Doug Stanhope raises $100,000 for atheist survivor of Oklahoma tornado

Earlier this week, CNN’s Wolf Blitzer asked Oklahoma tornado survivor Rebecca Vitsum if she “thanked the Lord” for living through the storm. Vitsum is an atheist. So no, she didn’t thank God.

The video clip circulated and from Paul Provenza it found its way to Doug Stanhope, who told his fans and followers on Twitter on Thursday that he was contacting comedy friends such as Emery Emery, who’d in turn contact Bill Maher (who made the 20078 documentary, Religulous) and Penn Jillette, about setting up a fund-raising site for Vitsum. On Friday, Ricky Gervais — who proudly displays his own atheism on Twitter — suggested a #FF Follow Friday for Stanhope, “for his brilliant anti bullshit anger fuelled stand up & his selfless charity work.”

In less than a day, Stanhope’s #AtheistsUnite campaign on Indiegogo easily reached its fund-raising goal of $50,000.

Stanhope announced on Twitter @DougStanhope at 2:45 p.m. EDT Friday: “50k in Under a Day!!!! What do we do with the next 59 days???? #ChampagneTime #ThenKeepGoing”

He added: “I completely love every fucking one of you! I’m concerned when I feel an emotion.”

UPDATED May 28: The campaign now has reached upward of $100,000 in contributions.

As Stanhope posted over the weekend…

“Some answers to common questions.
1. Rebecca never asked us to do this. She’s aware of what we’re doing but hasn’t asked for anything.
2. As noted before, all funds will be going directly to her at the end of the campaign, July 22.
Spread the word, and thanks again.
This is turning out to be a beautiful thing.”

Penn Jillette wrote on Saturday: “Wow, atheists sure can be kind. Let’s build the “Wolf Blitzer Woman’s” house, shall we? Throw in a buck or two!”

Here is the original CNN interview that prompted Stanhope to launch #AtheistsUnite.

As Stanhope wrote: “It’s important that our community shows that we have your back when you come out publicly as an atheist Let’s show the world that you dont need to believe in a god to have human compassion nor does all charity fall under the banner of religion. Let’s get this courageous woman and her family back in their own home.”

Did he mention there are prizes? Prizes aren’t just for Kickstarter.

For a contribution of only $10 to his Indiegogo campaign, you’ll receive a prayer from Stanhope himself: “I will say a prayer on my knees for everyone donates ten bucks. It will be twice as valuable as a real prayer or your money back.”

For $25, a free Bible in your hotel nightstand!

For $50, a “Get Out of Hell Free Card.”

Nobody has yet claimed “The Holy Grail” for only $10,000.

But you still have 59 days to donate. What are you waiting for?

Sean L. McCarthy

Editor and publisher since 2007, when he was named New York's Funniest Reporter. Former newspaper reporter at the New York Daily News, Boston Herald and smaller dailies and community papers across America. Loves comedy so much he founded this site.

View all posts by Sean L. McCarthy →

8 thoughts on “Doug Stanhope raises $100,000 for atheist survivor of Oklahoma tornado

  1. So Doug Stanhope has raised money for an atheist to show that atheists “have the back” of a fellow atheist and that atheists can do charitable work. I don’t mind the second part, but isn’t the first part shitty? Do all religious charities give only to fellow adherents of their respective faiths? Is Stanhope just trying to prove that atheists can be as exclusionary and self-serving as religions or does he think this actually looks completely altruistic? I would think atheists raising money for all the victims of the hurricane would actually send the best message, both for atheists and the victims of the tornado.

    1. I agree our charitable work by atheists should be for all. In this particular case I think many were worried that coming out as an atheist especially where she lives could cause severe problems so people who contributed like myself view this donation as possibly helping her reach a coast if necessary.

      1. I live in the bible belt. Nobody cares if you come out as an atheist. I know plenty atheist. Stop trying to turn this poor girl into an atheist Rosa Parks.

        1. I’ve heard many stories of Atheists being persecuted in the bible belt. I can’t remember the last time I’ve heard a Christian suffer as a consequence of their faith.

          So, yes, this is very much a courageous act. I live in Texas and I have to restrain my urge to criticize the faith of the MANY religious adherents that surround me, not because I’m afraid of any physical repercussions but because they believe criticism is synonymous with intolerance.

  2. What if Glenn Beck started an online charity that helped only Christians and offered prizes to donors of yarmulkes, stars of David patches, Hats with Payots, Bagels and free circumcisions?

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