Sometimes, atheism costs

You know, atheists don’t do a good job of providing that essential social safety net, and the American ‘I got mine’ philosophy means the government often does a poor job, too. We just have to try and cobble together an ad hoc safety net. Here’s a case in point: a person who joined a church, travelled to California to become a live-in, paid volunteer to assist in inner city care. Then the double-whammy hit: he came down with a severe case of rheumatoid arthritis to the point where he can’t get around at all, and then…uh-oh, he lost his faith and became an atheist. Goodbye church-based support.

I also, over the course of my time at the church, completely lost what little faith I had, coming out as an atheist in 2011. As a result, I’ve lost much of my Oroville-based support system; friendships I’d thought were unconditional. I hesitate to say we’ve been shunned, because it hasn’t exactly been to Amish or Jehovah’s Witness proportions. There’s some contact once in awhile, but for the most part, we’re on our own, living in a landlocked island of isolation.

I met a friend of his; apparently, he could have just hidden his loss of faith and continued to get aid from the church, but he was too honest to do that…so they cut him off.

We atheists can do better than that, now can’t we? He’s asking for assistance to move his family back to his original home, in Spokane. He’d also appreciate any local help — any atheists in Spokane (come on, it’s a wonderful city) want to provide information and assistance in the transition back to the Palouse? Follow the link. Donations and support and encouragement are welcome.


  1. Sili says

    Time to Dan Savage to dust off his “You shall know that they are Christians by their …” tag.

  2. moarscienceplz says

    Thanks PZ, for letting me know about this, although it’s too bad a nice atheist family is leaving my state.

  3. says

    I came to this through a friend of Brad’s. I’m so sorry to hear of his situation and the way he’s been treated by those whom he served.

    I’m a devout Christian. I lead music at three Christian services a week and run a children’s choir. God is the first and last thought in my life. I’m not hear to convert anyone or argue theology, just being transparent.

    I’d like to help Brad. Is there an online depository? Paypal or the like?

    Be Well Brad.

  4. says

    Robby Wingfield #4

    I’d like to help Brad. Is there an online depository? Paypal or the like?

    You can donate through the link PZ included in the article. I do not know what payment methods are available, from what I saw on the Contact Us page they use WePay rather than PayPal, a service I have never used, but I assume it is fairly easy to get set up.

  5. says

    Thanks. That link isn’t labelled as a donation link and I didn’t click it.

    I hope Brad and is family can get to a better spot.

    p.s. WePay is very easy to setup. I hate that they take a higher fee than paypal on the backend from contributions.

  6. ck says

    I’ve donated, but I’ve gotta be brutally honest: things like this shouldn’t be at the mercy of fickle things like membership in a particular club, be it atheist, Christian or otherwise.

  7. elly says

    I donated.

    I also live in Spokane, although that’s a fairly recent development, so I have nada to offer in the way of useful info, job opportunities or contacts.

    But I can see why he wants to return here… while I’m not sure I’d describe Spokane as a “wonderful” city (too many potholes and Republicans), IMHO, it’s heaven-on-earth compared to Oroville, CA.

  8. says

    Wait…”paid volunteer”? Doesn’t that describe every employee in the USA? I was a “paid volunteer” at KFC for three months in 2004.

  9. says

    I want to thank Professor Myers for featuring us, as well as everyone who has wished us well, whether they were able to donate or not. This blog has brought in more than $2,000 in donations in just 48 hours. We’ve now met our goal, and donations are still trickling in! I’m not sure that there are words in the English language to convey how thankful and how touched I am by this wonderful turn of events.

    This is not only about receiving the better medical care that’s available in Spokane and lacking in Butte County (though that is a big part of it); it’s about returning to a support system. My parents live in Spokane as do dozens of longtime friends, all of whom have been cheering me on throughout this campaign. So overall, it’s about a better quality-of-life for myself, and hopefully in turn, my wife and son.

    Thank you, all of you, for giving my family and me a chance at a better life. I will be writing individual thank-you emails shortly to all donors, but I wanted to publicly make my gratitude known.