Nasty Church Volunteers Almost Ruin a Family’s Christmas, But Atheists Save the Day

“Hand over the kid, or NO CHRISTMAS FOR YOU!”

What an odd flare-up! In Chickasha, Oklahoma, Tiffany Wait and her husband brought their 7-month-old baby to the Bible Baptist Church’s toy shop for Christmas presents that the church gives away for families in need. But things got weird and nasty.

According to the Chickasha News, the church volunteers insisted that Wait hand her baby over, but I can’t make out why. To receive the gift? To be blessed or something? Just to cuddle? I don’t know.

Wait said her baby doesn’t like strangers and she’d prefer to be with him. She said the volunteer said it has to be done this way, or the family wouldn’t be able to participate.

“I stood there, fighting back tears and asked, ‘You would turn a baby away on Christmas,'” said Wait.

The volunteers held their ground, according to Wait and one woman tried to forcibly take her child.

Crazy, right?? As a parent of wee ones, I’m quaking just thinking about this.

But it doesn’t end simply with the family leaving, which of course they did. Enter the Oklahoma Atheists, who, hearing about this ordeal, rounded up donations of all kinds, which bowled Wait over:

“The Christians turned my baby and I away, and a group of atheists showed us compassion, kindness, and charity,” she said. “They brought us toys, dinner, gift cards, donated money and really saved our holiday.”

Church officials have since tried to make amends with the Wait family, but so far it looks like no one’s made up. I went over to the church’s Facebook page, and the first post you see is from the children’s minister, Paul Countess, who writes:

As a staff member at Bible Baptist Church, I think everyone needs to know that we are certainly not a perfect church. That includes me. We certainly try to love the best we know how, but we, each fall short of that goal…daily.

Sometimes love is not perceived as being “loving” even in the best of circumstances. Whether it is a “Christian” organization or an “Atheist” organization, love is something we all fall short in at various levels as a human race.

Sometimes, mercy and grace is needed as the solution to make amends for a wrong. That goes for the offender as well as the offended. Without it, love will be hidden in the clasp of darkness and will never see the light of day. That will not only hurt us, but our children, who we are trying to leave a great legacy for.

And a little browsing shows you that the community is not happy about this incident. One fellow posts:

“Rules are rules!” said Jesus, never.

And there are many posts that echo this sentiment:

The people of this church should be ashamed of the way they have treated strangers at Christmas under the guise of charity. Those who are unable to give their children a simple toy humbly come before you for a tiny bit of assistance and in turn, they are shunned and humiliated. It’s one thing to proclaim you’re “good Christian people,” but it takes someone special to have compassion and a good heart. Luckily, the person you humiliated has been warmly cared for by truly good people and not just hypocrites.

Well put, I think. But remember, atheism is just for snooty killjoys.

Image via Shutterstock.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • $84687101

    I believe that is what is called an “own goal”. Kudos to the Oklahoma Atheists for being there to pick up the slack. This is also why I assiduously avoid religious charities in favor of secular ones. Most may be quite decent and distribute money fairly and effectively, but you never know when their petty religious rules and desire to convert people will take precedence over doing good for those in need.

  • kdp

    It would be interesting to know why they insisted she hand her child over.

  • Bob Becker

    My guess is a quickie baptism was in the offing.

  • Brian K

    As Stewart pointed out in this thread, that’s unlikely, since baptists don’t believe in infant baptism.

  • 1415dr

    But they do ‘dedications’ with babies. Comparing baptists to Catholics; a dedication is like an infant baptism and a baptism is like a confirmation. Same ritual nonsense with the names changed to make sects feel unique. I had a baptist ‘dedicate’ my baby behind my back. It’s like a quick prayer to grease the hinges on their soul to let Jesus in later.

  • Bob Becker

    “… to grease the hinges on their soul to let Jesus in later.”. (Grin)

  • # zbowman

    So not too different from Catholicism, then?

  • Mary Dante

    nope it is not in the sense that they do the infant thing but Gods forbid you compare them to their faces to Catholics, Catholics are in a cult according to most born again religions

  • Shenandoah Pitcher Veele

    ROFL….

  • Jerry Wilson

    me, too!

  • # zbowman

    It’s more the greasing to let Jesus in that freaks me out.

  • Dan Robinson

    Lube is your friend.

  • Julie Ann Harmon

    Catholics at least don’t just grab random kids to do a baptism like that. The parents actually have to go to several classes and be willing participants to get a kid baptised.

  • MD

    Actually…. A catholic can, under certain circumstances, perform a baptism. I have an aunt that was seriously considering taking her heathen grandchild to a priest for a quickie baptism. The baby’s parents didn’t want to have a baptism.
    I warned her that she was risking access to her grandchild. She then looked into doing it herself. It’s allowed in extreme cases, like the baby is dying or something. Don’t know if she went through with it.

  • Blacksheep

    No Christian sect “grabs random kids to do a baptism” – there’s something else going on here.

  • JayAre
  • Alicia

    Not true, Blacksheep. A church where I live got in trouble last year for offering to take children to a kid gathering at their church. Once there, the kids were all baptized whether or not the parents consented. They were also offering candy and treats to get the kids to go with them.

  • Betsy Warren

    Problem is it doesn’t count unless the person consents. It’s supposed to be take Jesus not shove him in.

  • Dogly

    As a fervid Catholic child, I once baptized my little pal, since she was protestant, and would not otherwise get into Heaven. Don’t worry. I’m much better now! 😉

  • Andy Anderson

    I myself once did this to a Jewish co-worker (who had a great sense of humor, otherwise I never would have done anything like this, ever) – sprinkled her with some coffee, said the words and the shouted “BAM NOW YOU’RE CATHOLIC!”

  • Andy Anderson
  • acornwebworks

    Really? How? Serious question. Did you not know what they were doing? Or was it just really fast?

    Sorry if I’m being weird to ask. But I ask because it brings to mind the way that Mormons “baptize” people after they are dead…and the whole concept appalls me.

  • bearclover

    The mom answered the question herself on this site’s Facebook page. Parents weren’t allowed in the toy room, only children. The children were expected to pick out their own toys.

  • Smiley Kittenpaws

    Sorry, but that’s just creepy that the parents cannot go in with their children. What are these Bible Baptists doing to the kids when they’re out of sight of the parents?

  • DanV

    Baptism, what else.
    Spray some water on him so that he does not have to be circumsised : That is what John the Baptist did.

  • acornwebworks

    Thanks for the info! Like Smiley says…that’s just creepy.

  • smrnda

    As a person who does volunteer work with kids, I don’t really think that’s good policy, particularly when dealing with people you don’t know who have no real reason to trust you. If you’re doing something for kids, you don’t want to freak out parents. If she wasn’t comfortable with that, they should have accommodated her or else they were just being asses.

    I suspect part of the problem is many religious people view themselves as inherently moral and trustworthy, and they think it’s a crime for anyone to doubt their goodness.

  • Jeff

    Before that policy was instituted we had parents with 4 year olds walking out with gifts for the older kids.

  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ WMDKitty — Survivor

    I suppose you don’t let little girls have “boys” toys, or little boys have “girls” toys, either.

  • Matthew Blackburn

    How is that bad exactly? charity is charity, anything else is ego
    (in response to parents taking a gift for other kids)
    ps.. also, how do you know? I mean toys offered to children have already gone through the de facto filter.. i.e. they are offered to begin with.. so you can’t be making a deduction from what toy was taken.. i mean; if you saw a parent with a child take a toy that you thought “well, that toy isn’t suitable for small children!” why is this toy available when there is apparently a restriction on how old the child to receive the gift is?
    If there’s no restriction, but simply a 1-gift-per-person thing.. well why does it matter whether the charity is in person or not?

  • Robin Nicole

    Then set up age areas! You don’t get to make policy that removes a child from the comfort of their parents. You can’t defend stupidity Jeff. Admit it was a bad rule and change it for next year!

  • Nat Carr

    How the heck is a seven-month-old expected to “pick out his own toy”?

    Not trying to shoot the messenger, just expressing my disbelief at their policy.

  • Andy Anderson

    “Here, let me just go ahead and take your child into this room alone!”

    Yeah, that coming from a church volunteer you don’t know isn’t super creepy or anything.

  • Jeff

    The volunteers running that room were elderly women.

  • Andy Anderson

    And….they’re somehow magically not exempt from being creepy? Not picking up what you’re laying down here.

  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ WMDKitty — Survivor

    …and elderly people never ever commit crimes, right?

  • dullsteamer

    So? My maternal grandmother was an elderly woman – and she was a heartless, vicious old bitch when it came to kids. An utterly devout Irish Catholic, funnily enough. Makes me wonder whether Baptist grannies are any different?

  • Snuffy63

    Being not too far removed from the Baptist church, I can’t conceive of ANY reason that these Nazis needed to take a seven-month-old baby from her mom. Not like the child would really be able to select from a variety of dolls, they don’t do baptisms like that, she’s not at the age of accountability so explaining “The Roman Road of Salvation” to her would make about as much sense as quizzing her about the tax code. It wouldn’t surprise me if they took it upon themselves to check for abuse or sniff her clothes for pot smoke (yeah, I know they cannot legally do that). If it was the FLDS, maybe they would kidnap her to marry Warren Jeffs…I DON’T KNOW!!! That is just freakin’ creepy.

  • http://whitenoiseinsanity.com/ KayInMaine

    The church was probably going to steal it and sell the baby to their pedophile buddies across the planet! Just a guess…

  • God’s Starship

    Now I really want to know what they were planning on doing to that child. That church statement is just meaningless drivel.

  • Blacksheep

    That’s what I would like to know. I’ve been to 100 Christian Churches – never heard of that move!
    My gut? There was miscommunication. (However the apology makes it seem like there wasn’t).

  • CrunchyMamaOK

    They wanted to carry him while they picked out a toy to give him. He didn’t want to go to strangers. Because parents weren’t allowed, they told me, either I let them take him in without me or he wouldn’t be allowed inside.

  • allein

    They couldn’t just pick out a toy for him and bring it out? He’s 7 months old; it’s not like he’s gonna be much of an active participant in the process…

  • smrnda

    As someone who does volunteer work with kids, what they did was kind of creepy and disrespectful of normal boundaries, particularly for a child that young and when dealing with families they don’t know but have invited over. If they really cared, they should have accommodated this.

    Another thing – Christians have been known to freak out over people taking *their kids* and giving them gifts *they think are inappropriate.* Apparently they don’t mind doing the same thing to others, which is pretty lousy.

  • Aerial View

    Love how the minister tries to lay half of the problem on the offended, rather than simply apologize. Must be a lay minister.

  • CelticWhisper

    Moar liek LAME minister, amirite?

  • Pandora’s Daddy

    From some of the comments on the FB page, the reason the women wanted the child to stay with them was because they didn’t want kids inside the toy room. I guess this makes sense if you don’t want the kids to play with a bunch of the toys before choosing one, but the actions of the volunteers was still reprehensible.

    As for that apology…yeah, lame.

    I’m not surprised the atheist group stepped up and saved xmas for the family: With no sky daddy to fear or impress, only atheists understand altruism.

  • Stewart

    However, as both parents were present, one of them could have held the child while the other chose a toy.

  • skinnercitycyclist

    Or just explain the damned policy to them.

  • Dave Littler

    Understanding is not necessary for obedience, and seeking to understand why an authority figure is telling you to do something before you obey is sinful. Any bible-believing christian who has read the book of Job through to the end knows this. Shame on that mother for questioning someone who held power over her!

  • Bethany

    Are you serious? Shame on the mother? Surely you have to be joking. Why in the world would anyone there have “power” over her. Especially when we are talking about handing her defenseless 7 month old baby!

  • atoswald

    I do believe that was sarcasm.

  • Bethany

    I do hope so, but after reading some of his other posts I’m not so sure.

  • Dave Littler

    Of course I’m joking. Come on, get your head in the game! :)

  • Bethany

    Geez, my bad…. but that reply was kinda rude. :( Guess I’ve run cross too many crazy people that actually DO think that way! Now you have to guess whether people are being serious or not!

  • Dave Littler

    Poe’s Law in effect, I suppose. I was aiming to be so deliberately absurd that nobody would be able to read it as serious. The problem is that – as Poe’s Law states – there’s nothing you can do to parody fundamentalists that’s SO outlandish that there isn’t some fundamentalist who legitimately holds that position!

  • Crysta

    Remember your /sarcasm tag…
    or maybe #SarcasticEnoughYet

  • Dave Littler

    Touché!

  • Joi Owen

    I’ve listened to fundie pastors sermonize exactly this point, Dave Littler. They love quoting Job at folks they’ve been financially and emotionally abusing.

  • Dave Littler

    I sincerely thought I was taking a passage of the bible in a way that no reasonable person ever would, for comedic effect. While on the one hand it’s sort of darkly amusing to know that there are people out there who do in all seriousness something that I saw as over-the-top absurd, there’s a larger dimension of horror in realizing there are people who would fall for that sort of absurdity and call it rational!

  • bamcintyre

    Just use the standard “sarcasm/ ..stuff… /sarcasm” convention.

  • Christian

    OK. Good. I have actually run across that line of thinking from so many, so that is where I was coming from in my previous reply above. I’m glad you were kidding. :)

  • Christan

    REALLY? It did not sound as though they “held power” over her. And if she wanted to continue to hold her baby, they should have been creative enough to respect her wishes and figure out an alternative plan. After all, she has authority over that child. If she felt it was in the child’s best interests that she hold him/her rather than handing the baby over to a stranger, then more power to her. They could have had enough understanding and compassion to make an exception, especially for an infant. By the way, I am a Christian.

  • Christan

    Ah, but perhaps you were being sarcasm, in which case I agree.

  • CrunchyMamaOK

    Hi, I’m the woman this happened to. My husband was waiting at a table for us to finished with the toy store so that we could eat lunch. I was in line with the baby by myself. After I got out of line I ran to my car and cried and my husband went in to try to talk to the ladies who were so rude to me, but they rude to him also saying simply that rules are rules.

  • Guest

    Anyone is welcome to email me for the whole story. Tiffanyfaithwait@gmail.com

  • stewart

    Thank you for the clarification.

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

    Tiffany, I hope you and your family were able to enjoy the holiday, and I hope you have a happy and prosperous new year.

  • katiehippie

    Hope your holiday was great! And I hope things go well in the future.

  • MsC

    Tiffany, I’m sorry that happened to you and your family. But I’m glad others stepped up for you and that you and your family were able to have a great Christmas after all. I hope this holiday season is the start of good times for you all.

  • http://alenonimo.com.br/ Alenonimo

    They didn’t want to let anyone inside besides the children. So they were going to drag the 7 months old baby inside to pick a toy and make the parents wait outside.

  • allein

    If the reason was because they didn’t want kids in the toy room (presumably because they might get overexcited and grabby, as kids are wont to do), it’s not the 7-month-old you have to worry about. It’s the toddlers and older kids who can actually run around and get into things. And why not just explain that instead of telling a parent they have to hand over their kid before they can go in?

    On the up side, at least the kid is too young to remember this “ruined” Christmas (or even know that it was).

  • Stev84

    Exactly. A 7-month old isn’t going to do much on her own.

  • adaniels

    Yeah, but how much damage could a seven month old do?

  • Jeff

    “How much damage could a seven month old do?” You must not have children……

  • Rachael Colleen

    LOL I was thinking exactly the same thing…

  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ WMDKitty — Survivor

    This has to be the first time I’ve seen that phrase used in a funny, non-condescending manner. Well done.

  • tsig

    You never know when one of those heathen children will go feral on you and start manifesting Satan and all his works. Evil babies floating around the room spewing devil vomit is not a pretty sight.

  • Blacksheep

    That’s funny.

  • BoGardiner

    “Sometimes love is not perceived as being “loving” …Sometimes, mercy and grace is needed as the solution to make amends for a wrong. That goes for the offender as well as the offended. Without it, love will be hidden in the clasp of darkness and will never see the light of day. That will not only hurt us, but our children…”

    Ugh. Classic victim-blaming nonapology.

  • sara

    Yeah, I found the “apology” almost as creepy as the original event.

  • God’s Starship

    Yeah, I didn’t wonder if they had something to hide until I read the “apology”.

  • $eandog

    “Creepy” is something Baptists do well!

  • ๒レㄩ∑ῳ◊и∂∑Я

    true. it’s probably because of their worshiping of a demonic god construct that burns people of other faiths or none at all.

  • skinnercitycyclist

    Huh. Something new for Xmas: Clergy weasel-words

  • anthrosciguy

    A classic “mistakes were made” (if that) “apology”. The pastor’s remarks quoted in the need story too; they read like standard corporatespeak.

  • Rebecca Anne Inkster

    “The party of the first part hereby acknowledges that the party of the second part got upset, though admits no wrongdoing… Etc.”

  • quasibaka

    5g False HUMILITY + 10g “chrisitian LOVE” + 10g Victim Blaming + 10Kg BS = business as usual .

    I didn’t even find a single “I’m sorry” or some sentence that meant that .
    just more catchphrases : LOVE … FORGIVENESS … MERCY … GRACE

  • ๒レㄩ∑ῳ◊и∂∑Я

    it’s passive aggressive no doubt about it. that “apology” was full of self righteousness with a condescending undertone.

  • Ross Gibson

    As Alucard said, ‘To spread the love of god… All over their back’

  • ๒レㄩ∑ῳ◊и∂∑Я

    fundie xtians are ALWAYS the victim don’t ya know? :/

  • Rebecca Anne Inkster

    Yeah, honestly, I got a “Don’t forget that you’re not perfect either!” vibe from the minister’s post, like she wants it to SEEM like an apology while actually having been deflecting blame. And what kind of weird church tries to take a perfectly safe and happy baby from it’s mother? And as to “Whether it is a “Christian” organization or an “Atheist” organization, love is something we all fall short in at various levels as a human race.” , is that an attempt to smear the atheists for showing the church up by being the ACTUAL kind, charitable and un-creepy group here??

  • It’sMe

    Same thoughts.

  • Guest

    what is harmful to our children is tolerating an attitude where people can feel justified to take a child from their parent like that..

    I’ve been reading down the comments here and people are getting very pre-occupied as to WHY it happened, does this matter? Is there any explanation that will make us say “oh, that’s ok then”?

    The point is not where, who, why.. it is what happened, the act itself, alone..
    This is a universal issue of consent that religion the world over needs a very stern lesson in.. Oh i’m going to hell if i choose to “sin” am i? well it’s a good thing you were here to take all my choices away from me..

    I mean, even outside the context of my own opinion (as in, i’m an atheist, there must always be some degree of assumed bias in the reading) and within religions, referring here mainly to christianity/judaism/islam group: Not even God himself dares to presume he may take a person’s choice away from them..

    This isn’t only about people thinking they can override the choice of a parent because they “know better” but also about all freedom, like gay marriage, to pick a really hot topic. So “gays burn in hell”? well that’s unfortunate for them, but how does that grand the right to take people’s choice away. My soul, if indeed i have one, is my own.

    If anybody ever tells me i am committing a sin through the actions of my own free well, whether that is following my heart or protecting my child then i’m afraid i will just have to burn in hell and like it..

  • Art_Vandelay

    “Rules are rules!” said Jesus, never.

    Except, all the time. Sometimes really fucked up ones too….

    3 Jesus replied, “And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition? 4 For God said, ‘Honor your father and mother’[a] and ‘Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death.’[b] 5 But you say that if anyone declares that what might have been used to help their father or mother is ‘devoted to God,’ 6 they are not to ‘honor their father or mother’ with it. Thus you nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition. 7 You hypocrites!

  • macwife

    Crap there goes my kid …. oh wait I don’t by that crap in the first place lol

  • Brian K

    That was said in response to the pharisees asking him “Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? They don’t wash their hands before they eat!”, to which he pointed out the hypocrisy of their only enforcing the rules they found convenient. To read those verses as him saying “rules are rules” is to deliberately miss his point.

  • Art_Vandelay

    Pointing out the hypocrisy of their only enforcing the rules they found convenient is radically different than saying rules are rules?

  • Brian K

    Yes, because the entire episode began with him breaking other rules himself.

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

    Wouldn’t a valid interpretation be that you should then enforce all rules, no matter what, and read his breaking of rules as an ironic attempt to get them all enforced?

    It would be similar to how atheists who want to get rid of Christian displays on public property fight to be included in those displays. They don’t actually want to have a display (break the rules), they want the rules to be enforced on everyone equally (or, in our metaphor, all the rules to be enforced).

  • Brian K

    It would be an interesting interpretation, I’ve never thought of the idea of Jesus as engaged in civil disobedience against the Torah (the law). I think, though, that the interpretation I offered matches better with his larger narrative that his disciples should seek first a righteousness of love, rather than the one of false piety of which he accused those in power.

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

    I don’t, given that in many places he specifically says the laws are not broken and people should follow all of them still. Jesus got pretty pissed off at both a fig tree and a woman seeking healing for her daughter to argue that his was a message of universal love.

    Now granted, I’m talking about a figure I think is likely completely mythological whose story is contained in an accretion of multiple non-contiguous oral histories/stories written down decades or centuries after his supposed death. But still, the point is that Jesus’s message isn’t at all clear, and you can interpret it any way you like and still find other New Testament verses to back you up.

  • http://127.0.0.1 3lemenope

    To read those verses as him saying “rules are rules” is to deliberately miss his point.

    While I agree with you on this, it is a thing worth mentioning that it wouldn’t hurt for a deity to be clearer. Analogies and metaphors and parables and rhetorical questions and (the ancient Judaean equivalent of) pop-culture references aren’t exactly the best ways to go about communicating a message of eternal applicability and extreme importance.

    “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
    [Mistreats everyone around them]
    “Why did you go and do all that?!”
    “I don’t love myself.”
    “…damn it!”

    “For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?”
    “Uh, the whole world.”
    “…damn it!”

    “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone!”
    [Stone whistles through air, clocks victim in head]
    “What the hell?!”
    “Just got born again a few minutes ago.”
    “Humans are so frustrating!”

    “And the meek shall inherit the Earth!”
    [Everyone starts leaving]
    “Hey, where are you all going?”
    “You’re a seditionist. We’ve seen what the Romans do to the likes of you, and when it happens, I don’t wanna be standing in the splash radius. You just said the meek will get all the things, so what profits us courage in hearing you speak? Catch you later.”
    “ARRRRGH!” [ragequit]

  • Brian K

    Analogies and metaphors are also a big part of the reason the gospels stuck around. They needed enough malleability to fit the biases of the listener to catch on with wide cross sections of the populace.

  • baal

    Thanks for supporting LMOPs point.

  • Brian K

    Not familiar with LMPO.

  • http://127.0.0.1 3lemenope

    Oh, I know. But the trade-off has to be in clarity, and if the message is important not just for being delivered but in being received intact, there are several more effective ways (if you’re all powerful and all wise and all sneaky) to ensure the message gets propagated without relying on literary tricks and tropes. After all, large swaths of intricate rules and promises survive through what became the Old Testament, and that ain’t light and fluffy metaphors and analogies for the most part.

    The parable of the mustard seed for example is, beyond the obvious problems, absolutely useless if you’ve never seen a mustard seed; the detail distracts from the point, rather than enhancing it, to the point where there are several absolutely hilarious guesses interpretations of the parable trying to explain the obvious deficiencies of the analogy as secret strengths through ever more abstract meanings, which all hinge on Jesus picking mustard while knowing that mustard:

    1. is not the smallest seed on Earth
    2. does not grow into a tree

    and that people generally don’t plant it in gardens because it is considered by most a weed, and what’s with the birds? Are they taking shelter like hapless souls, or are they evil birds come to despoil the Kingdom of mustard seeds God with their seed-eating and seed-disrespecting evil evilness? And is the Kingdom of God being like a mustard seed the same analog to faith being like a mustard seed or is it different entirely, in which case why did he use the same object for his metaphor…

  • Brian K

    If a deity does exist, it seems very clear it is not interested in communicating with humans in the most effective way.

  • http://127.0.0.1 3lemenope

    Quite so. And I’d be personally happier if believers just copped to that rather than trying to pry some clarity out of the morass.

    On the other hand, I firmly believe that wrestling with literal religious nonsense as an object of ultimate concern had quite a profound and positive impact on the variety and subtlety of logical tools we have as a species developed. Bang your head against the Trinity for two thousand years, and you might not get any more of a sensible answer than when you started, but the creativity (and intellectual desperation) that went into trying to figure it out was helpful when the resulting tools were turned on things that aren’t so nonsensical.

    It’s one of the reasons why, I think, fiction in general and narrative even more generally is absolutely essential for humans to stimulate pragmatic creativity; toying with ideas in a fictional world can be good exercise for applying the idea for serious in the really real world. Gedankenexperiment, and all that.

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

    Of all the rules to throw out, don’t toss out that one! Basic hygiene ftw. Seriously, did Jesus want his followers to die of avoidable diseases?

  • Brian K

    It’s easy to say that from a modern perspective, but at the time there wasn’t a connection between ceremonial cleanliness and public sanitation. There were a series of elaborate rituals one needed to go through to be ceremonially clean, many of which were a major financial burden. It was just another way to differentiate between the social elite and everyone else, a barrier Jesus was trying to break down.

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

    And if Jesus was perfect-god, he would know that ceremonial cleanliness was still cleanliness and a really freaking good idea.

  • Brian K

    Whether he is God isn’t relevant to my point, I was countering the claim that he advocated unthinking obedience to arbitrary rules. And ceremonial cleanliness only occasionally corresponded to actual cleanliness. You can’t be cured of leprosy through a series of animal sacrifices, for example.

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

    Oh, of course. But why not pick that example, then? The Middle Ages were fucked in large part because people read that as an injunction against bathing, and actually held Jews’ cleanliness against them (during the plagues, Jews got sick less often because of bathing and washing hands, so there were pogroms against them because obviously the evil Jews were spreading the plague since they weren’t getting sick as often).

    If you think Jesus really is perfect god, and I don’t know if you do or not, then he had to have known what effect using that particular example would have. Jesus definitely advocated unthinking obedience to arbitrary rules in places, he just contradicted that in other places. So pick your verses carefully, but remember that there’s always verses that say you’re wrong in the very same book you’re looking at.

  • Brian K

    My ideas about Jesus’ divinity are weird and complicated, but in any way that’s relevant to this conversation I think he was just an interesting moral philosopher. I’m interested in what you would pick as an example of him advocating unthinking obedience at the expense of basic empathy. Personally, I think that just the opposite is the crux of his entire message.

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

    Fig tree- bear fruit out of season or die. Lesson: obey the rules or die, even if the rules are literally against nature.

    Healing the Phoenician woman’s daughter- he turned her away and called her a dog, saying the rule was that Israelites were the only important ones. He only healed the girl because the woman grovelled. Lesson: rules are to be followed even if people die, unless you stroke god’s ego. There is certainly no love or compassion here.

    And then all the following verses, courtesy of evilbible.com

    1) “For truly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass the law until all is accomplished. Whoever then relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but he who does them and teaches them shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:18-19 RSV) Clearly the Old Testament is to be abided by until the end of human existence itself. None other then Jesus said so.

    2) All of the vicious Old Testament laws will be binding forever. “It is easier for Heaven and Earth to pass away than for the smallest part of the letter of the law to become invalid.” (Luke 16:17 NAB)

    3) Jesus strongly approves of the law and the prophets. He hasn’t the slightest objection to the cruelties of the Old Testament. “Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets. I have come not to abolish but to fulfill. Amen, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest part or the smallest part of a letter will pass from the law, until all things have taken place.” (Matthew 5:17 NAB)

    3b) “All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for refutation, for correction, and for training in righteousness…” (2 Timothy 3:16 NAB)

    3c) “Know this first of all, that there is no prophecy of scripture that is a matter of personal interpretation, for no prophecy ever came through human will; but rather human beings moved by the holy Spirit spoke under the influence of God.” (2 Peter 20-21 NAB)

    4) Jesus criticizes the Jews for not killing their disobedient children according to Old Testament law. Mark.7:9-13 “Whoever curses father or mother shall die” (Mark 7:10 NAB)

    5) Jesus is criticized by the Pharisees for not washing his hands before eating. He defends himself by attacking them for not killing disobedient children according to the commandment: “He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death.” (Matthew 15:4-7)

    6) Jesus has a punishment even worse than his father concerning adultery: God said the act of adultery was punishable by death. Jesus says looking with lust is the same thing and you should gouge your eye out, better a part, than the whole. The punishment under Jesus is an eternity in Hell. (Matthew 5:27)

    7) Peter says that all slaves should “be subject to [their] masters with all fear,” to the bad and cruel as well as the “good and gentle.” This is merely an echo of the same slavery commands in the Old Testament. 1 Peter 2:18

    8) “Did not Moses give you the law, and yet none of you keepeth the law” (John7:19) and “For the law was given by Moses,…” (John 1:17).

    9) “…the scripture cannot be broken.” –Jesus Christ, John 10:35

  • Brian K

    Wow, you did come prepared :) It won’t surprise you to find out I interpret these verses differently than you do. For example, calling the woman a dog would have been the expected behavior of a Jewish rabbi, so the fact that he then pulls a complete 180 and subverts the expectations of all involved makes me think he was making a deliberate rhetorical point, rather than being cruel before changing his mind.

    And as a counter example, he said in Matthew 19:8-9 “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery”, so he’s directly countering the Torah.

    In the end, obviously I think I’m right, or I’d change my opinion, but your objections are reasonable ones. What I’m betting we can agree on is that Jesus (be he God, man or literary figure) was a complex and often self contradictory figure.

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

    I’ve never been Christian. I’ve been bombarded my whole life by people trying to convert me, so I’ve had to learn more about their religion than they know lol.

    Calling a woman a dog was never expected behavior. It’s an insult. Dogs were unclean, filthy, carrion-eaters. Calling anyone a dog was not only not expected, it was (and still is in modern Arab countries) a horrible thing to do. Would you excuse a doctor for telling an African-American woman “go away, nigger, the rules say I can only heal white people”, forcing her to grovel and beg him to heal her daughter, and then relenting after she grovelled to his satisfaction? No. That doctor is not a good person and certainly not advocating breaking the rules. That’s exactly what Jesus did to that Phoenician woman.

    I’m not saying my interpretation is right, either. I don’t even say it’s my interpretation, so much as that it’s an interpretation that exists. I am saying that there are a lot of interpretations with a lot of verses backing them all up, and no possible way to know which, if any, interpretation is right. Jesus is indeed a complex and self-contradictory figure, but I also don’t see him as a terribly moral character or one who had a lot of useful things to say or lessons to teach. Siddhartha Gautama is far more fascinating IMO (no, I’m not a Buddhist either).

  • Brian K

    I was raised in the Lutheran Church: Missouri Synod, a staunchly conservative evangelical sect. So I dodged the bombardment, but I went through a very long, very lonely de-conversion process. My family still has no idea just how far my apostasy goes. I’m sure my current interest in interpretation of the gospels is something of a vestigial feature of my former faith. They are a hell of a lot more interesting now that I can read them critically, not dogmatically.

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

    That is for sure true. Reading things critically is interesting and fun :)

  • http://127.0.0.1 3lemenope

    I’ve pointed this out to literally-minded Christians a bunch, that if there was a Jesus, it is very likely given the teaching tropes in common use at the time that he would have been utterly shocked by people taking his points programmatically, as rules instead of guidelines, ridiculous hyperbole taken seriously instead of being understood as simply for emphasis and rhetorical spice. If he had to caveat everything he said–“And by this, I’m not saying you shouldn’t wash your hands, I’m just saying that the stuff you say is more important for your spiritual status than whether you eat only foods off of the approved list”–it would break his flow.

  • CanadianNihilist

    “Whether it is a “Christian” organization or an “Atheist” organization,
    love is something we all fall short in at various levels as a human race”

    Not finding anything on the Internets about “Atheist” organizations falling short on the love department.

  • Joi Owen

    I saw similar “christian” behavior at my last church. This is why I am an ex-christian. I’ve encountered too many churches that insist on morals tests before bestowing their “charity”. They can keep their tainted, self-righteous “charity.”
    .

  • http://www.everydayintheparkwithgeorge.com/ Matt Eggler

    I give this comment an internet gold star. You sound awesome, Joi!

  • smrnda

    Charity is too often made a degrading experience, more so someone can feel big and important for giving it where the person getting the aid is kind of an afterthought.

  • gimpi1

    Indeed, smrnda. I also felt that my parents church wanted my parents to beg a bit.

    I have also noticed that the people who talk about gutting social programs in favor of private charity always talk about how God wants them to give personally rather than through the government, and how they want to “be involved”( i.e. judge) those they give to. It’s all about the beliefs and needs of the giver. The people who need aid never seem to enter the conversation.

  • KMR

    This need to be involved is a requirement of their faith. Although Christians will say salvation is a gift from God, Paul specifically states that faith without works is dead. So Christians believe that if they truly have faith (ie. going to heaven), they must “work”. So yes a lot of times (not always) the charitable acts is about earning their place in heaven not about compassion itself. I do believe this is why the volunteer was so rigid. She/he had already completed the requirement by simply being there and working so if the families weren’t willing to follow the rules, no skin off their back.

  • gimpi1

    And often what they are testing isn’t “morals” but conformity. When I was young, my family was very poor, due to both my parents suffering from disabilities. However, my parent’s church did very little for our family. The reasons? My father, suffering from brain damage due to an industrial accident, “made them nervous.” My mother, a polio survivor who also suffered from rheumatoid arthritis, “was pushy, (not submissive enough) questioned doctrine (thought for herself) and wasn’t very attractive. How “righteous” of them.

  • suzeb1964

    “Whether it is a “Christian” organization or an “Atheist” organization, love is something we all fall short in at various levels as a human race.

    Sometimes, mercy and grace is needed as the solution to make amends for a wrong. That goes for the offender as well as the offended.”

    Translation: We acted like total dicks, but we’re gonna blame everyone else.

  • macwife

    Forced love isn’t as genuine in my opinion.

  • sara

    He really sounded as though he expected her to apologize to them.

  • TheG

    I’m wondering how long it will be until a rapist tries this defense

  • Blacksheep

    The response from the woman at the church is pretty pathetic in my opinion, primarily because she doesn’t explain the church’s actions, and also because instead of taking the heat she wants to “share” the responsibility because “we all fall short.”
    That’s not an apology!

  • WallofSleep

    It’s like Paul knows what an apology is, he diagrams it well, but isn’t yet ready to commit to one. Like saying “This is what an apology would sound like coming from me, if I were to make one. But I’m not gonna”.

  • Blacksheep

    Well put.

  • Glasofruix

    Welcome to the real world, where many christians are self entitled assholes because they think they posess “the truth”.

  • JaniceInToronto

    That was a really lame notapology. I’ll never get over how christian love manifests itself.

  • Blacksheep

    except that this was not Christian love – if it were this wouldn’t have happened! :)
    This sounds more like ineptitude manifesting itself.

  • BoGardiner

    Sorry, but…

  • Blacksheep

    To your point – maybe a new term is needed. A doctor who loses all of his patients is still a “doctor”., a lawyer who loses all of his cases is still a “lawyer.” A guess a Scotsman who never visits Scotland is still a Scotsman – but he’s a pretty bad one!

  • Blacksheep

    Sorry – typos – typing without my drug store reading glasses that I suddenly seem to need.

  • http://127.0.0.1 3lemenope

    You have to be inept at life to think that you can ask a parent for their infant child without at the least explaining what you intend. It’s very difficult to believe that something like this could escalate to such a point without something a bit spicier than garden-variety employee ineptitude going on. This is more “let’s take all the control rods out of reactor four and shut down the fail-safes and see what happens” grade ineptitude. I mean, actually trying to grab the baby away?

    And the non-apology pushes it from possible-if-not-quite-plausible-that-this-was-all-one-big-misunderstanding territory to “what exactly the fuck were you going to do with that baby?” territory. There are ways to preserve the benefit of the doubt, and this ain’t it.

  • Brian K

    Laughing because the comparison to Chernobyl is about as hyperbolic as one can get.

  • http://127.0.0.1 3lemenope

    Well, every once in a while, I’m confronted with a series of decisions that a human being actually made, where they had to have said to themselves “sure, this makes sense, and what could possibly go wrong?” that makes me want to double facepalm followed by a repetitive headdesk till the pain goes away.

    The consequences may be on different levels of severity and quantity, but the qualities of the thought process that led there are, I’d be willing to bet, probably very similar.

  • http://www.molestedcatholic.com/ John A Brown

    Put yourself in their shoes for a moment. You do not question your own motives (only those of others) as you know you are right – your god has told you so many times.

    Unquestioning trust comes in the territory of the paedophile priest who has trained the flock to consider that children are simply objects to be raised in the glory of the lord. No sacrifice is too great so there is not the same bonding in place as there is with others outside of religions or at times other various flavours of the same religion.

    The bonds of motherhood must be broken early and that was on display and was simply expected to be in place in others – one party is evaluating a product and an often inconvenience in the other (they should be grateful I wanted to pick up their brat!!!!!!). The child belongs to Jesus therefore it is common property amongst fellow believers.

    All the normal parental bonding and responsibilities for safety, morality and psychological protection have been handed over to the Church. What they have not handed over the Church as usurped through twisted logic teachings.

    What could be more normal for someone who thinks a babe in arms should be removed from its mother because when they get a few months older they become more inquisitive – that is almost Catholic in its thinking though I do realise it applies to many others.

    What is wrong with that woman that I can’t take her baby. Catholics have been doing that for centuries only they call kidnapping adoption as it works in better in a conversation.

    Filling in by hindsight heroes readily produces contorted logic when questioned. You must not question that as questioning that shows that you have not forgiven and forgiving is what is needed as the church is filled with sinners and criminals.

    Personally I think the parents were rather cavalier to take a child into such a setting so that they could get another piece of stuff for the pride of their life.

  • Franklin Bacon

    I liked your first part…that the church makes its own rules regarding society and they take their sensation of having been blessed in their correctness as a sign from their god. This makes them invulnerable to criticism.

  • Blacksheep

    I agree – “inept at life is a perfect way to say it.

  • smrnda

    I find that a lot of religious organizations are really bad at respecting boundaries, because having them is anti-authoritarian, and they expect automatic trust from people.

    I’ve volunteered with kids and this is unprofessional behavior. People are understandably wary of letting strangers handle their kids – I mean, the organization I volunteer with lets all the parents know they’ve done the max for background checks and that no adult is ever with a child alone, unsupervised, and that kids will only interact with approved volunteers and staff. What don’t these people get? Particularly with so many churches getting rocked by various sorts of child abuse charges.

  • Seth Williamson

    My guess is they were baptizing the children. I hope I’m wrong and I’d love to hear a statement of purpose from the church.

  • http://springygoddess.blogspot.com/ Astreja

    But in a Baptist church, wouldn’t that involve full immersion? (No idea if they have some sort of “baptism-lite” consecration ceremony for small children)

  • sara

    Baptists wait until the child is old enough to at least parrot what they have been instructed as understanding the meaning of it.

  • Stewart

    Baptists don’t do infant baptism. My guess is inadequately trained volunteers combined with a failure to display initiative.

  • Seth Williamson

    That’s a relief to hear. I feel a bit guilty expecting the worst. I should try not to be so cynical.

    I try to put myself into the shoes of the event planner and I try to understand what need there was to take possession of the children as part of the workflow, but I’m at a total loss. Not only is it unnecessary, it sounds like added work for the volunteers. I just don’t get what valid purpose was served by that process.

  • stewart

    I presume that the relevant statements are in the bits that you need a FaceBook account to see, but the suggestion made elsethread here, citing comments on that Facebook page, is that they wanted to keep children away from the toys. Perhaps because they feared kids getting overexcited, and causing disruption.

    But it would make sense for the church to at least explain the purpose of the policy.

    I don’t to want to vilify that church for this incident. They were attempting to provide toys at Xmas for children of poor families, which is a praiseworthy act, and there has been no reason offered to suspect that they were imposing onerous conditions on the recipients (other than the handing over their children while a toy was selected).

  • Chas Swedberg

    This could be a lot of thoughtless ineptitude. In high school, I was in a group that had an annual pancake breakfast. As I worked in a restaurant, my first breakfast I set up stations, assigned people roles, and told everyone what they were expected to do. Because I had that little knowledge, the group was amazed how smoothly everything ran, where before it was chaos. I could see a similar chaos at this church.

  • tsig

    Actually they were trying to win souls for Christ, the giving of toys is just a means to this end.

  • Lark62

    I question “praiseworthy”. Many christians seem to need an ulterior motive before acting charitable. Saving your filthy, evil, wicked soul works. There is often also a clear boundary between the saintly giver and the lowly givee. The givee is expected to grovel gratefully with immense gratitude for any crumbs thrown their way.

  • BoGardiner

    Maybe not baptism, but probably some prayers.

  • unbound55

    I am an unnaturally calm person, but there are lines that, once crossed, result in such strong responses that I scare people. Trying to take a person’s child away from them? I would have spent a night in lockup after doing some serious damage to the offender. There is simple no excuse for such an action.

    And the church follows up with a non-pology. Noone is perfect is a response if someone dropped a glass of milk or something similar, not trying to take someone’s child from them. Another church lacking true morals.

  • Jamie Carter

    I’da punched the crap outa the person then called someone I trusted to pick up my child and waited for the police.

  • Femguy

    Her name is Tiffany Wait, not Tiffany White.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Hemant Mehta

    Fixed!

  • jamilleChristman

    Aww, that is heartwarming that their holiday was saved. Good for the community to help out others in need.

  • Bob Jase

    Sounds like some folks wanted to baptise the kid w/o the parent’s permission. Heck, my late mother-in-law did that w/ my kids.

  • Daniel_JM

    Probably not. Traditional Baptists don’t practice infant baptism.

  • skinnercitycyclist

    I agree, stealth baptisms are something I would expect from Catholics, not Baptists

  • dullsteamer

    Stealth baptisms?

    Now I have this mental image of a big black flying cross, swathed in radar-absobent material, armed with “holy” water cannons, plunging silently out of the night sky and drenching any unsuspecting kids in its path… :)

  • newavocation

    Maybe it’s like when a car dealer holds the keys to your trade in until you make a deal on a new car or in this case a new savior.

  • Rob P

    The whole “hand over your child” thing baffles me.

  • God’s Starship

    I doubt they were planning to do something nefarious behind closed doors. Sounds like somebody got overly hung up on a protocol. What I don’t understand is how it got that far.

  • Art_Vandelay

    Yeah, the whole thing is incredibly vague and I’m inclined to think that both parties could have handled it better. Just the fact that the lady got so dramatic immediately with the “You would turn away a baby on Christmas” while fighting back tears and then going home and immediately ranting about it on Facebook makes me think she might be one of those that embraces the whole victim thing.

  • Rob P

    I doubt they were going to do anything nefarious either. However, the lack of indication of what the handing over the kid was all about is what is baffling to me. Even the “apology” does not indicate why there was a request to hand over the child.

  • Jean

    Maybe be they wanted to (re-)baptize the kids they didn’t know? That’s definetly nasty.

  • skinnercitycyclist

    Look, where else are they gonna get enough infants to re-enact King Herod’s big scene? You can’t just use wrecked dolls and theatrical blood ALL the time…

    “All right, Mr. DeMille, I’m ready for my close-up.”

  • TCC

    Be especially careful if they ask, “Is this your firstborn?”

  • WallofSleep

    “But remember, atheism is just for snooty killjoys.”

    I resent the implication! See the dirt under my fingernails?!? I’m a blue-collar killjoy, damnit! I get my fuckin’ hands dirty!

  • http://www.molestedcatholic.com/ John A Brown

    Something only an exceptional few clergy are familiar with. Being raised in a normal Catholic environment led me to understand that being clergy exempted you from real work of any kind

  • Michael

    The saddest thing about this “apology?” This non-apology was penned by a guy who wasn’t even THERE at the event.

  • Becky

    Here’s what the pastor of that church had to say further down on his post. He says the post was not in answer to the events, that he was unaware of what happened. Hmmm, really? “I was not at the Heart of Christmas Event yesterday. The above post was one from me personally, not in response to the incident. I do not know the events surrounding the family involved. I’m sorry that feelings and families were hurt. I read a post that said that things were made right for those involved, and I’m thankful for that. Know that our intent as a church is to love, and to seek forgiveness when we need to. I apologize for my previous post and any further harm I have caused . –Paul Countess-Children’s Minister”

  • Chas Swedberg

    This still could be a Hanlon’s Razor situation, more stupidity than intended malice. And the shoddily written article is no help, leaving holes to that readers speculate.

  • Drew M.

    I tend to agree with you in regards to the initial event. The lame “apology,” however, is a different story. That’s just douchebaggery.

  • Chas Swedberg

    It’s haphazard at best, which could mean inexperience with PR as much as douchebaggery and the spectrum in between.

  • Franklin Bacon

    It is likely an isolative christian sect, which is not really as outgoing as they would have others believe. Norms and morals are decided amongst themselves, and outsiders are not consulted.

  • Chas Swedberg

    Maybe an isolated sect, but maybe not, so there is still a spectrum of possibilities unless we learn otherwise.

  • Brian K

    I also find it suspect that the article is based entirely on her account.

  • Stevie

    What a great story of the true purpose of Christmas.

  • Jean

    I still want to know why they insisted on she handing over her child!? That doesn’t sound right. And why didn’t they explain the reason? That could’ve made things better (or worse, who knows).

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/chidy/ chicago dyke

    it’s a very poorly written article, in terms of clarity and the narrative of “what happened.” i left a comment at the website asking for clarification. i would like to know exactly why the parents were asked to let strangers fondle the infant in exchange for toys. that’s creepy at best, and much worse, potentially.

  • Chas Swedberg

    Totally agree, the article leaves wide gaps of knowledge leaving these comments full of speculation. This still could be poor rules and/or thoughtless volunteers.

  • smrnda

    Yes. Do parents have any assurance that the people handling children have passed adequate background checks? We do get the news on priests, but church *volunteers* (who are often subject to no background checks) are another source of problems as well.

  • Franklin Bacon

    Many rules set forth by churches are expected to be followed, regardless of their motives. It is a coercive atmosphere which does not allow for others to decide anything for themselves. You are expected to trust them, because they are christian.

  • momtarkle

    Someone please clarify: Did or did not the atheists get to eat the baby?

  • skinnercitycyclist

    And what wine was served…

  • LexCalibur

    A nice Chianti.

  • Raising_Rlyeh

    Chianti can be nice, but you have to be careful to pick out just the perfect wine to go with the child.

  • mike

    Clearly in this case you let the child pick out the wine…

  • momtarkle
  • phranckeaufile

    A nice chianti.

  • Thom Mills

    Spit warning please. I almost ruined the wife’s laptop.

  • http://alenonimo.com.br/ Alenonimo

    Old customs don’t apply anymore. Now we eat puppies.

    They didn’t find the dog after the party, by the way. 😛

  • Todd Heath

    Oklahoma is turning out to be ground zero for the battle between secular and religious ideas. Atheist here are coming out of the closet in a big way. The best part is we are making a international impact for the ideas of free thinking and rational thought.

  • The Starship Maxima

    Does anybody have any idea why exactly they asked the mother to hand over her child?

  • http://127.0.0.1 3lemenope

    I think that’s one of the things everyone was hoping the church would address in its reply.

  • skinnercitycyclist

    Gourmet night at the church?

  • playonwords

    H’mmm, I wonder if there was a sneaky baptism planned to “save” the baby.

  • stewart

    Once again, Baptists don’t do infant baptism. This rush to ascribe nefarious motives is not cool.

  • Jamie Carter

    Trust me any person who tries to snatch a baby from it’s mother uninvited deserves whatever response they get even if that’s a bloody nose. As for a rush to ascribe nefarious motives someone tries to touch my kid I’m going to assume nefarious motives and pick up the pieces later.

  • Bob Becker

    Except, Stuart, anyone contemplating a quickie dab, or dedicatory prayer, would likely not consider that in any way a nefarious act. Quite the opposite, probably.

  • Richard Thomas

    Atheists are generally known to have read the religious texts at least a few times and have a comprehensive understanding of them. Knowing all the differences in all the practices of the different flavors of christianity is something we usually leave up to the christians. After all, what difference does it make to me that catholics baptize at infancy and baptists at adulthood? It’s a reasonable assumption, not a “rush to ascribe nefarious motives.”

  • Lark62

    Then explain the non-nefarious purpose for systematically separating young children from parents.

  • sevenish

    looks like the FB post was deleted.

  • Jamie Carter

    The page has now been removed

  • LesterBallard

    Seems a bit on the creepy side to me.

  • Bruce L Arvidson II

    Ok, I am having a hard time following this article. Can someone tell me who this “Wait” person is? I thought the article was going to be about Tiffany White and her child.this mysterious “Wait” person can’t be the child because it states “the church volunteers insisted that Wait hand her baby over,” which indicates that is must be the mother, but the beginning of the article states the mother’s name is Tiffany White. Someone please explain it to me.

  • Jamie Carter

    Typo

  • Bruce L Arvidson II

    A typo is doing once, maybe two times, but to change the mother’s name throughout the article is carelessness. She actually posted on here, The typo is in the beginning. Her last name is Wait and not White.

  • http://www.tommyjonestheband.com RantingTommy

    Atheists don’t need the threat of hell or the promise of heaven to be good people. We’re good without gods.

  • Blacksheep

    Anyone can be “good” – and they should be. But the chief aim of Christianity is not “goodness” per se, it’s more about love than good behavior – and about being closer to God. The message of the Gospels is not “be good so you can go to heaven” it’s much more “follow me so you can go to heaven, and when you do that you will also do good.”

  • Franklin Bacon

    I understand, because I was taught this in my former church group. One problem it creates is the fact that many of the same people in different circumstances do completely opposite things. There seems to be no standard, nor understanding that there are others who disagree with you on what “good” means. Their perception of good may be different, so must not be imposed on those who have needs which require a different response.

  • Blacksheep

    I think you’re saying that the idea of “good” can be arbitrary? If so, I agree – it gets complex, maybe another reason that early believers called the Gospel “good news.”

  • http://www.tommyjonestheband.com RantingTommy

    Being closer to a fictional being is not a lofty or noble goal.

  • Blacksheep

    Agreed – but the comment is not about whether or not God is real, it’s about the idea of “goodness” and how it fits into Christian doctrine.

  • CrunchyMamaOK

    Hi my name is Tiffany and I’m the woman this happened to. They wanted to hold my baby to take him into the toy shop to pick out a for him. Because parents weren’t allowed inside they told me that either a volunteer could take him inside or he wouldn’t be allowed inside at all. My husband was at a table waiting on us to get out of line. After I left the line I ran to my car in tears. My husband went back to try to talk to the ladies who were rude but he didn’t accomplish much. They gave him the same reasons they gave me “rules are rules”. When I got home I went to rant on AOK not asking for charity but just to vent and cry. They came together gave my family the best Christmas ever. I’m a closet atheist because my small town doesn’t take kindly to ‘heathens’, but I may come out publicly after all . I’m so thankful my atheist online family. They saved Christmas and my faith in humanity.

  • Guest

    My email is tiffanyfaithwait@gmail.com if you’d like to find me on Facebook or you can find me on Twitter @crunchymamaok

  • Glasofruix

    As a “computer guy” let me give you a little advice. Unless you want a lot of email selling you penis enlargements, avoid at all cost giving your email address in plain text on the internet. Just write surname[nospace]name at gmail dot com, the robots would not pick it up.

  • Chas Swedberg

    My 2 cents: I’d recommend removing your contact info entirely on an open forum talking about atheism. There is more than just spammers to worry about [deleted: “especially if you wish to remain closeted” since Wait’s name is in the article]

  • Blacksheep

    You are correct – a few years back someone stopped doing business with me because they saw that I was involved with my church. (he was in an “anti-Christianity phase” and made it clear that he was OK for adults, but disagreed with any form of “youth ministry.”)

  • BoGardiner

    Yes, it’s well-known that in America, it’s a huge disadvantage for business owners and politicians to reveal any involvement with a church. This is why they all keep it so secret.

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

    Well, to be fair, if you see Christianity as an evil and immoral brainwashing institution, selling that to children too young to critically think about it is a pretty evil act.

    This is from that person’s likely point of view. While I don’t like Christianity or other religions, I don’t think Christianity is that bad. However, I too am extremely leery of “youth ministry”, because damn those guys can be pushy towards children who aren’t old enough or have enough self-esteem to tell them to fuck off. Youth group at your church for those who are already in the religion- that can be okay, I guess. Youth ministry trying to convert other kids? Oh hells no. That does make you a bad person. And I don’t know which one you do or if you do both.

  • God’s Starship

    Hi. Glad you could make it. I guess the million dollar question is why were parents not allowed inside. What was up with that?

  • Chas Swedberg

    Yes, that would seem to open the church to a lot of potential liability issues, let alone the headaches of dealing with small children upset about being separated from parents.Could lots of things: overzealous volunteers, bad judgment calls, or just bad rules.

  • Lark62

    There is something really creepy about a church creating a rule that little children must be separated from parents. The more I think about it, the creepier if gets.

  • KMR

    This wasn’t a good idea of the church and my guess is that they will never do it again. But my guess is that the reason parents are not allowed into the room is because they feel desperate parents will sometimes do desperate things. It’s the same reason church food pantries in our area don’t allow people into the actual food pantry itself and instead bring out the bags of food for them. Whether that’s a real possibility or perceived possibility I don’t know. But these types of drive are manned by volunteers who have no training, no idea how to diffuse stressful situations, etc. Sometimes they make crummy mistakes as in this case.

  • Jeff

    We had parents with 4 year olds one year walking out with presents for much older kids.

  • LizBert

    I’m not so sure that your definition of charity is all that kind. A family is in need of Christmas gifts for their children, but you’re only willing to help them if they are young enough? Who is hurt if the older children get gifts? This sounds more like your church’s desire to control people than any legitimate problem. And conservatives wonder why people like me don’t think charity is a reasonable alternative to a social safety net funded by the government…

  • dcl3500

    Heh, they took their page down.

  • jody

    If the story is about a seven month old baby then why is there a picture of a toddler attached to this story? I agree the Church acted ridiculous however this story is embellished to hell and back. We are talking about a 7 month old , why were they even there to begin with, a seven month old has no concept of getting toys on Christmas , the baby would not have known or cared whether he got a toy or not. You lose all credibility when you exaggerate and embellish.

  • Shenandoah Pitcher Veele

    Even if the baby is only seven months old people want to celebrate Christmas with them…and too a parent a big part of that celebration is giving theme new toys.

  • jody

    That’s fine , then keep it about the parents then don’t put up a picture of a sad faced toddler to elicit sympathy and outrage when in actuality we are talking about a 7 month old who is oblivious of the whole situation.

  • http://127.0.0.1 3lemenope

    Perhaps the one thing in the known universe that a 7-month-old would not be oblivious to while conscious is being separated from mom.

  • jody

    Agree Totally 3lemenope, That’s when you tell them to shove their gift up their ass sideways and you leave. Running out to the car in tears was a bit dramatic
    .

  • threenorns

    well, aren’t you just Nerves of Steel?

    newsflash: some ppl take it a bit hard, being humiliated in public. wierd, but there you have it.

  • Chas Swedberg

    That picture is an obviously composite stock image used to convey the joke “…or no Christmas for you.” I’d agree that the outrage about what happened at the church is stronger than is warranted by what is currently known, but I think yours is also exaggerated by your assumptions.

  • jody

    What assumptions can you point to that have been made by me?

  • Chas Swedberg

    You’ve assumed the author’s intent when you say: “don’t put up a picture of a sad faced toddler to elicit sympathy and outrage”

  • jody

    Can you think of any other reason? The point is that the picture misrepresents the age of the child and brings into question the credibility of the entire post. There is no need for embellishing, that’s what nutty Religious people do.

  • KinzuaKid

    How about “I was in a hurry to post this and found the closest thing in the stock image library I could before dinner got cold?”

    Your concern, however, is noted. Thanks for pointing that out; I was apparently far too concerned with the words in both the post and TFA. Next time, I’ll pay more attention to the graphics.

  • Chas Swedberg

    The only reason that I will assume is that the author found the image and its caption (which together work as a trope-inspired joke) related somehow to the text of the article. It is a similar type of embellishment as Jon Stewart might use on his show to point out the silliness of someone’s position.

  • threenorns

    “oblivious”!??? are you stoned or just stupid??? do you honestly think a 7mo old baby is “oblivious” when a stranger is trying to remove him from his obviously tense and upset mother’s arms!??

  • Lark62

    I’m shocked, shocked that the friendly atheist uses stock photos.

    He just includes a shutterstock credit on every.single.post.

  • Carol Lynn

    Did you NEVER give a present to baby on Christmas? Ever? I don’t think you have a leg to stand on here. (Also, I’m thinking of some pro-forced-birth billboards with highly exaggerated and embellished pictures of babies and young children.)

  • A3Kr0n

    Sounds like a big, fat oopsie.

  • Rick C.

    All the links to their Facebook group and posts above don’t work for me. I guess they’ve gone very very private.

  • DrAnon

    Is this the best the left can come up with? Those evil Christians wanted to befriend a baby! More stupid, inane, propaganda. I’m fully an atheist but this is by far the stupidest complaining I have read today.

  • $324578

    Did you read the article? They were trying to separate the baby from her mother; when the mother didn’t let her baby go, then the church refused to help them. This has nothing to do with befriending a baby, and by referring to “the left,” you are solely responsible for turning this into a political issue. Go back and read the article and the references it links to.

  • Rhodent
  • God’s Starship

    It’s not up to them if they get to befriend the baby, whatever the hell that means. That’s the point.

  • DrAnon

    Great – no free stuff for them. They can get a job like the rest of us who don’t have to whore our kids out for toys.

  • UWIR

    Thanks for letting us know that you can’t tell the difference between nonconsensual touching and “befriending”. Do you spend a lot of time on crowded trains “befriending” women?

  • DrAnon

    Cute you have to insult me personally rather than address my point. Typical leftist behavior. I could make up all sorts of assumptions about you, but I’d rather stick to the issue.

  • Jamie Carter

    So does this mean THE RIGHT gives up their children to whoever wants to man handle or perhaps harm their children no wonder why the right is shrinking.

  • DrAnon

    If they want free stuff (like the rest of the left) they should play by the rules. It’s silly to say anyone wanted to manhandle a child and you know it.

  • Jamie Carter

    It’s silly to bring politics into this at all this would be the point smh

  • DrAnon

    Why would it be silly? It’s a perfect example of entitlement issues that Democrat voters are so fond of. If you don’t want to play by the rules of this charitable organization, you can pretend you’re a conservative and get a job to pay for all the Christmas toys you want.

  • lora120

    You can’t “befriend” a baby. An adult cannot “befriend” a baby. It’s sickening to even think in those terms. Are you a creepy pedophile, DrAnon?

  • DrAnon

    My my, your post lacks any semblance to a real point and is instead filled with insults. Sad for you.

  • tsig

    ^^^Read your own post and you’ll see a stupider complaint.^^^

  • $324578

    You know, after 14 years of brainwashing (and ten years recovering from it), I still speak fluent Evangelicalese. Countess’s “apology” hardly seems like one and almost doesn’t make sense. What is he saying?

    “Whether it is a “Christian” organization or an “Atheist” organization, love is something we all fall short in at various levels as a human race.” So, you’re saying you fell short just like the bad guys did? They didn’t fall short in this situation; you did. Don’t share it; own it.

    “Sometimes, mercy and grace is needed as the solution to make amends for a wrong. That goes for the offender as well as the offended.” Are you saying the person you offended needs mercy and grace? Ms. Wait and her baby didn’t do anything wrong; you did. Don’t share it; own it.

    You can’t ask for forgiveness when you’re still trying to share the blame with others.

  • katiehippie

    This is the kind of thing my former church doesn’t understand. They are so caught up in the ‘everyone’s a sinner’ theme that they don’t realize that people don’t ‘sin’ all the time, sometimes they don’t do anything wrong.

  • dsmith

    The message the minister posted was a non apology apology, preferring to use lofty, flowery language rather than admit they acted like non caring, heartless, bureaucrats.

  • tsig

    A sin was committed but not by me.

  • katiehippie

    This upsets me a lot. It’s hard enough asking for something like that without having to worry about people doing and saying stupid things. It’s really not enough to be a “nice” person if you are going to be involved in that kind of work.

  • rg57

    That would be Tiffany _Wait_ and her husband.

  • http://www.everydayintheparkwithgeorge.com/ Matt Eggler

    Creepiest, lamest non-apology ever! We’ll just duck the issue of why we behaved in this horrible manner but we will oh so generously take one third of the blame. The family we treated so shabbily should take a third because, you know, the offended need to “show grace and mercy” and those atheists need to take a third of the blame to because, event though they showed the kindness and charity we were unable too, at some point they, like every other person ever, will fall short of being the best people they can be.

  • UWIR

    Christian love means never having to say you’re sorry.

  • Dustin Shingledecker
  • Dustin Shingledecker

    Atheists although not a religion is the winner and agnostics are just new atheists that’s all. Look at the jewish one a penny lmao

  • threenorns

    it can be argued that atheism is, indeed, a religion – they certainly spend just as much time thinking about gods, even though it’s in terms of denial.

    it’s agnostics who just go about their business.

  • Pattrsn

    Apparently not

  • DavidMHart

    Yeah, let’s try not to make that argument, though. There is a vast gulf between ‘actively participating in a system of beliefs and behaviours that positively asserts the existence of supernatural forces that we can interact with’ on the one hand, and ‘vocally pointing out the flaws in such superstitious ways of thinking, and trying to campaign actively against the harms that result from acting on such beliefs’ on the other hand.

  • Dustin Shingledecker

    My thoughts.

  • Matt

    They took down the page.

  • Judy

    so why would atheist buy a little girl Christmas presents if they don’t believe in God then they don’t believe Jesus was born and Christmas is the birth of Jesus

  • Richard Thomas

    Oh wow… you must be new here. Let me point you to some beginner’s materials, from this very blog.

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2013/12/04/another-atheist-billboard-launches-in-times-square-who-needs-christ-during-christmas-nobody/

  • John Eric Dous

    Really? How about “Peace on Earth and Good Will To your Fellow Man” with no strings attached. Your attitude is what is wrong with christians today.. Jesus would be HIGHLY disappointed with you. You do not have to believe to enjoy the season, and you do not need to believe to be good and decent to people.

  • baal

    Midwinter celebrations are a part of many pre-christian cultures and even if you’re not a believer, many of us celebrate the holiday secularly. I might was well ask you if you work on federal holidays.

  • Ibis3

    “Christmas” is just the currently most popular name for the winter solstice celebrations that had been going on for centuries before Christianity ever existed. We don’t care when the guy who is the source and magnet of the Jesus legends was born (or even if he never was and is a totally fictional figure). The whole giving presents thing? That comes from Pagan Roman tradition. We don’t care that the sun isn’t an invincible god either (but frankly, it’s a prettier myth that doesn’t involve believing humanity is degraded and corrupt, needing a blood sacrifice to atone for its “sins”). It’s enough for us to say, doing stuff to make other people joyful is good.

  • threenorns

    even the church doesn’t say christmas is the birth of jesus, since he wasn’t actually born on december 25th. look it up: the monks goofed when they did the math in converting from the julian calendar to the gregorian.

  • Noelle

    It’s a good question. Thanks for asking. Many people who do not believe an in an actual god-baby celebrate Christmas. Winter Solstice celebrations in various forms have been around a long time. I suppose anything nice to break up the cold and long nights would do, but this whole Christian/pagan/modern mythology mix-up with time off work (if you’re lucky), giving, being with family, watching your little ones get all excited deal we got going on now is great. I don’t believe the pretend stuff, but I like it. It’s nice. The Christians are a part of something nice that everyone likes. Have a cookie and a present. Listen to some Tim Minchin: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fCNvZqpa-7Q. Merry Christmas!

  • Mary Dante

    they wanted to make sure it was baptized, its getting common to baptize the unchristian kids to “ensure” they go to heaven…bet 10 to 1

  • threenorns

    er…. no, more likely they didn’t want the child going into the toy room and seeing all the toys and going bonkers. it’s the same rule in my town for the christmas hamper: you’re not allowed to bring your kids. can you imagine a line-up of single parents with two-plus kids, preschool and toddler age, trying to control them in a huge room full of toys? good luck with that!

    the problem here was a failure to communicate. instead of forcing the child from the mother, they should’ve asked a bunch of questions and then sent in a volunteer to get the stuff and load it into the car. SOP.

  • Lark62

    But why not let parents have some say in the gift??? Or is it that churches think that poor people have no right to an opinion? You will take this drum and cymbal set and like it.

  • KMR

    It’s not so much that the church thinks poor people have no right to an opinion. But if you’re poor enough to need someone to give you a free gift for your child you might be poor enough to be desperate. Desperate people don’t always think rationally. There’s no shame in that. If I was desperate I wouldn’t always think rationally either. But the church was trying to avoid a situation where safety could be compromised. Granted their very strict solution wasn’t a good way to do that but most of these volunteers I imagine aren’t trained or experienced in social work. Situations like this are why I personally think the right’s argument that charitable works should be handled solely by the church instead of through the government and taxes are laughable.

  • Lark62

    So, you think that if a person is poor, or experiencing hard times, they are so desperate that they can’t pick out an appropriate toy for their own child? That is nuts!

    You just confirmed the exact point I was trying to make – these holier-than-thou so and so’s are convinced of their own superiority. They act like the poor are an inferior race of subhumans, incapable of rational thought or making even the simplest decisions without the good, smart, holy people to think for them.

  • KMR

    No that’s not what I’m saying at all. Anyway I don’t fault the church for establishing rules and boundaries although this one was poorly thought out IMO. I work with the poor in my community on a regular basis and have been doing so for years so I understand the need. I do fault them for the rigidity and the lack of compassion demonstrated especially when there were easy solutions to the dilemma.

  • Max Vincent

    Speaking as a licensed and trained social worker, this was handled very poorly by the church. One’s status in society has zero to do with how they think. I cannot believe you had the audacity to say “Desperate people don’t always think rationally.” There is shame in that. A whole lot of shame. There was no safety compromised. The child was never on the ground nor was the child out of the parent’s arms. Volunteers do not have to be trained social workers to be safe; neither do priests or nuns or bishops.
    I think your view of folks who do not make enough money to afford Christmas gifts for their children is twisted. Shame on you. You look down on them with scorn and disdain. How dare you think they are desperate. You and people like you disgust me. Just sit back in your glass house and watch out for the stones. I can guarantee you that they will come fast and hard when they come–and they will come, with the attitude that you have.

  • KMR

    I think I’ll be a-okay in life but hey if you get off on wishing people you don’t know nor have ever exchanged a conversation with bad things in life good for you!

  • Max Vincent

    This child was only 7 months old. 7 month-old kids do NOT go into a room filled with toys and go bonkers. You do not know what the problem(s) were in this exchange. Please do not pretend that you do. None of us do except the parents and the church in question and, as evidenced, the church pulled their page down. I am siding with the parents on this because they are the only party that can actually speak as to what happened.

  • Franklin Bacon

    Not only is it scary for the parents, it would be terrifying to the child. I realize the parishioners take the coercive atmosphere for granted, but it is not normal to the average person to hand over a child who is fearful of strangers.

  • http://youtu.be/fCNvZqpa-7Q Kevin_of_Bangor

    There facebook page is nowhere to be found. That is some amusing shit.

  • Foo

    Seems the Church’s facebook page has been taken offline.

  • threenorns

    i had no problem finding it. more likely what happened was the page was overloaded.

  • macdaddy357

    Religious nuts always lord it over the poor reprobates when giving “charity”. They will always look down upon and preach at the people they “help”.

  • jonhanson

    I’m definitely sad that this family had to go through something like that, and glad that things worked out, but in the end I don’t really see why this is worth posting on this page. I mean it’s one family having one bad experience with one or two volunteers. If there were as many atheist charities as their are Christian charities we’d be seeing plenty of similar stories about incompetent volunteers doings stupid shit on behalf of nonbelief.

    Like I said, glad the uproar resulted in a family in need getting gifts for their child but extrapolating anything about the nature of Christian charity from this story seems silly.

  • FlyingFree333

    “grace” is the excuse used by cultists monsters to justify being monsters, nothing more, it is a made up word (that coincidentally is spelled the same as a real word) that has no meaning, just word salad gibberish of cult jargon.

  • SpiritOnParole

    Well, they’ve locked their page down. No content available.

  • MindofGod

    See? Atheists can be some of the most human and caring people on the planet. Love it.

  • Robster

    No one does it better than Christians in writing a pile of impressive words, that together are meaningless but still sounding conciliatory while not admitting anything or taking any responsibility.

  • Malcolm Reynolds

    Their apology sounds quite familiar… Like priests blaming the children for either being complicit in or initiating sexual abuse by the clergy. When is society going to wake up and see organized religion for the tawdry baloney that it is, and dispense with the entire superstitious and ineffectual affair?

  • threenorns

    don’t blame the concept – which is actually a good idea, seeing as it’s a set of rules that allows a bunch of murderous primates to live together in reasonable security – for what individuals choose to do.

  • Pattrsn

    That allows a bunch of murderous primates to murder each other and feel good about it. FTFY

  • Max Vincent

    I get it! Like the pope excommunicating a priest who advocated for women to become priests and supported gay marriage, while at the same time the Pope rides the Roman Catholic Church for being too focused on gays and abortion. Hypocrisy much in Vatican City?

  • Catherine

    The last time I ever went to church (about 20 years ago), a similar thing happened. Our church was having a Wednesday night potluck dinner. The church was in a poorer neighborhood, and a lady with her four children happened to come in to see what was going on. I invited them to eat with us. The elders in the church kicked her out, citing the opinion that if we let her eat with us, then all the other poor people in the apartments behind the church might try to come eat as well. My family fed the lady and her children at a restaurant down the street, and we never returned to church.

  • kaydenpat

    Wow. I would think that church would be happy to be able to serve the poor in their neighborhood.

  • threenorns

    why is it that whenever christians act nasty, it’s “we are all poor sinners doing the best we can” but when a non-christian acts nasty, it’s “well, they’re no better than they should be”?

    it’s time to stop hiding behind the bible and do this crazy little dance called “accepting responsibility for your actions” instead of running and hiding behind your god’s skirts.

  • JSS00

    Atheists… always better than the religious people. You know who else was a Christian? HITLER.

  • Ann Onymous

    Godwinning doesn’t help anyone. Nor does invoking Hitler Ate Sugar.
    Fallacious argument in general is a bad thing.
    So are stereotyping people and speaking in absolutes (especially about morality). There are amazingly moral and kindhearted people in the world who happen to be religious, just as there are some who are atheists. There are immoral/evil/intolerant people in the world who happen to be religious, just as there are some who are atheists. People vary, and religion isn’t the only factor that shapes personality. This is how stereotypes are born and abused. Don’t tar all religious people with the Hitler (or the O’Reilly) brush, just as you wouldn’t tar all atheists with the Stalin brush.

  • Artor

    I think Johnny was being snarky.

  • Max Vincent

    I think Johnny was being an a-hole. See how perception is all in how YOU look at it?

  • Artor

    I think you’re being a pretentious blowhard. Yes, perception is a funny thing. Get over yourself.

  • JSS00

    Someone doesn’t get a joke.

  • Ann Onymous

    Apologies, then. Internet social cues are scarce, strange, and often stumping. It’s hard enough for me to interpret social cues and clues in real life, but at least the information is there; on the Internet all I have is text. The issue is exacerbated when the attitude and fallacies being satirized/joked about are quite common and seriously used. My apologies for failing to identify your snark as such.

  • Max Vincent

    “I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians.” Gandhi

  • Cdat88

    Okay, this is just flat out creepy. I can imagine my response had this been me.

  • Blacksheep

    First of all: Not defending the pathetic apology.
    BUT: Is there a chance that this is an overreaction to a totally normal situation that Ms Wait found uncomfortable? (I may have, too). But maybe it would have been chaos to have parents filling a toy room along with their kids, and the Church learned to have a system that simply made it easier? Soup kitchens almost all have rules. The playroom / day care room at IKEA? Parents are noit allowed in no matter what – you have to wait outside nfor your child.
    The part that makes no sense is that a 7 month old would pick out their own toy – however I have also been in situations (when I was a kid, at huge office parties for the company where my father worked) where the toys are pre-selected for age groups, and kids are not so much “picking it out” as just picking one up.

  • Artor

    Perhaps, if none of the details in this article are accurate, it might have been a completely different situation. Maybe there was something else going on about the demands to physically hand over the kid, but this line clinched it, “The volunteers held their ground, according to Wait and one woman tried to forcibly take her child.”
    Had that been my kid, this would have quickly turned into a story about a church volunteer getting severely beaten. It’s hard to see how this could have been a “totally normal situation.”

  • Fentwin

    “I am poor and would not be able to celebrate Christmas this year…”

    That sentence spoke volumes to me. I can’t say if there ever were any halcyon days when this holiday was solely about family, friends and love (or even the supposed birth of a man-god baby). Yet, a statement that basically says “I can’t afford this Holiday” perfectly illustrates just how this time of year is about nothing but crass, shallow hyper-capitalism.

  • Sara

    That’s why I don’t go to church anymore. Some Christians are PHONY and JUDGE … Brothers and sisters in Christ???? Ya right. Geez!!

  • kickinitincrik

    Atheist swoop in to save the day. Forget all the other people who benefited from the toy give away. This sort of selective bias is typical of atheism. Let’s focus on the one instance of alleged nastiness (still unclear what exactly it was) and forget about everything else. You can do this to any person or to any institution to make them look bad and to make yourself look better. Humans learn to use this tactic effectively in elementary school and atheists have become masters of it since reality doesn’t help their cause.

  • Artor

    Do you ever get tired of being an inveterate dumbass? I’m guessing NO.

  • Mike Hitchcock

    Pretty poor grasp of reality there I think. Or maybe you just don’t like the reality that some so-called Christians would make Jesus sick to the stomach.

  • http://127.0.0.1 3lemenope

    “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot. So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth. Because you say, ‘I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,’ and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked…”

  • KMR

    Good ‘ol Revelations :) However, for this case it does have a certain ring to it doesn’t it…..

  • http://127.0.0.1 3lemenope

    When Christian hypocrisy really annoys me (as in, rises beyond normal, ignorable levels) I take to calling them “the Lukewarm”. The ones who don’t know their Bible are confused (leading to a fun teachable moment), and the ones who do are invariably extremely annoyed.

    Not quite as vicious as Maynard Keenan’s brutal offhand reference to parishioners as “the Collective Judas”, but gets the job done.

  • KMR

    Another one for the hypocrisy is the parable of the sheep and goats and Matthew 7:21-23. But my all time favorite is the very simple, “Be ye kind one to another.” You can’t spin it to mean anything but what it says and for particularly nasty fundamentalists I’ve found it stops them in their tracks. That one would have worked well for the volunteers at the church also come to think of it.

  • God’s Starship

    And now we’ve reached the part of the conversation where someone directs their anger at the people discussing the bad behavior rather than the people actually engaged in the bad behavior.
    Believe it or not, I hope this church continues this charity drive. Bringing toys to children at Christmas is a noble goal. They just need to change one of their policies, which created a disaster. For whatever reason, someone assumed their Christianity was justification for attempting to get between a mother and child. After an incident like this, it isn’t enough to babble about grace on social media. Someone needs to stand up and set some facts straight.
    A little rude awaking is warranted in this case.

  • Max Vincent

    Beep. You lose. Find something you can expound upon with some knowledge and perhaps then someone will actually “like” what you have to say. That isn’t the case here.

  • Mike

    Atheists are killjoys? Yeah says the kid that got the toy. The author is an ignorant shit. You all can defend this however you want which christians will. Turning away people during a holiday of family friends and giving is bullshit. I dont care how you put it. No one asked for perfect and where the hell did that come from? They asked for assistance thats all. Atheists are about giving anyways and won’t ask for shit in return.

  • unclemike

    I want a “Snooty Killjoy” shirt.

  • Nichelle Wrenn

    Atheists. Not the hero Mommy wants but the hero Mommy needs.

  • Lark62

    Actually, according to the story, Mommy is an atheist, but never until this came out. Oklahoma is finding out that they have a lot of nice, normal people who happen to be atheists.

  • Nichelle Wrenn

    I was making a poor attempt at a Batman reference. Rebecca Vitsmun and Seth over at The Thinking Atheist are two “nice, normal people who happen to be atheists” that pop into my head. As someone who has visited Oklahoma I know they can use all the nice, normal, atheists they can get.

  • Harry Lime

    Looks like the church’s FB page is “temporarily unavailable.” No surprise as I’m sure they’re getting a lot of deserved heat.

  • Thomas Rasmus Ruhdi Heiberg

    “This content is currently unavailable”

    I guess they had too much of a backlash and closed down shop?

  • Martin

    Who demands to hold a strangers baby? Was the church worker dressed as a cute anime bear?

    But seriously, this is such a strange story. And the apology also creeps me out. Been a creep to people? Just tell them the Bible’s got your back and that they’re required to kiss and make up. I’m all for forgiveness, but it’s also okay to be angry, and just walk away and not deal with problematic people.

  • Dana Lane

    Is the family name White or Wait? Very confusing….

    But still pleased to know the family had a better Christmas thanks to an atheist organization. Shame on that ‘church’.

  • Rob Coulter

    Would it have been so difficult for the church to have said “We’re sorry?”

  • Ian Robert Montgomery

    Not as difficult for them to apologize and actually mean it which, by the sound of things, they probably wouldn’t have.

  • terryec

    Ends up a battle of Atheism versus Christianity which is kind of silly, there are good and bad in all walks of life, this family ran into some stupid people that do not reflect the actual church that were trying to help the poor, sadly something went wrong in communication, being an atheist myself I can see the good the church do in those circumstances and feel we as atheists should have community systems in place to help the poor, not being organised tends to allow those things to slip by without intervention other than individual good deeds. we need to do better.

  • azsenjigal

    This sounds really creepy to me since this was an INFANT not a child of an age who could understand and actually pick out a toy.
    Whatever the reason, it was WRONG to attempt to take an infant away from the mother.
    These people are going against the basic tenets of Christianity in that “CHARITY SHOULD BE GIVEN WITHOUT A “TEST” FOR THE RECIPIENT.”
    There are churches here in my city who give to the needy and don’t ask if they are Christians or not. At some events they are joined by people of other faiths or no faiths at all and they WELCOME the help.
    One of the pastors at this church has stated that he believes in the “ecumenical ideal” that was proposed way back in the 1930s to bring churches together and not isolate them into different “sects” which is DESTRUCTIVE.

    He points to the sectarian wars in Islam where people who should be brothers are fighting each other over the way they worship the VERY SAME GOD.

  • ๒レㄩ∑ῳ◊и∂∑Я

    I live in the buybull belt and this isn’t shocking. The most loving,kind,and considerate people I know are either skeptics (atheists/agnostics),Pagan,or Buddhist. It’s not the typical evangelical Christian that’s for sure.

    “Belief in a cruel God makes a cruel man.” – Thomas Paine

  • MarkTemporis

    I’m reasonably sure the church person misunderstood the rules. In this age where we see paedophiles around every corner, absolutely nobody separates parents fropn young children. Even parents of tweens get wary of mandated separation!

  • Alfreda

    Couldn’t it just be a human thing instead of a christian/ atheist thing? Some humans are jerks. Some are not.

  • Matthew Blackburn

    I think it is, though in an ulterior sort of way – referencing religious choice demonstrates the need for pro-atheist media representation – as in, the same way a person wishing to raise their child gender neutral doesn’t have the realistic option of treating their children exactly the same, each must be primed to defend themselves from societal pressure

  • FuriousMB

    Any word on why they wanted the baby handed over in the first place?

  • carllarsen

    probably to force a baptism on the kid.

  • Ryan1159

    Looks like they deleted their Facebook page.

  • DrNeelix

    Never been very fond of Baptist my whole life,this bone head stunt just reinforces it.

  • It’sMe

    That “apology” had nothing to do with and provided no explanation for what happened. I still don’t understand what the point of handing over the child was in order to receive a toy.

  • Morgan Sheridan

    Meh… the church cowards shut down their Facebook page! Guess they don’t like people criticizing them for their asshattery.

  • Meri Justus

    Thank You to the Atheist group that helped this family.

  • Choctaw Bear

    Chickasha is an odd town. Last month a gay couple was asked to leave the local Walmart – http://www.news9.com/story/23911644/gay-couple-booted-from-chickasha-walmart

  • Melissa Keiper

    I still don’t understand why they wanted the baby.

  • MAC

    Kids are sometimes supposed to pick out their own toys, but the baby was only 10 months old, how could she pick out toys at that age? It reminds me of being forced to attend our local catholic church, the stuff those church ladies got away with!

  • MAC

    Ooops, my mistake the baby was 7 months old! Makes even less sense.

  • Taymie

    .Sometimes, mercy and grace is needed as the solution to make amends for
    a wrong. That goes for the offender as well as the offended.

    In other words, “if you want to have a loving world, let me treat you like crap, and you just stay there and take it with a smile on so that there isn’t any conflict.”

    Now I understand the pasors sentiment- he has been reaching out to the woman and apologizing since the event took place, but she’s not talking to him- but honestly- absolving yourself of responsibility because your victim does not a heartfelt apology make.

  • ituri

    I loved that in particular. The victim of this terrible church is to blame because she won’t let them harass her into forgiving them.

    This was not a mistake. This was terrible behavior on the part of your church minions, Mr. Pastor. Stop making excuses for them, stop trying to absolve yourself, stop assuming you should or must be forgiven, and just freaking apologize. A real apology, not a fake one where you’re free to assume your “mistake” was small and harmless.

  • http://www.amazon.com/shops/cultural_artifacts the bookchuck

    As of 9:41 Central time on this date, the church’s FB page is down. Guess they couldn’t handle the pressure, heh. “What you do to the least of these…”, eh?

  • David Freeman

    They bawleeted everything. lol

  • Nate

    The most annoying thing I find in all christians is there ability to play the blame game, even when they are the ones suppressing.

  • gpsang

    That’s why I love the local atheist Christmas Toy Shop. They know how to really celebrate the birth of the son of God. This well researched piece just shows how wicked believers are. It reads like a Nazi propaganda piece; we all know how evil the Jews in Germany were, the Nazis told us time and time again.

    It is now only a matter of time before the world knows that the Christian are no better than those Jews (They worship one you know).

    Now how is that for journalism?

  • ituri

    Because shaming Christians for acting like idiots isn’t allowed, apparently. You guys are great at turning these things into “oppression.” American Christians don’t know the meaning of the word, and comparing being shamed for terrible behavior to the treatment of Jews under Nazi rule is really just a terrible comparison that shows you have nothing intelligent to say.

  • gpsang

    Did you go out to help the needy? So too did the Nazis start; little by little they spread their lies, just as we see it here.

  • ituri

    You cannot discount my comment above by somehow attempting to attack my personal character. Ad hominems do not make your argument for you.

    Btw, I volunteer several times through the year for the Wounded Warrior foundation. What do YOU do that is so morally superior that you can talk to a perfect stranger the way you did here?

  • gpsang

    Visit sick strangers in hospital, the wife volunteers once a week in a soup kitchen, Provide solace to the old and infirm in homeless shelters, donate to the Church and charities, all this sometimes several times a week. I might very well be morally superior, I have no idea if I am, but I know I am my brothers keeper.

  • Richard Thomas

    Cool story. I volunteer at the soup kitchen on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and on Saturdays at the animal shelter. How many brownie points do I get?

  • http://rolltodisbelieve.wordpress.com/ Captain Cassidy

    Eleventy-million.

  • gpsang

    I guess that depends on whether or not you are a brownie.

  • gpsang

    Is that the friendly atheist soup kitchen?

  • http://rolltodisbelieve.wordpress.com/ Captain Cassidy

    Oh, so now we’re onto the Morality Olympics?

    Also: “the wife”? Ick.

  • gpsang

    Why do you find it acceptable to promulgate the lies you do here, but criticise my questioning of your lies and my defence of the people you seem to despise?

    Are you ignorant of the fact of what you do? Or are you so isolated from believers that you actually have no idea what they do believe?

  • gpsang

    Sorry I forgot, any dissent against the accepted party line is unintelligent. Funny how all the free thinkers seem to have the same constraints? Might I suggest you visit the Jewish Holocaust Museum in Berlin. You will find, so too did the Nazis start, little lie by little lie till they could sell the big lie.

    Bet you never thought of yourself as a purveyor and facilitator of lies? Yet there you are.

  • ituri

    More extremist fear mongering. I’ve been to the Holocaust Museum, thanks. Did I mention my family is Jewish? You don’t get to throw out the suffering of a people to vilify another people you clearly can’t stand. In your comparison it is *you* who fit the Nazi credo, wherein you are, of course, the innocent party just trying to save your “threatened,” superior hide against the nasty atheists/liberals/whatever who you love to hate.

  • gpsang

    So your family is Jewish. …and? Somehow that means my argument is invalid? How exactly does that work?

    Now, which people is it you think I can’t stand?

    The Jews in Germany had the same lies being told about them by polite society in the 20’s then nearly everyone kept quiet as the anti-Jewish laws were enacted, little by little. Sounds like you would have been happy to help spread the lies yourself.

  • ituri

    You did not present an argument. You presented a laundry list of useless personal attacks. The Nazi comparison is so overused in these types of debates that it is it’s own debatoral fallacy. The one that uses it admits failure in doing so, as you have multiple times over.

  • gpsang

    I think my point has been made. The fact that the comparison has been made so often might also be because it is apt. Your wishing it to be fallacious does not make it so.

  • gpsang

    So now there are some groups you know I hate?

    As I said, one little lie followed by another.

  • Richard Thomas
  • gpsang

    That’s not an argument, it’s the fallacy of appealing to authority. I see you have at least 2 supporters untrained in logic.

  • gpsang

    I wonder if Paul is going to set up a toy shop himself? Actually go mix with the poor and homeless? He could go out with some friendly atheists as they try to help the poor and homeless? Maybe some of the many commenters below could go down to their local shelter and buy a round of coffee? Set up soup kitchens?

    No? I guess it is up to those evil Christians to do it then.

  • ituri

    Every argument you post that relies on the degradation of another commenters character is a giant neon green sign that you truly have no argument whatsoever. Many “friendly atheists” DO go out, clearly, to help the poor/homeless/charities/etc. Your comment insinuates otherwise, which is empty and demonstrably false.

  • gpsang

    That is why there are so many Saint atheist shelters… ? And why the Christian Toy Shop has so much competition? I await your demonstration? Let me know where to send my Red A donation. We can abolish the Red Cross? Cafod? Christian Aid? Heck even poor Jamaica’s Catholic Missionaries of the Poor have built shelters in the US.

    I wait with bated breath the opening of the Friendly Atheist shelter for the poor and needy.

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

    Red Cross and Doctors Without Borders and Heifer International and Planned Parenthood and a huge number of other groups are secular. That is, god or the lack thereof is irrelevant to their mission of helping people. Since they do good work, I give them money and, hopefully soon, time. I see no reason to start an explicitly atheist group that would duplicate some other group’s work and probably not do as well, given my lack of expertise in the area.

    See, unlike some people, I don’t need my (lack of) religious beliefs emblazoned on the good I do.

  • gpsang

    Why do you think it is the Red Cross? Planned Parenthood, are you being ironic? I thought Americans didn’t do irony?

    About Heifer International
    Heifer International’s mission is to work with communities to end hunger and poverty and care for the Earth.
    Dan West was a farmer from the American Midwest and member of the Church of the Brethren who went to the front lines of the Spanish Civil War as an aid worker. His mission was to provide relief, but he soon discovered the meager single cup of milk rationed to the weary soldiers once a day was not enough.
    And then he had a thought: What if they had not a cup, but a cow?
    That “teach a man to fish” philosophy is what drove West to found Heifer International. And now, nearly 70 years later, that philosophy still inspires our work to end hunger and poverty throughout the world once and for all.

  • Richard Thomas

    What does helping women in need have to do with irony? I don’t think you know what that word means.

  • gpsang

    LOL it is true, you really don’t get irony; at Christmas, a Christian celebration, some Christians have set up a toy shop. Now you miss the fact that the good deeds of helping out those less fortunate and focus on one unfortunate incident.

    Not only that, you have tried to portray people, who might have the best intention in the world, as evil, without any real investigation of the facts. Good man that you are.

    Your toy shop? My guess is you were not out handing out gifts to the needy.

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

    Planned Parenthood provided over $1 billion worth of services to women last year alone regardless of ability to pay. These services included sex education, STD tests and treatment, abortions, contraception, breast cancer screening, PAP smears, and prenatal care. How is that not doing good work?

  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ WMDKitty — Survivor

    Well, DUH. All that “good work” is going to help those slutty slut sluts who should have just kept their legs closed!

    </SARCASM>

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

    Right. “Teach a man to fish” is a great philosophy by which to start a charity. Secular and wise both.

    Christians can be good people sometimes. This isn’t news. Does it surprise you? Heifer International is still a secular charity.

  • MerchantMariner

    “Why do you think it is the Red Cross?”

    Not for the reason you think it is, old mate. It’s simply the Swiss national flag with the colours reversed. Dunant, the bloke who started the whole thing off back in the 1860’s, was Swiss.

    Have a squiz at their basic principles – faith/belief/god don’t get a mention. Nor should they, it’s a secular organisation, always has been. Claiming otherwise just tells me your a few sangas short of a picnic.

  • gpsang

    Dunant the Calvinist.

  • MerchantMariner

    Red Cross, the secular organisation.

  • gpsang

    Founded by a Calvinist and based on his religious principles, as are most of the world’s charities.

  • MerchantMariner

    Citation for any of those claims?

  • gpsang

    You are on the net. Look it up.

  • gpsang

    Turns out religious people do more and give more and most do not emblazon the good they do.

  • Richard Thomas

    (citation needed)

  • gpsang

    You do realise that you are on the internet? Try google.

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

    [citation needed]. And if that is the case, why do they name themselves Christian Aid or Catholic Missionaries or some other name that explicitly draws attention to the religious part of it? Why not just do good?

  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ WMDKitty — Survivor

    Catholic Community Services… though, uh, they do pretty damn good work, and aren’t pushing the religion thing with either clients or workers. (Plus they’ve been cool about absorbing workers from a home-care company that just closed, which allowed me to keep the worker I have now and really really like.)

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

    Oh sure, religious charities can be good. That wasn’t really the argument I was making, though- they always specifically name themselves as Christian or Catholic or whatever to show how awesome they are! It doesn’t take away from the good they do, of course, but it does speak to gpsang’s argument that religious people “do not emblazon the good they do”.

  • ituri

    Your ignorance is willful. You can only maintain it by *purposefully* doing so. You are either a troll, or are so politically/ideologically polarized that you’re incapable of telling which side of the road you’re driving down.

  • gpsang

    So now you have simply resorted to insults? I thought you had some reasoned arguments to proffer?

  • Richard Thomas

    Trolling 101: Begin with insults, sulk and unsuccessfully seek moral high ground whenever you can pretend someone insulted you back.

  • gpsang

    Come now you can do better than that, you are spreading lies and have been caught.

  • gpsang

    Is that what passes for reasoned argument here?

  • Richard Thomas

    While we’re at it, why don’t we set up an Atheist Pedophile Shelter, an Atheist Suicide Bomber Training Camp, an Atheist Civil Rights Repression Center, ehh nevermind, you’re not even a fun troll.

  • gpsang

    There are no atheist pedophiles? Atheist have never killed anyone and they, not Christians led the civil rights movement, think of the great atheist Martin Luther King Jn.,

    Really that is the best you can do?

  • Richard Thomas

    Your arguments are all straw men, red herrings, and sophistry. You are a troll, and as I have pointed out, you’re not even a fun one. Have a good new year!

    EDIT: Fun game: scroll up, click the “Search this blog” text box, and type in the term “soup kitchen.” See if you learn anything.

  • gpsang

    How so?

  • Richard Thomas

    “There are no atheist pedophiles?” Straw man
    “Atheist have never killed anyone..” Straw man
    “Heck even poor Jamaica’s Catholic Missionaries of the Poor have built shelters in the US.” Red herring
    “Turns out religious people do more and give more and most do not emblazon the good they do” Begging the question

    That was just like 15 seconds of glancing at your posts. Eat up because that’s all you’re getting fed tonight.

  • gpsang

    Apt response to the the banality of your earlier post. Any reasoned arguments you can make?

  • gpsang

    I see sarcasm is also lost on you…

  • gpsang

    Sorry, I assumed you remember your past posts. But, if not, you just illustrated the fallacy of your own earlier post. Mine was not fallacious, just pure scarcism.

  • gpsang

    I’m still waiting for you to offer some rational argument. …

  • sandras

    TIFFANY WAIT (aka Tiffany Whovian on her newly updated Facebook page) IS A LONGTIME SELF-DESCRIBED ATHEIST. SO WHY WOULD SHE GO TO ANY CHURCH OF A CHRISTIAN FAITH TO ASK FOR CHARITY TO CELEBRATE THE BIRTH OF A PERSON SHE DOESN’T BELIEVE IN?

    I am her former mother-in-law. The story doesn’t mention it but she also has
    an 8-year-old daughter whose father is my son. She is a former Jerry Springer guest (the instigator and not the victim). She has always been the
    conceited type who would do or say anything to see her name in print. Since she is a devout atheist, there is the definite possibility that this was a pre-planned event specifically designed to promote her as the poor victim in a salacious, attention garnering, media-headlining event, which it appears has worked. While there may have been missteps by the members of Bible Baptist Church, it is evident that it was not intentional on their part. I do not believe the same can
    be said for Mrs. Wait – – or is it Mrs. Whovian??

    For anyone who questions her non-believer status, I have copies of comments she posted on a Facebook page on 12/4 that I would be happy
    to share.

  • sandras

    TIFFANY WAIT (aka Tiffany Whovian on her newly updated Facebook page) IS A LONGTIME SELF-DESCRIBED ATHEIST. SO WHY WOULD SHE GO TO ANY CHURCH OF A CHRISTIAN FAITH TO ASK FOR CHARITY TO CELEBRATE THE BIRTH OF A PERSON SHE DOESN’T BELIEVE IN?

    I am her former mother-in-law. The story doesn’t mention it but she also has
    an 8-year-old daughter whose father is my son. She is a former Jerry Springer guest (the instigator and not the victim). She has always been the conceited type who would do or say anything to see her name in print. Since she is a devout atheist, there is the definite possibility that this was a pre-planned event specifically designed to promote her as the poor victim in a salacious, attention garnering, media-headlining event, which it appears has worked. While there may have been missteps by the members of Bible Baptist Church, it is evident that it was not intentional on their part. I do not believe the same can be said for Mrs. Wait – – or is it Mrs. White or Mrs. Whovian??

    For anyone who questions her non-believer status, I have copies of comments she posted on a Facebook page on 12/4 that I would be happy to share.

  • Dwayne Hoover

    Given what you wrote, I’m sure she’s happy your her “former” mother-in-law. Where did it say that one had to be a proclaimed Christian to receive charity? It’s a bit telling that the Facebook page of the Chruch and all the comments of the Pastor have been deleted. Stay classy!

  • http://rolltodisbelieve.wordpress.com/ Captain Cassidy

    I missed where the church said only Christians could go to get charity for their children. I guess Christian charity is just for Christians? You sure have a different Bible than any one I ever read. (What a nasty piece of work you wrote here.)

  • http://rolltodisbelieve.wordpress.com/ Captain Cassidy

    “Sometimes love is not perceived as being “loving” even in the best of
    circumstances.”

    Ah. So the problem is that they’ve redefined “love” and say that sometimes, dangit, love doesn’t feel loving, and she just needs to let them unilaterally redefine love and put up with their “loving,” which if she were of the same mindset she’d have perceived “correctly.”

    They don’t even have enough shame to know that saying this stuff in their out-loud voice is bad. I feel like shouting No, you dipsticks, if your behavior isn’t perceived as love then it is not actually love. People can guess when they are being loved.