It Ends Well For Orphanage Attacked by Atheists

From here:

By all accounts, the fifth annual fundraising powwow to benefit American Baptist Home Mission Societies (ABHMS)-supported Murrow Indian Children’s Home, Muskogee, Okla., was a huge success. The event was held on a recent Saturday on the grounds of neighboring Bacone College, Muskogee.

Approximately 275 attendees of all ages enjoyed a silent auction, live auction, raffle and cake walk as well as Native American foods and dancing.

“People like the raffle items,” quips Betty Martin, Murrow’s executive director. “They like purchasing tickets, trying to outbid each other.”

And the numbers don’t lie. According to Martin, the event drew approximately 92 volunteers, compared to 30 or so in past years. Likewise, a record-setting number of vendors—19—featured everything from information to intricate Native American beadwork, pottery and other art. During the live auction, a beaded buffalo skull garnered $300—$200 more than last year. In all, the event raised approximately $40,000—a $10,000 increase from last year.


Perhaps no surprise to people of great faith, victory prevailed despite the threat of danger posed by a local atheist group and its sympathizers. Targeted by nasty telephone calls and Facebook posts, Murrow staff and supporters pondered whether their peaceful event would be disrupted.

In fact, negative publicity generated by the atheist group appears only to have bolstered recognition and support for Murrow. Many Muskogee residents had not realized that Murrow Indian Children’s Home is a separate entity from Bacone, according to Ben Sullivan, ABHMS Southern Plains/Northeast coordinator, Native American Ministries, and a Murrow board member, who helped with the powwow.

“More people know about Murrow now that had never even heard of them. Because of this, several local businesses pledged sponsorship for the powwow,” Sullivan says.

I figured this would upset the “Friendly” Atheist and sure enough, he is infuriated in his Oct 14 blog entry entitled, “Oklahoma Christian Charity That Rejected Atheist’s Money Receives Windfall After Controversy.”  The activist spins furiously in his infuriated state.  We’ll have to look at that next time around.

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11 Responses to It Ends Well For Orphanage Attacked by Atheists

  1. Kevin says:

    The innocent charity benefits from atheist hatred, and the Friendly Atheist is left crying over his failed attack. I can’t imagine a happier ending.

  2. Dhay says:

    > The activist spins furiously in his infuriated state.

    Doesn’t he just. I see he’s claiming in this latest post (and at least one other before it) that the Murrow Home refused $25,667.80. This sum was never offer. Let’s have a look at Hemant Mehta’s 25 August 2016 (T0700:00:48+00:00) post entitled “A Baptist-Run Children’s Charity Rejected a Donation of Over $20,000 Because It Came from Atheists”:

    As I write this, that campaign is at $21,255. And it seems to go up every minute. …

    In any case, let’s get to the other issue: What is Matt going to do with the $21,610 in his pocket? (Yep, it went up since I started writing this post) He said late last night that he would give almost all of it to Camp Quest Oklahoma. The GoFundMe campaign would remain open for anyone who wants to donate, but the funds would now go to the camp for children of atheist parents. …

    I said “almost” all the money. Matt plans to hold on to $5,000 because he still wants to give it to the children at the Murrow Indian Children’s Home.

    By the time Mehta started writing, the GoFundMe had raised $21,255, was rising quickly enough for Mehta to boast how quickly it was rising, so at the point “late last night” when Wilbourn capped the donation to the Home at £5,000 the maximum ever on offer to the Home was less than $21,255.

    On the figures and information Mehta himself provides, it was not $25,667.80 that was last offered to the Home before the $5,000 cap was imposed, but at most $21,255. Mehta just doesn’t concentrate, does he.

    And it will actually have been far less than $21,255 last offered to the Home pre-cap, what with the GoFundMe rocketing up so very fast, and what with the Home’s senior management presumably going home at the end of normal office hours — hours before “late last night” and at least twelve hours before Mehta looked to see the $21,255 figure next morning before starting his post.

    Mehta doesn’t concentrate, does he.

    But doesn’t he just spin.

    (Sorry if I’ve stolen your thunder, Michael.)

  3. Dhay says:

    Hemant Mehta’s previous post dated 24 August 2016 (T15:02:39+00:00) entitled “A Religious Charity in Oklahoma Says It’ll Reject All Money Raised By a Local Atheist On Principle” gives a better idea of the sums actually on offer. At 3pm (perhaps — I’m familiar neither with US time zones nor with which zone’s time Mehta’s blog posts get time-stamped) he posted that the GoFundMe had:

    raised an astonishing $11,500 as of this writing. (Did you blink? Because he’s probably raised even more since then.)

    At some time after that Mehta added an update:

    ***Update***: Matt tells me he’s giving the charity until 7:00p tonight to accept the money or Camp Quest will get all of it.

    The sum on offer only four hours (plus or minus a time zone or two?) before Wilbourn’s deadline was only $11,500, little more than half of Mehta’s next morning’s $21,255 figure. So what was the figure on offer, misleadingly reported as $21,255 next morning and eventually reported as $25,667.80 — what was the obviously much lower ‘last-chance’ figure at the 7pm deadline?

    Also, “Matt tells me he’s giving the charity until 7:00p tonight …” looks like weasel words, why not “Matt tells me he has given …”; did Wilbourn actually communicate this deadline to the Home, or was it a deadline private to Wilbourn, Mehta and those of Mehta’s readers who read or re-read that post in the next less than four hours.

    Also, why did Wilbourn not have the honesty to correct Mehta’s various inflated figures with the deadline time figures, or Mehta to print a correction.

    Finally, at the time of this post, after the deadline the Home would get nothing, nada, zilch, zero; by next morning Wilbourn’s insistent he’s still giving $5,000. Contrast that with the Home’s principled stand.

    Wilbourn just doesn’t stick to his principles, does he.

  4. Isaac says:

    Good for them to stand on principle and not allow their non-profit to be abused by an atheist pissing-contest. What we have learned from all this is that atheists will donate pretty good amounts of money to charity, if the motivation is pure spite.

  5. Crude says:

    ‘Atheists furious orphanage not harmed.’

    What a headline.

  6. TFBW says:

    Wilbourn just doesn’t stick to his principles, does he.

    What principles follow from lack of belief in God? I’d say it’s not hard to stick to your principles when you make them up on the spot (and stick to them until you change your mind).

  7. Dhay says:

    Crude > What a headline.

    A suggestion for a headline, I take it, as I could not find it online. But I think it nicely summarises Hemant Mehta’s blog post.


    Re-reading that post, I see Mehta spinning Wilbourn as a nice guy; but is he

    I asked Matt Wilbourn what he thought of the recent developments, and he, being the genuinely nice guy he is, felt nothing but happiness for the kids who would benefit from the fundraiser:

    This is excellent news! I’m really glad to hear that the children of the Murrow home will no longer have to wonder “what could have been?”

    It’s great to know that there are businesses in this town that are able to raise that type of money. And it’s great to know that there are people in this town, atheists included, that are able to frequent those businesses enough to allow for a donations of that size.
    [Mehta’s emphasis.]

    That’s Matt for you.

    In Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, when Mark Anthony says, “I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him …” the Shakespearean audience knew, and we today also know that, no, he’s here to praise Caesar; by denying you will raise a subject you raise the subject, you bring it to mind: far be it from me to call Wilbourn a Sophist, but what Wilbourn has just done is one of the ancient Greek school’s standard rhetorical techniques.

    So when Wilbourn says “I’m really glad to hear that the children of the Murrow home will no longer have to wonder “what could have been?””, it’s to raise again in the minds of Mehta’s readers and his MAC mates that $11,500 (or whatever it grew to in the next four hours) that the Home didn’t get.

    Of course, he’s not raising it with the children, nor the staff, nor the Christian community of Muskogee, none of whom can reasonably be expected to read Mehta’s Poison Dwarf blog, he’s raising that “what could have been?” to play to the atheist peanut gallery, so that the peanut gallery can enjoy imagining the Murrow Home children wondering “what could have been?”

    I myself, being the genuinely nice guy that I am, feel nothing but admiration for Wilbourn’s character.

    Then there’s the second part, a naked threat to profits, which summarises as: those businesses which gave money to the Home had better watch out because those “atheists included” might well cease to “frequent” those businesses. Yep, I feel nothing but admiration for what a genuinely nice guy Wilbourn is.

    As Mehta says, “That’s Matt for you.”

  8. Dhay says:

    > The activist spins furiously in his infuriated state.

    Mehta is a professional blogger, hence under the same sorts of commercial pressure that leads big stores to source their clothing from Bangladeshi child sweat-shops. He has to get and keep maximum interest from viewers to get the hits by which advertisers pay him. It’s in his interests to spin this, and milk this, for all it’s worth.

    I expect that for Mehta it is well worth his while to play freaked out over non-donations to an orphanage, and to press the peanut gallery’s instant-strong-reactions buttons. (The purpose of an outrageous blog post is the outrage it causes.)

    So when you read Mehta’s “Call me cynical, but I’m still pissed off on his behalf”, do be cynical and reflect that Mehta makes his living being pissed off about Christians.

  9. TFBW says:

    Mehta said (in blog post linked by Dhay, above):

    To be sure, they also could have raised more than $65,000 had they accepted Matt’s donation as a gesture of goodwill… (but the kids don’t really need that extra money, do they?)

    Metha, count to ten and think again. Or not — this was never a rational response, was it?

    If they’d accepted the donation as it was initially offered, complete with the associated requirement that it be notated as “In Honor of the Muskogee Atheist Community,” then they would have received a grand total of $100 more than their usual donations from atheist activist sources — mere noise on the overall fund-raising scale. Only by steadfastly refusing the donation did the amount on offer rise, until it peaked at somewhere over $11,500 at Wilbourn’s arbitrary 7pm deadline, then dropped back off to Wilbourn’s arbitrary $5000 that he was still willing to let them have despite saying they’d get nothing if they didn’t accept by 7pm.

    As such, they could have received something North of $11,500 and South of $21,255 if they’d played a successful game of chicken with the belligerent donor, Wilbourn, and accepted at just the right moment. Assuming he meant what he said, and didn’t arbitrarily come up with some other figure on the spot.

    Of course, if they’d done that, then they wouldn’t be getting any sympathy donations (estimated at $10,000) resulting from the dickish behaviour the Muskogee Atheist Community and friends have been exhibiting towards the charity in the media. Instead, said community would have gone on to crow that the charity had been “bought”, and caved in once the financial incentives were rich enough. That sort of publicity might actually have hurt donations from the usual sources, who were likely under the impression that they were donating to a principled organisation. In the worst case, they could have lost $30,000 of expected donations; in the best case they lost nothing, but gained no sympathy.

    Assuming the best case ($21,255 from the atheists, and $30,000 from regular donors, but no sympathy donations), the outcome is $51,255, which is well short of Mehta’s $65,000 bluster, even if it is significantly more than the $40,000 they actually got. It’s a very optimistic figure, though, as there’s no evidence that Wilbourn ever gave the orphanage a written offer in excess of $250: the GoFundMe was essentially a publicity stunt (set up after the $250 offer was ignored) with no obligation that the funds so raised go anywhere other than the Wilbourns themselves, and no evidence that the charity was even notified, except indirectly via the media brouhaha that it was intended to generate.

    Much more realistically, then, the charity turned down a $250 donation from the Muskogee atheists, received a one-sided trial-by-media for their actions, and were then rewarded with an additional $10,000 in sympathy donations (some of which, I speculate, came from atheists who aren’t complete dicks feeling shame by association and wanting to compensate).

    So thanks, Mehta and MAC: all this atheist activist dickishness in which you have so eagerly participated has successfully prompted a net increase in donations of $10,000 to a Christian charity, and you never had to give them a penny. You helped a religious organisation and made yourselves look petty. Keep up the fine work. Really.

  10. Allallt says:

    So, I’ve not done much reading on this, but here’s what I found:
    (1) Matt Wilbourn, on behalf of Muskogee Atheist Community, wanted to donate just over $25,500 to Murrow Indian Children’s Home.
    (2) This money was contingent on the Muskogee Atheist Community being promoted as a donor.
    (3) The Murrow Indian Children’s Home reject this conditional offer, as it goes against their principle.

    Here’s my 2 cents on that part of the story:
    Although it is common to give donations in exchange for a favour of some sort, Mr Wilbourn must have known it was aggravating for Murrow Indian Children’s Home (an explicitly Christian organisation).
    A true donation, as far as I’m concerned, is done quietly. Mr Wilbourn shouldn’t have made the ‘exchange’ something the donation is contingent on.

    (4) The controversy that rejection caused generated a lot of publicity.
    (5) The Murrow Indian Children’s Home benefited from that publicity.

    My following 2 cents:

    (And yes, Brits still use the phrase “my 2 cents”. I don’t know why.)

  11. TFBW says:

    You need to raise the quality of your research, Allallt. The initial donation from Matt Wilbourn was $100, with the request that it be noted as “in honor of the Muskogee Atheist Community.” The charity wasn’t willing to make that notation, so returned the donation. Wilbourn, not quite getting the nature of the problem, tried offering them $250 with the same requirement attached, and that email was ignored. He then decided to raise more via the GoFundMe, which eventually raised the sum you saw. By this stage, however, it was a media circus with no real involvement by the charity which was the ostensible beneficiary of the funds — except to the extent that they had to go offline in order to defend themselves against rampaging SJWs incensed at the slight against atheists. Any claim at this point that any monies were offered to the charity in question (with or without other conditions attached) is an unsubstantiated assertion from Wilbourn: the charity had to batten down the hatches, as it were, and was no longer actively participating in the exchange.

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