Comedian Doug Stanhope engaged in a remarkable act of charity, raising over $100,000 for an atheist family in Oklahoma whose home fell to a tornado. The Raw Story reports:
“I didn’t do it because I felt sympathy because she got all her sh*t destroyed by a tornado. I did it simply to be a prick to her Okie Christian neighbors,” Stanhope said in a video uploaded to YouTube on Monday. “It’s funny how hate can make you do real nice things every now and then.”
After a tornado ripped through the town of Moore, Oklahoma in May, CNN host Wolf Blitzer asked resident Rebecca Vitsmun if she thanked the Lord for surviving. She replied that she was an atheist.
“If you didn’t think that took balls you’ve never been to Oklahoma,” Stanhope remarked. “Saying ‘I’m an atheist’ in Oklahoma is like screaming ‘Jihad’ at airport security. It took some nuts.”
“If you watch the footage, all the other victims are on the news thanking Jesus for only killing their neighbors and not them, while a crawler is on the screen telling me where I can text money to help them out,” Stanhope said.
“F*ck them. I don’t want Jesus getting credit for my $50. I’ll help that other girl out. She ain’t got no Jeebus, she gonna need money.”
Cutting through Stanhope’s coarse rhetoric, his giving was certainly motivated by sympathy. He may not have been particularly moved by Vitsmun’s physical loss, but he was clearly moved by her irreligious expression. He sought to affirm her values with a gift of money, an act fundamentally no different from any charity.
Stanhope’s perception of Christianity proves noteworthy. Three specifics manifest. First, he compares professing atheism in Oklahoma to “screaming ‘Jihad’ at airport security.” He then portrays Christian gratitude as somehow malevolent, “thanking Jesus for only killing [others].” Finally, he states that he does not want Jesus getting credit for his $50 donation. Let’s take these in turn.