Camp Quest restaurant booking cancelled after Christian owner discovers its atheist roots
JOE Davidson, owner of Oklahoma Joe’s BBQ in Oklahoma thought it was a great idea that Camp Quest wanted his establishment to host o host a fundraiser in order to raise money to educate children about science – until he discovered the nature of the beast.
CQ was founded in 1996 as a residential summer camp specifically for the children of non-theistic or freethinking parents (including atheists, agnostics, secular humanists, skeptics, rationalists, and others who hold a naturalistic worldview.
He promptly cancelled the event, stating:
It was explained to me that Oklahoma Joe’s would be supporting a camp intended to educate children on science, which we were proud to do. The Camp Quest organizers, prior to the event date, made no mention of their non-religious beliefs or that Camp Quest is intended to foster non-religious beliefs in children.
According to the Camp Quest website:
CQ says on its website:
Camp Quest is a place for fun, friends, and freethought for kids ages 8-17. Our camps provide a traditional sleepaway summer camp experience with a wide range of activities including sports, crafts, games, swimming, and campfires. In addition to our traditional summer camp activities, Camp Quest offers educational activities focused on critical thinking, ethics, scientific inquiry, philosophy, and comparative religion.
Camp Quest is open to all children and teenagers within the age range, but it is particularly geared towards building a community for children from atheist, agnostic, humanist and other freethinking families. Our goal is to provide a place where children can explore their developing worldviews, ask questions, and make friends in an environment that is supportive of critical thinking and skepticism.
CQ then said in a statement:
We want to thank everyone who has supported Camp Quest Oklahoma this week after their fundraising event at a barbecue restaurant was cancelled on Monday night. The cancellation of their fundraiser, which had already started, was due to the restaurant owner, Joe Davidson, claiming that supporting the camp wasn’t compatible with his Christian identity.
Since the cancellation, Camp Quest Oklahoma has raised over $5,000 in donations, and these donations have come from Christians as well as members of the secular community. We know that Mr Davidson’s views and actions do not represent all Christians, and have been especially heartened to see messages and donations from Christians like one man on Facebook who said ‘I am Christian and read on Reddit what happened. Donated because what they did was ridiculous. Hope it helps’.
It had more good news:
The Stiefel Freethought Foundation is matching Camp Quest Oklahoma donations with a $5,000 grant supporting Camp Quest, Inc’s national efforts. Although we would have preferred this unfortunate event not happen, the silver lining is the awareness and support that we have received in its aftermath. This broad community support will help Camp Quest Oklahoma, and the broader expansion of Camp Quest’s programs.
Camp Quest is focused on teaching children science and critical thinking skills, and providing a supportive and fun community. Our programs are open to campers from religious and non-religious families, and we do not label children with a worldview. Campers from religious families attend our camps and have positive experiences there.
Our programs do focus on providing supportive community for children from non-religious families, because these families are often excluded from participating in other youth activities such as the Boy Scouts, which requires children to profess a belief in God. It’s important that children from secular families have a place where they can be themselves, and learn that there are other families out there like theirs. It’s clear from recent events that this kind of safe space is particularly necessary in Oklahoma.