We Support Dan Ashta's Pledge Protest

$3,417 of $2,600 goal

Raised by 168 people in 37 months
Hemant Mehta  NAPERVILLE, IL
American Legion Commander Joseph Lampert recently told Morton Grove Park District Commissioner Dan Ashta that the Legion wouldn't provide the park district with $2,600 of funding because Ashta refused to stand up for the Pledge of Allegiance.

In essence, Lampert believes veterans have fought and died for our Constitution... but his group will punish anyone who exercises his First Amendment rights in an "improper" way.

As atheists (and allies) who don't believe there's a connection between standing up for the Pledge of Allegiance and loving our country, we're appalled by this childish display of "true patriotism." Ashta took a respectable stand and the Morton Grove Park District shouldn't be penalized for his actions.

We want to raise $2,600 so the Morton Grove Park District can make up for the budget hole left by the American Legion's uncharitable and petty actions.

Here's the rest of my story with all the details.
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Update 3
Posted by Hemant Mehta
35 months ago
So.... this happened:

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/suburbs/evanston_skokie_morton_grove/ct-pledge-of-allegiance-donation-met-20131203,0,6147290.story

The Morton Grove Public Library has also rejected our donations after accusing commenters on my site of being part of a "hate group."

I'll try to find an alternative donation recipient ASAP. The purpose is still to benefit the Morton Grove community, so I'll try to find a place worthy of your generosity.
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Update 2
Posted by Hemant Mehta
35 months ago
Hi everyone. Here's where we're at. In case you hadn't heard, the Park District rejected the money:

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/suburbs/evanston_skokie_morton_grove/ct-pledge-of-allegiance-donation-met-20131203,0,6147290.story

Since the money was always intended to benefit the community, I decided to donate the money to the local library. I hear that they will be discussing the donation at a meeting on Thursday, 12/19. If they accept it, great. If not... we'll see.

As always, I'll post updates at http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/

Thanks, everyone!
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Update 1
Posted by Hemant Mehta
37 months ago
Thanks to everyone for contributing -- We reached our goal in under a week! I'll leave this fundraiser up for a few more days and let you know when/how the money will be given to the Morton Grove Park District.
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Read a Previous Update
Help spread the word!
 149 total shares
Earle Howe
35 months ago

Awfully frustrating. We just want to help, and we're being told, essentially, "F*** off. We don't want your godless money." - Is there a food bank, or homeless shelter that might be able to use the cash?

+ Read More
Leanne Gray
35 months ago

We hateful atheists, who give money out of our own pocket to promote our evil free speech agenda. After all, what do we know about giving? We don't even believe in Santa! Lol. In all seriousness though, I had no idea it was this difficult to give stuff away. Hopefully someone in that community won't be too proud to take other people's money, and they'll be able to do some good with it. If not, I'm sure there are plenty of national organizations who aren't afraid to take money from heathens.

+ Read More
Evan Kane
35 months ago

I think it time to give the money to a secular charity, Morton Grove doesn't want or need the money, don't give it to them. Why not donate to the FFRF?

+ Read More
Robert Parker
37 months ago

I don't think anybody believes that Dan Ashta is being punished. The only real victims here are the community of Morton Grove, who did nothing wrong and are having support taken from them. Having the right to do something and doing the right thing are not the same. American Legion has shown that they are not interested in the latter.

+ Read More
Alicia Norman
37 months ago

Raising the funds so fast was amazing! I am so proud of this community!!!!!!!!!!!

+ Read More
Karen Ulvang
37 months ago

I support the sitting out of the pledge of allegiance. Too many people are of different faiths to add "under GOD" to a pledge to our multi-cultural nation. Let everyone be free to participate unabashedly in our democracy, from the smallest level on up.

+ Read More
Julien Lynge
37 months ago

John, Thanks for your comment! The best response to free speech is always more speech, so I appreciate you joining the conversion. In that spirit, here's my $0.02: You're absolutely right in your remarks - no one's rights have been violated here. Everyone has the right to express their opinions, and to give or not give money as they see fit. However, a critical part of freedom of speech is that there is no right not to be criticized; freedom of speech does not mean speech without consequences. If you're going to speak, you have to accept the social consequences of what you say. That's what this really boils down to: the American Legion didn't like what Dan said, and decided to criticize him and withhold their money - good for them. We, on the other hand, don't like what the American Legion said and did, and are simultaneously criticizing them and trying to show our support for Dan. That's more free speech all around, which is good for democracy - and good for everyone. You mentioned that we aren't looking at the American Legion's point of view. I can't speak for anyone else, but I certainly do understand what they're saying. I just don't agree. I would never threaten to sue them for what they've done, but what I will do is spend my money and voice my support as I see fit. And I think that standing up for a minority position, and articulating why so well, is something worth supporting. I also think that the American Legion is acting a bit like a child: it comes across as throwing a tantrum because you don't get your way. No one gets to control another person, and complaining and punishing a community because you don't get to have a say in another man's actions feels incredibly childish to me.

+ Read More
John Sutter
37 months ago

Dan Ashta absolutely has the right to not stand during the Pledge of Allegiance. The American Legion states this. The American Legion absolutely has the right to NOT donate money to the Morton Grove Park District. Dan Ashta understands this. So, everyone is right. The American Legion isn't "punishing" Dan, like the article states. They are exercising THEIR right to freedom of expression, too. Oh, things are never looked at from both points of view if you are biased.

+ Read More
Chris Doux
37 months ago

John not sure I understand your question. There are no doctrinal sources for atheism. Atheism deals with one claim only. That is rather or not do we believe in a god. If you are an Atheist it simply means you do not support any of the God claims that mankind has invented even the ones which man claims were passed down by God/s/esses themselves. It is any American's right to not stand for or say anything that do not want to stand or say. Just like if we replaced the word God in the pledge with any other deity if you choose to sit it out we would also defend your right to sit it out.

+ Read More
John Wilson
37 months ago

Show me the atheist book of beliefs where standing for the pledge is prohibited. I't just God they don't believe in, is that the case?

+ Read More
Ryan Vandewiel
37 months ago

It's a shame that the Legion won't donate to the park district because the commissioner expressed a personal view. Soldiers fight to defend the Constitution, and Mr. Ashta has every right under the Constitution to not stand.

+ Read More
Jon Zoubek
37 months ago

I will give one dollar if he shaves those miserable side-burns.

+ Read More
Chris Doux
37 months ago

I am confused by Stewart's comment how is this group and Morton Grove childish? If you mean a community coming together and showing support because they do not want the tyrannical views of the American Legion to prosper well then so be it thanks for helping me to decide on making a donation. Imagine how incredibly foolish the American Legion will feel when the headline reads, "Secular Community Rallies Behind Small Town."

+ Read More
Stewart Montross
37 months ago

Morton grove and this group are a bunch of childish idiots. I will not give your group a dime and will boycott your city.

+ Read More

$3,417 of $2,600 goal

Raised by 168 people in 37 months
Created October 29, 2013
SB
$5
Seth Bergshoeff
37 months ago
MP
$5
Mark Peltier
37 months ago

I better go to Heaven for this donation, lol. ~ Atheist & Proud.

CH
$5
Charles Harris
37 months ago
AL
$5
A Lang
37 months ago
DB
$5
dean buccilli
37 months ago

God, placed right before indivisible in the pledge to my country. It is not just offensive, its embarrassing to me as a citizen. Why not just state the truth, one nation, ignorant and divided as a result, with liberty and justice for some.

BD
$5
Beth Doyle
37 months ago
JJ
$5
James Jackson
37 months ago
EA
$5
Erin Ashworth
37 months ago
$5
Anonymous
37 months ago
SG
$5
Silas Gotsch
37 months ago
Earle Howe
35 months ago

Awfully frustrating. We just want to help, and we're being told, essentially, "F*** off. We don't want your godless money." - Is there a food bank, or homeless shelter that might be able to use the cash?

+ Read More
Leanne Gray
35 months ago

We hateful atheists, who give money out of our own pocket to promote our evil free speech agenda. After all, what do we know about giving? We don't even believe in Santa! Lol. In all seriousness though, I had no idea it was this difficult to give stuff away. Hopefully someone in that community won't be too proud to take other people's money, and they'll be able to do some good with it. If not, I'm sure there are plenty of national organizations who aren't afraid to take money from heathens.

+ Read More
Evan Kane
35 months ago

I think it time to give the money to a secular charity, Morton Grove doesn't want or need the money, don't give it to them. Why not donate to the FFRF?

+ Read More
Robert Parker
37 months ago

I don't think anybody believes that Dan Ashta is being punished. The only real victims here are the community of Morton Grove, who did nothing wrong and are having support taken from them. Having the right to do something and doing the right thing are not the same. American Legion has shown that they are not interested in the latter.

+ Read More
Alicia Norman
37 months ago

Raising the funds so fast was amazing! I am so proud of this community!!!!!!!!!!!

+ Read More
Karen Ulvang
37 months ago

I support the sitting out of the pledge of allegiance. Too many people are of different faiths to add "under GOD" to a pledge to our multi-cultural nation. Let everyone be free to participate unabashedly in our democracy, from the smallest level on up.

+ Read More
Julien Lynge
37 months ago

John, Thanks for your comment! The best response to free speech is always more speech, so I appreciate you joining the conversion. In that spirit, here's my $0.02: You're absolutely right in your remarks - no one's rights have been violated here. Everyone has the right to express their opinions, and to give or not give money as they see fit. However, a critical part of freedom of speech is that there is no right not to be criticized; freedom of speech does not mean speech without consequences. If you're going to speak, you have to accept the social consequences of what you say. That's what this really boils down to: the American Legion didn't like what Dan said, and decided to criticize him and withhold their money - good for them. We, on the other hand, don't like what the American Legion said and did, and are simultaneously criticizing them and trying to show our support for Dan. That's more free speech all around, which is good for democracy - and good for everyone. You mentioned that we aren't looking at the American Legion's point of view. I can't speak for anyone else, but I certainly do understand what they're saying. I just don't agree. I would never threaten to sue them for what they've done, but what I will do is spend my money and voice my support as I see fit. And I think that standing up for a minority position, and articulating why so well, is something worth supporting. I also think that the American Legion is acting a bit like a child: it comes across as throwing a tantrum because you don't get your way. No one gets to control another person, and complaining and punishing a community because you don't get to have a say in another man's actions feels incredibly childish to me.

+ Read More
John Sutter
37 months ago

Dan Ashta absolutely has the right to not stand during the Pledge of Allegiance. The American Legion states this. The American Legion absolutely has the right to NOT donate money to the Morton Grove Park District. Dan Ashta understands this. So, everyone is right. The American Legion isn't "punishing" Dan, like the article states. They are exercising THEIR right to freedom of expression, too. Oh, things are never looked at from both points of view if you are biased.

+ Read More
Chris Doux
37 months ago

John not sure I understand your question. There are no doctrinal sources for atheism. Atheism deals with one claim only. That is rather or not do we believe in a god. If you are an Atheist it simply means you do not support any of the God claims that mankind has invented even the ones which man claims were passed down by God/s/esses themselves. It is any American's right to not stand for or say anything that do not want to stand or say. Just like if we replaced the word God in the pledge with any other deity if you choose to sit it out we would also defend your right to sit it out.

+ Read More
John Wilson
37 months ago

Show me the atheist book of beliefs where standing for the pledge is prohibited. I't just God they don't believe in, is that the case?

+ Read More
Ryan Vandewiel
37 months ago

It's a shame that the Legion won't donate to the park district because the commissioner expressed a personal view. Soldiers fight to defend the Constitution, and Mr. Ashta has every right under the Constitution to not stand.

+ Read More
Jon Zoubek
37 months ago

I will give one dollar if he shaves those miserable side-burns.

+ Read More
Chris Doux
37 months ago

I am confused by Stewart's comment how is this group and Morton Grove childish? If you mean a community coming together and showing support because they do not want the tyrannical views of the American Legion to prosper well then so be it thanks for helping me to decide on making a donation. Imagine how incredibly foolish the American Legion will feel when the headline reads, "Secular Community Rallies Behind Small Town."

+ Read More
Stewart Montross
37 months ago

Morton grove and this group are a bunch of childish idiots. I will not give your group a dime and will boycott your city.

+ Read More
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