Boy, He Sure Showed Skepticon!

Here is the doorway to the Gelato Mio neighboring the Gillioz Theater, where Skepticon 4 is being held.

Man, you kept us from giving you our money.  You sure showed us.  Now we’ll starve because there are no other restaurants in downtown Springfield.  Dumbass.  A few things here…

1.  Thanks for the heads up.  I don’t want my money going to your undeservedly pretentious Christian business and subsequently into an offering plate.

2.  Thanks for the blog fodder I can use to establish that religion does not at all keep people from being slavering ass hats.

3.  When we look back through history, to the people who barred minorities from their businesses, whether they were women, blacks, or what have you, it is easy to see who the bad guys were.  Now the moderate religious people are stuck trying to say “No, religion wasn’t the force sustaining bigotry” and are contradicted by those people at every turn.  You’ve just helped convict Christianity for prejudice into the next generation.

4.  Fuck you.  We’re right.

  • http://pixelstampede.wordpress.com Emily

    Is the store manager oblivious to the Civil Rights Act of 1964? This is prime grounds for a lawsuit.

  • ccaldwell314

    …Is this legal?

    • Thomas_T

      It would be nice if this guy ends up getting sued. He is lucky I didn’t notice the sign or I would have gone in and ordered something and after I paid told him.

      The what would he do?

      • rapiddominance

        He would have done nothing except sulk. The sad, pitiful look on his face (deliberately tilted to avoid eye contact) could have made a fine trophy.

        If you had a camera, that is.

        Anyway, I don’t think there is any ground for promising legal activity. There’s the problem with no actual denials of service and . . . well, my attorney friend did do that “so-so” thing with her hand, so I really don’t know. Guess I should keep my ass cheeks closed when I talk.

  • Rob

    I love the point, and I laughed, but how does this help civil discourse or create at least a commingling existence between us? Are we not to be better examples than they? Because in some ways, this is really sad.

    • Ms. Daisy Cutter

      Rob, #3: Ah, so atheists and skeptics should just rise above it all?

      Nah. I’d rather fight it.

      • Sycophant

        Well then you’re just as bad as them and giving them reason to justify their attitude. Good job on bringing down the movement. Way to be just as much of the problem as the people you supposedly are fighting.

        • sqlrob

          Yeah, damn that snippy Rosa Parks, she should’ve just went to the back of the bus and wrote a letter to the editor.

          • Sycophant

            You know, for a group that tends to accuse Christians of acting persecuted, we sure do it ourselves quite a bit. Really, Rosa Parks? You think there’s any truth to that analogy? We’re as systematically persecuted as the blacks…or at all in any way that affects your daily life? The reason Rosa Parks had such an effect was because it was completely unacceptable and unthinkable to resist like she did… well that and it made great exploitable media for the bigger movement. All we do in this day and age is whine, blog, and pretend our 10-minute inconvenience was a part of some larger injustice. Where’s the buildup? It doesn’t work if that’s all you do all day! Most people here won’t even accept his apology. You are just *dying* to be feel that delicious persecution!

        • isilzhaveni

          And if the sign has said, “Jews are NOT welcome in my Christian business”?

    • Rey Fox

      What in the name of fuck are you blathering about?

  • Sithrazer

    Flanders sure has gotten bitter ever since Maude died….huh? It’s not that Springfield?

    Honestly, I wish more businesses were so open about their discrimination so I could make sure not to patronize their establishment(s).

    • http://raisinghellions.wordpress.com/ Lou Doench

      Whilst I understand the impulse you express, there’s an element of civil rights struggle that that impulse ignores. Every time we allow a bigot to express himself without challenge we send the message to neutral observers that that bigotry is not out of line.

      The reason that we have civil rights laws, the reason we had to force the lunch counters to desegregate was because social sanction against their bigotry was not enough.

      • sithrazer

        The sentiment is idle whimsy on my part, the civil rights issue does take priority.

    • Woof

      Here in the middle of flyover country it’s sometimes easy to tell the bigot bidnesses – freakin’ Jesus fish on the billboards and such.

  • Gordon

    Lawsuit!

  • Anteprepro

    I would like to believe that it says “Christian bidness”. Also: Gelato is serious [Christian] business.

  • http://freethoughtblogs.com/butterfliesandwheels/ Ophelia Benson

    Ohhhhhh man. That is so……

    Imagine a sign saying “Churchgoers are NOT welcomed to my atheist business!” Just imagine the uproar.

  • Brushstroke

    Surely this is illegal? Someone from Skepticon should go in there despite his little sign and confront him about it.

  • Matthew A. Harmer

    Very illegal:

    CIVIL RIGHTS ACT OF 1964
    TITLE II–INJUNCTIVE RELIEF AGAINST DISCRIMINATION IN PLACES OF PUBLIC ACCOMMODATION
    SEC. 201. (a) All persons shall be entitled to the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, and privileges, advantages, and accommodations of any place of public accommodation, as defined in this section, without discrimination or segregation on the ground of race, color, religion, or national origin.

    (b) Each of the following establishments which serves the public is a place of public accommodation within the meaning of this title if its operations affect commerce, or if discrimination or segregation by it is supported by State action:

    (2) any restaurant, cafeteria, lunchroom, lunch counter, soda fountain, or other facility principally engaged in selling food for consumption on the premises, including, but not limited to, any such facility located on the premises of any retail establishment; or any gasoline station;

    source:http://www.ourdocuments.gov/doc.php?flash=true&doc=97&page=transcript

    • isilzhaveni

      If anyone is curious to know, the agency to report civil rights violations in MO is the Missouri Commission on Human Rights (MCHR).

      http://labor.mo.gov/mohumanrights/

      The MCHR investigates complaints of discrimination in housing, employment, and places of public accommodations based on race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, sex, disability, age (in employment only), and familial status (in housing only). The MCHR also provides training to inform people of their rights and responsibilities under the Missouri Human Rights Act.

  • http://pixelstampede.wordpress.com Emily

    Take action
    With hashtags: #gelatogate #sk4
    With reviews: YELP and GOOGLE
    Via email: tasty@gelatomiousa.com
    Via telephone: 417.831.0400
    On twitter @gelatomiousa & facebook

    http://pixelstampede.wordpress.com/2011/11/19/scoping-skepticon-iv
    (emilyhasbooks)

  • Pteryxx

    This’d only be illegal if “on the basis of religion” specifically includes, or is held to include, atheism as a valid religious stance, correct? As far as I know, most judges will say atheism isn’t a religion and thus atheists don’t deserve protection.

    • kosk11348

      No, that’s wrong. Atheism has been recognized by the Supreme Court as legally equivalent to a religion, meaning atheism is protected under the 1st Amendment.

    • Josh, Official SpokesGay

      You’re wrong on this one. It’s settled, absolutely uncontroversial American jurisprudence that lack of religion is considered a religious stance for the purposes of constitutional questions.

    • bullet

      It reads, “…on the ground…of religion”

      Once he identified his objection based on “my Christian business”, he made it about religion. That’s a no-no whether atheism is a religion or not.

  • Anteprepro

    Discriminating against people with no religion is still discriminating on the basis of religion….

  • Sili

    How do they feel about dogs and Irish?

  • Reginald Selkirk

    without discrimination or segregation on the ground of race, color, religion, or national origin.

    If he was targeting atheists, this would certainly be a violation. Atheism is considered a “religion” for legal purposes. But Skepticon is not exclusively atheist; perhaps the owner objects to critical thinking in general. That would probably not be a violation.

    • Anteprepro

      lol. It’s a Christian business that doesn’t look too kindly on Bigfoot bashin’, incorporeal insultin’, cryptid criticizin’, psychic persecutin’, alien antagonizin’, and Loch Ness Monster mockin’. I would love to see that become their actual excuse.

    • CC

      I’m not a civil rights lawyer but I am an attorney and I’ve studied this type of thing. It should’t matter whether Skepticon is or is not 100% atheist. A valid religious category could just as easily be religious skeptics. I think a case could easily be made. The question is whether it would be worth suing over a sign that was only up for a short time.

      • isilzhaveni

        I don’t think suing is worth it, but I think he should be reported to the Missouri Commission on Human Rights and at the very least be required to go through their civil rights training.

  • http://cheapsignals.blogspot.com Gretchen

    This’d only be illegal if “on the basis of religion” specifically includes, or is held to include, atheism as a valid religious stance, correct? As far as I know, most judges will say atheism isn’t a religion and thus atheists don’t deserve protection.

    Nope. Or at least, atheism is considered a religious stance (a stance regarding religion) specifically for situations like this. In the eyes of the law, discrimination on the basis of religion and discrimination against lack of religion are equivalent, and therefore forbidding atheists from one’s business is religious discrimination.

    The owner of the gelato shop probably has no idea, but I would love to see the look on his/her face when confronted with this fact.

    • http://pixelstampede.wordpress.com Emily

      …or with a subpoena. “The owner of the gelato shop probably has no idea, but I would love to see the look on his/her face when confronted with this fact.”

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  • Sithrazer

    Were it not for the included and emphasized “Christian Business” tacked on at the end, it could be said it was just a cranky owner who dislikes convention crowds. Plausible deniability, at any rate.

  • Rev. BigDumbChimp

    RE Letter in the Window:

    To the Public: I sincerely apologize for the posting of the note in the window. It was an impulse reaction to an event I witnessed and was only up for a few minutes before I came to my senses and realized it shouldn’t have been up at all. I sincerely apologize to those whom I offended.

    All the Best,

    Andy-

    • Zugswang

      Someone saw the flurry of negative reviews on their Yelp page!

  • Rev. BigDumbChimp
  • Ichthyic

    rev, from the same site, just above…

    We’re a small business with a bigger purpose than making a profit.

    yup, they sure aren’t interested in profit alrighty.

  • Heather

    This is on their Facebook page:

    Gelato Mio
    To the Public:
    I apologize for the posting in the window. Please know that we respect each of you and the incident was not at all appropriate. Those of you who know us know that we are very understanding and welcoming, and nothing has changed. It was an impulse reaction to an event I witnessed by which I was offended. Thank you for understanding and looking past this. All the best, Andy-

  • Jayne

    http://www.cai.org/bible-studies/should-christians-love-wicked

    I just e-mailed Gelato Mio with this link.

  • http://cheapsignals.blogspot.com Gretchen

    Okay, now I want to know what the offensive event was.

  • Rev. BigDumbChimp

    Okay, now I want to know what the offensive event was.

    Our existence.

    • Uzza

      Rev. wins the thread.

    • http://cheapsignals.blogspot.com Gretchen

      No, he says he “witnessed an event” that offended him. I’m curious what it was.

      • cicely, Inadvertent Phytocidal Maniac

        He witnessed the event of our existing, yea, verily, even here in Sacred Springfield.

      • grumpyoldfart

        I’ll bet he’s just making it up as he goes along – pretending that something happened and hoping that people will excuse his behaviour because he was acting under provocation.

      • http://sciencenotes.wordpress.com/ Monado, Deployer of Precision F-Strikes

        I knew you shouldn’t have named our Bigfoot Hay-zoos, Gretchen!

  • Anonymous_for_my_safety

    Every time we allow a bigot to express himself without challenge we send the message to neutral observers that that bigotry is not out of line.

    Posted on another blog:

    Check out online reviews of the place at google/yelp. It’s getting trashed, plummeting to one star everywhere. This is atheists exercising their clout. [1]

    As opposed to showing those “neutral observers” what a bunch of egotistical, mean and just downright vindictive assholes skeptics/atheists can be for any perceived insult no matter how small?

    I’ll take a pass on this one, thanks.

    [1] Comment #19 http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2011/11/20/how-not-to-make-an-1100-person-convention-welcome/

    • Pinkamena, Panic Pony

      A little bit saddlesore, are we?

    • Naked Bunny with a Whip

      Indeed. Giving a business poor reviews for its public display of bigotry? How gauche!

      Thanks for bravely showing us how reasonable and modest people behave.

    • http://myshinyideas.com Phyl

      Well, you sure showed us, O person who doesn’t have the nerve to even make up a name and pretend to be a real person.

      We’re just supposed to sit in the back of the bus where we belong, are we? Not make a peep? Not fight back against discrimination and bigotry?

      Yes, I can see why you hide.

      • http://yetanotheratheist.com TerranRich

        Yeah, that damned Rosa Parks shouldn’t have made such a fuss. She was the inspiration for a lot of violent behavior on the part of black protesters. If she had just stayed at the back of the bus like a good little Negro, no violence would have occurred and everybody would be cheery and happy.

        Seriously, “Anonymous_for_my_own_safety”, you are nothing more than a coward.

    • Ironsand

      A quick review of those reviews reveals that quite a lot of them are from Christians who feel offended at the way this restaurant is representing them.

      I think the equivalent of a “no dogs or Jews” sign is worthy of of a few bad reviews, and those who call us vindictive can just have their little case of the vapors.

      • fastlane

        As opposed to showing those “neutral observers” what a bunch of egotistical, mean and just downright vindictive assholes skeptics/atheists can be for any perceived insult no matter how small?

        Note the tone trolling here. Imagine, if you will, a shop sign that said “No churchgoers in my Atheist business!” Then, take 3 seconds to imagine the reaction to it.

        Now, come back and tell me that you still think this is an over reaction to what is clearly 1) illegal (Ref. Civil Rights act of 1964); 2) bigoted.

    • Rey Fox

      Go fuck yourself.

      *looks up at the nym* “Anonymous for my safety”? Go fuck yourself extra hard, you sniveling little worm.

  • Pteryxx

    Thanks for clarifying to me that atheism’s legally protected, y’all. I need to know that in Texas.

  • http://sciencenotes.wordpress.com/ Monado, Deployer of Precision F-Strikes

    Good thing I’ll probably never go through that Springfield. I wouldn’t want to accidentally spend some of my money at Gelato Mio.

  • realityhack

    For what it is worth there is in fact an apology posted by the owner.
    http://gelatomiousa.com/home.aspx

    • Richard

      value: one penny

  • Amy

    We were in his shop on Saturday evening. He was nice and expressed appreciation for all of the business he had that day. He states that he also owns the Flying Tomato across the street. Too bad he didn’t realize we were with Skepticon when he was serving us and basically thanking us!! LOL

  • Anon
  • Mark

    This reaction is all very understandable. Since with atheists there is no “vengeance is mine says the Lord,” you need to make sure you are the ones to get back at him. Since with atheists there is no “do not judge or you too will be judged,” you need to make sure you are the ones to exact judgement. Since atheists have no cross to carry, you can’t glory in the persecution, but rather you must scrap for every little right you believe you are afforded.

    • Pteryxx

      Which of course explains why this Christian businessperson responded to some (perceived) slight by posting a discriminatory sign, instead of leaving vengeance to his Lord.

      • Mark

        Maybe you should be reminding him of the archetype of his beliefs, who Himself, when dying said of His executioners, “forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Don’t you think that would have a much more powerful, personal effect than organizing a boycott and de-rating his restaurant?

        Can you really know his motivation? The sign says “Skepticon,” not “atheists,” which appears to have more to do with the convention itself than beliefs or persons. In his own apology uses the word “event.” He may have meant atheists, but why must we jump to the worst conclusion and assume the worst of people?

        • Lana C

          We can know his motivation, because he said that they were not welcome to his “christian business” I don’t care why you think he said it, he said it in cardboard and ink, and hung it in his window. It is a real, concrete (cardboard) example of bigotry. Stop telling me how persecuted this person is, I think we are all sick of the majority of the country telling us how persecuted they are. If someone posted a note saying that brunettes were not welcome, that Irish were not welcome, and that women were not welcome, I would still trash them on the internet, it is literally what the internet is here for. Also, stop preaching to atheists from your archaic biblical rules. Your Judge not lest ye be judged adage is unrealistic. People make judgements all the time, like, do I like the lighting in this restaurant, how’s the salsa, and oh, yeah, is the owner a bigot? I’d say that if people are allowed to complain about the Mojitos or the bad sound system, bigotry is at the very least fair game.

  • Karl Corwin

    Well, we have two pretty good indications that his apology was not sincere. First, he was given a chance on his facebook wall to denounce some bigoted comments from Christian supporters and didn’t. Second, he has started to systematically delete and block negative comments from the same wall.

  • John Eberhard

    Maybe I’m missing something, but……..The sign was up in the window TODAY. The restaurant was closed TODAY. If it was put up on an impulse REACTION and was only up for a few minutes, I just don’t understand how that could happen when the store was CLOSED. Just sayin’……

    • https://twitter.com/#!/Erulora Erulóra Maikalambe

      No, the sign was up in the window Saturday night, after 9pm. It took until Sunday for everybody to find out about it because we were busy drinking, or recovering from drinking.

      • John Eberhard

        In that case, there is no way it could only have been up for “only a few minutes”…..is there? Unless, of course, he considers something like 13-14 hours to be “only a few minutes”.

  • grumpyoldfart

    This time last year Andy (co-owner of Gelato Mio) was organising a Christmas toy drive for underprivileged children with a,

    …full-size Hum-Vee equipped with an artillery gun that may have once been used in a fight to defend our freedom.

    http://www.gelatomiousa.com/Portals/2/pdf/Press%20Release%20-%20Toys%20for%20Tots%2011-29-10.doc.pdf

    Not quite sure how that fits in with “Peace on Earth, Goodwill Toward Men”, but Christian love and tolerance is often displayed in the strangest ways.

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    • Taylor

      You don’t know this. We do know he served a lot of attendees of Skepticon (with a discount!) way before the sign went up. Maybe he was provoked. We both don’t know.

      It is sad that attendees of a conference about “rationality” would jump to conclusions and attack someone so quickly.

  • http://damnedhippie.wordpress.com Sid

    This asshat refused to sell me a sandwich to feed my son. He said he was “overwhelmed” and therefore could not make any sandwiches as he was wrapping up the deli meat to put in the fridge.

  • purpleinthered

    Hmmm…the Gelato Mio’s Facebook page has mysteriously disappeared…

    >:D

    • http://pixelstampede.wordpress.com Emily

      Yep, they took it down last night, after they had blocked comments. I have a screenshot of one of the posts in my latest blog about ‘gelatogate’. Click my name for the link.

      • purpleinthered

        I read a lot of the posts before I finally went to bed. One that sticks out in my mind was from the owner himself, stating that they refused service to no one, served several Skepticon attendees that evening and that they were “actually very nice.” *forehead smack*

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    • Taylor

      The point here is not what is “acceptable”. People make mistakes. As human beings, we should understand this. As Julia Galef said in her talk, it is irrational to always expect others to be rational. The point here is to understand what happened rather than demonize another human being.

      The real question is why did he put up the sign. We know he served many of us on Friday and Saturday and even gave us a discount. We can be pretty sure he knew what Skepticon was about, given all of the atheist shirts etc. people were wearing.

      So the possibility is that he was provoked. Maybe someone was abusive. Maybe he felt someone attacked his identity. If this happened, his response would be typical. In the same way it can be said many commenters are responding to what they perceive as their identity being attacked. They think they are recognizing a pattern they have seen all too often.

      And so many commenters here too are responding more from anger than rationality. If this were any other conference, I would understand. But at a conference whose very nature ephasizes not jumping to quickly to conclusions, it is kind of sad.

      Many say Skepticism is doubting current wisdom. But as Eliezer has said, it is more about having beliefs in proportion to evidence.

      Peace

  • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

    Don’t you think that would have a much more powerful, personal effect than organizing a boycott and de-rating his restaurant?

    He apologized publicly (albeit with a lame excuse), and AFAIK there’ve been no reports of him actually causing anyone any trouble. What “much more powerful, personal effect” were you expecting the Skepticon folks to go for, exactly?

    I don’t know you, but based on your tone, I’m guessing that if they’d done anything “much more powerful,” you’d be accusing us of a disproportionate overreaction.

  • http://pixelstampede.wordpress.com Emily

    Here’s the issued (third) apology and my response to it. Too large to post here as a comment: http://pixelstampede.wordpress.com/2011/11/22/gelatogate-22

  • ALL OF YOU CAN SUCK MY ANUS

    I DON’T KNOW WHO’S THE BIGGER IDIOT HERE, THE FUCKTARD WHO POSTED THIS, OR THE DUMBFUCKS WHO ARE COMMENTING ON IT. as an atheist I’m telling you twats to get the fuck over it, it was an impulsive mistake and he apologized, now all of you cocsuckers can finally shut the fuck up.

    • http://www.facebook.com/fyedernoggersnodden eric siggyscott

      Amen.

  • Goan
  • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

    I DON’T KNOW WHO’S THE BIGGER IDIOT HERE, THE FUCKTARD WHO POSTED THIS, OR THE DUMBFUCKS WHO ARE COMMENTING ON IT.

    What about the dumbfuck who’s commenting (IN CAPSLOCK NO LESS) to call us dumbfucks for commenting?

    as an atheist I’m telling you twats…

    Credibility FAIL. If you really were an atheist, I doubt you’d be calling other atheists “twats” just for talking about an attempt to discriminate unfairly against atheists.

    I agree that this issue should be considered over, but I think we can say that without sounding like morons.

    • http://www.facebook.com/fyedernoggersnodden eric siggyscott

      “Credibility FAIL. If you really were an atheist, I doubt you’d be calling other atheists ‘twats’ just for talking about an attempt to discriminate unfairly against atheists.”

      That’s now why he was calling people twats. We atheists were being reactionary and pushing harsh stereotypes on this Christian without trying to understand him first. Now that more info is out that seems perfectly clear. He’s only human, like the rest of us.

      How great we are at sticking to our skeptic values when we perceive an injury, eh?

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  • http://pogsurf.blogspot.com/ Pogsurf

    I’d smash his fucking window, nab the sign, and burn it, along with a copy of the Bible, that’s what I’d do. Chuck in the Koran, too, just for balance.

    Well I would do that, if I wasn’t an internet ninny, too scared to say boo to a goose.

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