While it has been said that atheists are less charitable and make fewer donations than religious theists do, recent incidents have revealed how the general populace often rejects donations and charitable work by atheists. Atheists are now asking if it’s fair to criticize them for being less generous when donations that some of them do make are likely to be turned down completely.
- A group of non-believers in Kansas City volunteered to help a local Christian group in distributing thanksgiving meals but they were told that their help was not required.
- An atheist group collected $3000 for improvements in Morton Grove but the park officials returned the donation saying that they did not want to “become embroiled in a First Amendment dispute.”
- A group of atheists in Spartanburg was refused the opportunity to help at a local soup kitchen run by Christians. The executive director of the kitchen said that atheists were targeting her and she would resign before accepting any help from them.
While critics may reject these cases as isolated incidents, the biggest rejection came from the American Cancer Society when they turned down $250,000 from Stiefel Freethought Foundation in 2011. Steifel Freethought Foundation happens to be a nonprofit organization dedicated to humanist causes. The American Cancer Society did not cite atheism as their reason for rejecting the donation but they did not offer clarification and did not deny the accusation when it was leveled by a number of atheists in public forums.
“These cases are not isolated incidents. Different religious institutions have turned my group away at least eight times. The reason behind these rejections is simple-minded bigotry: atheists are bad people and their money is bad so their donations should be turned down as well,” said Dale McGowan, executive director, Foundation Beyond Belief, a humanist nonprofit organization.