There’s Video of the Morton Grove Public Library Board of Trustees Calling This Site a ‘Hate Group’

As I mentioned earlier today, the Morton Grove Public Library board of trustees held its monthly board meeting last night and voted 5-2 to reject our donation of over $3,000.

Well, it turns out they videotape their monthly meetings and put them up on YouTube

So we can see for ourselves how the discussion went down. I just watched it and, um, wow. You gotta see this. The relevant portion begins at the 32:15 mark:

Here are some of the highlights:

36:13: One trustee suggests taking the money and using it to buy items on the library’s wish list. Treasurer Catherine Peters then gives him two reasons not to: 1) The money was promised to the Park District, not the library and 2) This site constitutes a “hate group.”

In response to (1), as I’ve said on this site multiple times, people donated money to the Park District because they wanted to help the people of Morton Grove. When the Park District said no, and I said I would be giving the money to the library instead, not a single donor complained about it because it would still have the effect of benefitting the community.

More on (2) in a bit.

38:00: Peters attempts to explain why it’s not okay for me to take money that was intended for the Park District and give it to the library:

If I go to you and I say, “I’m raising money for pro-life,” and so you say, “Okay, I’m pro-life, I’m gonna give you 20 bucks,” and then I turn around and give it to Planned Parenthood for pro-choice, are you not gonna come back and yell at me…?”

What a horrible analogy.

If you donated to someone for the benefit of pro-life causes, and that person gave your money to a pro-choice group instead, that person lied to you. They did the opposite of what you wanted.

Once again — since Peters can’t seem to comprehend this — when the Park District rejected the money, donors understood that giving it to the library would still benefit the community. That’s why no one was upset. It wasn’t really about the Park District; it was about the people. The end effect was the same. To compare the Park District and the Library to a pro-choice and pro-life group just shows Peters’ ignorance of the issue.

38:40: Peters explains the second reason they should reject the money:

Peters: “Number 2 is they’re a hate group!”

Another Trustee: “I don’t know about that.”

Peters: “I do!”

40:57: Peters makes some more awful comparisons:

“Would you take money from the Klan? Would you take money from Holocaust deniers?”

In Peters’ mind, atheists are the equivalent of the Klan and Holocaust deniers.

Who wants to bet she went home after the meeting and turned on “Duck Dynasty”…?

41:55: Peters, still confused, thinks that the Facebook page that publishes the RSS feed from this site is somehow another blog that I run. (It’s not.) So she explained what the avatar on that site ought to look like:

I would think that, what their avatar might be, if I was a “friendly atheist” may be, I don’t know, somebody helping an old lady across the street? Or maybe washing some oil off some baby ducks that got caught in an oil spill or something like that. No, their avatar happens to be “666.” Which I think is really ironic, because, if you’re an atheist, why would that be anything except numbers to you? It wouldn’t! So what is the point of it being “666” if you’re “friendly”?

That one surprised me. What was she even talking about? So I visited the Facebook page and saw this:

As anyone who’s been on the Internet since 2004 can tell you, that “666” isn’t my avatar. It’s just the most recent individual photo uploaded to the site. It stems from a November post (written by Jessica Bluemke) about a Christian athlete who didn’t want to participate in an important race because that was the number she was assigned. Jessica, by the way, wondered why race officials couldn’t just assign her a different number, and I share that sentiment.

Moral of the story: “666” isn’t my avatar. To suggest that it is, and that we’re somehow “evil” or “hateful” because of it, is just the spin of someone who doesn’t know or doesn’t want to admit the truth.

42:25: This is my favorite part of the clip. Peters gives the other trustees a taste of how “hateful” I am by explaining one of the posts made on this site, involving the San Damiano Cross.

Let me fill you in on what that post is about before we get to what she said.

In 2001, a church in New Mexico commissioned a version of the famous painting and hung it in a prominent location:

Unfortunately, the parishioners kept getting distracted by the replica because they thought his abs looked more like… well… you know:

For years, parishioners at St. Bernadette’s in the Heights have looked up from the pews and wondered about the same thing.

“I looked up at Jesus because it’s up by the ceiling on the altar,” said Geri DeBoo. “I immediately saw genitals of a man.”

Last month, the church took down the painting to make the parishioners happy.

That’s what I posted about. You can read it for yourself.

Okay, so what did Peters say about that post?

You know how you can look at clouds sometimes and you can see little puppies or little bunnies or something if you use your imagination?

Well, the folks on the blog here were looking at the San Damiano Cross and they, they didn’t see bunnies, but they did happen to see some over-the-line [part] of the Christ-figure was, what they believed to be, to be some very outsized male genitalia.

In other words, she’s blaming *me* for pointing out that the painting looks like it has a giant dick on it, when the truth is I was just reporting on the Catholics who attend that church on a regular basis and wanted the painting taken down.

At this point, it seems obvious that she was going out of her way to paint me as evil or immature. In fact, if she even bothered to read that post, she would’ve known better.

44:00: After another trustee correctly suggests that the statements Peters is reading that mock religion or say other nasty things about religion could have been written, not by me, but by random commenters (which is absolutely true), Peters exclaims, “It’s his blog! It’s Mehta’s blog! He’s got editorial control over it!”


I’m just going to repeat what I said this morning:

Between this site and Facebook, I easily get more than a thousand comments a day. I don’t sit around reading all of them. I rely on readers to flag things that are inappropriate, as do most large websites, and I focus on writing content.

A lot of websites allow comments. No knowledgeable reader would ever assume that the comments automatically represent the viewpoints of the publishers — or that if there was a nasty comment on the site, that the publishers are okay with it. Nasty comments just come with the territory when you have a blog.

44:30: The votes are called. The money is rejected on a 5-2 vote. Most of the trustees who voted “No” appeared to be silent during the entire discussion.

45:00: After one of the “Yes”-voting trustees comments that the board is being foolish and letting their personal beliefs get the best of them, we get this gem from one of the others on the board:

I think we just closed up a can of worms here.

Umm… nope. You just blew that can wide open.

After the discussion, some guy in the background comments about how he’s going to file a lawsuit against me and how I can use the $3,000 to defend myself. He sent me multiple emails today complaining about a picture I used on this site and sent me a “Cease and Desist” email. The photo was removed.

What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • God’s Starship

    None of her issues with us actually began with us. It was just us talking about the crazy stuff Christians are doing (the 666 runner, dick Christ).

  • Achron Timeless

    Ah see, but it’s not their fault for being crazy, it’s our fault for asking “wtf?”.

  • Kevin_of_Bangor

    Did a GIS for dick Christ. This was the 8th image.

    I love irony.

  • WallofSleep

    Looks to me like that Peters… person… is more than used to throwing her weight around that room and bullying the folks in it. What a loathsome… person.

  • The Vicar

    Ever served on any sort of volunteer civic board? There’s ALWAYS someone like that.

  • WallofSleep

    Geez, that’s freakin’ sad. I dropped out of high school young ‘cuz I couldn’t stand the fucking place, but it seems like there are many that refuse to leave it, at least mentally, no matter how old they get.

  • Camorris

    Yes! I have served on several and there is always a dominant personality that tries to sway the rest; and on some issues it was me. I wonder if Peters is also on the Board of the Park District?

  • Mark Chronos

    She’s a pill,

  • $925105

    I wish a group would hate me enough to give me $3,000 with no strings attached. Alas, all I receive is Christian love and an empty wallet.

  • WallofSleep

    “Alas, all I receive is Christian love…”

    Get yourself enough of that in the right place, and you could stand to make bank off the Tooth Fairy. Not sure if it’s worth taking your meals through a straw for the rest of your life, though.

  • Houndentenor

    Right? I say give it to someone else. There must be some group out there that feeds poor people or does something worthwhile that would like a $3,000 donation. How about Doctors without Borders?

  • Nat Carr

    I’m all for giving the money to someone else. But I also think this is worth making a bit of a stink over.

  • Houndentenor

    A bit, perhaps, but I don’t think a lawsuit is a good idea. Suing someone to take your donation? That doesn’t seem worth the effort. I think the energy and money can be better used for other purposes. Certainly people who use the library should know what happened. I think I could by a lot of media materials for $3,000.

  • Nat Carr

    Yeah, I don’t see how a lawsuit would be practical. I’m thinking more of a “spend some of the money on an advert in the local paper” type approach

  • Ewan

    I don’t think it would actually be a good idea, but while it might be tricky to sue someone for not taking a donation, it’s absolutely possible to sue someone for saying that you run a hate group when you don’t, and saying it in a highly public and on-the-record manner. That’s about as straightforwardly defamatory as you can get.

  • arwyn james

    the stink I would like to make is getting it on TYT or someplace so that they’re flooded with mail and made to look as dumb and bigoted as they are. and maybe they’ll ask this idiot to resign from the board for misinforming it. please contact news sites and ask them to cover this, I certainly have been.

  • Rich Wilson

    What we don’t need is a flood of people making extra work for the library staff who had nothing to do with the decision. Be nice people, don’t be Dick’s.

  • Camorris

    I saw two people taking close up photos during the discussion – were they reporters. Any word if this vote was made public in the local media?

  • Madison Blane

    Their facebook page is forwarding comments to the board and giving a link so you can write the board directly, if you feel so inclined.
    From their page:
    “We appreciate you expressing your concerns. The decision was made by the Library Board, and we will forward your comment to the Board. If you would like to write to the Board directly…”

  • RJ (TO)

    Just tell them you used to be gay and then found Jesus, woke up straight one morning and soon afterward married your beautiful wife. Then sit back as the fame, money, and speaking engagements roll in. No, no, don’t worry. They won’t try to verify your claims. Your word is good enough.

  • SeekerLancer

    Sometimes I do wish I were a more unscrupulous person.

  • Goldstein’s Nephew

    Mehta, you admitted some time ago that it was probably inappropriate to keep calling this site The “Friendly” Athiest?

    Why do you keep up the pretense?

    It makes you a liar.

  • onamission5

    The person you’re responding to isn’t the blog owner. You can tell because their nym is Dougl.

  • invivoMark

    Huh? Is Hemant not friendly? I saw him in person once. He seemed friendly enough. I hear he even eats fewer babies than most atheists.

  • Spuddie

    Friendly does not mean stupid or docile.
    Why do you feel the need to be nasty and combative, with nothing to say on topic.

  • WallofSleep

    “Would you take money from a drug dealer” asks one of the nincompoops. Heh, I suppose forgetting that religion is the worst “narcotic of the mind” that plagues humanity.

    Look for this video to get pulled quick now that you’ve linked it.

  • Nat Carr

    Wonder if someone can snarf it before it gets pulled?

  • Achron Timeless

    Good idea. Doing it now.

    edit: Safe and saved. Hopefully we won’t need it, but from experience this kind of evidence tends to come in handy.

  • Houndentenor

    I’m sorry but if you do business you probably HAVE taken money from a drug dealer. Or a thief. Or a mobster. Or someone else who didn’t something you don’t approve of in order to get that money. If you owned a restaurant would you ask all your customers what they did to earn the money to pay their bill or would you just take their money? Seriously, people go to such lengths to rationalize their own bigotry.

  • Sam B

    Worked in Casino’s for 8 years. I’m pretty sure I’ve taken a LOT of money from people in all of those “professions”.

  • invivoMark

    I’m in the wrong business, apparently. Usually it’s me giving money to the drug dealer.

  • dandaman

    While in her head she’s thinking f… atheists, hate speech?

  • Dave The Sandman

    step 1) save a download of the vid
    step 2) contact the local paper and see if you can get them interested in running an article on the way you and your users/readers have been slandered by this horrible woman who told outrageous lies to justify her obvious anti-none bigotry.
    3) show them the vid – which is why its best to keep a copy as you can be damn sure it will be taken down.

  • Hemant Mehta

    The first thing I did when I saw the video was download a copy of it.

  • Matt Potter

    I know you’re a very busy individual but is there even a remote chance that you personally attend their next meeting. It would be extremely hard for them to spread such outright lies with you there. Plus, if you can make a megachurch congregation down here in San Antonio like you, you can do anything! I would know, that was the first time in five years I had been to church!

  • TheHungryAtheist21

    I can’t even understand how the can bring their hate against atheists in to the matter in the matter in the first place… It’s for a public library!!!

  • Hemant Mehta

    I coach after school. Would be very tough to find time to drive to attend a meeting there at night.

  • Deano C

    Would Catherine Peters have expressed the same, if the money had come from another denominations blog?

  • OhioAtheist


  • Oranje

    When people ask what I am, I tend to define myself as a secular buddhist. In some ways, yeah, it’s a cop-out, since few even bat an eye at that. Because I’m at least something, right?

    Functionally I am an atheist. I don’t believe there is evidence for a higher power, and assuming the default that there is one with crummy evidence is dumb. I’m also a vegetarian and I don’t drink, so my identification gets me out of a number of conversations.

    In a similar mind, I wonder if we took a very-comical red X from MS Paint and put it over Atheist and stenciled in Humanist instead, or Rationalist, or something, if we’d suddenly be better people in their eyes.

    Methinks they’re more afraid of a label than what we believe.

  • jdm8

    Just… wow. That’s the most ignorant understanding of the internet that I’ve seen since Sen. Stevens’ “Internet is a series of tubes” rant.

    And that recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance is quite weak.

    “Closing a can of worms” – someone that apparently doesn’t know what the expression means, or how to coin an expression. I think it’s more likely that this opens one.

  • Rob Bos

    Would there be a case for slander?

  • baal

    Maybe…it depends a lot on State law of the instant State. Also, Hemant is nearly a ‘public figure’ which in the U.S. means that sueing for defamation is a lot harder.

  • BoGardiner

    If there’s even a breath of a chance at such a case, I hope it’s pursued. That’s such an important part of halting bigotry. When its worst manifestations have civil penalties, its milder manifestations work their way into the social conscience as unacceptable.

  • Matt Potter

    The argument that the money was originally collected for another government entity is actually somewhat valid until you look at the evidence. There’s a pretty good timeline on this blog that the money was rejected for the original intention and that an alternate destination for the money would be found, one that would also benefit the Morton Grove community. Out of curiosity, is it even possible to contact those who donated and get confirmation that donating the funds to the library is an acceptable alternative? I can’t imagine that anyone would object. Or perhaps find a local resident, maybe even the trustee of the left of the table who wanted to accept the donation, and have them make the donation as an individual. If I hadn’t watched the video myself I wouldn’t have been able to believe the hatred and outright lies those trustees were throwing around.

    Edited for grammar

  • atoswald

    As one of the donators, and an employee at my local library, I was happy to hear about the money being reappropriated to their community through their library. And, I think it is a great idea to give the money to the board member that wanted to accept our donation, to be given to the library in his name. Perhaps you should email this suggestion to Hemant directly, so that he’s sure to see this brilliant idea.

  • pwmay

    I wonder if the Morton Grove Public Library has meeting rooms available for group meetings? Wouldn’t it be nice for Hemant Mehta and some of his friends to hold an Ask An Atheist event in the fine city of Morton Grove, say in the library.

  • John

    Morton Grove Public Library Bylaws of the Board of Trustees… Under the heading Gifts: “Any persons desiring to make donations of money, personal property or real
    estate for the benefit of the Library shall have the right to vest the title to money or real estate so donated, in the Library Board, to be held and controlled by the Library Board, when accepted, according to the terms of the deed, gift, devise or bequest of such property.”

    Under the heading Ethics: “Trustees must distinguish clearly in their actions and statement between their personal philosophies and attitudes and those of the institution, acknowledging the formal position of the board even if they personally disagree. A trustee must respect the confidential nature of library business while being aware of and in compliance with applicable laws governing freedom of information.”

  • John
  • ShhhImReading

    Someone’s gonna get fiiiiiiiiiiiired!!!!!

  • coeumo

    Well, it’s not meant to be read ‘literally’.

  • Peter Naus

    That’s right. Bylaws are just…guidelines. Recommendations. Like speed limits, freedom of speech, constitutional amendments…

  • LesterBallard

    Hmmm. My comments dissapeared

  • Rich Wilson

    No assholes allowed in this discussion!

  • LesterBallard

    You calling Wall of Sleep an asshole? Cause his are gone, too.

  • WallofSleep

    Not fer nuthin’, but I am an asshole. If my comments did end up getting deleted for that, I’m cool with it.

  • Rich Wilson

    On here? Or Chicago Tribune? I had one of mine vanish over there. And it was a pretty light response to the guy saying atheists are no different from the KKK. I can’t imagine Hemant deleting anything in this thread.

    Obviously I was referring to the sign thread where your self-proclamation garnered dozens of votes.

  • LesterBallard

    I can’t either, but I made a comment, Wall of Sleep responded, then I started to respond, but it didn’t work, and both comments were gone.

  • WallofSleep

    Disqus gets buggy and does weird shit to comments sometimes. Sometimes it does weird shit with screen names, sometimes it eats entire comments.

    Just the other day it ate one of mine, than regurgitated it back up over an hour later.

  • LesterBallard

    Yeah, just wondered.

  • onamission5

    This happened to me a couple times yesterday on different discus comment threads. Give it an hour or so then check again, or go to your profile and look for the comment there, it’s probably caught in comment limbo.

  • WallofSleep

    Disqus is a ravenous beast.

  • Raising_Rlyeh

    Just curious, but what was the picture the guy was complaining about you using?

  • Nat Carr

    It was a picture of the “666” number from an article about a christian track runner who didn’t like getting that number.

  • Raising_Rlyeh

    I meant the picture in reference to “After the discussion, some guy in the background comments about how he’s going to file a lawsuit against me and how I can use the $3,000 to defend myself. He sent me multiple emails today complaining about a picture I used on this site and sent me a “Cease and Desist” email. The photo was removed.”

  • Nat Carr

    Ahhh, derp.

  • Hemant Mehta

    A picture from one of the park district board meetings.

  • Jokyo Karillion

    Did you get a response from them yet about this? I would LOVE to see their response to yours. My guess is they won’t because, well, how do you argue against facts?

  • Itarion

    Ideally, other facts which put the first facts in a different light.

    Failing that, lies, fantasies, and fabrications.

  • Peter Naus

    You’re kidding! Isn’t that explicitly covered by fair use? They can’t say that you’re a public blogger AND you’re not permitted to use images of the subject you’re reporting on, can they?

    Even so…that’s such a petty thing to do. It’s like you’re dealing with three-year-olds!

  • A3Kr0n

    Is that woman something like the bully of the library board, or what? I was wondering what she meant by “two blogs”, and “666”. Everything else that came out of her mouth showed how clueless she is in life. How do people like that get to be on a library board?

  • baal

    I advocate running early and often for every single position of local and regional government. These xtian supremacists* do it and it’s one part of why they have disproportional power.

    *meant in the sociology way

  • Oranje

    Apathy. Apathy allows these positions to be filled, and as the propagation of information within smaller communities (as opposed to, say, a city-region like Chicago) is somewhat difficult, it can be very easy to fill a board like this and have no one know its composition.

    After all, can you name all of your local, township, and county officials? Or who to approach with what problem?

    Me neither.

  • chicago dyke

    having served on a couple of these sorts of things over the years, i can tell you that it’s not just apathy. it’s frustration. xtians and fundies LOVE petty, bickering navel gazing rule making and are often little control freaks drunk on their ability to have power over other people’s lives.

    intelligent, decent people who actually want to improve communities are often shouted down, or procedure is used to prevent them from accomplishing what they set out to do. toss in the corruption at the local level and it’s a headache a lot of people just don’t want or need.

    the age and race of the people in this video also sort of says it all, no? young people today are too busy working two jobs just to get by to have time for stuff like this, even if they do have the fortitude to put up with Burning Stupid as evidenced by this video.

  • Oranje

    You’re right about that. I’m about 15 years younger than anyone else in my local government, so I tend to stick out a bit. So far I haven’t really encountered the bickering bit, but we have a pretty good group, I’d say. Now some of the commissions and the like, I guess those can get interesting…

  • A3Kr0n

    Come to think of it, there are several positions that usually get filled because someone bothered to show up, and they get elected. At the model flying club where I’m a member you get elected if you don’t show up, and can’t decline!

  • Oranje

    “They wouldn’t mind, right? Sign ’em up.”

  • Dana Logsdon

    You gotta love that Christian hypocrisy!

  • Dana Logsdon

    She was right on one thing… “if you’re an atheist, why would that be anything except numbers to you? It wouldn’t!”

  • Rene Belloq 12 inch figure

    a friendly hate group.

  • Matt Potter

    …who attempts to give a no-strings attached large donation to support a library!

  • Peter Naus


  • OhioAtheist

    The comments in the video about how the money was originally meant for the Park’s department are clearly a smokescreen to reject the donation without giving the real reason.

  • Itarion

    Because the real reason… Well, it’s a pretty poor reason.

  • Natalie

    I’ve been following this and I’m not sure how to even respond…the ignorance of the library board is astonshing and frightening. The fact that two commmunity run boards have rejected money that could help their community is disdainful. You’re far better off giving the money to a local npm profit that wants to help people. Perhaps a start up group needing a jump…or starting your own organization for folks in need. Anything to do with a local mununcipality is just going to continue having this effect. It’s ignorant of them and sullies your reputation. I think what they’re doing is evil and wrong.

  • Rich Wilson

    I feel sick. Literally ill.

  • Itarion

    Take this antacid and call me in the morning. If it’s not enough, we may have to run detox, and remove this ingested poison from your system.

    Ideally, we’d remove it from the source, but that’s not an option in this case.

  • Rene Belloq 12 inch figure

    donate it to the church of satan, put a road sign in front of that lady’s house.

  • OhioAtheist

    I’d like to see if the Library has a history if rejecting donations, and, if so, on what grounds. I wouldn’t be surprised if they never rejected one until now.

  • Rich Wilson

    Well I for one am going to write them a personal check for the $20 I originally donated. And I’ll put “Friendly Atheist” in the memo. And I hope the board votes on every single donation.

  • Angelo_D

    That’s a great idea! I wonder if I can find a check numbered 666.

  • Madison Blane

    I wonder if they would reject a check for $6.66

  • Rich Wilson

    36:15 “I would take the money and by all the things that are on our wish list because we can afford it now.”

  • diogeneslamp0

    The Morton Grove Public Library is a hate group.

    Is what I would say if I were as big a dick as they are.

  • Itarion

    It is one lady. One lady with a big stick. I mean sharp tongue. One lady with a sharp tongue.

  • diogeneslamp0

    The vote was 5-2. More than one dick.

  • Camorris

    I see it as 2 upright citizens, 1 fundamentalist 666 Xian, 4 easily led sheep. Give the two yes voters their due.

  • Itarion

    Yeah, the vote was 5-2, but I got the sense that the four were just following her lead. I could be wrong, but that’s what it looked like to me.

  • Sandra JT

    The woman is obviously an undereducated moron. Seriously. There is something truly WRONG in the wiring of her brain. It’s absolutely shocking that somebody like this sits on the board of *anything* when she can’t even think or research her way out of a wet paper bag.

  • John

    She’s retired and a member of the community… that’s often good enough to get on the board of small cultural institutions. Many retired people use knowledge or skills from their former professional lives to give back to their communities in this way, which is great. But considering the value this woman places on differing viewpoints, I think perhaps a library was a poor match for her.

  • Peter Naus

    Maybe she should have a look at the local Klan board vacancies. She seems to know an awful lot about hatred, bigotry, and Klan policy.

  • Achron Timeless

    Makes it even more ironic that it’s a board for a library. You’d think being surrounded by all that knowledge, some of it would leak into her closed little mind.

  • primenumbers

    No there’s nothing wrong with their brain. It’s functioning just as ours do. They are deliberately choosing to be bigoted, and we can’t let them have brain issues as an excuse for such bad behaviour.

  • Julie Smiley

    they say we are a hate group………who’s doing the hating here, not us,

  • Houndentenor

    I wish someone hated me $3000 worth!

  • WallofSleep

    Dude, I’m on it. Um… I’m a little light right now, though. Could we work out some sort of hatred payment plan, say 1,500 easy payments of $2/month?

  • Itarion

    You gonna designate a beneficiary of that section of the estate post both of your deaths?

  • Kevin_of_Bangor

    You can hate me for only one thousand dollars.

  • Michael

    I’ll accept 975.

  • Kevin_of_Bangor

    950 :)

  • Oranje

    $300 will get me the Wii U with the Mario game bundle. Also, I don’t have a front yard.

  • Houndentenor

    Oh great. A race to the bottom.

  • Kevin_of_Bangor

    I’m sure he will yield around 500 because that can’t buy anything good.

  • Peter Naus

    925, and you can burn a cross on my lawn for free.

  • tsig

    hate me, beat me , chain me, write me large checks.

  • Q. Quine

    One bigot, four sheeple, and a couple of brave, but out-voted, rationalists. Oh, and “Hi” to you, Ms Peters, as I know you are reading this blog.

  • Psychotic Atheist

    I’d say she’s looking, not reading.

  • Ryan1159

    Big applause to Trustee Goldstein. He seemed to be the only rational person in there with a voice.

  • Shlarg

    She’s saying we’re equivalent to the Klan and holocaust deniers. To religious fanatics , making fun of their religion by using “666” or alluding to the Christ icon drawing as phallic IS the same to them as the Klan and holocaust deniers. To us their reaction is ludicrous but not to them.
    Their argument that the money is coming from outside the district is also ludicrous.

  • Lark62

    Their reaction is ludicrous. The Klan used terror, beatings and lynching to keep an entire race in submission. We ask to be treated equally. We ask that our cities, states and nation be governed in accordance with the requirements of the Constitution of the United States. No rational person could consider these to be equivalent.

  • gkadams69

    Taking a deep breath and a couple of steps back… the only person who seemed to care about/believe the “hate group” part was Ms. Peters. We really can’t generalize that to the others who voted no. Presumably they did so for the somewhat understandable reason #1, to cover their own asses if the individual donors were to protest the donation.

  • baal

    Or Ms Peters can make their lives uncomfortable in some way.

  • BoGardiner

    They are complicit in religious bigotry, because they remained in cowardly silence as Peters openly expressed her own religious bigotry. Their support for her through their votes, without any additional information, must be taken as support for the views she expressed.

  • Camorris

    Perhaps those four are from the same church she attends.

  • GregFromCos

    Maybe we could buy a billboard, that has some nice message, with a subtext that says this money was offered to the Public Library. But they did not want it. Or something to that fact.

  • Q. Quine

    Yes, it is a shining example of religious bias in public policy. This, and the publicity around it will be good to keep ready to show that there really is discrimination and slander going on in local government against non-believers, even those trying to benefit the community.

    P.S. Don’t be surprised if this is the last time they post a video of their meetings.

  • captainthecapn

    There are a lot of dickish people on here though.

  • baal

    On FA? Much less so than many fora and blogs I’ve visited.

  • KMR

    It’s much worse here than on any Christian blog I’ve ever been to. It’s point of reference. If they were familiar with other atheist blogs instead of just Christian ones this site would probably feel like heaven.

  • BoGardiner

    You must not have seen the many hate-filled, bigoted quotes from the very Christian American Legion blog post on this, that I pasted into the last thread. This links directly to my comment with all these quotes:

    There were many calls for violence. It was insane and frightening.

  • KMR

    You’re certainly right that I haven’t been to that one. I’ll take your word for it though about the hate. Suggestions of violence bother me immensely along with blatant displays of stupidity so I’m not going over there. The Christians sites I go to have neither (well stupidity perhaps but not normally big heaping helpings of it IMO).

  • BoGardiner

    Until recently I frequented a pop culture site that’s heavily Christian-dominated. Extreme hate is regularly directed at atheists when they post. Every day it’s routine to see “you’re the spawn of Satan,” “I’ll be laughing when you burn in hell,” “atheists’ lives are devoid of meaning because you believe in nothing,” “8 spiritual warfare tips on how to recognize Satan, demons and witches in the workplace.” I kept trying to call for peace and sane moderation, to no avail.

  • baal

    I find the xtian blogs very annoying but yes less swearing and such. Evenso, the xtian blogs seem to have a hairtrigger on the ban hammer and don’t allow the least dissent.

  • captainthecapn

    That’s your defense? “Yeah, we are assholes, but at least we’re not as bad as THAT GROUP!”

  • LesterBallard

    I do have a penis.

  • LesterBallard

    Damn it, I could have made a South Park floppy wiener reference.

  • captainthecapn

    Congrats. Most atheists do.

  • Lark62

    I beg to differ

  • LesterBallard


  • captainthecapn

    Most that are heard are men

  • tsig

    pics or it didn’t happen

  • Black Leaf

    Much less than…well, pretty much any conservative site I’ve ever made the mistake of reading the comments on. Sure, there’s a few dicks here, but they’re typically much less angry and rarely dominate the discussion.

  • captainthecapn

    That’s the problem, though. The atheist community is really screwed up. At least with conservatives, they’re outright with their sexism, racism, homophobia, etc. With atheists, so many claim to be this beacon of tolerance and understanding, but then you start to see a lot of this really nasty, subliminal, bigoted thoughts. I’d posit that that’s worse. There’s a lot of problems, and white, straight, male atheists (the demographic that makes up a majority of atheists) actually push a lot of people away with their bigoted thoughts and victim complexes. Just a few days ago, people were trying to compare the racism Jews and black people face to what atheists face, and that’s just… No. It’s erasure, for one thing, and it’s not the same. At all.

  • The Captain

    Wait, you’re defining the entire “atheist community” by what a few internet comment post say?!!!! Really?

    I can’t tell if you are a christian troll, S.E. Cupp, or just your typical Atheism Plus member.

  • captainthecapn

    No. I’m defining the entire atheist community by my own experiences being in this community for going on 7 years.

  • Josh

    And that guy really compared this donation to money coming from a drug dealer? Seriously?

  • Mej

    “In other words, she’s blaming *me* for pointing out that the painting
    looks like it has a giant dick on it, when the truth is I was just
    reporting on the Catholics who attend that church on a regular basis and wanted the painting taken down.”

    That’s some reading comprehension she’s got there. I thought they worked for a library?

  • aaa

    Just curious, what was the photo that was removed due to the Cease and Desist?

  • Itarion

    For myself, I cannot see why ANY sizable donation would be rejected. 3 grand is nothing to sneeze at. So a “hate group” sends you some money. Take it, and spread some love. Damn, people, is it that hard, really?

  • Itarion

    It’s his blog! It’s Mehta’s blog! He’s got editorial control over it!

    Neglecting the quantity of posts submitted on the Friendly Atheist, there are a lot of blog hosts who decide to NOT regulate the discussion in their comment section. Yes, the owner has editorial control over the bulk posts, but the comment sections are fair game, and I could go ahead and write CHEESUS IS GOOD! on any and every blog I wanted to.

    But you all already knew this, so why am I telling you?

  • Tat Wadjet

    That is actually an important point. Are they suggesting every blog should censor the commentors and deny them freedom of speech?

  • Itarion

    It would appear that yes. That said, freedom of speech is frankly not guaranteed anywhere except of governmental forums. Should be, isn’t.

  • Tat Wadjet

    However, some radical thinkers (like myself) fight to keep freedom of speech alive on the internet… Yes I can hear the gasps of shock now 😉

  • Itarion

    Not from this direction.

  • Rob

    Should be? I’m going to go paint “Religion Sucks” on the side of your house. brb.

  • Itarion

    Vandalism and free speech are not one and the same. You may speak you opinions freely without fear of censorship.

    That said, depending on the quality of the paint job, I might just leave it. It would certainly slow down traffic.

  • Rob

    And someone placing something unwanted on a web page isn’t vandalism? The owner can’t remove something they think is a problem?

  • Sandrilene

    There should be some moderation. Otherwise it would be full of spam and trolls.

  • Tat Wadjet

    Elders (the older gentleman) is the only one that was reasonable and rational. Unfortunately the woman who had the issues (Peters) was simply responding on an emotional level and could not understand how “atheists” could be anything other than demonic (hence her misrepresentation of ‘666’ being an avatar – Which it clearly was NOT). I do hope that the citizens of the town of Morton Grove give their city government an enema, and they are able to vote in some decent, logical, and sane leaders to lead them into the 21st century.

  • Lola

    Please elaborate on the cease and desist and clarify? Was a photo removed because of some guys emails?

  • Charlene Kathryn Gorman

    What a disingenuous ass! Her real issue (and probably the only issue here) is that it was an atheist group donating the money. Also Mrs. Peters, perhaps if you don’t know how to work your way around the Internet (which you clearly don’t) you should ask for help… You know. From younger, more logical, and tech savvy people. Or even just someone that can tell you the difference between a page icon and a photo attached to an article. Just some food for thought.

  • Itarion

    Interesting: They, this group, these people, etc. As far as I can tell, it is one man. On the contacts page, there is one man. On the site banner, there is one man. The GoFundMe has… One man. I guess there are nine contributors to The Friendly Atheist, but the emphasis is all put on the same one man in the discussion of the donation. There were no names named but Mehta.

    I smell a personal vendetta.

    Or failing that, a misuse of “they” to imply multiple people, which there is not.

  • Madison Blane

    If anyone would like to let the board know exactly how you feel about this. The Morton Grove Board of Trustees can be contacted here:

  • John Lev

    Maybe you could contact the board member who was in your favor of accepting the money and see is he’d be willing to help you find a way to use the funds in town?

  • Lisa Doherty Brown

    Such stupidity…cue Sarah Palin and Westboro Baptist…

  • NameGoesHere

    Give the money to that old man on the board who was the only rational one, and let him do whatever he wants with it. That way at least the money promotes reason. Ofc, I was not one of the ppl who donated, so I have no say, but just a suggestion :)

  •!/OffensivAtheist bismarket

    She is a perfect example of what’s wrong with religion, if she has no facts she manufactures things to support her point of view & be damned with the truth. Once again i see more evidence that hypocrisy is necessary to be a Christian. Truly appalling stuff!

  • Jasper

    “Would you take money from the Klan? Would you take money from Holocaust deniers?”

    If someone were to say, “We can’t take money from Christians The American Legion! That’d be like taking money from rapists or pedophiles!”… there would be hell to pay.

    Edit: Made it a little more analogous. While they didn’t generalize to all atheists, if someone had said the above, it’d be on Fox News instantly.

  • wtbusdriver

    Two voices of reason out of a group of nine. Hard to believe that two different groups in this town would turn down $3,000 of needed funds.

  • arwyn james

    I am posting to this library on their website now. I would suggest not to be vulgar or overly vitriolic, but since they probably will never think to look and see the comments on their post, I figured I’d go straight to the source.

  • arwyn james

    also someone should try to get TYT or someone to cover this. how would we go about doing this?

  • Jennifer T

    One thing that speaks volumes about Trustee Peters’ stance is the way she responds to the lady representing the kids’ program at the end. The lady says that they could really use the money and Peters says that she shouldn’t be allowed to speak because she’s not resident in Morton Grove. No… she’s only the person trying to do good work for the community on a small budget, whose job you, Ms Peters, could have made that bit easier at no inconvenience to yourself, if you hadn’t been so determined to push your own religious agenda.


    Give the money to another charity who’ll appreciate it, screw those idiots.

  • Stev84

    This once more shows that there should be mandatory intelligence testing for all political offices.

  • Peter Naus

    There’d be too many failures!

    It’s always the same problem : the people who want the job most, are the people least suited. Anyone who wants political power should be prevented from getting it.

    Witness the number of law-enforcement officials being outed on Facebook and Twitter for their frighteningly biased racist and homophobic outbursts. And they’re always the ones most shocked!

  • KMR

    Oh I feel sorry for the older gentleman doing his best to talk reason. How much you want to bet he went home and poured himself a stiff drink after this meeting? I also feel bad for the community. This same gentleman talked about how they could take this money and buy all the things now on their wish list. But they won’t for no reason but prejudice.

  • Lark62

    We all need to write a red “A” on every dollar bill we touch. This way the Christians can avoid money that has been touched by an atheist.

  • Ophis

    There’s always the option of not taking no for an answer. They’ve got a wishlist, spend the 3 grand buying all that stuff and get it delivered straight to the library. Even if they send it back, we get a good laugh seeing how far they’ll go in trying to stop people giving them stuff that they want.

  • Oranje

    I like this. A lot.

  • Itarion

    I’m thinking pretty gosh darned far.

    Hey, maybe contact utilities, pay their electricity, gas, and water for the next few months?

  • Dan Weeks

    As a member of the hate group “The Friendly Athests,” (not the blog, mind you, but the hate group, totally different), I commend Ms. Peters for her keen eye and razor sharp reason! Yes, because a group called the Friendly Atheists raising money for parks and libraries is most certainly a hate group. Well played!

    She’s too cunning, brothers and sisters! I propose changing tactics. We must alter the deal once again, in violation of the many MANY Federal laws stated by the astute young gentleman in the peanut gallery: If the Library won’t take the money, then we shall donate it to that town’s local food bank! That’ll show ’em!

  • Lark62

    It’s a different state and a completely different situation, but I wish we could give it to the owner of the calendar kiosk at the Mall of Georgia. Some good, honest christians were offended, saying that some of the calendars were too racy. So, like any good, honest christian, they stole over 200 calendars. But the kiosk owner still has to pay her supplier, and her employees.

    “The owner of the kiosk, Jessica Roy, told Channel 2 that the action
    was misguided, adding, “We are not Sports Illustrated. We are a small
    business that’s just trying to make a living.”

    She told WSB Radio that the theft means that she probably won’t be able to give her employees end-of-year bonuses. ”

    I may have missed the update (snark), but I don’t see any christians lining up to make good what these creeps did in jeebuss’s name. They were too busy, I guess, setting up monuments with the 9 commandments (“thou shalt not steal” appears to be missing).

    I didn’t donate originally, but I will if we do something for this lady.

  • Ophis

    That news story is every internet controversy rolled into one. Feminism, Christianity, Anarchism, political direct action, and the difficulties of being a small business owner. If somebody puts it on Reddit the internet might explode.

  • Local Atheist

    Rich Wilson suggested we all cut a check separately with a note in the memo about Atheism and mail to the board. 6140 Lincoln Ave. Morton Grove, IL 60053-2989 I just put the stamp on my envelope and it’s going out today!!

  • beatonfam

    Are the funds available to you, Hemant? Could we purchase $3,000 in food and deliver it to the Niles Township Food Pantry? They can return the check, I don’t think they can return multiple car loads of food.

    I am available to help with this through the 23rd then again after the 28th.

  • Lark62

    Throw in a few copies of Hitchens and Dawkins for the library. Anonymously, of course.

  • Rich Wilson

    What’s really ironic is that in this whole kerfuffle there was one donation with strings attached, and it wasn’t ours.

  • SeekerLancer

    “Would you take money from the Klan?”

    “If they gave it to me with no restrictions.”

    “You really would?”

    “Yes, I’d give it to a good cause.”

    Bravo. If only Catherine Peters could see beyond her disgust of atheists and let the money that was donated to help people, actually help people.

  • James Stevenson

    Heh that reminded me of a little ethical discussion on bribes I had with some friends a while back and from that I pretty much decided I was in the same boat.
    If someone attempted to bribe me, but I wasn’t planning to do it, I’d be tempted just to take the bribe because they were stupid enough to try it so why should they get to keep their money? If I was going to do what they wanted anyway I’d refuse and report it, because even the implication that you were bribed can be problematic.
    Same thing here, in my view you can take money from anything (more ethically dubious if this was stolen money where people were deprived) or anyone. Taking money from these people so its out of their hands actually can be better, in my mind, than refusing it. So long as you channel it correctly and don’t let it manipulate you, or let them hold it over you.

  • Pat Callahan

    I wonder if they have any free thought or atheist books on their library shelves.

  • SeekerLancer

    “Would you take money from the Klan?”
    “I would if they gave it to me with no restrictions, of course I would.”
    “Oh boy, you really would?”
    “I would give it to a good cause.”

    Bravo. If only Catherine Peters could see past her disgust of atheists and allow the money which was donated to help people, actually help people. Why would you reject no-strings-attached money that was going to a good cause from anyone? We’re not even asking you for any thanks in return.

    I hope they do go online for themselves and see what this “group” is.

  • Peter Naus

    Couple of things.

    One: I was unpleasantly surprised at the length people like Ms Peters go to to use their own low-level ignorance to further their religious agenda in what is a purely political situation. This is a step-by-step repeat of the Dover School District’s discussions, where one or two religious zealots use their political clout to further their own awful religious agenda. They even dismiss peanut gallery suggestions in the same way.

    If you haven’t read the trial transcripts for the Dover trial, you need to. It’s stunningly familiar. The only difference is that the Dover issue was about introducing Creationist books into the curriculum, whereas here they’re trying to find a way to refuse a donation. But the similarities are breathtaking – you can even associate roles and names!

    Two: It would seem there’s a case to be made for calling the board out on their claim that this community is a hate group. I honestly can’t think of a more inappropriate and demeaning description of the amazing people here.

    Of course, that’d be completely counter-productive! But then, why are we making this issue so important, if not to draw people’s attention to the astonishing display of religious bigotry in a political group?

    Finally, I’m really offended that people like us could possibly be called hateful and bigoted. But then, as with most right-wing and conservative religious thinking, projecting their own personal failings on to a group of people who couldn’t be more unlike their projection is just part of the fun of dealing with such astonishing religious bigots.

    I keep thinking “Hate the sin, love the sinner”, but my goodness it’s hard to separate the believer and the belief when faced with the Peters’ of this world!

  • Rich Wilson
  • Itarion
  • Paul Reed

    Re the photo mentioned at the end. From what the guy in the video says, it sounds like Hemant just happened to take a photo of the same thing the guy was taking a photo of.
    How is that grounds for a lawsuit…?

  • Dave

    You should give the money to this guy:
    Link from Marshmellow on the religious hospital blog.
    The religious nutters killed his wife with their Bronze Age bullshit and then forced him into bankruptcy.
    Feel the love?

  • mhelbert

    I’m a follower of Christ and I can’t understand how people can be so f#$cking stupid.

  • BoGardiner

    It’s not a matter of IQ. The book on which she bases her morality demonizes and dehumanizes nonChristians. Her faith’s clergy teach that nonChristians who fail to convert deserve eternal torture, and that she should engage in spiritual warfare against Satan’s pawns, which include atheists.

    The only thing I can’t understand is how there could be any civility at all given this.

  • CanadianNihilist

    For fucks sake, just give the money to the local hospital. Hospitals are always in need of money and it would be negligent of them to refuse it.

  • glenmorangie10

    I believe these exact assumptions motivated Hemant to choose the library. Libraries are always in need of money (as this one clearly is), and it would be negligent of a library board to refuse it (as this one clearly was). At this point it’s hard to guess which organization won’t happen to be governed by superstition, even to the detriment of its own, and its clients’, interests.

  • CanadianNihilist

    Yes but I think money that could help save lives would be welcomed by anybody.
    Perhaps I give this town too much credit though.

  • Ibis3

    I would think that, what their avatar might be, if I was a “friendly
    atheist” may be, I don’t know, somebody helping an old lady across the
    street? Or maybe washing some oil off some baby ducks that got caught in
    an oil spill or something like that.

    Or maybe giving cash donations, no strings attached, to parks and libraries.

  • CultOfReason

    I suggest teaming up with a local atheist or humanist group, buying a bunch of atheist-themed books with the $3000, camping out in front of the library, and giving them out for free.

  • Paul Reed

    Can’t you donate the books to the library? Even if they refuse funding, I can’t see any reason why a library would refuse books!

  • Jody

    I know it’s secondary to what to do with the $3k, but it does seem like a good idea to encourage individuals to send the library personal donations for $10 or more bucks and mark “From the Friends of The Friendly Atheist.”