***Update***: Matt tells me he’s giving the charity until 7:00p tonight to accept the money or Camp Quest will get all of it.
I posted last night about atheist Matt Wilbourn‘s $100 donation to a Baptist-run children’s charity in Muskogee, Oklahoma.
Because he gave the money on behalf of the Muskogee Atheist Community, which he and his wife Keli co-founded, the Murrow Indian Children’s Home refused the cash, saying “it would go against everything they believe in.”
A generous interpretation of that line suggests that the American Baptist Churches Association, which funds the charity, would never work with atheists even to advance their shared goals. (A less generous interpretation would accuse these religious people of believing atheists are incapable of doing something nice.)
Matt really wanted to know how much money the charity would refuse from atheists — $250? $1,000? — so he began a GoFundMe campaign to raise even more. His efforts have raised an astonishing $11,500 as of this writing. (Did you blink? Because he’s probably raised even more since then.)
And guess what? The Baptists still aren’t taking it.
According to a report from MuskogeeNow.com, the group’s president says they still won’t take the money on principle. Which makes you wonder what the orphan children they supposedly help have to say about this controversy…
Dr. Sharon Woolwine, president of the Murrow board of trustees, said the home is declining the money on principle.“He wants his organization’s name as a donor on our program for our pow wow,” she said. “That is unacceptable.”
Told that the group had mentioned they’re just trying to foster cooperation between atheists and Christians, she said it was still not acceptable.
“I don’t trust him,” she said. “I think he’s using it to get more publicity for his organization. We believe in Matthew 10:32-33.”
Why is that “unacceptable”? Donors deserve to be recognized, and putting the atheist group’s name on the program doesn’t suggest an endorsement of their non-belief.
And so what if he’s getting publicity for it? This isn’t about sticking it to Baptists. It’s not some sort of atheist con game. Matt is ready to give them all the money he’s raised so far. The Children’s Home administrators just have to pull the stick out of their collective ass and accept it.
They don’t even have to say “thank you.” We’re well beyond formalities at this point.
Just to reiterate, this charity that says it cares for “American Indian children that are in out-of-home placement as a result of abuse and neglect” are refusing to accept $11,500 (and counting) because atheists touched the money.
It’s irresponsible. It’s negligent. It’s completely irrational.
And it’s all in the name of Jesus.