The “Friendly” Atheist is an angry atheist, apparently “pissed off” by the fact that the Murrow Indian Children’s Home, an orphanage, exceeded its fundraising goals this year despite the intense, smear campaign the internet atheist community launched.
Mehta, a career activist, furiously spins this news. He begins as follows:
Remember the Murrow Indian Children’s Home?
That’s the Christian charity from Oklahoma that rejected Matt Wilbourn‘s donation of $100 on behalf of the Muskogee Atheist Community (which he and his wife Keli co-founded) — and then later rejected the $25,667.80 he raised for them online — all because the religious leaders said accepting money from atheists would “go against everything they believe in.”
Wrong. There is no evidence that any “religious leaders” said “accepting money from atheists would go against everything they believe in.”
Lets deal in reality, shall we?
If you listen to the podcast where the Talking Atheist interviews Matt Wilbourn, you will get Wilbourn’s side of the story. And in it, you will discover that Matt Wilbourn did not talk to any “religious leaders.” He talked only to the “young lady” that came into his workplace that morning who then called him back an hour after he left.
It is the “young lady” who said (according to Matt’s account) that it “goes against everything we believe in.” It was the “young lady” who described herself as the “middleman.”
Since this “young lady” is not a religious leader, and is the only one who allegedly told this to Matt, it is simply false that “religious leaders said accepting money from atheists would go against everything they believe in.”
What’s more, it is significant that Matt describes her as a “young lady.” He himself is fairly young, so for him to describe her as a “young lady” means she was probably around the age of someone who might attend college. Given the home relies heavily on volunteers, it is quite possible the “young lady” was a college-student doing some summer intern or volunteer work. As such, “goes against everything we believe in” is probably nothing more than the awkward wording of some 19-year-old volunteer who walked into an awkward position. Yet Mehta has spun it to be some official pronouncement of “religious leaders.” Tsk, tsk.
Of course, those of us who value critical thinking know by now it was not about “accepting money from atheists.” Wilbourn linked the acceptance of the money to having the orphanage publicly honor his tiny, secretive atheist activist Facebook group. That was the sticking point. Yes, a small group of atheist activists who wanted to keep their existence a secret from the world expected to be publicly honored by a Christian charity because of a $100 donation. Looks like trolling, doesn’t it?
If you listen to the podcast interview, you will also discover that Matt Wilbourn, who describes himself as an activist, pounced on this with lightening speed. After talking with the “young lady,” he contacted an editor at a local news website, then he contacted the TV station. Activists are always looking for the nearest camera. He emailed the director of the Home and explained “what had happened that morning“. He emailed that his secret group raised the donation to $250 (although he did not tell anyone at the time his group was secret) and then threatened her by letting her know the email was being cc’d to the editor of the news site he contacted earlier. The director never replied, probably because she didn’t see the email until after Matt had gotten his narrative to go viral, given it must have been the late afternoon or evening of that same day when he sent it.
So Willbourn only talked to the “young lady” who came in to get flyers printed. Within hours of receiving her call, he collaborated with his secret atheist group, who came up with the idea to start the GoFundMe page to put pressure on the orphanage. He contacted two news organizations and then sent an email to the director about his group’s $250 offer and let her know his email was being cc’d to a media person.
There is no reason Wilbourn had to move so fast on this. There is no reason he had to contact the media. The best explanation for this odd behavior is that Wilbourn, an admitted activist, was engaged in activist street theater. Viewing him as an activist out to further his anti-religious agenda, the actions make sense. In fact, at 10:22 in the podcast, he describes these events as “a success for the atheist community all over the world.”
Let’s get back to Mehta’s spin:
Even after the fundraiser, the charity drive’s biggest donor, the American Baptist Home Mission Societies, couldn’t stop trashing the atheists, as if they were the ones who did something wrong.
The spin is getting thick. There is no evidence that the American Baptist Home Mission Societies “trashed” atheists. The orphanage itself never trashed atheists. The orphanage simply and merely did not want to take the donation because it was tied to them publicly honoring Matt’s secretive FB group and the American Baptist Home Mission Societies stood in solidarity with them. And that’s not “trashing the atheists.” The only ones who did the trashing are Mehta and the internet atheist community. They couldn’t stop trashing the orphanage, where the hateful rhetoric became some bad that the orphanage had to shut down its FB group. Even on Google reviews, the atheists are trashing the orphanage. And Mehta continues to trash them with his erroneous spin.
There were no “undeserved” attacks on the home.
Yes there were. Then again, when the orphanage had to shut down its FB page because of all the atheist hate, Hemant Mehta never once commented on that. Interesting, eh? That was one update that never got mentioned on his blog. Hmmmm.
There was valid criticism from people who questioned why a Christian charity would refuse to accept money from atheists who just wanted to help the children in their care.
Wrong again. Matt Wilbourn insisted his $100 bill be tied to the charity publicly honoring a small, secretive militant atheist FB group he runs. Hemant Mehta, being the full-time anti-religious activist on record of encouraging others to write stories that trash religious people, spun this as the charity refusing to take any money if it came from atheists because it was dirty. Given the anti-religious hostility of Mehta’s audience, along with their gullibility when it comes to anti-religious stories, they reacted in knee-jerk fashion with red-faced rage. The rage became so bad that the charity had to shut down its FB page and some angry atheists even began to make nasty calls to the orphanage.
There’s nothing admirable about what the Murrow people did. It was selfish and unnecessary.
What is selfish and unnecessary is trolling a charity such that the acceptance of your $100 donation is linked to having the charity honoring your secretive little FB group in one of its publication. Then, when the charity refuses to play along, immediately run to the media, play victim, and get them to help facilitate your efforts to trash the charity. Atheist activist street theater is what is selfish and unnecessary here.
Even if they received a windfall from other Christians celebrating their persecution, it wasn’t the right move.
The subjective opinion of an activist with an axe to grind.
There’s absolutely no reason to think a Christian group accepting money from non-Christian people were doing something blasphemous or contrary to their mission. This wasn’t dirty money.
There’s absolutely no reason to think the Christian group refused the money because they thought it was dirty and blasphemous simply because it came from non-Christian people.
In the end, we are left with the simple fact that Matt Wilbourn and Hemant Mehta, in the name of their precious atheist activism, harassed and trashed an orphanage. You have to stoop pretty low to target and harass an ORPHANAGE. But these atheist activists went there. It defines them.