A little "irreligious" list for righteously indignant Christian pastor David Brassfield
OKLAHOMA CITY -- Minister David Brassfield printed and distributed quite the little diatribe at services at Newalla Church of Christ this past Sunday, critical of the alleged lack of effort being put forth by the irreligious in the tornado recovery efforts here in Oklahoma these last few weeks. I present the text of this message here in all its self-righteous glory for your perusal. It goes a little something like this:
“Miserable Comforters are Ye All"
Job called his ‘friends’ miserable comforters (Job 16:2). It was an apt description, for they said many things but failed to help one bit.
After our recent major loss of life and property, thousands of people and many organizations stepped up to help. The list included churches, benevolent groups with religious ties, and even local casinos. What you did not see on the list were groups who have been critical of religion and are unbelievers in God.
The Freedom From Religion group got the 10 commandments remove from an Oklahoma school, but they could not be bothered with helping the victims of the storms. Neither could you find the ACLU, any agnostic or atheist organization, nor anyone or anything associated with the Humanist Movement on the list of those who were helping the hurting. People who are members of these organizations are conspicuously absent whenever people need comforting, whether it is from natural or manmade tragedies.
They claim believers in God are blind and only they see the truth. But, in fact, they only see themselves. Helping others is beneath them. Ironically, they greatly resemble a religious group of Jesus’ day: the Jewish leaders, who talked a good game but did nothing.
We should dread the day if those who reject God and the church Jesus built become a majority in this land. Have you ever seen a hospital built by agnostics? Is there an atheist group dedicated to helping victims of natural disasters? Have the members of the ACLU given their own money without strings attached to the victims?
If the “proof is in the pudding,” then those anti-God groups have left a bad taste in the world’s mouth. Thanks be to God that because of the love and sacrifice of his son, believers in God have felt compelled to come from all places to give of themselves freely.
As for the others we say “Miserable comforters are ye all.”
I’m not certain of which arbitrary list of organizations assisting in the relief effort to Mr. Brassfield is referring, but if such a thing actually exists and isn’t something he completely made up to write this nonsense, I can assure you that it is a religious publication. Five seconds into a Google search for “atheists oklahoma tornado relief” produces a number of results from organizations across the country putting together volunteer and donation drives as well as fundraising for victim aid.
If you didn’t know, the American Red Cross is a non-sectarian organization and the single largest force in the recovery effort. If that’s not enough, here is some more proof for your pudding.
Atheists Giving Aid: As of the date and time of this writing, they have raised $18,302 in an online fundraising drive that will continue through June 20th.
Foundation Beyond Belief: The Humanist Crisis Response program of Foundation Beyond Belief has raised $44,100 in online donations as of May 28th specifically for Oklahoma recovery, in fulfillment of its mission statement to “serve as a focal point for the humanist response to major humanitarian crises. Our purpose is twofold: to bring resources to those in desperate need, and to raise awareness of that need in the humanist community and beyond.”
Atheists Unite: Comedian Doug Stanhope started an Indiegogo campaign for tornado victim Rebecca Vitsmun who openly stated to Wolf Blitzer in an interview that she was an atheist. To date, that fund has exceeded $113,000 from international donations and will continue to grow until the campaign’s expiration on July 22nd. This is not the only fundraiser started in Vitsmun’s name, and she has pledged that all funds received in excess of what she needs to rebuild will be given to assist in the relief of other victims.
Local atheist organizations: Members of local atheist communities the Oklahoma Atheists, Atheist Community of Tulsa, the Lawton Area Secular Society, Norman Naturalism Group, the Oklahoma State Secular Organization, (and others) have been on the ground since the first storms on May 19th, organizing volunteer, resource and blood drives. To be fair, these groups have no tax exempt status and therefore can’t exactly afford to have the t-shirts for everyone to wear so that you know when they are out in force during a volunteer effort.
FreeOK: The organizers of the Oklahoma Freethought Convention have coordinated volunteer and resource drives to outlying areas impacted by the the storms, taken breakfast to inter- and non-faith volunteers and first responders in Moore, and will be using their annual convention on June 22nd to host a literacy drive to collect books and monetary donations to replenish school and public libraries whose resources were adversely impacted.
OpOK Relief: The merry band of Fawkes-masked freedom fighters has taken up a Facebook campaign to assist in coordinating and distributing volunteers and resources to all areas impacted, as well as being instrumental in the Westboro Baptist Church counter-protest should the group have decided to show for the memorial services of 9-year old tornado victim Nicolas McCabe.
Fellowship of Freethought Dallas: This group took advantage of their annual DFW Coalition of Reason Picnic and added in a fundraiser to benefit the victims of the Granbury, Texas and Moore, Oklahoma tornadoes.
Coweta County Atheists: As stated on their Facebook page, they are “joining forces with other secular groups in the Atlanta Metro Area to collect non-monetary donations for the victims of the latest Oklahoma tornado. Some of the victims that are not religious, do not feel comfortable taking donationsfrom churches - We are here for them.” This event is scheduled for June 5th.
A note on that last bit, does it not say something that victims who have lost everything could be uncomfortable subjecting themselves to charity from those churches who would normally shun them if it weren’t for a natural disaster?
In this age where options are available to customize the types of news to which you are exposed, perhaps Mr. Brassfield just doesn’t follow any secular news sources. That said, having the blinders on and doing no research into your topic whatsoever is no excuse to throw an entire class of what are essentially good people who just so happen to not share your belief in a deity under the bus to promote the righteousness of said beliefs.
We are all equally impacted. We are all equally endeared to those who are suffering. Religion does not hold a monopoly on kindness. It would be good to remember that (and the miracle of the search engine) when next we are casting judgment on those doing good works.
Copyright 2013 Red Dirt Report
About the Author
Kai Tancredi moved to Oklahoma City from Washington, D.C. in December 2012.
About Red Dirt Report
Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an informational website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state.
After 12 years in the daily newspaper industry, Andrew W. Griffin, a professional journalist, saw a need for a website featuring original stories as well as aggregated stories from trusted mainstream and alternative news sources.
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