike Hitchcock

      Christians lie. It’s endemic. Their religion is based on lies, and lying is the only way they can maintain their pathetic delusion. Ironic, when you consider who the Bible says is the Father of Lies.

    • Paul Reed

      Maybe it’s not a lie. Maybe it’s an assumption. And, as we know, when you “assume”, you make an “ass” out of “you” and….
      Hm, maybe we need a new word. “Assue” :)

      • Nate Frein

        I like to channel Samuel Jackson in Long Kiss Goodnight:

        When you make an assumption, you make an ass out of “U” and…”Mption”.

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

    This is why I’m more often saying that atheists find Christians’ beliefs about atheists to be more ridiculous than their beliefs about deities. When it comes to their absurd beliefs about their god, they kind of have an excuse: He’s unavailable for comment. But they don’t have that excuse when it comes to their fearful and hateful beliefs about us. We live amongst them, and many of us would be happy to explain ourselves to them if they could only muster the courage and courtesy to come and sincerely ask us.

    But that might threaten what seems to be becoming the main conceptual base of their belief system. I’m beginning to get the impression that many Christians are far more focused on their hatred and hateful beliefs about gays and atheists than their love and loving beliefs about Jesus.

    If Pastor Brassfield has to face the truth that atheists don’t fit his ugly image of us, he might go into a devastating crisis. It might utterly destroy his belief system. His whole world will be turned upside down. Poor guy.

    • Art_Vandelay

      I completely agree. When the idea that people can live perfectly moral, loving, and charitable lives without clinging to the ancient commands of an alleged sky-daddy…the whole thing kind of goes to shit. If I were a person of faith, I would think it would be almost essential to paint the godless in an unfavorable light.

  • averydashwood

    Bearing false witness to make one feel morally superior to others.

  • Ibis3

    I wonder, too if Brassfield voted for Republican congresspeople or senators who voted against FEMA and disaster relief (for districts outside their own, natch) in the past. I’d guess that most US atheists and secularists are supporters of government aid.

  • Anna

    Ugh, not only is it untrue, but it’s annoying that they conflate not donating in the name of atheism with not doing charity. Atheism isn’t a religion, and my atheism isn’t what motivates me to help people. I donate to secular charities without linking those donations to my atheism. I don’t consider the two things to be even remotely related.

    The FFRF is also not a charity, so why would they be helping disaster victims? Their issue is church-state violations. It makes no sense for them to be in Oklahoma. Is Mothers Against Drunk Driving there? Is the NRA there? Is PETA there? Of course not, because their issues have nothing to do with helping people who have been affected by natural disasters.

  • Jasper

    <– donated to Foundation Beyond Belief, both for this crisis and regularly. This guy can fuck himself.

  • WallofSleep

    I had a miserable comforter once. It was all torn up, covered in stains, stuffing coming out all over the place. Couldn’t even wash it for fear that it would disintegrate. Wait, what?

  • Glasofruix

    I see he wrote about the ten commandements, oh sweet irony.

  • allein

    I hope the person who marked it up gave it back to them with a big red F at the top.

    • WallofSleep

      Oh snap! Now I’m gonna have to stock up on red felt pens. Thanks for the idea.

  • busterggi

    Note the first paragraph where he demeans Job’s friends for not being able to help him during his troubles. Funny how he doesn’t mention that Job’s god sanctioned those troubles including the murder of Job’s wife and kids – god was an even worse friend than his human companions.

    • WallofSleep

      The Book of Job, a.k.a. The Atheist Maker.

  • griffox

    I am sure next week’s bulletin will include a retraction. I’ll be waiting.

    • TCC

      Hopefully not with bated breath.

  • C Peterson

    Fact checking is only worth the effort if you have an audience that cares about facts…

  • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

    Part of the closed world view that lead him to assume that atheists are selfish and never do anything to help anyone else will also lead him to think you’re a degenerate liar working for Satan.

    It would probably take someone he knows coming out as an atheist and confronting him in person to maybe get him to pay any attention whatsoever.

    I really hope he proves me wrong.

  • Brian

    Because there have never been any American infidels in Baghdad, right?

  • C.L. Honeycutt

    Complaining because the ACLU isn’t a disaster relief organization? I reckon next week’s bulletin will be loaded with complaints about how the Red Cross doesn’t arm Syrian rebels, FEMA doesn’t underwrite the Oscars, and the IFI doesn’t send Hemant gift baskets.

  • Raising_Rlyeh

    Seeing as according to Job God was letting Lucifer test Job there really wasn’t anything that they could do to help. Seeing as god let him be covered in boils, killed his family, and let everything be destroyed it is a little hard to give help when a supposedly all powerful being is out to get you.

    • WallofSleep

      “Job! WTF happened to you, dude. Anything we can do to help?”

      “Thanks, guys, any help would be appreciated. You see, God made a bet with Lucifer to see how fucked up they could make my life, and the next thing I know…”

      “Shit Job, uh, sorry. Gotta run. We’ve got this, uh, thing we’re running late for.”

  • allein

    Why do we always get called out for not building hospitals? Most specifically atheist groups are relatively small. Do they expect the local meetup to get in on the next Catholic hospital merger?

  • Matthew Baker

    Here I was thinking Google was a Cricket term. You mean to tell me its a powerful tool for checking the veracity of claims and a soon to be star of its own movie with Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson. Well ya learn something new everyday.

  • sara

    To be fair, I don’t think any of us have donated any bibles.

  • ORAXX

    He should also Google why did the god he worships, send the tornado in the first place.

  • Conuly

    If there IS an afterlife, I hope they all get the smack down for violating the commandment against bearing false witness. I’d pay good money to see that.

  • Mike De Fleuriot

    With these old school bigots, I think one needs go beyond email, and actually call them up on the phone, or have an atheist rep visit them with a set of questions.

  • tsara

    “”There’s this thing called Google that protects you from sticking your foot in your mouth.””
    But so few Christians believe in prophylactics. Their God will just fix everything if they mess up, and forgive them if they get caught.

  • SeekerLancer

    To the guy who always posts about “atheists donating to earn Internet points”:

    This is why we have to donate to actual atheist-run charities. To prove to liars like this that we donate anything at all.

  • JET

    Ahhh… I’ve seen this trick before. The preacher who buries his head in the sand, sticks his fingers in his ears, goes ‘la la la la la’, lies to his flock in the name of Jesus, and demonizes everyone who doesn’t believe exactly like he does. And the members of his flock who hang on his every word because they are too stupid to do their own reading and research.
    I firmly believe that every preacher gets into the business because 1) it makes him feel important, 2) it makes him feel righteous, and 3) if he had a real job, he’d be a dismal failure.

  • Steve Vanden-Eykel

    Weren’t there also people in Jesus’ day who bragged about how much good works they did? What did Jesus think of those people again? Hmmm…

  • Russell

    Ummm, did he not listen to Glenn Beck who in his interviews could mostly find atheists in the hours following the tornado? I myself am an atheist whom sat in traffic for four hours to respond to the aftermath, who also helped set up a triage center for the displaced animals. I will say there were several church groups there, we worked side by side, they respected my views and I respected their beliefs. It was NOT a religious or anti religious effort. I would like to know what this preacher did in the aftermath, pray? Bash any group he knows nothing about?
    Just because a GROUP does not lay claim to doing something does not mean they had no involvement. This simply means they may have more pride and morals than those posting some rhetoric on a bill board. I can say with much confidence that us atheists at these sites did what we did because 1-we are caring human beings, 2-we are moralistic and altruistic. We are not seeking societal acceptance nor reward/award. Idiots like this may want to pull their heads out of an orifice.

  • Sue Blue

    Friggin’ ingrate. How much of the 100 bucks I donated to the Foundation Beyond Belief for tornado victims went to help his Okey ass or those of his followers? How about 100%? If I’d donated to a christian charity, a good portion of it would have gone straight into the church’s coffers.

  • DougI

    It’s a shame that David Brassfield doesn’t belong to a religion that forbids lying.

  • Heathen Mike

    Hey! If you’re a person of “faith,” apparently you don’t have to let those pesky facts get in the way or your personal “TRUTH!” Faith is not about facts, after all.
    Atheists are the Samaritans of the modern age. We get no credit for being good people, because that just doesn’t fit the paradigm of “Jesus” as the wellspring of all things loving. So what else is new.

  • Amy (T)

    I am a Tulsa atheist who donated, but to an organization focused on community development, it has no religious views at all, similar to many community organizations.

  • ant-eye-christ

    did anybody catch the part about Job’s friends who “said many things, but failed to help one bit”? what was that twitter feed about celebrities offering “prayer for Oklahoma”? hmm, looks like an unfortunate similarity for mr. brassfield.

  • Steve Greene

    One aspect of this not pointed out is that a lot of people, who are atheist/agnostic/etc. just do what they do in helping out as individuals, and so not “in the name of” some atheist/agnostic/etc. organization.

    In regard to preachers (and other Christians) lying about atheists and other people they really disagree with, as motivated by their religious beliefs – well, what else is new?

  • Steven Carr

    I would have helped but I was under the impression that God had it covered. Seems I was wrong again, because God just didn’t show up for work.

    If needed, I can always send the Oklahoma victims a Bible, perhaps even pray for them. What more can anybody do?

  • Rodney Barnes

    I refuse to help people who will not help themselves. Doesn’t KS, OK, and NE get tornadoes all the time and they still decide to continue living there? To me, that’s the equivalent of building a hospital at the bottom of an active volcano. They know the dangers, so fuck em.

    • LeaveTheBronx

      Alright, where do you live, sir? Ever need help in a natural disaster? Don’t come crying to Oklahoma, Kansas, or Nebraska atheists in a time of need,

    • http://nomadwarriormonk.blogspot.com/ Cyrus Palmer

      No, fuck YOU

  • Robyman4

    It’s difficult to know where to begin in response to such absurd and ignorant statements. I live in north Texas and although I haven’t been involved in relief efforts for my neighbors across the state line, I’ve made a number of trips to Lancaster (last year) and Granbury to help clean up the neighborhoods hit by brief but powerful twisters. While I was in Granbury (working with Christian-based Operation Blessing and Habitat for Humanity, which built most of the homes that were obliterated) I didn’t think it important to ever say “I’m an atheist,” so I didn’t mention it – nor did I do so in Lancaster; I was there to help people, not to promote any agenda. Furthermore, in spite of the fact that my income just barely pays the bills I make weekly donations for food for those who lost their homes in Granbury. They will need months of support – and different kinds of help – and I’ll do whatever I can. In the end, it’s quite simple: you do not need religion to do the right thing or be a good/better person. Anyone who’s truly mature and responsible can figure this out. Sadly, my own mother – a die-hard Christian her entire life – refused to go to Granbury with me last time because it was a Sunday morning and she just absolutely HAD to go to church…

  • Randay

    “Have you ever seen a hospital built by agnostics?” What drivel. There are surely agnostic or atheist architects, contractors, and workers who have built hospitals. Andrew Carnegie gave $50,000 to Bellevue Hospital, which was a large sum in the 19th century. He gave away the equivalent today of billions for libraries and schools and health, etc.

    Today we have Gates, Buffet, and Soros who donate billions.

    Have you ever seen Jesus or God build a hospital? At most Jesus may have used his carpentry skills to build a cross. Who knows, during the unexplained period between his birth and his ministry, maybe he earned his living as a contractor building crosses for the Romans.

  • Jared Stanley

    Dang! Why didn’t y’all tell me we weren’t going to help!? I already went to Moore to help clean up the debris and I made these shirts to raise money for the United Way of Central Oklahoma! https://ugpogo.undergroundshirts.com/groupIndex.php?cart_id=2253

  • http://sasebastian.com/ S.A. Sebastian Gnolfo

    I argue with a Christian friend of mine about how my helping out in these situations is more genuine than his Christian group’s helping. We’re both providing help, but his group is also there to promote Jesus. I’m there to help with no other agenda; nothing to promote. But, he and his ilk think that proselytizing and quoting Bible verses and saving souls is as helpful as providing money, food, water, supplies, labor and comfort.

  • ron

    35,000 atheist sent money or help. 30 million Christians sent prayers which were bounced for insufficient truths.

  • atheisticallyyours

    The insane, moronic, imbicilc, drivel of myopic believers NEVER CEASES does it?

    This pathetic waste of oxygen consumption of a minister is just mad because the atheist groups raised more money they he and his pathetic believers could have ever “prayed” for, and that NONE OF THEM will get any of it! Maybe they should pray harder!

  • Sheila Galliart

    This is the ‘church’ I was raised in (Church of Christ); has to be the most bigoted exclusive group on the planet. ALL other churches/denominations/ religions of the world are WRONG, except for this one! I was actually taught this as a child and an adult. The astounding ignorance of the members of this ‘cult’ is almost beyond belief. It took me decades to wake up and realize what a steaming pile this religion is. They believe they are ‘saved’ and nobody else; they are better than everybody else. Ugh.

  • Rin

    To be fair, Google is notoriously secular. Perhaps that has something to do with it? :P

  • LeaveTheBronx

    Apparently, this guy forgot the eleventh commandment of his own religion: “Stay off of thy high horse.”

  • Dale Austin

    This atheist spent last week in that man’s neighborhood helping those very folks. Still here after thirteen days. Scheduled for 9 more. Would his parishioners be hypocrites for accepting the aid of a man their leader says can’t possibly exist?

    • http://nomadwarriormonk.blogspot.com/ Cyrus Palmer

      Thank you

  • Toni Allen

    That church is less than 5 miles from my house. I’m sure I know more than a handful of people who attend regularly. I was one of the many people organizing cleanup crews with our various Atheist groups in the state, and of course was absolutely appalled by what he said. I immediately wrote the pastor, and a few days later got the same horrible half-assed “apology” that you did. We’re still horrible people, guys! Don’t you forget that! ::rolls eyes::

  • Roger Codger

    Maybe God uses the atheists to go provide help. Isn’t that just like his whole MO throughout the bible? Using his “enemies” for good. Lol.


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