07 January 2014

"I'm actually an atheist"

A charming and amusing story as seen on Charlie Brooker's 2013 Wipe: in Oklahoma, tornadoes devastated many communities in 2013. CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer does an interview with a young mum and her baby son, standing in front of their wrecked home in Moore, Oklahoma, from which they had narrowly escaped. Blitzer concluded the interview by asking, 'I guess you gotta thank the Lord, right? Do you thank the Lord for that split-second decision [of yours]?', this presumably being par for the course in heavily religious Oklahoma. To which the young lady winningly replies, 'I'm actually an atheist' - while also adding that she didn't blame anyone else for choosing to thank God.
 

A fleeting moment of religious stereotyping, and usually nothing would come of it. But as it happens, the acerbic and entertainingly misanthropic American comedian Doug Stanhope saw this clip and decided that he would do something to help this lady and her family in particular. He set up an online charity drive and rallied atheists through social media and by calling in favours from atheist contacts like the Richard Dawkins Foundation, Penn Jillette and Ricky Gervais. Perhaps the motive wasn't the purest expression of charity in human history - Stanhope admits it was mainly as a snub to his preconceived idea of the woman's God-fearing neighbours. But you can't argue with the results:

$50,000 dollars in the first day, almost $126,000 by the time it was done. Enough for her to move the f*** out of Jesus country—where she says she'll never return—like Tom Joad with a trust fund. 
I can't remember being happier in a shitload of years, repeatedly hitting refresh in those first days and seeing the numbers go up every minute. Charity feels good, even when you're doing it as a big “F*** You” to Christians who you've pre-judged, and not because you care about someone losing their shit. Realizing you've actually changed an individual's life. It was pretty goddamned thrilling.
See also:
Comedy: Doug Stanhope - NSA suicide rate
Comedy: Doug Stanhope - America is great (NSFW-L)
Interview: Penn Jillette - Agnosticism & atheism
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