- (Photo: Facebook/American Atheists)
An American Atheists member claims that an employee at a small bank in New Jersey refused to notarize her documents because she is a nonbeliever.
Amanda Knief, managing director of American Atheists, wrote on the national nonprofit organization's Facebook page about her recent experience at TD Bank in Cranford, N.J., where the national headquarters for American Atheists is located.
"I was just refused service -- because I am an atheist. It was embarrassing, humiliating, and pissed me off," Knief wrote.
The managing director explained that she visited TD Bank with David Silverman, president of American Atheists, to have documents notarized. When the notary asked her to explain the documents, Knief told her they were related to the American Atheists and the notary reportedly said she couldn't sign them based on "personal reasons."
"The documents were charitable organizations registrations for American Atheists in several states. So I told her what AA is about. She looked down, then looked at me and Dave Silverman and said she couldn't sign the documents because of 'personal reasons.'" The notary then reportedly found another employee on lunch to sign the documents.
"I have been called names, threatened, hated on and all manner of ridiculed because of my atheist activism, but I think sitting in a bank and having another professional refuse to do business with me because I am an atheist was the worst slight I have ever received," Knief added.
According to the Facebook post, notaries in New Jersey are allowed to refuse service based on "personal reasons," and therefore the employee was not violating any laws when she refused to notarize Knief's documents.
"Time to write legislation that won't let this happen to anyone else … This is completely unacceptable, and far from over," Knief concluded.
A TD Bank spokesperson released a statement to The Washington Times clarifying that Knief had misconstrued the situation, and the employee she had initially met did not understand how to process the paperwork and therefore asked for help from another employee.
"We treat all consumers fairly and with respect, and this instance was no different," Rebecca Acevedo said. "Our employee did not understand how to process this particular paperwork and needed help that, unfortunately, led to the miscommunication."