TIME Cover Story Wrongly Attacks Atheists for Not Helping Out Victims of Oklahoma Tornadoes

The cover story in this week’s Time magazine, written by Joe Klein, is all about how volunteering and doing service projects may help curb the effects of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) on our veterans:

[Co-founder of volunteer group Team Rubicon] Jake Wood has little tolerance for veterans who see themselves as victims. Posttraumatic stress is, he believes, a condition that can be battled and defeated. “If you’re out doing disaster relief,” Wood says, “you’re less likely to be thinking about yourself and more likely to be thinking about the people you’re helping. You’re also presenting yourself, and other veterans, as a model, as a potential community leader.”

Okay. Sounds all well and good. The article goes on to note that doing these projects can help veterans in any number of ways, including providing them with “health and psychological benefits… greater longevity, reduced depression, and a greater sense of purpose.” All of that makes sense.

As part of his reporting, Klein joined one of the disaster relief groups and worked at a site damaged by the Oklahoma tornadoes… and that’s when he wrote this:

… there was an occupying army of relief workers, led by local first responders, exhausted but still humping it a week after the storm, church groups from all over the country — funny how you don’t see organized groups of secular humanists giving out hot meals — and there in the middle of it all, with a purposeful military swagger, were the volunteers from Team Rubicon.

Wow. My jaw dropped while reading that because it’s absolutely not true.

Klein took a cheap shot at atheists for not doing the relief work that churches — with all the personnel and financial advantages they have at their disposal — were doing even though we were often working right alongside them! He made the same mistake that Minister David Brassfield did (though at least Brassfield eventually offered a semi-apology).

Klein is simply lying out of his ass. A simple Google search would’ve turned up a number of ways atheists helped in the wake of the Oklahoma tornadoes. But since Klein was too lazy to do it, I’ll do it for him:

Is that enough proof that atheists, too, were (and still are) helping out in the aftermath of the tornadoes?

Maybe Klein didn’t know any of this was going on because, as Tancredi points out, “these [Humanist] 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.”

Or maybe it’s because we’re not parading the fact that we’re helping because we’re too busy… helping.

Let’s make this very clear: Atheists were in Oklahoma doing everything Christian groups were doing — including handing out hot meals. To suggest that we were not there and not doing anything useful for the victims isn’t just factually wrong — it’s slander against all of us who don’t believe in a God.

If Klein had mentioned any other group of people — “funny how you don’t see organized groups of Jews giving out hot meals” — you know there would be hell to pay. There should be an uproar now, too.

Joe Klein and Time magazine owe their readers — and atheists everywhere — an apology.

Time might be more likely to respond if enough of us call them out on it. Write them a letter and let them know what you think. Spread word online that you won’t stand for this. Consider canceling your subscription (if you haven’t already). Not only did Klein perpetuate an unfair stereotype against atheists, anyone at the magazine who read over the piece must have had no problem with it, either.

It’s unacceptable and we can’t stand back and let it happen without saying something about it.

(Thanks to Rachel 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.

  • Keith Roragen

    You know who you don’t see giving out hot meals after a disaster? Joe Klein.

    • Carl

      Now now, let’s not pile mistaken assumptions on top of mistaken assumptions: http://swampland.time.com/2013/05/27/memorial-day-in-oklahoma-city/

      • Literal

        But I didn’t see him. Did you?

        • Jake Cattrall

          You don’t have to see that Joe Klein was there in order to believe he was. Look what blind faith has done so far for humanity… oh wait

          • thejerkk

            a lot more than atheism has. atheists are too busy bitching about stones outside courthouses and taking over spaces where a nativity scene is traditionally held to worry about world issues.

            • Zachary_Bos

              Are you here in the comments to save our souls?

            • Jake Cattrall

              presuming this is sarcasm? either way I lol’d :)

        • Carl

          I’m sure there are a lot of things you haven’t seen.

      • Keith Roragen

        Just a coincidence there happened to be a Time photographer there, I guess.

        • Carl

          Doesn’t change the fact that your assumption was mistaken.

          • Keith Roragen

            Carl, I’m sorry the ironic subtext of my comment was lost on you. I have no idea how much time Joe Klein devotes to charitable work, but my comment was as true as Klein’s. He is no more deserving of being given the benefit of the doubt than those he portrayed as uncharitable. Joe Klein is an actual journalist. I am a blog commenter attempting to make a point about the quality of his journalism.

      • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

        Nevertheless, regardless of whether Klein was out anywhere helping, and regardless of why, it doesn’t matter. His out-of-the-blue disparagement of secular humanists was completely unnecessary for the point of his article, even unnecessary for that part of his article. It was just a stupid, bigoted dig when he saw he’d given himself an opportunity.

        I think Joe Klein deserves a meme: Whenever someone is writing about some nice, kind thing somebody did for someone else, then completely out of context, completely unfairly, without any relevance to the situation at all, they should absurdly add, “Funny how Joe Klein wasn’t there to help.”

        I just helped a little old lady across the street. Funny how Joe Klein wasn’t there to help.

        I’ve donated blood at the Red Cross every chance I get for the last 44 years. Funny how in all that time, I’ve never seen Joe Klein there.

        Last May, the Austin Atheists were once again helping the homeless. Funny how once again, there was no sign of Joe Klein.

        Doctors Without Borders converged on the epidemic in Africa. Funny how you don’t see Joe Klein ever treating people with infectious diseases.

        Maybe after several hundred of those, Mr. Klein won’t find his own bigotry and ignorance so funny.

        • gu35t

          Alberta is flooding. Where’s Joe Klein?

          • thejerkk

            canada needs USA to take care of it during a flood? LOL!

        • closetatheist

          I got your back

          • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

            Those are excellent. Here’s a Joe Klein Time Magazine meme blank. Anybody who wants, take it to your favorite meme generator site and have fun. Just be sure to use “Funny how” when you mention Joe Klein not being there to help, and make sure that it’s ridiculous and unfair to imply that he should have been there.

        • Carl

          Agreed.

    • Pesos

      It makes me question how he treated fellow disaster volunteers… whom were not religious. It also makes me question whether he did the volunteering for the true cause, or just to be able to say that he did it, on his agenda of attacking Atheists.

      • Sko Hayes

        Or because he had a camera man along.

      • Ellis Wyatt

        Does it really matter why someone does something. If he is doing it to just help out then good. If he is doing it just for some publicity it doesn’t make the people he helped any less helped. So despite his intentions people are still better off than had he done nothing.

        • Sheesh

          Right on. “Intent isn’t magic” can go both ways. People still got helped, even if it was by a shitty person. This is why I’m so on board with shaming the shit out or racists (including getting their employers to burn them due to negative press). I don’t care why they stop saying and doing racist shit — whether it’s fear of ridicule or an honest reevaluation of their prejudices — I win either way, society just got fractionally less racist.

    • Ellis Wyatt

      Didn’t see much of any Congressman or Senator there either. Punks.

      • 3lemenope

        To be fair, it’s often counterproductive for politicians and celebrities to show up and actually try to help, because their mere presence kicks up an awful ruckus. Generally, their most effective way to do good in situations like these is to raise awareness and cash.

    • thejerkk

      or you!

      • Zachary_Bos

        I’m an atheist who regularly makes meals for the homeless. By their fruits shall you know them, eh, Jerrk?

        • thejerkk

          sure you do… sure you do…

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

            Are you actually implying that the people here who say they help their communities are lying about it? Why would you think that? Are you so stuck in your atheist=immoral mindset that the only way you can process the cognitive dissonance is to just reject all evidence to the contrary?

  • Pattrsn

    Lets not forget though all the tremendous work christian groups have done, lobbying the government, using their power to affect public opinion, to take climate change seriously and try to prevent the escalation in frequency and severity of these kinds of disasters in the future.

    Hangover + short fuse = long sentence, sorry.

  • Ted

    This is factually untrue making it attrocious reporting. Therefore, Time should most definitely issue a retraction. Pretty bad.

    • pete084

      Remember the old journalistic adage: never let the truth get in the way of a good story.

      • Glasofruix

        Sounds more like a rule of acquisition to me :p

        • RandomTrekkie

          In that case, it’d be phrased more like ‘Never let the truth get in the way of profit’. Though it’s already covered by Rule 239: “Never be afraid to mislabel a product”.

  • MsC

    Joe Klein. A long history of being a lying liar who lies.

    • LutherW

      You should mention that he lies

      • PoodleSheep

        He also tells untruths. I’ve heard he’s also been known to fabricate things.

  • Rain

    He’ll probably deny he ever wrote that.

  • pete084

    Atheists don’t generally work in groups of like minded people, we volunteer to help any group that isn’t going to decline our offer simply because we don’t share their religious views.
    Doctors Without Borders is an organisation that isn’t interested in whether you believe or not, yet when I applied for roles with religious NGO’s I was turned down.

    This lifelong atheist has been a firefighter, served in the air force and has spent 12 months in Africa, but not once did I try to claim it was in the name of atheism, whereas the religious are constantly looking for redemption.

    • gitcherdawgoffmylawn

      Respect!

      People don’t seem to comprehend the fact that non-believers have nothing in common other than not wanting to delude themselves. It’s not that much of an organizing principle and excludes them from membership in most religious-based service groups. Respect to non-believers that form their own!

      • Ellis Wyatt

        “other than not wanting to delude themselves.”

        Could be an indicator of why they may not be welcoming you with open arms.

      • Bert Johnson

        Read your post and knew I wanted to respond, but had to think a while about how. My quandary involves your use of the phrase, “not wanting to delude themselves.”

        This is precisely my problem with atheism (just as it is with any religious faith); a certainty of knowledge of what is unknowable.

        If anybody asks, I tell them I’m a godless heathen (I actually lean a little pagan–I loves me some planet earth!). The conversation usually stops right there. If not, the next question is, “So, you’re an atheist?” My response is, “Yes and no.”

        “Yes and no?”

        “Yes, in that I’m 99-point-99 percent sure there is no god, or gods, who created the earth and/or the universe, and who are deeply invested, or not, in how we live our lives, treat others, and believe and have faith in him/her or them. No, in that I have no way of knowing I am 100 percent correct.”

        “So, you’re agnostic.”

        “Probably. But I prefer ‘godless heathen.’ That usually ends the conversation right there.”

        If I like the questioner and feel they welcome the conversation without feeling the need to convert me, I will expound on my pagan leanings and my secular humanist bent. But, I do find the use of the words delude(d)/delusion(al) to be counter-productive.

        • McBane

          When you take all the rational reasons to be a non believer into account, It’s very difficult to sugar coat things for the sake of a religious person. Religious people cannot view the world through the eyes of a person that does not share their beliefs, and that lack of empathy greatly disturbs me. It disturbs me on a human level, and it disturbs me on a logical one.

          Religious people (ones that take it seriously) generally end up pushing their views on you either directly or indirectly. They are just waiting for a chance to do this, and it is a blatantly disrespectful. Once they find they cannot convert you, you become an outsider. That offends me on a human level.

          I look past their blind beliefs, but they can’t look beyond my evidence based reasoning. That offends me on a logical level.

          All this pussy footing about “99.99%” knowing is just too PC. Let’s be real. You could say I’m only 99.99% sure 2+2=4. For all I know, I’m locked up in an asylum and math is just a fantasy in my head right now. Maybe numbers don’t even exist.

          If you are religious, you haven’t even thought to look to see if you REALLY should be. You are just accepting what is around you, or what you were raised to believe in. That is cowardice, it is lazy, and it is arrogant. None of these traits earn respect from me.

          • Bert Johnson

            Wow, your reading comprehension and logic skills need work. Apparently math, too. Math isn’t a belief system. Straw man much?

            I’m not religious. Never have been. Didn’t say I was. What I believe is that we should be taking much better care of the world on which we live; everything and everyone.

            The only reason I can’t say I’m a 100% non-believer is because, just as impossible as it is to prove the existence of some all-knowing, all-powerful, super-natural Harvey, it is equally impossible to prove the negative. I am leaving open the tiniest sliver of a possibility that I could be wrong. I very seriously doubt that I’m wrong, but it would require true arrogance to believe that I am infallible.

            You, on the other hand, are so absolutely positive about the rightness of your position that you are no better than those who you would disparage. I have no time, nor respect, for those who would even think of trying to push their religious views on me after I inform them that I’m a proud and life-long godless heathen. I also have no time, nor respect, for anyone who believes the way they view the world is the only way to view the world.

            PC my ass!

            • Jordan Rudow

              I understand that, philosophically, we can’t 100% dismiss the existence of God. But I’m comfortable calling myself an atheist for the same reasons H.P. Lovecraft was:

              “I certainly can’t see any sensible position to assume aside from that of complete scepticism tempered by a leaning toward that which existing evidence makes most probable…. In theory I am an agnostic, but pending the appearance of rational evidence I must be classed, practically and provisionally, as an atheist. The chances of theism’s truth being to my mind so microscopically small, I would be a pedant and a hypocrite to call myself anything else.”

              There are many ways to view the world, yes. However, not all are right. Maybe that sounds arrogant. But holding a view of the world to be true in spite of evidence to the contrary is much, much more arrogant.

        • Jessica

          I believe that would be agnostic, rather than atheist. If you want a simpler response. :)

          • Bert Johnson

            But I don’t. That’s the point. When I tell people I’m a godless heathen it’s to point out the complete and utter irrelevance of religion’s roll in my life. End of story. A person asking me the question of my religiosity has one helluva lot more interest in the subject than I, so my choice is to end the conversation as quickly as I can. Godless heathen usually works quite well in that respect. :o)

          • Jitterbits

            No, agnostics believe we can’t know for certain. Atheists believe there’s no compelling evidence at the moment to believe. There are very, very few atheists who say that they know with absolute certainty there is no God and nothing can convince them otherwise. The vast majority of atheists admit that if good enough evidence were presented, their opinion would change, but we also see that as highly unlikely (mainly because if there were good evidence, why don’t theists present it already, rather than appealing to a bunch of logical fallacies?

        • TCC

          Atheist and agnostic do not map to positions that are 100% certain and less than 100% certain, respectively. If you don’t believe in gods, you’re an atheist. If whatever belief you hold (or don’t) does not constitute knowledge, you’re agnostic. To suggest as you have is to play into negative stereotypes of atheists as dogmatic and closed-minded. Most of us got to atheism because of doubts and our willingness to entertain them, and that doesn’t magically disappear once we stop believing in gods.

          • Bert Johnson

            Well said and well reasoned. Thanks.

            I would put what McBane wrote in the dogmatic and close-minded category. Your words are the opposite.

            The main point in my original post was gitcherdawgoffmylawn’s use of of the word “delude.” I know deluded. One of my older brothers is schizophrenic and off his meds. His whole reality is delusion. Is he more deluded than the religious? Arguable! But, throw the word delusion at my brother and he’ll build a stone wall quicker than you can finish articulating the thought. So, as I say, if trying to have a conversation, any form of the root word “delude” is counter-productive.

            I don’t believe in gods. I’m an atheist.

            My belief does not constitute knowledge. I’m an agnostic.

            Atheistic agnostic or agnostic atheist?

            Eh, I’ll stick to godless heathen

            • TCC

              Oh, I happen to agree with you on “deluded” in most cases and certainly as a generalization, and I have no objections to your “godless heathen” label. (I’m somewhat fond of “apostate,” myself, although I tend not to self-identify with it a lot – I just like the term.)

          • Bert Johnson

            By the way, I’ve never believed in god(s). Never believed in Santa Claus either. I have a picture of when I was 3 or 4 sitting on some fake fat-guy’s lap and crying my ass off. It’s probably my most vivid memory of early childhood, and I distinctly remember thinking how truly messed up it was that my mom was making me do this.

            But, mom also refused to have me baptized. She told me that was a decision I should make for myself. As a result, in the eyes of the evangelical Christian, I will forever burn with the stink of original sin.

            Whatever!

        • Rich Rodgers

          Being an atheist doesn’t mean you are 100% sure of something. That’s silly. But call me whatever you want as long as you listen. I hate it whenever anyone spends a lot of effort talking and absolutely none listening.

    • TheG

      This atheist served in the military, volunteered with people with suicidal crises, and spent a great deal of his nursing career in the emergency room of some of the poorest parts of the entire country. In repayment, this atheist was also told by several Christians that service doesn’t matter because atheists are incapable of knowing what caring is really about.

      • Nate Weeks

        What caring is really all about? They believe a “higher power” will reward them for their good deeds. That’s no more caring than a politician who makes sure the media covers his or her time working at a soup kitchen, or a convict doing community service to stay out of jail.

        • Douglas Michael MacGregor

          That’s exactly right, brother. How can I trust a man’s intentions if I know the main reason he is doing a good deed is because he believes he will burn forever in a sea of fire if he doesn’t ? I will trust the Atheist who is merely doing it because his moral compass told him it’s the right thing to do. It’s called being selfless, and modest, and a good person. I’m getting tired of these mindless robots slandering good people to make themselves feel better.

          • gu35t

            Funny how they don’t mind bearing false witness against their neighbours, isn’t it?

            • thejerkk

              citationplease.jpg

              • sane37

                See the article written by Joe Klein. Have someone read it to you.

          • thejerkk

            you should read the bible and perhaps talk to a priest sometime. your views on religion are terrible, as is your ignorance on the subject.

            • JoeyBags

              And the belief in imaginary, supernatural beings and preposterous unfounded claims is delusional.

            • Lmaris

              It is the bible which is terrible, because it perpetrates lies. Christians do “good works” because their god commands it and they believe it is bonus points to eternal reward. That is a pretty self-centered economic transaction: give a few hours/dollars which you can easily spare in exchange for eternal life? The needy receive the short end of that stick, all the while being told by ministers their troubles are their own fault for not hating others enough.

            • Octoberfurst

              Your name fits you very well.

        • Randay

          They don’t read their good book very well. Paul said several times that it is not good works that will save you, but ONLY faith in Jesus as your savior.

          After some celebrities like Beyonce tweeted that they sent their prayers to the victims in Oklahome, Ricky Gervais tweeted: I feel like an idiot. I only sent money.

        • schlabotnik

          If you believe that you will be rewarded for good deeds, you haven’t read the book very well. Only faith will set you free, period.

          • tomsans

            faith
            /fāTH/
            Noun
            Complete trust or confidence in someone or something.
            Strong belief in God or in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual apprehension rather than proof.

            I’m pretty sure everyone from the Jews of Egypt to the blacks of the old South have those thing, but very little actual freedom involved. Religion is just to subdue the masses into giving up their real lives for a better one they’ve been told they’ll get. It’s really the ultimate Nigerian prince scam.

          • Bob Holly Jr.

            and if you have faith that good deeds will do the trick… you can’t prove otherwise!

          • Bert Johnson

            Ah, see, that’s the crux of the problem right there. One can do absolutely no good in the world and can, in fact, do plenty of bad. But, as long as one “believes and has faith,” one is saved. Anybody can perform good deeds, even non-believers. Only believers, though, are worthy of….whatever.

            I hope that ability to keep yourself permanently separated from “others,” even in death, helps keep you warm and comfy. I prefer my world where good is truly appreciated from where ever, and who ever, it comes, and people are not judged by some nebulous belief.

            I’m a godless heathen, yet live my life by the golden rule. You?

          • Lmaris

            And Christ said feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, etc was doing similar to him and favorable in god’s eyes and will earn reward in heaven. Faith vs good deeds argument is just like how many fairies dance on the head of a pin. Absurd on its face. If your faith doesn’t encourage good deeds, your faith is evil.

        • thejerkk

          WRONG. the only reward the religious get is knowing they helped another human.

          frickin atheists.. i swear. only see the bad in something. funny how i never see atheists attacking islam or other perverted religions.

          • Morey Soffo

            I personally spend a lot of time asking why my local mosque never publicly denounces pro-Islamic attacks. Why is it so hard for at least one person of that congregation to write a letter to an editor saying that bombings or anti-Jewish or anti-Christian diatribes are not in keeping with the tenets of their religion? Yet, it never happens. I am not anti-Islam, I am just baffled why, if Christians denounce organizations like Westboro Baptist Church, Muslims do not denounce criminals who make their faith look bad. I dislike extremists of any faith, including ultra-Hasidic Jews who throw stones at cars that drive down their streets on Saturday in New Jersey or Brooklyn. Taliban or Talibaptist, makes no difference to me.

            • thejerkk

              its simple: islam is pro-destroy-Christianity/anything that isnt islam. you dont have to be anti-islam to see the religion for what it is. sure, catholicism/christianity had their dark times but they learned from it and have evolved to something higher.

              its funny how you never see 1) islam-ists denounce that crap and 2) you never see atheists attack islam, only Christianity/Catholicism.

              • baal

                hi jerk – your facts are in error. Atheists do denounce bad acts done by Muslims done in the name of Islam. This blog (patheos) is sourced mostly out of the U.S. so there is a bias in reporting to U.S. related matters and in most cases, it’s christian acting with open bigotry. If most of the bad acts are in fact from christians, it’s not special anti-christian bias to report most acts as bad acts of christians.

                • Lmaris

                  His “facts’ aren’t in error, as facts are by definition true. He just doesn’t have any facts to back up his erroneous claims. But he’ll never accept anything that goes against his “Christians are victims” mentality.

                • rational

                  dear jerk. Try following some atheists on Twitter. You will read Islam being criticised all day, every day alongside your ludicrous religion.

                • Mary Clark

                  thejerkk is a troll. His satisfaction comes from being a bovine’s rear end. Facts and reality are not his friends.

              • skinned

                I think all of the Abrahamic religions are complete wastes of time. Happy now?

              • McBane

                Sam Harris, one of *ahem* “our” foremost atheists, actually rates islam as the worst, most damaging religion. So, like, shut up and stuff.

              • HV

                I see Atheists attack Islam all the time. Google is a wonderful tool.

                Also. I’m Atheist.

                Islam is terribad.

                • Pooky

                  Isn’t Terribad right next to Islamabad?

                • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

                  *snerk*

              • mcallischris

                mainly because the Majority in the U.S. is christian, not Islam. There is a skeptics annotated bible/Quran/Book of Mormon.

            • Deanna Szuter

              My grandfather fought on the German side in ww2. After the war, he fled with his family from East Germany to America and made a better life. Do I and my family have to denounce the atrocities of the Nazi party? Do Lutherans have to denounce Nazi actions every time someone dresses like a Nazi and does something stupid? Do families with a slave owning history have to denounce slavery at every turn? I have yet to hear the Catholic Church denounce child molestation, but the Irish Church denounced the Vatican for this reason. Have you publicly denounced child abuse yet, rape in prison, or the killing of innocent puppies at pounds? Have you denounced the use of pesticides on our food? What kind of human are you?

              • Morey Soffo

                To answer your questions in order: yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, and one who tries to be good. What’s wrong with you?

                What kind of human are you not to denounce Nazis, slavery, child abuse, rape of any kind, puppy mills (which lead to the killings of puppies at pounds), and pollution? Kind of an odd response from you – a lot of anger but no real focus except to lash out at me personally. What does your response have to do with my questioning the pervasive silence of Muslims?

                BTW: I was raised in the Lutheran Church (Missouri Synod) – we had no Scout Troops lest someone associate our German descent with the Brownshirts of the Hitler Youth because the Nazis had shamed us of our heritage. My ancestors never owned slaves that I know of because we were poor, but I still find it abhorrent. I was abandoned as a child and raised in an orphanage (the Illinois State School for the Children of Soldiers & Sailors, Normal, IL). I have no children, probably because I am gay and you can’t get pregnant from spit. I’ve never been in prison but believe it should be reserved for the violent, not the non-violent. All four of our dogs have been rescued as have all three cats (we only have one of each now). I have a garden and an orchard both here and at my cottage and I can food. I’ve spent my life hearing “normal” people claim that I should be institutionalized, arrested, and put into camps where I could be killed or sterilized for being gay.

                The German side of my family came from Stargard in Mecklinburg-Strelitz, Rumpenheim in Hesse-Kassel, and Kirchheim-unter-Teck in Württemberg. Like any good American mutt, I also have ancestry from Ireland, Scotland, the Isle of Man, France, the Azores, and the Kickapoo of the Illini.

                So, was your Granpa just “following orders?”

                • Deanna Szuter

                  Why does anyone have to PUBLICLY denounce it? Just to calm your uppity self? I don’t have to publicly say anything just to appease you or anyone else.

                • Morey Soffo

                  Erst eine andere verrüchte Frau.

                  So, what are you trying to say? That you do not agree with Pastor Niemoller who said:

                  First they came for the communists,
                  and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.
                  Then they came for the socialists,
                  and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a socialist.
                  Then they came for the trade unionists,
                  and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.
                  Then they came for the Jews,
                  and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew.
                  Then they came for the Catholics,
                  and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Catholic.
                  Then they came for me,
                  and there was no one left to speak for me.

                  So, you won’t denounce what is bad, yet you ask if or why I have not? Wow. Women like you make me so darn thankful I am gay.

                  Sie sind ein Schleppangel, nicht wahr?

            • Lmaris

              Did you ever think the editor might not be publishing every letter he receives? Especially those editorials which go against his own personal, usually pro-right-wing agenda? I’ve seen and heard plenty Muslim leaders condemn radicals, but I’ve also heard many Christian leaders support Westboro’s anti-gay agenda, if not their tactics.

            • Mary Clark

              Morey: Very easy. Google “Muslims who denounce terrorists” and you’ll find many articles like these:

              http://kurzman.unc.edu/islamic-statements-against-terrorism/

              http://www.monitor.co.ug/News/National/Top-Muslim-leaders-denounce-terrorism/-/688334/2033884/-/15bih96z/-/index.html

              http://politix.topix.com/homepage/5682-muslim-organizations-denounce-bombing-suspects-following-standoff

              Just because YOU personally haven’t heard any denunciation doesn’t mean it “never happens.”

          • Bob Holly Jr.

            you really need to look at some of the UK atheists. try this guy’s youtube channel for starters. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCWOkEnBl5TO4SCLfSlosjgg

          • Guest

            Then you haven’t been paying attention-or only selectively so. Or you are largely ignorant of the broad conversation and literature, including the contribution of formerly Islamic atheists. Likely both.

          • Guest

            @thejerk says “frickin atheists.. i swear. only see the bad in something. funny how i
            never see atheists attacking islam or other perverted religions.”

            Then you haven’t been paying attention-or only selectively so. Or you
            are largely ignorant of the broad conversation and literature, including
            the contribution of formerly Islamic atheists. Likely both.

          • Shelly Liebmann

            @thejerk says “funny how i never see atheists attacking islam or other perverted religions.”

            You haven’t been paying attention-or only selectively so. Or you are largely ignorant of the broad conversation and literature, including the contribution of formerly Islamic atheists. Likely both.

            • HV

              Nope, he’s just a troll

              • Shelly Liebmann

                Yep, something I realized after I scrolled further down the comments…

          • Lmaris

            You don’t see it because you choose not to. Read Richard Dawkins or any atheist web site. But like most Christians, you feel exclusive rights to victimhood while persecuting everyone else from a position of political power. Bullies to the core, but scared little children too.

          • Paul

            Sorry “thejerk” but you are simply ignorant. Of the four most outspoken and strident atheist apologists, three of them are vociferously negative about radical Islam. Just a thought…….One never sees what one is afraid to look at.

          • SecularlyDivine

            Because your perverted religion is RIGHT THERE.

          • HV

            The Troll is strong in this one :D

          • sane37

            So there’s no promise of eternal life or threat of brimstone and fiery eternity?

          • http://www.paulnewcomb.com/ Paul

            You are so painfully ignorant.

          • Mary Clark

            thejerkk: And what’s “perverted” about Islam religion? Yes, there are those extremist Islamist terrorists but that’s a reflection on the terrorists, not the religion. Similarly, we have extremist “Christian” terrorists like Westboro Church or Timothy McVeigh but that doesn’t make every Christian a terrorist. Generalizations without facts and broadly painted comments are what’s “perverted.”

        • Yo

          Where do you (or the people you listen to) get y’alls information?

          I think you have Christianity confused with gnosticism or Islam. Nowhere in the Christian religion does it talk about any deed, rather large in number or in significance, that earns salvation. In fact, Christianity teaches the exact opposite!

          The reason Christians serve humbly is because the Bible teaches us that we serve a humble God. We are humble because He is humble.

          I will admit though, that there are probably a lot of “Christians” who don’t understand all the motivations and nuances of the religion itself :( In fact, this motivating factor is probably lost or just not taught often enough.

          Now, to the point of this article, I will say that is is shame that he didn’t see atheists helping out. No, it’s a shame that he assumed that only Christians were helping out. That’s ridiculous to only think that. Of course, others (non-Christians) help out in times of need as well. The motivation looks different, and I would say that in most disaster-relief situations that the ratios between Christians and atheists are represented. (Has anyone thought about addressing this issue. Perhaps a non-profit atheist aid agency?) But naturally, y’all were there too. You’re atheists. That doesn’t mean that you cannot give and serve while being motivated by your human compassion, right?

      • Morey Soffo

        Thank you for your service. (USN Ret.)

      • Danny Liwszyc

        I find that incredibly morally suspect. In those situations, I ask the religious what their motivation to help people is, and whether they would still do it if they didn’t have the belief or their god doesn’t exist. When, inevitably, I recieve the answer that IS morally suspect, I tend to give thise people a wide berth, and am not interested in engaging them in debate, whether the reason be due to stupidity, or sociopathy.

    • TGMann

      This. Even if atheists do group up, we don’t advertise ourselves.

      • Ellis Wyatt

        Church groups don’t really either. The shirts are usually used as #1 some small token of gratitude for helping out. #2 Keep everyone organized. There are many times that multiple groups will be working together in the same area. If one group wants to meet somewhere it is easier to just find the people dressed like you. It really ins’t an advertisement thing.

        • Carmelita Spats

          Liar…Jan Crouch and her silicone church lady team of overstuffed crazy-ass Pay-As-You-Pray-Christians LOVE to advertise how many blonde Barbie dolls they gave to starving children in Africa. Praise the Lard and may God B. Less.

          • C.L. Honeycutt

            It depends on the group.

          • T

            Carmelita – to justify calling somebody a liar, you need to provide evidence of deception, or at least a valid counter-point. You’ve provided a random factoid which is neither.

          • thejerkk

            i dont see YOU doing anything for kids in africa.

            • Zachary_Bos
              • thejerkk

                ‘my secret atheist..’

                yep stopped reading there.

                • Zachary_Bos

                  You can lead a horse to water; alas. Of course, yours is the same mindset that 1) persists in professing prejudice while 2) an internet search engine is at your fingertips. Perhaps you see only what you wish to see.

                • thejerkk

                  im sorry i didnt want to read your biased website that wasnt water(like you wrongly think it is).

                  maybe something less skewed. now go, do your homework junior!

                • Zachary_Bos

                  I gather you are something of an expert on water, living as you no doubt do beneath a bridge.

        • Kcanopener

          Churches don’t advertise? You must not live in the south.

          • http://gulliblestravelsdma.wordpress.com/ D’Ma

            I was thinking the same thing. I’ve been the one wearing the t-shirt advertizing the crap outta Jesus, saying “God Bless You” and evangelizing while I was picking up the trash. I can speak from personal experience. At the time I thought I was living out the great commission, spreading all kinds of love. Now I see it for exactly what it is. Taking advantage of a person’s emotional state. It never had squat to do with “being easy to find your people”. That’s a new one on me.

        • Morey Soffo

          Every church has a big ol’ cross, a billboard with the “Sermon of the Week” on it (and the pastor’s name), a website, and a lawyer. They don’t advertise? Really?

          What about Matthew VI where Jesus Himself says to not be like the hypocrites who make a great show of their religion in the streets? It is, by the way, the only thing Jesus says twice in any of the Gospels. He also says to “pray in your closet” between telling people not to be hypocrites. Exactly how does wearing a T-shirt with the name of the church emblazoned on it fit in with these admonitions of Jesus? And don’t give me any nonsense from Paul: if there is a conflict between Paul and Jesus, Paul automatically loses.

      • chayla68144

        You’re right. I’m not a group type of person. I do my own thing and just donate to causes that interest me. That doesn’t mean I don’t volunteer at the food pantry or at the animal shelter, I just don’t do everything “in the name of atheism”. Why do Christians have to get so much credit when Jesus supposedly knows everything already anyways? So stupid.

    • WallofSleep

      Indeed. It’s not like we go around pounding our chests and declaring for all to hear “We’re out here doing No-Lord’s work”.

      • crazygemini12

        But that should be on a t-shirt all the same :)

        • maryjanecannabian

          With a picture of that mountain lion like on the hood of Ricky Bobby’s race car, with the hash tag #ME.

    • Tim

      Great post.
      To state the obvious, atheist literally means you are not a theist. It doesn’t explicitly define anything about you. It only excludes one specific idea. Many atheists believe every conceivable manner of ridiculous and unsupportable nonsense. When someone simply tells you they are an atheist, you still don’t have a single clue what positions they hold. It is maddening to have assumptions made about us based on no other data given.
      For example, one could be an atheist who loves and adores religious belief and religious communities and would never disabuse a theist of their views. Many atheists actually do feel this way. Is it reasonable, therefore, to feel automatically threatened by someone who says they are an atheist and tells you nothing else?

      • chlobot

        Truer words were never spoken. I used to be VERY religious growing up- which has turned into my unwavering disbelief. I am still infatuated with religion and who believes what- where in the world-why that is.. etc. I would NEVER do anything to disrespect someone’s religion, culture, or beliefs. It’s tacky and rude. People cannot be defined in a collective. Each individual has been molded by vastly different experiences, in a different environment, by different peers, with different genetic make-up.

    • Marcia

      This Atheist and her Marine husband drove 12 hours, from WI, to assist the people of OK in disaster relief. We also had a {much needed} vacation that we were supposed to be going on, when we switched our plans because we felt that we were needed more in OK.

      I LOVE the last line.

      • maryjanecannabian

        Thank You both for being of service to those in need. As a busy mom and wife myself who hasn’t had a vacation with my husband in years I can imagine how much you were looking forward to it. You rock, Mama!

        • Guest

          It’s been a rough year for us. And, seeing, and experiencing, what these people were going through first hand, it made us appreciate the things we have, or don’t, even more. I’m grateful for the experience, the people we met, and the opportunity to stand beside Oklahomians as they stood up again!

          Someday we will get around to that vacation, haha : ) I hope you get yours soon, too!

      • thejerkk

        no, you didnt, but do try and paint yourself in a positive light. love how you threw the military bit in there, like thats supposed to mean something special.

        so cute!

        • Marcia

          I threw that bit about the military in there, because the article focuses a lot of Team Rubicon (A veteran’s organization. Can you see the connection yet? I can’t break that one down any further for you if you cannot.) The common belief, and we hear it all the time, is that Atheists and Democrats don’t serve their country (In many ways.), they don’t have what it takes to stand on the front lines, or get their hands dirty, etc. That is simply bullshit. They just feel better about themselves when they “help out” with a camera in their face. Meanwhile, others are doing it for the greater good, for no glory, for no fame, for no controversy.

          If the author of the Time’s article feels that Atheist’s were not down there, helping out, the assumption is that he believes that Team Rubicon, a veteran’s organization, is composed of ONLY Christians. Which is very far from the truth. (Hint again, military bit.)

          But, the fact of the matter is, your opinion in irrelevant. It does not matter what some troll on the internet, or anyone really, thinks of me or my husband. We have both committed our lives to serving humanity; it does not matter in what way, or what oath we took. It only matters that we, along with all others who made the same commitment, continue the good fight. With, or without, people like you, or the author of the Times article.

          • Pooky

            I’m going in a few short months to assist with a mission to repair cleft pallets of children in Peru. No one will guess I’m an atheist because I won’t be wearing the traditional atheist clothing and jewelry. I guess I’ll settle for just helping kids b/c I see it as the right thing to do =P

            Kudos to you Marcia.I was in the army and I know how valuable time away from the unit can be.

    • Marcia

      I debated on sharing this. Because, I don’t mean any disrespect to anyone who took their time to go to OK. But, our experience was quite a bit different than that of the author of the Time’s article.

      Truth be told, a lot of people who were there, were there to say they were. Or, so it seemed. It was rather frustrating. My husband and I linked up with a church group down there (Because, that was 96% of groups down there, on the ground.) But, just because they WERE there, doesn’t mean too much. (FYI, we had many “walk ins” who linked with the group, as well. And, we were asked to wear their t-shirts proclaiming we were with their church. Even though, we were not. And, we met several others in other church affiliated groups who were doing the same.)

      It was disappointing, and we are hoping it was just because it was so soon after, that things had not yet found their “niche” and that groups were still trying to organize effectively. But, the truth is, a lot of these groups spent more time serving the members of their group that came in, than they did people in the communities. My husband and I would go out to the city, and clean up all day long. Come back filthy, disgusting, tired…and the same people who were there in the am when we left, in the parking lots, and set up tents, were STILL there, sitting at the food trailer, eating the foods, and sitting around talking. HUNDREDS, not just 10-12 holding down the fort while others gone. There is no need for hundreds of people to congregate at the tent, and food trailer, all day.

      We went out with a team the first day we were there. All we did was walk around and stop people, who were picking up the pieces of their lives, to take 30 minutes out of their day, to pray. To me, that’s not an appropriate time. The person praying would give a plug about their church, encourage the person to attend their church now, and give them a business card. Then, we’d discuss why that person’s church hadn’t come around, wasn’t helping them, after we left. What?! Who cares where there church was? Maybe their church was destroyed. (These other church groups were “imported”, so to say.) In any case, it truly felt like there was competition…to prove which church was “better” than another. Instead of, “how can we help”…it was, “Let me tell you about our church.” (In our experience.)

      The second day, we took a group out to the city again, to find a place to clean up. We drove in. Half the team stood around, while about 4 of us worked. Then that half of the team left us there. Without warning, about an hour or so after arriving. My stuff is still in their truck. The other half of the team left my husband and I after another hour or two…and we were there until dark finishing the yard we started. Then we had to WALK back to the set up, where our car was, to call it night because they just left us there.

      The next day, we took our own team. A team of walk ups, people who were just looking to volunteer with someone, found the church we were volunteering with. After an hour of church service in the parking lot (Yes, you read that right. A church service talking about how we were the only church there for the long haul. Because, they had just planted a church in the area, and they wanted people to know they were there forever, not just for cleanup.) we were split into groups. We got an AWESOME group. All were Christians, but not affiliated with that particular church. We got ALOT done that day. Busted our hiney’s all day long. Came back to the same hundred people at the end of the day, still sitting around, in their clean clothes, not sweaty or dirty, congregated around the food truck and
      supply tents.

      We had some people show up every day…and not even lift a finger. We had to move our tents from one side of the parking lot, to the other…and a group of people looking to volunteer stopped to help. Got a caravan of their trucks, loaded, drove to the new spot, unloaded, and did it again. They were referred to as “The random black people who asked if they could help.” Many of the members of the group sat and watched. Were sunbathing. Literally.

      Even the guard was useless down there. On every street corner was 10-15 guard members sitting around, acting like there wasn’t 1000 things they could be doing. There was not organization. And, to be honest with you, Team Rubicon was one of the few groups you saw EVERYWHERE…bustin’ ass day in, and day out. They weren’t
      taking breaks every 2 minutes, or standing around. They were in it. It was
      actually the first time we had heard of them, and we plan on registering with them for future disaster relief efforts.

      We couldn’t even get a med kit for a person who was hurt…the guard and air force didn’t know where to get one. What?! There were two guys who came to the group every day, dressed in their camis (Not with the OK guard, with another state guard, that was part of the group we joined)…never saw them lift a finger. Those sunbathers I
      talked about? We’d leave and they’d be lying on the table…we’d come back and they’d be lying on the table. Eating, listening to their ipods, texting.

      My point is, just because you are Christian, doesn’t mean you were there helping. And, just because you are Atheist, doesn’t mean you weren’t.

      And, I’d like to believe that the only motivation behind anyone’s attendance in OK was just love. Not the love of an Atheist, or a Christian, or a Catholic, etc…but, as a human being who was reaching out to a human being in their time need.

    • kevin122380

      I donate a ton of money to my local schools.
      I also donate to the Salvation Army.
      I’ve done tons of free,community work.etc.

      I’ve been an atheist for 15 years now.

    • Persia

      Funny thing, too, in a disaster people don’t normally first ask what church you go to. Normally it’s just ‘put your donation over there, thanks.’

  • C Peterson

    This claim has been made repeatedly in recent years (where are the atheists?) when some sort of relief effort occurs. Of course, as you note, it is very possible that actual secular organizations play some role. But that’s not really the important point to make. Religions are, by their very nature, social entities. They are organizations of people. If the organization fails, so does the church. And, of course, with a church on every street corner, it’s hardly surprising that you’d see some helping out. Secular organizations are rare. For every person associated with one, there are probably a thousand or more atheists or humanists who are not. For an atheist to be associated with some sort of local, formal organization is the exception, not the rule. So usually, there is no secular group to step in and help. This makes all the atheists who are actually involved- those who donate money, those who show up to help out- invisible to reporters, unless they just accidentally stumble on one. That doesn’t mean they aren’t there.

    • http://www.illustratedbykarenjones.com/ Karen Jones

      Yes. Most Atheists that want to help will just donate time or money to whatever organization is easiest for them to access. Even if that group is associated with a church. What matters is that the group is helping, not that it’s religious.

  • Andrew

    This is the reason why I can’t stand most mainstream reporting. We know that they got the story wrong because it’s something we’re familiar with. But what about everything they report on that we’re not familiar with? They probably have about the same error rate with that too. So imagine all the incorrect information you’re being exposed to and are not even aware of.

    • 3lemenope

      In my experience, there are two groups of people.

      Group one are the people who either themselves, some event they were witness to, or some subject they have expertise in, were the subject of a news report.

      Group two are the people who trust the news.

  • flyb

    “funny how you don’t see organized groups of secular humanists giving out hot meals”

    What is even the purpose of that line? It just comes out of nowhere and serves no journalistic point.

    • Brian

      It was likely just a remark serving to push a stereotype of atheists held by most religious people, that because we don’t believe in god, we have no moral compass. Makes me sick to my stomach.

    • Skeptic

      I was thinking the same thing. It’s not only a poor journalistic choice for Klein, but a failure of the editorial staff to remove this non-sequitur.

    • anniewhoo

      If you read the paragraph without the highlighted section, it sounds complete. I really think the highlighted section was added later, as an afterthought. But why, I’d like to know?

      • Zach

        I think the only reason it’s there is to direct the reader’s attention to the statement in question. No real reason other than that.

      • C.L. Honeycutt

        That’s a good point. I wonder if an editor slipped it in.

    • iguanalounge

      it sounds like the kind of snide, snipey comment I’d expect my grandmother to spout out in the middle of an otherwise normal conversation.

    • LutherW

      I gave up Time after having a subscription myself or by my parents since the early fifties. Over that time, I got smarter, and Time got dumber. Joe Klein was no small part of that decision.

    • Darrell Ross

      Seems more like Mr Klein has been watching too much Faux News and buying too much into the “war on christmas”.

  • pauleky

    Hemant, I hope you plan to send this to Time as a “Letter to the Editor.” There needs to some sort of response from someone with your credibility. Outrageous!

    • http://www.illustratedbykarenjones.com/ Karen Jones

      I second that.

  • hitchthehero

    Atheists don’t have the need to say ‘Hey, look at me, aren’t I good’. And anyway, isn’t it their god that sends the tornadoes in the first place, what did they have to say about that? If their god sent a disaster to Oklahoma, aren’t they going against his wishes by helping out afterwards? .

    • C.L. Honeycutt

      Lots of atheists do have that need. They just don’t have an organization that encourages it.

  • Kingasaurus

    Klein’s upcoming apology will qualify as a nice – what’s the term? – “teachable moment.”

    Like the journalist who wrote about “no atheists in foxholes” a while back and got inundated with complaints and promised not to use that phrase in the future.

  • Don Gwinn

    We should probably specify that the apology has to be published outside Time Magazine somewhere so that a few more people will see it.

  • http://gulliblestravelsdma.wordpress.com/ D’Ma

    The thing is there’s a church on just about every corner. These groups, for the most part, go out “in the name” of their religion to do these things. Not only are they helping, which they are, they’re proselytizing while they’re at it. After a disaster the help is welcome no matter who it comes from, but they also use it to win some over to the kingdom. So there’s always this little string attached. Once they’ve done their good deeds they can’t take them back, but they’re done with this underlying hope of conversion.

    Not so with atheist groups. First of all there aren’t organized secular humanist groups on every corner, or in every town for that matter. Secondly, when atheists go out to do good works they aren’t doing it with some sort of hook. So there isn’t a need to ‘toot their own horns’ so to speak. They’re genuinely just doing good for goodness sake. This should be shameful to Christians everywhere who walk around with their strings attached to every good deed. Instead they just fail to recognize that that’s even possible.

    • Miss_Beara

      You should email this to Time magazine.

      • http://gulliblestravelsdma.wordpress.com/ D’Ma

        Done! This is what I submitted in it’s entirety.

        “Dear Editor:

        I believe a retraction, or apology, outside of Time and within it is in order here. Joe Klein and the Time editors obviously forgot to fact-check before printing this article. His statement, “But there was an occupying army of relief workers, led by local first responders, exhausted but still humping it a week after the storm, church groups from all over the country — funny how you don’t see organized groups of secular humanists giving out hot meals” is erroneous at best. A simple google search would have revealed a plethora of ways that organized groups of secular humanists are helping the victims of the Oklahoma tornadoes. For the life of me I can’t figure out what that statement had to do with rest of the content of the article anyway.

        The thing is there’s a church on just about every corner. These groups, for the most part, go out “in the name” of their religion to do these things. Not only are they helping, which they are, they’re proselytizing while they’re at it. After a disaster the help is welcome no matter who it comes from, but they also use it to win some over to the kingdom. So there’s always this little string attached. Once they’ve done their good deeds they can’t take them back, but the deeds are done with this underlying hope of conversion.

        Not so with atheist groups. First of all there aren’t organized secular humanist groups on every corner, or in every town for that matter. Secondly, when atheists go out to do good works they aren’t doing it with some sort of hook. So there isn’t a need to ‘toot their own horns’ so to speak. They’re genuinely just doing good for goodness sake. This should be shameful to Christians everywhere who walk around with their strings attached to every good deed. Instead they just fail to recognize that that’s even possible.

        So while you may not see “organized groups” of secular humanists out in droves, they are there. They are helping. And they have no other agenda than to lend a helping hand.”

        • Regina Carol Moore

          You are so awesome, eloquent and your sense of justice and fairness is spot-on! Thanks for speaking out so beautifully!

          • http://gulliblestravelsdma.wordpress.com/ D’Ma

            I really don’t understand why it was necessary to point out what types of groups were there. Why does it even matter if they were religious or secular in nature? Help is help and that should be good enough.

            • Regina Carol Moore

              That’s exactly why what he said was so horrible. He was being unnecessarily divisive. So many people loved his article except for that one statement about atheists. It really is a shame.

        • Miss_Beara

          Yay!

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

    I guess a pre-requisite for helping disaster victims is an irrational belief in a supernatural being. Makes sense.

    • newavocation

      Well I guess you could look at it as cleaning up after your gods messes

      • Birther 2.0

        Love it.

  • Ash Bowie

    My letter to Time:

    In an otherwise fine article, Mr. Klein slanders non-believers when he wrote, “…funny how you don’t see organized groups of secular humanists giving out hot meals…”. A quick Google search would have educated him on the extent of this gross mischaracterization. Not only is it wrong, it is slanderous because it paints secular humanists as uncaring and hypocritical. Further, why mention secular humanist *organizations*? Does it not count for individual secular humanists to help on their own or under the banner of other organizations? This is a very disappointing punch below the belt from Time magazine; Mr. Klein and his editors deserve a reprimand and secular humanists deserve an apology.

    • maddogdelta

      Boy, you were really nice. My letter was much nastier

      • Edmond

        An important contribution, thank you for adding your angry voice. Polite, civil responses will do good in letting Time editors know that they’ve made an error which requires amending, but it’s also important for them to know that they’ve PISSED PEOPLE OFF. They certainly should be made aware of the “factual” error they’ve made, but they should also see that such an error is a grevious insult that won’t be tolerated. The polite voices will let them know that a correction needs to be done. Hopefully, the angry ones will help get it done quickly.

        • C.L. Honeycutt

          Indeed, there’s room for all types of approaches.

    • Matt

      If you don’t mind, I am going to send this along myself as it is very well written, with one exception of asking for an immediate retraction of the wrongful statement.

      • Ash Bowie

        By all means…

    • Zachary_Bos

      In my letter, I asked when we could expect the follow-up, in which Klein (or…) does the proper journalistic diligence to report on all the many cases where atheists (organized or as individuals) are doing good work. What’s that old saw about two hands clasped in prayer do a lot less good than two hands at work helping others…

  • http://www.facebook.com/ChrisYNP Chris Harmon

    Sent them a letter, something I rarely stir myself to do. That is blatantly arrogantly disrespectful of our entire community.

  • Terry Firma

    Letter sent:

    “Dear Editor:

    Joe Klein inexplicably smeared atheists and agnostics with this galling aside: ‘Funny how you don’t see organized groups of secular humanists giving out hot meals.’

    It’s mindboggling that he would write this, and doubly so that it would pass by your editors and factcheckers unchallenged. As a former magazine editor and current Time subscriber, I would like for you to explain how you overlooked the post-tornado aid by a range of secular organizations. Oklahoma Atheists, Atheist Community of Tulsa, the Lawton Area Secular Society, Norman Naturalism Group, and the Oklahoma State Secular Organization all organized volunteers, resources, and blood drives for Oklahoma. The Foundation Beyond Belief (an organization that disburses resources to people in need, to which I contribute every month) and Atheists Giving Aid were also involved, helping victims, shoulder to shoulder with other aid organizations.

    If you need corroboration for these facts, I can easily help provide it. But please do promise me you’ll consider doing your factchecking FIRST next time, rather than post-publication.

    Most of us do not wear our lack of belief in gods on our sleeves — or, unlike church groups, on our T-shirts — and of course Klein won’t see us go down on our knees in prayer. We’re too busy helping. Maybe this lack of imagination is where Time’s (and Klein’s) lapse into idiocy stems from.

    With his nonchalant and baseless accusation, Joe Klein did almost as much of a disservice to the credibility of your magazine as he did to the secular groups and individuals who selflessly helped scores of tornado victims to get back on their feet.

    We’d all appreciate an apology.”

    • flyb

      Excellent. Please let us know the response when/if you get it.

  • Daniel Moran

    Just sent my letter to the Editor asking for an apology from Time and Mr. Klein.

    • maddogdelta

      I asked them to elucidate their reasoning for allowing that piece of crap to be a cover story.

      Then I let them know that if they didn’t know what the word elucidate means, they should find a professional writer and he/she could tell them.

  • Pluto Animus

    I told the editor of Time Magazine to go fuck himself.

    You can too!

    letters@time.com

    • baal

      As satisfying as that may be, it gets you dismissed as a crank. Those really long examples above which call out journalistic ethics, Time’s reputation, the job of editors and list out examples of proof of the error are taken seriously.

  • Regina Carol Moore

    Atheists don’t join atheist groups as much as we join groups of people who are formed to get the job done. Because we don’t care about our atheism as much as we care about getting the job done. Because getting the job done is the point, isn’t it?

    • ZeldasCrown

      I think you’ve hit the nail on the head here. A religious organization that is focused on helping others has the religious aspect up front, while a secular or atheist organization that does the same isn’t doing so in the name of atheism. After helping someone (and during, and before too), people with the religious organization say something to the effect of “God bless”. In contrast, the atheist aren’t saying “God doesn’t exist, so have a nice day!”

      • Ellis Wyatt

        Would be an interesting conclusion to conversations from now on.

  • Ajit

    The author is Joe Klein. He is supposed to make such stupid comments. Expecting sensible comments from Joe klein is like expecting to see Mahatma Gandhi’s picture with a machine-gun. You are not going to find it.Have you read his comments about the Indians living in Edison, New Jersey? Google it….you will be enlightened.

    And he is not alone. FOX, CNN, ABC, NBC they all suffer from this intellectual hernia. We saw how incompetent American journalists were during the Iraq war. All this shouldn’t surprise us. That’s American journalism. When News people show Jon Stewart’s and Steven Colbert’s clips to make a point, it becomes clear that he is smarter than all of them….Sad.

    • Regina Carol Moore

      Journalism is almost dead in America. It’s very sad.

    • anon

      Joel Stein

    • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

      What kind of Bizarro world do we live in today when comedians make more of an effort to get their facts straight than so-called reporters?

      • C.L. Honeycutt

        Traditionally, the Fool was the only one allowed to mock the King. Comedy is actually one of the nobler professions (with a lot of ignoble practitioners.)

  • natashasmith

    I was reading this article yesterday and was so upset when I got to that jab that I set the article aside and immediately started trying to figure out how to express to TIME how hurtful this was. Thanks for providing the data to back me up, and for pointing out Klein’s injustice!

  • Mick

    I’ve been hearing that story since I was a child in the 1950s: “Atheists never help anyone, it’s always the Church that does charity work.” My descendants will be hearing the same story in the 2050s.

    • pnoozi

      What exactly qualifies as charity work? Anti-condom campaigns in regions highly affected by AIDS? This idea that the Church does any net good in the world is absurd.

  • IHateFatChicks

    Joe Klein is your typical ignorant tool. What a douchebag.

    • Birther 2.0

      You are being kind. No need to sugarcoat it.

  • Cathy Mahan

    Not only did the Oklahoma secular groups pitch in and help, we do regular volunteer work at various charities, notably the Food Bank for AOK and Children and Families for Norman Naturalism.

  • Keith Babberney

    Slander is verbal. Mr. Klein has libeled secular (not necessarily atheist) Americans.

  • jaronstirling

    Here is Klein’s blog where you can ALSO comment because he repeats the same claim, though it may be the wording from the article as well (no formatting in the blog, so I didn’t make a comparison):

    http://www.goodreads.com/author_blog_posts/4264282-memorial-day-in-oklahoma-city

  • Laney Chandler

    As a researcher in the field of trauma studies, I found it just as offensive that they are disseminating this “PTSD doesn’t exist – pull yourself up by your bootstraps” mentality. That is not new – it is very old. In fact, as a society, we have repeatedly silenced discourse on PTSD and it has had to emerge and fight for recognition under different names (hysteria, railway spine, shell shock, combat fatigue…). As a society, we are great at asking people to kill, die and suffer terrible injuries on our behalf, but we consistently paint the psychological and neurological damage of that experience as weakness when it comes time to pay back. There is nothing insightful pr new about “quit feeling sorry for yourself and pull yourself together”. It is the same old garbage soldiers and trauma victims have been hearing for hundreds of years.

    • Matt

      This is a great point, the article seems to gloss over a very serious mental illness, something we as a nation tend to do far too often. These issues need study and resolutions, not hand-waving and “you can get over it” types of mentality.

    • http://gulliblestravelsdma.wordpress.com/ D’Ma

      I agree wholeheartedly. I do get some of what this article is getting at. I suffer from mild, very mild, depression. Just so it’s clear – I’m in no way comparing my very mild depression to PTSD, though I do suffer a bit from that as well. The thing that usually gets me out of my funk is getting outside of myself and helping others. It releases dopamine and norepinephrine. But PTSD is NOT depression.

      Keeping oneself busy helping others might be an integral part of therapy but is not a stand alone cure-all for it. When the activity stops, when everything is quiet, when you can’t shut your thoughts down, when you’re lying in your bed at night, when dreams occur, when something triggers PTSD no amount having served another is going to change that. To say otherwise is just irresponsible.

    • Noelle

      That was my first thought as well when I read this. Not that there is implicit harm in working together on a constructive goal with those who have PTSD. The same could be said for individuals with any circumstance leading to the feeling of outsiderness. Those with PTSD have horrible stories that they are afraid to share for many reasons. That the stories are horrible is often enough. That they also cause flashbacks and panic attacks and nightmares and other debilitating physical reactions is another. That the listener will recoil in horror and leave the sufferer more isolated is another real worry. We know from previous experience that putting those groups of people who would otherwise not work together, and them giving them a common positive goal to work on, helps break down those barriers. If that’s what this project is doing, then perhaps it can be helpful. If it is a condescending effort to show people with PTSD need simply to keep busy doing good works and then they will be magically healed, then it is ill-guided and ignores what we do know about human suffering and illness.

      And, of course, the jab at humanists for no particular reason is just uncalled for.

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

      As an Iraq war vet, thank you. You do a very important job. I was a mess my first few years back, and everyone I know has had issues as well.

  • Bill Snoot

    As an atheist, I am used to being misunderstood and slandered and could frankly care less. I am far more outraged by this monstrously meanspirited idea that PTSD will be cured by doing charity work, and that soldiers need to just pick themselves up by the bootstraps and stop playing the victim. As if emulating the church and beating your chest about all the nice things you are doing for people will somehow win you ome healing time from a god. Rubbish, and this baboon needs to be confronted about his ignorance.

    • Kellen Dunkelberger

      I guess I didn’t read the whole article. I didn’t get from it that PTSD could be cured, but that the connections formed and the sense of worth given by volunteering could be beneficial. All the people reacting this way make it seem to me that I completely misread the tone. I know that the some of the times when I’ve felt the most connected to my humanity and most fulfilled were while volunteering.

  • LonesomeDove

    It was a completely unnecessary backhanded slap, and totally uncalled for – just mentioning ‘hardworking groups’ would have sufficed – TIME owes those people (and frankly, all Humanists) an apology.

  • Alex Abbott

    I also sent a letter to Time Magazine protesting Klein’s misleading reporting and smear on atheists. As the experience of Rebecca Vitsmun shows, people already assume that you are religious in this country until you assertively prove otherwise. This means that people like Klein do a grave disservice to the country by further promoting the misunderstanding of secular people. Finally, perhaps it’s a good thing that the atheists of Oklahoma spend more time actually helping people than promoting themselves.

  • Paul (not the apostle)

    Klein ignores the fact that the GIANT on the block of assistance is the Red Cross which I work with and it is very clear with its folks that it is not promoting any viewpoint or religion. Our only goal is to help others. I know several atheists that work with the Red Cross for just this reason. It would be a serious violation of principle in the Red Cross to promote any agenda beyond helping others. That is one of the main reasons I volunteer with them. Some folks may not be aware that the red cross is about Swiss neutrality and their flag NOT about a christian cross

    • Tobias2772

      Hey Paul,
      I thought about that too. Isn’t any organization without it’s religion on its sleeve a secular humanist organization ? When we just do good work without promoting atheism, we get ignored. When we make our atheism a visible part of the effort, we get vilified. Damned if you do and damned if you don’t.

      • Paul

        Good to know you are not really Damned no matter which way you go :-)

        • Tobias2772

          I think I can be damned – just not to hell or for all eternity. I damn people all the time – for instance, damn Joe Klein

  • Tobias2772

    I have just submitted this letter to TIME and Joe Klein. I hope you will forgive the length and I hope it does some good at TIME:

    Wow, I am going to do my best to contain my anger and write a rational response to Joe Klein presenting his uninformed and personal bias as if it were actual news. Here’s the quote in question:

    ” … there was an occupying army of relief workers, led by local first responders, exhausted but still humping it a week after the storm, church groups from all over the country — funny how you don’t see organized groups of secular humanists giving out hot meals — and there in the middle of it all, with a purposeful military swagger, were the volunteers from Team Rubicon.”

    Right in the middle of a factual sentence about the number of people doing actual service, Mr. Klein decides to throw in a dig about how atheists do nothing. Why would he interject such a sentiment ? I can only surmise that he has his own set of uninformed biases and saw fit to stick in a dig to support his own prejudices – a little winking aside to all of his mythologist friends out there in magazine land. This type of crap has no business in reporting and I have long subscribed to TIME because your standards are usually far above this cheap excuse for journalism.

    There’s another problem with Joe Klein’s little dig – it is totally inaccurate. Here is a partial list of things that atheist groups did to help the victims of the OK tornadoes:

    1. More than 4,300 people donated more than $120,000 for the family of Rebecca Vitsmun (she promised to donate to charity whatever money she doesn’t need).

    2. Foundation Beyond Belief raised over $45,000 for Operation USA and the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma.

    3. Atheists Giving Aid raised over $18,000 that will be given to local relief groups in Moore, Oklahoma and directly to families that need help.

    4. Members of the FreeOK atheist group helped families who needed wreckage removed from their property:

    5. According to Kai Tancredi at Red Dirt Report, those same atheists helped get food to volunteers and families affected by the tragedy: They teamed with Panera Bread and Krispy Kreme to get breakfast to cemetery clean-up volunteers with Frontline Church in Moore, and to volunteers working through the Moore Community Center in the first week of response. They will continue to host volunteer drives in the outlying areas needing assistance in the coming weeks, like many local church organizations.

    5. The Red Dirt Party Bus, also owned by a secularist, has been used to run bulk donations around OKC and to distribution centers like the famously generous Grandad’s Bar on NW 23rd in OKC and out to Shawnee and Bethel Acres.

    6. Local atheist groups such as the Oklahoma Atheists, Atheist Community of Tulsa, the Lawton Area Secular Society, Norman Naturalism Group, and the Oklahoma State Secular Organization have organized volunteers, resources, and blood drives.

    7. Organizers of the FreeOK conference going on this weekend held a literacy drive yesterday to “benefit the schools affected” by the tornadoes.

    Is that enough proof that atheists, too, were (and still are) helping out in the aftermath of the tornadoes? Joe Klein could have easily found out all of this and more if he had put forth the slightest bit of journalistic effort to get his facts straight. But that’s not how personal prejudice works. Humans often don’t try to match the actual evidence against their small and comfortable view of the world. Fortunately for us, professional journalists do, or at least they are supposed to.

    Of all of the people on this planet who believe in human service, atheists are at the top of the list. We know that humans have only themselves to depend upon and that one pair of hands engaged in service do more good than a thousand pairs clasped in prayer. Joe Klein’s unprofessional aside perpetuates one of the most persistent and pervasive stereotypes that exists in this country today. Atheists, despite all of their good works and their promotion of rational and progressive thinking are the most distrusted group in America. It is unprofessional and unbecoming for TIME to help perpetuate such prejudice.

    Joe Klein, and by extension TIME magazine, has failed to meet even the most basic of journalistic standards – accuracy. I have had my subscription to TIME for a number of years, but unless I see a substantial apology and correction of these inaccuracies, I will be canceling my subscription forthwith. I await your response.

    Thanks to Hemant for the heads up and the ready-made research. I hope that everyone will raise hell about this damaging slander. This cannot be allowed to stand. Maybe we could convince Mr. Klein to actually do a little accurate reprting on atheists in America.

  • E.Hall138

    Letter I just sent…

    Church: A building for public and especially Christian worship; The clergy or officialdom of a religious body (Merriam-Webster)…

    Secular: Not bound by monastic vows or rules; specifically : of, relating to, or forming clergy not belonging to a religious order or congregation (Merriam-Webster)

    Firstly, you were wrong, Mr. Klein. A quick google search, which is apparently more research than you care to undertake when it comes to secularists or, heaven forbid (pun intended), atheists, will show that groups such as the Foundation Beyond Belief, FreeOK atheists, Atheists Giving Aid, and several local atheist groups in Oklahoma donated time, money, food, and actual physical labor to the victims of the Oklahoma tornadoes. But also, you seem to forget that churches, by their very nature, are organizations that MUST have order and arrangement because of the particular qualities of religion that demand meetings and fellowship. Therefore, they have the money, resources, and group imposed pressure of good will that leads to public showings of charity and help and having tee-shirts made that say “First Church of Holy Mother of Whatever Oklahoma Rescue etc.” (not to mention the almost assured discount from the tee-shirt screen printer for a church group’s order). Secular groups don’t have this… the fellowship, the meetings, the peer pressure, the tee-shirts… yet they still help. Why is this, Mr. Klein? Could it be because we want to help, not because we think it will get us into heaven? Maybe because it’s the right thing to do? People like you who fail to see our efforts just reinforce the idea of secular = evil and uncaring, when any research at all would show you that is not the case. Period.

    Also, I truly enjoyed the article. The thrown in jab at secularists didn’t seem to fit in the narrative or flow of the article at all. Why did you add it? It was completely useless. Did you need just a few more words to get above your word count? Next time, please just add a few more adverbs here and there in your article. They’re far less obtrusive.

  • jgoslow

    My letter:

    There is a small but very revealing inaccuracy in this article regarding involvement of non-religious volunteers in the post-tornado OK. The fact that you would so blatantly mis-lead your readers and perpetuate a hateful stereotype without fact-checking first is unprofessional and reveals the assumptions and bias’ of Mr. Klein and your editors.

    You owe the atheist community an apology, the same apology you would no doubt fall over yourselves giving the christian community if you were to mar their public visage. You owe an apology to the atheist volunteers giving out food and spending their time trying to help people in need.

    “- funny how you don’t see organized groups of secular humanists giving out hot meals..”

    Funny how you don’t feel the need to be accurate when it comes to the marginalized. Shame on you. Do better.

  • Alysn

    I’ll be writing a letter regarding the atheist issue, but as a person who also suffers from a mental disorder, I have a big problem with this:

    //[Co-founder of volunteer group Team Rubicon] Jake Wood has little tolerance for veterans who see themselves as victims.//

    Excuse me, but while it is acceptable to say that there are certain methods that have been shown to help people with various mental distresses, it is NOT acceptable to define how a person travels through their healing process and how they see themselves along the way. The author of the piece setting himself up as agreeing with this should have been a red flag that this he is neither the sharpest thinker nor the best judge of the actions of others.

    I’d also like to point out that my greater distress at the slight against veterans dealing with PTSD instead of the slight against atheists should help to highlight that people don’t always come running out in a crisis waving the flag you think they should be waving. I helped the Oklahoma recovery effort, but I chose to do so by making sure that the local shelters could feed the lost and stranded animals until their devastated owners had the opportunity to locate and claim them. Did I need to wear a t-shirt claiming “Atheist for Animals and the Families that Love Them”?

  • Agent M

    Letter written and submitted to TIME this morning. Thanks for bringing this to my attention! I’ve also passed it along to the secular groups that I’m in and encouraged them to join in and write letters.

  • Jane

    Imho, people who promote their charitable works and good deeds are actually promoting themselves, they’re saying ‘look, everybody, see what a good person I am’. As atheists do not expect any reward for living a good life, we feel no need to make a big song and dance about giving and helping others – these are acts of true altruism as there’s nothing in it for us at the end.

    People like Joe Klein are peddling their own brand of prejudiced beliefs hence no need to check the facts before reporting. I decry their moral standards.

  • Stephanie

    A snippet from my letter – ‘Atheists were not the only secular people helping; I would like to remind you that any assistance the people received from the government (including our fire and police workers) was also secular.’

  • Naomi Baker

    He can be found at @JoeKleinTIME

  • Sam Shore

    It’s worth mentioning that FBB supported Team Rubicon back in 2012 during the response to Superstorm Sandy: http://foundationbeyondbelief.org/node/1620

  • LesterBallard

    By the time I chill enough to write a calm, decent letter, I expect this will be over, and Time, at least, if not Joe Klein, will have issued some kind of apology.

  • German

    As a victim of PTSD myself (toddler abuse) I can state very clearly that Klein is full of shit. We do not need to distract ourselves from our experiences, be it by whitewashing the cover of newsweek, by drugs or selfdestructive behaviour. We need to adress our condition with professionals, something the US of A seems unwilling to provide for those stupid enough to believe it worthwhile to step into harm´s way for their country. And yes, Mr. Klein, my brothers and sisters in this are indeed victims, something you are unable to understand since your station in life is so cuddly and nurturing.

    • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

      I prefer the term “survivor”.

  • Siera Bourizk

    My message:

    I am greatly saddened by this otherwise fine article. The point of this article was not about secular humanists, and I saw no purpose, other than bigotry, to single them out. Unfortunately, many people will read this article and believe its slanderous lies. People like Joe Klein continue to express there one-minded views of a group that they don’t understand. It was his duty to better understand that group before writing publicly about them. This article warrants nothing less than a retraction and a public apology to all slandered.

    • JohnnieCanuck

      Not so fine an article if it misleads people and prevents them from getting the help they need. Volunteering may indeed help with self esteem. Not likely to eliminate panic attacks or recurring nightmares in my non-professional opinion.

      • Siera Bourizk

        Fair point.

  • Robin James

    My letter to Time (and please note I would not classify myself as an atheist – I’m more of an agnostic – but my two young teenage sons are atheists)

    I am insulted by Joe Klein’s statement s regarding the lack of assistance by atheists during the aftermath of the tornadoes in OK. Since when did the religious hold the monopoly on compassion? Just because Christian groups are the most visible, doesn’t mean they are the the only ones there. Many atheists do not belong to “organizations” and therefore coordinating assistance in a disaster is not quite as easy as putting out a call during a sermon on Sunday. But, atheists are in your community helping those in need. They may not be “visible,” like Christian groups, but then again, most do not toot their own horns.

    What really bothers me is that Christians “are supposed to help others” because of Jesus’ teachings, but we don’t call them out when they don’t help. Atheists help because they are compassionate and caring individuals. They help because it is the moral thing to do. They don’t have a religious leader telling them that they should help because it is what Jesus would do; they do it out of a personal sense of humanity.

    Matthew 6:1-4 says, “Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”

    So, the Bible says that Christians shouldn’t be tooting their own horns, yet, Christian groups do and Joe Klein’s dig at atheists is in direct conflict with the teachings of the Bible.

    Who provides the greater, selfless act; the person who stands up and shouts, “I am here to help. Recognize me!” or the person who does what is needed and doesn’t need recognition?

    http://landamongthestars.wordpress.com/

  • Lis

    Lots of atheists at my Unitarian Universalist church, and UU’s are always out and about helping.

  • Saber

    Just e-mailed time too. So frustrating

  • Sue Blue

    I’m so tired of this perception that atheists are a group of people united and driven by “hatred” of God; selfish, hostile, hateful people whose lives are consumed by the desire to oppress the religious. Atheists have no more in common than a group of people who don’t like oysters. They may be black, white, Asian, Hispanic, doctors, lawyers, social workers, firemen, EMTs, secretaries, housewives, tornado victims, teenagers, widows, widowers, good, bad or indifferent….they just don’t eat oysters. Atheism is the same. Different people living a variety of lives, who just don’t believe in God. Why is that so hard to understand? Do these idiots just assume that the religious are automatically “good”? I’m a nurse – if I told this author that I am also an atheist, would he assume I must be poisoning my patients or something?

  • Jonathan

    I have volunteered (as an atheist) with many Christian organizations to do local charity work. I imagine many of my fellow atheists do the same. As someone has already said, atheism isn’t really an organizing principle. Personally I don’t care what flag you’re flying — Christian, Muslim, whatever — if you’re helping people I want to work alongside you.

  • Richard Torres Wofford

    As an atheist in Oklahoma it is easier to donate to a church because they are everywhere. I don’t care what religion you are or the church is, as long as what I give gets where it needs to go.

  • Sarah Waller Martin

    Wow. I’m one of those atheists that helped out, and we are still helping out, but it never occurred to me that I “need” to disclose that I am an atheist when we work during disasters so we are representing. I was just helping and my (developing) non-profit so we could be there for the kids.

  • ahermit

    My letter to Time:

    Joe Klein’s article about the benefits of serving others was an inspiring and uplifting piece of work. Or it would have been had he not chosen to undermine his whole message by taken a dishonest, hateful, bigoted cheap shot at people like me in the middle of it.

    I am a secularist, a humanist and an atheist. I wasn’t in Oklahoma myself, but I have donated to relief efforts when I can and many others like me were there on the ground in Oklahoma, possibly working right beside your oblivious reporter. You can read about some of them here: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2013/05/30/what-are-atheists-doing-for-the-victims-of-the-oklahoma-tornado/

    I can’t imagine a reporter for Time taking such a nasty cheap shot at any other group, or an editor allowing such a slur to make it to print.

    Time, Joe Klein and whoever was supposed to be editing this piece owe a huge apology to millions of good people who quietly help and serve every day.

    Shame on you.

  • pnoozi

    What a chode. He should stick to the story. Religion has ravaged the earth and stunted the growth of humanity in immeasurable ways. Giving out a few hot meals isn’t going to reverse thousands of years of religious violence and oppression. He’s an idiot.

  • David Mock

    Um, my friend was actually denied the ability to help with the Oklahoma disaster relief by a certain “charity” because he was atheist.

  • iliketurtlez

    Why did you capitalize the word “god” in “it’s slander against all of us who don’t believe in a God.”

    • pnoozi

      Do you capitalize “Harry Potter?” Is Harry Potter real?

      • http://pctonic.net/ Ashutosh Mishra

        Harry Potter is a name.

        • pnoozi

          So is God.

          • http://pctonic.net/ Ashutosh Mishra

            I am an atheist, but I am from a Hindu family and we have 33 crore gods in Hinduism. Gods are an admittedly cool imaginary species.

            • Brian Westley

              TIL crore = 10,000,000

              PS: myriad = 10,000

          • allein

            The phrasing “don’t believe in a God” would seem to imply the generic category of “gods” rather than simply the (most common in the US) god who is named “God.” It should be either “don’t believe in a god” or “don’t believe in God.”

          • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

            No. “God” is a job description. A title.

            The name of the Judeo-Christian God is, of course, Yahweh.

        • DavidMHart

          Yeah, Pnoozi is right; the generic word ‘god’, meaning (roughly) a supernatural being which it is worth our while praying to or otherwise trying to propitiate, is uncapitalized, but the Christians, confusingly, worship a god called God (I’m sure there are cat-owners out there who have a cat called Cat; same idea) – if it’s the name of a confusingly-named specific deity, it should be capitalized.

    • C.L. Honeycutt

      It’s considered proper grammar because you’re speaking about a specific entity, as least in English in Western usage.

      Try this for comparison:
      “I just heard that Captain ordered everyone to stay below deck.”

  • Mike

    Thanks for making me aware of this. I took the time to write to TIME. It is unfortunate such a pointless jab was allowed into the story. It didn’t even fit into the message of the piece.

    • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

      there is no longer any concern with accuracy in “journalism”. they just tell whatever story they want and ignore whatever facts don’t fit and often make up the “facts” that do. No wonder no one bothers to read these “news” magazines any more.

  • Mirjam

    As a Christian all i want to say is this, what i heard in our service this morning by our guest speaker, there are a LOT of good people who dont believe in God and a LOT of bad people sitting in church pews, So true, don`t sweat it.A lot of us Christians realy do see and appreciate the work unbelievers AND atheist do for fellow human beings in need. Love in Christ, Mirjam

    • Ash Bowie

      It’s always nice to hear a Christian acknowledge that belief in a god is unconnected with ethical behavior or good character. As a quick tip, in the future you might choose the neutral “nonbeliever” rather than the more pejorative “unbeliever” (which is associated with apostasy and hereticism).

  • NinjaPlease

    Ironically, he wrote that article the day before Atheist Solidarity Day.

  • Scott

    I never read Time magazine. Now I never will.

  • local user

    Actually, since it was written it is technically libel, not slander.

  • Ed Hensley

    I wrote a letter to Time. I hope they apologize.

  • KillerBeeTX

    I am a life-long, dyed-in-the-wool atheist. Guess where I was in the wake of the OK tornado? Driving 400 cases of water and another two trailers full of supplies (food, building materials, generators, batteries, flashlights, blankets, clothing, etc.) from Houston, along with a large group of fellow atheists. We paid for it all with our own money and donations from other atheist groups around Houston. When we got there and dropped off supplies, there was a group of Mormon volunteers that needed help, so we stayed two days and worked right alongside them. Only Christians like to impose meaningless divisions among people. Atheists help everyone regardless of religion.

  • sobeRx

    Single-parent Atheist living in Edmond, OK – I donated $100 + 10 cases of water & cleaning supplies immediately after the storm. I guess I didn’t know I had to declare my spiritual/religious beliefs when dropping that stuff off.

  • Edwin Kuzma

    The reason he put that quote in there is because Atheists don’t feel like they have to tell people where they’re from like people from churches do. They’re simply another human being out there trying to help out their fellow man through adverse times. Churches feel like they need to tell people where they’re from so that they can get more people to go to their church, etc. More people = more money in the pastor’s pocket.

  • 2006NYM

    What’s ironic is that if Mr Klein had taken a blatantly untrue shot at Jewish groups or Muslim groups, the mainstream media would be all over it. Yet, at a time when the non-religious US population constitutes double the Jewish one and three times the Muslim one, all we get is a post on an atheist blog, a post on two other fringe blogs, and a hope for Time to publish a letter to the editor on the subject.

  • Crystal Bandy Thomas

    Letter sent …

    Dear Sirs:

    In reference to:

    … there was an occupying army of relief workers, led by local first responders, exhausted but still humping it a week after the storm, church groups from all over the country — funny how you don’t see organized groups of secular humanists giving out hot meals — and there in the middle of it all, with a purposeful military swagger, were the volunteers from Team Rubicon.

    As has been pointed out to you, a simple Google search would have brought up numerous examples of secular help to the tornado victims…without a lot of hoopla and calling attention to themselves…they simply helped.

    An apology is called for.

    Crystal Thomas

  • Alice Trillian

    I wrote a letter to TIME, I wonder what will happen

  • Jessica Vo

    You see, I didn’t realized you HAVE to volunteer at an organization with the same religious belief. If I had know this sacred rule then I would have called up Oklahoma Atheist, which I didn’t even know existed before reading this article, instead of the church near my house…

  • Kristen G

    I am also generally not moved to write letters to editors. In fact this is literally the first one I’ve ever written. It just blows my mind that such ignorance can just be put into print and taken as fact. I’m sure that many readers of Time magazine just read right over that statement and accepted it as truth which is completely disrespectful and unfair to all of the relief volunteers who do not share a religious affiliation.

    My letter:
    Dear Editor,

    Although I do not proclaim to be an atheist, I am extremely offended by Joe Klein’s lack of information and perpetuation of ignorance and bigotry. People do not have to be part of a religious group to want to help other people, and, as the article I was linked here from correctly pointed out, a simple google search would have shown him facts contradicting his incorrect statement. It is unfair to all communities of both religious and non-religious origin for one person to spread hateful and untrue stereotypes by simply “talking out of his ass”. This is the exact reason why there are wars centered around intolerance toward religious beliefs and in modern American it is extremely shameful that a prestigious magazine such as “Time” should propagate such libel. I hope that you will re-consider your actions and consider the far-reaching consequences that your story has had on both religious and non-religious communities. I also hope that you will consider issuing a formal apology to the atheist community in the near future.

    Sincerely,

    Kristen Nunn

  • clauslarsen

    Hemant,

    You write: “Klein is simply lying out of his ass. A simple Google search would’ve
    turned up a number of ways atheists helped in the wake of the Oklahoma
    tornadoes. But since Klein was too lazy to do it, I’ll do it for him”

    Non Seq.: If you say that Klein was too lazy to do research, he is not lying.

    Ignorant, sure, but not lying. Necessarily.

  • Jason O’Connell

    I submitted a letter as well.

  • TJordan9900

    Just sent a really pissed off letter – I’m an Okie, not an atheist, but not religious either, not that it matters…but this was highly offensive and just plain BAD journalism!

  • Guest

    ….

  • CEC2

    Letter sent. Thanks for the heads up.

  • H.A.S.

    I wrote the editor like you asked:

    “I am an engineer, a lawyer, and an atheist. I spent two full years of my life living in tents, church basements, and run down houses in ghettos, all to commit my life to community service. I have moved on from that life but still volunteer very frequently and plan to do so my whole life.

    More importantly, I know many atheists just like me.

    If one of your authors wants to write an opinion piece that disagrees with my views – fine. I encourage it. Protect that person’s right to speech and opinion.

    But this article takes a blind shot at atheists that is completely uncalled for and unprofessional. Atheists, or “secular humanists”, volunteer plenty. They just don’t tend to smack a sign on their t-shirts that says “atheist volunteer group.” They go, they help, and they go home, without needing to do it to advance a cause.

    I would hope that Klein’s remark was a fluke and that it happened to slip through the editing process of the reputable Time Magazine organization. Regardless of what happened, I would be surprised and disappointed with Time if they published a ridiculous remark like this in the future.

    Thanks for listening.”

  • Gregzz

    It’s funny because what Joe Klein wrote in the cited article is basically slandering atheists as being a loosely cohesive group of people (which is actually true the same way it’s true for people who don’t like asparagus) who don’t assemble to help people in need. In this article, it is proven that there are in fact organized groups of non-believers who go out and help disaster victims with work and fundraising. The author of this article does a great job pointing out the slander and how it is unacceptable. Unfortunately, a lot of people will only see one of his points in the article and then use this article as a source of fuel to continue the back-and-forth volley of insults, untruths,out of context facts and criticizing; ignoring the overall message of “leave and let be”. In the past 2 decades, the movement of atheism has made tremendous strides but now with all of the momentum it is gaining, I constantly see atheist acting more and more like bigots than people who promote freedom of thought. Some atheists argue that all religion needs to be wiped off this planet, others will scoff at someone’s beliefs and not consider that just because this person has identified their faith as “Christian”, does not mean that they believe, agree with or defend the actions & beliefs of any (or all) groups/sects that call themselves “Christians”. Just as not all middle eastern people aren’t Muslim, and all Muslims aren’t terrorists; Saying that anyone who uses the word “Christian” to describe their faith is dumb, ignorant and close-minded without any evidence of it being true is equally as defamatory as the former. No matter what your faith is, or lack there of, we must all consciously make an effort to better our relationships with out fellow man and respect their beliefs. There is no proof of a higher and unseen power, but still there is no proof that their is not. Many faith’s put their God as being “mysterious” by nature and also inherently incomprehensible by man, that is why it is called “faith”. But ultimately it is religion or atheism that cause injustice, it is people and our natural fallacy. TL;DR: This guy’s right, Time’s owes an apology but don’t use this as a way to further an agenda to generalize and defame other people.

  • Emily Moskal

    Just sent:

    No man is an island, and Joe Klein outlined precisely why acknowledging that truth and acting on that instinct can be so powerful in your recent cover story. Why he then felt the need to attack atheists for being absent in the face of need (a claim which was irresponsible in the extreme given the amount of hatred and backlash many of us face in our communities) is beyond me. How it made it past the editorial staff and into your cover story is an even greater mystery.

    I know a guy who sold his beloved motorcycle just so he could be there to help when Katrina hit, and that was before “movement atheism” was even on the radar for most people. We have always been helping, because we’re human, and doing what you can to make life better for people who are suffering is the right thing to do.

    The only difference is, we’re not recruiting or asking for converts while we help, so we tend to go under the radar. The family eating food donated by an atheist doesn’t know that it wasn’t sent with a prayer. They know that it was sent, and it keeps them alive. If they want to turn to a church for emotional support because they don’t feel that bread alone is enough, that’s fine. What’s important to us is they got the bread.

  • JBryson

    Not an atheist, but wrote a letter of complaint anyway.

  • Nightsky

    Letter to the editor submitted.

  • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

    Funny how you don’t see Joe Klein giving out hot meals.

  • Chris Duncan

    Is Joe Klein really “lying,” or getting at an important truth, which is that atheists are often denied opportunities for service because “service” is already a pretty conformist idea? If Klein were a culturally critical thinker (he never is), then he wouldn’t belittle secular humanists, but think about ways that “service” only services what some of us might consider problematic forms of civic engagement. The very fact that I should feel a public duty to sign up to volunteer to help build houses for poor people owes way too much to a belief that capitalism is perfect, and we only need a little cleaning up now and then. I’m not buying that, and I’m definitely not gonna take part in smoothing over the system of evil that gets people homeless in the first place. But I’m open to criticism on this. (For a good critique of charity, I turn friendly readers to Oscar Wilde’s The Soul of Man Under Socialism.)

    • Mormons for Equality

      Uh, yes, he’s lying. Atheists helped bigtime and he claimed they didn’t.

    • Noelle

      Well, fuck, Chris. Call me conformist and hand me a party hat. ‘Cause I’m all about the helping. You ain’t gotta do shit to help no one if you don’t want to.

  • Mormons for Equality

    We have issued a call to our readers to ask for no prejudice based on belief, or lack thereof. https://www.facebook.com/MormonsForEquality/posts/441524992612094

    • C.L. Honeycutt

      Hey, thank you.

  • teadrinker

    the red cross contracts meals with the Southern Baptist Convention. To volunteer with them, you are expected to pray communally at the start of every shift. So if an atheist wanted to help serve those meals, you can’t without pretending to share their faith. I would also point to to the Kiva.org affinity group Atheists, Agnostics, Skeptics, Freethinkers, Secular Humanists and the Non-Religious. That affinity group is nearly always in the top of all kiva’s giving statistics.

  • http://oldgaylawyer.blogspot.com/ Eamon O’Connor

    Joe Klein is now and always apparently has been a jerk.

  • wsvo

    Our Michigan chapter of Center For Inquiry has a service group that volunteers for all types of projects and organizations. For example, every year we show up at Kid’s Food Basket to make lunches for kids from low-income families. Joe Klein has made the prejudicial, erroneous statement that church-goers are more compassionate than secular humanists, which is patently false.

  • Ard Line

    We don’t get outraged because we don’t care about the petty squabbles of the neanderthal and their ridiculous beliefs. Atheists aren’t a group, they are the sane people outside these misguided self-help groups for the delusional.

    If non-believers get flack for not doing what the believers are doing, then that’s a good thing. We need no association. They can keep their rape and indoctrination, and if they want to parade charity as theirs too.. Keep it. Someday these people will be mocked for these missguided beliefs, too bad neither me nor them will be alive to enjoy it.

    Helping is it’s own reward.

  • ahermit

    The same piece of slander appears in Klein’s June 20 blog post:

    http://swampland.time.com/2013/05/27/memorial-day-in-oklahoma-city/

  • http://www.illustratedbykarenjones.com/ Karen Jones

    I sent them a letter about it.

  • Shea Bennett-Callen

    letter to editor sent!

  • Yoav

    Am I the only one who have a problem with the name Team Rubicon even if it’s safe to assume that Mr. Wood chose the name because he’s historically ignorant and not because he plan to lead his troops into the senate, abolish the republic and get himself appointed dictator.

  • NyxPeregrine

    Letter to editor sent (copied below). I’m glad to see that everyone is being civil in their responses to this. We don’t need to be fueled by vitriol to make our point.

    Doubtless the editorial team at TIME has already been receiving letters
    making you aware of the mistake in Joe Klein’s article “Has Service
    Saved Us?” The section in question, “…exhausted
    but still humping it a week after the storm, church groups from all
    over the country — funny how you don’t see organized groups of secular
    humanists giving out hot meals,” is not only offensive but highly
    inaccurate. Humanism by its very nature is a lifestyle which encourages
    the aiding of our fellow man, and this has been demonstrated time and
    time again by groups such as Foundation Beyond Belief, Atheists Giving
    Aid, Oklahoma Atheists, and more across the state and country. Perhaps
    we don’t always inform those we are assisting of our lack in belief in a
    god, wear T-shirts emblazoned with the titles of our metaphysical
    stances, or attempt to proselytize while we are comforting the victims
    of a tragedy, but believe me we are there. As a cover story, Klein’s
    article should have been proofread more carefully and this condescending
    factual error removed before the magazine hit the presses.
    I was disappointed that an article which could potentially have been used to
    encourage healing among our veterans and in our communities would
    include such a needless jab at those of us who do not believe in an
    invisible deity. This kind of slander should not be tolerated in a
    publication that values its journalistic ethos. If Klein would like to
    write an opinion editorial about how secular humanists are terrible
    people, he’s perfectly free to do so (although even personal opinions
    should be supported by reality). But allowing him to insert his own anti-secular
    agenda into a news piece was a bad call. I hope to see a retraction
    soon.

  • UnoMeAsMarty

    I too have submitted a letter directly to Time. Let’s see if the magazine steps up and publicly apologizes.

  • Joe Zamecki

    If you’d like to give them an example of a group that helps people in need on a regular basis, and has the word “Atheists” in the name, here: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Austin-Atheists-Helping-the-Homeless/260499667409132?ref=ts&fref=ts

  • Bo Peep

    So you respond to Ellis’ cunty response with another cunty response?
    This obloquy is the reason why religious factions try to portray us, atheists, as a point of ridicule. For shame HumpyDumps, for shame.

    • NG

      Can all of you stop using cunty? Why not scroty or some other male slur? Are you going to insult the handicapped, too? As Dan Savage says, you’re leotarded.

      • nunby

        Did you just compare women to handicapped people?

        • NG

          No I didn’t. I was thinking of any other insulting words or subject they could have used, including handicapped, homosexual, racial, and on and on. I was trying to be brief.

          • Morey Soffo

            I suppose leotards could be a kind of brief. They would cover you in spots.

        • Morey Soffo

          Definately a vajayjayic response.

      • Dookie Monster

        Would you prefer “bajingo,” Dr. Reid?

      • Charlie Trone

        Thank you for inventing SCROTY, will be using it daily.

      • thejerkk

        quit being retarded.

  • DianaMac

    What a horrible slander. I wrote to Time and said this (thanks to Hemant for the stats that I could include):

    In this week’s cover story,”Can Service Save Us?” by Joe Klein I was shocked at the inaccurate and slanderous statement: “funny how you don’t see organized groups of secular humanists giving out hot meals” in reference to the relief given to those affected by the Oklahoma tornados. I am shocked because I was one of those secular types that personally gave aid and I was not alone:

    More than 4,300 people donated more than $120,000 for the family of Rebecca Vitsmun

    Foundation Beyond Belief raised over $45,000 for Operation USA and the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma.

    Atheists Giving Aid raised over $18,000 that will be given to local relief groups in Moore, Oklahoma and directly to families that need help.

    Members of the FreeOK atheist group helped families who needed wreckage removed from their property.

    Local atheist groups such as the Oklahoma Atheists, Atheist Community of Tulsa, the Lawton Area Secular Society, Norman Naturalism Group, and the Oklahoma State Secular Organization have organized volunteers, resources, and blood drives.

    Organizers of the FreeOK conference going on this weekend held a literacy drive yesterday to “benefit the schools affected” by the tornadoes.

    The false characterization of secular, humanist and atheist groups is a great error especially since it was done in such a snarky tone beneath the standards of Time magazine.

    Please rectify this as soon as possible with an apology to this community!

    • NG

      Libel, not slander. Libel is written, slander is verbal. You’re not the only one to make this mistake in these comments.

      • DianaMac

        Yes I thought of writing libel but I meant it in the non legal sense of general defamation which most people accept.

  • Katie

    I am an atheist I work with a group of other atheists (or non theists and we operate a non profit that feeds the hungry and runs a free-store. I know MANY groups of atheists that work together for a good cause.. Time is perpetuating lies. It is very annoying.

  • Dekker Van Wyk

    You should see the comment section on the TIME website and Klein’s
    personal site/blog. They are getting reamed out six ways to Sunday. Now
    we need to wait and see of TIME and the douchebag get the massage.

  • Agnes

    Shocking and disappointing. I just wrote a letter to TIME demanding that they issue an apology and a correction.

  • SJH

    That was pretty bad on their part. No need to call out a particular group like that regardless if it is true or not.

  • Dyan Salvia

    And so the persecution of those not in bed with “God” and religion continues in America. Simply disgusting.

  • VoodooQ

    Lying to the emotional and thereby encouraging them to deny reality is the best way to manipulate a group.

    Abstract thinkers re the enemies of the manipulators.

  • sheila0405

    Why would Klein even go there? People who help out others after a disaster are Americans. If my house was destroyed, you can bet I’m not asking about the faith or lack of faith in those helping me. I’m just glad they are there. When will we stop dividing ourselves into groups in this fashion? I just don’t understand why Klein made that comment in his article. It added nothing to the story.

  • Mag Pie

    All Christians are liars, it’s what they do.

    • Jake

      No. A lot of Christians are good people. It’s the outstanding minority of bigots that give them a bad name.

      • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

        That may be, but the honest majority is 100% responsible for allowing the liars and bigots to do their evil, ‘cuz they aren’t speaking up and stopping the bigots!

  • Angry Voter

    Time is a propaganda rag and has been for decades.

    All religion is mental illness and should be treated as such.

  • http://www.facebook.com/rewinn Randall E. Winn

    Joel Klein is a notorious liar. Why any newsmagazine would publish any of his stuff is absurd.

  • Harry

    Why would atheists work in groups together anyway? Just help a group or charity that already exists. Every time I hear about groups or gatherings of atheists I cringe a little. I see these groups as no different than a church or religious group, which is exactly something they’re trying to not be.

  • DougI

    Just goes to show, no matter what Atheists do they’ll still hate us. Just as Atheists do charity we get no credit. Just as there are Atheists in the military they’ll quip with the ‘no Atheists in fox holes”. There are huge numbers of Atheists in the arts and sciences but they’ll claim that Atheists have never contributed to society because Atheists haven’t built any hospitals or some crap like that.

    We’re in a world of bigots.

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

    Is that really your argument? This is how you want to represent yourself and your faith to outsiders? You’re not doing yourself any favors.

  • Lido

    please add most corporate contributions to the list of non-religious groups helping out, which probably made the majority of overall contribution. Get a clue Mehta

  • Carmelita Spats
  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty
  • Victoria

    Here is the letter I sent (proof pulled from this article)

    In an article and issue about people coming together to better both the community and themselves, Mr. Klein wrote “…funny how you don’t see organized groups of secular humanists giving out hot meals…”. This was as jarring and bewildering the first time I read it as the tenth — I had to check to make sure I wasn’t in the fifties. As a humanist who has run volunteer efforts and serves hot meals biweekly, I take great offense to the implication that humanists don’t help out, whether as an individual or a group.

    In the wake of the Oklahoma hurricane, I didn’t send prayers, but I, along with other humanists, Christians, Muslims and people of all denominations (or lack thereof), sent resources from across the country, so to paint secular humanists as uncaring is unjust. Foundation Beyond Belief raised over $45,000 for Operation USA and the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma. Atheists Giving Aid raised over $18,000 that will be given to local relief groups in Moore, Oklahoma and directly to families that need help. Members of the FreeOK atheist group helped families who needed wreckage removed from their property. Not only did FreeOK get thanked by the residents they helped, but as Kai Tancredi writes, “They teamed with Panera Bread and Krispy Kreme *to get breakfast to cemetery clean-up volunteers* with Frontline Church in Moore, and to volunteers working through the Moore Community Center in the first week of response. They will continue to host volunteer drives in the outlying areas needing assistance in the coming weeks, like many local church organizations. (emphasis added)”

    Local atheist groups such as the Oklahoma Atheists, Atheist Community of Tulsa, the Lawton Area Secular Society, Norman Naturalism Group, and the Oklahoma State Secular Organization have organized volunteers, resources, and blood drives.

    Organizers of the FreeOK conference going on this weekend held a literacy drive yesterday to benefit the schools affected by the tornadoes.

    You can see how I was frustrated that my lack of belief reflects on my moral character as a lack of caring, and the secular humanist community’s lack of belief allows them to be relegated as “unhelpful”.

    This is very disappointing for a magazine that I once loved; Mr. Klein and his editors deserve a reprimand and secular humanists deserve an apology.

  • jbrisby

    Wait…isn’t the Red Cross a secular humanist organization?

  • Kip

    As an atheist in Norman just south of Moore, I can confirm that we were told thanks, but no thanks. All the volunteering was organized through the Baptist church in Moore and forms were being passed around to be filled out before you were even allowed to help stack pallets. I know a ton of folks (believers and non a like) that were turned away for not wanting to go thru the church. People that had showed up with uhauls full of bottled water were told to leave.

  • BenOfSoCal

    Wow! You should see the comment on this article at Time.com. I added my own, but it’s one slam after another on Klein’s bigoted, inaccurate comment.

  • Anon

    I am active duty air force stationed at Tinker AFB, OK. I was in Moore for 20 hours the day after the tornado directing traffic. I am also an atheist.

  • dac

    Klein is an ass. He’s one of the main reasons I discontinued my subscription to TIME.

    • Sally Strange

      Joke Line, as he came to be known.

  • Renee

    Just one respectful request: please do not udge all believers (Christian, Jewish, Muslim, etc) based on the actions of the few grandstanding ones out there. Just as Atheists are helping others simply because it is the right thing to do, so are many believers. No belief system shoud be judged based on actions from the fringe group. And also, just as every Atheist has their own moral compass, so do believers. I personally don’t help others to avoid hell, I help others because it is the right thing to do.

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

      Your kind words are appreciated.

      Now go tell the other, grandstanding believers that. Tell them that their grandstanding isn’t acceptable, that you do NOT agree with them, and that their words are hateful, hurtful, and bigoted. I stand up for my LGBT friends when it comes up- to a bigoted or ignorant person, it actually means more coming from me because I’m cis-straight. I don’t have a dog in the fight, so to speak, and am presumed more objective because of it. Hearing condemnation of bigotry against atheists from the mouths of other believers means more because they aren’t directly affected.*

      *This paragraph is predicated on the assumption you don’t do that. If you do already call out bigotry when you see it, then kudos to you!

  • atheisticallyyours

    FUCK TIME MAGAZINE! Perhaps if they would have interviewed the ATHEIST who outed herself after being interviewed by that condescending shit, Wolf Blitzer, it would SEE what atheists can and DO take care of! We will take care of our own at a minimum! Let the theist believing “god” take care of the rest of it! Might prove its existence for once!

  • DJ

    My husband and I are atheists and we worked along side church groups, GLBT groups, the Red Cross, etc. My husband used a week’s vacation from work to be able to give as much time as he could to relief efforts. Just because we don’t walk around with a sign announcing ourselves as atheists, our introduce ourselves as ‘Hello. I’m Dawn the Atheist’, doesn’t mean that there wasn’t any of us there.

  • Karen Oliver-Paull

    Most Atheists don’t broadcast that they are not believers because people tend to ask stupid questions, act all “superior than thou”, and/or try and convert you. My husband and I help by donating to every distaster that happens in this country as well as some overseas through the Red Cross. We also help people in our own neighborhood who can’t make ends meet. They often say, “God bless you” or something similar and we just smile and thank them because it hurts their feelings to reject their sentiment. Just because we don’t wear clothing advertising who or what we are doesn’t mean we don’t help.

  • more compost

    I have sent my letter to Time calling Joe Klein out for his false charge. Thank you Hemant for bringing this to my attention.

  • Beaugard Stevens

    I think this is a really good point and it is something we should speak up against. In the past, we’ve let things and comments like this slide but no more. I feel a real movement going on now that I did not in the past and it’s like we have a voice now we did not before. Thank you for bringing this to our attention.

  • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

    This isn’t the kind of troll worth paying attention to. Flag ‘em all and let Hemant sort them out.

  • Sebastian K.

    Of course something like that would be said… Hopefully, we as a whole can get past occurrences like these.

  • E Straub

    I believe that Atheist organization can qualify for church status? or 501c3 status? I am an atheist and agree with your cause, but I don’t see why you think you can’t?

    • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

      Certainly atheists can form non profits. However the rules are different, and FFRF has several lawsuits underway to address the discrimination.

      There are several listed here http://ffrf.org/legal/challenges/ongoing-lawsuits/

      Here’s an important one, the ‘Parsonage’ exception:

      http://ffrf.org/legal/challenges/highlighted-court-challenges/item/12440-ffrf-v-geithner

      to be clear, Tancredi said these groups don’t have tax exempt status, not that they can’t get it. It’s a lot easier for a church to get it, so it’s more likely that a small local church will have the tax position in place to handle large donations and pass them on no questions asked. A mostly social group of atheists is unlikely to have tax exempt status to start with, so when the disaster strikes and they want to accept donations to do charity work, they can’t without tax implications

      • Matt Davis

        Since atheism is classed as a religion for First Amendment purposes only, that surely means that if a church can get tax-exempt status, so can an atheist group because it’s equal under the law, right? If not, why not?

        • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

          I’m just going to assume that’s a rhetorical question.

          • Matt Davis

            No, it’s a serious question. If a religious group can get tax-exempt status with less requirements due to their religious status, an atheist group MUST be given the same privileges because it’s classed as a religion under the First Amendment. Why is this not currently the case – why are the atheist groups having to sue for equal treatment?

            • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

              Then I don’t know the answer, other than “religious privilege” and “bigotry”.

              Which is probably why FFRF is suing- ’cause they can’t think of a reason why it’s this way either.

              That said, I think atheism is classed as a religion- for the purposes of the free exercise clause. But I’m not sure how the free exercise clause guarantees anyone tax exempt status.

              I agree with you in principle that the inequality sucks. But I’m not sure “atheism is a religion” is the answer. I think the answer I’d like (and I think FFRF is pushing for) is that we should all face the same scrutiny, and have the same responsibilities, and get the same brakes. Being a religious charity should have no bearing on tax status.

  • Sara

    the really funny thing is that “the mission Continues” seems to be a completely secular organization. I couldn’t find one mention of god or religion anywhere on their website — even on a page that was honoring a member who dies after long battle with cancer.

  • Daniel Lambert

    There are no atheists in foxholes…but there are plenty of them digging you out.

  • Atheist Nurse

    I’m an atheist and a nurse. I have willingly chosen to dedicate my life to serve those who are in need of extensive medical care and emotional support. I do it of my own free will because I want to be there and help those who need it.

  • RoughMagic

    Letter submitted. As a science teacher I get bombarded with misconceptions of the word atheism. Obviously Joe Klein doesn’t get it either. We may not be highly visible, but we are among “you.” I donate my time to my charitable organizations during the year. Funny, I’ve never seen Joe Klein at any of these.

  • dwasifar karalahishipoor

    Who cares what Time thinks? Have you seen a copy recently? It’s barely more than a pamphlet.

  • Nick

    As an atheist/secular humanist and an AmeriCorps NCCC alum, I’ve spent the past two years (two terms with NCCC) doing primarily disaster response and recovery work— including working directly with FEMA while in NCCC-FEMA Corps and helping out in New Jersey for over four months during Hurricane Sandy.

    I just want to put it out there that AmeriCorps NCCC is one of the most diverse (and least well known) national service programs out there, with a significant number of both believers and non-believers working together every single day. It sickens me when some people say that non-believers don’t help out during disasters.

  • Tom Pandolfo

    It is rather amusing to note that Team Rubicon itself is, if their “About” page (http://teamrubiconusa.org/about/ ) is to be believed, a secular organization.

    Look under the second of their “Guiding Principles”:

    “We will always ardently maintain our independence from any government or religious institution.”

    Oh, the sweet taste of irony.

  • JPeron

    Few atheists are in “organized” groups per se and help out as individuals. Now, I do run a 501(c)3 non-profit that includes helping others as part of the broader, educational projects we do—mostly on civil liberties. But, though we are atheists are we not helping because we are atheists, or in spite of being atheists. But because we are human beings.

    J. Peron
    President, Moorfield Storey Institute

  • SawSkooh

    I just submitted my letter of protest to Time, calling them to task for their failure to exercise proper editorial oversight on Mr. Klein’s article. In my post script I called their attention to this:

    http://www.redcross.org/support/donating-fundraising/where-your-money-goes/midwest-tornadoes

    The American Red Cross is a SECULAR humanitarian organization, and the largest disaster-relief actor in the United States. It took me five seconds to find this using Google, BTW.

  • JPeron

    This piece I did at Huffington Post covers these sorts of claims. Non-believers are just as charitable.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/james-peron/conservatives-charitable-giving_b_1835201.html

  • Kim

    Maybe he was just in the middle of a drinking game and had to publish the phrase secular humanists to get another shot.

  • Anarimus

    So looks like i’ll be cancelling my subscription.

  • http://www.twitter.com/lhyzz Elhyzzabeth

    How in the HELL does an editor see that sentence and not cross it out with a big black marker? What are they DOING at that magazine?!

  • Lennon Patton

    People still read Time Magazine?

  • Paul Prescod

    Hemant: I think that in the modern Internet-connected world, writing a private letter is the least effective way to get someone’s attention. Don’t even bother. Tweet them. Make a petition and collect 10,000 votes. Then write the letter or tweet linking to the petition.

  • Randay

    Joe Klein has been a lying religious hack ever since I can remember. If I see his byline anywhere now, I know it isn’t worth reading and skip it.

  • Tom Flynn

    Pardon me for stating the obvious, but the article didn’t say atheist groups weren’t out there — it said secular humanist groups weren’t out there, and that’s true. Secular humanists tend to prefer that their groups stick to critique of religion, exploration of naturalistic values, etc., and not drift into “mission creep.” They are especially wary of their groups’ doing something that churches do just because churches do it. I would expect that secular humanists give and volunteer as much as anyone else, but they do so as individuals, or as members of other groups whose missions centrally include service. They don’t think that kind of community involvement has any necessary link with their lifestance identification.

    • CynicalAtheist

      You! are flat out wrong and do not understand the meaning, the vocabulary of the words that even make up the phrase “Secular Humanist”! Where do you get off, speaking for them? “They are especially wary of their groups’ doing something that churches do just because churches do it.” & “They don’t think that kind of community involvement has any necessary link with their lifestance identification.” That statement is very presumptuous of you, and when it applies to me… is very, very incorrect! Secular Humanism is more mature than you, apparently… It is sad you are part of the problem and part of this species.

  • SeekerLancer

    “funny how you don’t see organized groups of secular humanists giving out hot meals”

    Wow, wow, really? What point did that scathing aside serve in this article other than to ignorantly criticize the non-religious?

    Sure you can add some personal opinion and fluff into a magazine article but you could replace “secular humanists” in that sentence with literally any other group like gays, blacks, Jews, or whatever you can imagine and there’s no way in hell he would’ve been allowed to print it.

    This is an incredibly embarrassing lapse in journalistic integrity and he should not just apologize but to do his research like he’s supposed to before even starting to write an article.

  • squidgod

    Atheists are just people and work with all groups–not just those full of like-minded people. They’re less visible because they tend not to label themselves or try to convince everyone else to be atheist.

  • Gus Snarp

    Late to the party, but have to put in my two cents. What the hell prompted this guy to take this little pot shot? What’s his issue with secular humanism that he felt the need to toss in a little jibe for no apparent reason? How insulting can you get? Aside from being outright false, why would it matter if he was even right? Why not say, I didn’t notice any chess clubs doing relief work, or football teams, or podiatrist associations. Relief work is not the purpose of an atheist, secular, or humanist association. Many non-religious people help through other organizations for which that is the purpose. And even at that, non-religious groups do put aside other matters and come together to help in disasters because we, just like everyone else, care and want to help.

    I’ll clean the beginning of this up a little and send something similar off to Time.

  • thejerkk

    so yeah, atheists didnt help at all. zomg we raised money for some girl who MIGHT give what she doesnt need to charity!

    yeah good help there guys! helping ONE PERSON AT A TIME!

    zomg we raised a small pittance compared to churches!!!1!!elevventy1!!!

    yeah atheists didnt do shit, but take up time and space.

    • http://gulliblestravelsdma.wordpress.com/ D’Ma

      You’ve obviously not read this article in it’s entirety, nor any of the comments. Atheists are not an organized group. Churches are. Secular Humanists of all stripes (atheist, agnostic, deist, theist) have given both their time and money to religious and other organizations to aid the victims of this disaster. That makes it very difficult to quantify exactly how much help “atheists” have given.

      But I see you are living up to your self-given moniker.

      • thejerkk

        i see you’ve never watched a good flick in your life.

        also, yes, atheists ARE an organized group, or are all those groups of atheists listed by someone else just random nonsense? atheists for… atheists against….

        those sure sound like groups to me!

        • http://gulliblestravelsdma.wordpress.com/ D’Ma

          Okay, troll. This is the last morsel I’m feeding you. There are organized Atheist groups. Some of which did raise funds to help victims of the tornadoes. They are not on every corner like churches are and they don’t go advertizing every time they help some one. Most atheists and/or secular humanists are not part of any organized group, though, so they help whatever group IS organized whether it be a church group or not.

          Did EVERY church give to the tornado victims? I think not.

          • thejerkk

            ‘there are organized atheist…’

            all i needed to hear. glad you could admit you were wrong, and glad that you think anyone who disagrees with your worldview is a troll!

            cheers!

            • Guest

              Derp! Successful troll is a successful troll. Showing that Christian love we’re all familiar with. You do realize you’ll burn in your Hell for these comments don’t you? At least your screen name is apropos.

      • kelemi

        Why aren’t they organized as a group?

        • http://gulliblestravelsdma.wordpress.com/ D’Ma

          Atheists have nothing more in common than the lack of a belief in a god. Religions organize around, not only an object of worship, but the tenets of that religion. Atheism has no tenets.

          While there are some(meaning a few) organized groups of atheists/secular humanists these groups look vastly different than a church.

  • Robert Stribley

    Not to forget all the anonymous non-believers who help out locally whenever such tragedies strike, simply without trumpeting their beliefs while doing so!

  • kelemi

    Atheists helped, but didn’t get the publicity.

  • Becky

    This atheist worked with search and rescue for many years, was a Girl Scout leader for several years, took in a family from LA when Katrina hit (including setting up their children in school, raising money for the dad to be able to get back to New Orleans to help with search and rescue and volunteering locally to raise aid for those affected by Katrina), spent many hours helping in Joplin, MO after their tornado, spent one weekend, so far, in Moore, OK and will be going back there with my atheist brother to work with Habitat for Humanity for a few weeks on our vacation and will spend more weekends there during the next year. I donate to charities, bust ass to help people in time of need and try to raise awareness where I can for many causes. I volunteer for so many things it is hard to keep track. From planting trees in a botanical garden for an educational arboretum to cutting up trees in tornado stricken areas… I really take offense at Klein. I worked with Operation Blessing in Moore, Ok and even wore their shirt. Maybe I should have worn a shirt with an arrow pointing to the left saying “I’m not one of them, I’m an ATHEIST who wants to do my share to help you also so will work along side them even if I don’t believe in the same thing they do”

  • Farmer Brown

    It is interesting all the rage about how atheist’s motives are impugned because they don’t do their service in the name of a higher power, while in probably 75% of the posts by atheists they are mocking those who do their service in the name of a higher power, or impugning their motives (they are only doing it because they don’t want to burn, etc).

    While you clamor about being misrepresented, you turn around and misrepresent the people you are clamoring against.

    See? It is not only the christians that are hypocrites.

    • Spuddie

      How are Christians being misrepresented here?

      If anything they are taking more credit than warranted and then going out to besmirch others.

      • Farmer Brown

        The commenters in the thread, not the story.

        • Spuddie

          Not answering the question either way.

          In what way are Christians being misrepresented?

          The people here seem to be going out of their way to show Joe Klein was full of shit about atheists.

          The only negative comment about Christians seems to be an anecdote about the writer’s personal experiences helping out while a church group was sitting around doing nothing. If you think that poster was lying, you should say so.

          I don’t see any misrepresentation here. You should elaborate if you think so. Otherwise you are just slinging poo here.

          • Farmer Brown

            I am not talking about the story. I am talking about the comments in this thread. Comments like,

            “They believe a “higher power” will reward them for their good deeds. That’s no more caring than a politician who makes sure the media covers his or her time working at a soup kitchen”

            “Christians do “good works” because their god commands it and they believe it is bonus points to eternal reward. That is a pretty self-centered economic transaction:”

            “How can I trust a man’s intentions if I know the main reason he is doing a good deed is because he believes he will burn forever in a sea of fire if he doesn’t ?”

            Etc etc. Hundreds of others like it, just in this thread. All these atheists angry their motives have been impugned, while they impugn the motive of people of faith who help others. As I said, it is not just the christians who are hypocrites.

            • Spuddie

              You aren’t talking about anything important. You haven’t shown that any of it was a misrepresentation. I don’t see you refuting any statements you quoted. It may be insulting but its also an honest representation as to how many Christians comport themselves.

              • Farmer Brown

                You are making assumptions about peoples motivations just because of their religious beliefs. You do not know what is in their heart. Hypocritically, that is exactly the activity this article is denouncing, making an assumption about someone because of their religious beliefs (or lack thereof), only it is a “christian” making the assumptions. That is pretty straight forward hypocrisy.

                • Spuddie

                  No. I am asking you to back your own statements up. You haven’t. You are trying to sling mud and claim both sides are somehow equally at fault in misrepresentation.

                  This would be untrue. You certainly have done nothing to support such statements.

    • Lou_Ganis

      “…all the rage about how atheist’s motives are impugned…”

      Where did you come-up with that? The “rage” is about how “secular humanists” don’t volunteer as much as do members churches and religious groups do, not about motive. The inadequacy of a position is demonstrated by the intentional misrepresentation of the other side.

      • Farmer Brown

        The commenters, not the story.

  • http://knottiesniche.com/ Knottie

    The funny thing is I know several members of Team Rubicon who are Atheist. Being a Christian is not a requirement to be a part of the team. Being a Veteran who wants to help others is the only requirement I know of.

    In my son’s Company in the Army more than half the men he served with are Atheist. Never met any men with more honor and courage than them. They have been the ones who have stood by my family and given us unconditional love and support since my son was KIA. Some of these men are christian some atheist some even muslim. They never asked us what our beliefs are nor do they care. It’s about being human and helping another human being. And we don’t ask them what they believe when we send care packages while they are deployed or when we are here for them for other reasons. That’s how it’s suppose to work.. you accept the person because they are a good person not because of what they label themselves.

    If you are out to help others be the one who does it because it is the right thing to do not to get attention for yourself or your beliefs. Just do the right thing. And when you look in the mirror you will know you did it for the right reasons and let others run around playing the “look at us” game.

  • mambobananapatch

    There’s nobody easier to lie to than religious people. Their brains are no longer able to think properly and they’ll believe whatever another religious person tells them to.

    • Faith

      That’s not very nice at all. I’m religious and I always try to think critically about these types of things. I would have never believed that when I read it, but I don’t read times anyways. … I got here through a link from Fark.

  • JoyofLifeFan

    I came to see the reaction to the false witness in Joe Klein’s article. Thanks to everyone for helping to show the truth.

  • James Campbell

    Of course the article’s author doesn’t even consider that there are likely Atheists among the first responders or Team Rubicon personnel. His bigoted and uneducated mind fails to realize that Atheist, Agnostics, Humanists, etc…don;t typically have organized groups or meetings. The only reason religions do is to have a means to indoctrinate new members and to collect money.

  • Guest

    I debated on sharing this. Because, I don’t mean any disrespect to anyone who took their time to go to OK. But, our experience was quite a bit different than that of the author of the Time’s article.

    Truth be told, a lot of people who were there, were there to say they were. Or, so it seemed. It was rather frustrating. My husband and I linked up with a church group down there (Because, that was 96% of groups down there, on the ground.) But, just because they WERE there, doesn’t mean too much. (FYI, we had many “walk ins” who linked with the group, as well. And, we were asked to wear their t-shirts proclaiming we were with their church. Even though, we were not. And, we met several others in other church affiliated groups who were doing the same.)

    It was disappointing, and we are hoping it was just because it was so soon after, that things had not yet found their “niche” and that groups were still trying to organize effectively. But, the truth is, a lot of these groups spent more time serving the members of their group that came in, than they did people in the communities. My husband and I would go out to the city, and clean up all day long. Come back filthy, disgusting, tired…and the same people who were there in the am when we left, in the parking lots, and set up tents, were STILL there, sitting at the food trailer, eating the foods, and sitting around talking. HUNDREDS, not just 10-12 holding down the fort while others gone. There is no need for hundreds of people to congregate at the tent, and food trailer, all day.

    We went out with a team the first day we were there. All we did was walk around and stop people, who were picking up the pieces of their lives, to take 30 minutes out of their day, to pray. To me, that’s not an appropriate time. The person praying would give a plug about their church, encourage the person to attend their church now, and give them a business card. Then, we’d discuss why that person’s church hadn’t come around, wasn’t helping them, after we left. What?! Who cares where there church was? Maybe their church was destroyed. (These other church groups were “imported”, so to say.) In any case, it truly felt like there was competition…to prove which church was “better” than another. Instead of, “how can we help”…it was, “Let me tell you about our church.” (In our experience.)

    The second day, we took a group out to the city again, to find a place to clean up. We drove in. Half the team stood around, while about 4 of us worked. Then that half of the team left us there. Without warning, about an hour or so after arriving. My stuff is still in their truck. The other half of the team left my husband and I after another hour or two…and we were there until dark finishing the yard we started. Then we had to WALK back to the set up, where our car was, to call it night because they just left us there.

    The next day, we took our own team. A team of walk ups, people who were just looking to volunteer with someone, found the church we were volunteering with. After an hour of church service in the parking lot (Yes, you read that right. A church service talking about how we were the only church there for the long haul. Because, they had just planted a church in the area, and they wanted people to know they were there forever, not just for cleanup.) we were split into groups. We got an AWESOME group. All were Christians, but not affiliated with that particular church. We got ALOT done that day. Busted our hiney’s all day long. Came back to the same hundred people at the end of the day, still sitting around, in their clean clothes, not sweaty or dirty, congregated around the food truck and supply tents.

    We had some people show up every day…and not even lift a finger. We had to move our tents from one side of the parking lot, to the other…and a group of people looking to volunteer stopped to help. Got a caravan of their trucks, loaded, drove to the new spot, unloaded, and did it again. They were referred to as “The random black people who asked if they could help.” Many of the members of the group sat and watched. Were sunbathing. Literally.

    Even the guard was useless down there. On every street corner was 10-15 guard members sitting around, acting like there wasn’t 1000 things they could be doing. There was not organization. And, to be honest with you, Team Rubicon was one of the few groups you saw EVERYWHERE…bustin’ ass day in, and day out. They weren’t taking breaks every 2 minutes, or standing around. They were in it. It was actually the first time we had heard of them, and we plan on registering with them for future disaster relief efforts.

    We couldn’t even get a med kit for a person who was hurt…the guard and air force didn’t know where to get one. What?! There were two guys who came to the group every day, dressed in their camis (Not with the OK guard, with another state guard, that was part of the group we joined)…never saw them lift a finger. Those sunbathers I talked about? We’d leave and they’d be lying on the table…we’d come back and they’d be lying on the table. Eating, listening to their ipods, texting.

    My point is, just because you are Christian, doesn’t mean you were there helping. And, just because you are Atheist, doesn’t mean you weren’t.

    • Lou_Ganis

      ” to take 30 minutes out of their day, to pray.”

      Prayer: How to do nothing and make yourself and those around you think you’re helping.

    • C.L. Honeycutt

      Just… Jesus. Thank you for taking the time to write all of that. I hope it released a little of that insane storm of frustration they foisted on you.

  • DevilInARedDress

    Funny how even though I wasn’t there in person, My humanist husband and I donated over $125 worth of personal supplies, nutrition bars & quick meals good for a family of four, plus donated money directly to the food drives that the others were using funds from to hand out those hot meals! And we received a mailed thank you note this past week, for going out of our way to do it. I didn’t do it because I wanted a thank you. I didn’t do it because I’m trying to score brownie points with an invisible scary man who may or may not set me on fire in hell for my human mistakes, but because it was the right thing to do! Because my gut lurched when I saw the photos of the destruction & the mother in me cried since I couldn’t do more.

  • Emily

    As a Christian this is completely frustrating because we should be able to work side by side with atheists and really anyone who wants to help. Anyone can help anyone else and we should be thankful for all volunteers regardless of belief.

    • C.L. Honeycutt

      It makes me sad that your name is greyed out so you’re unlikely to see this, but: We love posters like you. We really do. Even those of us who cuss and berate religion love you.

  • Lisa

    Brian Williams said exactly the same thing on the NBC special they had.

    • C.L. Honeycutt

      Really? That seems unlike him.

  • Richard S

    The real issue is “Not” putting a “Label” on someone just to prove or disprove their honest or caring nature.. You don’t have to belong to “Any” invented origination to qualify as someone who genuinely cares for another human being or the hardships or tragedies they suffered or are suffering. Any disaster or event that cases pain or suffering has, “Never”, belonged to any so called “Invented’ religious origination(s) because those who know the difference don’t care what you believe only that you are there to help,,,without religious restrictions or “Claims” of My” faith was first to help when those other,,people,, just stood by and watched,,bullshit mentality(s)

  • Sarah T.

    Here’s my letter:

    Why, in the middle of a very important article on military veterans continuing to serve their country as volunteers, did Joe Klein feel the need to observe: “funny how you don’t see organized groups of secular humanists giving out hot meals” in times of crisis. Not only is it a non-sequitor – there were many secular organizations helping in Oklahoma, including Team Rubicon, so the issue of faith and charity seems tangential at best – it is ignorant of the humanist and atheist individuals and groups on-site during that very disaster in Oklahoma. Foundation Beyond Belief, Atheists Unite, and Atheists Giving Aid raised thousands of dollars in targeted charity drives specifically for OK tornado relief. Members of FreeOK, a secular humanist and atheist convention organization, along with dozens of other humanist and atheist organizations, hosted very successful volunteer drives and worked side-by-side with other organizations, both secular and religions (more info on that here: http://www.reddirtreport.com/Story.aspx/25721). Humanists groups may be less visible and less able to organize in times of disaster because they lack tax-exempt status, making both manpower, real estate, and supplies more expensive. Or it could be plain cultural prejudice against non-believers, the kind of prejudice which encourages and is perpetuated by thoughtless, throw-away comments on their lack of charity.

  • TsuDhoNimh

    and there in the middle of it all, with a purposeful military swagger, were the volunteers from Team Rubicon.

    And how many members of Team Rubicon are agnostics, atheist and humanists?

  • Lou_Ganis

    Even if it is true, so what? I didn’t notice any aleprechaunists “giving out hot meals.” Being an atheist or an aleprechaunist is simply rejection of something for which there’s no evidence. It doesn’t mean one must donate money or give out hot meals.

    Maybe if the minister’s imaginary god would simply prevent such disasters, then disaster relief wouldn’t be necessary.

    Why is it the religious nutwings must make their delusion to be about atheists and not about their delusion?

  • Auntie Theist

    Fuck Time Magazine, and lick-spittle journalists like Joe Klein. They’re going to say whatever the fuck they want, regardless of how much we complain. I say stop trying to get Daddy to notice you, and just do good for the people around you. THEY will notice it, which is all that really matters, and Time Magazine can go take a flying leap off a building.

    • DeaDGoDXIV

      It’s not about “getting daddy to notice” it’s about not accepting the false stereotype that one needs religion to have “morals”

  • GreenEagle

    Atheists do indeed have a way of coming together to provide relief after emergencies. It is called the government, and it does the real heavy lifting after disasters.

  • Joshua Allen

    TIME must be a bit overwhelmed in the editorial department these days. This is the 2nd time that something like this has happened where either the data is incorrect, or there is an incredible amount of insensitivity. For instance, a while back TIME released an article about the changes in the DSM-V and entitled the article “Redefining Crazy.” They also went on to describe hoarding disorder as a “reality show disorder.” You can imagine the backlash to such an insensitive designation and still today, there has been no redaction or apology.

  • Ogre Magi

    Has that swine Klein apologized yet?

  • http://urinalgum.blogspot.com/ Urinal Gum

    I’m pretty sure most of Time’s readers are waiting to see a doctor. They will likely find this article interesting in about a year.

    • Lou_Ganis

      I literally LOL at that!

  • Rebecca

    When you write in on the comment page (http://ideas.time.com/submit-a-letter/), please consider including an ask for an article featuring ordinary atheists and their level of public engagement. This article (http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/on-faith/post/a-new-dawn-for-atheists/2011/07/20/gIQABMWmPI_blog.html) suggests that when society hears that we make up a sizable percentage of the nation, that they “tend to abandon their prejudices against the nonreligious. That phenomenon worked for LGBTs and it can work for the nonreligious.”

  • HeatherNC

    I wrote to TIME and made the point that atheists clearly weren’t sitting back watching the ‘helpers’ take care of victims; that disorganized groups as well as individuals are just as valuable in times of crisis; the article’s statements and themes imply that atheists are cranky, depressed, and self-absorbed; and that TIME writers and editors should familiarize themselves with the ideas of research and investigation. Thanks for the post :)

  • Bunnyman09

    What an astonishing, spectacularly ignorant thing for a “journalist” to say. I am an atheist and I do volunteer work not because I’m trying to get on the good side of some Bronze-Age imaginary being. I do it because it’s the right thing to do. The biggest fallacy so many people have is that you need religion to be a good person. You can be a good person completely outside of religion and if you do, your motives are a lot more honest and less self-serving.

  • Jayne Cravens

    That he – and the editors of Time – assume that secular humanists / Atheists don’t volunteer is outrageous enough, but that no one bothered to type in the words “atheists” and “volunteer” into Google or Bing *just to make sure* those assumptions were true is unprofessional and unforgivable.

    I am not only a volunteer, I’m a trainer of those that want to work with volunteers, and I make a point to include information about welcoming language in my workshops – and use the example of the exclusionary language of faith-based groups to show how the words you use can welcome, or discourage, volunteers from certain groups. And I’m proud to have authored the web page:
    Groups for Atheist and Secular Volunteers / Philanthropy http://www.coyotecommunications.com/stuff/atheists.shtml

    I’ve written Time and I’ve tweeted. I hope everyone else will too, and assert, firmly but politely, that Joe Klein and his editors owe us an apology.

  • Paul Bannister

    I agree with everything you said. Fortunately, no one reads Time magazine anymore.

  • cflove

    I challenge them to make the same statement about any other group. Jews, Protestants, Gays, pick one, anyone. I dare.

  • emudrummer

    Not really top notch reporting either when he’s injecting his opinion into a story…

  • KRKBAB

    Firstly, imagine the percentage of atheists/agnostics in Oklahoma itself and add to that the stupid tax exempt status churches get, and only then do you see the true worth of atheists helping. ALSO, communities (around the freakin’ world) have been centered around religious organizations so they have a lot more already in place to be visible when they help in the name of some god.

  • JKPS

    My letter to Time (it’s a long one):

    As a secular humanist, you can imagine how disappointed I was to read that “organized groups of secular humanists” do not provide relief after disasters. I wasn’t disappointed because the information is incorrect; on the contrary, I was disappointed to learn that although I am part of an organized secular humanist charity group and that I donate a fixed sum every month to various charitable causes through this group, including disaster relief, I have been misinformed this whole time. It is impossible that the Foundation Beyond Belief provided any valuable assistance to Oklahoma, because Joe Klein said it was not so.

    Naturally, this leads to me wonder: where has my money been going? I certainly hope that Klein can answer this for me. You see, I was naive enough to think that when I donated to the Foundation Beyond Belief and Atheists Giving Aid following the Sandy Hook, Boston, and Oklahoma incidents, they were actually giving aid. Instead, they were probably using that money to start wars to convert others to atheism, or maybe to blow up churches. You know – atheist stuff.

    In fact, I thought Klein should know that I have recently discovered that a variety of humanist charitable groups are really a front for some other nefarious cause. The following instances, taken from The Friendly Atheist, must in fact be clever disguises:

    * More than 4,300 people donated more than $120,000 for the family of Rebecca Vitsmun (she promised to donate to charity whatever money she doesn’t need).
    * Foundation Beyond Belief raised over $45,000 for Operation USA and the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma.
    * Atheists Giving Aid raised over $18,000 that will be given to local relief groups in Moore, Oklahoma and directly to families that need help.
    * Members of the FreeOK atheist group helped families who needed wreckage removed from their property.
    * Local atheist groups such as the Oklahoma Atheists, Atheist Community of Tulsa, the Lawton Area Secular Society, Norman Naturalism Group, and the Oklahoma State Secular Organization have organized volunteers, resources, and blood drives.
    * Organizers of the FreeOK conference going on this weekend held a literacy drive yesterday to “benefit the schools affected” by the tornadoes.

    I will be certain to immediately revoke my Foundation Beyond Belief membership status and never donate another cent to this or any other secular humanists group, because thanks to Joe Klein, I now understand that all my money has been wasted and that humanists are incapable of providing assistance to those in need.

  • Freedomfromreligion

    Hemant, stick with teaching High school math. That’s where you are best suited. You know little philosophy, theology and, if I may say, even less logic. Face it, an atheist is not someone who does not believe in God. He is someone who believes in everything but God. What I find amusing about atheists is that they all believe different things, and they all attribute it to their denial of God’s existence. But the facts of the matter is this: survival-of-the-fittest is what makes the world go round, correct? Then why mix in morals? What purpose does it serve? And what is right? What is wrong? Why don’t atheists think more like Nietzsche and go beyond good and evil?

    Have you read his book, Hemant? Be a real atheist and take atheism to its logical conclusion: dog eats dog. And there is aboslutely nothing wrong with that…unless you’re a believer.

    Hey, I also enjoy the fact that you are “preaching” to your choir!! Look at all the atheists that read your blog! WOW!!! Great job Hermant.

    By the way, if I was a Jainist, I would have become an atheist as well.

    • Zachary_Bos

      You’re wrong about so much in your post, friend. But you are most wrong in thinking that we’re going to feed the troll.

      • Lou_Ganis

        Isn’t amazing how someone who has such an overrated opinion of himself STILL resorts to the God-of-the-gaps fallacy to defend his delusion?

    • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

      survival-of-the-fittest is what makes the world go round, correct

      No, it’s survival of the best adapted to the environment. And humans who have empathy and work together as a team do better than “lone wolves”. The biggest mistake that people who think atheism is logically nihilism make is not understanding the importance of empathy in human (and many other animals’) evolution.

      • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

        THIS.

        Shit, even cats have a social structure! (Really! Spend time watching your neighbourhood cats — there is a distinct social hierarchy in play!)

      • http://gulliblestravelsdma.wordpress.com/ D’Ma

        When I first deconverted I had a short visit with nihilism. It didn’t take me long to pack my bags and travel on, though. I still can’t figure out why people, some atheists included, believe nihilism is the logical end to not believing in a deity.

    • Space Cadet

      Hey, I also enjoy the fact that you are “preaching” to your choir!! Look at all the atheists that read your blog! WOW!!! Great job
      Hermant.

      I really have no desire to respond to you, this is more for possible lurkers who might think you made a great point.

      Aside from folks who might come across this post through a google search, Hemants blog is part of network that has many different voices- Catholic, Evangelical, Buddhist, Pagan and everything in between. Writing articles that highlight lies told about Atheists isn’t just for us Atheists, but also for the cross traffic from those other blogs. It’s as much an attempt of initiating a conversation between people of various faiths and the non-religious as it is a rallying cry for Atheists to be more vocal about anti-Atheist memes.

    • PS

      Find an atheist and spend some quiet, normal, everyday time with him or her. Cook a meal together and count the number of times god comes up. You will be surprised with a count of zero after that experience.

      We don’t spend our lives counting coup against you and your deity. We give no thought to you or to your deity whatsoever except when you come knocking at our door to remind us that we’re going to hell. That we’re missing out on heaven and some vague notion of everlasting life or something more specific like a harem full of virgins.

      Please return to the dark ages where you belong. Better yet, don’t. Time travel by your kind of thought process would almost certainly extinguish humanity’s chances on this planet.

  • doug

    I am an atheist and a vet with PTSD I have always tried to be a member of a volunteer organization as it gives me a way to give back to my community.

    I am currently an active volunteer firefighter in a high bushfire area ( Southern Australia )

    It is often difficult explaining to the VA people how I can happily sit on a fire tanker and head into a wildfire but I am at the same time terrified of shopping centers or cities.

    So volunteering is difficult for me but I would never give it up.

    Secular volunteer groups accept atheists or religious people, I doubt many church groups would be happy to have me as a member

  • Joe Ann Walker

    Ok wait a %$&^$% minute. I am an atheist (ok I’m closeted, I do live in Oklahoma). For the past five weeks, I have spent every free waking moment in the field helping victims. I have personally been interviewed by 3 different stations. I have raised almost 20K in non-tax deductible donations and over 40k in in-kind donations, and organized work crews. I have even participated (UN-comfortably) in 2 prayer circles at my business. I am working with multiple groups to increase response time in the future. I have spent hours hand delivering donations and driving the tornado paths in 5 different cities. Multiple flat tires and close to 3,000 miles now. My head is spinning by this article. Honestly when someone, anyone loses everything they have, and I mean EVERYTHING, I don’t care what they believe, or who they voted for, I just want to help and give them a shoulder to cry on. I have taken over 1,000 photos through cases of pepto. This has been absolutely devastating and I cannot put into words what these people have been through. Climbing off of my soap-box now.

  • Jessica

    I sent in a letter and hope that others do the same, I appreciate this article as an atheist that does not lack morals and regularly donates to charitable organizations and volunteers – during a disaster situation or otherwise. Simply because I do not have any religious beliefs or wear t-shirts and advertise my donations does not mean that I should be invisible.

  • Scott Derkach

    Sanctimonious religious hypocrites

  • kamrom dechu

    “There are six things that the LORD strongly dislikes, seven that are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers.”

    Bearing false witness. Why do you hate your own god so much you ignore his commands, Mr. Klein? I mean, we don’t even believe it exists. You on the other hand, believe it exists and that it is all powerful. And now you’ve done one of those few things it says not to do.

    Good job.

  • Rodney Chlebek

    Joe Klein needed to find a way to feel superior. This is how he chose to do it.

  • Jordan Rudow

    I sent a letter to the editor, too. It got kind of long, but I thought I’d share it here. (And Joe Klein’s article is worth reading – aside from that one sentence, it’s a great story about a group of war vets that go around doing good things, because they still need to serve.)

    “I’ll Have the Organized – but Hold the Religion”

    I’d like to respond to both the factual and the implied meanings of what seems to be an offhand remark in an otherwise positive, hopeful article by Joe Klein, titled “Can Service Save Us?” (June 20, 2013). Klein shares a wonderful story about war veterans who relieve their post-traumatic stress through acts of community service – but inexplicably goes out of his way to accuse non-religious people of being uncaring and indifferent to the plight of their fellow humans:

    “But there was an occupying army of relief workers, led by local first responders, exhausted but still humping it a week after the storm, church groups from all over the country – funny how you don’t see organized groups of secular humanists giving out hot meals – and there in the middle of it all, with a purposeful military swagger, were the volunteers from Team Rubicon.”

    There are two interpretations of his comment. One is that Klein believes that secular humanists, as a group or as individuals, are indifferent to those who need help. I genuinely hope this is not how he feels. The other interpretation – which I would prefer to believe is correct – is that Klein is lamenting the lack of organized, non-religious groups through which secular humanists can complete good works.

    The first interpretation – that the non-religious are indifferent to the plight of their fellow human beings – is wildly untrue. As Hemant Mehta points out in his blog, there were many secular organizations helping out after the Oklahoma City tornadoes (including the Oklahoma Atheists, the Atheist Community of Tulsa, the Lawton Area Secular Society, the Norman Naturalism Group, the Oklahoma State Secular Organization, organizers of the FreeOK conference, Atheists Giving Aid, and Foundation Beyond Belief). Fact is, you do see organized groups of secular humanists helping their fellow humans.

    And, more harmfully, this first interpretation implies that without religion, people will not do good works. Again untrue. Non-religious people donate money to charities, give blood, and volunteer in their communities. The fact that, in some communities, the only channel available to carry out these good works is through a religious organization shouldn’t lead anyone to the conclusion that only religion helps those who are in need. It simply means that the infrastructure and organization required to get groups of people out and doing good works is missing for those who have abandoned religion.

    Which, I think, makes it plausible that Klein meant the second interpretation – that people by their nature want to do good works, but in an increasingly secular world we need community groups to fill the many beneficial functions that churches used to provide. To use religious language, we need to complete acts of service to feed our souls – to make us happy, healthy members of society. As Klein pointed out in the article, there is a great desire for this from today’s youth (who are, incidentally, the most non-religious age group in the U.S.):

    “There seems to be a general hunger for service in the 30-and-under millennial generation; in 2011 there were 582,000 applications for 82,000 slots in AmeriCorps, the federal government’s volunteer service program. Programs like the Peace Corps and Teach for America are also bursting with applicants.”

    And this is why I can’t believe that Klein genuinely believes the non-religious are, by their nature, indifferent to helping others. He even recognizes the need for a “national-service program” to feed this “general hunger for service”:

    “Imagine the impact a robust national-service program — like the service corps proposed by the Aspen Institute’s Franklin Project — would have on our nation of couch dwellers. If service is therapeutic, imagine the impact, especially on boys, who are having more trouble than girls graduating from high school and college these days. If service can reconnect individuals to their communities, imagine the impact on our waning sense of civic engagement, our weirdly hollow democracy in which active citizenship has been displaced by marketing and political sloganeering. Would it be so bad if the rest of us became more attuned to the values and can-do spirit our veterans have brought home from the military?”

    In fact, his entire article is devoted to praising the benefits a secular humanist group – The Mission Continues – benefits its members and the communities they serve. While they don’t explicitly call themselves “secular humanist”, they have no religious affiliation (i.e., secular) and their goal is to aid their fellow humans (i.e., humanist). How can he say “funny how you don’t see organized groups of secular humanists giving out hot meals” when that’s exactly what he witnessed?

    And so I must conclude that he, like so many non-religious people in the world, wants for those who have abandoned religion to still be able to serve their community. A way for them to get together and help others without the fetters of dogma – to keep the pluses of a church without the negatives of religious faith. To have organized religion, just without the religion – which would be organized people, I guess. What some might call secular humanism. What others might call a community.

  • liessi

    I gave money to the relief fund specifically because atheists need to step up. And by “step up” I don’t mean start contributing — we always have — I mean let our giving be known.

  • Jordan Rudow

    I wrote a letter to the editor – it got a little long, but I’ll copy it here for anyone who’s interested. And if you haven’t read Joe Klein’s article yet, you should – aside from that one silly sentence, it’s a great story about war vets doing good works because they still have a need to serve after coming home.

    “I’ll Have the Organized – but Hold the Religion”

    I’d like to respond to both the factual and the implied meanings of what seems to be an offhand remark in an otherwise positive, hopeful article by Joe Klein, titled “Can Service Save Us?” (June 20, 2013). Klein shares a wonderful story about war veterans who relieve their post-traumatic stress through acts of community service – but inexplicably goes out of his way to accuse non-religious people of being uncaring and indifferent to the plight of their fellow humans:

    “But there was an occupying army of relief workers, led by local first responders, exhausted but still humping it a week after the storm, church groups from all over the country – funny how you don’t see organized groups of secular humanists giving out hot meals – and there in the middle of it all, with a purposeful military swagger, were the volunteers from Team Rubicon.”

    There are two interpretations of his comment. One is that Klein believes that secular humanists, as a group or as individuals, are indifferent to those who need help. I genuinely hope this is not how he feels. The other interpretation – which I would prefer to believe is correct – is that Klein is lamenting the lack of organized, non-religious groups through which secular humanists can complete good works.

    The first interpretation – that the non-religious are indifferent to the plight of their fellow human beings – is wildly untrue. As Hemant Mehta points out in his blog, there were many secular organizations helping out after the Oklahoma City tornadoes (including the Oklahoma Atheists, the Atheist Community of Tulsa, the Lawton Area Secular Society, the Norman Naturalism Group, the Oklahoma State Secular Organization, organizers of the FreeOK conference, Atheists Giving Aid, and Foundation Beyond Belief). Fact is, you do see organized groups of secular humanists helping their fellow humans.

    And, more harmfully, this first interpretation implies that without religion, people will not do good works. Again untrue. Non-religious people donate money to charities, give blood, and volunteer in their communities. The fact that, in some communities, the only channel available to carry out these good works is through a religious organization shouldn’t lead anyone to the conclusion that only religion helps those who are in need. It simply means that the infrastructure and organization required to get groups of people out and doing good works is missing for those who have abandoned religion.

    Which, I think, makes it plausible that Klein meant the second interpretation – that people by their nature want to do good works, but in an increasingly secular world we need community groups to fill the many beneficial functions that churches used to provide. To use religious language, we need to complete acts of service to feed our souls – to make us happy, healthy members of society. As Klein pointed out in the article, there is a great desire for this from today’s youth (who are, incidentally, the most non-religious age group in the U.S.):

    “There seems to be a general hunger for service in the 30-and-under millennial generation; in 2011 there were 582,000 applications for 82,000 slots in AmeriCorps, the federal government’s volunteer service program. Programs like the Peace Corps and Teach for America are also bursting with applicants.”

    And this is why I can’t believe that Klein genuinely believes the non-religious are, by their nature, indifferent to helping others. He even recognizes the need for a “national-service program” to feed this “general hunger for service”:

    “Imagine the impact a robust national-service program — like the service corps proposed by the Aspen Institute’s Franklin Project — would have on our nation of couch dwellers. If service is therapeutic, imagine the impact, especially on boys, who are having more trouble than girls graduating from high school and college these days. If service can reconnect individuals to their communities, imagine the impact on our waning sense of civic engagement, our weirdly hollow democracy in which active citizenship has been displaced by marketing and political sloganeering. Would it be so bad if the rest of us became more attuned to the values and can-do spirit our veterans have brought home from the military?”

    In fact, his entire article is devoted to praising the benefits a secular humanist group – The Mission Continues – benefits its members and the communities they serve. While they don’t explicitly call themselves “secular humanist”, they have no religious affiliation (i.e., secular) and their goal is to aid their fellow humans (i.e., humanist). How can he say “funny how you don’t see organized groups of secular humanists giving out hot meals” when that’s exactly what he witnessed?

    And so I must conclude that he, like so many non-religious people in the world, wants for those who have abandoned religion to still be able to serve their community. A way for them to get together and help others without the fetters of dogma – to keep the pluses of a church without the negatives of religious faith. To have organized religion, just without the religion – which would be organized people, I guess. What some might call secular humanism. What others might call a community.

  • Jonathan Roth

    Sent.

    That the facts were wrong is a strike against their basic journalism. That they even needed to fact check a bigoted presumption before slipping it into an article is a strike against their basic values as human beings.

  • Jordan Rudow

    What gets me is that Joe Klein’s entire article is about The Mission Continues – a group of war veterans who help rebuild after natural disasters, lead community service initiatives, etc….amazing stuff. It’s an organization without religious affiliation (i.e., secular) that goes around helping other humans (i.e., humanist). You know – a secular humanist group.

    • C.L. Honeycutt

      If only Joe Klein had been around to help when that article was written.

  • J Bergstrom

    Left this message on Times’ Contact Us page:

    Joe Klein is an insult to Jews, Muslims and Christians everywhere.

    True believers of ANYTHING/NOTHING do what we do because it’s the right thing to do. Insinuations to the contrary insult us.

    J Bergstrom

  • kojaks43

    The Editor-In-Chief’s response to me from the email I sent.

    Dear Mr. Edwards

    Thank you for your letter and your careful reading of Time. I will forward your comments to the editors and the author of the story.

    Sincerely,

    Martha Nelson
    ===========================================================
    This was the message I sent Time’s CEO and Editor in Chief.

    I am sorry to trouble you with this. I am certain you have more than enough on your plates to say grace over.

    However, Ms. Lang as CEO, and Ms. Nelson as Editor in Chief of Time Inc. I thought Joe Klein missed an opportunity in the article.

    He almost covered the situation with this text:

    “But there was an occupying army of relief workers, led by local first responders, exhausted but still humping it a week after the storm, church groups from all over the country — funny how you don’t see organized groups of secular humanists giving out hot meals — and there in the middle of it all, with a purposeful military swagger, were the volunteers from Team Rubicon.”

    He had the opportunity in the secular humanist sentence to include gays, lesbians, Pro-Choice believers and even immigrants. What was he thinking?

    Oh, wait, he was able to identify members of Team Rubicon, first responders, and Church groups by their uniforms, or signs or T-shirts. But how did he know there were no secular humanists, Pro-choice believers, gays, lesbians or even immigrants. They could have been there, shoulder to shoulder with Mr. Klein when he was using that wheelbarrow, but weren’t wearing an identifying uniform.

    Shame on Mr Klein for writing this unnecessary barb, and for your editors for not correcting Mr. Klein’s copy.

    I hope you can see how divisive that sentence is. And with all that is wrong with this country, divisiveness is nearly at the top of the heap.

    Perhaps you can convince Mr. Klein to apologize or retract the sentence. Obviously, you don’t have to do that if he has solid evidence secular humanists did not participate. But if they were there, he and Time, Inc will have some ‘splainin’ to do.

    I hope you can see the problem, and it moves you both to do the right thing.

  • Daniel McGregor

    Yeah right…..
    No such thing as non religious organizations that want to improve the world

    EXCEPT FOR:

    Alternative Gifts International
    Amnesty International
    Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
    Doctors Without Borders
    Freedom from Hunger
    FINCA International
    International Aids Vaccine Initiative
    Kiva – Loans that change lives
    Mercy Corps
    Oxfam International
    Partners In Health (PIH), Health Care for the Poor
    PATH A catalyst for global health
    Pathfinder International Changing Lives, Saving Lives
    Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Inc.
    Second Harvest
    Southern Poverty Law Center
    TechnoServe – Business Solutions to Rural Poverty
    The Nature Conservancy
    UNICEF
    WHO World Health Organization

    Nuff said.

  • Croquet_Player

    I donated to the Red Cross specifically for the victims of the Oklahoma tornadoes. I never mentioned I was an atheist. Maybe it’s time for us to start donating under some kind of umbrella group – “Atheists United for Giving” or something similar, so we can actually get some credit. I’m furious that Time Magazine would publish such blatant and insulting slander about me and the others who share my views. I have written to Time Magazine demanding they publish a correction and that Joe Klein issue an apology. If a correction by the editors at Time is not forthcoming, I think we should consider a lawsuit. We would certainly win.

  • northierthanthou.com

    What a remarkably asinine comment for him to make anyway? Is there any sense in which it adds to the story? Shouldn’t his editor have cut that line out and reminded him to stick to the story at hand?

  • Richard Rowe

    I do believe there was another, rather large secular humanist organization helping out…goes by the name of “FEMA.” How about the National Guard? Separation of church and state…hypothetically, anyway. What about the Red Cross? The RC has no religious affiliation (though founder Clara Barton was a Universalist.) You don’t have to do good in the name of God to do good…but doing good in the name of God does get you a pretty good publicist.

  • PS

    Why do religious people so often assume that they have a monopoly on compassion?

    • Joseph O Polanco

      I’m sure it has nothing to do with the virulently hateful persona that is the militant internet atheist.

      Cue ensuing vitriol in 3 … 2 … 1 …

      • indorri

        You don’t get points for insinuating a uniquely vitriolic disposition amongst a particular demographic and then predicting a backlash.

        • Joseph O Polanco

          See? What’d I tell you, lol :)

          • indorri

            Was that really vitriol? I didn’t insult you or disparage you. I expressed being annoyed at you, and I’m expressing even more annoyance for you taking an absolutely polite (though sarcastic) criticism of your attempt to disparage us and asserting that it’s vitriolic.

            Also, you’re about 2 hours too late.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              I was speaking of militant internet atheists. I was not speaking of you neither specifically nor directly. However, if the shoe fits …

              • indorri

                Then why did you reply to me? The only other reply I see to you is after your previous reply, which, again, I hardly see as vitriolic (disdainful at worst).

                Also, I don’t deny there are extremely vitriolic atheists. The point was that you attempted to paint the “militant atheist” as uniquely vitriolic by replying to a post in which religions have a monopoly on compassion. It didn’t assert there aren’t asshole atheists, it asserted atheists can be compassionate. The existence of asshole atheists doesn’t deny that, and even if you were take that as criteria, it would scupper the claim that religions have a monopoly on compassion because there are also asshole religionists.

                • Joseph O Polanco

                  It certainly wasn’t compassionate, kindly, tenderhearted or charitable either. Way to torpedo your own argument, heh ehe he heh.

                • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                  You don’t get points for insinuating a uniquely vitriolic disposition amongst a particular demographic and then predicting a backlash.

                  No, that’s right. The compassionate, kindly, tenderhearted response would have been:

                  Oh you are so right! SCORE! We atheists are just so angry an militant! Let me bow down and kiss the ground before your feet oh great and mighty bringer of compassion and light!

                  (you were expecting something like that? And indorri had the gal to not give you any points! For Shame!)

                • Joseph O Polanco

                  No but you all could have used the opportunity to prove that atheists can be compassionate. Instead, true to form, you’re quick to take offense and fire off an incensed reply. Don’t you realize that such behavior only serves to reinforce the negative perception most have of atheists? http://www.cleveland.com/nation/index.ssf/2012/03/atheists_trying_to_improve_ima.html
                  http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2012/03/richard-dawkins-unreasonable-atheist/255029/

                • indorri

                  Now I’m going from annoyed to disdainful and mistrustful, and have good reason to believe you’re engaging us uncharitably in an attempt to insult and demean us. My reply to you is this: stop it. It doesn’t do you any favours to get in “jabs” and win petty “told you so” spats. You’ve destroyed the ability to have meaningful dialogue and it won’t be easy to rebuild that.

                • Joseph O Polanco

                  That’s one way to look at it I suppose … I guess all that anger you have boiling up inside you – and the soon to come psychotic virulence – is completely justified then …

                • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

                  Shit, you’d kick a hornet’s nest and then get upset that the hornets attacked you, wouldn’t you?

                  ‘Cuz right now, that’s pretty much what you’re doing.

                • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                  we should hold a poll on which of our comments he will decide is ‘psychotic virulence’.

                  I’m at a loss since I’m not even sure what ‘psychotic virulence’ means.

                • Joseph O Polanco

                  No because hornet’s are irrational insects. Are you alleging atheists are irrational insects? That’s pretty harsh, don’t you think?

                • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                  It’s a common metaphor. Are you alleging that you’re too stupid to understand a metaphor? That’s pretty harsh, don’t you think?

                • Joseph O Polanco

                  Not at all my friend.

                  (vs.

                  Are you &$%$&!?! @*#&%@*%?? &$!@*@!! Of course I #@$@*%#$@ understand what @*#!&$*#!&#% a *@&$#*@#&@ metaphor is @%$###*&!!@$%#*!!!!!!!!!!!

                  Question: Which of the two responses is the more kindly, warm hearted and compassionate one to a question obviously constructed to goad an angry reponse?)

                • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                  I have to admit, I’m not entirely sure if you actually fail to see how many of your contributions here have been “question obviously constructed to goad an angry reponse”

                  Tell you what, I have a $5 gift card to Dunkin’ Donuts I can’t use. You can find my FB profile linked, and send me an address where you’d like it sent, and I’ll buy you a coffee.

                  Consider it an olive branch. Well, a coffee bush anyway.

                • Joseph O Polanco

                  Wow! What a noble offer! I accept your olive branch, err, coffee bush, he hh ehe :)

                • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                  (And actually hornets are rational insects. They don’t sting people randomly. They sting perceived threats to their group)

                • Joseph O Polanco

                  I don’t know about you but I’d certainly feel insulted if someone compared my reasoning ability to that of an insect. I wouldn’t get all medieval on them, mind you, but I’d still feel insulted. Just sayin’ …

                • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

                  *facepaw*

                  Nooooo. I’m saying you can’t come up swinging and then complain when people react accordingly.

                • Joseph O Polanco

                  How exactly did I come in “swinging”? lol :)

                • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                  Oh, the “y u so angry?” jab now. Tell me, do you walk up to strangers and slap them just to see how compassionate their response?

                • Joseph O Polanco

                  I don’t say things to others I know full well are objectionable or offensive. I may, however, inadvertently commit a cultural faux pas so as to offend (I’ve traveled a lot).

                  On those rare occasions, my interlocutor’s choice in reaction is certainly very telling.

                • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                  I’ve love to see your compassionate response to being insulted that does not involve kissing-ass.

                  You could have come in here demonstrating Christian compassion. Instead, true to form, you’re quick to troll and giggle when atheists don’t kiss your ass.

                  Face it, indorri’s was a perfectly reasoned response to an insult. You describe it as ‘not compassionate’ simply because you want to confirm your bias about atheists. Congratulations, you’re confirming my bias about Christians who visit atheist forums to troll.

                • Joseph O Polanco

                  I apologize, then. I meant no insult or disrespect. I was simply expressing a point of view.

                • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                  That’s a fine response to a misunderstanding. But there has been no misunderstanding here.

                  I don’t say things to others I know full well are objectionable or offensive.

                  Sure you do. Your first comment here was. Rather than show some compassion, you decided to insult people and then complain about lack of compassion. I don’t for a second believe that you didn’t know full well what you were doing. You might be a jerk, but you’re not that stupid.

                • Joseph O Polanco

                  My comment was about militant internet atheists and the negative effect they have on the overall perception of atheists. Had I known the readership of “The Friendly Atheist” included such militant radicals I would have qualified my statement further – although I have a sneaking suspicion these still would have found cause for offense, if only in their minds …

                  Irrespective, once again I extend my heartfelt apologies. I meant you no offense.

                • Blue

                  Joseph O Polanco: :Had I known the readership of “The Friendly Atheist” included such militant radicals”

                  Oh, that’s precious. This will be a joy to read someday for some lurker, browsing through this exchange and seeing the civil, straight-forward posters here labelled as “militant radicals”. Comedy gold.

                • Blue

                  Joseph: “you all could have used the opportunity to prove that atheists can be compassionate”

                  Joseph, the responses to your ridiculous comments have been very civil. Grow up, put on your big-boy panties and stop expecting people to coddle you (and crying foul when they don’t).

                • indorri

                  It doesn’t. I already said that those of us here not being compassionate does not mean atheists are incapable of being compassionate.

                • Joseph O Polanco

                  If you’re capable of being compassionate, then, why do you choose not to be?

                • TCC

                  Because you already primed the response to be vitriolic by coming in here so combatively. What reason does anyone have to be compassionate for a person who comes in screaming insults? You are merely proving that people react strongly to being told that they’re bad people, which isn’t all that surprising. If you could show some grace, then perhaps you’d elicit a better response. As it stands, you’re doing a pretty good job of enforcing negative stereotypes yourself.

                • Joseph O Polanco

                  So what you’re saying is that I have complete control over the way you behave towards me? Why have you given me such authority? I certainly didn’t ask for it …

                • TCC

                  No, that’s not what I’m saying, but you would be wrong if you thought you didn’t contribute at all. You do need to take responsibility for the consequences of your own actions.

                • Joseph O Polanco

                  What about you taking responsibility for your feelings and reactions?

                • TCC

                  And those are? You’re doing a nice job of avoiding the issue.

                • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

                  See? Joseph’s kicking the hornet’s nest, then blaming the hornets for stinging…

                • indorri

                  Why do anything when you’re capable of something else? I’m not compassionate now because I don’t think the situation warrants it. Consider the original context of this story: it was in reply to a journalist stating, incorrectly, that atheists don’t organize to help victims of disasters.

                  I have not seen that you’re the victim of a disaster or injustice. Is there something about your situation that warrants compassion? Are you saying that for the statement “atheists can be compassionate” to be true requires me to always be compassionate?

                • Joseph O Polanco

                  Of course. What else could it possibly mean?

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

                  That atheists are people, and the vast majority of people are not compassionate all the time? That people are especially not compassionate to those who deliberately provoke and insult them?

                  Why are you demanding that atheists be better people than your coreligionists? Have you no compassion for a group that is dismissed as inherently immoral and thus deserves any and all insults thrown their way? Why do you represent religion so poorly, Joseph O Polanco?

                • Joseph O Polanco

                  Because they, supposedly, can be. Regardless, I apologize for any offence I have caused. No harm, no foul, k? :)

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

                  Of course atheists can be good people. Just look at all the good they did in the aftermath of the tornado and in the world in general.

                  No one argues that atheists are nice all the time. No person is nice all the time. We are people, with all the innumerable flaws and vices that people have as well as the strengths and virtues. That’s because we are all, above all, people. We’re just people who don’t believe in fairy tales and myths as anything other than stories. We also don’t think anyone needs to believe in those fairy tales and myths in order to be a good person.

                  So yes, there is harm and there is a foul. Don’t apologize for offending anyone; who cares about that? Apologize for being wrong about people and then learn from it. Nonetheless, I accept your apology in the spirit in which it was offered. Everyone makes mistakes and then, hopefully, learns and grows from them!

                • Joseph O Polanco

                  Thanks I appreciate it! :)

                  Now, would you please tell militant internet atheists to do away with all their hate-speech?

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

                  Could you define militant, please?

                • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                  Whatever it is, I’m sure I have plenty of examples of “militant internet Christians” to go with it. I think it’s more human nature than anything. Heck, when I got started, anyone who owned a Commodore 64 was either ignorant or evil. Plus ça change

                  I’ll be the first to state that we get a lot of generalized and over-the-top rhetoric here, just like any ‘place’ on the internet. And I often turn a blind eye. I’ve previously likened it to our barber shop, where we vent in ways that perhaps we wouldn’t in ‘public’. I’m also aware that I have been relatively unscathed by religion- other regulars have a lot more anger and pain, and reason for it.

                  I think you can take just about any two humans on the planet- and if they can leave behind politics and religion and and any other pre-conceived notions about the human being they’re talking to, they can find something common to share.

                  The trick is leaving our egos at the door.

              • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson
                • Joseph O Polanco

                  I see what you’re saying. After all, Danton, Lenin, Sanger, Than Shwe, Stalin, Mengele, Mao, Kim Il Sung, Ceausescu, Honecker, Castro, Pol Pot, Broz Tito, Milosevic, Bonaparte and Mussolini were not oppressive, sadistic, democidal atheists who, collectively, butchered ***hundreds of millions*** of innocent men, women and children.

                  “If atheism is such a blessing for humanity, Mao’s China would have been an empire of sunshine, rainbows and frolicking bunnies, instead of a countryside of cadavers.” – Anonymous

                • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                  PS

                  Why do religious people so often assume that they have a monopoly on compassion?

                  You

                  I’m sure it has nothing to do with the virulently hateful persona that is the militant internet atheist.

                  So just how does an atheist kill millions of people via the internet?

                  And have you considered that “virulently hateful persona” could also describe your very own foray into the vicious circle of name-calling?

                  Do you assume that religious people have a monopoly on compassion?

                • Joseph O Polanco

                  i. The same way the KKK, Neo Nazis, Al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations do. They spread hate.

                  ii. My decades of experience with atheists in general affirms such a notion. I know it’s not true of all atheists but, personally speaking, if I come in contact with a militant internet atheist I brace for the worst.

                • Michael Mcghee

                  The difference is that none of those people killed in the name of Atheism, they just happened to be Atheists. That is a pretty major point to overlook.

                • Joseph O Polanco

                  I really don’t think all the widows and orphans left behind see a distinction …

                • Michael Mcghee

                  They most certainly don’t, but they aren’t claiming atheists are inherently evil because they lack a god on forums. I’m fairly certain you’re trolling as I’ve read the lengthy chain of replies below and you have an incredible knack for avoiding the points that people make and throwing out generic statements, but I’ll humour you anyway.

                  It’s a pretty huge distinction, you see. It’d be the same as me attributing every crime committed by a religious person throughout the entirety of human existence to their religion – which is ridiculous.

                  While there have been many evil atheists who have committed rather awful atrocities, none of them did it because they believed there was no god; the people shown in that picture on the other hand…

                • Joseph O Polanco

                  You’re contention is not with true religion but false religion. True religion has always been nothing but a blessing for all of mankind. Why, then, throw the baby out with the bathwater?

                • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qQgPReMF1f0

                  Let us know when you have a way to settle the dispute between yourself and anyone who claims yours is a false religion.

                • Joseph O Polanco
                • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                  This necessarily means that worshiping Him must be everlastingly good for us

                  Unless your name is Job.

                  Or unless you pull the catch all that his reward came later, in which case you can justify any atrocity you want by assuming that ‘the reward came later’.

                  But the author’s description sounds a lot like Baha’i to me. Is Baha’i a true religion?

                • Joseph O Polanco

                  I don’t follow. What did God do to Job?

                • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

                  *stunned silence*

                • Joseph O Polanco

                  Or perhaps I should ask, what do you think God did to Job?

                • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

                  Dude, God went and took EVERYTHING from Job. Turned Job into his holy punching bag. Fucks the dude over eight ways to Sunday.

                  And then demands (and receives) nothing less than Job’s total, slavish devotion.

                • Joseph O Polanco

                  You’re grossly mistaken. Try actually reading the Bible first before commenting on it so you actually know what you’re talking about. Just a suggestion :)

                • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

                  Mmmm. Yeah. Thanks. I HAVE read the Bible. It may have been Satan doing those things, but he was doing it on God’s say-so, making God the ultimately responsible party. And it’s still a totally douchey thing to do.

                • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                  Aside from which, it had nothing to do with God’s action, or lack of action, or Satan’s action, or lack of action.

                  I’ll give you a hint- Snape had it.

                • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

                  Eh, I’m speaking within the framework of the story, same as I’d discuss Harry Potter.

                  Self-sacrifice? Or a nifty marked-up textbook that gave you ALL the Potions knowledge?

                  Or, perhaps, it was Jealousy…

                  (You were sorted into Ravenclaw, weren’t you? Clever bastard…)

                • Joseph O Polanco

                  No, he wasn’t. Like I said, read the Bible so you’ll actually know what you’re talking about.

                • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                  I didn’t say God did anything to Job :-)

                  It’s not what God did to Job (or more accurately to Job’s family for the most part). It’s what God didn’t do.

                  And Baha’i?

                • Joseph O Polanco

                  Before you criticize God’s actions, or lack thereof, how about getting all your facts straight first? http://bit.ly/11EyvgO

                • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                  Where did I criticize God?

                • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

                  You didn’t. I did.

                  I think we might have confused him…

                • Joseph O Polanco

                  Aren’t you alleging God wronged Job?

                • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                  sigh. Disqus just ate my reply…

                  I supposed in a very broad sense of the word.

                  We all know the story. Job was blameless, feared God and was blessed.

                  Satan unleashed all kinds of torment on Job’s life- not on Job directly. Job refused to denounce God, but Job’s pride did cause him to defend himself.

                  God put Job in his place, and Job learned true humility. And in the end Job was double blessed.

                  Many people focus on Job’s family suffering for nothing, but forget the feasts they held. Others focus on Job’s lesson of humility, and double blessing in the end.

                  But there’s still something missing from this story. Have you ever seen a child throw a temper tantrum in a toy store? Do you have children that you have disciplined? How did you feel? (at either time)

                • Joseph O Polanco

                  There’s no evidence Bahá’u’lláh was a prophet of God as opposed to Jesus Christ, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Elisha, Elijah, John the Baptist, Moses, etc., etc.

                • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                  Bahai’ fits all the criteria for your link. So now you’re adding more criteria to the process of discerning true religion.

                  Aside from which, I have Muslim and Mormon friends who have very convincing evidence for their respected prophets. I’ve read some of them, and they are about as convincing as the Witness evidence I read 20+ years ago.

                  So how is it that the religion people choose is overwhelmingly dictated by location of birth and parents than anything else? The vast majority of people on earth have it wrong. And the vast majority think everyone else has it wrong.

                  A correct measure of true religion should help people decide what is true religion. That so many people disagree so fundamentally is in and of itself proof that no such method exists.

                  (Edit typo)

                • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                  (and I realize I’m repeating myself, which is usually the point I figure I should drop out. A ‘corrective mechanism’ to use the correct terminology is of no use if it cannot be distinguished from faulty corrective mechanism.

                  The problem with your CM isn’t that’s it’s wrong necessarily, it’s that it demonstrably doesn’t work to lead people to the true religion. You can blame the people for having hard hearts, but that doesn’t change the fact that the CM isn’t functioning.

                • ManhattanMC

                  5 million Baha’is disagree with you strenuously and many continue to believe Bahá’u’lláh was a prophet in the face of persecution which you can’t even imagine.

                • ManhattanMC

                  “Instead of being “intolerant and divisive”, true religion is “broadly inclusive.”Polanco’s link

                  Yup, sounds like Baha’i.
                  What it doesn’t sound like is Polanco dissing every other religion.

                • C.L. Honeycutt

                  THAT?

                  So your method of determining a “true religion” is to invoke a couple of tautologies, twist them into the shape of a figure-eight, and claim it’s an infinity symbol. Got it.

                • Michael Mcghee

                  One man’s true religion is another man’s false religion. It’s the same thing, just different interpretations on who’s right and who’s wrong. That’s besides the point though.

                  Even if, at its core, religious doctrine encouraged empathy and compassion, the fact that so many atrocities have been carried out in its name negates the good completely. To put it simply, more harm than good has come from ALL forms of religion (whether you believe it to be the true religion or not).

                  Hitler did a fantastic job of rebuilding Germany’s economy following the first world war and he turned them into an industrial superpower. That doesn’t excuse him from killing five million jews and trying to take over the world by force.

                • Joseph O Polanco

                  i. Only if Supernotes and Monopoly money are just as good as genuine legal tender. Better hope your boss doesn’t find out.

                  ii. Which is why all critical thinkers have been atheists: http://bit.ly/16XQMKY

                • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                  i. There are concrete ways to distinguish Monopoly money from legal tender, that can be explained to a person who has seen neither. If you and a Catholic both present your case for ‘true religion’ to an independent 3rd party, the 3rd party won’t have anything to go on. In fact, of 100 3rd parties, the split between the two of you will probably be 50/50.

                  ii. There is a very strong inverse correlation between level of education and belief in gods. No, not all scientists are atheists, but the proportion is a lot higher than the general public.

                • Joseph O Polanco

                  i. Not so: http://bit.ly/14CLCjK

                  ii. Meaning what precisely?

                • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                  Oh I already read you link. And it may even be correct in describing true religion. But here’s the rub- it’s not a useful mechanism for determining true religion, otherwise people would agree on what is a true religion. See the problem?

                  Imagine there’s a bunch of really good counterfeit money out there. And the secret service has a list of serial numbers of counterfeit money. But there are also a bunch of fake lists out there. So even if one of the lists is real, and tells us which is the fake money, we have no way to know which list is real. And unlike the secret service, I’m sure you’d agree there’s no way to tell which person explaining religion has it right.

                  That’s what you’ve proposed to me. There are many competing arguments as to which is the true religion. Yours might actually be right, but neither I, nor anyone else, can reliably distinguish them. If we could, none of use would be using counterfeit money- but you seem to agree that there are people following false religions.

                  That said, there are problems with that method.

                  For one, you’re making the starting assumption that the bible is right, and that God as described by the bible must be the correct god.

                  Second, you’re cherry picking a few select passages to describe the god you want. That’s called confirmation bias.

                  e.g.

                  true religion is “broadly inclusive.” (Acts 10:34, 35) This means its adherents cannot be divided by race, culture, socio-economic position, education or nationality.

                  But biblical God is often not “broadly inclusive”. The fact that there even existed a “chosen people” indicates this.

                • Joseph O Polanco

                  i. It’s no assumption I assure you: http://bit.ly/14Ckccl

                  ii. How has Jehovah God not been inclusive, in your opinion?

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

                  ii. “I know, I know. We are Your chosen people. But, once in a while, can’t You choose someone else?” -Tevye, from Fiddler on the Roof

                • Joseph O Polanco

                  Leviticus 19:33,34
                  http://bit.ly/14NFkMx

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

                  Non-Israelites back then were definitely second-class citizens; they had some protections and some rights, but they definitely didn’t have all of them. I do appreciate you helping Rich Wilson make his point, though. Early Judaism was in fact a tribal, exclusive religion/ethnicity, which is the opposite of inclusive.

                • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                  Ya, what was the Hebrew word for ‘human’?

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

                  I think the terms adam and ish are used, but I couldn’t swear to it. I’m not exactly a Hebrew speaker or Biblical scholar, and I couldn’t tell you where or when each term was used.

                  Addendum: I get your point, though :). If Leviticus (or the OT in general) were inclusive, it would have used those terms instead of talking about resident aliens as a separate group of people.

                • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                  It was meant to be rhetorical, but thanks :-)

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

                  Heh. Yeah I went back and edited/added immediately, but you responded during the editing process.

                • Joseph O Polanco

                  Leviticus 19:33,34
                  http://bit.ly/14NFkMx

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

                  You already linked that one. Try again.

                • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                  Discourse becomes tiresome when it’s one way, and hence not really discourse.

                  If you still want that coffee you should probably send me an address- any address, I don’t care where you live.

                • Michael Mcghee

                  Just as I thought; you’re a buffoon. I hate to spew vitriol your way like all those other militant atheists, but if it’s something that keeps happening perhaps you should look closer to home as to the reasons why.

                • Bud

                  Michael, don’t waste your time with this troll, Polanco. He is a Jehovah’s Witness that has been banned from various sites. He stirs the pot and then leaves.

                • Michael Mcghee

                  I assumed as much from reading the earlier string of replies but I thought I’d have a bash at breaking through.

                  God help me, huh?

            • Internet Watch

              indorri,

              Allow me to offer you some unsolicited advice. Don’t waste your time engaging Joseph O Polanco. He is a Jehovah’s Witness that goes from blog to blog looking to argue with non-believers. He has apparently been banned from several sites:

              http://www.forumforpages.com/facebook/atheist-republic/petition-to-have-joseph-o-polanco-removed-from-these-forums/1426071115/0

              http://www.skepticink.com/tippling/2013/06/22/neil-webberthe-causality-paradox/

              excerpt:

              ” FYI Joseph has been banned because of his behaviour on your guest post – over 800 comments of dross!” – Jonathan MS Pearce – Moderator

              I would advise the moderators of this forum to consider doing the same. Polanco is a pill.

          • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

            Cue triumphant trol lol in- oh wait, I was too late.

    • mavrick

      Because they are led to believe on their way can you be good and go to heaven, Valhalla, Asgard .

  • Swiggy

    Not an atheist, but I wonder, doing this type of community service, why they wouldn’t qualify for tax exempt status.

  • Jonathan Baker

    Huh? Plenty of atheist organizations have 501c3 status. You don’t have to believe in God to be a “religious organization” or “public foundation”. If some groups haven’t applied, that’s their choice, or there may be other issues we observers don’t know about. My local SF club hasn’t applied for 501c3 because we spent the last 20 years (on & off) arguing about the membership model for the bylaws, which you need as part of the 501c3 application

    • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

      The rules are different, and much more lenient, for churches. It’s not that atheist organizations can’t do it; as you point out they can and do, but they’re less like to do so due to the headaches involved.

  • friendlyandskeptical

    When will you start apologizing for only publishing negative articles with regards to religion?
    Whatever happened to the “friendly and skeptical”?
    Just bullshit, right Hemant?

  • hughtonks

    It’s libel rather than slander, but hey …

  • Richard Devere

    thanks for the story Hemant. I realize it’s a little stale, but I’ve just written to Time to complain.

  • Josh

    What do you expect from a tabloid not worthy of lining a bird cage?


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