The ‘Friendly Atheist’ Is Not Allowed to Donate Money to Local Park Program

Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta

In a story released on the Chicago Tribune website, popular atheist blogger Hemant Mehta’s recent donation to the Morton Grove Park District has been refused and returned. The donation collected from readers of his Friendly Atheist blog was sent as a replacement for the $2,600 of funding that was pulled back by the American Legion Post 134 in a political move. According to the article, the American Legion donation was rescinded when a park board member refused to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance.

The Park District returned the funds from the atheist blogger, noting the denial was because they did not want to appear sympathetic to any particular religion. Yeah, that seems fishy to me too. My skeptic brain has to pose the question of whether or not the park board opens meetings with prayer or receives funding from any religious groups at all. Is it that they just don’t want to be associated with atheists? Are they afraid of losing funding from other groups as a result or accepting atheist funds?

You can read the full Tribune article here or Mehta’s take on it here.

[Originally published at Divided Under God on December 4, 2013]


Kevin Davis is the Founder and Managing Director of, and the author of Understanding an Atheist: A Practical Guide to Relating to Nonbelievers, a book aimed at improving relationships between the religious and their atheist loved ones.
He’s most recently known for being co-founder and Executive Director for Young Skeptics, an elementary-level after-school program for kids. Young Skeptics was launched in January 2015 as an alternative to the controversial Good News Club, an organization operating in public schools that evangelizes children and spreads fundamentalist Christian doctrine focused on shaming children for their sins.

His writing has been featured or mentioned on CNN, Huffington Post, Salon,, Patheos, and many others.

You can find Kevin on Twitter (@SecularVoices) and Facebook.


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