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Monday, October 17, 2011

Don't Believe In God?

Posted by on Mon, Oct 17, 2011 at 8:30 AM

That's fine. Just don't try to make a donation to the American Cancer Society. They don't want your money. Because everybody knows that science—cancer research in particular—doesn't work when the bills are being paid by people who don't believe in magic:

A few months ago, Todd Stiefel—philanthropist and founder of the Stiefel Freethought Foundation, which provides financial support to atheist and other nonprofit and charitable organizations—approached the American Cancer Society with an offer. He wanted local atheist groups around the world to participate in the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life program, as a national team, under the banner of the humanist charitable organization Foundation Beyond Belief. In order to make this happen, he made a generous offer: a $250,000 matching offer from the Todd Stiefel Foundation, which, as a matching offer, was likely to bring in a half million dollars to the American Cancer Society.

And he was stonewalled.

The offer was initially approved, and the Foundation Beyond Belief even brought on an intern to manage the program. But then the American Cancer Society stopped responding. Repeated emails and phone calls from Stiefel were not returned for over a month. And the eventual responses from the ACS ranged from apathetic at best to hostile at worst.... After many go-arounds, Stiefel was finally told no. He was told that the Relay for Life program was focusing on corporate sponsors for the National Team program, and was no longer including nonprofits in the program. Despite the massive size of the offer from the Stiefel Foundation—and despite the fact that several nonprofits are currently participating in the program, including Girl Scouts of the USA, Phi Theta Kappa and DeMolay International—the ACS insisted that nonprofit participation in this program wasn't cost-effective, and would no longer be welcome.

Via the awesomeness that is BlagHag.


Comments (23) RSS

Oldest First Unregistered On Registered On Add a comment
Danny, where does it say that atheists can't make a donation?
perhaps you should have someone read the article you posted to you.
Posted by some consider Literacy an asset to a writer. on October 17, 2011 at 8:44 AM · Report this
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn 2
Well, I'm not on of those atheists who gets all in a lather over things that don't affect me. Like those fanatics who fight over Christmas trees and whatnot. I just ignore Christmas trees in public buildings and get on with my own life. So what if they have $500,000 less money for cancer research. Atheists don't get cancer, right? Right?
Posted by Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn on October 17, 2011 at 8:45 AM · Report this
Vince 3
Fuck them. Let them depend on anti-women's rights organizations like Susan G Kommen. I'll never donate another dime.
Posted by Vince on October 17, 2011 at 8:53 AM · Report this
The deputy CEO (retired) of ACS makes $1,407,719 a year, and the CEO makes $914,906.…
Posted by Vadt on October 17, 2011 at 9:00 AM · Report this
Constance McMillen connection! Another weblink reports he "donated $20,000 to the American Civil Liberties Union of Mississippi so it could sponsor a high school prom after the Itawamba County School District canceled the dance rather than allow a lesbian to bring her girlfriend as a date."…

Plus he's on the board of the Richard Dawkins Foundation.…

He made his money by selling the 150-year-old family business to big pharma GlaxoSmithKline for about $3 billion.
Posted by gloomy gus on October 17, 2011 at 9:10 AM · Report this
Keister Button 6
Corporate sponsorship and Samuel Epstein's expose on the American Cancer Society are two reasons I, who lost her mother to a fifth bout of cancer, do not support the ACS.
Posted by Keister Button on October 17, 2011 at 9:16 AM · Report this
I'm as atheist as they come, but this article hasn't shown any evidence that the decision has anything to do with the group's atheism. Your title makes a huge leap that isn't substantiated by anything in the article. It's not that I like ACS or even believe that belief had nothing to do with the decision. There's just nothing here yet.
Posted by Zhpurty on October 17, 2011 at 9:33 AM · Report this
wisepunk 8
Errr, anyway I can comment on this as anon?
Posted by wisepunk on October 17, 2011 at 9:54 AM · Report this
Wait, what's wrong with the Susan G Kommen org?
Posted by ThetaSigma on October 17, 2011 at 10:30 AM · Report this
Dano, you still appear not to have gotten the memo:

People who blindly accept various forms of nonsensical religious dogma, are most likely to blindly accept various forms of nonsensical Wall Street dogma.

Those debt-financed billionaires earned their money from the peddling of all that securitized debt --- then left the rest of us…

holding the bag.

It's just gotta be that way, Dano, until all you single-issue types begin to reach some sort of comprehension.
Posted by sgt_doom on October 17, 2011 at 10:42 AM · Report this
keshmeshi 11

That definitely explains the hostility leading up to the final rejection.

But this is just a good reminder to never donate to Big Cancer.
Posted by keshmeshi on October 17, 2011 at 10:45 AM · Report this
OuterCow 12
@7 I know! We can't possibly infer anything until we have a smoking gun "don't take money from atheists" memo to point to. Even though other non-profits participated in the same program Foundation Beyond Belief was denied from, even though they've completely reversed themselves when trying to explain their decision, even though none of their explanations make any fucking sense. If there's a better explanation then they haven't given us any help in figuring out what it is. This looks likes a duck and smells like a duck, and until the ACS puts out an explanation that makes sense, it’s more than reasonable to assume it's a duck.
Posted by OuterCow on October 17, 2011 at 10:49 AM · Report this
Vince 13
@9 They are affiliated with the right wing Koch brothers/billionaires that are corrupting our government and media.
Posted by Vince on October 17, 2011 at 11:45 AM · Report this
Jehova's Witnesses stopped by a couple days ago. I told them I am an atheist.

Today there was a Watchtower in my door (Nov. 2010) insinuating atheists are "on the march" with a drawing of people with picket signs and placards. The rest of the material they pushed was just as crazy.

it made me realize that Jehova's Witnesses are like the bad blind-date you weren't really expecting. Polite to them, listened them out during the meeting, but they just won't take the hint afterward that you're not gonna call them back.
Posted by Drew2u on October 17, 2011 at 12:09 PM · Report this
As someone who is an atheist and works for the American Cancer Society, I can tell you that this is 100% inaccurate. It sounds like Todd Stiefel wanted to make a name for himself and his organization and is using the American Cancer Society. There is no “Non-Profit Team program” anymore... that means no Churches, Synagogues, Mosques, etc. In addition, Foundation Beyond Belief had one Relay For Life Team in 2010, most National Corporate Sponsors have hundreds of teams across the nation. We have limited resources and have to focus on what is the best use of donor dollars. It seems fairly obvious which is the best use of donor dollars.
The American Cancer Society does not discriminate again anyone. Furthermore, we have funded 46 Nobel Prize winners (I bet one or two were atheists), we pass public policy that saves lives, we took on the fight for health care reform on behalf of cancer patients—at a great cost to our organization. It seems to me that when people from the left and right are taking pot shots at you, it means that you are doing the right thing.
Our mission is to save lives and eliminate cancer. We do that by helping people stay well, get well, find cures and fight back. We work with all political parties to pass policy, we work with all faith communities to educate and provide awareness about cancer prevention. Nationally one in two men and one in three women will be diagnosed with cancer…cancer is too large of a problem for one religion or country or organization to solve: we all need to join together to make cancer history.
Posted by liberal101 on October 17, 2011 at 2:00 PM · Report this
@12. I don't have another plausible explanation because the article doesn't even offer enough to work with to make assumptions about alternatives. The article does tell us that some other non-profits participated (though read post #15, which I admit may be legit but could also be an ACS shill), but it doesn't tell us whether or not others were rejected.

The problem is that it is not looking like or walking like a duck. Yet. There's nothing here beyond us knowing that one organization is avowedly atheist and that the other has found a reason (or reasons) for not working with it that we are not really clear yet.

As stated, yours, the article's and Dan's assumptions may turn out to be right. You don't necessarily need to approach this with the rigors you'd use if you were on a jury or conducting scientific research, but I think you need a LITTLE more to work with! Was Todd Stiefel being completely compliant with their process? Did they have other criteria that neither the atheists NOR other organizations we are not reading about met?

For me, being atheist means being rational and being skeptical. I am not going to work myself into a paranoid, Christian-like frenzy without knowing more.
Posted by Zhpurty on October 17, 2011 at 2:21 PM · Report this
Let's run through the scenario. Let's say that last year, Savage Puppy had a team at a Seattle Relay. Let's say it was a good, but not great team. Maybe they had 20-30 people and raised $10,000 (pretty good!).

Now let's say Dan called up and says he's got $250,000 in matching funds for donations from Team Savage Puppy Rescue if he can't be a national partner. It's a great deal from Dan's perspective, because he knows that there is no way that he's going to have to shell out $250,000, because his group only raised $10k last year. But he get extra press and publicity that comes with being promoted at all the relay events across the country.

Meanwhile, ACS has (apparently independently) decided not to partner with other non-profits as national partners. I don't know why that is, but whatever, it's not just atheists they aren't partnering with. From Dan's point of view, maybe that's even better. He doesn't have to spend any of his money, he can get press because the big mean ACS doesn't like rescuing puppies! Free publicity!

I don't know about you guys, but I went to relay this year, and it was pretty atheist friendly. And I know several people who work for ACS, several of whom I know to be atheists. I think they are atheist-accepting.

For whatever reason, they weren't able to cash in on working with this group this year. If Mr. Stiefel is sincere, my hope is that the two sides can work things out in the future
Posted by amiller92 on October 17, 2011 at 2:47 PM · Report this

you are correct.
but it matters not to Dan.
he is a fucking asshole LIAR.
Posted by DanSavage=FuckingAssholeLIAR on October 17, 2011 at 3:42 PM · Report this
The American Cancer Society responded publicly, saying essentially - yes, that is exactly what we did.…
Posted by uncreative on October 17, 2011 at 3:59 PM · Report this
If the rebuttals are true, I would expect that the other non-profits won't be allowed to participate next year. I seriously doubt that.
Posted by Randomfactor on October 17, 2011 at 5:05 PM · Report this
Have you seen this Danny?

Cheerleader To Remain Off Squad Statement released by AHS Principal Lucy Munoz at 3 p.m. Monday: [OCTOBER 17]

The Alice I.S.D. has recently reviewed the recent removal of a student from the Alice High School Cheerleading Squad. After reviewing the Alice I.S.D. Student Code of Conduct and the Cheer Program Handbook, the removal will stay in effect. The student’s parents are in agreement with the district’s decision.

The student code of conduct and cheer handbook are designed to improve conduct and encourage students to adhere to their responsibilities as members of the school community. THE STUDENT AND PARENTS ARE CLEARLY AWARE THAT THE STUDENT WAS NOT REMOVED FROM THE SQUAD FOR KISSING ANOTHER STUDENT AT SCHOOL......

Have you been punked again, Danny?
Is the "kissing cheerleader scandal" the Bigotry That NEVER Happened?

Is ANYTHING you ever post not 100% Bullshit LIES?
Posted by Danny=CredulousHack on October 17, 2011 at 6:18 PM · Report this
Welcome to the party, gang. This issue is over six weeks old; I guess I should have been a good Slog-tipper and let Dan know at the time:…
Posted by Functional Atheist on October 17, 2011 at 6:22 PM · Report this
There were at least 12 non-corporate teams that have been participating in the National Team Program (Jaycees, Phi Beta Sigma, Parrot Heads in Paradise, National Funeral Directors Accos, Knights of Pythias, Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Technology Student Association, Family, Career and Community Leaders of America, American Youth Soccer Organization, DeMolay International, Girl Scouts, Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society). The Jaycees alone raised nearly $300K last year. Phi Theta Kappa has raised $2.3 million over the years as a national team. Collectively these non-corporate teams have raised several million for ACS over the years. It's very difficult to understand exactly how this non-corporate national team program was not cost effective.

It's also strange that the ACS wouldn't announce the decision to end the non-corporate team program. The only place ACS has really mentioned this change is in response to postings on its Facebook page about denying FBB a national team. Instead, ACS just discards those teams with so much as a thanks for all their hard work. It's just not right to treat people who are giving you money with just callousness.
Posted by Katz on October 21, 2011 at 6:18 PM · Report this

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