New Atheists Have a History of Trolling with their Donations

Here is something I originally posted back in 2013 that seems relevant today given the way the New Atheist community recently harassed an orphanage.  

Time for more dishonest street theater from the New Atheists. Militant atheist Jerry Coyne is once again trying to play the “atheist-as-victim” card with a blog entry entitled, Local park district, then library, reject $3000 donation because it came from atheists. Just because it came from atheists? Really? Let me share my opinions on the matter.

Not surprisingly, this narrative involves Hemant Mehta, the activist atheist who is constantly trying his best to spin atheists as victims. Coyne begins by citing his culture war comrade:

Back in October, I posted about how the American Legion Post 134 was financially boycotting the Morton Grove Park District because its Commissioner Dan Ashta wouldn’t stand for the Pledge of Allegiance at board meetings. Ashta’s sitting down for the Pledge cost the district $2,600 that the American Legion group had been giving them each year.

And then Coyne comments:

Ashta’s protest was apparently about the right of Americans to exercise their freedoms. But of course it was perceived as a slap in the face by the right-wing Legionnaires, who refused to give their customary donation.

There is no evidence these Legionnaires are “right-wing.” That’s just Coyne once again leaning on the crutch of his stereotypes. I’ve been in Legion posts and have known veterans, and yeah, considering the sacrifices vets have made, they do get sensitive about those type of stunts.

Ever the activist in search of a controversy to score points with, Hemant got his followers to come up with $3000 and then tried to donate it to the Park. The Park rejected it because they did not want to become embroiled in some public First Amendment dispute:

Hello Hemant,
The check was received, thank you.
I just sent you a letter indicating that we received the check. Unfortunately, your donation as presented must be returned. The Park Board has no intention of becoming embroiled in a First Amendment dispute or allegations it is sympathetic to or supports/doesn’t support any particular political or religious cause.”
Again, thank you for thinking of the district.

The evidence shows the money was clearly raised to score a political point. Like grown-ups, they didn’t want, or didn’t have the time, to become the stage where activists could preen for the cameras in another one of their street dramas. They were wise enough not to be tricked by Hemant.

Being unable to accept the parsimonious, simple explanation of the park officials, Coyne concocts some melodramatic translations that clearly come from his stereotypes in order to smear the park officials:

There were, of course, no strings attached to the money that Hemant raised; the “First Amendment dispute” simply means either “Money from atheists is tainted by Satan,” or “If we took money from you heathens, nobody would ever donate to us again.”

There is no evidence his translations are accurate, but a lack of evidence doesn’t matter to him.

And he is wrong. Yes, there were strings attached. This comes from the simple fact that Hemant Mehta is an atheist activist. Let me repeat: Hemant Mehta is an atheist ACTIVIST. As a activist in the New Atheist MOVEMENT, of course strings were attached. It is the nature of the activist that all that they do is political. Mehta was clearly engaged in a publicity stunt designed to create attention and score points for his movement. The donation was not altruism, it was trolling . After all, if altruism was the motivation, Mehta could have donated the money anonymously. But then the activist would not be able to create more controversy and carry out his political drama, could he?

After having tried to trick some park officials into getting further embroiled in some political drama, Mehta and his allies turn their attention to a local library. The library rejected the money, and, as we might expect, Mehta tries to expand on his victim routine. Mehta is not satisfied with their reasons, so of course, he MUST be right.

38:00: Peters attempts to explain why it’s not okay for me to take money that was intended for the Park District and give it to the library:
If I go to you and I say, “I’m raising money for pro-life,” and so you say, “Okay, I’m pro-life, I’m gonna give you 20 bucks,” and then I turn around and give it to Planned Parenthood for pro-choice, are you not gonna come back and yell at me…?”

What a horrible analogy.

If you donated to someone for the benefit of pro-life causes, and that person gave your money to a pro-choice group instead, that person lied to you. They did the opposite of what you wanted.

Once again — since Peters can’t seem to comprehend this — when the Park District rejected the money, donors understood that giving it to the library would still benefit the community. That’s why no one was upset. It wasn’t really about the Park District; it was about the people. The end effect was the same. To compare the Park District and the Library to a pro-choice and pro-life group just shows Peters’ ignorance of the issue.

The analogy might be bad, but the principle is solid. This money had a political dimension and was raised “to support Dan Ashta’s pledge protest” while making some political point for atheists. If the library had taken that money, there is a good chance an activist like Mehta would be blogging about how the public library has supported their cause.

The library also rejected the money because they sensed it was coming from a hate group. I have long noted that the New Atheist movement is a modern day hate movement, where it’s leaders routinely call religious people “faith-heads” and accuses them of being infected with a “faith virus” that is in need of containment and eradication, so I am not surprised someone looking in on a New Atheist blog for the first time might immediately notice all the hate.

Mehta posts:

42:25: This is my favorite part of the clip. Peters gives the other trustees a taste of how “hateful” I am by explaining one of the posts made on this site, involving the San Damiano Cross.

Yes, I think that is a good example of a hateful post. Let me provide the link.

Keep in mind that during the Reason Rally, Richard Dawkins stood before thousands of atheists and encouraged them all to go out and mock and ridicule religious people. Mehta took this encouragement to heart, as that posting was clearly all about mocking and ridiculing a church in New Mexico. Remember, Mehta is a skilled activist, so his hate will not be “in your face” obvious. Instead, he knows his audience is filled with haters and serves up some red meat, propped up with some convenient quote-mining, and adding in his own hateful mockery to make clear the type of comments he is fishing for.

Mehta then tries to squirm away from his actions:

44:00: After another trustee correctly suggests that the statements Peters is reading that mock religion or say other nasty things about religion could have been written, not by me, but by random commenters (which is absolutely true),

Here is the Friendly Atheist mocking:

Actually, they’re just his abs… but we can’t have a (perceived) cock-n-balls hanging (Ha!) in a Catholic Church, can we? That’d be nuts…… How repressed do you have to be to freak out over (possibly) seeing a penis even when the focus of the painting is Christ on the cross? (What do these people do in an art museum?) Either way, I’m going to snicker next time I hear the phrase “Jesus is risen.”

Mehta continues:

Peters exclaims, “It’s his blog! It’s Mehta’s blog! He’s got editorial control over it!”
I’m just going to repeat what I said this morning:
Between this site and Facebook, I easily get more than a thousand comments a day. I don’t sit around reading all of them. I rely on readers to flag things that are inappropriate, as do most large websites, and I focus on writing content.

Doesn’t work. In this example, she was talking about the blog posting and Mehta’s blog certainly does not receive a thousand comments a day (it looks like it averages about 20-30 per post). Second, we are not talking about some blog entry where Mehta posts a respectful and thoughtful analysis of religious conversion only to have a random commenter say something mean. This was a red meat blog posting that was intended to mock and elicit a stream of mockery from the peanut gallery. Mehta was engaged in trolling for hate and simply got busted on it. If you don’t agree, answer one simple question: WHY did Mehta write that blog entry?

Ever the activist, we can expect Mehta to milk this one for all the publicity and drama he can get:

So, those were the board’s excuses. I firmly believe that if the money came from the “Friendly Christian,” none of this would be an issue. The “A” word is just freaking everybody out…

More atheist hypocrisy. Yes, I do indeed believe Mehta ”firmly believes” this, but where is the evidence? Once again, we have a New Atheist firmly believing something without any evidence.

By the way, the only “ethical implication” of accepting money from atheists is that you get money. It’s not like we make you bow at our feet and renounce Jesus before signing the check.
I’ll keep searching for a deserving, uncontroversial recipient. There has to be a local organization benefitting the entire Morton Grove community that wants this money, right?

Translation: He will continue use the money to troll for more attention, more drama, and more blog hits.

I have a couple of better ideas.

First, return the money to the donors since its use is no longer about supporting someone’s pledge protest. Unlikely to happen, given the money is now being used to create activist drama and generate blog hits.

Second, Mehta should acknowledge he was mocking that Catholic church and apologize for it. That is something a true “friendly atheist” would do. So this won’t happen either.


This entry was posted in activism, atheist activism, New Atheism, Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to New Atheists Have a History of Trolling with their Donations

  1. Isaac says:

    Even if he doesn’t want to apologize, he could at least have owned it like a man.

  2. TFBW says:

    1. Behave obnoxiously.
    2. Donate.
    3. Howl persecution and discrimination when the donee decides they don’t want to become embroiled in your questionable antics, and decline the donation.

    It may not sound effective, but it serves to keep the persecution narrative alive and well among the rank and file of atheist activism. You just have to be sure to sell point #3 with the pitch, “they refused the donation because it came from atheists! They would have accepted it if we were [insert trendy slur for ‘Christians’ here]!”

  3. mechanar says:

    @TFBW step #4 Profit!

  4. TFBW says:

    Yeah, it’s a complicated plan. Usually profit is step #3. 😉

  5. J. McHue says:

    “it’s leaders routinely call religious people “faith-heads” and accuses them of being infected with a “faith virus””

    Well, that’s pretty mild compared to what I usually see.

    “Here is the Friendly Atheist mocking:”

    Wow. Um. Penis jokes? Really? I guess that’s representative of neo-atheism’s idea of mature, intelligent, rational thinking.

    “By the way, the only “ethical implication” of accepting money from atheists is that you get money. It’s not like we make you bow at our feet and renounce Jesus before signing the check.”

    Am I the only one who sees a not-so-subtle dig at Christians and their giving? He’s claiming that atheists don’t do that sort of thing, but Christians routinely do, albeit with us making them praise Jesus before we sign our checks.

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