WHEN a group of atheists volunteered to help down-and-outs in South Carolina, they were told in no uncertain terms by the Christian director of the Spartanburg Soup Kitchen to fuck off.
Questioned about her ban last spring on the secular volunteers, the soup kitchen’s Executive Director, Lou Landrum, said she’d rather resign before allowing non-believers to volunteer with the Christian group.
This is a ministry to serve God. We stand on the principles of God. Do they think that our guests are so ignorant that they don’t know what an atheist is?
And she moaned:
Why are they targeting us? They don’t give any money. I wouldn’t want their money.
Upstate Atheists said that they were just trying to help and that the ban truly surprised them. And activist Hemant Mehta, a well-known secular blogger, was so stunned that he quippe:
Jesus would be so pissed off.
The group had promised not to “proselytise” atheism while offering help. Upstate Atheists President Eve Brannon said:
I told them we wouldn’t wear our T-shirts. We wouldn’t tell anyone who we are with. We just want to help out. And they told us that we were not allowed.
Brannon and her group are planning to hit back by handing out care packages for the homeless right across the street from Spartanburg Soup Kitchen. These packs will include tooth brushes, antiseptic wipes, soap, snacks and other essentials. She claims the soup kitchen is the first local group to deny them the opportunity to help out.
In this report, Brannon said the group has worked with Christian non-profits, such as Habitat for Humanity, in the past.
We can all work together to achieve something positive regardless of religion or lack thereof. We’ve raised money for March of Dimes, worked with the Generous Garden Project, done community park clean ups, adopted a highway, and sponsored local foster children for Christmas.
She said the group is used to its share of animosity within the community, but the exchange with the Soup Kitchen was unlike anything she had experienced.
They are the only group that denied us the opportunity to volunteer.
They can set up across the street from the Soup Kitchen. They can have the devil there with them, but they better not come across the street.
Mehta said here:
In case you’re curious, the Spartanburg Soup Kitchen is, in fact, a religious ministry. They have every right to pick and choose their volunteers. But, as with many of the people who say things in the name of Jesus, when you shine a spotlight on their words, they come off looking like narrow-minded bigots.
NOTE: Part 1 – How a Kansas City Christian couple set out to humiliate a young waiter – is here.