Here’s a story that, in any other context, would defy belief – the American Cancer Society has turned down a $500,000 donation because it comes from atheists. There does not seem to be any other explanation for the behavior of the ACS:
I’ll say this clearly, right up front: The American Cancer Society did not explicitly reject a massive donation offer from a non-theistic organization on the basis of it being a non-theistic organization.
That was not the stated reason given for rejecting a matching offer of $250,000 from the Foundation Beyond Belief and the Todd Stiefel Foundation to sponsor a national team in the upcoming Relay for Life. (An offer that, as a matching offer, was likely to bring in a total of half a million dollars for the American Cancer Society.) Nobody at the ACS has ever said, in words, “We don’t want our organization to be associated with atheists. It’s too controversial. We don’t want atheist money.” And when asked if this was the case, they have denied it.
It’s just difficult to reach any other conclusion. In the place of clear explanations, there has been an ongoing series of evasions, imprecisions, conflicting answers, moved goalposts, apathy, and even hostility…
It’s a fascinating story of the ACS turning down a $500,000 donation, apparently because the donation comes from atheists who want to be recognized for their good works. As the article points out:
And in case you’re thinking, “Why do those mean old atheists have to pick on the American Cancer Society? Why are they publicly embarrassing such a noble organization? Why do they have to make it all about them?” ask yourself this: If this were happening with any other organization — if it were a Jewish charitable foundation, an African-American one, an LGBT one, that had tried to give the American Cancer Society a $250,000 matching offer and had gotten shot down — would you be responding the same way? Would you be mad at the Jews, the African Americans, the queers, for calling attention to it? Or would you be writing enraged letters to the ACS, saying, “WTF? My aunt has cancer, I donate $500 a year to the American Cancer Society — and you’re turning down $500,000 because the money comes from a segment of society that some people don’t like?”
Are atheists really that tainted?