Bwahahahaha! »« Vileness on display

How not to make an 1100 person convention welcome

Most of the businesses in Springfield, Missouri that we godless attendees of Skepticon frequented seemed glad of our business, and even gave us a 10% convention discount. There were exceptions. Mio Gelato is owned by a bigot — and this was a place just one block away from the Gillioz Theater, where the convention was held.

Skepticon is NOT welcomed to my Christian business

One other unwelcoming thing: the Gillioz Theater did not mention Skepticon on their marquee, or in any of their advertising. I guess they were just annoyed enough about our existence to be ashamed of hosting us, but not bigoted enough to refuse our money. Progress!


There exists an apology.

Comments

  1. raven says

    Skepticon is NOT welcomed to my Christian business

    Guy’s a bigot but he isn’t a good bigot.

    He really should have upped the hate somehow.

    No dogs or atheists allowed.

    No shirt, no shoes, no xian religion, no service.

    I’m sure any True Bible Believers can come up with something better.

  2. raven says

    One other unwelcoming thing: the Gillioz Theater did not mention Skepticon on their marquee, or in any of their advertising. I guess they were just annoyed enough about our existence to be ashamed of hosting us, but not bigoted enough to refuse our money.

    Possible.

    Or they might have been afraid some xian terrorists might go off on them. Xian terrorism has been a problem in the USA for decades.

  3. Anteprepro says

    Well, in fairness, I’m sure it would be very hard to hold Skepticon at a Mio Gelato. Oh, wait, you mean that people attending Skepticon aren’t allowed to buy his Christian-tastic ice cream? Oh. Well then, I think someone just warned us that we shouldn’t be patronizing their business anyway, even if they decide to change their mind on the issue. (Though, maybe we could still patronize them per a different meaning of the word). Nice of them to warn us that they are the kind of people we don’t want to give money to. Better than the Gillioz treatment, anyway. I’d take overt bigotry that we can point at and call out to covert bigotry, whimpering and trying to do its best to hide contempt beneath a Stepford smile.

  4. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    On the website now

    http://gelatomiousa.com/home.aspx

    RE Letter in the Window:

    To the Public: I sincerely apologize for the posting of the note in the window. It was an impulse reaction to an event I witnessed and was only up for a few minutes before I came to my senses and realized it shouldn’t have been up at all. I sincerely apologize to those whom I offended.

    All the Best,

    Andy-

  5. says

    Nice of Gelato to advertise what the opposition is like. Moles?

    Gillioz apparently understands that direct opposition isn’t productive for the bigoted side, although they won’t get the money of the most pious for it. In all truth, they’re probably not staying mum because it’s the best pro-Xian response, rather because they want the money of both skeptics and bigots.

    Gillioz’s non-response is the most cowardly, if probably also the most lucrative.

    Glen Davidson

  6. Randomfactor says

    The venue may not have given Skepticon any publicity, but the gelato shop did. :)

    That said, bravo for him recognizing and correcting his mistake, if true. #4

  7. Sastra says

    So suddenly ice cream isn’t secular anymore? It must be divine and it tastes heavenly!

    Hey, all he needed was a sign saying “NO DEBATING.” We’re stopped in our tracks.

    Which means it would be hard to vote for the “Flavor of the Month.”

    Kudos to Andy for the apology, at any rate. I hope it was motivated by cool and reasonable reflection and not by suspicion there could be a lawsuit.

  8. Gordon says

    I was picturing the guy standing at the door pointedly eating ice cream. “Taste that? it tastes like vicarious redemption and there’s none for you”

    Apparently he apologised, probably someone pointed out he could get sued.

  9. 'Tis Himself, OM says

    Skepticon is NOT welcomed to my Christian business

    Now we’ll have folks like Pamela Gay arguing that skepticism should be divorced from atheism. “You can be as skeptical as you like, so long as you don’t question my goddism or ask me to justify my goddism.”

  10. Anteprepro says

    What “event” did Andy witness?

    They must have caught a glimpse of the meals of some atheists before they got their desserts. Those upstanding Christians really have their stomachs turn when they see us atheists snacking on newborns.

    How does a Christian ice-cream business differ from a non-Christian one?

    The latter serves ice cream on cones and in bowls, with syrup and sprinkles at request. The former serves ice cream on crosses and in creches, with the flesh and blood of Jesus at request.

  11. says

    Can Skepticon afford to set up a gelato cart right in front of Mio Gelato and sell gelato to the skepticon attendees until they burst, just to rub it in.

  12. alkaloid says

    “How does a Christian ice-cream business differ from a non-Christian one?”

    They only serve God on a stick and if you don’t like it you’re going to hell.

  13. says

    How does a Christian ice-cream business differ from a non-Christian one?

    The cone is the flesh of Christ, and the ice cream…

    Wait, never mind.

  14. osteenq says

    “Kudos to Andy for the apology, at any rate. I hope it was motivated by cool and reasonable reflection and not by suspicion there could be a lawsuit.”

    Seriously, though, what are the odds?

    And he doesn’t really deserve kudos for the apology, either. I generally despise the religious community, but if I had a business I would never even consider telling them that they weren’t welcome so long as they behaved themselves.

  15. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    No. No kudos for the apology. No. As I wrote in another thread, the most disturbing part of this is that there’s psychological space in US culture that allows for people like Andy to even consider this normal or acceptable. This is just a flag pointing toward the deep rot of religious privilege in our culture.

  16. says

    Check out online reviews of the place at google/yelp. It’s getting trashed, plummeting to one star everywhere. This is atheists exercising their clout.

  17. Gregory Greenwood says

    Sastra @ 9;

    Kudos to Andy for the apology, at any rate. I hope it was motivated by cool and reasonable reflection and not by suspicion there could be a lawsuit.

    I suppose that it is conceiveable that Andy had a genuine change of heart, but I find it much more likely that he was taken aback that people actually objeced to his casual bigotry. He probably did fear a lawsuit, and then it ws down to a struggle between his hatred for atheists and his greed, and his greed won.

    As PZ points out @ 19;

    Check out online reviews of the place at google/yelp. It’s getting trashed, plummeting to one star everywhere. This is atheists exercising their clout.

    Another advantage to Andy of his (most likley insincere) apology is that when his business does get clobbered by atheists commenting on what a bigot he is, he can turn around and engage in the theist’s favourite pastime – playing the martyr. He can claim that he offered us the olive branch in good faith, but we vindictive, baby eating atheists threw it back in his face and tried to destroy his business, so his initial bogotry was justified all along…

    It’s the same old story with theist bigots every time:- say nothing, and they continues with their bigotry unabated. Call them on it, and we are ‘persecuting’ the politically dominant majority in the US… somehow.

  18. ungodlynews says

    I am SKEPTICAL that the apology is sincere. I’m guessing it is nothing more than PR to cover his ass. I don’t buy it. Signs are temporary, Google and Yelp reviews are forever.

  19. says

    (On “How does a Christian ice-cream business differ from a non-Christian one?”)

    They have 3 different flavours which all taste the same.

    Win!

  20. Alverant says

    I doubt the sincerity of the “apology”. He doesn’t admit he was wrong in his thoughts, just that he made them public. Conventions are good for local businesses and he’s just trying to fix the damage and not mend fences.

    Now if an ice cream store made a special flavor in honor of Skepticon that would be a different story.

  21. Bruce H says

    The wording of the apology makes it seem genuine enough. It wasn’t a half apology, or a not-apology. He owned up to his mistake and removed the sign. He apologized to those he offended. He did not apologize “if I offended anyone.”

    I see it as a genuine apology, and a sign that the person is not a complete asshole. Of course that doesn’t mean he gets away without facing any consequences. So I won’t argue against the yelp reviews.

  22. chigau (む) says

    Alverant

    Now if an ice cream store made a special flavor in honor of Skepticon that would be a different story.

    I don’t think Xtian-spit is a flavour I would relish.

  23. Circe says

    I doubt the sincerity of the “apology”. He doesn’t admit he was wrong in his thoughts, just that he made them public. Conventions are good for local businesses and he’s just trying to fix the damage and not mend fences.

    I think the apology is good enough for me. We shouldn’t be concerned with what he thinks as long as he is prudent enough to not put his crazy ideas into practice. As Christopher Hitchens once said, the horrifying thing about most religions is that most of the “deadly sins” that they prescribe such cruel punishments for are essentially “thoughtcrime”, and I agree. Thoughtcrime should not be treated as a crime.

    Another unrelated suggestion: It would probably be great idea for some of the yelp reviewers who are still in the area and who get a chance to visit the store to change their reviews to reflect merits of the actual wares of the shop. Not only I think it would be the right thing to do, it will also show the proprietor the downright silliness of his beliefs about sceptics and atheists.

  24. Sastra says

    I still think the sign followed quickly by removal and an apology is better than the sign taken down quietly — or left up in smug defiance. Degrees of wrong. Though I admit I’m skeptical of the sincerity.

    Alverant #27 wrote:

    Now if an ice cream store made a special flavor in honor of Skepticon that would be a different story.

    Ah, but if it was chock full o’ nuts, what do we think then? Or what if it’s made with … bananas?

    I have no idea what sort of ice cream flavor would properly represent Skepticon. Perhaps it comes with a list of ingredients tested in 3 independent labs.

  25. says

    It was an impulse reaction to an event I witnessed

    Oh? I’d like to know what “event” was witnessed which was so traumatic to this man to make him scrawl that sign and stick it in his window. Were atheists doing it in the street and frightening the horses?

  26. Dorothy says

    Naaah. My only reaction would be to go get my icecream from Dairy Queen. We know they aren’t homophobic.

  27. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    We shouldn’t be concerned with what he thinks as long as he is prudent enough to not put his crazy ideas into practice.

    I cannot disagree with this more strongly. Of course we’re concerned about what people believe. Because beliefs inform actions. This is why we campaign on political issues. It’s why we try to convince people to vote for our party rather than the opposition. We’re trying to change their beliefs and that’s perfectly legitimate. It’s only when religion is the issue that those of us “on the side of right and good” start pussyfooting around and acting as if it’s out of discursive bounds to care about what other people believe. Trying to change bad beliefs is not thoughtcrime.

    Please reconsider this.

  28. Father Ogvorbis, OM: Delightfully Machiavellian says

    I’d like to know what “event” was witnessed which was so traumatic to this man to make him scrawl that sign and stick it in his window. Were atheists doing it in the street and frightening the horses?

    The mere existence of people who question dogma put him over the edge?

  29. says

    Ogvorbis:

    The mere existence of people who question dogma put him over the edge?

    That doesn’t qualify as an event one would witness with their very own eyeballs. I want to know what this event was and why it was so traumatic. Certainly, it couldn’t have simply been some atheists walking about possibly wearing an upsetting T-shirt, right? It must have been some sort of evil event, involving evil atheists*.

    *No building a new volcano lair without me!

  30. Father Ogvorbis, OM: Delightfully Machiavellian says

    That doesn’t qualify as an event one would witness with their very own eyeballs.

    But, but, but, he actually saw one. Perambulating down the street. While masticating on some non-gelatio frozen gunk. Really.

  31. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    You just know all those Skepticon attendees were writhing in ecstasy as they doubted Bigfoot right out on the street. Oh, they doubted hard. . so fuckin’ hard. Yeah.

  32. barbrykost says

    This is not a sincere apology. The sign addressed Skepticon attendees specifically, but the apology is vaguely addressed to the public.
    This is the same difference from saying, “I am sorry if anyone was offended by my remarks” and saying “I apologize for saying offensive things”
    See the difference?

  33. echidna says

    It was an impulse reaction to an event I witnessed

    This bothers me too. It’s a swipe at atheists, but too nebulous to even imagine what it might be referring to.

    Did atheists dare announce that they exist?

  34. echidna says

    Caine,

    Certainly, it couldn’t have simply been some atheists walking about possibly wearing an upsetting T-shirt, right?

    I reckon it might have been. (said in a country Australian accent, not a US southern drawl)

  35. chigau (む) says

    As long as we’re speculating…
    perhaps someone wearing a convention badge was rude to god-botherer in the gelato store.

  36. Circe says

    Josh, Official SpokesGay:

    I agree with what you said. I was just saying that it is enough for the purposes of what you said that he offered an apology, and that there is no need to go into the details of whether or not he was sincere, as long as there is no observable effect of that (in)sincerity.

  37. Alverant says

    Even if the sign was taken down and if the apology was heart-felt, I would not go there wearing any skepticon gear in case he decides to sabotage my order.

  38. Carlie says

    I’m with Sastra – at least it wasn’t a notpology. He did say “to those whom I offended”, not “those who took offense at my comments” or something of the like. At the very least, it was a definite apology. I highly doubt that he is sincerely sorry of anything other than the bad publicity he got himself, but at least he got the words right. [/small benefit]

  39. Zinc Avenger says

    Excellent! We have them on the slippery slope now! First we demand equal service at their ice cream parlors… Commence stage II, atheist comrades! At this rate Christianity will be over by Tuesday!

  40. says

    This business owner sucks at two things: Doing business and understanding tolerance.
    First, you just lost hella potential costumers. Not to mention you just listed yourself as a bigot, which frankly isn’t a flattering publicity face.
    Second, you don’t have agree with a group to tolerate them, you know. It’s something that fundies don’t understand.

  41. Cannabinaceae says

    Quite amusing. However, even a fake apology is modeling desirable behavior. Plus, if other potential bigotsign-posters learn from this event to restrain their shameful attitudes, that would be beneficial. That’s three “wins” right there.

    Subtracting the negative from the sign ever going up at all, that’s still “win win”, both of which go to the Side of Right, which almost adds another “win”.

  42. Compuholic says

    I don’t think that this guy really did change his mind about this issue. Bigotry on such a scale usually doesn’t disappear overnight. I think it is unreasonable to expect such a change of mind in such a short time especially when you have been taught this kind of bigotry for years.

    However, it seems that he at least realized that it causes public outrage which might lead him to think about his positions a bit more (at least we can hope).

    The apology is good enough for me.

  43. Chris Lawson says

    We can argue till the cows come home about how genuine the apology is — and, yeah, it’s rather nebulous. But even if the owner is still an anti-skeptic bigot, and he did apologise for his action (without the usual notpology evasions) and he did take down the notice. In my books, saying that it was inappropriate to put such a sign in his window, apologising, and removing the sign is a good thing and should be acknowledged.

  44. Sean Boyd says

    Andy should whip up some gelato with the flavor of decaying porcupine. And perform the requisite quality taste test.

  45. says

    We jus had a provincial election here in Saskatchewan. One restaurant had a large sign out front expressing its support for one party. That struck me as dumb, as it could alienate some of your customers and potential customers.

  46. Carlie says

    I’ll give him credit for not doubling down on his bigotry like other cases we’ve seen (like the bus driver who wouldn’t drive with an atheist ad on the bus), but I still wouldn’t go to his establishment in the future.

  47. says

    Ah, but if it was chock full o’ nuts, what do we think then? Or what if it’s made with … bananas?

    Ewww. Bananas have taken on a whole new meme now. Google for “bananagate”.

  48. Ichthyic says

    Were atheists doing it in the street and frightening the horses?

    I’ve never personally seen horses frightened by…

    oh wait, I suppose I shouldn’t make my sex life public.

  49. echidna says

    I’m glad he apologised. I suspect he didn’t realise he was breaking the law when he put up that sign, and now he knows better. The sincerity of the apology remains suspect in my view, mainly because of that undefined event he refers to, but it really doesn’t matter.

    The bottom line is that it’s not often a bigot admits they were wrong. This might turn out to be a life-changing event for him.

  50. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    The bottom line is that it’s not often a bigot admits they were wrong. This might turn out to be a life-changing event for him.

    True. Then again, most bigots aren’t caught with their pants down in the very act. All over the Internet.

    I’m far more interested in letting this serve as a lesson and a deterrance to other religionistas. We’re not putting up with your bullshit anymore.

  51. Antiochus Epiphanes says

    Fuck that guy. Gelato has no power over me*. Nor do self-serving apologies.

    I would eat snow-cones before visiting that establishment. You know. If I were ever in Springfield, MO.

    *I do not tolerate lactose.

  52. Julien Rousseau says

    Check out online reviews of the place at google/yelp. It’s getting trashed, plummeting to one star everywhere. This is atheists exercising their clout.

    And they can truthfully rate it low because:

    The service was nonexistent.

  53. Pteryxx says

    Fuck that guy. Gelato has no power over me*. (…)

    *I do not tolerate lactose.

    At the risk of encouraging your dark side, I point out that proper, authentic gelato should not contain milk, only fruit/nut/herb/whatever flavorings, like a sorbet. (At least, my favorite gelato place in Seattle always said so.)

  54. Cannabinaceae says

    All the nice things I said being said, if the owner loses their business for posting a bigoted sign, yay, yay, and more yay!

    Let that be a lesson!

  55. Antiochus Epiphanes says

    At the risk of encouraging your dark side, I point out that proper, authentic gelato should not contain milk,…

    0,O

    Vitriol rescinded.

  56. says

    The Christian restaurant owner reminds me of the first President Bush who said when asked “Surely you recognize the equal citizenship and patriotism of Americans who are atheists?”:

    No, I don’t know that atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered patriots. This is one nation under God.

    I wonder what it’s like to live in a normal country (for example Australia which has an atheist Prime Minister) instead of Idiot America.

  57. says

    Chris Lawson:

    In my books, saying that it was inappropriate to put such a sign in his window, apologising, and removing the sign is a good thing and should be acknowledged.

    No, he gets no cookie from me. Yes, he realized he was being an asshole (my money is firmly on *someone else* in the shop pointing out his assholism and possible impact on his business) and did what he had to do to rescue his business.

    When one looks at the actual sign, it’s obvious he was emotional when he hastily scrawled it out and that’s not a good sign (no pun intended). That means this is a person who is so fucking shook up by the mere existence of atheists, let alone a whole damn crowd of them, he lashed out. This is someone who is not on the side of secularism or reason and most likely shows that in voting habits and other decisions, like what goes on in school curriculums.

    Really, it’s not all that different from someone who realized there was a convention for people of colour and in shock, scrawled a sign that said “no blacks in this white business”*, then realized what a major fuck up that was, took it down and made the same apology with the same vague swipe of “It was an impulse reaction to an event I witnessed” at whatever people who so offended him.

    He may have taken the sign down and apologized, however, it’s clear that atheists aren’t welcome in his business or his life. He may have been so shocked at the presence of atheists he’ll become active in attempting to stomp ‘em out by supporting the fundies already present in our government. Ya never know, eh? I think it’s silly to presume he’ll learn something and become more tolerant. Could go the other way.

    *Or insert Gays/Jews/Trans or a host of others.

  58. kantalope says

    Am I being naughty? I don’t want to associate with some gelato guy because of his belief that he does not want to associate with some people because of their beliefs.

    The evidence is that he is a jerk. PZ’s recap of the sign does not do the picture justice http://i.imgur.com/oSocF.jpg. His apology, meh. What event? And is that apology evidence that he isn’t still a jerk and just sorry he was chasing off paying customers and probably breaking the law?

    I don’t know what to make of it.

  59. says

    I don’t feel I can develop an opinion without knowing the ‘event’ that caused him to become so upset. A gay couple kissing? Not cool. Someone with a “There is no God” T-shirt? Also not cool. Someone going from table to table telling all his customers the joke that starts, “How does Jesus masturbate?” Understandable.

  60. cicely, Inadvertent Phytocidal Maniac says

    Gregory Greenwood sums up my feelings on it very nicely.
    -

    Were atheists doing it in the street and frightening the horses?

    Well, I can’t speak to what others may have been doing in the street, but there is a horse-drawn carriage that plies its trade up and down that street. :)

    Maybe he was afraid we would start doing it in the street, with the horses, immoral daemon-spawn that we are?
    -

    First, you just lost hella potential costumers. Not to mention you just listed yourself as a bigot, which frankly isn’t a flattering publicity face.

    Yes, but does that hella potential customer loss outweigh, to him, the approval (overt and covert) of his local potential customers? And in these hyar parts (by which I specifically mean Springfield, MO, USA), some sorts of bigotry are considered normal practice within a large demographic.

    I see this as Mr. Gelato wanting to have his frozen treat and eat it, too.

    Second, you don’t have agree with a group to tolerate them, you know. It’s something that fundies don’t understand.

    Silent tolerance does not earn them any fundie brownie points.
    -

  61. JT says

    @ContentedReader

    Nope, that still wouldn’t be reasonable. If his sign had said “No Jews” or “No Blacks”, would you give him leeway just because of “an event” involving one of them?

  62. robro says

    Did the owner put the apology in the window when the offending sign came down? A nice apology on the website is fine, but who’s going to see that. Was s/he sincere? Who knows, but it’s an ugly day here so I’ll think good thoughts and hope for the best.

    And what was seen? A most curious incident.

  63. Infinite123Lifer says

    How does a Christian ice-cream business differ from a non-Christian one?

    Milky and creamy stuff aren’t needed to make ice cream?

  64. peterwhite says

    I found a positively ironic positive review of the restaurant.

    The best gelato Ive ever had! And that’s all that matters and that’s all should be judged! The owners make you feel welcome as soon as you step inside!

    Too bad non-Xtians were not welcome to step inside.

  65. uncle frogy says

    this reminds me of a news piece I saw some time ago. It was about a big controversy from a southern boarder state and the protest of local business in taking Mexican Pesos, they interviewed one bar owner who had no problem of taking the Pesos. The results was an increase in business he just went to his bank and exchanged them for dollars he said he was in business to make money after all.

    Maybe Ray realized there were 1100 potential costumers just up the street and that he had just shot himself in the foot.

    many people react first then think much later if at all. Every step in the right direction is good. way to go Ray.

    uncle frogy

  66. says

    peterwhite:

    I found a positively ironic positive review of the restaurant.

    That’s quite the review. I take it this was after the sign business? I’m going by the “that’s all should be judged!” bit.

    My theist-sense is a tinglin’, I sense a gathering of good christian folk arriving to have his back.

  67. 'Tis Himself, OM says

    Springfield, MO has a Cold Stone Creamery. One does not have to go to Gelato Mio for good ice cream.

  68. Anri says

    Do “after-the-event-apologies” work for other crimes as well?

    As far as Christians are concerned?

    Yeah, the entire faith is based on it.

  69. Atticus Dogsbody says

    I’ve got a fiver that says the event that offended him happened several years ago and involved a cracker.

  70. kantalope says

    updated apology: “So you know, nobody was turned away and everyone was given the same high level of service they have come to expect. Out of the hundreds of event attendees that I served on Friday and Saturday, all of them were extremely polite and enjoyed their time in my restaurant. The event that greatly offended me was conducted by one man and I shouldn’t have reacted the way I did.”

    Although a sign on the door saying skepticoners were specifically welcome might be nice. Something like:

    New evidence suggests that Skeptics are welcome in this establishment.

    or maybe

    10% off if you can prove the existence of big foot…15% off if you think that’s silly

    It is just hard to tell if the apology is sincere or self serving…damn you capitalism for confusing all motives!

  71. says

    The event that greatly offended me was conducted by one man

    I still want to know what this event was and why it was so terribly traumatic. This is vague crapola and doing no good whatsoever. I also would like to know how he knew that the offensive man was an atheist. Was he wandering about with a tattoo on his forehead, what?

    Details, sir, or I stick with my call of bullshit.

  72. raven says

    The event that greatly offended me was conducted by one man.

    Which may or may not exist.

    Fundies always lie. It is one of their 3 main sacraments.

    Or it could have been someone not connected to Skepticon. I don’t know about Springfield but a lot of cities have cadres of homeless, many of which have substance abuse or mental health problems.

  73. says

    I call bullshit on the apology.

    Out of the hundreds of event attendees that I served on Friday and Saturday, all of them were extremely polite and enjoyed their time in my restaurant.

    There is an underlying presupposition here.

    “all of them were extremely polite”

    As if that’s some kind of surprise.

  74. skeptical scientist says

    barbrykost (#40) wrote:

    This is not a sincere apology. The sign addressed Skepticon attendees specifically, but the apology is vaguely addressed to the public.
    This is the same difference from saying, “I am sorry if anyone was offended by my remarks” and saying “I apologize for saying offensive things”
    See the difference?

    It is entirely possible the sign may have offended members of the public who were not Skepticon attendees, and it’s fair to apologize to them as well.

  75. says

    My thoughts…

    General rule, Never back someone into a corner with no way out, always leave them an exit. Otherwise you get stuck in a fight with someone who has nothing left to lose and that’s not good (check your military history books).

    It doesn’t matter how sincere the apology is, it is that the apology was issued. Self-serving or not this is the best resolution you could hope for. You won.

    You got the exposure (small though it may be), you got an apology, there is a certain deterrent in place for the next time (to anyone who heard about it). Essentially you have set a small precedent. And you have a Christian on record as saying 99.99% of the atheists weren’t so bad. It’s almost like we’re human.

    If you squeeze the guy further you just end up looking like jackasses (to most) and you’ll have spent your goodwill immediately (kind of like the US after 9/11).

    Have you never been so put off by some backass, ignorant, logical fallacy-slinging, two-faced person (who also happened to be a Christian) that you just want to see the lot of them off to the rapture already? He (hopefully) learned that one bad atheist (and there are plenty) doesn’t speak for the whole bunch?

    (gaggle? herd? pod? cete? hive? clutter? pack? school? what do we call a group of atheists? horde!?)

    But I think, by far, the most important take away is that we got noticed! [well you got noticed, I wasn't there sadly]

  76. says

    @ darkstar

    General rule, Never back someone into a corner with no way out, always leave them an exit. Otherwise you get stuck in a fight with someone who has nothing left to lose and that’s not good (check your military history books).

    Thanks. I’ll remember that the next time I have to deal with bigotry.

  77. says

    sandiseattle @ 97

    I’m curious, sandi, what in darkstar’s comment did you find commendable?

    you’ll have spent your goodwill

    I don’t have very much goodwill when confronting bigots.

    If you squeeze the guy further you just end up looking like jackasses

    When I squeeze the guy further, my intent is to expose him as a jackass.

    there is a certain deterrent in place for the next time

    “There is a certain deterrent” isn’t good enough. I much prefer “your business will crash and burn”.

  78. Darric says

    Just a question but how was the sign of a discriminatory nature?

    It said “Skepticon is Not welcomed to my Christian business”.
    Firstly, it doesn’t make sense. Secondly, if he meant skepticon attendees (which I think can be safely assumed) then it is still not discrimination as this is a group of people attending a convention not a identifiable group particular to any discrimination laws.

    It didn’t say non-Christians are not welcome. It may be semantics but when it comes to the law semantics can be important. I’m not saying he isn’t an idiot for the sign but I just fail to see how it is discrimination.

    By the way I live in New Zealand (NZ) so my knowledge on discrimination laws is particular to NZ and not the USA. I would assume they are similar but I may be wrong.

  79. says

    @Kamaka

    Thanks. I’ll remember that the next time I have to deal with bigotry

    In all seriousness you certainly can (not saying you always must, it depends on ones goals and you have less skin in the game if it’s just a verbal disagreement). In an argument or discussion this means giving the other side a graceful way to accept defeat. If you completely corner someone they will often defend even the most braindead positions – but if you can offer them an “olive branch” of a misunderstanding or something along those lines then it becomes much easier for them to bow out. [eg., when you come back and say I knew all this you idiot, I'll say, sorry was a misunderstanding - but really I'm just posting because I'm bored and avoiding work]

    You have to decide what your goal is based on the situation. Do you want to shame them and cement their bigotry or do you want to try to shake them up or do you want to try to mend fences.

    Another tactic is to find some common ground, something you can agree on as a bridge. Maybe you both hold some common value (like you want to keep kids safe) but you disagree on the approach and offer that perhaps more information could help decide, what information or studies do they base their position on?

    What do you think might Andy’s response have be if someone had gone in, with real concern, and asked what had happened? And if appropriate, offered to try to make it right? (this obviously very much depends on the circumstances, I’m giving only an example)

    Let’s say someone had left without paying – offered to pay the tab. Or said you would bring the incident to the attention of the organizers [assuming you agreed that the "event" was inappropriate, even if you disagreed with the bigoted response]

    Do you ever vary how you interact with people and observe differences in the outcomes and consequences?

    Sometimes yelling at the right moment can be very effective, or showing disgust, or completely unexpected compassion, or laughter… all of these are options in every interaction.

    Sometimes you just gotta let people be wrong and sometimes you just gotta stay up all night (Duty Calls).

  80. Art says

    I still think that all 1100 should have gone in one at a time and sucked down free samples until asked to leave. At which time the next skeptic could step up and repeat the process. Figure a couple of minutes per person and you could keep it up for most of 37 hours. You could have seriously crimped his profit margin for better than a day or two. That would get his attention.

    The softest spot on any fundi businessman is his wallet. Show them, in real terms, that bigotry has a price and you start to change behavior.

  81. Ze Madmax says

    Darric @ #99:

    It is discriminating against atheist/agnostics/non-religious. Yes, the convention is technically about skepticism, but the two tend to be related. Or maybe they were equated by the owner of the establishment.

    While I am unsure how well it would hold in court, the argument would essentially boil down to an issue of discrimination on the basis of religious belief, since the owner of the store chose to deny service to other people based on the fact that they did not share his particular beliefs.

    See this link: http://freethoughtblogs.com/wwjtd/2011/11/20/boy-he-sure-showed-skepticon/#comment-9467

  82. raven says

    By the way I live in New Zealand (NZ) so my knowledge on discrimination laws is particular to NZ and not the USA.

    No you don’t live in New Zealand. You live in way far out concern troll la la land.

    Atheists are one of the 4 most hated groups in the USA. By xians, especially fundie xians. Discrimination, hatred, and bigotry against atheists is the norm, not the exception. An atheist can’t even be elected dogcatcher here.

    BTW, a lot of us get death threats on a routine basis. It’s a xian thing. PZ Myers has gotten up to 100.death.threats.a.day. When you have a spare year or two, try to figure out what that might mean.

    PS: What color is the sky in la la land? Do you even have a sky?

  83. says

    @Kamaka

    I don’t have very much goodwill when confronting bigots.

    I mean the goodwill of the general population towards atheists.

    In my head the 3D version goes something like this:

    “Aww look, that guy was wrong, atheists aren’t so bad”

    [atheists continue to draw blood and eat the flesh]

    “Awww, those mean atheists, screw them”

    Thus my US+9/11 mention. After 9/11 the whole world was practically ready to adopt the US, and then Bush shoved feces into their faces and then they all hated us again. Bush spent the general goodwill of OTHERS towards the US.

    When I squeeze the guy further, my intent is to expose him as a jackass

    And that’s how you honestly believe other people watching (Christians or non-Christians alike) will view it? You don’t think they might (rightfully or wrongfully) see it differently?

    I’m just offering up a different perspective here.

  84. says

    Darkstar:

    In an argument or discussion this means giving the other side a graceful way to accept defeat.

    Oh bullshit. You’re just pushing being a tone troll in a meatspace situation. It’s bullshit. Why? See my post @68. There’s a lot of presuming going on, and it’s all about “oh, he apologized and he’s learned a lesson.” I don’t think so. At any rate, there’s no way to know, and a bigot is a bigot and no one should back down in the face of bigotry. When you do what you propose, all you’re doing is saying that bigotry is fine and dandy as long as you pay proper lip service.

  85. Karl Corwin says

    Well, we have two pretty good indications that his apology was not sincere. First, he was given a chance on his facebook wall to denounce some bigoted comments from Christian supporters and has yet to do so. Second, he has started to systematically delete and block negative comments from the same wall.

  86. says

    darkstar @ 102

    If you completely corner someone they will often defend even the most braindead positions – but if you can offer them an “olive branch” of a misunderstanding or something along those lines then it becomes much easier for them to bow out.

    Yah, I just fell off of the turnip truck.

    Back in the 70′s, where I lived, dropping the N-bomb was socially acceptable. You know how I dealt with that? Every time someone dropped the N-bomb, I offered them a cookie with a mild request that they say “colored” instead.

    but really I’m just posting because I’m bored and avoiding work

    Thanks for caring.

  87. says

    Sun Tzu – I’ve only skimmed summaries in passing but I do get the reference. I would rather read physics and biology texts.

    The version of it that sticks in my head was a program on Iwo Jima with one of the soldiers speaking about his experiences and how unprepared they were for the ferocity of the resistance.

    “Backed Into a Corner” is a common enough expression. It’s not news to anyone, but I find it helps to name things explicitly sometimes.

  88. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    but really I’m just posting because I’m bored and avoiding work

    ah yes the classic “i’m better that all of you because I don’t post on the internet” while posting on the internet.

  89. Mark says

    Note that the sign says “Skepticon is not welcome . . .” not “Atheists are not welcome . . .” He probably just doesn’t want convention proceedings held in his establishment.

  90. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    Note that the sign says “Skepticon is not welcome . . .” not “Atheists are not welcome . . .” He probably just doesn’t want convention proceedings held in his establishment.

    yeah, uh, probably

    sigh

  91. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    Oh. My. God.

    Gelato Mio just deleted every single critical comment from its Facebook wall. There were hundreds. It left up, however, all the supportive comments from fellow Christians, even though those are now hanging out in the air, replies to phantom comments that no longer exist.

  92. says

    Note that the sign says “Skepticon is not welcome . . .” not “Atheists are not welcome . . .” He probably just doesn’t want convention proceedings held in his establishment.

    Yeah, he probably doesn’t want a shit ton of money either.

    Also, it said “Skepticon is not welcome in my christian business.”

    Why mention christian unless he doesn’t want non-christians?

    Do you read before you comment?

  93. says

    Mark:

    He probably just doesn’t want convention proceedings held in his establishment.

    Oh FFS, are you honestly that stupid? No one was going to hold a convention proceeding in his ice cream shop. Jesus fucking Christ, this is the lamest excuse yet.

  94. says

    Gelato Mio just deleted every single critical comment from its Facebook wall. There were hundreds. It left up, however, all the supportive comments from fellow Christians, even though those are now hanging out in the air, replies to phantom comments that no longer exist.

    Wow, yes they did. What a bunch of dishonest, bigoted assholes.

  95. says

    “Backed Into a Corner”

    Here’s was my way of dealing with the N-bomb in the bad old days.

    Someone says nigger.

    My response was “My wife is a nigger”.

    The response to that was always “Oh, there’s niggers and there’s black people, just like there’s white people and white trash.

    To which my response was “Oh, no, she’s a nigger, really, she’s a nigger!”

    Then I gave them a cookie to help them accept defeat.

  96. Sastra says

    Star Stuff #118 wrote:

    Also, it said “Skepticon is not welcome in my christian business.”
    Why mention christian unless he doesn’t want non-christians?

    But Andy need not have been directing his ire towards atheists. He could have been upset over all those New Age pagans attending Skepticon!

    Or … maybe not. That might be a small subset.

  97. raven says

    He probably just doesn’t want convention proceedings held in his establishment.

    Good point. It would be hard to fit 1100 people into a little gelato store.

    Hmmmm, especially since they didn’t book a multi-day meeting in advance in his gelato store. Where would they all sleep anyway?

  98. John Morales says

    darkstar:

    You have to decide what your goal is based on the situation. Do you want to shame them and cement their bigotry or do you want to try to shake them up or do you want to try to mend fences.

    No, there is no such need (not that your three alternatives exhaust the possibilities).

    (But your concern is noted)

  99. raven says

    BTW, this isn’t the first time some xian bigot has openly and illegally discriminated against atheists.

    Just recently, Richard Dawkins was supposed to do a book signing event somewhere around Detroit. It was booked in a publicly open country club facility owned by some rich wingnut who has been in huge trouble with the law over taxes and his billion dollar auto parts business failing.

    At the last moment they canceled it saying they didn’t want “those people” hanging around.

    Xians never, ever miss a chance to demonstrate their intellectual and moral bankruptcy.

  100. says

    @Caine, Fleur du Mal

    Thank you for taking the time to write. I would like to bring a few things to your attention under two general divisions of discussion:

    #1 My initial post was solely in regard to the depth of response post-apology – you seem clearly in the Mortal Kombat! Fatality! camp. Which is fine, but it would be nice if you addressed the actual arguments I made. For example, you could address the question of how do you believe others who are on the “outside” might view such continued (pardon the prejudicial term) harassment of this guy post-apology. Will they be cheering ‘atheists’ on or is there perhaps any validity in the perspective I provided (let’s call it the ‘jackass’ perspective, if you will pardon my tone)? And at what point do you feel the “tide of opinion” might change in those viewing the incident?

    That is, how far must it be taken? Do we only stop at his death or risk being deemed accommodationists?

    My position was that this seemed like a good place (on admittedly a cursory review of the evidence provided here, I didn’t call and interview all witnesses) and I stated the reasons why I had that position. But clearly my position is invalid as I am a tone troll and an accommodationist. Thus my arguments are thus rendered invalid due to flaw of character, mea culpa. And might I say, well argued.

    #2 After that post I actually moved to a slightly different and more general topic, which was about exit strategies in persuasive arguments. The point being that not backing people into a corner in a verbal disagreement is also applicable.

    I would like to suggest that talking about such general interpersonal strategies is perhaps not “Tone Trolling”. As, in absolutely no instance, did I actually impugn anyone’s tone. In fact, in one follow-up post I even explicitly said there are an array of responses including yelling and showing disgust that can be effective.

    @John

    The ‘need’ would be in the context of the discussion, not a universal imperative. My apologies for not qualifying that with something like (if you wish to consciously influence on-going discussions). Although, I suspect (based on weak inference) that in such situations your brain may subconsciously have some goal in mind (that’s almost circular). And you are right, I’m astonished that those three options aren’t the only options. I wonder if we can find other statements which people use that have implied information?

    Like “But your concern is noted”. Was it really literally noted? It’s almost like there is some additional meaning implied by the words that isn’t explicitly stated that we’re supposed to infer as the reader. :) Like maybe the statement was meant as an obviously partial list, meant only to serve as examples?

    But my fault, the authorship imperative is Know Thy Audience and I clearly failed.

  101. John Morales says

    [meta]

    Caine,

    All you had to do was click the link PZ provided in his post, where there’s a photo of the sign at wwjtd.

    I didn’t know that until you just told me; all I knew is that the link went to another blog (by hovering my mouse on), whilst kantalope’s was obviously a link to the image.

    (I don’t click on links willy-nilly)

  102. John Morales says

    [meta]

    darkstar:

    The ‘need’ would be in the context of the discussion, not a universal imperative.

    Your opening was “General rule: [blah]“, which is hardly context-specific, then you responded to someone’s response.

    Although, I suspect (based on weak inference) that in such situations your brain may subconsciously have some goal in mind (that’s almost circular).

    Or it may just be an expression of disapproval, without any particular goal in mind.

    Like “But your concern is noted”. Was it really literally noted?

    Why, yes, it was really literally noted — there exists a note in this thread explicitly noting it.

  103. says

    That is, how far must it be taken? Do we only stop at his death or risk being deemed accommodationists?

    That’s fucking ridiculous. Is it really so bad that we don’t want to just forgive and forget when someone is being bigoted just because s/he gave a half assed apology? It’s not about making ourselves look good, it’s about the fact that this shop owner has serious hatred for those who don’t think like s/he does.

    My position was that this seemed like a good place [...]

    Is it really a good place? Do tell how that is! Because I’m pretty sure this person isn’t that sorry, seeing as all negative comments were just deleted from the facebook page, leaving only positive comments.

    The point being that not backing people into a corner in a verbal disagreement is also applicable.

    What should we do then? Just forgive anything anyone does just because they said the magic word (“sorry”)? Even when they clearly don’t mean it?

  104. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    20 November 2011 at 10:58 pm

    Oh, the store took down the whole facebook page now because people were putting up more negative comments. I guess they couldn’t delete fast enough.

    Oh, of course they did. All brave and “I know I did wrong” until people starting actually probing the sincerity of the apology and what the original action revealed about the store-owner’s prejudices.

  105. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    Before the FB page went down, Gelato Mio wrote that “no one was turned away” (he didn’t understand that people were turned away by the sign before they even got in the door), and that the Skepticon attendees he did sell ice cream to were “actually nice people.”

    I’ll bet he even let them use his toilet.

    Darkstar, I’ll concede an inch of ground when bigots stop this shit. Seriously. What the hell.

  106. Ermine says

    Looks to me like their FaceBook page is gone completely now – can anyone else see any page at all?

  107. Trickster Goddess says

    So this shop owner had an unpleasant interaction with one person and then decided to ban an entire class of people from his business just because that one person was a member of that class.

    If he ever has a rude customer who happens to be christian, would he quickly slap up a sign banning all christians from his store?

  108. Anteprepro says

    You know, the apologies sounded sincere to me. But I really don’t think tossing the store’s facebook page into the memory hole sounds like it fits what we would expect of someone who was truly apologetic and knew that they had caused offense. The best they could do is to stand by their apology and let others air grievances which, by issuing an apology in the first place, they have acknowledged are legitimate grievances. Deleting criticism and then deleting everything is not what we expect from someone who apologized sincerely: it is what we expect from someone going through the motions and just doing what they need to in order to save their own asses. I feel sorry that I gave them the benefit of the doubt.

  109. faithless says

    Oh, come on.

    OK, Andy the ice-cream guy screwed up with his ‘no atheists’ notice.

    But there must be a difference between a hypothetical Andy who maintained that attitude throughout and the real one who a) took the sign down and b) apologised.

    That difference is commendable and he deserves recognition as such.

  110. says

    @StarStuff

    Is it really a good place?

    I don’t know, I gave my opinion in #95.

    “Is it really so bad that we don’t want to just forgive and forget” – NOT AT ALL, where do you get that I said or implied that? I’m talking about balancing costs and gains.

    But you didn’t answer the question (“how far must it be taken?”) either. Yes, I used ridiculous hyperbole (what I should have said is shall we deploy the New York City Picante Sauce Remedy and “get a rope”?).

    “It’s not about making ourselves look good” – hopefully it isn’t the inverse of that either but I’m less sure with nearly every post.

    So, what IS it about really? Saying “it’s about the fact that this shop owner has serious hatred for those who don’t think like s/he does” says only what the incident is about, I want to know what the RESPONSE is about.

    Because I would think we would want to use the situation to reduce overall bigotry rather than play into the scenario Gregory outlined in #22 (which some people seem singularly intent on accomplishing).

    Is it really a good place? Do tell how that is!

    I stated my opinion in #95, basically that “before we start looking like a raving drove of jackasses” might be a good place to stop. Or as sandiseattle referenced DBAD, which means “Don’t Be A Dick”.

    Can you reflect here and see how the actions of the community might be viewed by others?

    The vast majority (there are always a few exceptions) of the sentient population would probably agree that the guy was being a Dick. They would likely have no issue with atheists taking him to task. They would view the apology (however weak you see it) as OUR victory – the guy admitted to being a Dick. And then you keep at him, you keep attacking, you dig in the knife, you kick the dog when it is down. And when you do these things the vast majority of the population, that was ON YOUR SIDE about 30 seconds ago, will turn against you. You will have become the Dick (not you personally, the collective in this case).

    Is this interpretation so inconceivable? Do you see these things in pure black and white? You are right, he was wrong, therefore any and all punitive action taken is justified?

    If you simply dismiss these concerns as being accommodationist then you aren’t being honest – you have a line as well. The question is, where is that line. I didn’t say you should shut up and tolerate bigotry – to read that into my comments is simply juvenile. But I also don’t believe that 100′s of atheists forming a “posse” (however ad hoc) and running the guy out of business is necessarily a justified response either. And even if you rationalize it somehow, are the consequences of doing so the outcome you desire? Yay, now 100′s of previously tolerant Christians are now anti-atheists bigots also. Proud of that? Boy, we really showed ‘em what we’re made of!

    @Josh Darkstar, I’ll concede an inch of ground when bigots stop this shit So… for you murder isn’t off the table? Should be concerned? Or do you concede that much? If so, we’ve established what you are (an accommodationist), now see above.

    But what I have NOT asked of anyone is that they tolerate bigotry.

    @John

    Please clarify why you believe a “general rule” in post #95 would be the proper context for adjunct commentary in post #101, as opposed to the surrounding text? Isn’t it possible that rather than demanding a universal imperative it was merely suggestive based on the consequent? That is, if you wish to have some conscious influence on how an argument goes then different actions might be found to be more or less applicable based on the desired goal.

    Do you take all imperative statements as putting a burden on you to perform? When wished “Have a nice day”, is it then incumbent upon you to follow through or be a failure? Or are you able to infer the valediction (or lack thereof when it is implied by context)?

    I don’t think the passage was that opaque.

    Have a nice day.

  111. crowepps says

    The collective noun for a group of atheists is still being established.

    Suggestions are: a freedom of atheists, a reason of atheists, a logical of atheists and a rational of atheists

    http://all-sorts.org/nouns/atheists

    Have also seen: a sensible of atheists, a future of atheists

    My choice is a disbelief of atheists

  112. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    <blockquote.So… for you murder isn’t off the table? Should be concerned? Or do you concede that much? If so, we’ve established what you are (an accommodationist), now see above.</blockquote.

    That's stupid. Try harder.

  113. says

    Josh,

    If I may borrow the term, it was your original comment to me that was ‘stupid’, in the sense that wasn’t even remotely on point. Do you have anything to contribute on the relevant questions of where to draw the line and what about the consequences?

  114. fredbloggs says

  115. Agent Smith says

    Best way to deal with bigotry is to cut off its oxygen supply.

    Poor bigot’s in a corner? Serves them right for camping out so close to it.

  116. isilzhaveni says

    I’m curious–to what agency do you report violations of the Civil Rights Act? Do you file a complaint with the state Attorney General? I’ve just spent a bit of time reading several pages about what is covered in the act, but haven’t really found much about how violations are handled (at least there’s not much info about violations toward customers rather than employees).

  117. Compuholic says

    @fredbloggs

    So ice-cream is the least of our worries!!

    I agree with you that the potential consequences of the actions you listed might be more severe than refusing entry to a restaurant but the mindset behind all of these actions is the same and must be fought.

    That being said, to all the haters:
    Yes, the guy screwed up and his bigotry was exposed publicly. And he deserves all the shit he’s getting for this now. But no matter what the crime, there needs be a point where everybody needs to calm down again. When I hear cries about wanting to see his business to go down in flames I am utterly apalled. Yes, I hope he will suffer financial consequences for this as well (because I also don’t think that his apology is really sincere as this kind of bigotry doesn’t disappear overnight but I’m pretty sure he got the message). But we are not a lynchmob out to destroy this guy’s business and life, blinded by collective rage.

    He got a big slap on his wrists and I think this must be enough.
    Now you can tear me apart. I don’t care.

  118. isilzhaveni says

    @Crys–I appreciate that you responded, but that’s not really the information I was wanting to know.

    I realize that there are organizations that help protect people’s rights. However, I’m wondering what official government agency is suppose to handle reports of violations. From what I read, if you are an employee who’s rights under the Civil Rights Act have been violated then you can report that violation to the Dept. of Labor. However, as a customer of a business the DOL doesn’t seem the appropriate agency to report a violation to. So, what should a customer faced with a business denying services that violate the Civil Rights Act do? Go to the local police station and file a complaint? A violation of the Civil Rights Act is a criminal act, right, not just a civil offense?

  119. Erulóra Maikalambe says

    I’m still not sure exactly how I feel about the whole thing. Okay, yes he apologized, and sincere or not it took courage to do that. So I should give him some credit for that. Yes, everybody makes mistakes, myself included. But. He didn’t just step on somebody’s foot and go “Oh, my bad.” He took the time to make a sign with a very deliberate message. Writing “Christian” boldly and underlining it twice. The word “business” had to be squeezed in there to fit, because the preceding word was of so much importance. And then he grabbed some tape and stuck the sign on the front of his business, surely knowing what it means to declare people unwelcome in your business (every business owner should always think hard about any sign you stick on the front of your source of livelihood). If this is all the result of an “impulse reaction”, then the man has some serious issues with impulse control and should probably be avoided.

    So I guess I’ll just have to see some evidence that he’s not actually a bigot before his apology will mean anything to me. Until then, I’ll feel like he’s more sorry for being outed than for being wrong.

  120. says

    Erulóra Maikalambe:

    So I guess I’ll just have to see some evidence that he’s not actually a bigot before his apology will mean anything to me. Until then, I’ll feel like he’s more sorry for being outed than for being wrong.

    If you read the thread, you’ll find that many of us felt it wasn’t courage that prompted the apology, it was damage control, then you’ll come across the posts about his business’s facebook account, where he was deleting any negative or critical comment about the sign, while keeping the supportive comments from fellow Christians. Then you’ll come across the posts pointing out that deleting all the unwanted comments seemed to be too much trouble, so he deleted the whole facebook account.

    It’s fairly obvious how he feels about atheists.

  121. Erulóra Maikalambe says

    Caine,

    That’s true. I guess his continued actions do cast a lot of doubt on his sincerity. Damage control can be a pretty strong motivator to get people to make the motions of eating crow without actually swallowing any.

  122. Alice Shortcake says

    If Andy had put a “This is a Christian business” sign in his window would any Skepticon attendees have crossed his threshold? This sort of thing is mercifully rare in England – during the past 20 years I’ve come across precisely two Christian businesses, one in the Yellow Pages and one on the internet. I avoided both of them in case my money ended up as a donation to homophobic/forced birth etc organisations.

  123. says

    I like how the Yelp! page now has the sign as its main picture for the business.

    Also @Darkstar re: DBaD:

    Please don’t use gender-based terminology as an insult – I know you’re not the person who came up with DBaD – Phil Plait, in telling people to not be “dicks” was being a “dick” – but don’t use those kinds of terms to reduce a person to their genitalia.

  124. drdale says

    I agree with mythusmage (127). Having something on the marquee costs money. This could be because it wasn’t asked for or the cost was too much and therefor signage wasn’t written into the contract.

  125. Dianne says

    I actually kind of like the apology. My reading of it is that he’s saying that he got upset at something that someone did or said (unspecified) and, in a fit of temper, put up the sign. A few minutes later he cooled down and realized he’d behaved badly and took it down. If that’s what happened (I don’t know how long the sign was actually up, for example) then I think it would be reasonable to forget about it and judge the gelato on its merits. Although since I’m probably never going to have a reason to go to or shun a business in Missouri, my opinion is of little importance.

  126. Predator Handshake says

    @isilzhaveni:

    This is just a guess as I’ve never actually dealt with them before, but maybe consumers can report this kind of thing to the Better Business Bureau? I gave their website a cursory glance and found a link for filing complaints, but I really don’t know how much authority they actually have for dealing with offenders.

  127. peterh says

    @# 92: You said,

    “It is entirely possible the sign may have offended members of the public who were not Skepticon attendees, and it’s fair to apologize to them as well.”

    This may open the door to infinite regress; rather like the closing credits in the Monty Python film telling us that those responsible for the errors have been sacked, those responsible for the sacking have been sacked, those responsible for sacking the sackers have been sacked . . . . .

    Monty Python is funny (usually) but the cafe owner is not.

  128. cicely, Inadvertent Phytocidal Maniac says

    So ice-cream is the least of our worries!!

    But (as the punchline in the spittoon joke goes) it’s all one string.
    -

    Until then, I’ll feel like he’s more sorry for being outed than for being wrong.

    I feel like he’s more worried about the possible legal repercussions; I’m not sure that he even feels that he did anything “wrong”. He was just covering his ass.

    (IMO, of course; I have no hot-line into his thought-processes.)
    -

  129. ChrisKG says

    @ #7, “What “event” did Andy witness?”

    Isn’t it obvious? Someone was eating a cracker.

  130. fastlane says

    Andy, the owner of Gelato Mio in Springfield, Missouri, has done pretty much the exact opposite of what one would expect if he were truly sincere, and his story was correct.

    I wonder how many people saw that pic. Can we build a minimum window of time from when the sign was posted to when it was taken down? Given the process of comment deletion, FB page deletion, etc., I’m inclined to think his initial apology was simple damage control, complete with probably made up, entirely imaginary offense by some unverifiable, single person. Unless someone who was there from the convention would like to come forward and claim that they had an interaction, in the shop, with the owner or another customer, there’s absolutely no way to know. And again, given the ongoing reactions by the owner, it would be harder to believe than if the initial story had included those details.

  131. isilzhaveni says

    @159, Predator–The BBB is a non-profit agency. It is NOT a government or law enforcement agency. Also, they have come under fire recently for essentially selling/extorting business ratings.

    So, no one knows what government agency is responsible for protecting our civil rights? Seriously, besides having to ask the ACLU for help, where do we go to report this? Do local police handle it or do they just shrug and say it’s not their responsibility?

  132. says

    “what government agency is responsible for protecting our civil rights?”

    I found this, seems slightly helpful, the answer seems to be “it’s complicated”:

    http://public.findlaw.com/civil-rights/civil-rights-enforcement/have-your-civil-rights-been-violated.html

    It also links to this page:

    http://public.findlaw.com/civil-rights/civil-rights-enforcement/civil-rights-government-enforcement-overview.html

    Which more directly addresses your question.

    BTW: this was the top hit from Google: what do you do if your civil rights are violated

  133. okieblue says

    I don’t know any more facts than anyone else but his apology seemed sincere and we should give him the benefit of the doubt. He has certainly gone the extra mile to correct his initial bigotry which is way more than I’ve ever seen from a christian before.

  134. Carlie says

    okieblue – like deleting facebook comments that were critical of him, you mean? And then taking the page down altogether instead of facing up to the criticisms?

  135. truebutnotuseful says

    Contented Reader says:

    I don’t feel I can develop an opinion without knowing the ‘event’ that caused him to become so upset…Someone going from table to table telling all his customers the joke that starts, “How does Jesus masturbate?” Understandable.

    No. That would be license to boot (and perhaps ban) that particular customer, and only that customer. Not to ban an entire class of people of which that individual might be a member.

  136. fredbloggs says

    I think one should always take an apology at face value and not try to second-guess it. Of course, it may be insincere or financially motivated, but, as someone has already said, we’re not in the business of mind-control – that’s the domain of dogma. As long as he doesn’t repeat this performance, I don’t personally care what he thinks.

  137. isilzhaveni says

    @165, Darkstar–

    So, posting a sign that excludes a protected class from a business still requires an individual to file a lawsuit? It’s not a criminal act to post such a sign?

    And then there’s this–
    “Remember that, for some types of civil rights cases, you must file a claim with the appropriate government agency before pursuing any private lawsuit.”

    What’s the appropriate government agency for a violation of public accommodation rights? And is this one of those ‘types’ of civil rights cases?

    So, maybe this is the definitive answer (for this instance):
    Missouri Commission on Human Rights (MCHR)
    http://labor.mo.gov/mohumanrights/

    The MCHR investigates complaints of discrimination in housing, employment, and places of public accommodations based on race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, sex, disability, age (in employment only), and familial status (in housing only).

  138. says

    @isilzhaveni

    IANAL! Just my opinion based on what I’ve read.

    Possibly… my understanding is that (at least in some cases) “atheism” has been regarded legally as a position relative to religion and is thus protected. For example: http://www.wnd.com/?pageId=31895

    However, being a member of the Skepticon convention, probably is not protected and I think that EVEN with the snide “Christian business” remark you would have a very difficult time legally because he specifically said Skepticon.

    But again, just my opinion. Lawyers have a funny way of defining what “is” is, so you never know what can happen when you pay one immense amounts of money.

    You could also research similar cases and see how the rulings went. Discrimination against conference attendees, weekend-biker ‘gangs’, and so forth probably isn’t unheard of.

  139. isilzhaveni says

    @171, Darkstar–

    I do agree that addressing the sign to Skepticon instead of atheist does make it seem more of a grey area. However, he still discriminated against a class of people based on religion.

    Haven’t looked to see if MO has a similar provision, but I found this interesting:

    “For example, California’s Unruh Civil Rights Act makes it illegal to discriminate against individuals based on unconventional dress or sexual preference.

    In the 1960s, the Unruh Civil Rights Act was interpreted to provide broad protection from arbitrary discrimination by business owners. Cases decided during that era held that business owners could not discriminate, for example, against hippies, police officers, homosexuals, or Republicans, solely because of who they were.”

  140. Therrin says

    Via Emily’s site, here’s (his description of) the origin:

    Once the store slowed down, I decided to walk down the street to learn more about the convention, fully thinking it was something involving UFOs (“skeptics”). What I saw instead was a man conducting a mock sermon, reading the bible and cursing it. Instead of saying “Amen”, the phrase was “god damn”. Being a Christian, and expecting flying saucers, I was not only totally surprised but totally offended.

  141. Ichthyic says

    You can go by the date, too: Nov. 20.

    I wonder why he changed his mind?

    because it was my birthday, of course.

  142. Cesar Hechler says

    Coming at this from the vantage point of a consumer, it doesn’t bother me that he did put up the sign. I can’t say much about the legal issues behind it, not being a lawyer. I would certainly appreciate that laws protecting the rights of any consumer would let them into an establishment if it was a necessity, such as a grocery store or gas station in a remote location with no other options available.

    I would have to admit to bigotry on my part as a consumer where I know that the shop at the corner of the local furniture mall is owned by the LDS church and I refuse to set foot in the place. If other shop owners put up signs such as the one in the ice shop, I would make mental note and never set foot in that one either. As someone else mentioned, you never know if this guy is tithing to some organization that wants to diminish the rights of women to choose or send people to your door every time you set down to eat.

  143. echidna says

    I would have to admit to bigotry on my part as a consumer where I know that the shop at the corner of the local furniture mall is owned by the LDS church and I refuse to set foot in the place.

    False equivalence. Your choice of which shop to enter is a private matter. An ice-cream shop is a place of public accommodation.

  144. Anubis Bloodsin the third says

    Anyone that reacts they way Andy did is a clue that any apology is at best marginal and at worst insincere.
    The fiddling with his web comments…finally deleting the whole page… is not an action by someone who is remotely sorry…just someone trying to do damage limitation.

    That mind set is typical in xian brigades everywhere,
    What are the betting odds that IF the defacers of bus atheist adverts were caught they would plead anger and offence…but they are sorry!!

  145. Carlie says

    I think he has been punished, and is trying to rehabilitate himself. Honestly, if he had doubled down and kept claiming that he had a Christian establishment etc., that probably would have gotten him more business in that area, not less. I’m glad that he’s trying not to be a bigot now. I can understand people who think that it’s too little too late and would refuse to go there again, but I hope that after all this he ends up thinking “those atheists, they aren’t bad people”. That’s often the first step to erasing bigotry in someone’s mind.

  146. Echidna says

    It would be nice if Andy could acknowledge that Christians do not respect atheists.. The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, their deeds are vile; there is no one who does good. is offensive.

    We hear this all the time in all seriousness,, but Andy was shocked at the parody of an evangelical. I can understand his stupid reaction, and the subsequent damage control, but I want to see more evidence of changes in his thinking. It will take time.

  147. says

    I’m in a debate on Twitter with somebody who is trying to draw a parallel between PZ’s reaction to “GelatoGate” and the Inquisition. Seriously. I get so sick of people comparing harsh words to fucking mass murder. People who use comparisons to historical mass murder events to bolster a flimsy argument are as bad as Hitler.

  148. says

    I think one should always take an apology at face value and not try to second-guess it.

    When he addresses one to Sam Singleton I’ll be impressed. But who knows, maybe we can make an ally out of Andy.

  149. says

    I’m in a debate on Twitter with somebody who is trying to draw a parallel between PZ’s reaction to “GelatoGate” and the Inquisition

    I never said Inquisition – YOU are the one that said that. I drew behavioral parallels based on what we view as poor behavior from the religious in the past. What *I* said was, in the context of a LONG series of twitter posts about escalation and appropriateness (including those I quote below):

    what’s the punishment? Pitchforks? Burning at the stake? No quarter, infinite punishment for a finite transgression?

    The point being to say, where does it end – WHEN is enough enough?

    Part of the context was pz’s comments (which were made after Andy’s latest apology), comments like:

    “I expect atheists to be harsh in their response.”

    “Make an example of him; don’t give bigots an out”

    “fuck him to the ground, let him be a lesson to others”

    So the bad Yelp reviews, harassing phone calls and emails, shutting down his facebook page are not sufficient then what exactly is next? How do we “fuck him to the ground” and “make an example” out of him?

    And more importantly, how do you think some of the more unstable atheists might view such incitements? I’m pretty sure PZ isn’t advocating physical violence but others might not see it that way.

    And how long must it go one for atheists to have doled out “sufficient” vigilante punishment. You want to sue him, seek legal recourse? FINE. I even posted info to help someone who was looking in to that. That is what CIVIL people do.

    Violence is not only physical and there IS a difference between NOT tolerating bigotry, Speaking out AGAINST bigotry, and just continue bashing and harassing behavior like a bunch of vigilante’s. What are you going to say if someone DOES escalate to physical violence? Will you pull the Sarah-Palin? Come on, it’s JUST targets on people that we want to kick out of office. It’s JUST a saying, “take ‘em out”. It’s JUST saying ‘fuck him to the ground’ and ‘make an example out of him’.

    And I’m not the only one to see it this way.

    https://twitter.com/jennifurret/status/138846410098491392
    @jennifurret
    Let’s not emulate the old testament for our ethics, okay? RT @pzmyers: No. Fuck him to the ground, let him be a lesson to others

    Is it LITERALLY Old Testament? No. But how far are people going to take this?

  150. says

    Oh – and hey, if you want a real fight, Texas requires an affirmation in God to hold office. Now there is some real, hardcore, institutionalized, unapologetic bigotry.

    Why do they get a pass?

  151. says

    Okay, I’ll accept that I missed some context and misunderstood what you were getting at. But when I read this:

    what’s the punishment? Pitchforks? Burning at the stake? No quarter, infinite punishment for a finite transgression?

    it annoys me. Who says there has to be any punishment? Why can’t we just say “Fuck you” and move on?

    And how long must it go one for atheists to have doled out “sufficient” vigilante punishment.

    I think it would be much closer to an end if it wasn’t for everybody that is insisting that every apology that’s offered must be accepted. It’s a stupid social convention. It’s perfectly reasonable to say “No, fuck you” and move on. If I never have to think of him again, then what does it matter if I’ve accepted his apology. All that does is make the offender feel better, and I or PZ have no obligation to his feelings.

    Violence is not only physical

    I’ll disagree with this until my last breath. Sticks and stones.

    And for the record, I’m not even sure what “fuck him to the ground” means.

  152. says

    Violence is not only physical

    I’ll disagree with this until my last breath. Sticks and stones.

    I come from a background where I witnessed emotional and mental abuse in action and I have read on and studied the issues myself at some length so perhaps I have a different perspective.

    But I think that I’m not alone as the United Nations General Assembly defines “violence against women” as “any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or mental harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life.”

    Similarly with bullying. Creating a prolonged situation where someone feels threatened (however justified you feel in doing so) is crossing that line, especially given the fact that the actual offending behavior ceased.

    I find it rather surprising that someone could be unaware of the spectrum of violence… but ok. Fair enough. You might not use it that way, that’s fine – but hopefully this clarifies my perspective.

    We certainly agree that merely arguing is not violence. Not all disagreements are bullying. But there is a line, it may not be a sharp line. But when 100′s of people are calling and emailing and posting on facebook and they are posting things that are NOT just condemning the bigotry, it risks impinging on that line.

    I didn’t say you had to accept his apology. Or ‘forgive’ him. Or ‘forget’ the incident. Or frequent his establishment. Or retract your bad Yelp review. Or not continue to talk about it and condemn the bigotry. All strawmen of my comments.

    My concern is it is starting to look like jackassery on our part and my question is:

    So what do you ACTUALLY propose doing? Are YOU even doing anything? Are YOU calling the guy up and telling him off daily? Are YOU taking continued actions to directly disrupt his business? Why not? Why aren’t YOU doing these things? Do they feel kind at all slimy to think about ACTUALLY doing?

    This drive for vengeance (given the specifics of this case) is generating backlash, it’s not just my imagination: http://freethoughtblogs.com/wwjtd/2011/11/22/gelato-mios-newest-apology/#comment-9757

    You don’t see people defending the shop who turned away the lesbian woman because the details are very different between the two. And yes, even a half-assed, insincere, cover-your-ass, damage-control apology makes a difference. If you have any evidence of continued bigotry at Andy’s store then that would be different as well. But if you keep pushing him, you just might ENSURE that it happens – and to what end?

  153. says

    Re: “Violence”

    In my mind (where things are sometimes wrong), all violence is abuse, but not all abuse is violence. Violence is abuse that’s physical. I will read up on this, though, as I may very well be using too narrow a scope for the word. It’s just that I get very sick of people treating words as if they do physical harm. We see it all the time from people trolling here. They make it out as if your criticisms and insults aimed their way are in some way maiming them (these are often the same people who also think that criticism is censorship). And it’s a part of our language (eg, “bashing”). So if I’ve taken too narrow a view, it’s not arbitrary, but in response to what I see as a silencing tactic. But I value truth, so I will read the links provided.

    Thank you.

  154. qwerty45 says

    @kamaka

    “I call bullshit on the apology.

    ‘Out of the hundreds of event attendees that I served on Friday and Saturday, all of them were extremely polite and enjoyed their time in my restaurant.’

    There is an underlying presupposition here.

    “all of them were extremely polite”

    As if that’s some kind of surprise.”

    yeah, i’m offended by that too. i mean, reading the comments here everyone is so delightful and respectful. crazy!

  155. Ichthyic says

    i mean, reading the comments here everyone is so delightful and respectful. crazy!

    have you ever met any of us in person?

    …and you never will.