A freethought charity is providing financial assistance to a flood-hit Louisiana public school district.
Nonbelief Relief, which functions as the charitable arm of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, has just donated $10,000 in flood relief to the Livingston Parish Public Schools. The group, which represents nonbelieving donors nationwide, has asked that it be used for the repair or rebuilding of public school infrastructure or buses.
NonBelief Relief, Inc., is a humanitarian agency for atheists, agnostics, freethinkers and their supporters "to improve this world, our only world," says its administrator, Annie Laurie Gaylor, who also serves as co-president of FFRF.
On the same day $10,000 was funneled to help the Livingston public school district, which suffered loss of many school buses and other major flooding damage, Gaylor also sent a polite but pointed letter to Superintendent Rick Wentzel.
The letter says, "It has come to our attention that the parish public schools website has a banner message reading in part, 'Praying for all of our Livingston Parish people – Superintendent Rick Wentzel.'" FFRF, extending "sincerest sympathies for the tragedy facing the school district" and greater area, notes that the school district has an obligation to concentrate on secular, not religious, needs.
"A famous freethinker of the 19th century, Robert Green Ingersoll, once wrote, 'The hands that help are better far than lips that pray,'" Gaylor adds. "To that end, Nonbelief Relief is very pleased to provide the practical assistance of $10,000 in flood relief to the Livingston Parish Public Schools."
"We have a saying around our office: Nothing fails like prayer. We humans need to join together to make this a better world, to get off our knees and get to work," she further states.
Nonbelief Relief seeks to remediate conditions of human suffering and injustice on a global scale, whether the result of natural disasters, human actions or adherence to religious dogma. Such relief is not limited to but includes assistance for individuals targeted for nonbelief, secular activism or blasphemy.
In other action this month, Nonbelief Relief voted to give a $5,000 stipend to a major Bangladesh atheist author whose life is under threat, and is holding stipends in reserve for two other endangered bloggers. The charity this year has now spent about $50,000 in grants to individuals whose lives have been imperiled because of public atheist activism.