As the holiday season peaks, atheist and humanist groups around the country have seen their charitable impulses rebuffed by both Christian and secular organizations. Recent incidents of “thanks, but no thanks,” include:
- A group of Kansas City, Mo., nonbelievers was told their help was not needed after they volunteered to help a local Christian group distribute Thanksgiving meals.
- A $3,000 donation to a Morton Grove, Ill., park, collected by a local atheist group, was returned. Park officials said they did not wish to “become embroiled in a First Amendment dispute.”
- A group of Spartanburg, S.C., atheists was denied the opportunity to help at a Christian-run soup kitchen. The soup kitchen’s executive director told local press she would resign before accepting the atheists’ help and asked, “Why are they targeting us?”
And in what is perhaps the biggest rejection, the American Cancer Society, in 2011, turned away $250,000 from the Stiefel Freethought Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to humanist causes. Though the society never cited atheism as the reason, many atheists drew that conclusion.