Yesterday we reported that Hemant Mehta and the community at the Friendly Atheist blog were raising funds to repair the damage sustained by two churches in Bend, Oregon. The churches were tagged over the weekend with graffiti including symbols and phrases associated with the Flying Spaghetti Monster, a parody religion.
The generous donors at Friendly Atheist raised an amazing $2,649 in 24 hours — an expression of shared outrage over a mindless and counter-productive act.
This morning, Hemant reported the following:
I had mentioned before that I spoke with Pastor John Bluebaugh at Christian Life Center about the vandalism issue. The church had cleaned up the mess and didn’t need the funds, but he was grateful for the gesture. Today, I spoke with Pastor Jason Myhre at Westside Church. He said that a volunteer or two had helped them with cleanup and they didn’t need the funds either. He added that he appreciated what you all did.
Hemant (who is also our board president) had advised his donors that any unexpended funds would go to Foundation Beyond Belief.
Though our first choice would have been to see the donations create the powerful ethical gesture that was intended, we are extremely grateful for this donation, which will be especially helpful in launching our new humanist volunteer corps in July. And as Hemant made clear above, the positive gesture went through, even if the funds did not.
Thanks again to the generous atheists behind this unexpected gift. We’ll do our best to use it well.