I Have Serious Concerns About “We Are Atheism”

In 2011, a website called We Are Atheism was founded to “promote education, activism, and philanthropy about atheists and for atheists.” The co-founders, Amanda Brown and her husband Adam Brown, also began a project for non-religious people modeled after the “It Gets Better” campaign. (I even made a video for them.)

Then, at the end of 2012, Sandy Hook happened.

In response, We Are Atheism immediately began raising money to help families affected by the shootings (and the Newtown community at large). They called the program “Atheists Giving Aid.” Due to the overwhelming response, the Browns began fundraising after every major tragedy in the months to follow, including the Boston Marathon bombings, the Oklahoma tornado, and the West (Texas) fertilizer plant explosion.

In November of 2013 — nearly a year after Sandy Hook — I received an email from an anonymous source who went by the pseudonym “Mark Felt” (a name familiar to anyone who knows about Watergate). The email was actually sent to a long list of atheist bloggers, organization leaders, and several other people, and the gist of it was that there were a lot of problems with what We Are Atheism (WAA) was doing.

One of the concerns was that the money didn’t go where the Browns said it had gone… a pretty serious allegation. As it turned out, I had looked into this matter myself months earlier. I checked with the organizations WAA said they had given money to and confirmed that, yes, the money had indeed been received in the amounts stated. Nothing to worry about.

At that point, since my mini-investigation checked out, I dismissed Felt’s other concerns.

I’ll admit, though, that I’ve been hesitant to mention the group on this site since then. At the very least, I wanted to see more transparency from them. It shouldn’t be my responsibility to verify their donations went to the right places, after all.

More recently, We Are Atheism began promoting a project called the “Good 1% Club,” in which they’re asking atheists to pledge 1% of their total income to the organization (kind of like a smaller tithe). For some people, that could mean a lot of money.

I wasn’t ready to participate because of my concerns… but I thought I should at least take a deeper look into the organization before saying no.

I wasn’t alone. Todd Stiefel, the philanthropist who has made sizable donations to a number of atheist groups, was doing the same thing.

Over the past few weeks, using Mark Felt’s email as a foundation, and with additional research provided by Stiefel, myself, and others I’ve spoken to, we’ve looked into We Are Atheism’s finances and public statements in order to answer a handful of important questions, including:

  • Has We Are Atheism always been an official non-profit group?
  • Did the donations go where donors thought they would go?
  • Does We Are Atheism’s website list accurate information about the various fundraising campaigns?

It appears the answer to all those questions is “No.”

I now believe there’s serious mismanagement within the organization that should concern anyone who’s ever given money (or is considering giving money) to them.

I don’t believe in posting something like this without giving the other side a chance to respond. So I informed the Browns of all the major concerns I list below. Their responses are included, with the knowledge that I would be quoting them in this piece.

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Finnish Band Nightwish Releases Latest Single, Featuring Narration by Richard Dawkins

The Finland-based symphonic metal band Nightwish is about to release their new album, drawing inspiration from the natural world and the work of Richard Dawkins. (In fact, Dawkins appears on the album as a narrator for two of the songs.)

I posted the first single last month. Today, they released their latest single (audio only), “Shudder Before The Beautiful,” and it’s one of the songs featuring Dawkins (albeit briefly):



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Reddit’s Biggest Atheism Hangout Scores Sky-High For Toxic Content and Bigotry, Data Analysts Say

On Friday, I published a moderately unkind comment about Reddit; I said that while I love Reddit warts and all, its content is 80 to 90 percent dross. Mostly, that referred to the atheism subreddit (or r/atheism, in Reddit-speak). I visit the place five or six days a week, and there is always a lot of junk to wade through: from rickety, poorly-worded arguments to repetitions of old news stories that had already been posted days or weeks earlier. Also, of course, there’s a deluge of low-quality memes.

While the dreck is annoying on some level, I fully accept that it’s part of the give-and-take of online communities without gatekeepers. Anyone can join, and you never know if the next link or comment you read was left by someone with decent thinking/writing skills, or by a dim 13-year-old crudely rebelling against mom and dad saying grace over dinner. Like this specimen, say.



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Mother’s Day Threatened by Same-Sex Marriage, Claims Irish Senator; Already “Banned” in Some U.S. States

Ireland’s Fidelma Healy Eames, a socially-conservative senator, tweeted yesterday that Mother’s Day might just cease to exist if gay couples are allowed to get hitched.



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According to This Guy, Evolution is a Myth because We Can’t Explain the Planet Mercury

I thought I had heard all the bad arguments Creationists use to discredit evolution: Calling it “evilution,” talking about “missing links,” and there are the 3209412 arguments from ignorance.

But Alan Horvath, whose website tells you pretty much everything you need to know about him, offers a new reason in the video below: The planet Mercury destroys evolution:



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