Many of you came together to pitch in over $2,500 to help with the cleanup. (And many of you have commented about what an awful idea this was.)
(***Please don’t donate more at this point. See below.***)
Despite the backlash, I still think it was a worthwhile thing to do.
I spoke with Pastor John Bluebaugh at Christian Life Center earlier today to talk about the vandalism issue. He said he really appreciated the gesture from us, even though we disagreed about theology. He told me that the church had a maintenance staff and they were able to clean up the mess, so they didn’t need the funds. They just wanted to make sure something like this didn’t escalate to worse vandalism (or violence) and I completely agree.
I tried reaching Rod Kirk, the director of facilities for Westside Church, but several calls, a voicemail or two, and one email later, I still haven’t heard back from him. I’ll try getting someone else on the line tomorrow.
Reactions in the non-theist community have ranged from applause to gasps of dismay.
But local churches say that believers or non-believers, the support from the community has been overwhelming.
“You see people who maybe have very different belief systems, and yet come together and realize we are all human.” said Mike Alexander with the Westside Church. “And even in this local community of Bend, in the last several hours raise up and do the same thing.”
Christian Life Center already has completed most of the clean-up, and the writing on the wall is nearly gone.
Pastor John Bluebaugh said though they wont have much need for the money, we need to learn a lesson.
“It’s a good lesson for us to understand that not everyone that adheres to a faith or a belief system is extreme like that and would do something like this,” Bluebaugh said Wednesday.
Needless to say, I’m going to close the Chipin widget early since we don’t need to raise more money for this cause at this point. If Westside Church doesn’t need the funding, either, the amount will be given to Foundation Beyond Belief (which encourages atheists to give to secular charities).