October 20, 2011; Source: San Francisco Chronicle | The American Cancer Society (ACS) recently turned down a donation from the Foundation Beyond Belief (FBB), an organization that supports atheist causes, even though the Foundation had offered to sponsor up to 100 teams for the ACS’s Relay For Life fundraiser. Tod Stiefel, who was organizing the effort, had offered to match any proceeds up to $250,000. At first, ACS seemed to welcome the pledge but then they reversed themselves, saying that they only allowed “national teams” (which receive high-profile exposure at the events) from corporations and not nonprofits.
ACS updated members with this statement… “It’s clear that the American Cancer Society and Foundation Beyond Belief share a passion for saving lives,” the update said. “We welcome FBB’s participation at our local Relay For Life events and we have not turned down their donations. We have shared this information with FBB and hope they know we welcome their ongoing support and involvement.” The statement neatly sidesteps the issue of ACS providing profile to FBB of course.
Seminary professor Brandon Withrow writes for the Huffington Post, “The last time I checked, atheists are human beings plagued with all the same ills of humanity; cancer is no respecter of persons. And while most people would likely understand not taking money from recognized criminal and terrorist organizations, this situation does not apply. So is ACS essentially slapping the hand of the Good Samaritan because he is not a believer? A half-million dollars can go a long way for cancer research and why the ACS would turn this down is (wait for it) beyond belief.”—Ruth McCambridge