UPDATE– May 24, 4:53 pm ET
After about 18 hours, Stanhope and co. have exceeded their goal of $50,000, raising $56,241. And the number keeps rising. There’s still 59 days left of the campaign.
Comedian and vocal atheist Doug Stanhope is spearheading an effort to raise money for one of the thousands of families affected by the recent tornado in Oklahoma that left at least 24 people – including nine children – dead. His intentions became public when he tweeted out a video link wherein CNN’s Wolf Blitzer was interviewing a woman Rebecca Vitsmun in Moore, OK, as she was holding her infant son. Stanhope included the text, “Wish someone would start a fund solely for the chick who told Blitzer she was an atheist.” In the video below, Blitzer asks Vitsmun if she thanks “the Lord” for her good fortune in making it through the natural disaster alive. The woman politely explains she’s an atheist but that she doesn’t fault anyone for thanking God.
Although Stanhope has since deleted the tweet, obviously his plans to raise money were set into motion. Under the title “Atheists Unite,” a fundraising page on Indiegogo has been launched and in the first hour, the cause has already raised nearly $3,000 of its $50,000 goal to start rebuilding Vitsmun’s life with her family. There are 60 days left in the campaign.
The list of “perks” you receive when you donate are filled with what exactly you’d expect from Stanhope. For $10, you get a prayer: “I will say a prayer on my knees for everyone who donates ten bucks. It will be twice as valuable as a real prayer or your money back,” he says. The other prizes include a Bible (if you want to steal one), a phone call from God, “full access to God’s plan book” and more. Check out the official campaign site here.