|Douglas Kindig, Christian ruler of La Vista, Neb.|
The complete press release from OmahaAtheists.org is here. We found the link at The Friendly Atheist because nobody ever sends AKSARBENT press releases, even though our email address is in one of the page tabs (we forget which one) at the top of the blog. Oh yeah, now we remember — "newstips."
Following national media coverage of the [mayor's vulgar] comments [to La Vista atheist Robert Fuller expressing concerns about city involvement in a so-called Faith and Freedom Day], Mayor Kindig’s staff sent a request for a meeting with Mr. Fuller. Jill Fitzgerald, a spokesperson for Omaha Atheists, and La Vista City Administrator Brenda Gunn also attended. During the meeting, Mr. Fuller requested the La Vista Daze event be more about Memorial Day.Said Hemant Mehta:
“The event appeared to be more about religion than remembering our fallen heroes. The amount of time actually dedicated to honoring them was very short.” Mr. Fuller stated. “I offered suggestions for making it about veterans, like having someone talk about PTSD and possibly doing something to fundraise for a charity like USO or Wounded Warrior Project.”
Omaha Atheists extended an invitation to Mayor Kindig to their Meet an Atheist event scheduled on June 16th at 7:00 at La Vista’s Central Park. The mayor declined stating his time was better spent addressing this issue.
When asked, the city officials said it never really occurred to them the event could be in violation of the separation of church and state prior to being approached by Mr. Fuller. “I’m satisfied with their answer. Often the persons in a majority or privileged position do not realize how their actions could be perceived by minorities. I don’t believe they conducted themselves in a malicious manner.” said Ms. Fitzgerald.
Typo: As is plainly seen in this still
from AKSARBENT's video, the
word "regressive" is grossly
misspelled in La Vista's
“We would still like to invite Mayor Kindig to attend the Apostacon secular conference in Omaha this September, where he will be asked to join American Atheists President Dave Silverman on stage to address the atheist community at large.
Together we can create a plan for how we can work together to ensure La Vista Nebraska is known as an accepting place for all people.” said American Atheists Managing Director Amanda Knief, a former Omaha resident and journalist for the Omaha World Herald, who came to Omaha from American Atheists headquarters in New Jersey to attend the rally on Monday.
In a press release issued by the group, they now say the issue is resolved (though, if you read between the lines, they don’t mention any actual apology or sign of understanding from Kindig):
Well, if they say it’s over, it’s over. Hopefully, Kindig learned something in the process, but I suppose we won’t know the answer to that until next year’s Memorial Day event.
Good for the Omaha Atheists for not holding a grudge and remaining classy this entire time.
They made a simple request, were rejected, and then held a peaceful rally to make a statement. They did it the right way, without resorting to insults or attacks against anyone.
Then again, they didn’t have to; the Mayor’s own words did more to damage his image than anything the atheists could have done.