HomeHuman InterestWatch: ‘Christian’ Soup Kitchen Refuses to Allow Atheists to Help Feed the Homeless

Watch: ‘Christian’ Soup Kitchen Refuses to Allow Atheists to Help Feed the Homeless

We hear all the time about the supposed “War on Christianity,” sually from people whose attitudes are decidedly un-Christian.  The truth, of course, is the reverse:  there is an active war being waged by “Christians” against those who do not adhere to their dogmatic beliefs, beliefs that they would force upon all.

Of course there is no place like the deep south to find this kind of intolerance! Take Spartanburg S.C. for example: an atheist group has had an offer to volunteer at a local soup kitchen turned down because they are non believers and therefore must have “ulterior motives.”

The group, known as Upstate Atheists, is described on its website in this way:

Mission Statement

To give back to the community via charity and community service.

Our Ethos

Upstate Atheists is a non-profit organization that strives to make the upstate a better place.

We do this by volunteering, helping those in need, doing charity work, and participating in occasional advocacy projects.

Their Motto is “Charity Beyond Belief,” and is intended to show that one need not be religious in order to be a good person and do good things for ones fellow man.

The President of the group, Eve Brannon says that they try to do at least one volunteer project each month and have in the past volunteered with Habitat for Humanity, sponsored Kids for Christmas, worked with the March of Dimes, and sponsored a hole at a charity golf tournament for the benefit of the Make a Wish Foundation.

They contacted the soup kitchen last spring to offer their services but were turned down by Lou Landrum, the kitchen’s executive director.

“We accept volunteer groups of all kinds. But partnering with a volunteer group whose mission is counter to the mission of the Soup Kitchen is something I cannot tolerate. This is from within my heart. Our ministry is to edify God and feed those that are hungry.”

That’s right–helping the hungry without religious motivation is counter to the soup kitchen’s goal of helping the hungry.

Landrum says, “I feel like they’re doing this for the publicity,” despite the group’s longstanding history of charitable deeds.

Landrum alleges that for more than a year she has been, “blasted on Facebook” by the group–however a look at both her personal page and that of the soup kitchen turned up no evidence of anyone from the group having posted anything there.  There are many negative comments about Ms. Landrum’s intolerance, but most of them are from people who do not even live in South Carolina.  In fact, the group has been very clear that it does not wish for Ms. Landrum to be harassed, deeming it counterproductive.  It would appear that Ms. Landrum has a tendency to embellish.

Eve Brannon, Upstate Atheists’ President, said of the incident:

“The first thing she said is, ‘I don’t want you coming in with your atheist T-shirts and ulterior motives.’  I said, ‘We don’t have to wear T-shirts or tell people what we’re about.’  She just wasn’t going to have it.”

Landrum claims that one member was adamant that they were going to wear their T-shirts which, of course is another exaggeration. Where would she get this idea?  From the interwebs of course!  the comment was in response to an online article posted by the local news site, GoUpstate.  Member Kyle Cusick posted,

“I’m a member of this group (although I’m unfortunately unavailable to help this weekend), and I was hoping we’d not only be able to volunteer at the soup kitchen, but also to wear our Upstate Atheists shirts.  Not because we are trying to ‘convert’ people to Atheism, but because we want people to understand that Atheists are not evil people.”

That is hardly adamant but, rather a statement of his desires and disappointment that it was even necessary to offer not to wear the shirts.

Upstate Atheists has raised over $2000 to put together more than 300 care packages containing socks, gloves, toothpaste, toothbrushes, combs, soap, rain ponchos, snacks, shaving razors, antiseptic wipes, deodorants, tissues and gum. They plan to distribute these across the street from the soup kitchen this Saturday on National Make a Difference Day.

Brannon says,

“I hope we can provide a package for everyone who needs one.  Whatever we have left, we will donate to a homeless shelter in the Upstate.”

In a display of tolerance much greater than that of Ms. Landrum Upstate Atheists has posted recently on their Facebook page, “If you see anyone harassing the director of the soup kitchen, please ask them to stop. That isn’t going to solve anything.”

Perhaps Ms. Landrum will one day open her eyes and see that it is she who is intolerant and not those who she accuses of intolerance — unlikely but maybe — stranger things have happened.

Watch a video on the story below:

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About Bob Cull

I'm retired and live in the Finger Lakes region of Upstate NY. I have strong opinions and my political bent has not changed since I was in high school. Most of my family thinks that I need to find a "real" hobby to fill my time in retirement, but I am content to share my opinions with others and exercise my "right" as a cranky old retired dude to express my views--which are based on many years of real world experience.
  • Pingback: Watch: Atheist Group Snubbed By Soup Kitchen Does Something REALLY Amazing! (Video) | Americans Against the Tea Party

  • https://www.facebook.com/greg.price.1654 Greg Price

    These self-professed “Christians” (of which they are not), might be dicks, but it’s also a dick move to paint the rest of us with their brush.

    And when you say: “We hear all the time about the supposed ‘War on Christianity’, usually from people whose attitudes are decidedly un-Christian. The truth, of course, is the reverse…” you are ignoring equally douche things such as the cabal of atheists who ruined Santa Monica’s Christmas banner lottery by flooding the lottery with requests so that they could shut out Christian displays. Winning 18 of 21 slots, they used a grand total of THREE. They weren’t serious about putting out an atheist holiday greeting. They just wanted to silence Christians by keeping THEIR displays off the boards.

    Christianity is in fact the most commonly persecuted religion on the planet at the present time, esp in the Middle East where the bigotry also includes killings, beatings, church burnings, rapes, and more. American anti-Christian bigotry at least confines itself with the more “civilized” form of legal manipulation.

    • https://www.facebook.com/skip.moreland.5 Skip Moreland

      Wow quite a persecution complex you have there. But the problem is that it has been the christians who do the persecuting and what goes around comes around. The religious have always felt they could do whatever they wanted because god was on their side. Everybody thru history has used religion to rape, plunder, kill, steal from somebody else.
      Right now the christians use biblical quotes on the bombs we sent to the mid-east to kill people. They call for a holy war against the muslims and have been intolerant towards all muslims in the US. We persecute the muslims in this country, no problem for the christians in the US. A little fire bombing here, a little killing of sikhs because someone thought they were muslims, no problem.
      Quite frankly atheists say a pox on all of you for your religious wars, your hate and intolerance towards others. The sooner we can become a secular nation and get rid of the christians who think a holy empire is theirs for the taking, the better.
      But you are right, not all the christians are so bad. Some can be quite decent. It’s just that they keep silent while the rest screw the world.

    • Bob Cull

      You’re being too thin skinned, Greg. I said nothing, nor have I ever about ALL Christians, in fact I have always drawn a distinction between Christians and “Christians”. There is a distinct difference.

      I am agnostic, but my mother is a devout Christian and long before she could no longer get out on her own she stopped attending church because she could not find one where they practiced Christianity. Oh, they called themselves Christians, but like these people they were exclusionary. The last one she attended regularly she left when they told her that she too was a sinner and going to hell because she objected when the pastor announced to the man who had been a long time member, DURING THE SERVICE, that the congregation had learned that he was gay and had AIDS and he was no longer welcome to worship there.

      This church is not an anomaly, I talk to these people all the time, and I can tell you that while I do know many true Christians who do in fact follow the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth, a man who I admire greatly, there are far more who practice a religion that is decidedly non Christian and they still call themselves Christian.

      While there are some Atheists who are just as strident in their non belief they are not the majority, most only want to be left alone to NOT worship and not have someone else shoving their religion in their face and telling them at every opportunity how evil they are simply because they do not accept their belief.

  • Bill Wallace

    My wife and I ran a church soup kitchen in Maine many years ago. We had a sign on the door “All are Welcome No Prayer Please” No religious symbols were ever allowed in the dining hall. Everything was put away once the Sunday School was finished in the same room.
    But the diners had a tradition too. Someone in the line would always say “May we have a moment of silence to thank the people who made this food for us” and then they would clap and cheer. And then everyone would eat.
    The thing that struck me the most was their genuine gratitude that someone was willing to help them. And there were families having tough times even 20 years ago.
    This is the way a soup kitchen should be run.

  • Marty Mc

    Please explain to me where the Atheist Soup Kitchens are since they care “so much”. The objective here was to pounce on the weak and make a Christian Soup Kitchen look like an Atheist one without doing all the hard work that goes behind actually running one. If they truly wanted to help the shirts would be a non-factor and they would have stayed to help. This is like the homosexual man who sued Hooters for not hiring, it’s a total set up.

    • https://www.facebook.com/skip.moreland.5 Skip Moreland

      Atheists don’t tend to congregate, we don’t for the most part have churches (and the ones who do I find suspect as to being real atheists.). So it’s not like we go around soliciting donations like churches and religious organizations do. Which is how these groups are able to run these soup kitchens. Plus the government also gives them funds. That said there are a number of atheist charities around the world and in the US. Unfortunately too many so called christians refuse to accept that atheists are decent people. But that will change as more people don’t accept religion. As more people become educated, we become a more secular nation. And atheists are more tolerant than christians. Obviously from your post, we are.

  • thedudeman36

    I say they show up at the soup kitchen and hand their packages out, wearing their shirts without saying a word and then just leave.

  • http://gravatar.com/modmom2010 modmom2010

    “Our ministry is to edify God….”So, god needs some educate him? That explains a lot.

    • https://www.facebook.com/skip.moreland.5 Skip Moreland

      That was exactly the comment I was going to make. Edifying god means he isn’t moral or intellectual enough. Which as an atheist I would agree, if there was such a being, because after reading the bible, he would certainly need to learn some morals.

      • Bob Cull

        Thanks, Modmom and Skip. I realized only after I had submitted the piece that I had forgotten to bring that point up. When I first read that comment my first thought was, “what is it that she needs to teach God?” Isn’t he/she supposed to be all seeing and all knowing?

        • https://www.facebook.com/skip.moreland.5 Skip Moreland

          Hey, I want to give you a shoutout for the site and all that you post. It is important to see what these people say and stand for. This current know nothing segment of the population must be opposed and shown for what they would truly do to our country. When I see them shouting they wish to take back their country, it means the rest of us are to have no say anymore.
          They are a minority seeking to impose their will on the rest. I don’t mind minorities getting a say or to consider their ideas. I think it is important to have minorities speak so that no injustice is done to them. But these people are not addressing any injustice, they would force injustice on the rest of us.

          • Bob Cull

            Thanks, Skip. I’m grateful to have the opportunity to get my thoughts heard by so many and that the owners of the site have given me that opportunity. They work a whole lot harder to keep this site going than I do, they are at it around the clock I only put in six or seven hours a day. They deserve more credit than I do.

  • https://www.facebook.com/pamela.hoslercardona Pamela Hosler-cardona

    it’s a soup kitchen, not a church. they cannot have the right to turn away any volunteers,period.real christian of them,right??

    • https://www.facebook.com/skip.moreland.5 Skip Moreland

      Well actually they can refuse to accept any volunteers they wish, but what my question is, do they refuse to help anyone who is an atheist or some non-christian religion? I think this woman is very misguided, but does she do the same to those they serve. I think though that she should read her new testament over carefully. Because I would say this atheist knows the bible better than her. When Christ was asked whether the good samaritan (a gentile and hated by the jews) should be commended for their good deeds (in helping a man who had been robbed and left for dead and a priest and a levite had walked by the beaten man w/o helping.). Was he a good neighbor as the bible instructed the jews to be? The answer was he who showed mercy was the good neighbor, even though the samaritan was not jewish or thought well of. To christ anyone who acted in mercy and goodwill was being a good neighbor no matter who they were and deserved to be treated as a good neighbor in return. This woman was not a good neighbor for her part.

  • http://gravatar.com/ribluebird ribluebird

    What happened to the word that says that we all are created in the image of God. Who knows God may be working on them. Who are we to judge. If you are without sin cast the first stone. let us not forget that God So Loved the world

  • http://gravatar.com/greenwoodbob Greenwood Bob

    They believe that they are commanded by God to evangelize his good news to everyone, at every chance. Of course they don’t want atheists showing people that you can be good without God, that is counter to their mission. My question, as an atheist myself, is why the Upstate Atheists didn’t just quietly move on to another project? I know that if I was running a secular soup kitchen, I’d be wary of Christian groups volunteering, as I’d expect some stealth evangelism to happen.

  • Juliet

    They can’t accept help from atheists! It disproves their narrative that atheists are selfish liars.

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