I hope you don’t want any ice cream right now

Because if you watch this, you might find yourself banned from local shops.

That’s Brother Sam Singleton, doing the speechifying that so horrified a shop owner in Springfield, Missouri.


  1. says

    It amazes me that this is all Andy was “offended” by. Sam’s a comedian, and comedy pushes buttons by touching on sensitive issues; getting “offended” is about that is absurd.

    If he (Andy) didn’t like the ‘sermon’, he should have addressed that, instead of resorting to discrimination. “I’m offended”, Allah’s ballz…

  2. NewEnglandBob says

    I only could take 22 minutes of it. I didn’t find it funny or enjoyable. It plodded along. I find actual revivals funnier, but can’t take those for too long either.

  3. Glodson says

    Wait, does that mean I have to throw out the ice cream I bought the other night? Damnit, it is Blue Bell ice cream. I don’t want to throw it out.

    Oh, maybe I just missed the sarcasm.

  4. Timinane says

    God Damn, I really feel like Ice Cream. Beautiful sun rising in my part of the world where the ice cream shops don’t care what religion you are. They only care about the colour of your money be it purple, red, blue, yellow or green preferably the first 3 so they don’t have to give you lots of change. (note: Australian bank notes are purple: $5. Blue $10, Red $20, Yellow $50, Green $100.)

  5. Sastra says

    I think Andy the Gelato Guy ought to come up with a new flavor in honor of Skepticon: “GOD DAMN It’s Good.”

    I’ll have a scoop of that.

  6. says

    I find it disturbing—DISTURBING—that he’s open on the Sabbath.

    Yes, 11am to 10pm on Saturday.

    Trick answer: Colossians 2:16-17 says (maybe) you can pick whatever day you want.

  7. AnneH says


    That radio talk show host is a definitive example of a tone troll. He can’t be bothered to learn the origin of Pastafarianism, either. (Kansas vs Board of Education)

    The First Amendment means nothing to him or his listeners.

  8. Reg says

    As a strong atheist, and a musician who has performed in the African-American gospel circuit, I find the performance to be distinctly tepid. I could not get beyond 8 minutes of this skit. It is far from entertaining, and perhaps there is some pithy commentary to be gleaned from it, but I am not inspired to watch the entire performance. Perhaps the participants might do well to emulate the best of Gospel histrionics, so as to induce fervor in the audience.
    Despite the many shortcomings of Christian theism ,lack of showmanship, at least in the Af-Am Gospel circuit, is not among them. I am offended, like Mio Gelato, but not for the same reasons. If we Atheists are to capture the hearts and minds of believers, we might do well to take a page from the book of Gospel performance techniques.

  9. neonsequitur says

    I love good satire. But WTF is this supposed to be? “Look at me! I’m blaspheming!” Big deal. It turns out that amusing skeptics is just as easy as offending Christians.

  10. garywalsh says

    If this is representative of what goes on at Skepticon, it is unlikely that I would ever be inclined to attend such a conference.

  11. Akira MacKenzie says

    Last night, one of my Facebook “friends”, a JREF forum regualr and an alleged “atheist, ” posted on GG and lamented how some unnamed atheists refused to accept GG’s not-apology. Apparently, in the name of “civility.” Furthermre, whined about the “Revival” and how it provoked GG to his hissy fit. ” Why do some atheists have to ridicule other people’s beliefs.” he wrote spewing the usual faitheist bull.

    I wish I could do something far more physically painful than “unfriending” this pile of religionist- loving, Accomodationist pig-shit.

  12. Akira MacKenzie says

    It turns out that amusing skeptics is just as easy as offending Christians.

    And we should care what offends Christians… why?

  13. says

    It was epic in person! If you get the chance, catch this show! My wife, a recovering Catholic and recovering fundie, had to be helped out of the theater. She had laughed herself into exhaustion.

  14. echidna says

    I don’t get a lot out of Sam Singleton. But that’s because I don’t have the cultural experience that would make him funny – I’m not from the US, and I’ve never been a fundie (recovering Catholic here).

    Intellectually, I think he’s important in the same way as eating meat on Good Friday was for me – breaking taboos that have been internalised is a great way of deconstructing the internalised rituals that linger even after intellectually abandoning religion. For a number of years, I found myself making vegetarian meals on Good Friday, (nothing wrong with vegetarian meals per se), but it was remarkably liberating to cook a good steak one year, several years into acknowledging myself as atheist.

  15. Karen says

    I thought it was reasonably funny in the right places, and deadly earnest — with the right message — in the right places. The last bit was the best. But the upshot is this: Sam demonstrated that you can take the “preacher’s format” and morph it into an atheist-encouraging format. As an ex-Catholic but also an ex-evangelical Christian, I heard all the words I SHOULD have heard during those years.

  16. John Morales says


    I don’t get a lot out of Sam Singleton. But that’s because I don’t have the cultural experience that would make him funny – I’m not from the US, and I’ve never been a fundie


  17. echidna says

    As an ex-Catholic but also an ex-evangelical Christian, I heard all the words I SHOULD have heard during those years.

    Yes. You (and those like you) are his intended audience. The people who think he is gratuitously making fun of other people’s beliefs have got the wrong end of the stick [translation: have misunderstood the situation].

  18. robro says

    That was it!? That was the big mystery offense!? Jeez, that was easy. And, what…Andy never made fun of preachers? Even as a church-goer, we made fun of the preachers. Maybe he’s a part-time preacher and the parody struck a little too close to home.

  19. says

    I always loved brother Sam. I first saw him on youtube. And then I purchased a copy of ” Patriarchs and Penises.” And have enjoyed all of it. Though I am a raging Athaholic I still love that Appalachian backhills mountain culture.

  20. SallyStrange, Spawn of Cthulhu says

    I am American, but I definitely didn’t grow up in an evangelical culture. So, although this looks amusing and fun, it wouldn’t be as side-splitting and rewarding for as for some. I don’t see anything wrong with it, though–any Christians who get upset about it are simply taking things far too personally. They don’t own revivals the idea of a preacher or any of that. Those are cultural traditions regardless of the content of the beliefs they are used to spread.

  21. ludovico says

    That was embarrassingly unfunny. It’s this sort of shtick which gives atheists a bad name. Give me the “better angels” of atheism–Shermer, Sagan, Asimov, Randi.

  22. John Morales says


    It’s this sort of shtick which gives atheists a bad name.

    Is the sort of shtick which this parodies concomitantly that which gives Christians a bad name, then? :)

    Give me the “better angels” of atheism–Shermer, Sagan, Asimov, Randi.

    Give me the “better devils” of theism–Spinoza, Spong, Avicenna, Rozanov.

  23. Alex, Tyrant of Skepsis says

    yeah who cares… The commentary in the google ratings about the place is interesting, too. For example the couple who apparently got thrown out for eating ice cream while being gay.

  24. AlanMacandCheese says

    @Akira MacKenzie #24
    @ludovico #39

    The problem with Randi and the JREF is that they are not “officially” atheists. They go after the low hanging fruit of the woo universe like ESP, homeopathy, and “phony” faith healers but avoid god(s) and religion. This to me is skeptic bullying, i.e. picking on the little guy but avoiding the obvious big fight.

  25. John Morales says


    Uh, it seems like a lot of you guys haven’t read his full apology (complaining about how vague it was, etc.)

    Uh, it seems you haven’t been keeping up with the posts, because that’s already been featured and discussed here.

    (You should try to keep up)

    The poor guy messed up because /he/ felt victimised in that moment, and admits later that his reaction was wrong and unnecessary.

    Yeah, he admitted his reaction was wrong and unnecessary; he did not repudiate his basis for the feelings that engendered that reaction: I’m not apologizing for my beliefs, but rather for my inexcusable actions.


  26. John Morales says


    AlanMacandCheese, you’re wrong; Randi is indeed officially (why your scare quotes?) an atheist, though JREF is set up as an egalitarian organisation:

    I want this fully understood: the James Randi Educational Foundation is not an atheist organization; it is an organization dedicated to offering down-to-Earth, rational, explanations and discussions of the so-called paranormal, supernatural, and occult happenings and claims with which we are constantly bombarded by the media and by groups – including religious groups – who try to convince us of such matters. While I, as JREF president, and those presently working in our office, are declared atheists, there is no bar against others taking positions with us, appearing on our web page or forum, doing business with us, or attending any of our functions. My personal stance is that religious claims are of the same nature as any other claims made without supporting evidence, that is, they are superstitious claims; if those claims come up for examination by the JREF, they must undergo the same sort of analysis as any others.


  27. Alex, Tyrant of Skepsis says


    This to me is skeptic bullying

    Seriously? In the same way that convicting a robber while corporate crimes go unpunished is legal bullying I suppose.

  28. Caru says

    @John Morales
    I genuinely felt sympathy for the guy because of all the bad publicity he was getting, but I see he did a lot of crappy things via Facebook too – seems like a religious supremacist at heart. I was veering into concern troll territory. Woops.

  29. Ron Obvious says

    To be fair, that speech got me pretty horrified too. Even though I agree with its content.

  30. echidna says

    Tom Clark @44 says:

    Oh, lay off that guy, PZ. He did a stupid thing, he apologized. Who cares.

    Get some perspective. Andy did a stupid, illegal, very public thing. He issued an apology that didn’t really address the bigotry he displayed. PZ has said he doesn’t accept the apology. That’s it.

    PZ is under no obligation to accept anybody’s apology. Apologies don’t fix underlying problems.

    Both PZ and Richard Dawkins are the most mild-mannered people you could imagine, but because they hold non-Christian views, and aren’t willing to be reverent to religious ideas, they are considered to be aggressive.

    PZ isn’t laying into the guy. He is not advocating any action against the guy; he is simply not accepting an apology. Why should you care if an atheist doesn’t accept a Christian bigot’s apology?

    By the way, with time Andy might see where he went wrong. Right now, it appears that he knows he did the wrong thing, but does not understand the underlying problem.

  31. says

    RF: Margaret Thatcher, former PM of the UK, was part of the team of chemists that developed an emulsifier for ice cream that allowed it to be lighter and filled with more air.

    Also having virtually no religious experience at all I just didn’t get the joke at all. I assume that it is a parody of real preachers but I honestly can’t tell the difference. I had trouble with the accent too.

  32. says

    Juvenile. Not funny. As lame as the preachy atheist music that prevented me from having a decent conversation at the TAM reception a couple years ago. This is seriously, painfully stupid and an embarrassment to thinking people.

  33. Eidolon says

    Wow! Mountain out of a molehill. Guy apologized for his actions. Did not apologize for his beliefs. So what? He may be stupid, bigoted and have a foot fetish, but so what? Seriously. You are buying a product, not a belief system.

    Here’s a news flash for you – all the upset within the atheist community, the vast majority of whom will never set foot in his shop anyway, will have nil impact on his business.

  34. anbheal says

    Eidolon —

    Blacks in Birmingham were buying a product/service(bus rides), not a belief system. Gays in California were buying a product (whatever Prop 8 supporting businesses were selling), not a belief system. Guess they should have simply enjoyed the belief system and joined you in your big “so what” hosannah.

    Or not.

    You and the other concern trolls keep saying “get over it”. And Rosa Parks could have:

    a) ridden her bike
    b) hailed a cab
    c) asked a friend for a lift.

    Yeah, atheists and skeptics can get an ice cream cone elsewhere. But all those molehills amount to a mountain, and progress depends upon peoplenot getting over it, even when idiots wag their church lady fingers at them and tell them they should.

  35. says

    Public bus systems and the right to get married to the consenting adult of each other’s choice are entirely different from ice cream mate. One’s the freedom to sit where you feel like on a government service that technically belongs to you, and the other is a cold snack.

    We all have our bigotries, lest we forget that we have shown some similar attitudes towards religion. It takes a big man to apologise, and to be fair if you sit there preaching against the guy’s faith and expect him to not get insulted then you are frankly barking!

    Think of it as when you ban preachers from this site. Or people who use language insulting or threatening us. To Ice Cream dude we are a threat and we didn’t change his mind with that stunt. Some stunts work on some people, some do not.

    He apologised, and I can see why he behaved in this way.

  36. anbheal says

    It’s not about atheism as an identity, it’s about Christian Wahhabism in America trying to crush all in its path. Being a shit to ANYONE — gay, black, woman, Mexican, pedestrian, bibliophile, smoker, vegetarian, scientist, teacher, student, bird-watcher – based upon Christianity as your sole basis of superiority – IS a big deal.

    So if the sign had said “no blacks allowed” or “no Jews allowed”, you’d say it’s just a cold snack? Yeah, so would the FoxNews punditry and half the Beltway. Sorry you were offended , and if you keep it up, we’ll call you a reverse bigot. We apologized, what more do you expect?

    Rebecca Watson didn’t make a big deal out of ElevatorGate. It was all you “just an ice cream” mansplainers who did. It wasn’t a clitoridectomy, so she must be a manhater. And golly, I bet he apologized in his own sincere way. Sexism solved.

    Nice Christsplainin’ there. The atheists andskeptics were overreacting. And now they’re reverse-Christ-hatin’. Got it. Thanks for the moral clarity.

  37. says

    Urgh… Christian Wahabbism is just a terrible classification. It’s very oxymoronic. Like Islamic Crusader

    I think the problem is acceptable targets. We as atheists (Not all atheists are ex-christian BTW. I am not an ex-christian. I am ex-hindu despite the name). Did you ever consider that the act would hurt his feelings? That you just got up on stage and did the equivalent (atleast in Gelato Guy’s Eyes) of a blackface minstrel act?

    Understanding the other point of view makes us better people, atheists or otherwise. This man didn’t see a hilarious joke, this man saw some jerk mock the very lifestyle he chooses (even if it is a lifestyle based on fairy tales) and this makes people angry. In the same way that christian preachers and trolls who show up here result in an angry backlash.

    To us the comedian is a comedian, to the christian owner of a shop he was a troll. And so were the people present at this. It’s not christsplaining, it’s a legitimate point that we often are blinded as human beings to the ways other people think and this harms the way we do things.

    He realised his mistake and apologised. Freespeech is free speech and he doesn’t have to like what we say. He could have stuck to his guns all the way but what I see here is probably a relatively moderate christian who acted stupidly based on the perceived threat to his core beliefs. And who realised that it made him sound like a fucking dick. And who changed his mind about it. I would give him the benefit of the doubt. But that’s because I understand how hard it sucks saying sorry, even a half sorry like this.

    Oh and Glen Davidson should know… All Cows are Sacred and the Hindu version of the blasphemy challenge is very delicious.

  38. Eidolon says


    You must screen all your suppliers and businesses for their belief systems, eh? Bottom line is that the man DID sell products to atheists. He did not continue to refuse service, did he? So your analogy with the civil rights movement seems to fail at that point. The lunch counters and the buses did NOT change until forced to but this man did.

    Is this person now a good friend to atheists? Prolly not. Does he now understand you cannot refuse service, even for godless folks? Most likely yes. If you expect this person to suddenly see the errors of his lifelong belief in Christian exceptionalism, I have to ask just how long have you been on this planet. Sometimes, wins come by degrees.

    Pointing out that the reaction to this is overblown does not a concern troll make.

  39. anbheal says

    Changing ways once your Yelp and Yahoo ratings plummet is the acme of regret, to be sure. Let us praise this benighted soul, so newly illuminated, Saint Andy The Apologist.

  40. Caru says

    Eh, I think it has to do with one’s understanding of oppression, and whether one lives in a pro-religious oppressive system.
    Where I’m from, that sign in the window would’ve made most people walk past and go, “Jeez, that’s dickish. Silly fundamentalists.”

    America seems to be a place where people actually debate whether or not it was dickish of him to do it in the first place – which is symptomatic of the oppressive system. Elevatorgate is a good comparison because the debate around it shows people’s misunderstanding of discrimination.

    People making a big deal out of it are not angry at the one instance, they are saying, “Look at this symptom of a much bigger problem.” The counterargument goes, “No, this is just a small thing. It’s not a symptom of the bigger problem. There is no bigger problem because you can’t show me any examples of the bigger problem.”

  41. Reg says

    Eulora, Thanks for the suggestion, The actual sermon was entertaining and edifying. I suppose I should have withheld judgement until l had seen the entire production. I stand corrected, and see that my attention span should be longer than it is.

  42. GG says


    Yeah, he admitted his reaction was wrong and unnecessary; he did not repudiate his basis for the feelings that engendered that reaction: I’m not apologizing for my beliefs, but rather for my inexcusable actions.

    Exactly! In the same way that lusting after someone is committing adultery. After all, it’s thoughts that count, not actions…

  43. says

    Hi, PZ. I got ice cream, the 10% discount, and a nice chat with Andy. He’s not a bad guy and seems sincere about his apology for the most part. I am not going to rehash everything he said, but I am going to post about my little visit with him very soon. Today I hope. Not that I am cool with everything he said, but because I live here, I would like to try and get along with him, but that does not mean I won’t mock other people’s beliefs on occasion or laugh when others mock other people’s beliefs. I even mentioned to him that he might have laughed about some of the things Brother Sam said if he took the time to listen to all of it. I think the problem is, while sometimes mockery can be a problem, some people can’t take the time to laugh at themselves. While I don’t agree with his views, I can forgive him enough to be neighbours with him, esp since we both live here.

  44. John Morales says


    Exactly! In the same way that lusting after someone is committing adultery. After all, it’s thoughts that count, not actions…

    If you’re gonna make a analogous example, you should use the same form: In the same way that one who has been adulterous apologises for their actions only, while stating they still lust after someone else.

    (I’m sure their partner will be very understanding and forgiving)

  45. Damien says

    That was eccessively slow. Not very funny except some tiny bits here and there. That guy gives me a creepy feeling. What was that? Overall, that was boring.

  46. Damien says

    I read somebody had trouble with the speaker’s accet. So did I. Boy! Where does this guy come from?

  47. echidna says

    While I don’t agree with his views, I can forgive him enough to be neighbours with him, esp since we both live here.

    Well, you have a social investment in the situation, and a chance for ongoing dialogue. Keeping up a relationship may help the community accept atheists as true people, with any luck.

    I would like to emphasise that Sam Singleton is not merely mockery. He is like a warped mirror, allowing ex-evangelicals to look at their own pasts from a distance. In a humorous, but very serious, way. See Karen’s post @30.

  48. says

    @ Damien What accent? He sounded just fine to me. Brother Sam comes from the Ozarks, here in Missouri. I think Roger Scott Jackson comes from this area, but moved away after he was grown. To be honest, Brother Sam’s “accent” is from these parts (the Ozarks).

  49. Taylor says

    @#24 Akira MacKenzie

    Skepticon began with a talk by David Silverman who advised using the broad definition of the word ‘atheist’ (lack of god belief) that most of us already use. So this would include “agnostics”, “secular jews” and “humanists” as well. As you know, most in society use the word to mean only those who actively say, “there is no god.” Silverman’s point was that actively using a broad definition will help to remove the “stigma” of the word.

    Apparently, you would rather use the word ‘atheist’ to also signify strict adherence to the party line, whatever that turns out to be. If someone would show sympathy for a believer, well that person is just a “faitheist”. This reminds me of the conservative term “self-hating Jew” for a Jewish person who criticizes Israel.

    Sorry to inform you, there are a lot of people who have no god belief but who still know what it is like to get angry and act impulsively. We’re human beings just like Andy, and we have all made mistakes. To jump to all the conclusion that he is a “bigot” etc. without the slightest bit of understanding you might be wrong is decidedly very unskeptical.

  50. says

    @Damien You’re welcome and I just posted about my visit with him, but I’m not sure how PZ would feel about me posting a link to it on his blog. However the link should be on my Facebook.

  51. says

    #24 Akira MacKenzie: Really? Somebody disagreeing with you on this issue is enough for you to question their beliefs and wish you could cause them physical pain?

    #55 echidna: I question the factual basis of a couple of your statements, first that any laws were violated–Andy’s note said that Skepticon attendees were not welcome, and Skepticon attendees are not a legally protected class. Further, if Skepticon is really a skeptical conference rather than an atheist conference (though it does seem to me it’s the latter more than the former), skeptics are not a legally protected class, either.

    Second, you said that “PZ isn’t laying into the guy. He is not advocating any action against the guy” — yet P.Z. has seemingly encouraged and endorsed the negative comments on websites about his business, and said on Twitter, “Fuck him to the ground, let him be a lesson to others. I do not find his apology at all sincere — it’s pure venality.” If that’s not explicit advocacy of harm to Andy and his business, it’s at least a hope that it happens.

  52. says

    Nonsense all the way through.

    You’re defending a guy who discriminates. I agree that there’s almost certainly no law against what he did, but it is ethically offensive. An atheist business owner who said he wouldn’t serve anyone who attended the Baptist church in town would deserve similar complaints.

    Do I encourage negative comments about his business? You bet I do. Should I instead suggest he win a service award for turning people away? Should we recommend giving him big tips for his great attitude? When somebody provides bad service, it’s only appropriate that he get slammed in comments.

    You need some remedial training in comprehending the English language. Saying “Fuck you” to someone does not mean you want to have sex with them. It is an expression of contempt and dismissal. And that is how I regard this stupid business owner…with contempt. I will not shed a tear if his business fails, but get real — he’s in Springfield, Missouri. Bigotry against atheists isn’t going to hurt him at all.

    Finally, as I said before, I am really fed up with skeptics who want to avoid discussion of religion. Skepticon is a skeptical conference, no qualifiers necessary. If you want to have reservations about any skeptical conference, apply them to those that shy away from addressing the inanity of faith…although you’ll have a harder time finding those any more, since both the TAM and CFI conferences have been pretty good about bringing in atheists to talk critically about religion recently.

  53. 'Tis Himself, OM says

    There’s a similarity between Gelato Guy and skeptics who don’t want religion discussed at skeptical meetings. Neither of them want religion to lose its privileged place in society.

  54. Carlie says

    mrianabrinson, I’m glad you talked with him. It sounds as though you really gave him something to think about with telling him that atheists would view any regular sermon as offensive and hurtful as he viewed the Brother Sam act. Hopefully it gets him thinking and being more open-minded in the future.

  55. says

    Who knows, but you make a good point PZ, you don’t have to live in the same town with him, so you free to go about your life with a very low chance of ever seeing him again. However, just because I say I forgive him and live in the same city as he does, does not mean I am not going to criticize religion, esp if it needs to be criticized for something that does harm to others. Some of the questions I asked concerned harmful things Xians, and esp ministers, do to people- such as the silly superstitious doctrine of hell.

    Andy did say that the street corner preacher, who stood on the corner Saturday morning telling us we were going to hell, was wrong for doing that. He also agreed that ministers should not do similar to atheists at their events. I asked him some poignant questions during the 15-20 minutes I spoke with him, even pointed out that ministers quite often do such things, all of which he thought was wrong to do.

    It does not justify his behaviour, but to me, it says he knows what he did was way out of line and quite harmful. I’m not so sure we should continue to persecute the man or even hold a grudge again him, for what he did, as long as he does not do something like that again. If he does it again, which I doubt he will, then yes, I think it should be no holds bar. Defending him? I don’t think so.

    While I can forgive him for this one act, that does not mean I am going to forget it. It’s not like he killed someone or committed child sexual molestation in the name of his beliefs. That would be unforgivable IMO, and worth meeting him face to face to see if he is truly sorry. A sign that discriminated for about 10 min. Meh. I can get over that, esp if I think he is sincere with an apology, but abuse I cannot tolerate. Maybe it is a matter of where we set the bar to forgive humans for the mistakes they make.

  56. says

    Thanks Carlie. I hope so too. I figured, given what happened, the best angle would be to point out such things to him and that offensiveness is not exclusive to Xians concerning what atheists say and do concerning religion.

  57. says

    I don’t get a lot out of Sam Singleton. But that’s because I don’t have the cultural experience that would make him funny – I’m not from the US, and I’ve never been a fundie

    Yeah, having been to Baptist churches in Texas and Missouri, I can tell you that having the appropriate prior cultural experiences before going to see Brother Sam can make a lot of difference. It just highlights how ridiculous the shit you used to believe in and participate in truly was.