This is How We Can Help the Pastor Who Was Attacked by a ‘Militant Atheist’

Last weekend, self-described “militant atheist” James Maxie went to church with his girlfriend and ended up severely beating the pastor, Rev. Norman Hayes, after Hayes asked his girlfriend if she felt safe with him:

James Maxie

As I wrote earlier this week, Pastor Hayes did nothing to deserve the violent attack on him, while Maxie deserves whatever punishment he has coming his way.

It’s also worth noting that Maxie’s atheism was pretty incidental to this whole story. He didn’t beat up the pastor because he was a pastor; Maxie did it because he was provoked by someone and he had a short fuse. (Maxie once spent two years in jail on an assault conviction, by the way.) I’m not excusing him from his actions, only pointing out that religion wasn’t the primary cause for this attack.

But a headline reading “Criminal Commits a Crime” wouldn’t be very interesting… so the “militant atheist” phrase was used in every story I saw about the assault (and I feel justified in using it for that very reason).

That’s what worries me. I don’t want this particular incident to affect the atheist community at large because some Christians may argue that Maxie, despite being an anomaly, somehow “proves” that godless people are immoral or violent. We know the reality is far from that, but many others in our society don’t.

I reached out to Pastor Hayes (and a local reporter) earlier this week to see if there was anything we could do for him, but I didn’t hear back… until today.

Pastor Hayes called me this afternoon and we talked about what happened at church last week. He was quick to point out that his and Maxie’s differences in religious beliefs weren’t central to the attack, saying “I didn’t even know he was an atheist [until after reading the news stories]. The idea of atheism had nothing to do, in my mind, with what happened.”

I asked him how he’s feeling and whether he’s still injured. He told me he’s doing better but he’s far from recovered. He’s gone to the hospital a couple of times already and will likely make more visits in the near future.

I wondered if he was planning on preaching this Sunday. Hayes hasn’t decided yet. It may be too soon, emotionally and physically, but it’ll be a game-time decision.

Finally, I learned that there was a way we could help him. Some members of Pastor Hayes’ church have created a fund in an effort to raise money to pay his medical bills. They’re looking to raise about $25,000:

Norman has racked up a lot of medical expenses over the last week or so and his wife has lost time at work. The last thing we want our pastor’s family to have to worry about at this time is their ability to take care of their financial responsibilities.

Pastor Norm has had a great impact on people over his years in ministry, and it has been his life’s ambition to invest in others. Please join us in donating to alleviate the stress that comes with the burden of medical expenses and allow him to focus on the physical and emotional healing needed to continue pouring himself into the needs of others.

All donations will go directly to:
- Pastor Norm’s medical expenses after insurance
- Counseling for the family
- Financial needs because of time away from work
- Potential legal fees
- Any overage will go to their general financial needs during this traumatic time

Just to be clear — and I verified this with Pastor Hayes — none of the money will benefit his church (despite the donations being directed there because of its tax exemption). It’ll go toward the cost of healing and any potential legal fees. I know we have strong issues with his theological positions but I hope you’ll agree that they’re irrelevant here.

We may not be able to control future incidents like these but we can control how we react as a community. That’s why I’m donating to the fund and I’m asking all of you to chip in as well.

Hayes seemed genuinely surprised by the outreach he’s received from people everywhere, including from atheists. But it shouldn’t be a surprise that atheists would want to help him out after something as awful as this. It should be a given. If God’s not looking out for us, we have to look out for each other.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the chair of Foundation Beyond Belief and a high school math teacher in the suburbs of Chicago. He began writing the Friendly Atheist blog in 2006. His latest book is called The Young Atheist's Survival Guide.

  • Jasper

    Bah, now I’m wishing I left some comment like “May the science-based medicine heal you right up!”

    • https://www.facebook.com/arobert6 Alice Robertson

      LOL I am a Christian, but I did like your comment. Now that said this article reminds me of not only “Atheists Behaving Badly” but “Christians Behaving Badly”. It’s a mere human type of thing, and as the writer expounded…it has nothing to do with religion which is exactly how I feel when Christians act up. Of course, how we view bad behavior would differ (I see it as our sin nature), but it’s a given….people act charitably as we see here, and we act badly despite whatever religion we espouse.

    • joseph66

      …in a hospital founded by Christians, by doctors that studied in a religious University.

  • the moother

    As much as I support promoting atheism as friendly and compassionate, we would do well to think twice about helping a man who has spent his life lying to his audience and dispensing tawdry family and relationship advice to his gullible flock. Chances are that Pastor Norm, being no spring chicken, has spent most of his life hating blacks and gays too. It was, after all, fashionable. He might not be a bad guy (I’m sure he isn’t) but he’s not the type of chap that I’d be bending over backwards to help.

    Without offering the sanctimonious alternative of donating your $25,000 (really? 25k for a few cuts and bruises? wtf?) to starving kids in Africa, there are far more worthy causes with many more deserving victims close enough to home that we could rather help with our precious time and hard earned money.

    The pastor is a victim of a heinous crime but also the perpetrator of a media hoax.

    • http://www.kungfu-silat.com/ Erik Harris

      Questioning the cost of his medical bills is one thing… but assuming that just because he’s Christian and not-particularly-young that he’s probably a bigot, or at least was for the majority of his life? That’s reprehensible. Moderate and liberal Christianity has been very common for a long time, and unless you know something about Pastor Norm that you’re not letting on, you have absolutely no way of knowing whether he’s a member of the “Christian right” or not.

      My great grandmother died a few years ago in her mid 90s, and was a Methodist minister for most of her life. Her husband (my great grandfather) and son (an uncle) were, too, and all of them were on the on the side of equal rights for all sorts of issues. Her son, my uncle, a Christian pastor who’s quite a bit older than Pastor Norm, performed marriage-like ceremonies for gay couples long before any state in the US had legal marriage equality. He also married my wife and I. When we, as an atheist and non-practicing Jew, asked if he would marry us with a secular ceremony that contained a few cultural Jewish traditions, with no explicitly Christian aspects at all, he happily obliged, and was incredibly gracious about it (he was elated that we wanted him to be part of our wedding as more than a guest).

      This blog is called The Friendly Atheist for a reason – please take your hatred elsewhere.

      • the moother

        I said, “chances are”… In the same way I would say, “chances are, there are far more worthy causes to donate to”.

        I could be wrong… But I’m probably not.

        • 3lemenope

          True story. Taller than average male humans tend to die sooner than their shorter counterparts. Dutch males are, on average, taller than average human male height.

          Now, let’s take a dutchman. You know nothing about him except that he is Dutch, including no knowledge of his height. Can you identify the error in reasoning that leads to the following statement: “Chances are, this dutchman will die sooner than average”?

          • 3lemenope

            Um, what exactly are you a professor of? This was practically a remedial level metaphor to illustrate a logical flaw. In this case, the flaw was a fallacy of composition, which in lay terms means mistaking traits of an object or set with traits of its components; given a specific member of the set, one cannot assign properties to the member known only as features of the set as a whole.

            • Cake

              Prolly an assistant “professor” of some, worth less than the paper is printed on, remedial bible school.

        • RowanVT

          My mother is a christian. She’s also 61 years old.

          Guess what: She’s not racist, and she’s not homophobic and she’s not at all bothered that both her children are atheists.

          • Karmakaze

            Is she a pastor that gets up in church and preaches hellfire and damnation while passing around the collection plate?

            That’s the kind of “christian” that makes up the KKK.

        • dagobarbz

          Chances are, people will donate or not regardless of your observations.

        • Katrina Payne

          So… if I said, “Chances are” before stating, “black people steal VCRs” and “First Nations people will be found in the park passed out drunk”… it makes those statements okay?

          Ooooh! This is a fun game. Let’s try this.

          *Ahem* “Chances are Hitler should have finished off the Jews and Romas as that is the main reason our economy sucks again”

          *cough* “Chances are communist spies are why that nigger Barrack Obama is in power”… oh wow… I am so glad putting “Chances are” in front of these statements make them okay.

          *cough*cough* “Chances are Satan has control over the Atheists and praying for them will chance some–”–oh wait… brain is crawling out of my skull here… I don’t think that is related to this new and great concept you’ve suggested here to stop this from being hateful and wrong.

          This is even better than when I learned insults no longer are insulting if I put, “no offense” in front of them and my lesbian muff diving make outs with girls are no longer gay if I put, “no homo” after those too! Wow, thanks for the life hack!

          • the moother

            Chances are that black people steal or kill? Well, there might be higher murder/theft rates in black communities but there would still only be a VERY TINY minority of black murderers and burglars.

            So you can trot out as many strawmen as you like but they’re all just that. Strawmen.

            On the other hand, If you could say that in 1980 that 70% of Ohio was racist and homophobic then chance is most definitely on the side of my argument.

            • Katrina Payne

              No offense or anything… but I don’t think you understand how stupid this little “sentence flag” truly is.

              No seriously… “chances are” is right up there with, “no homo” and “no offense, but”

              No offense, but I’m about to say something offensive.
              I’m going to do something to keep myself closeted but it is okay because–no homo.
              Chances are that I’m going to say an opinion that is just as offensive regardless of whether “chances are” is infront of it or not, but I’m going to hide behind this social construct.

              You cannot hide an insult behind “no offense”… that whole “no homo” thing is so ridiculous it really only exists today as a blatant parody of the whole thing… and putting “chances are” just makes you look like a hateful twat.

              Sorry… you cannot weasel out of being an ignorant cunt, by putting “chances are” in front of your hateful shit.

              • the moother

                I spent part of my childhood in apartheid South Africa during the 1970′s (disclaimer, I’m European). If someone had made a general statement like, “chances are, he’s a racist,” they would have been SPOT ON, mate.

                Whether or not I am/was a racist, there were very very few white people that weren’t racists.

                Therefore, chances were good, that I was a racist. There was evidence for racism. And the VAAAAST majority of whites were racist.

                That’s different from saying that jews are stingy because there is not the slightest bit of evidence that jews are so.

                Do you think that Ohio as a state (and Pastor Nate in particular) were racist homophobes in the 1970′s?

                Maybe not, but the EVIDENCE says that there was a massive chance that they were.

                Evidence… easy concept.

                • Katrina Payne

                  Uh… how long as it been the 1970s? I thought it was the 21st Century 10s?

                  Suppose Pastor Nate was racist in the 1970s… that is still not today. So evidence of an event in the 1970s has no bearing on who or what people are today.

                  Get evidence of shit today, for behavioural patterns.

                  In the 1970s I… shoot… I wasn’t even really swimming around in my mother’s phelopian tubes yet, as my mother was only born in 1963, and would probably only just be going in puberty. What would be me today would be developing inside my mother’s prepubescent body.

                  Does that mean we can say “Chances are, Katrina is inside her mother’s prepubescent mother’s genitals?”… no… that would be fucking ridiculous YOU ARE RIDICULOUS

                  This story is happening TODAY. Not the 1970s. If you want evidence people in Ohio in the 21st Century 10s… than that will be harder to properly find.

                  You don’t even understand how evidence works.

                • Katrina Payne

                  And what you are saying is racist towards people from Ohio by even going with that shit.

                  Yes, race as it is used in social constructs is completely different from its use in the biological area of discussion. As a result, race in social constructs can be used to define gay people, people of different skin colours, people of different hair colours, people of different eye colours, people of different regions, people of different nationalities, people of different heritages. As the biological definition of race has all of the humans on the planet as a single race. People with black skin–biologically speaking–are the same race as people with white skin.

                  What you are saying is a generalisation based on NO EVIDENCE, you have NO EVIDENCE on the matter here. No matter how you say… and to paint all of a single race of people, here “the state of Ohio” (as the modern day use of race in social constructs is fucking ridiculous)… as being racist… and thus it was okay to hit the Paster?

                  Imagine if it was changed to say, “all people who have black coloured skin, are racist… so it is okay to hit them.”

                  NO! That is fucking ridiculous! YOU ARE RIDICULOUS!

                  GET THE FUCK OFF MY PLANET!

      • joey_in_NC

        This blog is called The Friendly Atheist for a reason – please take your hatred elsewhere.

        Somehow I doubt you have been following this blog for very long.

    • C.L. Honeycutt

      (really? 25k for a few cuts and bruises? wtf?)

      You’re ignorant of what his injuries and costs actually are, and yet insulting and dismissing him anyway – and that’s not counting just hatefully making up things about him. I got punched a few times and knocked off a three-foot drop, and had almost $6k in eventual bills. That’s not taking into account an arm that took a year to recover properly because I couldn’t afford therapy, lost wages, reduced health from injury and depression at the start of winter, or the fact that it was only that cheap because I somehow managed to avoid any head or neck injuries despite partially landing on them across the back of a metal bench.

      • Katrina Payne

        Wait… is this where I am suppose to blame obamacare?

        I’m Canadian, but have been following Merkan politics and want to fit in and be able to play this game too! It looks fun!

        But seriously… yeah… bruises cost a lot without government coverage and stuff.

        • C.L. Honeycutt

          I think you’re supposed to mock Americans for being too stupid to go single-payer and mindlessly repeating GOP lies about how horrible Canadian health care supposedly is. Y’know, so horrible that Canadians go far out of their way to retain access to it while living in the States. :P

          Erf, the bruises I got were bone contusions. Those just hurt like the bejeezus. The killer was the labrial* tear, which made it so I had to lift my arm using the other arm.

          *Very easy word to hilariously mistype or misread.

          • Katrina Payne

            But… you are suppose to trust the propaganda right?

            I mean… a propaganda mill would never be set up to lie or mislead people would it?

            Sorry… I’m just being extremely sarcastic under the guise of not understanding the current situation… wait… I wasn’t suppose to mention that part was I? -shrug-

    • WallofSleep

      “Chances are that Pastor Norm, being no spring chicken, has spent most of his life hating blacks and gays too.”

      Yeah, I’m not comfortable with speculating or asserting someone holds racist or bigoted opinions when I have no evidence to confirm it, but you go right ahead.

    • 3lemenope

      The pastor is a victim of a heinous crime but also the perpetrator of a media hoax.

      Those sound a bit like entirely separate things.

    • chilehead

      How are the generalizations you are making about him any different from the ones that the theists make about atheists? Pulling off a hoax or con requires knowing that what you’re doing is untrue, while I’d lay odds that this guy actually believes in the stuff he spouts each week – it doesn’t make any of it true, but it does indicate that he’s not doing it out of malice instead of just plain old ignorance. (Yeah, he’s showing some signs of ignorance or just being thick: after seeing that he was a bit contrary and confrontational, approaching his GF and asking right in his face if she felt safe around him… not a way to diffuse any situation.)

      Replacing one form of hatred and logical fallacy with an equivalent one is NOT an improvement, it’s like replacing getting stabbed with a boning knife with getting stabbed with a pocket knife: you still get holes that let all the blood out and scramble your innards.

      You can’t hate and belittle your way into a better society. But, by reaching out to this man and showing him some human kindness offered explicitly without the threat of damnation hanging over our heads as a consequence for not doing so, perhaps we’ll get him to rethink his position a little bit. Being kind to someone else can’t really hurt.

    • ShoeUnited

      “Chances are that Pastor Norm, being no spring chicken, has spent most of
      his life hating blacks and gays too. It was, after all, fashionable.”

      I didn’t know that we could just make shit up. Hell, I also heard he once free fell from orbit and landed on a small child!

      Nobody’s saying you have to put your money his way. And it’s fine to be skeptical of it being used for what Hemant listed. But don’t go around libeling people for shit they haven’t done, you have no evidence they ever did, and frankly never any indication it happened. You do realize that during the civil rights marches there were people of all color including white, right? All manner of religious and non-religious backgrounds, right?

      And (it’s an exceptional day when I’m defending religion) how the fuck do you know he’s knowingly lying? What proof do you have that he doesn’t genuinely believe what he preaches? How do you even know what he preaches?

      Seriously, this pastor has done nothing to harm anyone as far as I can tell. He asked questions in a disrespectful manner and it’d be fine if you didn’t like that. I know I didn’t like that. But you? You can just go fuck off.

    • Jason Wexler

      the moother,

      I can sympathize with your point of view, even though I think it is unfortunate and repugnant. As an undergraduate I organized a first meeting of an LGBT group on my university campus. I went to a small liberal arts college in a very conservative Indiana town, where the board of regents was led by a man who was at the time, the most right-wing nut job in congress John Hostettler. At this meeting sitting in the back of the conference room was an older gentleman in his late 50′s, who neither myself nor anyone else there knew, but he kept offering very good suggestions during the discussions of how we wanted to organize and how to navigate the campus bureaucracy. Eventually we asked him to actually come join us at the front of the room and introduce himself, at which point he identified himself as the campus minister. Well many of the students there were suddenly quite terrified, I had promised them discretion and anonymity, and so as the de facto leader of this group I interrogated the campus minister for nearly half an hour. I was ashamed of myself almost immediately after, but he was a good man and handled the situation with understanding and equanimity. He understood why we would be skeptical of him and he accepted my initial hostility with good humor and returned it with friendship. Eventually he became the faculty adviser for the campus LGBT group, and later he supported me as an adviser and friend for a campus atheists group. In fact the only person at the school who was more supportive of my groups’ endeavors as well as the people involved in them, was his immediate predecessor as campus minister an octogenarian minister who was chairman of the department of religion and philosophy.

      So I know you said “chances are” and at the risk of making a faux pas in giving a math lesson in the comment section of a blog run by a math teacher, I have to say I am frustrated by people who rely on that expression, because it often indicates a startling lack of understanding about probability and statistics. Probability and statistics apply to groups or large ensembles as we call it in physics. It may be the case that a generic member of a particular group does in fact meet the criteria for having characteristic traits associated in high probability with a group. In fact it is even possible that this particular Pastor does have the characteristics of the group that you have described. However you can’t responsibly judge specific individuals by the method of probability. As exemplified elsewhere in this thread by the “Dutchman” example, the best way to reasonably judge a specific individual is by investigation and talking to them. I don’t recommend my youthful method of interrogation of course, but rather than making broad generalizations about an individual (even if those generalizations normally hold for people in their particular category or group) actually get to know them. If your point is valid in this particular case you would do well to point out the evidence of Pastor Hayes transgressions. Doing so would certainly help your case, otherwise you look like the exact same kind of ignorant bigot you are assuming Pastor Hayes is, or that I was when I interrogated a man who became one of my closest friends, allies and boosters; especially if you turn out to be wrong.

    • POLST

      Well you know what they say about assuming . . . .
      In any case, saying other human lives are more important than others is also just a personal bias. A human being is hurt and we should show empathy às fellow humans as opposed to belittling the suffering of anyone. Ever.
      We should strive to help everyone as we are able, whether in our own backyard or not. It’s always the right thing to do as an empathic humanitarian.

      • the moother

        I didn’t say that certain human lives are more important to others. Nobody’s life is at stake here. Nice strawman.

        What I did say is that some people are more worthy of help than others. Atheists should be contributing to other causes. Not paying lipservice to a media brouhaha to sanctimonious effect.

        It’s obvious that an inner-city kid whose entire existence is subject to systematic persecution by society is much more worthy of assistance than a guy that has an entire congregation at his feet.

        • POLST

          It’s fine if you don’t feel responsible and look at this as a situation already in the hands of others.
          However, those aren’t grounds to openly be scoffing at a stranger, filling in blanks about his life, and telling everyone how it shouldn’t be any of their concern either. It just seems like a callous thing to do, regardless of whatever cause you’re talking about. I could have the same attitude you do for any charity and occasionally do but I never pretend like I’m being anything less than cold and uncaring when I express that point of view.

    • Noelle

      I take it you don’t work in the medical field? Multiple ER visits, XRs, head CTs (which he likely had considering the head trauma and needing to rule out skull fractures and subdural hematomas and the like), etc. will hike that bill up real high real fast.

      No one said you had to give anything.

    • cary_w

      “25k for a few cuts and bruise?”

      Apparently you have never experienced the wonders of the American health care system. After a serious illness or injury, most Americans get to face the choice of either bankruptcy or death. As a pastor of a small church, it’s likely this guy had either no health insurance or really crappy insurance. Yes, it is shameful as a country to see victims of assaults and children with cancer begging for money to pay for their treatments, but until we elect people who can fix the problem, that’s what we’re stuck with. As flawed and inadequate as Obamacare is, at least it’s a step in the right direction and it very well might have helped Pastor Norm if it had gone into effect sooner.

      • the moother

        Thank you. You’re the first one to pick up on that subtlety without whining. Once I smashed myself up on a bike in the Netherlands and broke 3 ribs. Hospital trip for xrays, a tetanus shot and 3 weeks worth of painkillers came to €160.

        Possibly the greatest problem with Murca is that wherever there is a profit to be made, corporations and politicians are insistent on shafting the general population to make a fast buck.

    • JWH
  • Terry Firma

    Donated 20 bucks. Would everyone who donates leave a quick comment here? Maybe we can tally how much we’re able to kick in collectively.

    • Jenny

      Donated $20. Left a comment that I read the story on this blog.

    • the moother

      Or, if you donate to another cause (and donate in the name of Pastor Norm) then reply here too!

    • Terry Firma

      I don’t think you’d say that to my face, big boy. Or to my wife’s face, who is a Christian by the way.

      • joey_in_NC

        Hey Terry…sorry this is off topic, but have you ever written a blog post that goes into some detail on your marriage, specifically what compromises you and your wife had to make in order to make your relationship work? I’m genuinely curious. If you haven’t, I think it would be very interesting. But of course, it’s your private life and it’s entirely up to you to divulge anything so personal.

        • Terry Firma

          Thanks. It’s been on my mind on and off. I’d like to…at some point!

    • WallofSleep

      If I were still a teenager, I’d be spray painting “WARE A SORE IDIOT” everywhere just to watch people scratch their heads.

      • WallofSleep

        Well, low hanging fruit may not be the sweetest, but it still fills the stomach.

        • WallofSleep

          Oh snap! Shit’s about to get sci-fi sectarian up in here.

        • 3lemenope

          Hey, now. I liked Enterprise.

          • ShoeUnited

            You are why we can’t have nice things!

            • 3lemenope

              It’s certainly not a new complaint about me. :)

        • WallofSleep

          I’ll be honest, I used to think like our angry, bigoted friend here. Then a handful of years ago I started following this site, reading the kind of things Hemant had to say, seeing the kind of outreach he does, much like in this OP, and my anger slowly began to temper.

          I think the people who come here either complaining that this site is too friendly to the religious, or not friendly at all, are missing out on a great opportunity.

      • 3lemenope
        • WallofSleep

          And that is still less traumatic than learning latin from a nun. Or so I’ve been told.

          Anyway, one million up-votes. They just don’t make comedy like that anymore.

    • RowanVT

      I donated $25.

    • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

      I donated $100. There are already dozens of atheists identifying themselves with their donations on the donation site list. As of 8:25 Pacific time, 47 out of 77 donors have mentioned that they’re atheists.
      Thank you, everyone.

      • Michael

        At the present time, by my count 64 of 103 donors explicitly state they are either atheists, agnostics, humanists or readers of this blog and they have donated $1445 of $2064 – I didn’t count people who argue against labelling atheists unless they explicitly self-identified for obvious reasons.

        The donations list is chronological so if anyone really wants they can keep the numbers updated. As an economics graduate I like numbers enough to do it once.

        • Michael

          So I’m weak around numbers.

          83 of 134 donors, $1965 of $3209

        • Karmakaze

          Fuck you people are stupid.

          This pastor has now found a way to fleece the atheists & the religious.

          Genius.

      • joseph66

        They also wrote that they are very modest.

    • cr0sh

      Donated 20 bucks myself, and left a note saying I read about it here…

  • Mario Strada

    Leaving everything else aside, what does “Homophobic” have to do with any of this?

    • 3lemenope

      Episcopalianism?

      I know, I don’t trust any denomination that has more syllables in its name than my own either.

      Unitarian-Universalism is right out.

  • mdoc

    What?

  • C.L. Honeycutt

    What the hell are you on?

    • WallofSleep

      I’m gonna take a wild guess and say “Christian in atheist clothing”.

  • pauleky

    Don’t feed the troll.

  • Megan

    It doesn’t matter. He is human. Lets help him. Atheist or not. Just be the good people your fellow athiests know you are.

    • Abbé Faria

      And this church has no accountability that the money go to where they claim they will go. I don’t give money to charities without public records and I see no reason to change my standards for this man.

      • joseph66

        Then, don’t give a shit. Atheists usually give a lot less to charity,

        • Abbé Faria

          I give to charity, I just make sure there is oversight to where the money go.

        • the moother

          Citation needed?

          Religious people give almost nothing to charity. They tithe to their church and not much else. Actually, a church isn’t much of a charity. 5%~50% of what you give to a church actually goes to the needy. Most of it goes to paying the liar with the collar and his house and for the upkeep of a building that is only used a few hours per week.

          In fact, if you played the lottery you’d be more charitable than tithing in most cases. about 50% goes to charity and the other 50% goes to funding some lucky person’s retirement and running the program.

          You’d do well to donate to secular, accountable organisations like MSF. This group spends nearly 90% of donations on actually helping people.

          Read more here: http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org/donate/faq/?#q2234

          • joseph66

            It’s so easy to search at internet:

            The Catholic Church is the largest non-government provider of education and medical services in the world.[139]
            In 2010, the Catholic Church’s Pontifical Council for Pastoral
            Assistance to Health Care Workers said that the Church manages 26% of health care facilities in the world, including hospitals, clinics, orphanages, pharmacies and centres for those with leprosy

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catholic_Church#Social_teaching

            • the moother

              Yeah… These are not directly funded by donations to the church. These are businesses. Many of which make a profit. Many of which take government subsidies either directly or through tax breaks. They do not give away medicine or healthcare. They charge for their services.

              If the Vatican opened a chain of ice cream shops they’d be selling cones, not giving them away.

              Not much of the money donated to churches goes to helping people however you look at it.

              • Katrina Payne

                As a person who has made use of Church Charity Services…

                If the Vatican opened up a chain of ice cream “shops”, you’d be required to attend a one hour service before you got to have your ice cream. They’d lock doors fifteen minutes before ice cream was given out–and people would bitch outside about having to listen to a service to get Ice Cream.

                Ice Cream would only be provided at certain hours of the day, with ice cream tickets and huge line ups outside, as they could only serve maybe 250 people at any of these times of giving out Ice Cream.

                They’d make announcements of various other services they provide, such as helping to find work, addictions counselling, finding housing, getting onto welfare, etc. etc.

                Or at least… that is how soup kitchens work a lot of the time. Seeing as how I’ve been on and off the streets for the last decade or so, let me say… the churches are a charity that do not charge money to use them.

                No… often times you just have to sit through a long service before you get anything.

    • Karmakaze

      If this guy needs money, why doesn’t he sue the guy that actually did it? Or pray to god for a miracle?

      I’m not god. I do not intend to answer this moron’s prayers.

      • Katrina Payne

        So… what you are saying is he should launch a counter attack on athiests? And make the guy who punched him into a matyr?

        Is that what you are saying… why isn’t he fighting back, and merely asking for people to help him?

        I know… total asshole, not doing any kind of counter attack or anything.

    • FTP_LTR

      I’m deeply conflicted about this one.

      Nothing against Pastor Hayes, but why him? I’m not saying he doesn’t deserve help here – I’m just curious as to what the criteria are.

      How many people across the US were victims of muggings, beatings or other violence in the last week?

      How many of them have funds set up for their medical expenses?

      Do we rally round any pastor, preacher or priest who is injured? Or just ones attacked by atheists?

      Do they even need to be a pastor or priest?

      What about members of the congregation?

      What about agnostics?

      Or other atheists?

      • Katrina Payne

        I hear your point….

        Suppose we were in a situation where the Arabs and the Jews were being rude to each other, and giving rude gestures and stares to each other in all their media. With the one group knowing the others were the wrong ones… one has moved into all their houses and kicked out their stuff–and well, they have no rights to be in our homes and stuff. I mean… schools… schools… right.

        Now.. suppose a member of the group you personally agree with, punches a high up recognised member of the other group in the snozz. They are totally wrong, but even then, the member of our group who did it was also an asshole… but hey, our asshole punched the other group in the snozz, and they are all assholes. I mean, just open your mind, we are the correct side here.

        Now suppose the injury was a bit beyond what the person who was punched can easily treat… does he go after our group?

        Wait… he merely asks if we could help, rather than attack us back. Why aren’t the Christians launching rockets onto the Large Hadron Collider from the nearby mountains?!? WHY?!?!? IT IS WRONG THAT WE DON’T HAVE AN ALL OUT WAR!

        OH… shoot… I lost my point here… it couldn’t have been, “hey, it is wrong for anybody to be a jerk, no matter what banner they ride on.” in amongst, “atheists have been getting a bit too much on the holy might side of how they do stuff.”

  • thom

    I just donated $5, and I do wish him well. I agree with Hemant, it is how we react as a community that is paramount. (btw, don’t feed the trolls)

  • Christian

    The “Christian” thing to do is to help those in need, regardless of differences. “The Good Samaritan”, anyone?

  • Jim Baerg

    Re: the attacker being atheist.
    “There is no cause so right that you cannot find a fool following it.”
    Larry Niven
    “or a short tempered jerkass too.” Jim

    • Katrina Payne

      It is why I’ve started saying it simply that atheists have converted all the Valley Girl Wiccans from the Neo-Pagan circles. Which makes Neo-Pagan circles less irritating… but pretty much only moves the irritation to the Atheists… which is bad.

      • Marianna

        Ahaha! Those silly women, ruining and annoying our atheism! It’s totes valley girls’ fault that some atheist men like this shitty guy suck. Go home former wiccans!

        • Katrina Payne

          Valley Girl Wiccans is a gender neutral insult.

          Meaning it is an insulting concept to be called or just find yourself to be… whether you are a guy or a girl.

          I don’t think you quite understand what it is I am referring to either.

          This is a term for posers. Anonymous would call them Cancer. Punks would call them Posers. This is why people ran from Dada.

          Atheism does not have an appropriate term… so I figured I’d appropriate the most relevant one: Valley Girl Wiccan. People who don’t have any clue what shit is about–but will refuse to recognise that they are fools… going around causing trouble under a banner they have no clue about.

          Like the guy in the article. This guy was a Valley Girl Wiccan in amongst the Atheist circles.

    • joseph66

      Are you rationalizing the incident?

      • Katrina Payne

        He is explaining the rationale (or lack there of) that caused it.

        Aren’t Atheists suppose to be people who enjoy Science. Dude is positing a hypothesis here… now rather than refuting the hypothesis, perhaps help figure out a way to try to measure and observe it, to see if it cannot be made into theory.

  • ZenDruid

    Pastor Norm was just stupid enough to say something like that to a woman, with her boyfriend listening in. WTF was he thinking?

    • WallofSleep

      I agree. It was incredibly foolish, and I doubt he’ll make that mistake again. Still, what he said most certainly did not deserve to be responded to with violence, let alone the savage beating he got.

      • cary_w

        “I agree. It was incredibly foolish, and I doubt he’ll make that mistake again.”

        Which is really going to suck for the next domestic violence victim in his congregation. Yeah, he might have been able to handle the situation better, but he saw a woman who might be in danger and stepped in to help. I find it very cold-hearted and asshole-ish of you to call that a “foolish mistake”.

        • WallofSleep

          Of course you would, but that’s not what I meant at all. I only meant that it was foolish of him to ask her about it in front of her boyfriend, not that he should do absolutely nothing at all. Fuck, Cary, I am an asshole, but not that kind of asshole.

          • cary_w

            Yeah, I realize what you meant, but I still feel that you and some others in this discussion, crossed the line into victim blaming, and that just set me off. You could have all the training in the world about dealing with these kinds of situations and still not come out with a better outcome, because there is always the one big unknown: how the crazy guy is going to react. You could have done everything “right” according to your training and the crazy guy could have pulled out a gun and shot everyone in the congregation. We’ll never know. We’ll also never know exactly what the pastor was thinking and how it felt to be facing that particular crazy guy in that particular situation. While the situation is unfolding, you often don’t have time to consider your options, you’re just reacting to what’s happening and acting on instinct. Who’s to say you wouldn’t have done exactly the same thing in that situation?

            • WallofSleep

              Yeah, cuz “… what he said most certainly did not deserve to be responded to with violence, let alone the savage beating he got.” totally smacks of victim blaming.

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

          Well, it was a foolish mistake! Anyone who is a pastor should have at least basic training in how to deal with DV- it’s going to come up at least once in their ministry. And you do not provoke a potential abuser; they’ll just take it out on their victim later (or, much more rarely, beat the shit out of you and then take it out on the victim later).

          So yeah, the minister did something really fucking stupid. He did it with the best of intentions and from pure ignorance, and he definitely didn’t deserve any of what happened to him. Obviously. He still made a foolish mistake and it’s not wrong to point that out.

          • WallofSleep

            Yeah, I don’t know much about domestic violence, but I do know that a victim is very unlikely to be forthcoming about dv when their abuser is present.

          • 3lemenope

            Given this particular case, and particularly knowing how agitated the fellow was in the scene, I can’t help but think that the standard domestic violence advice would have been bad advice, leading at best nowhere. The “alternative” approach, in contrast, separated the abuser from the abused (one hopes permanently, but at the least with some hefty legal weight to enforce it given the public assault).

            Which sometimes happens. Sometimes standard practice in any field can lead, in a particular case, straight into a brick wall. Standard practice is about having a strategy that works for the broadest set of cases, and good standard practices identify when particular deviations from the paradigmatic case are relevant to application or even negate its direction entirely.

            For example, standard practice in a hijacking led to 9/11 being possible in a pragmatic sense; not attacking the hijackers turned out to be a catastrophic mistake, and the only plane not to hit its intended target was the one that disregarded standard practice as soon as it became clear that it was not a normal hijacking situation.

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

              Sure. And if I thought the pastor had gone into it with that attitude, I might even buy that.

              Unfortunately, I don’t. I think he just didn’t have a clue about DV at all. There’s nothing about this situation that suggests intent rather than ignorance. The standard doesn’t work all the time, but it became the standard for a reason.

              • 3lemenope

                Thing is, most people who are in his position would not have any counselor training or, likely-as-not, know anything about domestic violence social work at all. So his lack of said training can’t really be a factor in determining whether a person of his experience and skill-set acted appropriately. Had he been a DV counselor and acted as he did, I’d buy (some of) the criticism of his actions. Being who he was with what he had in the situation that actually presented itself to him, it’s actually hard to think of an end result that works better (except, of course, not getting as beat up, which also devolves to personal capacity and situational factors).

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

                  Except I’m not a DV counselor. I never have been. I am not a social worker, I don’t have a degree in social work, and I’ve never been trained as a DV advocate.

                  I know this because I bothered to look into it. As a pastor, you are going to see DV. It is part of your job to know how to recognize warning signs, draw out the stories, and just generally deal with it appropriately. Ignorance is no excuse in this case. His experience and skill set is exactly the issue- this is a skill set he should have.

                • 3lemenope

                  You know, every once in a while I wish that everyone had a functional understanding of political science. It would simplify a whole lot of conversations, at the least.

                  And then I remember that such a world would be unspeakably tedious. Political systems do not require their participants to understand their intricacies; if they did, they simply would not function. The value that is gained from everyone becoming aware of just why politics is as dispiriting as it is is easily swamped by the loss in other areas that such a requirement would cost in deadweight from taking the time to learn political science.

                  I don’t agree with the idea that a person should become conversant in every possible notion or situation that could reasonably intersect with either their vocation or their social position. There just isn’t enough time in the day, or days in the year, for that. Pastors are not, primarily, social workers, they are pastors. The roles are different enough that it doesn’t seem to me a great breach of duty for such a person to have not brushed up on protocols for dealing with abusive asshats. (And as Richard Wade pointed out elsewhere on the thread, such training is not really a guarantee for actually knowing either what to do or what to expect in a situation like this one.)

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

                  Every possible situation? No. But becoming conversant with situations that are common and that you will face? You’re being negligent at your job if you don’t brush up on those, and you will be socially embarrassed if you don’t think some things through ahead of time. Much of a pastor’s job includes, well, pastoral work. It’s very much social work. You interview couples to see if they’re ready to get married, you sit with the sick and dying, you try to arrange food and shelter for parishioners who need it, you counsel people with spiritual questions (which often spills over into talking about depression and other mental illnesses, self-harm, domestic violence, rape, and more). You also give some talks every Sunday about Bible stuff, but that isn’t actually a pastor’s primary role. Hir primary role actually is as an informal social worker. Ze should be trained in how to do it, or at least look into some common situations and how to handle them.

                  And no, training isn’t going to guarantee the best, or even a good, response. It sure ups the odds of it, though.

    • 3lemenope

      WTF was he thinking?

      The person the agitated asshole is with is perhaps in danger? Really, what more excuse do you need to interfere? I imagine all sorts of anciliary notions come along for the ride, like this guy couldn’t possibly be stupid enough to take a poke at me in this very public place and end all doubt that he’s a violent nutball, and if he is that stupid, at least that’s out.

      (I imagine the sheer viciousness of the attack was a surprise. I don’t think that he was attacked at all was much of a surprise, even to him.)

      • TCC

        I think you’re possibly overlooking why doing so in public – in front of the boyfriend, especially – is very inadvisable. There’s a good possibility, for instance, that her response might not be truthful if the boyfriend is right there listening to her answer; a private conversation would result in more reliable information. If he had reason to think that the boyfriend was dangerous, then expressing a concern for her safety in front of him would escalate matters. I definitely don’t think the pastor deserved the beating, not by any stretch, but neither do I think that his actions were prudent.

        • 3lemenope

          There’s a good possibility, for instance, that her response might not be truthful if the boyfriend is right there listening to her answer; a private conversation would result in more reliable information.

          My intuition runs in the opposite direction. In my experience, anyway, abused people in private conversations are extremely likely to minimize or make excuses for abusive behavior, whereas when it is in public and out of their control, the abuse becomes more difficult to rationalize.

          • TCC

            Even if that were the case (and I’m not convinced that it is), you’re putting the abused person in the situation of calling out their abuser in public, which could put them in further danger.

            • 3lemenope

              I think what short-circuits that process is the abuser often outs themselves, as he did in this case.

              I definitely think there is no perfect way to approach situations like this, and cases are highly sensitive to the personalities and dynamics involved. But when a person sees another person in danger, and that danger seemed imminent (as this person was acting in a deranged fashion throughout the sermon, according to reports), de-escalation at best only guarantees that the danger to the person is delayed somewhat.

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

              You’re both right.

              I did just that — minimized, made excuses, and otherwise covered for my abuser. (Oh yeah, I had a stoopid.)

              The few times I called him out on his behavior, publicly or privately, ended… badly.

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

          Public equals witnesses, useful if it goes to trial.

      • 3lemenope

        I can only go by your behavior here. I don’t know you in those other contexts. And by your behavior here, the words I chose were both accurate and appropriate.

        Cowardice is more than a simple inability to face an enemy. It can also be an inability to face yourself, to own up to your actions. Your very first interaction here was you rather rudely and aggressively questioning the military service of another declared veteran.

        It went downhill from there.

        When called out on it, you resorted to bluster rather than accepting any criticism, tried to cash in on your own military career (which I slapped you around on because the level of hypocrisy you doing that entailed was just so stunning) and your age. Despite, of course, not knowing the ages or experiences of the people you were attempting to communicate with. Bluster, blame-shifting, resorts to irrelevant authority; these are all typical of a person who is afraid that they will be seen for what they are. The irony there, of course, is that if you didn’t throw so much venom to hide what you don’t want people to see (that perhaps, just perhaps, you are not an expert on everything under the sun), folks would be more accepting of you.

        It’s not a horrible thing to not know everything. For myself I can only plausibly claim expertise in a couple of fields, and my life’s experiences, while broad from some points-of-view, can only ever inform the topics and contexts of those experiences and those analogous to those experiences. If you weren’t vicious, your expertise and your experiences might actually add to the conversation. But you really need to work on your interpersonal skills first (at least the ones you seem to have online).

        • 3lemenope

          I earned the right to question the claims of online REMF liars the hard way.

          No, you haven’t. And if you think your alleged service entitles you to shit on the service of others, then you really are demented.

          Only scum think they can “earn the right” to do scummy things. Evil isn’t a privilege.

          • 3lemenope

            Neat. So, if I’m so crazed, why do you keep wasting your time?

            • 3lemenope

              ROFL

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

                If this verbal abuse is how he “helps” people, I don’t want his “help”.

      • Cake

        “You are welcome to join me next year when I make the visit here. I’d
        love to have you with me, to show you, teach you things of which you
        know little-nothing. I am about certain you will not accept my
        invitation. No online blowhard like you ever has done so. Wonder why?”

        Is it because your hostility, and contempt for anything and anyone who isn’t already in lockstep with you doesn’t inspire trust in your teaching abilities?

        • Cake

          Projection, you’re doing it again.

        • Cake

          Fuck off little coward. 3lemenope already dealt with you.

          “Cowardice is more than a simple inability to face an enemy. It can also be an inability to face yourself, to own up to your actions. Your very first interaction here was you rather rudely and aggressively questioning the military service of another declared veteran.
          It went downhill from there.
          When called out on it, you resorted to bluster rather than accepting any criticism, tried to cash in on your own military career (which I slapped you around on because the level of hypocrisy you doing that entailed was just so stunning) and your age. Despite, of course, not knowing the ages or experiences of the people you were attempting to communicate with. Bluster, blame-shifting, resorts to irrelevant authority; these are all typical of a person who is afraid that they will be seen for what they are.”

          “Only scum think they can “earn the right” to do scummy things. Evil isn’t a privilege.”

          • Cake

            LOL.
            Projecting, you’re doing it again coward.

            • Cake

              I guess the little kid stuff hit too close to home.
              Sad. You’re a stereotype and don’t even know it.
              Sorry kid.

              http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/internet-tough-guy

              • Cake

                (Rolleyes)
                TLDR [translation for the little kids: Too Long Didn't Read]

                Not Caring, I’m doing it better than you.

    • cary_w

      WTF was he thinking??!? This is what he was thinking:

      He was thinking that Maxie’s girlfriend might not be safe with him. He saw a woman who seemed very likely to become the victim of domestic violence, and prehaps he suspected she already was, and, rather than just letting it go, he said something while he had the chance. Given the outcome of his actions, it’s very clear that this woman WAS in danger, he very likely saved her from a similar beating and prehaps saved her life. Yeah, I’ll donate to this guys recovery fund, but not because I want to show him an atheist can be caring, I’ll donate to him because he recognised a potential domestic violence victim and stepped in to help.

      Appearently jerks like ZenDruid wouldn’t have done the same. They would have just turned the other cheek and walked away.

      • ZenDruid

        Pastor Norm couldn’t ask her that question privately, then? That, at least, is something a jerk like me could handle.

        My point is that he diddit rong.

        • 3lemenope

          The likely result of asking an abused person in private if they are being abused is, unfortunately, nothing.

          I am not of the opinion that a person must be psychologically ready to ask for help in order to receive it.

        • cary_w

          Right… You, of course, would have magically had time to consider the situation and somehow would have been able to get the woman away from the creep as they were walking out of the church together. The guy saw that something was wrong, and did something, he should be praised for that, instead of having people belittle him for not doing it right. This guy is the victim of a brutal beating, and you seem to be saying that he asked for it, or somehow deserved it, because he said something insensitive. I suppose you also think a woman who dresses provocatively deserves to be raped? Victim blaming is jerkish behavior no matter what the circumstances.

          • ZenDruid

            Don’t assume that you know what prompted my response to the situation.

            • cary_w

              Fine, then quit assuming you know how the pastor could have handled the situation better.

        • Ibis3

          And what exactly would make you think he could have had an opportunity to have a private conversation with her?

    • Emily Moskal

      If he had to do it over, I’m sure he would have listened to the advice of every. victim’s advocate. ever. You don’t ask the “are you safe?” question in front of a violent abuser. Answering honestly only makes the victim less safe, and regardless of the victim’s answer, you’re all but guaranteeing that the abuser will cut off the victim’s access to you as a potential lifeline.

      Still… his heart was in the right place, and he’s suffering horribly for a mistake he probably never knew was a mistake in the first place. Professional training– it helps.

      • ZenDruid

        I agree. His was definitely a Pyrrhic victory, and I can’t help thinking he feels a bit better, knowing that the violent misfit won’t have a chance now to unleash on the woman.

        • 3lemenope

          I can’t help thinking he feels a bit better, knowing that the violent misfit won’t have a chance now to unleash on the woman.

          Doesn’t this then qualify not so much as a Pyrrhic victory but as a victory victory? Victim safe, abuser arrested, intercessor alive. Many things worth doing, especially in a moral sense, have a personal cost associated with the doing. It is right and just for a society to help alleviate some of those costs, since we as a society want to incentivize good behavior as much as we want to tamp down on bad.

  • Eric Moody

    What does homophobia have to do with any of this? I’m gay as gay gets and I resent the idea of homophobia being used as a tool to justify every liberal and/or atheist argument. It’s not just some casual idea. It’s a real thing that deserves individual, real consideration. Moreover, what do you know about this man to call him a bigot or a homophobe? These irrational, hate-filled outbursts do nothing to advance our cause as atheists. If we appear as rabig dogs, we will continue to be treated as such. Calm your ass down and take a minute to think before you speak. We have a lot to prove as atheists, whether we like it or not.

  • Martin Rolfe

    I gave $10.00 because this is an outrage that must not stand.

  • ClintonK

    Clearly all he needs to do is pray for the cash? It always worked before right? Like when loads of white people pray for all those starving kids in those dry dusty countries. Or do they give them bibles and tell them to have hope? What I’m getting at is, eating disorders plague America’s children. Thank you . . . .

  • ufo42

    So the ACA isn’t helping that much eh? Americans are great at patching up individual disasters like this, but piss poor at fixing the root problem. No civilized country would have a medical system which would bankrupt someone for the “crime” of getting beaten up by a nutball.

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

      Considering it doesn’t actually go into effect for another, oh, 2 1/2 months or so, no, the ACA isn’t helping yet.

      Now granted, our medical system sucks and the ACA is only a bandaid. But it is really, really unfair to blame it when it hasn’t even started yet.

  • grumpy_otter

    Awesome. I plan to also write a letter to the Pastor telling him how much THIS atheist abhors what happened to him!

  • Emily Moskal

    Donated $20 and left a comment about faith in humanity being a fragile thing when people can be so scary– let him know I was one of the Friendly Atheist gang, although I generally lurk instead of posting.

    I bit my tongue about addressing domestic abuse in a sermon, and getting information from trained social workers on creating a safe space for potential victims to answer questions honestly without fear of retaliation. It’s too soon to go there, but I seriously hope someone does once he has recovered.

  • grumpy_otter

    I just read all the comments on the Donate page–the atheist contributions look to be about 90%. Way to go community! (And just think–maybe FOX news will start talking about how nice we all are!)

    lol–a moment of skeptical lapse

    • Michael

      His son has now posted a comment which talks about “the connection despite differences” so it’s been noticed.

  • keddaw

    What the hell is wrong with your country when a shitty thing like this happens and one of the things on the victim’s mind is how to pay to be well?

    And I say this as a quasi-libertarian! If we can afford wars of aggression we can afford care for citizens (you know, the rubes who pay for everything).

  • steveschlicht

    I will send an extra donation to the local food bank to help others – in recognition of both of their errors in judgement.

  • JOHNNYICE

    SENT MY 10 BUCKS WITH WELL WISHES UNDER THE NAME “I’M AN ATHEIST”

    • joseph66

      Yeah, no one asked. Really. It’s pathetic. We all can be good or bad, being atheists orftheists.

      You can also say that you are very humble.

  • Nick

    Militant Atheists don’t go to church ha ha that’s exclusively for the child brains. What’s more likely is that this guy was known to the rabbie and he was concerned for the girls safety, he then proves his point by receiving a beating. Fuck all to do with Atheism and everything to do with the baby brains creating negative association with the path of truth ;)

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

    Although few are likely to read this so far down in the comments, I want to respond to those who are saying that Pastor Norm “should have known better” than to ask the perpetrator’s girlfriend if she was safe while right in front of him, resulting in the attack. That is an unfair assumption.

    As a licensed counselor with a Masters Degree in psychology, I did not receive special training in how to recognize and deal with potentially violent people until I was working at a job where it was likely I would encounter them. The majority of professional psychotherapists do not ever receive the extensive training I got. I was very skilled at it, but even so, I was attacked once. He was a recently retired police officer, but fortunately for both of us, he was drunk. I was able to “neutralize” him without harming him. Had he been more sober, I still probably would have been able to stop him, but both of us could have been injured in the struggle.

    I have never heard of people with degrees in Divinity receiving anything more than very basic general education in psychology, if even that. Sometimes they get a class on counseling techniques. Being able to recognize the often subtle cues that unstable, disturbed people might exhibit is a skill I would not expect of them. It’s unreasonable to expect it of them.

    I seldom toss out diagnoses, but would hazard a guess that Mr. Maxie has Intermittent Explosive Disorder. If so, it could be impossible for anyone, even a well-trained professional, to know this until he unexpectedly explodes. To use the analogy of a “short fuse” is misleading. It’s more like a bomb with an invisible “explode now” button. It is impossible to foreknow what might push that button.

    Pastor Norm did not realize that he was tinkering with a bomb. He asked a question that might annoy or embarrass a normal person, even a person with “anger issues,” but for Mr. Maxie, it pressed the button.

    It is well said, “Hindsight is 20/20.” Having seen the outcome, let’s not use the advantage of our hindsight to harshly judge a victim by saying “he should have known better.” No, he should not have.

    • WolfgangDS

      I won’t say that the beating was his fault. I will say that it was an abrasive question to ask. If I were in Maxie’s shoes, I would have said, “Oi! What kind of a question is that?!”, glared at him while he fumbled apologies, then excused myself and the girl so that we might acquire lunch.

      He may not have realized he was dealing with someone who needs a lot of anger management courses, but he still shouldn’t have asked the question, if only because it was rude. At the very least, he shouldn’t have asked it in front of Maxie.

      • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

        Saying “I won’t say that the beating was his fault” doesn’t take that attitude out of the rest of your words. The way you say “He shouldn’t have,” sounds a lot like “He had it coming.” If you think saying something “rude” is worthy of a serious beating, perhaps you should look at the blame-the-victim tone in your own remarks, which are far beyond rude.

        • Mads Andreas Elvheim

          It’s not the same thing. Imagine if you forgot to lock your front door before leaving your house, and then you get robbed by a burglar. It was perhaps *careless* and definitely unfortunate that you forgot to lock the door, but it wasn’t your *fault* that you got robbed. It was the burglar’s fault. See the similarities here? Pointing out some common sense precautions that wasn’t done, is perhaps light criticism of the victim, but it’s not blaming the victim.

          • Karmakaze

            But if you put up a sign that said “this door not locked”, it would be your own damn fault if you got robbed.

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

              I suppose you also think rape victims “were asking for it”, and battered women “should have just kept their mouths shut” if they didn’t want a beating.

              Jackass.

              • WolfgangDS

                Entirely different scenarios. Nobody deserves rape. Battered women should run to safety- whether it be to a friend or a family member, so long as the police get involved as soon as possible.

                This was a matter of a rude question getting a disproportionate reaction. Nothing the pastor did deserved a savage beating, nor will I EVER say that he had it coming.

                But I will say what he DID have coming: An ugly look and a a piece of Maxie’s mind. If Maxie had been more level-headed, he would have done little more than inform the pastor that he took offense to the question.

            • Katrina Payne

              Or… maybe people should just not be assholes to each other?

          • Katrina Payne

            What is more… why is the burglar even bothering to rob you?

            What is his reason to get off on such an invasion of people’s personal space?

            That asshole burglar is a broken person, and it is imperative to figure out why he did that… it is because he has issues… that clearly need to be dealt with and helped.

            I mean… robbing people is a jackass move…

            Why is he being a jackass? That means he is broken.

        • TheG

          Richard, you are usually full of wisdom, but this is where I have to disagree. Not everything is a dualism. Two thoughts can exist at the same time and one does not cancel out the other.

          If the guy hadn’t beat up the pastor, would it be acceptable to say he was saying something unacceptable by accusing someone he doesn’t know of being a violent man?

          • TheG

            My point is that both can be dicks without victim blaming. It isn’t like blaming a rape victim who “shouldn’t have dressed like that”. If there’s nothing wrong with what the victim is doing, it is deplorable to talk about what the victim was/was not doing. This isn’t one of those cases. Talking about what the pastor did isn’t the same as blaming him for another’s violent actions.

            • Katrina Payne

              Actually it is…

              Most people operate on the notion that “stimulus/response” is something human beings react to.

              So when people describe the events leading up to what happened, to get the down decently… what they generally are doing is, “Well, if he doesn’t want to get bopped in the face, he better not do that”

              • TheG

                “Most people” is not the same as “all people”. So, actually, it isn’t.
                Civilized, rational minds can separate the two. If you find the conversation devolves based on irrational emotional needs and that prevents continuation of the discourse, well I believe that says more about you than anything else.

                • Katrina Payne

                  Civilized and rational minds is the lie a fool’s head allows to entertain.

                  If you wish to interact with others… you need to understand emotion is an important mental construct and has far more push to it than logic can ever hope.

                  Logic points in the right direction, I won’t argue…

                  But emotion is what gets stuff done.

                  The greatest thing anybody in life can figure out how to do, is stop thinking of Logic/Emotion as concepts where one needs to rule over the other (Logic over Emotion, or Emotion over Logic)… and have them as two mental constructs that work together with each other in congruent directions.

                  If you wish to leave emotion behind it will only leave you behind in life. You shall find yourself impotent to emotional surroundings.

                  Now then… that aside, when I look at the emotion theatrics of a situation, it is like looking at the engines of a star ship. No matter the cold logic you give for directions… something must push it forward. Emotion is the best drive for that, that current exists.

                  I mean… as much as your Star Trek Vulcan Ideology is shared with a lot of people in the area. I’m more of B’Elanna Torres style person. Where just sheer will power and emotional pouring into a problem will solve it… and solve it so hard in its stupid problem face. This is why Vulcans could never stand up to Klingons.

                  edit: having issues with the reply dialogue. Dang this thing can get irritating.

        • karmakaze

          It WAS his fault.

          He DID have it coming.

          I would have done the same damn thing, and I do not have any anger management issues.

          It is clear that this “pastor” said it *only* to provoke the atheist. Why should I feel sorry that the atheist was actually provoked?

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

            Maxie? Is that you? Are you here defending your tiny manhood that was so terribly “insulted” by the truth?

          • MrHillbillyj .

            hey he didnt know he was an atheist. re read the article.

          • C.L. Honeycutt

            I do not have any anger management issues.

            You’ve well and truly demonstrated otherwise.

        • WolfgangDS

          Did he have the beating coming? No, of course not. Was the beating excessive? That’s putting it mildly. Should he be helped? Of course.

          None of this changes the fact that the question itself, as well as the timing, was inappropriate. If he had gotten a stern glare and a, “I’m right here, you know, and I find that very offensive,” or something similar, nobody here would disagree. Heck, even if Maxie had yelled at the pastor and then stormed out, I doubt the worst anyone would say about it would be, “He overreacted, but he was right.”

          What I’m trying to say is what I’ve already said: The pastor’s timing and the question itself were just plain rude. I am NOT saying that he deserved to be beaten. He didn’t, and I have a tough time coming up with a reason anyone would.

          He just shouldn’t have asked that question, at least not at that time. The pastor didn’t deserve the beating, but Maxie didn’t deserve the humiliation.

      • nailedvision

        Consider that Maxie was a registered sex offender. While I couldn’t find the exact age of the girl on Maxie’s Facebook page, the picture I did find certainly wasn’t of a 28 year old–maybe 18-22.

        It would be useful to know the situation that lead up to the assault. Did Maxie storm out of the church with the girl in tow? Was he tugging at her, yelling, or starting to get angry? We don’t know. So it’s very hard to say whether the pastor was right in bringing it up at that point.

        • Karmakaze

          We do know that the pastor said she was going to hell, so clearly he didn’t give a shit about her well-being.

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

            No, we don’t know that — we have only the word of a known violent offender trying to “justify” his violent outburst.

      • Christopher StClair II

        The fact that this guy responded to that question by beating the crap out the questioner indicates not only that the question was insightful but that it was needed.

        • WolfgangDS

          It does no such thing. It indicates that Maxie has severe anger management issues and nothing more. The question was no more insightful than winning a game of Pin the tail on the donkey is skillful.

      • Guest

        “He may not have realized he was dealing with someone who needs a lot of anger management courses, but he still shouldn’t have asked the question, if only because it was rude.”

        WRONG.

        The news article and Mehta’s summary both said the guy was being antagonistic and difficult during the entire service. As a former Christian who has visited many churches as both a guest and member, I can say that this is not appropriate behavior in a church. As a guest in another person’s/group’s space (anywhere, not just church) you have an obligation to be a gracious, polite, and courteous guest.

        There is enough context to think that the guy was probably beyond the point of being polite. If the pastor (who, besides believing in things on bad or no evidence, seems a reasonable guy) asked that question, I would guess that the context of the perpetrator’s demeanor, actions, and words suggests they were well beyond the point of extending courteous politeness.

        The very fact that the pastor had the gall to ask such a question suggests that the pastor himself felt threatened or bothered by his behavior, something that is entirely consistent with the other reports and the perp’s history of violent behavior. I’m guessing that’s how it played out.

        That said, after spending years in Asia, I’ve come to adopt a more holistic understanding of interpersonal disputes. In Japan, for example, anytime there is a car accident, both parties are assigned a percentage of fault. 80% and 20% responsibility for the accident. Its not a perfect system, (even if you are rear-ended at a red light you are still legally 10% responsible), but I’ve come to see some wisdom in this approach and perhaps we should assign some degree of responsibility on the pastor. Perhaps he could have been more diplomatic. However, he’d be like 3% responsible max I think and the perp 97% or more.

      • Katrina Payne

        Actually… I think he should have.

        The girl has no reason to doubt he is an abrassive abusive asshole and wrong and news.

        There is something about punching out clergy that has women not want to date people. Not that I know from personal experience–I cannot think of too many women who have dumped me after I beat up a clergy member… but it is not an action I do fairly often.

        Usually I limit my assaults to true jerks… like the police, people who cut in line, people who drive too slow in the fast lane, and various other proper members of society… though usually after that there are two reactions:
        1) The girl ends up using that as foreplay
        2) The girl breaks up with me.

        I should note relationships with response one also never end well. Those girls… well… yeah, not a good idea to date those.

        People who are willing to punch over ridiculous reasons (I have no reason to believe Pastor double dipped once at the snack bar!) will likely continue to punch over ridiculous reasons, no matter who they are punching, and poorly justify it (not like how I justify killing that guy, because I was curious as to what he looked like bleeding… you know a proper justification like that).

        If anything… the girl isn’t likely to stay with him too long afterwards. I’m no relationship expert (as I am currently single… biggest sign of that)… but punching clergy never seems to create a proper decent relationship. It usually ends up being a sign that the couple will break up soon.

    • Katrina Payne

      I more go the angle “Controlling other people’s emotions is not my job. My job is to control my own emotions”… and handle it as other people are to do it that way as well.

      If he wants to get pissed off, and act on that anger inappropriately–that is his stuff right there. Don’t expect me to dance, and try to control his issues. I’m not his mother.

      So yeah… guy flipped out and attack the pastor. That was the idiot who attacked the pastor’s problem, not the pastor. Dude would have attacked somebody else if the pastor wasn’t there. Dude was just making an excuse–and hoped people would buy that bullshit.

      Honestly… Xtianity did get one thing right. Humanity is not ready for the message of, “let’s try to avoid being giant dicks to each other, okay?”–as their main dude man got nailed to a tree for saying that… Martin Luther King Jnr and Gandhi both got shot for that too. Still no idea what that crosses the mind of the Christians of having a Cross for their symbol. It strikes me like showing up at Martin Luther King Jnr Day with a Remington 760 Gamemaster around my neck… it is just in bad taste. I mean… especially considering Yeshua was also black (He was Jewish… but he was more importantly black).

      But… this is why I am okay to advocate violence as an answer when it protects the people you care about. Pastor should have popped that abusive cunt right back in the face and been all, “okay, now I KNOW you have been beating her, you little piece of shit”… and went that way with it. Pastor would have been less injured afterwards.

      • Karmakaze

        >Dude would have attacked somebody else if the pastor wasn’t there.

        If they had accused him of beating his girlfriend, then said she was going to hell anyway… probably.

        Those are “fighting words”. If you say things like that to people, don’t expect any sympathy from me if those people beat the shit out of you.

        I’m not a peace love an happiness type hippy. I know some people need a sever beatdown every now and then, and this pastor was one of them.

        He had god on his side so he felt no fear. No he knows god won’t help him if he picks fights. Hard lesson to learn, but a necessary one.

        • Katrina Payne

          > If they had accused him of beating his girlfriend, then

          > said she was going to hell anyway… probably.

          If God put his finger down onto the Earth and had the asshole burst into fire, it would have been different.

          We aren’t here to play what if.

          Putting words into other people’s mouth is being a jerk. Be you Atheist, Neo-Pagan, Christian, Muslim, Taoist, Subgenius, Pastafarian, Bushidoko, Buddhist, Zenko, Confusciousko, C’thulhu Cultist, Mormon–or any of the various religions/spiritualities that generally are not that terrible (except some of the people in them).

          I am not a love and happy and peace hippie either.

          I just want to make certain I am punching THE RIGHT assholes in the face. As just guessing who to punch is both unscientific and counterproductive.

          I go full on with Science as to who needs a good punch in the jaw! WITH TEST TUBES AND BEAKERS AND SHIT!

    • cary_w

      Thank you, Richard, you can always be counted on to be the voice of reason around here. I found it very upsetting to see some of the comments here crossing the line into victim blaming, there’s just no excuse for that. If you weren’t there, face-to-face with someone acting crazy, then who are you to judge what should have been done better in that situation?

      I think what set me off about this case is comparing it to kidnapping victim, Elizabeth Smart, who has recently been in the news again, promoting her book. If you’ve ever heard her speak about victims rights, it’s incredibly powerful. She has her own critics who said, “why didn’t you run or speak up to other people when you had the chance?” She will then look her critic right in the eye and say something to the effect of, “You were not there, you have no idea what I was going through, so shut the fuck up.” Except that she is far to polite and refined to swear, but you get the idea. I hope that if Pastor Norm hears any of the criticism of his actions he too has the strength to say the same thing. While it’s worthwhile to use this situation as an example of why pastors should get some training on identifying and dealing with cases of possible abuse and even exploring ways he might have dealt with the situation better, it needs to be focused on moving forward and dealing with future situation. No one should call what he did a “mistake” or “foolish”, what’s done is done. He did what he could in a desperate situation and there is absolutely no guarantee that it would have turned out any better had he done something different or followed some sort of DV training.

      • Karmakaze

        > If you weren’t there, face-to-face with someone acting crazy, then who are you to judge what should have been done better in that situation?

        I wouldn’t have told that crazy person’s girlfriend that she was going to hell, after asking her if her boyfriend abused her just to provoke him.

        If I did that, I’d expect to be fighting hard within a few minutes, max.

        If you poke an angry bear, don’t cry to me about how badly you got gored.

        • Katrina Payne

          Honestly… it really doesn’t matter what you say to a crazy person.

          They will react in a crazy way… because they are crazy.

          Anything he did would have been viewed as an attack by the crazy person. Simple as that.

    • Karmakaze

      Get fucked.

      This guy picked a fight. It happens every fucking day, all over the world.

      He just couldn’t back up his mouth with his fists. Now he wants us to pay for the damage caused by his stupidity.

      Fuck him.

  • BradleyHart

    I question his atheism How many militant atheists go to church regularly trying to get back in touch with god? That is what he told the cops he had been doing. Call me a cynic, but we all know damn well how many forum trolls there are that start out by saying, “I am an Atheist…” the go on to say absolutely ridiculous comments, bad mouth non-believers, and then apologize for religion. I am just not buying the guy’s claim of militant atheism.

  • Morris Rhoades

    “It should be a given. If God’s not looking out for us, we have to look out for each other.” Why worship him then? There is always two sides to any story, we don’t know what really happened at that particular moment, maybe ole boy just jumped up and let his mouth write a check his @ss couldn’t cash. There’s something to be said about minding your own business.

  • http://cityzenjane.wordpress.com/ cityzenjane

    Thanks for the head’s up. This is something we can help with…in spite of the stupid reporting from the media.

  • Drew James

    A positive vote for ‘Obamacare’ would cut the medical bill drastically dontcha’ think !

  • AtheistsAreUs

    its a great idea. I donated a small sum, let him know that as an atheist, I d NOT support the violence Maxie used, and that although I do not support the harm and prejudice perpetuated within most religions, including Christianity, I did wish him well. shared on FB too.

  • AtheistsAreUs

    lol! I note that the atheist donations at present are about 90% Interesting correlation to the 10% atheist population statistics!

    • Michael

      Closer to 75% – the stats are elsewhere in the comments.

  • Katrina Payne

    I think it nicely counters how a large number of alleged atheists keep acting like being Christian means you automatically are like the Westboro Baptist Church or how being Muslim means you are automatically like the Taliban.

    Either way… Atheists, you’ve converted all the Valley Girl Wiccans. Which has made Neo-Pagan circles nicer… but you guys need to understand: they are still the same fools they were when they were still Valley Girl Wiccans. Which is going to cause issues until you develop strategies to differentiate from the Valley Girl Wiccan conversions in your ranks.

    Neo-Pagans ended up coming up with several strategies to get around this–most of them not working. The Heirarchy of the Golden Dawn really didn’t work (Aleister Crowley, a writer of erotic literature, got around that easily), indicating some degree or order to show knowledge didn’t work. What ended up working was listening to other people when talking with them, and understanding, “you know–yes, it is possible people might see me as a Valley Girl Wiccan. The most I can do is act in a way that shows I am not, and hope people can see it.”–and also realising Valley Girl Wiccans tend to attack people who don’t necessarily fall for their crap right away.

    Atheists… as much as you understand your way as the more intelligent and scientific way (which is also a claim the Muslims and Neo-Pagans make… just FYI)… you got a bunch of dingle berries in your ranks.

    This bullshit here? He was a Valley Girl Wiccan convert in your ranks. You’ll find they might not have ever actually been Valley Girl Wiccans… but what “opened their eyes to atheism” will read similar to how Valley Girl Wiccans got brought into the world of Neo-Paganism. This is a thing here people.

    • Mark Hyzer

      What the fuck are you rambling about?!

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

        Something about Fluffy-bunny Wiccans.

      • Katrina Payne

        Dude… it should be obvious.

        This shit is showing up, as you don’t have guards over converting the fools and idiots to Atheism.

        You guys successfully converted all the Valley Girl Wiccans. For EVERYTHING that implies. They are now in YOUR ranks fucking your shit up.

        You need to figure out how to handle that now.

        I cannot do a post in four paragraphs. >.>’

        • C.L. Honeycutt

          While I get the message, and it makes perfect sense, you need a more universally recognized appellation than “Valley Girl Wiccans”. I can’t think of any to suggest offhand, sadly.

          Ugh, I know a couple of these people. They’re so goddamn dimwitted. One has been calling herself a witch and Wiccan for a few years, but when someone on Facebook mentioned a Book of Shadows, she exclaimed, “That sounds so cool! What is that?”

          • Katrina Payne

            Yeah… that is the issue… I cannot think of any better term either.

            But those people are now in the ranks of the Atheists. Creating stuff like what happened up in the article above.

            Atheists need to figure out strategies to deal with that. All I can suggest is look at how the Neo-Pagans have managed to do it. As they are one of the few groups to show success with it.

            That and the Juggalos/Juggalettes…

            Though I doubt asking atheists to look at how the Fam has solved issues with fake loes and fake hoes, in their ranks of Juggalos, Juggalettes, Ninjas and Ninjettes is something I can think of as even a close to likely strategy to follow.

          • TiltedHorizon

            I read in a ‘literal’ sense, I had to make a few passes before the idea of “Valley Girl Wiccans” registered as a metaphor. Now that I understand your point, which I do agree with, I don’t agree that he is in our ranks.

            I’m Hispanic, should I include MS-13 (the gang) in my ranks on the singular commonality of being Hispanic? I find nothing in the article suggesting the attack was predicated on his lack of belief, this nutter was set off by Pastor Norm’s ‘confrontation’. Had Pastor Norm been an atheist the result would very likely be the same, all he needed was to have his fuse lit.

            EDIT: Sorry C.L., I thumbed my reply in error to you. It was meant for Katrina.

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

            *facepaw*

            She didn’t know…*stunned silence*

      • C.L. Honeycutt

        The short version is “As atheism enters the public consciousness, more and more adherents are going to be shallow and/or stupid people who call themselves atheists because they think it sounds hip and counterculture, and they can’t call themselves Wiccans or Tribal or Steam-Whatevers anymore because that stuff sounds played. It’s going to become a task to mitigate the damage they will do just by talking, until they move on to calling themselves Aztec Druids or something.”

  • Abbé Faria

    We have no way of knowing that the church isn’t exaggerating the medical bill, or will use any overhead to print bibles. And since there is no accountability I have no interest in funding this church.

    • primenumbers

      That’s a problem with so many charities. As long as churches are not accountable with their tax exemption it’s very problematic to help them in any way no matter how worthy the cause.

      • primenumbers

        “willingly to anyone who has more money than I do” – which would mean we shouldn’t be giving to most churches, and indeed I’d reckon all but the most minor of religions have far more wealth than I do.

        Churches in North America are indeed not accountable. You give them money and you cannot find out exactly where it goes, and a lot of it goes to proselytization rather than proper charitable works. We all effectively give vast amounts to all churches anyway via their tax exemption.

        • primenumbers

          How much money does the Christian religion possess? Add up the Catholic Church, the Church of England, all those massive Mega-Churches. Christianity has more cash than most countries.

          • primenumbers

            “Why should I read another thing you post? ” – I don’t think you should read anything more. You’ve just engaged in a “no true Christian” argument that’s laughable.

            My point is that in North America, Churches are not accountable for the money they’re given, and because of their tax breaks they’re effectively already being massively supported by everyone whether we like it or not.

            • primenumbers

              Lovely, an ad hominem.

              • primenumbers

                No, you’re still attacking the person.

                • primenumbers

                  Yet more personal attacks.

                • FTP_LTR

                  Off-topic, but bugging me…

                  What the hell is “half-vast” supposed to mean?

                  If vast is a “great extent”, is half-vast a “lesser extent”?

                  Ron – I don’t think you understand what ad hominem means.

                  If, instead of dealing with an argument, you say “you’re biased” – that’s ad hominem.

                  If, instead of dealing with an argument, you call someone (by association) a Liberal Loon, that’s ad hominem.

                  Try and work out what kind of ‘argument’ these quotes represent:

                  “You are clueless…”

                  “Your Momma… …must be so proud of you”

                  “It’s ok that you’re an idiot…”

                  “…in your crappy life…”

                  Next week, we’ll deal with what the “No True Christian” argument looks like (here’s a hint “Massive mega-churches are without a doubt questionable as Christian churches“)

              • Andy_Schueler

                It’s an accurate assessment of your behaviors by a professional –
                graduate-level-educated, trained, experienced, certified by several
                state and other agencies, etc. in psychology and counseling – to observe
                and report on behaviors of humans, subhumans and other animals.

                :-D . Still craving for respect eh? ;-)

                Since you love giving your unsolicited “expert” adivce to strangers, let me return the favor. You are obviously feeling insecure and insignificant (hint: you feel that because you actually are insecure and insignificant) and that´s why you lash out and try to feel better about your pathetic life by being as vicious as possible. However, your personal attacks are not only vicious, they are also childish, and since not a single person you encounter online has any respect for you whatsoever, your viciousness cannot hurt anyone. Your attempts to hurt people are thus as futile as they are funny for any observer.

                But please, by all means, don´t stop spewing your pathetic comments all over this thread – it´s hilarious! :-D

                • Andy_Schueler

                  I might read your tripe if you show me in some way it is worthwhile to do so – you know, like qualifications, credentials, persuasive presentation, making some sense,

                  Yeah, you didn´t read it, but you know it didn´t make any sense because of your clairvoyant abilities, makes total sense! ;-)
                  You´ve read it, and you know I´m right – you try to feel better about yourself by hurting others, and it is so hilarious to see your clumsy attempts at doing so. And it will never work, because your words cannot hurt people that have no respect for you whatsoever, and “people who have no respect for you whatsoever” is equal to “everybody”.
                  Finally, a few words about the oath you allegedly swore to “defend the constitution”. You might know the letter of the constitution, but you don´t even begin to understand the spirit of the text. If you did, you would never say things such as:
                  “observe and report on behaviors of humans, subhumans and other animals. ”
                  => one would expect such words from someone who had sworn allegiance to the Führer. The constitution doesn´t need “defenders” like you – you are a domestic enemy.

        • 3lemenope

          I’m just not sure what lesson he wants us to draw from the Cuba example. Is he saying that oppressive Communist rule is the best way to go in order to get churches to behave? I for one think he’s on to something. Christians always behave better (more “Christ-like”) when they’re being actually oppressed. It always seems to go downhill when they get their mitts on the reins of public power. Constantine was the worst thing to ever happen to that funky Neo-Platonist/Apocalyptic Hebrew mystery cult.

  • Jane Williams

    Donated, and said I’d heard about it here.

  • MaryLouiseC

    Now you know how we Christians feel when someone NOT representative of God or Christianity, but is labelled a Christian by the media or whomever, behaves in a way that as nothing to do with us or the Lord. Like you, I always hope that people won’t think that’s what Christians are really like and tar and feather us all right along with him.

    • SeekerLancer

      Not really. The difference being anyone can be an atheist. It’s not representative of anything to do so. All it means is you don’t believe in any gods. There isn’t a “not a real atheist” claim to that can be made. James Maxie is an atheist.

      However a Christian doing something in the name of Christianity is representing that religion. And while to you it’s not what you perceive as real Christianity, it is to them. There are entire sects of “not real Christians” who think the same way about your own brand of Christianity. Where does the buck stop? Who are the “real” Christians and who has the authority to proclaim that?

      Instead of telling others they “aren’t real Christians,” just outright condemn their actions regardless of whether you believe their religious opinions are right or wrong. That speaks a lot louder than getting defensive about your own beliefs because someone used your religion as an excuse to do something wrong.

      Of course I do understand what you’re trying to say and agree with the sentiment. I don’t want people to believe all atheists are like Maxie, and I don’t for one second believe all Christians are the Westboro Baptist Church. Anyone who does believe that is delusional.

    • Nox

      Are the people you’re responding to saying that these christians are representative of all christians everywhere, or are they saying that the behavior of these christians is caused by christianity?

      If someone is motivated to commit an action by the belief that this is what the lord wants, it kind of does have something to do with the lord.

  • Nox

    Self-described” militant atheist?

    Where did this description come from?

  • Jim

    I guess people can donate to this if they want, but I don’t understand why this guy is any more deserving of my money than anyone else who finds him or herself in a medical situation. Heck, seeing as how he’s the pastor of a church, his congregation is likely already covering his bills.

    This just feels too much like trying to apologize for someone else who has nothing to do with me.

    • pRinzler

      I agree completely. If the atheism of his attacker had nothing to do with the attack, why should atheists single out the pastor for help? That also supports the bias of the media that reported the attack as atheist vs. pastor.

  • DesertSun59

    This incident doesn’t, in any way, negate the fact that the VAST MAJORITY of those in prisons are Christians.

    http://www.holysmoke.org/icr-pri.htm

  • Thurak

    Holy shit that’s a lot of money for medical treatment… Good thing that we have the NHS over here in UK.

    • tsara

      I feel the same way. I’m in Canada and it sort of terrifies me every time I see something about how much Americans pay for health care.

  • http://technomom.com/ TechnoMom

    I’m curious as to whether anyone knows how Maxie’s girlfriend is doing. If there was a legitimate reason for Hayes’ concern for her, she may not be in a safe situation.

  • Neal Stanifer

    This one was a tough call for me. As someone who is ethically utilitarian, I try to make sure my charitable giving does as much good as possible, so giving to a single individual who will recover without my help didn’t initially pass my “triage test.” But there’s another kind of “good” involved here, namely damage-control for atheism’s already negative reputation, and that tipped the scales. So yeah, I ended up giving. Thanks, Hemant. I haven’t had an ethical dilemma like that in a while, so it was good exercise.

  • Rich Rodgers

    I’m really not sure about this.$25k? Really? Something about this doesn’t sit right. If I was there I would have defended him, but to give him lots of money because of it doesn’t seem right, somehow. Or at least I haven’t been persuaded why this should get my “paying for random bad things” money over something else like the kid hit on his bike yesterday. It also seems like we are buying people’s opinions of us. If you’ve got the money and find it compelling, I certainly wouldn’t say you’re wrong. I still need to think more about it.

  • Karmakaze

    Why would I want to help a man that picked a fight and lost?

    If you can’t take the heat, stay out of the kitchen… but don’t come crying to me if you get burned.

  • Corey

    Saw this story from FB post, so I’ll just repost what I posted there:

    Ok, I read article then deleted my moronic pre-read comment. After all is said and done, the guy who beat the pastor has some issues, atheism has nothing to do with it, chances are he hates god and is angry at him but he is not an atheist, finally, I see no need, and find it quite offensive that someone would ask others to pitch in to pay for the pastors medical and legal fees. His church, the state and gov can help, along with other churches, donations from wealthy folks in the area, and other venues. For me to send money in hopes that it will help the image and reputation of atheists is fucking ridiculous so much so that I am going to I unfriending/block anyone that has been part of this stupidity. There are far better caused to fight for!!!

    • 3lemenope

      For me to send money in hopes that it will help the image and reputation of atheists is fucking ridiculous so much so that I am going to I unfriending/block anyone that has been part of this stupidity.

      What if folks were motivated by a different reason than “hopes that it will help the image and reputation of atheists”? Would it be OK then?

      • Corey

        Um yeah people do it all the time, it’s called donating to a cause u believe in or contacting politicians and companies when u want to thank them or reprimand them. I’ve done my share and given much, none of which were asked for to change the reputation or image if any one, myself or any group.

        • 3lemenope

          Maybe I was being a bit too subtle.

          I think you are reading heavily into people’s intentions in donating towards this guy’s expenses, and as a result your conclusion is off-target. I doubt, pretty strongly, that most of the donors gave money in order to burnish the social credibility of atheism among non-atheists, and more to the point there is no a priori reason to assume that that is the motivation.

  • mdoc

    OK, I am giving money only because of the nasty posts in this thread from karmakaze.

    • Corey

      I was beat up physically and mentally many times as a kid and a few times as a younger adult, I had no following to pay for my bills or group of Christians sending me cash and condolences, the most I ever got was a “u deserved it, u asked for it” the go to reply when someone gets raped when u are a Christian and want to open ur trap! I have had thousands of dollars of medical expenses some paid for by insurance some not, where is my money?????

      • mdoc

        Aw Corey, that stinks. But the solution isn’t to deny someone else because you were denied.

  • Corey

    Ps I don’t watch the tele or listen to the el radio but I wonder, has FOX go ahold of this, they could make the man a millionaire and probably the next joe the plumber !!!

  • Corey

    Another US/UK funded Group Travels 2 other countries; Ethiopia, 2 help pass Death Penalty 4 Gays #EICAH
    http://tinyurl.com/dyj55b9

  • Corey

    The Threat of the Religious Right is as Old as Christianity

    By: Hrafnkell Haraldsson
    Sunday, October 20th, 2013

    http://www.politicususa.com/2013/10/20/threat-religious-christianity.html

  • Gary Bingham

    Just trust the church will do the right thing? That sounds familiar, where have we heard that before? Oh, the molested children of Christianity, that’s right… Make the church pay for his bills, it happened on the job. They don’t pay taxes, they can fork over some hospital cash.

  • http://www.thoughtsandrantings.com/ Thinking Americanist

    Mr. Mehta! You are doing a good thing.

  • http://www.thoughtsandrantings.com/ Thinking Americanist

    Also too, this is why Pastors should carry guns. Just saying.

    • FTP_LTR

      So that instead of being in jail, Maxie would be dead?

      Yeah, that totally sounds like the appropriate outcome.

  • Ism La’maroof

    It’s interesting that the author’s point of this article is to distance atheists/ism from this incident the comments found below the article blows the whole deal with classless and bigoted comments.

    Good job, guys, you’re ruining your own reputation pro bono.

    • pRinzler

      It’s hard to decide whether your comment is justified when you don’t give specific examples. Even if I found a comment above that was classless or bigoted, I don’t know if that’s the same one you have in mind.

      • Ism La’maroof

        An easy request to fulfill.

        “Oh, the molested children of Christianity, that’s right…”

        “The Threat of the Religious Right is as Old as Christianity”

        To post a couple.

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

    Interesting development: They have lowered the fundraising goal from $25,000 to $15,000.

  • Guest

    Yes, the militant atheist framing was inflammatory. It reminds me of the “militant Muslim meme. How many “prolife” Christian fanatics have murdered doctors, bombed clinics, circulate wanted posters, stalk their families et al


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