And Then This Happened

[Content Note: Privilege; harassment.]

So, a straight white male Christian minister decides to "try" atheism for a year by pretending god doesn't exist (ha ha that is not atheism!), and in a single day, movement atheists raise $19,000 for him.

I love that the justification is "people appreciate that this guy is giving atheism a shot." Sure. Terrific. Give him all the cookies. Meanwhile, definitely continue being hostile to marginalized people who are living their lives every day as atheists, and, if they deign to challenge privilege in movement atheism, harass the fuck out of them.

"He learned what it's like to be an atheist real fast," said Hemant Mehta, a prominent atheist blogger and schoolteacher in Illinois.

...Mehta said he admired Bell's pluck and sympathized with his plight. Though he had never spoken with the pastor, Mehta set up an online fundraiser for Bell on Tuesday. In just one day, nearly 900 people donated more than $19,000 to help "the pastor giving atheism a try."

"I think more than anything else, people appreciate that this guy is giving atheism a shot," Mehta said. "I mean, he lost three jobs in the span of a week just for saying he was exploring it."
Not for nothing, but some of us who are actually atheists have lost jobs over it. It's sure neat to see Christian privilege even within movement atheism, though.

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UPDATE: Mehta has a post about this fundraiser here, in which he responds to Heina Dadabhoy at Skepchick having asked "why so many atheists have been eager to donate to the fundraiser about Ryan Bell, the pastor giving atheism a try, yet not nearly as enthusiastic to donate to the Women's Leadership Project (WLP), a 'feminist humanist mentoring and civic engagement program in South L.A. serving young women of color.'"

Mehta says: "[W]hy would people give money to Bell—a stranger they don't know—and not, say, a project run by a well-known atheist author that advances Humanism and helps young women? I wish I knew."

Yes, it's a real mystery.

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