More Atheist Rage

The internet atheists have worked themselves into a froth again.  On Oct 18, activist Hemant Mehta posted a blog entry entitled, ” Waitress in SC Receives “Tip” from Christians Telling Her a “Woman’s Place Is In the Home” and it received almost 500 comments worth of atheo-rage.   What set them off this week?  Let’s read Hemant’s words:

A waitress from South Carolina received a “tip” from Christian customers who told her (via napkin) that she should remain in the home like a good biblical woman, calling her work a “disgrace,” and saying she’s the reason her husband surely cheats on her.

They had no problem accepting her service while they sat in the restaurant, but they felt it was their job to treat her like dirt afterwards, despite knowing nothing about her life. Thanks, Jesus. (And Donald Trump, apparently, given the “make America great again” reference.)

[….]

This only happens with people who think sharing Jesus with their servers is what they need the most — instead of leaving a tip, which would help them much more. How awful.

Here’s the napkin:

Hmmm.  I don’t have the time at the moment, but this all deserves a closer look.

For starters, we can note one simple fact.

Despite Mehta’s narrative, there is no evidence this note was written by “Christian customers.”   Yes, I know the raging atheists want to believe it.  But those of us who value critical thinking and understand how evidence works have to step up and note the lack of evidence.

There are three possible explanations for the origin of the note.

  1. It was written by the waitress herself or someone she knows.
  2. It was written by the customers, who were hoaxers, not Christians.
  3. It was written by Christian customers.

There is no evidence that indicates #3 is the correct explanation.

This entry was posted in atheism, atheist activism, atheist rage, confirmation bias, Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

36 Responses to More Atheist Rage

  1. Kevin says:

    Mehta only wonders about the actual identity of the person in question when it might reflect badly on atheist, such as http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2012/07/12/vandals-tag-south-carolina-church-with-atheist-phrases-but-were-going-to-make-things-better/

    Relevant quote: “I don’t know who committed the crime — and I don’t even know if they were really atheists or people pretending to be atheists — but this is awful behavior and none of us should condone it.”

    I notice he has no doubt whatsoever that the napkin writers are Christians – and apparently representative of Christians in general, since he bothered to post something that is in fact extremely trivial. “Religion Is Bad” is the narrative, and anything, no matter how obscure or inappropriate or unfair or untrue, is acceptable ammunition to the Hateful Atheist. Attacking an orphanage is perfectly acceptable, if it can be spun as “atheists = good guys” to the mindless masses.

    But, when the narrative can’t be spun, and atheists look bad, well by golly Mehta doesn’t want things to escalate, now does he?

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2011/06/15/update-on-the-fsm-church-vandalism/

    Relevant quote: “I spoke with Pastor John Bluebaugh at Christian Life Center earlier today to talk about the vandalism issue. He said he really appreciated the gesture from us, even though we disagreed about theology. He told me that the church had a maintenance staff and they were able to clean up the mess, so they didn’t need the funds. They just wanted to make sure something like this didn’t escalate to worse vandalism (or violence) and I completely agree.”

    Wonder where that concern was with the orphanage?

  2. Clay Cosmic says:

    I would be interested in either your and or Mehta following-up on this to see whether or not this is indeed a _hoax_ or the (as we might say) real deal. Despite the previous comment, above, (and with all due respect to the commentator), I doubt whether Mehta would knowingly/deliberately help foist a hoax onto his readers. For one thing, he should simply pragmatically know that it might backfire, but also I don’t think he’s that unethical. So if you can, checkup on this and see whether it is hoax or the authors of this note really were Christians. 😉

  3. TFBW says:

    He probably wouldn’t knowingly foist a hoax on his readers, but we can trust him not to do any fact-checking when something comes across his desk which casts Christianity in a bad light. It’s hair-trigger, knee-jerk city over there (coupled with self-praise for how rational and evidence-based they all are). They should have their guard up by now: trolls who target this particular breed of hair-trigger rage for lulz are a real thing, and this has a strong smell of troll about it.

  4. Vy says:

    It looks like something a kid would write given the numerous grammatical errors.

  5. TFBW says:

    No, Vy: it looks like something a troll would write. Notice the apostrophes. Every single case where an apostrophe should be present, it is missing, and every single case where it is present, it is wrong. It is incorrect with extraordinary precision — so precise that it’s unlikely to be genuine error.

    There are other tell-tale traits in there as well.

  6. Kevin says:

    The waitress did not want to be identified, the couple is unidentified, and the friend of the waitress wanted the restaurant to remain unidentified, according to the story in the link. No way of fact checking anything, unless more info is elsewhere.

  7. Billy Squibs says:

    I must say that this reads like a Poe. (And I say this as someone who though some of your criticism against Dawkins hate mail was wide of the mark.) But I think we have established that in his earnestness to establish an anti-religious narrative Mehta is not above posting unsupported SJ stuff like this (or even attack orphanages). The end will justify the means, eh?

    Even if this ‘tip’ happens to come from a Christian we must then ask, “So what?”. This individual (or couple) no more represent me than Mehta and his toxic campaign against religion represents the views of non-religious people.

  8. SteveK says:

    I didn’t click over to the atheist blog because I don’t want to get soiled this early in the morning. Here are my thoughts….

    On the face of it, it’s clear the Watley’s know details about her personal life. They know each other well. No waitress spills her guts about her cheating husband to a group of strangers stopping by for a burger and fries. If this is not a hoax, we know there is a huge relationship backstory to this note that would probably explain why they wrote it. I’m skeptical. Looks hoaxy to me.

  9. Dhay says:

    Mehta > This only happens with people who think sharing Jesus with their servers is what they need the most — instead of leaving a tip, which would help them much more.

    He should read it again, and not just because there’s no mention of Jesus. It’s not a tract, or a sharing of the Gospel, it’s sheer nastiness from start to finish, and the allegation, supposedly Biblical, that her place is in the home is but another part of the nastiness, a small part.

    It starts with an apparent compliment, “excelent service”, “good waitress” and of course that “thanks”; this rubs in that the waitress is well deserving of a genuine thank-you tip, and makes it very pointed that she’s not getting one; so it actually starts with a jeer.

    “Here”s your tip” — underlined for emphasis, so it would be immediately obvious there wasn’t one, and the diners could watch her face fall before exiting. Then they could enjoy the thought of her reading the rest. The purpose of outrageous behaviour is the outrage it causes.

    “You’re place is in the home. It even says so in the Bible.” — Ah, the aggressors thought or hoped she might be Christian, either on balance of probabilities — is South Carolina in the Bible Belt? — or from some sign like a cross necklace, so make it anti-Christian nastiness, tell her she’s not a good Christian. It’s mind-games.

    “You may think that your contributing to your household by coming into work, but your not” — My mother packed biscuits, from grim economic necessity, so I have much sympathy for those struggling to make ends meet; and no sympathy for those who tell bare-faced lies.

    “While your in here “working” …” — And she’s not even working, not really. This meaning gets repeated, for emphasis, contrary though it is to evidence and reason. It’s mind-games: why leave people hurt by true statements when you can leave them bewildered and hurt by untrue statements.

    “… this is the reason your husband must see another women on his way home from a long day at his work” — Nasty! Allege that while she’s waitressing, her husband is playing around. Note the subtlety of the malice: are the diners claiming “another woman” or “other women”; they must really have enjoyed her trying to work out which. She almost certainly knows this is nonsense, she can have faith in her husband, it’s mind-games again: why leave people hurt by true statements when you can leave them bewildered and hurt by untrue statements.

    Her waitressing “is really escentially a disgrace to his manhood”. It isn’t, of course, but now they have insinuated an insult at hubby. No stone unturned.

    And also “to the American family” … “make America great again” … “our nation”: wow, these guys are really ham-acting out a stereotype, aren’t they; what, no mention of Dixie?

    “So instead of coming to your “job” and looking for hand out’s to feed your family” — Ah, so tips are not honourably earned, as I had thought. Notice the incoherency, the presumption that she needs the tips or her family will starve, contrasting with their ‘you should give up your job and let them starve’ message. Lovely people.

    “Love,” — We’re pretending to love you, while being very very nasty to you.

    “The Watley’s” — Final twist, enjoy yourself thinking about her worrying who this fictitious (I bet) couple are, how do they know her and her husband, and why do they hate her; perhaps she’ll try phoning a few, imaging those conversations and the reactions at the other end will be fun.

    That she’s Christian (as they presumed), married (as they presumed), a waitress, a good or bad waitress — all this is beside the point. It’s two people being intentionally viciously nasty to a stranger for the fun of it.

    My own experience of malice like this is that it’s not the ridiculous rubbish presented that hurts — in itself, it’s obviously untrue and even laughable — it’s the depth of malice it signifies and expresses.

    The final point to make is that it’s not a quick note, it must have taken a non-trivial time to write; probably it was written during the meal with malice, malice, malice aforethought rather than scribbled outside afterwards as as afterthought.

    Then they waited until she was back, made sure it was she who got the note.

  10. Vy says:

    No, Vy: it looks like something a troll would write.

    So true TFBW.

  11. JunkChuck says:

    Who but Christians peddle this “woman’s place is in the home nonsense.” The possibility of fraud is possible, of course, but shaming women in this particular manner is a telltale Jesus thing. I’m not upset–everybody gets an opinion, but it has to be said that the presumption, in this case, is more a matter of calculated guess than wild imagination.

  12. Vy says:

    Who but Christians peddle this “woman’s place is in the home nonsense.”

    Trolls?

    The possibility of fraud is possible of course

    What a strange use of words. Anyways, any reasonable person can read that napkin and see the mistakes are too consistent to not be made up.

    but shaming women in this particular manner is a telltale Jesus thing.

    You don’t say? Burqas anyone?

  13. Doug says:

    @JunkChuck,
    It seems to me that this “woman’s place is in the home” business is more a cartoon than a reality. If you Google that phrase, the first five pages of hits yield a total of two (!) Christian sites. One of them is a review, written by a woman, of a book, written by a woman, and there is no indication that either one of them would imagine to withhold a tip from a waitress. The other one is on a site with such “mainstream” Christian teaching as:
    – the NIV is a “Satanic counterfeit” of the Bible (KJV is the only legitimate one, see?).
    – “the Pope is the vicar of hell”.
    – 9/11 was an inside job.
    Sure, such fringe elements exist, but why do you suppose that people imagine this to be a “Jesus thing” (Jesus being the person most responsible for elevating the status of women in history)?

  14. Vy says:

    In addition to “Jesus being the person most responsible for elevating the status of women in history”, this seems relevant:

    Westerners pride themselves on holding noble ideals such as equality and universal human rights. Yet the dominant worldview of our day — evolutionary materialism — denies the reality of human freedom and gives no basis for moral ideals such as human rights.

    So where did the idea of equal rights come from?

    The 19th-century political thinker Alexis de Tocqueville said it came from Christianity. “The most profound geniuses of Rome and Greece” never came up with the idea of equal rights, he wrote. “Jesus Christ had to come to earth to make it understood that all members of the human species are naturally alike and equal.”

  15. pennywit says:

    The person who wrote this might be a Christian. Or might not. A jerk either way.

  16. pennywit says:

    I am curious? Why the heavy focus on Hemant Mehta, as opposed to PZ Myers or others?

  17. Mister Jorge says:

    Atheists are doing whatever they can do to still be relevant.
    I’m certain this is bogus. Just like all of the racist and anti-gay “tips” that regularly were being shown to be bogus.

  18. Mister Jorge says:

    At Junk Chuck…
    You want to know who REALLY thinks a woman’s place is in the home? Liberals when they come across a woman who is a conservative on any social issue that the liberal holds dear.

    You want to quickly see a liberal’s true colors? Put one of their favorite genders or races in front of them and have that woman or racial minority hold a view that is not liberal…. and you’ll quickly see the façade of liberal tolerance melt into the true form of bigotry beyond all other bigotries.

  19. Mister Jorge says:

    Check out Junk Chuck’s webpage for some world class sophistry.

  20. TFBW says:

    Bear in mind that it’s possible that the entire thing is fictitious, and that all characters described are fabrications. This picture of a napkin was submitted anonymously by someone claiming to be a friend of the waitress in question, as Kevin pointed out. The news article says, “what the napkin said angered her friend so much she submitted a picture of the napkin to FOX Carolina.”

  21. Michael says:

    Who but Christians peddle this “woman’s place is in the home nonsense.”

    A Poe.

    The possibility of fraud is possible, of course, but shaming women in this particular manner is a telltale Jesus thing. I’m not upset–everybody gets an opinion, but it has to be said that the presumption, in this case, is more a matter of calculated guess than wild imagination.

    We’re still left with the fact that the internet atheist has rushed to a belief that is not supported by any evidence.

  22. pennywit says:

    Who but Christians peddle this “woman’s place is in the home nonsense.”

    I’ve seen this sentiment emanate from conservative Jewish, Hindu, Muslim, and Christian communities.

  23. Mister Jorge says:

    Pennywit, I think you’re confusing the view that “a woman should only be in the home” opposed to a “woman certainly can be in the home”.

    One is a liberal contortion…. the other is a view held by those of an orthodox religious view.
    There’s no shortage of amazingly strong, intelligent women in the Catholic faith. None of them doing anything contrary to their faith.

  24. Lucas M says:

    I reckon these atheists have stooped so far into anti-religious hate that I wouldn’t be surprised if an atheist wrote that note just to spit on the face of Christianity a little more. If the waitress is Christian, boom, guilt attack to show how condescending religion is. If she’s an atheist or agnostic, boom, validation at how evil religion is. I think it’s something we shouldn’t rule out.

  25. pennywit says:

    *sigh* Jorge, there are traditionalist elements of nearly any community that believe a woman’s place in the home. I’ve seen the attitude personally, or read accounts of the attitude among Christians, Hindus, Jews, and Muslims. That does not mean everyone in those faiths holds that view, or that it is a majority view.

  26. Mister Jorge says:

    I’d go easy with the theatrics, pennywit (*sigh*)…
    Are you’re going to make the unexceptional claim that traditionalists hold traditionalist views?

    I know what you’re doing. This insensitive, uncharitable note was supposedly left for someone. It very well could be a hoax. But what you’re doing is saying “but, Christians, Jews, etc who hold fast to their views think things like this.”
    You’re trying to twist it so that even if it is fake…. it doesn’t matter, because Christians, Jews, etc who hold to their views which can very well be traditionalist with respects to various social issues.

    With those notes left to a homosexual waitress you’d essentially be saying that “what does it matter if it’s fake… THAT’S how Christians feel”.
    So sure, Christians hold views that are not progressive on those matters. But that’s not exceptional. So, someone can come along and pantomime that view to make it seem as uncharitable and unloving as possible…. voice it with a tone of condemnation. You take that bogus situation and claim that it really doesn’t matter because that’s how they actually do feel because they hold their orthodox views.

    Now with respects to “a woman’s place”. I find it interesting that it’s progressive minded folk that are inflexible when it comes to the negative that they hold towards women who make that choice to stay at home and raise a family (as if there was anything negative about that way)…

  27. Michael says:

    No, Vy: it looks like something a troll would write. Notice the apostrophes. Every single case where an apostrophe should be present, it is missing, and every single case where it is present, it is wrong. It is incorrect with extraordinary precision — so precise that it’s unlikely to be genuine error.

    Indeed. When it’s perfectly wrong, it’s as if it was purposely wrong.

  28. pennywit says:

    Uh, what? Somebody asked “who but christians” hold the “women stay at home” opinion. My statement was only a response to that question. You’re reading a lot into my statements that really isn’t there.

  29. Dhay says:

    pennywit > Somebody asked “who but Christians” hold the “women stay at home” opinion.

    It was JunkChuck. The Biblical passages usually quoted in support of that view online seem to describe (not prescribe) the social customs of the time, including male patrimony and male domination, which existed throughout the Near East and Roman empire. So I question whether the “women stay at home” opinion is Biblical.

    Anybody care to explain how Deborah fits in with “women stay at home”.

    https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Judges+4%3A4-16&version=ESVUK

  30. FZM says:

    I’ve seen this sentiment emanate from conservative Jewish, Hindu, Muslim, and Christian communities.

    Just speaking in terms of personal experience, the idea that women should stay in the home seems to be quite widely practiced among Bangladeshi and Pakistani Muslims.

    I can understand it might be more applicable in developing countries where the level of physical labour involved in running a household is still high, or where the physical safety of women can’t be guaranteed unless they have family members around.

  31. I suppose this could be real. Certainly there are nasty Christians out there, as there are in any group. Let’s grant that it’s true. Still, what’s his point? I can tell you that from my experience, these people would be outliers. Does the friendlyatheist really think this is representative of Christians? Because if we’re gonna go down that road, let’s count the ways that expressions of public atheism have actually harmed people in the last 200 years (Mexico, Soviet Union, France, etc.). You could go down this whole all day.

  32. pennywit says:

    Just speaking in terms of personal experience, the idea that women should stay in the home seems to be quite widely practiced among Bangladeshi and Pakistani Muslims.

    That doesn’t surprise me at all. Saudi Arabia’s male guardian system is probably the worst of the lot, though.

  33. Ratheist says:

    Have you looked at the religious misogynists on tumblr, twitter, facebook, youtube? Some of them even deny the pay wage gap and there’s even this: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/trump-supporters-repeal-19th-amendment-article-1.2828571. These are a dime a dozen, not exactly an extraordinary claim.

  34. SteveK says:

    Examples of prominent atheists denying the evidence or suddenly not wanting to be skeptical. Those are a nickel a dozen, maybe even less.

  35. GRA says:

    I can only think that modern day feminists, the LGBT and modern day atheists so desperately wanting to be victims.

  36. GRA says:

    @ Ratheist: you cease to amaze me. Seems like you’ve been scoping such mmediums to ease your hunger for mean Christians.

    And goodness forbid people “deny” the wage gap after it’s been dispelled since the 1970s.

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