February 9, 2010

Atheist PR: Does it Matter to Them?

Since the earthquake in Haiti, the secular community has been rallying behind a number of valuable relief efforts. Many have donated to the International Red Cross and Doctors Without Borders directly. Others have routed their contributions through secular charities in the hopes of elevating the profile of charitable giving by atheists. After all, desperate Christians trying to defend an indefensible worldview are fond of clinging to their relatively higher rate of charitable giving. While I support efforts to increase awareness of atheist philanthropy, I am realistic about the efficacy of such efforts.

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I have had a link to Haitian relief efforts above the fold since I learned of the quake (the current link points to Non-Believers Giving Aid). And yet, here is an email I received a couple days ago from Gary with "Haiti" in the subject line:
Just wondering...Christian organizations have ponied up the majority of independent fundraising for those whose lives were destroyed in Haiti. Hundreds of Millions of Dollars.

Does your organization believe in helping anyone but yourselves? I guess not.

Oh, please read the constitution...it grants us Freedom OF religion...not Freedom From Religion.

Get a clue
Despite the efforts here and at most other atheist blogs I visit regularly to call attention to the situation in Haiti and encourage donations, Gary continues to accuse us of being selfish.

I realize that it is entirely possible, probable even, that Gary is simply a tool. But I must wonder whether his reaction is typical, and if so, what that means for those interested in trying to improve the public image of atheists through means such as highlighting our charitable giving.

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