Yet another case of anti-atheist discrimination in Tacoma

The incredibly talented and pleasant Shelley Segal is going to appear in Tacoma, Washington! You should go, every time I’ve heard her I’ve enjoyed it. Only thing is, the venue that was originally booked suddenly pulled out (at least this one gave advance notice!)

We had originally booked a coffee and ale shop called Anthem in the middle of downtown Tacoma. It was a new venue (for us), the staff was incredibly friendly, and it looked like the perfect all ages venue for a show like this. We discussed doing the event there, and they were on board.

That fell apart this morning, when I received an email from the booking folks. It was a polite, professional email, but the intent was very clear. I’ll quote the relevant part:

This isn’t something that we feel comfortable promoting or hosting because it doesn’t align with what we believe and stand for.

Anthem Beverage & Bistro, Tacoma

Additionally, the CC field included an address at “Eternity Bible College,” something that wasn’t in the original thread. So, we we’ve been booted from the venue, and they wanted us to know why.

Man, Christianity ruins everything, doesn’t it? Strangely the coffeeshop has a statement of vision and values that nowhere mentions obedience to fundagelical bullshit, and instead babbles about “integrity” and “community” and stuff that the atheist community also values…but apparently they’re all talk, no action.

They have a yelp page, but since they did at least give the organizers a little time to find a new venue and didn’t pocket any profits, they aren’t quite as vile as Oklahoma Joe’s. You might drop a note there about their hidden Christian agenda, though.

What you should definitely do, though, is give your custom to Doyle’s Public House, the new venue. You should especially go there this Sunday, 14 April, at 5pm to see Shelley Segal in a free show!


  1. glodson says

    When these idiots make the arrangement, do they even bother to look at who they are booking? I mean, if you know what the person who you are working with stands for a head of time, by actually seeing what they are saying or promoting, then you don’t have to break the arrangement.

  2. says

    Two cases like this in a row.

    I wonder if it will get as bizarre as the situation in the Netherlands where there was verzuiling between all manner of religious (and political) groups. You couldn’t go to a catholic butcher, oh no!, you had to go to a protestant one. What if one were to rub shoulders with someone of a different belief system? That would not do.

    *heads for fainting couch*

  3. says

    Yes, Glodson, according to Sam Mulvey they knew very well who they were. Nothing was hidden. Whatever caused the venue owners to change their mind occurred just 6 days before the event. (At least this didn’t happen *during* the event as in Oklahoma.)

  4. says

    Here’s what you do. Go to the place in force, sit down, and don’t order anything. And when asked why, you can politely say so.

    Then leave. They’ll be counting all of the lost dollars as you leave.

  5. says

    Mmmmh… I hadn’t thought about this: Hedrick Verwoerd’s father was a very religious shopkeeper in the Netherlands. Perhaps Apartheid was no more than Little Verwoerd’s attempt to recreate his upbringing with racial verzuiling. Can’t have any of them “Others ™ ” in our shop now, can we?

  6. robro says

    glodson — It’s plausible that the booker didn’t know someone up the authority chain (e.g. owner) would object. Given their stated “Vision & Values”, you might think booking this talk was right up AB&B’s alley. Or perhaps they hadn’t seen the title of Segal’s album.

    This value…

    “7. We value each others ideas and input.”

    is particularly ironic given their rationale for canceling. Perhaps it is “more honored in the breach than the observance.”

  7. fastlane says


    Whatever caused the venue owners to change their mind occurred just 6 days before the event.

    It’s not hard. I suspect if you could look at the email traffic, someone from the aforementioned church threatened bad publicity and lack of support if they hosted this event. Depending on the influence of said church, it could be bad for the business. Whether it will be worse than the bad press they get for this, especially in this rather secular corner of the US, has yet to be seen.

  8. Feathered Frog says

    Sigh, from their website:

    Our Values.

    1. We value integrity.
    2. We value creativity and innovation.
    3. We value excellence in everything.
    4. We value growing and learning
    5. We value minimizing waste and maximizing profit.
    6. We value recognition and rewards – We give credit where credit is due!
    7. We value each others ideas and input.
    8. We value heroic hospitality- whether it’s a team member or a first-timer, we love to serve, and we serve selflessly. We always put others first!
    9. We value people & community – Without people there is no community, and without community, there is no business. Our community is one of our greatest assets. As we invest intentionally into people, real community happens.
    10. We value leadership development.
    11. We value unity. We run to potential problems and address issues as a team to maintain unity.

  9. marcoli says

    I wonder if the ‘CC’ was to inform someone at the Bible College that they did their bidding, to keep a part of their customer base.

  10. busterggi says

    One would think that Christians would be glad to host a meeting of atheists so they could impress them with their superior morality and possibly gain some converts.

    Just kidding.

  11. Rich Woods says

    5. We value minimizing waste and maximizing profit.

    The second part of that could well run counter to most of the other stated values. Who gets to decide, I wonder?

  12. zbeeblebrox says

    I sent them the following:-
    Since you cancelled Shelley Segal’s show, you might want to revisit your Vision and Values statement and delete #4 and #7.

  13. unclefrogy says

    this one is a just like the BBQ joint by their actions they are clearly not a real businesses.
    They do business just like they do science they mix up religion into it. This one fails even any outreach motive for operating a business like this. they would probably feel better operating a private club but that kind of business would be unprofitable.

    uncle frogy

  14. fastlane says

    If the weather’s cooperative, I might take the motorcycle down to the show.

    It just ain’t worth dealing with traffic in the car to go that far.

  15. says

    Sounds alot like employees did the booking and someone up the chain decided to nix it after they heard what it was.

    At least, that’s my experience with how owners manage their operations; they give managers all this leeway, but then arbitrarily decide they don’t like things not before, but during. Of course, they could’ve managed it themselves, but nooo, they have to reneg on things later.

    Canceling the show could be an accommodation violation.

  16. yazikus says

    For those that can’t make it to Tacoma, she will also be in Kennewick, WA the night before. At a place called Zinful Panini and Wine Bar. I doubt they will be cancelling due to her not “aligning” with their values.

  17. says

    I don’t understand why this would be considered ‘hateful’ or even wrong in any sense. Turn it around. You’re the owner of a restaurant, and find out that the group you had previously given assent to hosting an event on your premises was going to promote young-earth creationism.

    I think you would be fully within your rights to deny the event, since it goes against everything you stand for. In the Oklahoma case, as far as I have read (I’m from Oklahoma), the business-owner simply decided not to contribute a donation to the group, but still said they were allowed to hold it at his place of business. What’s wrong with that? If I found out that I was about to give a donation to a group promoting Christianity to children, I would withdraw the donation. Wouldn’t you?

    That’s not ‘hate’. If I’ve gotten my facts wrong about any of this, then I welcome a correction. Nobody has to help promote beliefs that they fundamentally disagree with. Free choice.

  18. says

    Brandon, from the link in the OP:

    Additionally, the CC field included an address at “Eternity Bible College,” something that wasn’t in the original thread. So, we we’ve been booted from the venue, and they wanted us to know why.

    We’d been working with Anthem for a couple weeks by this point. The fact that we’re an atheist radio show and that our musical act was also an atheist activist was not hidden from the management or the staff in our communications. We told them about the radio show and the website. We encouraged them to look into it. Even our email addresses come from “” when we book events, and our signatures reflect that.

    So yeah, you seem to have gotten some of your facts wrong.

    Also, the OP was not made in a vacuum. This one followed on from a post made earlier about an even more egregious action by another eatery. You might want to read that one so you know what was in the air.

  19. says

    Consider the possibility that the person who booked the event was not the owner or manager, or didn’t fully realize what the meeting would really entail. And I would appreciate you pointing out the facts that I got wrong (which I may have), instead of just saying that I did without clarification.

    But it is no more ‘discriminatory’ for me, or you, or any other non-believer, to withdraw their support for contributing money to something they find reprehensible, or even refusing to host the event. This isn’t discrimination, any more than an atheist backing out on hosting a Christian event geared toward children (and as far as I have read, the Oklahoma business-owner did not refuse the event, he just refused to donate money toward it). Anyone who thinks they won’t face the possibility of refusal for promoting atheism/agnosticism in this state is incredibly deluded.

    If the criticism is that they should have been more adept at noticing what the event was about, then that’s a fair criticism. If the criticism is that a business owner who is a Christian refuses to support an event that will promote beliefs that are antithetical to those he/she holds, then that’s not ‘discrimination’. I wouldn’t help them any more than I would expect them to help me. I hate to see ‘us’ resort to crying and whining about discrimination, when we would do the same thing if the shoe were on the other foot.

    It’s hypocritical whining, IMO. Move on and hold the event elsewhere, and hold your head high.

  20. unclefrogy says

    Brandon I agree head held high and moving on.
    There is something you have wrong here, these venues that are involved are not making a charitable contribution as such out. Any money that they are giving will come out of increased “business” that the events represents. Business that they would not have had without the event. The amount of money most likely will only be a reduction in profit that they would normally get it should not at any rate. For their “hosting” the events they get free advertising and an increase in traffic in new customers plus business they would not have had. It ain’t charity.
    they are hypocritical! but they are christian no surprise there.
    if they can be stung by their behavior that would be too bad?
    uncle frogy

  21. Marcus Hill (mysterious and nefarious) says

    Their Yelp rating seems to have taken a bit of a nosedive lately. What a shame.

  22. says

    This really ticks me off. Thanks PZ for writing about this and expressing the same disgust I have. One thing is for sure. Doyle’s is going to be packed on Sunday. I’m going to take some pictures I think. Cheers sir!

  23. sqlrob says

    I sent them the following:-
    Since you cancelled Shelley Segal’s show, you might want to revisit your Vision and Values statement and delete #4 and #7.

    4 & 7? It looks like the only one they can keep is 5 & 6. 6 Only because of the CC.

  24. sqlrob says

    (and as far as I have read, the Oklahoma business-owner did not refuse the event, he just refused to donate money toward it)

    Jesus fucking christ. The entire event was for him to donate proceeeds. Hypocrisy really is a sacrament with you guys, isn’t it?

  25. jeffwrench says

    In the Anthem Coffee and Tea twitter feed ( @anthemcoffee ) a couple days ago they ask you to describe ANTHEM in one word…

    Describe your ANTHEM in one word.— Anthem Coffee & Tea (@anthemcoffee) October 4, 2012

  26. says

    Re: 20 Brandon Woldridge 9 April 2013 at 10:12 pm (UTC -5)

    That is discrimination. That is the very legal definition of discriminatory practices.


  27. Robert Honan says

    Eternity Bible College is in Simi Valley California, so I doubt Anthem gets any business from them. My guess is that the email address belongs to someone who went there, and is now involved with Anthem.