THIS IS WHY Catholics Are Still Hypocrites Who Support Child Abuse


If you are a good Catholic (or just an average Easter / Christmas kind of Catholic who just thinks Jesus is love and the Pope’s a sweet confused old man) this should outrage you at least as much as it does me:

In 2002, at the height of the outcry over the sexual abuse of minors by Roman Catholic priests, the Archbishop of New York, Edward M. Egan, issued a letter to be read at Mass. In it, he offered an apology about the church’s handling of sex-abuse cases in New York and in Bridgeport, Conn., where he was previously posted.

“It is clear that today we have a much better understanding of this problem,” he wrote. “If in hindsight we also discover that mistakes may have been made as regards prompt removal of priests and assistance to victims, I am deeply sorry.”

Now, 10 years later and in retirement, Cardinal Egan has taken back his apology.

In a interview with Connecticut magazine published on the magazine’s Web site last week, a surprisingly frank Cardinal Egan said of the apology, “I never should have said that,” and added, “I don’t think we did anything wrong.”

He said many more things in the interview, some of them seemingly at odds with the facts. He repeatedly denied that any sex abuse had occurred on his watch in Bridgeport. He said that even now, the church in Connecticut had no obligation to report sexual abuse accusations to the authorities. (A law on the books since the 1970s says otherwise.) And he described the Bridgeport diocese’s handling of sex-abuse cases as “incredibly good.”

All of which has Cardinal Egan, now 79 and living in Manhattan, drawing fire from advocates who say he has reopened old wounds.

via Cardinal Egan Criticized for Retracting Apology on Sex-Abuse Crisis – NYTimes.com.

If you aren’t all out marching in the street, demanding that your diocese not only refute these remarks, but agree to follow the laws here on earth and report and help prosecute any further abuse, then you are complicit. The hypocrisy of that, and the complacency of the Catholic Church and its flock (they’re apparently called sheep for a reason)  makes one thing crystal clear to those of us not blinded by faith: if and when Jesus The Christ comes back, he’s not setting foot in any of your temples, unless it’s to help burn them down. Even the most pious among you can’t twist His words enough to make it sound like Jesus would support child abuse in the name of “the greater good” the church has supposedly done. Think he’s going to lift you up to heaven? You stood idly by while children were raped, their rapists were protected, and then moved to other areas where they could continue their crimes. Didn’t know about all that? You do now, so you’re guilty of allowing all the people involved to go free. What are you doing about it? Praying’s not enough. I haven’t read the whole bible, but it seems like God can be kind of vengeful about this sort of stuff.

So, until you empty out the coffers, melt down the golden scepters, and sell the Gucci loafers; until you find every last one of the harmed, pay for all the compensation and therapy they deserve for the rest of their horribly affected lives, and then root out, expose and prosecute all the evildoers and their accomplices – including the Pope – then and not until then can you begin to pretend to lead in the footsteps of Christ.

But, hey, that’s hard – it’s a lot easier to attack me and not take responsibility for any of that. Besides, what could a godless atheist like me know about What Jesus Would Do? Would He stand for this hypocrisy? Maybe he was just a man after all.

Biblical Literalism At Its Finest


A Dialogue Concerning Religion, Naturally


My former pastor, from my days as a fundamentalist, and I sometimes discuss religion. This is our most recent exchange. It is largely a reiteration of similar exchanges. The first part is from him, and my response follows.

John,

Some time back, I said I was sort of setting you up. Let me give you the first thoughts about this — if you have time to meander through it. These expressions are not the most shocking, if that’s even a fair word to use, but will follow — eventually!

[Signed, etc.]

Is Christianity Too Exclusive?

“I think everyone has to find his own spiritual path to God,” my fellow shopper said.

I don’t remember how we got on the subject of finding God. He may have asked me what I did for a living and I told him I was a pastor. At any rate, we were in a deep spiritual conversation in the fairly long checkout line at Best Buy.

“Wouldn’t that be cool if it were true?” I responded.

“What do you mean?” he queried.

“It would be great if everyone could find his or her own spiritual path to God,” I answered. “But that’s not what Jesus said would happen. He claimed there was only one path and that no one can get to God except through him” (John 14:6).

Whenever I get in a spiritual conversation with others, a part of me cringes as I talk about the exclusive claims of Jesus Christ. I love Jesus and I have come to believe his claims, but that doesn’t mean I don’t struggle with the idea that Christianity doesn’t allow for the position that each person can find his or her own path to God. It seems to me that if a person is open to spiritual reality in general, that that should be enough. After all, isn’t Jesus big enough and gracious enough for all religious impulses and thoughts to ultimately find their way back to him? Surely open-mindedness, humility, and liberality fit into the Christian ethic, why not into Christian theology? Why can’t faith be this open?

EVERYTHING ELSE IS RELATIVE

Unless you have been living in a bunker for the past thirty years, like Brendan Fraser in Blast from the Past, you know that we are living in a world of relativism. Relativism is the belief that all points of view are equally valid. What you think is right and wrong is right and wrong for you, and what I think is right and wrong is right and wrong for me. Though our lists may be different, our lists are equally legitimate.

There is something very seductive about this view. If a thing is right just because I think it is, then being right is an easy proposition. Being able to select one’s own right and wrong fuels a sense of personal empowerment. It means I can do whatever it is I want to do. And if that isn’t freedom, it certainly feels like freedom. You can see how embracing this perspective would help us to stop judging one another and to begin respecting each other’s personal convictions. Why wouldn’t we? Relativism fosters the sense that everyone is right, which delivers personal empowerment, the debunking of judgment, and a respect for others and their opinions. These are all good things, right?

Of course, this view also means there are no absolutes, no truth that is true for everyone—just relative ideas that are true to each one. What’s good for me is not necessarily good for you, and vice versa. Thus, everyone must find his or her own way. This view engenders a sense of unity in matters of faith, because what you believe about God and what I believe about God are equally good and equally true, simply because we believe what we believe. We can stop focusing on what one believes and applaud all belief in general, because all paths lead to God. Who wouldn’t love that?

But as appealing as relativism is, and while the intellectually elite and culturally en vogue espouse that it is the only tenable position, it doesn’t appear to be an option for the Christ-follower. Why? Because the claims of Christ are absolute and universal. Jesus claimed to be “the way, the truth, and the life,” and that “no one comes to the Father” except through him (John 14:6).

THE PROBLEM WITH TRUTH

The problem with the concept of truth is that it is exclusive by nature. Any time a person makes a truth-claim, he or she is saying all other contradictory claims are false. Hence, truth is non-negotiable; it is stark and raw. For example, the notion that the earth is orbiting the sun is either true or it is not. There is no room for negotiating, though it seems as if the sun is orbiting around the earth from my perspective. Truth has no interest in what I think or feel about the matter; subjective views are irrelevant.

If truth exists, then there are people who are right and people who are wrong. But we don’t like that. It’s too judgmental. Consequently, two-thirds of Americans now deny there’s any such thing as truth. We prefer opinion to truth. It’s more civilized.

Yet, As a Christ-follower I’m faced with the challenge that Christianity is not just presented as another subjective, religious philosophy. Christians see the claims of Jesus Christ as objectively true—true in the sense that gravity is true. And if the gospel of Jesus Christ is truth, then it is absolute and true for all people. The problem is, there are so many knotty and untenable implications with that position.

At first blush Christ’s claims seem to smack of arrogance, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness. And, in a cultural milieu that holds pluralism and tolerance sacrosanct, claiming that Jesus of Nazareth is the only path to God is a proverbial slap-on-the-face to all other belief systems. Pluralist Rosemary Radford Ruether labeled this as “absurd religious chauvinism,” while another religious leader called it a “spiritual dictatorship” that encourages smug superiority and unnecessary judgment. All of us have witnessed the hatred and violence that comes from religious one-upping. As a culture we are more open to comments like that of Indian philosopher Swami Vivekenanda who said, “We [Hindus] accept all religions to be true.” He claimed the real sin was to call someone else a sinner.

Atheist Charles Templeton claimed it was an “insufferable presupposition” to claim that “salvation is found in no one else” but Jesus (Acts 4:12). Templeton writes, “Christians are a small minority in the world. Approximately four out of every five people on the face of the earth believe in gods other than the Christian God. The more than five billion people who live on earth revere and worship [other] gods. Are we to believe that only Christians are right?

I honestly don’t know what to do with these arguments against Christian absolutism. And, truth be told, on some level I want to agree with them. How can it be possible that so many have it so wrong? And what of those sincere souls who never have the opportunity to hear about Jesus Christ? Will they really go to hell?

I wish I could tell you I have all of this settled in my mind. I don’t. The wrestling match continues to this day. The only solace I have found is that I believe that God will work all the details out in the end because he is good and he is fair. Though it may sound like an intellectual copout from dealing with the problem, something in me finds rest in the promise of God’s goodness and fairness—like a young child who trusts that all will be well just because they are with their father or mother, not because they understand what’s really going on.

So, after careful analysis, I take the position that Jesus Christ is the truest reflection of the one true God. In the same breath (and at great risk), I believe the gods of other religions are not gods at all—they are worthless idols. Ooooo…those are fighting words for many. And that’s the problem with Christian truth—it is too exclusive to let you fit everywhere. And adhering to it can get you into some deep trouble. That’s why Jesus warns us: “The world would love you if you belonged to it; but you don’t—for I chose you to come out of the world, and so it hates you. Do you remember what I told you? ‘A slave isn’t greater than his master!’ So since they persecuted me, naturally they will persecute you” (John 15:19-20 NLT ).

Though I would love to be liked by everyone, I choose to believe Jesus…even if that gets me in trouble and I’m accused of being closed-minded. I figure it just goes with the territory.

My response:

“Of course, this view also means there are no absolutes, no truth that is true for everyone – —just relative ideas that are true to each one.”

It may be that some hold this view and can defend it. I, for one, as an agnostic who leans toward atheism, think that there is one real absolute truth, but that humans are incapable of knowing it. If you can find a copy of Wendell Berry’s book of essays, Home Economics, and read the first essay, a little three pager titled “Letter to Wes Jackson,” that kind of sums it up for me. (Berry is a believer, but not, from what I can tell from his other writing, a believer in an institutionalized hierarchy, and not a church goer. In one poem he says he hears the church bells in town but understands “contrariwise”: instead of being called into town and church, he goes to the woods and fields to commune with God.) Is there a god? The answer is probably yes or no, and its nature is probably one way or another, but I don’t think it’s something we can know, and have decided that, in the absence of such knowledge, it’s best to shrug and get on with my day.

Relativism seems to me to hold sway, though, in the realm of religion, which not only doesn’t subject itself to proofs, but seems to take pride in the requirement to believe something without proof or even in contradiction to known and experienced facts. If no one can prove the existence of a god (or a whole pantheon), then believe whatever you want. Hence the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, and the wonderful statement that “We are all atheists: I just believe in one god fewer than you do.”

While I think it unlikely, and undesirable in the extreme, that the claims of fundamentalist Christianity are ultimately true, they would explain to some extent the sorry state of the world. If the world is, indeed, overseen by a petulant god with a limitless penchant for grudge-bearing when things don’t go his way (Garden of Eden), who prefers his minions to be servile and cowed by his power (Job), whose idea of making things right is human torture and sacrifice (Jesus) . . . well, that would explain a lot. Such a god would have a lot to answer for. It is much to be desired that no such being exists or, if it does, that it has forgotten that we do.

But what inspires me about Christianity (you weren’t expecting this bit, I’d guess) is not the authority of the message or messenger, not the power or the consequent fear of being a sinner in the hands of an angry god . . . but the individuals who profess Christianity and don’t so much insist on dogma as they insist on showing up for others. I like the idea (which must be plucked from its grisly context) that hope survives and persists, even when your god, the one that you thought would bring salvation and revolution, the ordering principle of the world as you understand it, is tortured and killed in front of you.  I find it ironic, and sad as missed opportunities are, that some Christians have let their religion devolve to the point where it is no longer a matter of saying to others, “Life is hard, but we are here for you, because we need to be here for each other,” and has gone to “We have the hidden answer to the question of how this crazy, lonely dangerous world works, and you will go to Hell forever if you don’t acknowledge that this is, in fact, the answer. Capiche?” So much time wasted in doctrinal disputes that don’t have anything to do with feeding the hungry, comforting the sick, clothing the naked, holding the fearful, loving the unlovable, and so on. But also understandable: it is easier, ultimately, to dispute doctrines than to do those other things; to take comfort in knowing that you and those who believe as you do are going to make your ways through this vale of tears and be told by the Ultimate Authority that “You Did Good.” It is not surprising to me that Bonhoeffer’s Cost of Discipleship has fallen out of favor. The gospel of affluence and success, that says we are oppressed, unrecognized princes and princesses, the rightful rulers of this realm (see Chronicles of Narnia, where children go to a fantasy world and do, in fact, become kings and queens there, revealing to that world, at least, their true nature), is much more appealing and comforting than Bonhoeffer’s “When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die” – a calling that was fulfilled in Bonhoeffer’s case when he returned to Nazi Germany (“I can’t help the Church rebuild after this nightmare if I don’t go through the nightmare with them”), tried to assassinate Hitler and was himself killed in a concentration camp. There are Christians whose lives are a matter of showing up for others. I’m grateful for them, and am lucky to count a handful of them as friends. I don’t mind those who make their faith a matter of doctrinal dispute: they are my brothers and sisters, too, though the disputes I engage in these days are more political than doctrinal. I only get my fur ruffled when they want, like the Taliban, their close relations (all fundamentalists are more essentially alike than they are different in their particulars), to make others live the way they think their belligerent invisible friend wants them to live. Believe whatever you want, and live however you want, but – – here is where the relativism, or maybe the humility, kicks in –– leave the rest of us to figure out the world as best we can: if we want your help, we’ll ask for it.

[One further note: What my pastor wrote or sent me (he doesn’t say he wrote it; I don’t know) might have been written by me when I was a fundamentalist in college, except for the parts where the author acknowledges the appeal of a more “relativistic” perspective and an awareness of other modes of thought. I was not so generous when I was a newly-minted believer.]

Merry Fucking Christmas (with Sentiments From Fox News) NSFW


(Don’t own it, didn’t put it on youtube)

The Biggest Threat to U.S. National Security: Muslims or Christians?


Christians a threat to National Security?  I make the argument that it’s religion that is the largest threat, but which religion is the most dangerous? I doubt the majority of Americans would be able to name a second to the Muslim faith. (The deeply religious minority would probably think of Atheism eventually, but that’s another discussion.) Does a Christian who believes we should welcome the Second Coming as soon as possible pose a threat? Author David Sirota looks at the data over at Slate:

If you have the stomach to listen to enough right-wing talk radio, or troll enough right-wing websites, you inevitably come upon fear-mongering about the Unassimilated Muslim. Essentially, this caricature suggests that Muslims in America are more loyal to their religion than to the United States, that such allegedly traitorous loyalties prove that Muslims refuse to assimilate into our nation and that Muslims are therefore a national security threat.

Earlier this year, a Gallup poll illustrated just how apocryphal this story really is. It found that Muslim Americans are one of the most — if not the single most — loyal religious group to the United States. Now, comes the flip side from the Pew Research Center’s stunning findings about other religious groups in America (emphasis mine):

“American Christians are more likely than their Western European counterparts to think of themselves first in terms of their religion rather than their nationality; 46 percent of Christians in the U.S. see themselves primarily as Christians and the same number consider themselves Americans first. In contrast, majorities of Christians in France (90 percent), Germany (70 percent), Britain (63 percent) and Spain (53 percent) identify primarily with their nationality rather than their religion. Among Christians in the U.S., white evangelicals are especially inclined to identify first with their faith; 70 percent in this group see themselves first as Christians rather than as Americans, while 22 percent say they are primarily American.”

If, as Islamophobes argue, refusing to assimilate is defined as expressing loyalty to a religion before loyalty to country, then this data suggests it is evangelical Christians who are very resistant to assimilation. And yet, few would cite these findings to argue that Christians pose a serious threat to America’s national security. Why the double standard?

Being such a Christian-centric country, it might seem counter-intuitive that Muslims aren’t the biggest threat. But think about it: devout Christians are quick to put God before Country, God Above All, and most Americans don’t even notice. Change God to Allah from a devout Muslim, and the average American would call the FBI pronto. Sirota continues:

Because Christianity is seen as the dominant culture in America — indeed, Christianity and America are often portrayed as being nearly synonymous, meaning expressing loyalty to the former is seen as the equivalent to expressing loyalty to the latter. In this view, there is no such thing as separation between the Christian church and the American state — and every other culture and religion is expected to assimilate to Christianity. To do otherwise is to be accused of waging a “War on Christmas” — or worse, to be accused of being disloyal to America and therefore a national security threat.

Of course, a genuinely pluralistic America is one where — regardless of the religion in question — we see no conflict between loyalties to a religion and loyalties to country. In this ideal America, those who identify as Muslims first are no more or less “un-American” than Christians who do the same (personally, this is the way I see things).

But if our politics and culture are going to continue to make extrapolative judgments about citizens’ patriotic loyalties based on their religious affiliations, then such judgments should at least be universal — and not so obviously selective or brazenly xenophobic.

(via Are evangelicals a national security threat? – Religion – Salon.com.)

English: Christian Bible, rosary, and crucifix.

Image via Wikipedia

That’s a nice dream, but the reality is most Americans don’t notice how  dangerous the “God First, America Second” belief is. I shudder to think how many deeply evangelical Christians are in the military, answering to “a higher law”. And of course, we have the base of the right wing – fundamentalist Christians – trying to elect a President who believes the same thing. If someone like a Rick Perry or a Herman Cain ends up with their finger on the button, I’d call that a bigger threat to our National Security than the “Muslim” president we have now.

Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid: The Republican Plan To Nullify The Courts and Establish Christian Theocracy


Whoever gets the Republican nomination in 2012, you can be sure of one thing: they plan to end our Democracy.

At the Iowa “Thanksgiving Family Forum” there were dire warnings against Sharia law. But there was a whole lotta love for a Theocracy, as long as it’s a Christian one. In fact, only one candidate even mentioned freedom of choice; the only problem is, he hasn’t a chance in hell (you’ll pardon the expression) of winning the nomination (via Slate):

There was [only] one voice of dissent among the candidates. Ron Paul, the libertarian congressman from Texas, argued that people should be allowed to make bad decisions, that freedom of choice in religious matters should extend to atheists, and that powers not reserved to the federal government should be left to the states. But in a field of candidates bent on legislating Christian morality and purging uncooperative judges, Paul stood alone. Protecting America is too important to let the Constitution get in the way.

The rest, meh… Jesus is Lord, and we have to make our country ready for his return. Here are the lowlights of your current Republican hopefuls, every one waiting to get their godly, self-righteous finger on the nuclear button:

1. Religious Americans must fight back against nonbelievers. To quote Herman Cain:

What we are seeing is a wider gap between people of faith and people of nonfaith. … Those of us that are people of faith and strong faith have allowed the nonfaith element to intimidate us into not fighting back. I believe we’ve been too passive. We have maybe pushed back, but as people of faith, we have not fought back.
2. The religious values we must fight for are Judeo-Christian. Rick Perry warned:

Somebody’s values are going to decide what the Congress votes on or what the president of the United States is going to deal with. And the question is: Whose values? And let me tell you, it needs to be our values—values and virtues that this country was based upon in Judeo-Christian founding fathers.

3. Our laws and our national identity are Judeo-Christian. Michele Bachmann explained:

American exceptionalism is grounded on the Judeo-Christian ethic, which is really based upon the 10 Commandments. The 10 Commandments were the foundation for our law. That’s what Blackstone said—the English jurist—and our founders looked to Blackstone for the foundation of our law. That’s our law.

4. No religion but Christianity will suffice. Perry declared, “In every person’s heart, in every person’s soul, there is a hole that can only be filled by the Lord Jesus Christ.”

5. God created our government. Bachmann told the audience: I have a biblical worldview. And I think, going back to the Declaration of Independence, the fact that it’s God who created us—if He created us, He created government. And the government is on His shoulders, as the book of Isaiah says.

6. U.S. law should follow God’s law. As Rick Santorum put it:

Unlike Islam, where the higher law and the civil law are the same, in our case, we have civil laws. But our civil laws have to comport with the higher law. … As long as abortion is legal—at least according to the Supreme Court—legal in this country, we will never have rest, because that law does not comport with God’s law.

7. Anything that’s immoral by religious standards should be outlawed. Santorum again:

God gave us rights, but He also gave us laws upon which to exercise those rights, and that’s what you ought to do. And, by the way, the law should comport—the laws of this country should comport with that moral vision. Why? Because the law is a teacher. If something is illegal in this country because it is immoral and it is wrong and it is harmful to society, saying that it is illegal and putting a law in place teaches. It’s not just—laws cannot be neutral. There is no neutral, Ron. There is only moral and immoral. And the law has to reflect what is right and good and just for our society.

 8. The federal government should impose this morality on the states. Santorum once more:
The idea that the only things that the states are prevented from doing are only things specifically established in the Constitution is wrong. Our country is based on a moral enterprise. Gay marriage is wrong. As Abraham Lincoln said, the states do not have the right to do wrong. … As a president, I will get involved, because the states do not have the right to undermine the basic, fundamental values that hold this country together.

9. Congress should erase the judiciary’s power to review moral laws. Newt Gingrich suggested:

I am intrigued with something which Robby George at Princeton has come up with, which is an interpretation of the 14th Amendment, in which it says that Congress shall define personhood. That’s very clearly in the 14th Amendment. And part of what I would like to explore is whether or not you could get the Congress to pass a law which simply says: Personhood begins at conception. And therefore—and you could, in the same law, block the court and just say, ‘This will not be subject to review,’ which we have precedent for. You would therefore not have to have a constitutional amendment, because the Congress would have exercised its authority under the 14th Amendment to define life, and to therefore undo all of Roe vs. Wade, for the entire country, in one legislative action.

Gingrich said the same strategy could secure the Defense of Marriage Act, which bars federal recognition of same-sex marriages and protects the right of states to disregard same-sex marriages performed in other states. In his words, “You could repass DOMA and make it not appealable to the court, period.”

10. Courts that get in the way should be abolished. Gingrich again:

The simplest first step which I would take is to propose—and I hope this will be a significant part of the campaign next year—I have proposed to abolish the court of Judge Biery in San Antonio, who on June 1 issued an order that said, not only could students not pray at their graduation, they couldn’t use the word benediction, the could not say the word prayer, they could not say the word God, they could not ask people to stand for a moment of silence, they couldn’t use the word invocation, and if he broke any of those, he would put their superintendent in jail. I regard that as such a ruthless anti-American statement that he should not be on the court, and I would move to literally abolish his court, so that he could go back to private practice, as a signal to the courts.

Biery’s order was an overreach. In fact, it was overturned two days later by an appeals court. But he’s only the first target of the anti-judicial purge. The next words after Gingrich’s threat came from Santorum, who said: “I agree with a lot of what has just been said here. I would go farther—one step farther, Newt. I would abolish the entire Ninth Circuit.”

11. The purge of judges should be based on public opinion. Gingrich  once more:

Part of the purpose of singling out Judge Biery and eliminating his job is to communicate the standard that the two elected branches have the power and the authority to educate the judiciary when it deviates too far from the American people. And I think you would probably take that approach.

12. Freedom means obeying morality. Santorum concluded, “Our founders understood liberty is not what you want to do, but what you ought to do. That’s what liberty really is about.”

So there you have it. The only hope for actual freedom of religion, and any voice for atheists, is Ron Paul. Who believes in hell, he just doesn’t have a snowball’s chance in it.

via Christian theocracy: How Newt Gingrich and the GOP would abolish courts and legislate morality. – Slate Magazine.

Cornerstone Reformed Church, Handing The Disobedient Over To Satan Since 1959


The Constitution and God (Reality Check)


Wait, wait… Jesus Will Change Your DNA to Get You Off The Hook For Previous Crimes? Sweet.


No, I’m not making this up, that’s what fundy pastor Al Stefanelli says. That’s certainly going to help all those criminals in the audience hurry to accept Christ. And not that I’m making any assumptions either, but are any of his tattoos from prison? Just sayin’.

Don’t Believe In God? The American Cancer Society Doesn’t Want Your Money To Help Find A Cure


Atheist money can’t cure cancer. Or at the least, you have to believe in magic to give your money away to the American Cancer Society. And here I thought they used science to look for a cure…

A few months ago, Todd Stiefel—philanthropist and founder of the Stiefel Freethought Foundation, which provides financial support to atheist and other nonprofit and charitable organizations—approached the American Cancer Society with an offer. He wanted local atheist groups around the world to participate in the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life program, as a national team, under the banner of the humanist charitable organization Foundation Beyond Belief. In order to make this happen, he made a generous offer: a $250,000 matching offer from the Todd Stiefel Foundation, which, as a matching offer, was likely to bring in a half million dollars to the American Cancer Society.

And he was stonewalled.

The offer was initially approved, and the Foundation Beyond Belief even brought on an intern to manage the program. But then the American Cancer Society stopped responding. Repeated emails and phone calls from Stiefel were not returned for over a month. And the eventual responses from the ACS ranged from apathetic at best to hostile at worst…. After many go-arounds, Stiefel was finally told no. He was told that the Relay for Life program was focusing on corporate sponsors for the National Team program, and was no longer including nonprofits in the program. Despite the massive size of the offer from the Stiefel Foundation—and despite the fact that several nonprofits are currently participating in the program, including Girl Scouts of the USA, Phi Theta Kappa and DeMolay International—the ACS insisted that nonprofit participation in this program wasn’t cost-effective, and would no longer be welcome.

This really should be a legal test case for giving money to a public charity. Read the rest here: Is Atheist Money Too Controversial for the American Cancer Society? | Belief | AlterNet.

Thanks to Dan Savage and Blaghag for bringing this to our attention.

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