This has really got me fired up.


BEND, Ore. -- To most people, there is nothing humorous about crime, or religious beliefs. But a group with a name many would find amusing is very serious about helping two churches vandalized in its name. Word of Sunday night's tagging spread to Pastafarian members with the Church of The Flying Spaghetti Monster and atheists across the country.
One of them decided to do something about it - from halfway across the country.
"You know, when I saw this church get vandalized and someone did it, I guess through atheism or Pastafarianism, I just figured the church, even though they are wrong and even though I disagree with their beliefs, they didn't deserve this," atheist Hemant Mehta said Wednesday. "So I think a lot of readers on my site would agree with this, so I asked them if they would consider chipping in."
Hemant Mehta, who goes by "the friendly atheist," created a church cleanup donation fund online from his home in Chicago.
In less than 24 hours, it's already raised nearly $3,000.
His message: This isn't about giving money to a church, it's about righting a wrong.
"This isn't about what they believe and what we believe. Nno one is advocating this," Mehta said. "I don't know who did this, and I hope that whoever did it is caught. But in the meantime, this is the least that anyone can do to just help this church."
Reactions in the non-theist community have ranged from applause to gasps of dismay.
But local churches say that believers or non-believers, the support from the community has been overwhelming.
"You see people who maybe have very different belief systems, and yet come together and realize we are all human." said Mike Alexander with the Westside Church. "And even in this local community of Bend, in the last several hours raise up and do the same thing."
Christian Life Center already has completed most of the clean-up, and the writing on the wall is nearly gone.
Pastor John Bluebaugh said though they wont have much need for the money, we need to learn a lesson.
"It's a good lesson for us to understand that not everyone that adheres to a faith or a belief system is extreme like that and would do something like this," Bluebaugh said Wednesday.
Deschutes County Sheriff's deputies said the vandals could be charged with criminal mischief and intimidation. Both misdemeanor crimes that come with possible jail time and fines up to $2,500
If you have information, call the Crime Stoppers tip line at 1-877-876-TIPS.
You can remain anonymous, and you may be eligible for a cash reward.


This Church actively promotes theocracy, evolution denial, and Bible literalism (read homophobia), and all the other wonderful selective text reading that comes along with Evangelicals. Do I condone the vandalism? No. I don't. However, they're not victims. They're a business. They have insurance. They are part of a church that's part of a billion dollar political machine that is working to blur the lines between church and state constantly, and holds a massive supermajority in this country. I think it was wrong to do this collection, even if the spillover from the cost of the cleanup, goes to a secular foundation. Condemnation of the act is enough and is way more than any of them would ever do if the shoe were on the other foot. 


Another thing, I'm getting tired of people making grand gestures on behalf of atheists. I don't want to support that church for the reasons I stated above. I'm not sorry they got vandalized. They preach exclusionary, hateful messages every Sunday. Don't take up a collection as though it's the morally right thing to do, when in truth, it's quite ambiguous, and then offer it on behalf of atheists. That ticks me off.

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This isn't going to win me any points but I feel that I am in agreement with Ryan on this. I must point out too that I don't in any way promote any form of vandalism. It's an extremely childish reaction to an emotional response. However, I feel that making an over the top effort to go to bat for the church is wrong, even if it had good intentions.


Sorry if this comes out wrong or 3 hours of sleep and 4 cups of coffee screwy but....

If someone vandalized say the Popes house, wrote something like "Use Condoms, it saves lives"; I wouldn't raise a dime or finger to help him remove it. Sad to say I would have laughed, no ones perfect! Pope aside, let me apply this silly analogy to any number of people I disagree with, Rush Limbaugh, Bill O'Reilly, Sarah Palin, Westboro Baptist Church and the list goes on and on (it's ridiculous). Point is these people are extremes; they promote hate and by doing so generally piss people off. Everyone knows that hurt or injured feelings can lead to people doing some pretty stupid shit. Now do they deserve to be targeted, no, do they promote themselves in a manner that would cause such reactions like vandalism, yes. If a bunch of people wrote something like "God Love Homosexuals" all over the Westboro Baptist Church. Would everyone be so keen on helping them remove it, let alone giving them money to do it? I highly doubt it. By the way I would probably laugh at that one too....


Regardless it should not be the responsibility of atheists everywhere to fix the problems that these people cause for themselves. Nor should we feel any obligation to do so. If for what ever reason though atheists want to help, "show the world were not evil", do so by offering to help them paint the building, or to help with clean up, try to promote positive debates and protests for people that have grudges or disagreements and condone stupid actions.


If for what ever reason though atheists want to help, "show the world were not evil", do so by offering to help them paint the building, or to help with clean up,
I don't see the difference between showing compassion by offering to help them paint and clean up the building, and showing compassion by offering money to help paint and clean up the building. I'm all for getting my hands dirty and helping out, but I live in Canada, so I'm limited as to my choices.

Thing is the chances of any money donated to them going to actually fixing the building are next to zero. They will simply go through their insurance and insurance will pay to have it done for them. So any money that you, I, or the followers give them will either go to making improvements on their church, and/or to further their cause. I mean hell most of these churches make more money each year than you or I will ever see in a year. And, I make a lot!


Yeah most of us are too far away to actually get physical, but there are other ways of helping. I mean even something as simple as speaking out against stupid actions like vandalism and promoting positive actions instead is more than enough. To me there are just more ways to accomplish the same effect without throwing money at it.


I would much rather see that kind of money donated to stem cell research or something any day.

I have a problem with the "show the world we're not evil" mantra. It operates under the assumption that there is a possibility that atheism is evil! We don't have to show the world anything. It's their false assumption based on their own ignorance and mass stereotyping pushed forward by their belief system. We don't owe theists who think atheists are evil a damn thing.


*but I love the rest of that post.

I meant it to be sarcastic, hence the "". : ^ P


Hehe, and thank you!!

You are sidetracking compassion and a sense of history with extremism.

I have no qualms eradicating religion with force, yet I might force myself to defend the below cathedrals from tagging vandals with my life if need be.

(Sorry for the poor picture quality, an idiot with a cell phone cam took them.)

No one likes hateful graffiti though. Community-wise, it's a good thing for everyone to help out. Churches can be such beautiful buildings and some should really be preserved. Maybe the vandals will go back and tag it again? Haha...

I think vandalism is the result of too much time on one's hands, and it is irritating stuff.  It's a drag that the church was vandalized, certainly.  However, I couldn't bring myself to raise money for the clean-up when they preach ugliness.  It sounds like these atheists were trying to make the Christians "like them, really like them!" by sucking up ("Atheists aren't baby-eating monsters, Pastor, honest-- look, we brought you money!").  Want to do a good deed?  Volunteer at a soup kitchen or go hang out with the elderly at an assisted living facility a few hours a week.  Read to kids.  Send some money to victims of natural distasters via the Red Cross.  Support something worth supporting and do it for the right reasons. 


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