Board responds to TNT letter

Editor,

In his Jan. 20 letter to the Tacoma News Tribune, Brad Elken asks of the crisis in Haiti, “Where are the atheists?”

Atheists are precisely where we’ve always been: giving what help we can to people who need it. Countless atheists and free-thought organizations have united under the aegis of Richard Dawkins’ Non-Believers Giving Aid, a multi-organizational drive to raise money for the people affected by the terrible earthquake in Haiti. Together, we’ve already raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for two admirable secular organizations: the International Red Cross and Doctors Without Borders.

True to the message of the holiday sign we placed outside of the Capitol building this past year, Seattle Atheists extends its resources and thoughts to those suffering, regardless of creed, belief, or religion. For the past several years, we’ve raised thousands of dollars for Seattle Children’s Hospital, we donated a large sum of money after the 2005 tsunami, we organize a year-round blood drive, and a year-round SeasonLESS Food Drive, which provides food throughout the year — not just during the traditional holiday giving season. We have a project underway now to donate books to our troops overseas with Operation Paperback.

Unlike the religious groups mentioned by Mr. Elken, these organizations do not proselytize or use tragedies as an easy opportunity to convert vulnerable people. Christian organizations are exploiting the situation in Haiti by distributing solar-powered talking Bibles. The Haitian people don’t need bibles — they need clean water, food, and shelter. They need doctors, medicine, engineers, and aid workers to rebuild their country. They do not need faith-based opportunists who are already using the crisis as if it were a fire sale for religious conversion and salesmanship. They don’t need organizations that use charity as a Trojan horse to spreading their beliefs to vulnerable people.

The earthquake in Haiti was a tragedy, not an opportunity. Access to the country is limited right now. Every evangelist getting off the plane takes the place of a doctor. Every Bible is crowding out medical supplies.

Let’s be good for goodness’ sake.

The Board of Seattle Atheists

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