At Perdue University in West Lafayette, Ind., a fundraiser titled "Send an Atheist to Church" and co-sponsored by the Episcopal Student Organization and the Society of Non-Theists, enables people to make donations to a local food bank. In return, SNT atheists will attend church.
According to Jennifer McCreight, president and co-founder of SNT, the charity raises money by allowing people to choose which church they would like atheists to attend. There is no minimum, but the more money donated in the name of a church, the more visits from atheists that church gets, McCreight explained in a blog post.
This is the second year that SAC has organized this event. Last year, the charity raised nearly $400 and the Episcopalians edged out the Baptists in number of donations. This year, the Episcopalians have teamed up with the atheists to raise even more money for the local food bank.
Despite the differences in their beliefs, the two groups get along to reach their common goal, according to Mario Melendez, vice president of the ESO.
"We've done a couple things here and there. It's been a good relationship, even when they give me a hard time," he told the Purdue Exponent.
In addition to feeding the hungry, the atheists hope to improve their image among religious believers, McCreight wrote, which may not not be a bad idea.
A recent study from the University of British Columbia found that the only people religious believers find more untrustworthy than atheists are rapists.
Spiritual differences aside, if the fundraiser nets as much money as the groups managed to raise last year, many hungry people will be fed; for every dollar raised, three meals can be served to the hungry. And of course, more atheists will go to church.