Can Service Save Us?

It just might. By helping returning troops regain their sense of purpose, veterans’ groups are proving that public service is therapeutic

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TIME Magazine Cover, July 1, 2013
Photo-Illustration by Andrew B. Myers for TIME; styling by Kirsten Reader; typography by Joe Zeff Design

This self-help ethos stands in stark contrast to that of the more traditional military-related charities. Eric Greitens, the founder and CEO of the Mission Continues, is notoriously tough on veterans who come to him with service-related excuses. “People understand the tremendous sacrifices that veterans have made — and they instinctively want to do something for them,” he says. “And that sometimes leads people to give veterans an excuse: Oh, you didn’t show up for work on time. It must be that you have posttraumatic stress disorder. Oh, you’re disabled. Don’t even try. Or, you’re being a bad partner to your husband or wife, or a bad father or mother. It must be that you lost a bunch of friends. We simply do not accept those excuses.” Jake Wood has little tolerance for veterans who see themselves as victims. Posttraumatic stress is, he believes, a condition that can be battled and defeated. “If you’re out doing disaster relief,” Wood says, “you’re less likely to be thinking about yourself and more likely to be thinking about the people you’re helping. You’re also presenting yourself, and other veterans, as a model, as a potential community leader.”

Although the data about the beneficial effects of community service on recent veterans is skimpy, there is a wealth of more general evidence that shows the physical and psychological benefits of service, particularly for the elderly. Dr. Nancy Morrow-Howell of Washington University has conducted many of the relevant studies — for the White House Conference on Aging, for AARP — which show that community service provides clear health and psychological benefits, including greater longevity, reduced depression and a greater sense of purpose. “Actually, the elderly are a really good comparison group for wounded veterans,” says Dr. Morrow-Howell, a co-author of the Mission Continues study. “They have to cope with a reduced ability to function physically. Many of them lose their sense of purpose and community after retirement. If they’re widowed, they feel isolated. They need to rebuild their lives, rejoin the world.”

(MORE: Ten Years After: A National Disgrace)

In a remarkable study from Ohio State University, two groups of elderly patients in senior day care were asked to make gift baskets. One group made them for themselves; a second group was told they were making the baskets for homeless people in their community. The second group experienced a greater sense of satisfaction and psychological well-being than those who were simply making the baskets for themselves. “Service enables them to find their value outside their own suffering,” says Barbara Van Dahlen, the founder of Give an Hour, a group of mental-health counselors who work with veterans, headquartered in Bethesda, Md., but serving across the country. “I don’t think there’s a mental-health professional on the planet who would disagree with the basic principle that serving others is therapeutic. This is not rocket science.”

“We Still Need You”
“Lives have been saved. lives have been changed for the better,” says Greitens, 39, a Rhodes Scholar and former Navy SEAL. In 2007, he was serving in Iraq as part of an al-Qaeda-targeting team when his barracks was blown up by a truck bomb. Greitens wasn’t badly wounded, but several of his close friends were. A few months later, he visited Bethesda Naval Hospital to comfort the severely wounded veterans there — and he had an epiphany. As he moved from bed to bed, talking to young men who had lost limbs, lost vision and hearing, lost parts of their brains, he asked each, “What do you want to do now?” The answer was always the same: they wanted to return to their units. And if they couldn’t do that? he asked. They wanted to go home and serve in some way — teach school, coach, work in the community. He found himself saying to the wounded veterans, “Great. We still need you.”

(MORE: The End of al-Qaeda?)

Greitens came to Bethesda with unique insight into the power of service. As a college and postgraduate student, he had worked in refugee camps all around the world. He’d found that the people who kept themselves busy in the camps fared better than those who didn’t. The worst off were the young men, whose lives had been violently truncated — by ethnic cleansing in Bosnia, by genocide in Cambodia and Rwanda. They had lost their sense of purpose; unlike the older people in the camps, they had no children to care for. But if they were put to work, helping out with the soccer teams Greitens was organizing, or working in the kindergarten, they began to feel better about themselves.

So he developed the idea of offering six-month service fellowships to wounded veterans, if they provided him with a plausible mission plan and a host agency willing to sponsor them in their home community. He and some friends funded the first few fellowships with their combat and disability pay. They started slowly, built the program carefully. One of their first fellows worked with an equine-therapy program in Texas; another, a woman named Sonia Meneses, was sponsored by the Boys & Girls Club near Clarksville, Tenn. Sometimes it didn’t work so well; sometimes the veterans who applied were just looking for a handout. To counter that, the very first Mission Continues fellow, a severely wounded former Blackhawk pilot named Chris Marvin — came up with a slogan, “It’s not a charity, it’s a challenge.” In fact, Marvin took the fellowship but refused the stipend. “I had a 100% disability,” he later told me. “The money could be better used by someone else.”

PHOTOS: Honoring the Fallen: One Photographer’s Witness to 490 Dignified Transfers

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213 comments
jepulcini
jepulcini

Mr. Klein,  This article and the editorial in this issue appeals to a long held view of mine  - that a National Voluntary Service program is what we need to engage everyone in a  meaningful experience of their choice .  My personal experience was joining International Voluntary Services in 1963 along with my ex-husband who was doing alternative service to the draft.  It began a life time involvement in education & international development!   Two years turned into 7.....and the exposure to cultures and knowledge that I gained, far out weighed the problems.  I am still learning & volunteering  at 73 yrs. old!  My international, community & environmental awareness is often painful, but at least I remain acutely aware and participate as much as possible.

SeqklogW
SeqklogW

Mr. Klein,

You article does a splendid job of demonstrating how prejudice poisons the well.  Secular humanists, atheists and agnostics contribute substantially to the relief efforts which you so smugly and arrogantly imply they do not. Apparently in your and your employer's view of the world, it is completely acceptable to target and insult unoffending groups in society as long as they are in the minority and it suits your agenda.

Goodbye Mr. Klein.  Goodbye TIME.  Good riddance.  

VISTA
VISTA

As someone who just completed their service with Americorps VISTA (2nd Americorps service), I found my experience to be: Bureaucratic, fruitless, exhausting, traumatic, enlightening, and unsupportive.  

rwt6115
rwt6115

Mr. Kleins statement "funny how you don’t see organized groups of secular humanists giving out hot meals"  Was and is a blatant lie.  There were both organized and individual secular humanists involved in the recovery efforts.  TIME Incs statements later in the week are also blatantly false as you can see from the quote (Directly from the article).  His statement did not say that they were less likely he said they were not doing it!  TIME Inc. needs to improve its fact checking and to discipline those journalists who do not adhere to the highest standards. Whoever at the corporate level decided to not present the truth needs to be fired.



Luvrte66
Luvrte66

Mr. Klein's article had a good message about veterans continuing to serve in groups such as The Mission Continues. It is a win-win situation, with people on both sides being helped, and I enjoyed the article.

However, like many others here, I was put off by Klein's casual remark about secular humanists not helping in an organized manner. That is simply not the case, and if he would take the time to do a little research, he would find that out. 

His subsequent non-apology on Swampland also made some false assumptions about atheists. Most atheists I know (myself included) do not proclaim an absolute certainty that there is no deity. The vast majority are agnostic atheists, and we say that although we don't know for sure, we've seen no evidence that would lead us to the conclusion that a deity exists. I hope that Mr. Klein will do a little more digging, and perhaps have a conversation with an atheist or two about this. I think he will find that he is misguided in his assumptions about us. A truly curious journalist would certainly do so. 

GarlandWalton
GarlandWalton

What a shame. Your article would've stood up just fine without that snide secular humanists aside, surely meant only titillate your like-minded readers. I've read your clarification (not an apology, to be sure): We are to believe you meant you're embarrassed that secular humanists (such as yourself,  you say) don't organize more and perform community service? No, you're not that dumb--you know a belief in a god is not a prerequisite for being a moral and compassionate being, and you're well aware that there are groups of all kinds organized to help their fellow citizens. And if you wanted a dialogue about who's doing community service--a way to talk about your frustration there are not *more* organized atheists or that we're not easily identified--then go in that direction. Even if I gave you the benefit of the doubt (you were in a hurry, and YOU knew what you meant, anyway), what of Time's editorial staff? Were you too asleep at the switch? The state of journalism today makes me weep, but that's no excuse for allowing this to go to print. This whole thing is a mess, but I'm sure some good will come of it: The highlighting of existing efforts, and new efforts of existing groups to ensure those around them know who they are (minus any efforts to gather followers or preach their lack of belief). I suppose we'll never know if Klein was tweaking us or phoning it in. But either way, it's up to us to turn this into something positive.

LauHiengHiong
LauHiengHiong

The author Joe Klein should be complimented for making the following insightful observation: “imagine the impact on Americans’ waning sense of civic engagement, their weirdly hollow democracy in which active citizenship has been displaced by marketing and political sloganeering.”

In the past century, the U.S. has enjoyed the eminence of being an unrivalled global power, leading to unprecedented complacency about all the systems or values operational in the nation – democracy, human rights. The U.S. Congress and the Government are suggested to care more about the welfare of their own citizens, especially the veterans and the disabled.

The desperate situations of those veterans trying several times to shoot themselves are beyond our imagination – traumatic pains or memories, numerous sleepless nights, lacking the sense of purpose. Veterans’ service organizations like Mission Continues have definitely made stupendous contribution to the reconstruction of pride and confidence of those who participated in the public-service fellowship programs. Projects like serving for post-tornado disaster relief in Oklahoma deserve a strong national support.

Lau Hieng-Hiong, Hsinchu, TAIWAN

CheriMyers
CheriMyers

He isn't ignorant, you don't get to that position by being 'ignorant'....no, Mr.Klein was purposefully Hateful. And he used a national magazine to spread his hate. Even worse - they let him. Shame on you Time Magazine!

I feel sorry for Mr.Klein. Close-minded intolerance on that scale is always a sad thing.  BUT I do not think he should get to keep his job. And, at least for now, I will no longer be supporting Time Magazine.

http://www.standingonthesideoflove.org/ -one of my favorite inclusive service orginizations

betsys2003
betsys2003

I was really enjoying the article. I agree with a lot of the points - the Time idea of an organized national service is something I could really get behind. And it's great that these organizations are doing work helping both veterans AND the recipients of the service. But then I got to the "you don't see organized groups of secular humanists giving out hot meals" and I literally couldn't finish reading the article. How sad to have ruined a very nice article with a completely unrelated and offensive comment.

I had never bothered to get a Time.com account but I had to, just to comment. I am horribly offended. Others have stated more eloquently than I could why this was so offensive, so I won't repeat it. But it's offensive, and it's wrong. I have been a Time subscriber for years (I was reading this in the paper magazine), but I am seriously considering stopping my subscription. Not even because Klein wrote that comment - but because it must have gone through editors who didn't think it was wrong either.

PeterMaric
PeterMaric

Sad how one slanderous remark can distract us from the important issues in an article. Joe Klein's defamatory assertion that "you don’t see organized groups of secular humanists giving out hot meals" is both willfully ignorant and libellous. Ignoring for a moment, the outcry that would have been caused had he said this about the Jewish, Hindu, Muslim or Buddhist communities, it is also demonstrably wrong.


Numerous secular humanist groups (such as Oklahoma Atheists, Atheist Community of Tulsa, the Lawton Area Secular Society, Norman Naturalism Group, Foundation Beyond Belief, Atheists Giving Aid, FreeOK and the Oklahoma State Secular Organization to name only a few), got on with the business of helping those in need, without the need for tax exempt status or broadcasting their work. It may worth noting, many of the largest and most effective charitable organizations on the planet are secular (such as UNICEF, Médecins Sans Frontières or The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation).

These groups of people simply did this work because it was the right thing to do. To ignore or worse yet, slander their work, is a gross injustice based on ignorance and bigotry. 
There is one thing I have never seen an organized group of secular humanists do though, start a war. Therefore obviating the need to rehabilitate soldiers with PTSD.

Robert_F
Robert_F

Despite Joe Klein's silly statement, I felt this article made a good a point about the positive effects of community service for veterans. 

But I feel that the civilian taxpayers of America who supported the soldiers fighting in the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars sometimes get short shrift. We've sacrificed a lot - thousands of dollars per person over the past 12 years, whether you supported the wars or not. It's definitely been a team effort. Let's not ignore the contributions the civilian taxpayers have made.

James_H
James_H

For Joe Klein to write this, and for TIME to publish this, is unacceptable. The statement "funny how you don’t see organized groups of secular humanists giving out hot meals" is

1) demonstrably false

2) irrelevant to the story

3) singles out and persecutes a community unjustly, and in that way is no different from the manipulative and hateful language used by any evil group in the past or present day.

Furthermore, it does a terrible disservice to veterans, both by demonizing those that are secular by implication, and by diminishing and distracting from an otherwise important story.

At the very least, both TIME and Joe Klein should offer public apologies. 


KAP55
KAP55

I wonder if Joe Klein would still have a job at Time if he had written, "funny how you don’t see organized groups of Jews giving out hot meals".

I suspect not.

So it seems that religious bigotry is now perfectly fine in the pages of Time, as long as the group being falsely maligned is not one that Joe, or his editors, belong to. Shame, shame, shame on Joe Klein, and shame on Time magazine, for allowing such narrow-minded intolerance to appear in the pages of a formerly great magazine.



allenjmears
allenjmears

97 MILLION volunteers, members and staff belong to the Red Cross without consideration of their religion.  In fact, they're NOT ALLOWED to be considered using such discriminatory criteria.   In order to be recognized as a national society of the Red Cross (a member to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent societies), there is a requirement that the organization

* "Recruit its voluntary members and its staff WITHOUT CONSIDERATION of race, sex, class, RELIGION or political opinions.

source: Wikipedia.org

That's 97 MILLION volunteers, members and staff worldwide that do not need to identify themselves as part of a religion in order to protect human life and health, to ensure respect for ALL human beings, and to prevent and alleviate ALL human suffering.

MarkCyst
MarkCyst

Wow, what a terribly short-sighted and unnecessarily divisive article.  Not at all feel good journalism when you bizarrely single out a significant portion of the population with an underhanded (and verifiably false) agenda.  If this article was supposed to be about vets, you surely did a number of them disservice by assuming that none of them are secular humanists, and that one can only do good as a vet by not being one (that's clearly implied).  

What's decidedly NOT funny is that you don't see them, Joe, particularly when they're right there along with the rest of humanity.  What's wrong with our blood, sweat and tears, Joe, are they not good enough, or do you think we need to be wearing some other device upon our sleeves to identify us (please, no).  Anyhow, I don't think I need to expound upon my own service or charity, besides, that's kind of not the point...  

You need to apologize for your insensitive and false opinion, Joe.  this type of cheap shot wouldn't be tolerated if you'd discriminated against any other minority group, so why should it be here (I'm talking to you Time). 

JilliBrown
JilliBrown

Mr. Klein - a little research goes a long way.  Your lazy commentary reflects that you didn't bother to do your research.  

Here is just a few of the secular/humanist organizations and their efforts - 

--Foundation Beyond Belief raised over $45,000 for Operation USA and the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma.

-- Atheists Giving Aid raised over $18,000 that will be given to local relief groups in Moore, Oklahoma and directly to families that need help.

-- Members of the FreeOK atheist group helped families who needed wreckage removed from their property.

-- Local atheist groups such as the Oklahoma Atheists, Atheist Community of Tulsa, the Lawton Area Secular Society, Norman Naturalism Group, and the Oklahoma State Secular Organization have organized volunteers, resources, and blood drives

-- Organizers of the FreeOK conference going on this weekend held a literacy drive yesterday to “benefit the schools affected” by the tornadoes.

 Amazing, I found that with a 3 second search on Google, and I'm not even being paid handsomely like you are.

 Very lazy Mr. Klein.

kilcannon
kilcannon

Mr Klein, you comment on secularists helping out had no place in that article.  It was not only bigoted and narrow minded it was either the result of sloppy research on your part, or down right hate.  It is no different than racism or homophobic.  It fits more in the line of the Tea Party or the Taliban.  

By continuing to allow you to write for this magazine, Time is signaling that it condones your bigotry and I for one just cancelled my subscription and urge other to do the same.  Lets be honest, if you had said this about any other demographic you would already be unemployed.

allenjmears
allenjmears

re: Joe Klein, "funny how you don't see organized groups of secular humanists giving out hot meals"

Notwithstanding the fact that what Mr. Klein states is simply not true, why does Mr. Klein feel it is appropriate to attack a group of Americans?  Replace "secular humanists" with any other group, and the attack is both apparent, appalling, and nonsensical:

"funny how you don't see organized groups of African Americans giving out hot meals"

"funny how you don't see organized groups of Gay Americans giving out hot meals"

"funny how you don't see organized groups of Italians giving out hot meals"

"funny how you don't see organized groups of Swimmers giving out hot meals"

"funny how you don't see organized groups of  Jews giving out hot meals"

Atheist group raises $100k+ for Oklahoma Tornado victim: (plus links to more atheist aid examples): http://www.dailykos.com/story/2013/05/28/1212095/-Atheist-Charity-raises-over-100k-for-Blitzer-ed-Oklahoma-Tornado-Survivor

eyeballup
eyeballup

I'm a Canadian atheist and I made a donation to help out in Oklahoma in lieu of being able to be there to help in person. Joe Klein, you are an ignorant liar.

DredScott
DredScott

Hay JERK!!

Im an atheist, & I sent $30 to the Salavation Army in order to assit the folks in Oklahoma.

What did YOU contribute, HMMMMMM??

Rucker
Rucker

Mr. Klein, your very cheap shot against "secular humanists" is wholly irrelevant to your point. What's more, your comment is disgustingly bigoted and provably false. I won't hold my breath waiting for a retraction, but it would be the right thing to do.

Matt_Crawford
Matt_Crawford

woofagooba says, "Mr Klein you are one very ignorant man."

No, a reporter throwing in a a falsehood that is the result of his own bigotry and which he hasn't even tried to check does not get to claim ignorance. He's a liar.

Matt_Crawford
Matt_Crawford

"...members of a religious organization called Freedom Assembly of God walked off a cleanup site after learning that the volunteers working next to them were atheists." -- Red Dirt Report

tm17
tm17

There are a number of reasons that atheists are not seen in droves doing volunteer work.

We're not well organized. We don't have the huge tax breaks (an estimated $71 billion benefit that religious organizations receive each year) to build local non-religious communities or to fund an organized front to our efforts. So, secular groups have more trouble raising funds.

We don't wear T-shirts identifying ourselves because that tends to turn otherwise civil people away from us. This very scenario occurred during tornado clean up when a christian group left the scene after discovering the volunteers next to them were atheists.

We are accustomed to being ostracized, so we tend to join other volunteer efforts, both religious and secular, without making our atheism known. For this same reason, we are more likely to donate money than risk being ostracized when volunteering in person.

But, things are slowly changing. Humanists, atheists and other non-believers are coming out of the closet, making their voices heard and demanding equal treatment. Just look at the status of religion in other western countries. It is slowly dying...

staceypm
staceypm

There were and are plenty of non-religious people helping in Oklahoma. Get your facts straight!

leonids
leonids

I helped distribute free food to my community yesterday. Funny how Joe Klein was nowhere to be seen.

DreamrO
DreamrO

I don't need a sky daddy to feed and clothe people who are in need. Just because I see christians stepping over the bodies of hungry people, I don't say all christians are like that.

Yet another difference between me and this author.

jncunni2
jncunni2

Once I threw up in a public restroom.  Funny how Joe Klein didn't hold back my hair.

etherraichu
etherraichu

" funny how you don’t see organized groups of secular humanists giving out hot meals"

Bearing false witness. Isnt that one of those things your god really doesnt like?


"There are six things that the LORD strongly dislikes, seven that are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers."

Yeah, he sounds pretty serious about that.

jncunni2
jncunni2

I was trapped in a port-a-potty for two hours because I had run out of toilet paper.  FUNNY HOW JOE KLEIN NEVER BROUGHT ME ANY.

yeah, doesn't seem fair, right? Even though it's true, and your original remark wasn't.

chemicalmanson
chemicalmanson

"... funny how you don’t see organized groups of secular humanists giving out hot meals..." Shame on you. I hope you lose your job so you have to go to a soup kitchen for hot meals from now on, liar. What exactly is your agenda?

angrymom
angrymom

Thank you Joe Klein for keeping me in the closet.  It's where I have been for the last 8 years and unfortunately the same "church" where my children are being raised.  I can't help but wonder how quickly the backhanded, sly remark, "funny how you don’t see organized groups of secular humanists giving out hot meals..." would have been received it is was directed (also incorrectly) at the Christian community.

BillyWillyson
BillyWillyson

Joe Klein ... the shortage of real journalists is starting to be a problem. Cross off Klein, Gregory, Sorkin .... I guess we are left only with Greenwald.

Delibes
Delibes

Funny how you don't see main stream journalists checking their facts

Dknapp
Dknapp

Mr. Klein: Which of these three are fit to print?

1) "...funny how you don’t see organized groups of secular humanists giving out hot meals..."

2) "...funny how you don’t see organized groups of Muslims giving out hot meals..."

3) "...funny how you don’t see organized groups of Jews giving out hot meals..."

You're a snide jerk, Klein. Retraction.

atoswald
atoswald

You know, Joe, it is amazing to me that you made absolutely no effort to research your personal opinions before adding them to this article. Even if all you did was search Google, you would find that there were secular humanists doing everything the religious groups were doing. You know why you weren't aware of us being there? Because we were, and still are, there to help. Not for the glory and not because we were told we should, but because it was the right thing to do. Your lack of effort makes you look angry and prejudiced. You, and Time magazine, owe 12% of the American population an apology and you owe it to yourself to get to know us. We're a diverse group of people and pretty good company to keep. Chances are you already know some of us. We are not the evil, selfish scum you obviously think we are.

seraphimblade
seraphimblade

Why, yes, Joe. It's funny how hard to see it is when you close your eyes, don't you think?

Put "atheist oklahoma aid" into a Google search. No, please, go ahead--I'll wait.

See those results? Very good. As of the time I'm writing this, it's a mix of stories about atheists helping in Oklahoma, and articles about just how wrong you were to say otherwise.

I'm an atheist and secular humanist, and donated toward the disaster relief, as did many from the humanist group I'm part of. I also know of many atheists, both who I know and know of, who went to Moore to help out directly.

I was first going to call for you to issue an apology, but the more I think about it, I don't think that's sufficient. Had you said "Funny how you don't see any (blacks|women|Jews|Latinos|Asians|insert other group here) helping out...", there would have been no question that your comments were well beyond acceptable and you should not be with Time anymore.

Discriminating against atheists or humanists is no more acceptable, and is even less acceptable when what you say is provably and factually wrong. Please do the honorable thing and resign.

sTv0
sTv0

"...funny how you don’t see organized groups of secular humanists giving out hot meals..."

I see that Mr. Klein's ignorance and laziness as a journalist are well-represented.  Egg On Face, eh Klein?

RobertRockenstedt
RobertRockenstedt

So TIME magazine has devolved into a mag that bashes people for their beliefs or lack thereof?


Seriously, was the publisher asleep when this article was sent in and printed?

vernard.mercader
vernard.mercader

Let's see... I wonder if Mr. @JoeKleinTIME realises that there are Secular Humanists working for the more popular Charities that are somewhat "Religious" of origin, but really is non-sectarian, like the RED CROSS.

woofagooba
woofagooba

Mr Klein you are one very ignorant man. This is something that we atheists are constantly fighting, ignorance. The ignorance of religion and now the ignorance of your perception and painting us this way. The fact is we don't typically organize AS ATHEISTS. We don't go around IDENTIFYING OURSELVES AS ATHEISTS for many reasons, first because it's not all we are about unlike most religious organizations. YOU need to open your brain up a bit.

jc7622
jc7622

That's total BS. I volunteered in Moore for three days. A friend of mine drove all the way from Colorado and volunteered for four days. We were working out of a local church on the edge of the destruction preparing and delivering meals to people who had lost their homes. One thing that I experienced that I didn't really care for was some of the people I was volunteering with saw it as an opportunity to proselyte to the victims. I thought it was in bad taste but I bit my tongue and let it slide (something I sometimes don't do) because I was just there to do a service and nothing more. I would like to meet the guy in the article and let him know what I think of his comments.

The preacher at the church I was at basically said that God chose to have the tornado hit the school full of kids and spare his empty church building so that it could be used for the relief effort.

marjiegann
marjiegann

In an environment where a bigoted remark like "— funny how you don’t see organized groups of secular humanists giving out hot meals —" slides right by the editors of TIME magazine, it's a wonder atheists organize at all. I do all my volunteer work through other organizations, and participate with a secular humanist group primarily for social activity.

Anne-MarieLarsonEarl
Anne-MarieLarsonEarl

"funny how you don’t see organized groups of secular humanists giving out hot meals"

I'm an atheist, and I definitely contribute to disaster relief annually. Funny how you don't see religious types giving out factual information.

JustinMcKean
JustinMcKean

"Funny how you don’t see organized groups of secular humanists giving out hot meals." - Joe Klein of Time Magazine

"Thanks." - 160 people fed a hot, home-cooked meal several times a year by the Atheist Community of Tulsa. 

The article is actually pretty good and the message is spot-on in that it truly does help one de-stress to actively take care of others. Joe just needs to cool it on the hater-ness.

MLusernametaken
MLusernametaken

Dear Mr. Klein,

What could otherwise have been a provocative, fantastic article has been otherwise ruined by your one statement - "Funny how you don't see organized groups of secular humanists giving out hot meals." As a Christian, I am appalled by your statement, for several reasons: 1) It's untrue (see http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2013/06/23/time-cover-story-wrongly-attacks-atheists-for-not-helping-out-victims-of-oklahoma-tornadoes/ for more information), and 2) It openly and falsely attacks a group based on their beliefs.


The fact that you wrote this, coupled with the fact that TIME'S editors allowed this to slip by, is disturbing.

Respect is earned, not granted, and I suspect both you and the magazine just lost a great deal of respect by allowing yourselves to be so openly prejudiced.

betsys2003
betsys2003

@DredScott Totally up to you of course, and if you think they do the most good, keep giving to them, but you might want to consider supporting a different charity next time. Aside from being a rather discriminatory one, I've always thought it best to support an explicitly non-religious charity - for the very purpose of making it harder for people like him to make stupid comments like that. By giving money to a religious charity, you hide your contribution as it looks like it's coming from a religious person. The Red Cross is, despite the name, not religious, and there are many other charities listed here that are explicitly atheist/secular humanist.


BeelzeNutz
BeelzeNutz

@jc7622 And when we point out how callous and stupidly immoral is the idea that a god would rather save a church than a school, christians complain and call it 'venom'. One thing is vitriol, another is pointing out ridiculous things when we see/hear them.


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