Pastor Michael Stahl posted an article on his blog a year ago in which he stated that he was considering starting a grassroots effort to create “The Christian National Registry of Atheists.” A year later, the backlash to his statements has just begun.
Though his blog is currently inaccessible, except by invite only, Mediaite.com posted a passage from the entry that's just now stirring up controversy.
“Brothers and Sisters , I have been seriously considering forming a (Christian ) grassroots type of organization to be named 'The Christian National Registry of Atheists' or something similar,” Stahl wrote. “I mean , think about it . There are already National Registrys for convicted sex offenders , ex-convicts , terrorist cells , hate groups like the KKK , skinheads , radical Islamists , etc..”
He then goes on to say that the registry would be for informational purposes only, that it would give believers a chance to identify who they should witness to, and it would allow Christians to avoid businesses owned by atheists because, by supporting them, “we would only be 'feeding' Satan.”
David Silverman, president of American Atheists, shared his thoughts on the registry in an email to The Christian Post on Thursday.
“This is another perfect example of a preacher using religion to try to get money and attention by spreading hate in the name of religion,” he wrote.
“Most atheists are well aware that most Christians would not support placing atheists, Jews, or anyone else on some kind of public list as if they were criminals, just because they think differently. They know bigotry and hate when they see it, and they probably don't like it when bigotry and hate are masked in Christianity. It's quite pathetic, and it should not be tolerated by the Christian Community.”
Todd Pitner, the founder of the Christian website IloveAtheists.com, also responded with disapproval.
“Don't shoot at atheists, the predestined ones are on our side!” he wrote in an email.
Pitner says he's been on both sides of this issue before. He was a self-described “irrational atheist” for 42 years of his life, but says that he is now a “rational theist” and “a product of Divine mediation” thanks to the grace of God.
“We're saved on God's timeline, not our own,” he commented. The idea of an atheist registry is “just plain ignorant.”
Stahl's “Living Water Church” does not consist of a physical gathering of people, but is instead the name of another one of his blogs, which he uses to minister to those who are unable to attend church services or who would be uncomfortable doing so.
South Florida blog The Pulp reports that after recently posting the article's link to his Facebook page, Stahl eventually had to delete it after receiving “tons” of angry responses.
Stahl could not be reached for additional comment.