• October 15, 2013 · 7:00 PM
  • Stone Creek


 Due to unforeseen considerations, it has been necessary for Michael Dorian to change the discussion topic for this meetup.  The MacBain topic will be presented at a later time. On Tuesday, we will be discussing instead the timely, crucial and high-priority topic described below. 



Police Using Pastors to Spread Christianity at Crime Scenes

In Some U.S. Cities, Chaplains Ride Shotgun With Cops 

and Try to Convert the Perp

Can you believe this is happening right here in the USA:  In Montgomery, Alabama, police have preachers riding in patrol cars ready to offer Christian-based support to the perpetrator of the crime right on the spot. 

It’s a cop-led Christian outreach program called “Operation Good Shepherd” and both the police and city officials claim it is intended to reduce crime. 

From Dayton, Ohio, where the pilot program apparently started, to Montgomery, Alabama where it is in full swing, the program brings Christian pastors to crime scenes to counsel and pray with the perps, victims and witnesses.

Is this a blatant example of government using taxpayer dollars to spread a Christian message?  Are they taking advantage of people at a vulnerable time of their lives to increase their opportunities to evangelize? Is this undue pressure and influence from the powers-that-be? 

Do these perps get different treatment if they comply with the message of Jesus from these police-sanctioned preachers?  What are the implications of what appears to be wanton disregard for church-state separation?  And what should the Atheist community do in response?

American Atheists Threaten Suit

American Atheists’ president David Silverman is up in arms about this practice and has pointed out, in a letter to the mayor of Montgomery, that it is unconstitutional. “The program trains evangelical Christian pastors, using tax dollars, to ride along with police officers and gives them access to crime scenes in order to preach Christianity explicitly while people are vulnerable,” Silverman says. So far, 37 pastors have completed the tax-funded training in Montgomery.

Silverman has sent a letter to Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange and Chief of Police Kevin Murphy, “laying out, in no uncertain terms, that  using taxpayer money and government employees for the purpose of spreading Christianity is unconstitutional and that the program must be terminated immediately or American Atheists will sue,” he reports.

Does Religion Prevent Crime?

It is obvious that the fundamentalists and evangelicals are increasingly encroaching into our government functions. Should we Atheists battle every inch of the way?  Where do we draw the line in the sand? 

Obviously the cops and city officials in many U.S. towns feel that religion can prevent crime--though statistics show that prisons are full of Christians (and hardly any Atheists).  Does being opposed to “Operation Good Shepherd” make us “pro-crime” in the eyes of these city officials?

Come on Tuesday, October 15, to NYC Atheists Discussion Group led by filmmaker Michael Dorian, a passionate, outspoken and activist Atheist.

Come, tell us what you feel we should do, how we should respond. Let’s put our heads together to stop this blatant instance of religion crossing the line into our government.

For further information on this latest foray of religion into the public realm, access article in The Atlantic,


WHAT:    “Police in U.S. Cities Are Using Tax Money to Take Christian

                    Pastors to Crime Scenes and Convert the Perps. What Do 

                    We Do About It?”  A discussion led by filmmaker and

                    Atheist leader  Michael Dorian.   


                    7 p.m.


                    140 East 27th St. (3rd/Lex)

                     Back Room

COST:       Free, but you are expected 

                   to purchase food/drink. We

                   love Stone Creek’s own 

                   brand of beer and their

                   knoshies are better than in

                   most bars.

New York City Atheists Inc. is a 501C (3) not-for-profit association dedicated to the separation of church and state and to the promotion of the Atheist lifestyle and values.


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  • David o.

    This was an intimate and fine program. John did an excellent job standing in for Michael. John's questions were probing and intelligent. Due to a conflict I couldn't stay. But for the hour I was at the program I really liked hearing everyone's opinions and ideas regarding what is yet another incursion into our secular well being as a nation. Nice job to all. Good to see everyone. Cheers, David

    October 16, 2013

  • Eileen Marie R.

    I thoroughly enjoyed the conversation, even though we had a small crowd.

    October 16, 2013

    • Jane E.

      Sometimes a smaller crowd is better. Everybody gets a chance to talk and there's not so much waving of hands and interruptions. I always like a smaller crowd in our support group.

      October 16, 2013

  • Eileen Marie R.

    Many great points were made last night. I think the one of the strongest ones is the fact that tax payers are footing the bill for pastors to be trained. Trained how exactly? And why not rabbi's, muslims, etc. As David pointed out do all or do nothing.

    October 16, 2013

  • Jane E.

    Among those who came up with interesting concepts about pastors riding in police cars were Big Eric and Military Mike. But I was most intrigued by Tom's surprising devil's advocacy (that maybe this works for Montgomery, Alabama, and that it's not unconstitutional until the courts say it is) because it made me think about this from the Deep South's point of view. They see it as a positive community outreach to both perps and victims. They see it as the moral thing to do. Separation of church and state is not a concept that, in the Deep South, is thoroughly understood or thought to be worth of nurture.

    October 16, 2013

  • Willie F.

    John Wagner did an excellent job as a fill-in moderator for Michael. The small crowd actually lent itself to a more organized and orderly discussion group. Jan was a pleasant surprise with obvious extreme intelligence. I also enjoyed Mike's military narrative regarding the chaplains and their "roles" within the military for comforting soldiers. Tom, as usual always offered great ideas, concepts and suggestions for expanding our organization. Thanks to all for attending and making it one enjoyable evening.

    October 16, 2013

  • Jane E.

    Interesting discussion on many levels. John Wagner filled in for Michael Dorian, who is away filming his documentary. Tom Crawley did a great job of playing devil's advocate. Still, only four women present, which puts us ladies at a disadvantage, but I did my best to jump up and present my view, which earned me an interesting soubriquette.

    October 16, 2013

  • Eileen Marie R.

    I think this is a much better topic.

    October 11, 2013

  • Jane E.

    Sorry, folks, for the change in topic, but this issue is high-priority.

    October 11, 2013

  • Jane E.

    Michael, if you can find Teresa's statement from her Facebook page, I will post it on here for everybody.

    1 · October 1, 2013

  • Eileen Marie R.

    I just went to her page and couldn't find anything. Where on Facebook can I find her comments?

    October 1, 2013

    • Willie F.

      Type her name in the search section and then ask to be an acquaintance. Once she accepts, you will be able to see her comments. Although, you should be able to see her comments on her personal post page. If this does not work for you, just let me know and I will send you some detailed comments by Teresa which would enlighten you regarding the matter of her termination from Harvard. Thank you for your interest in this sensitive matter.

      October 1, 2013

  • Willie F.

    Please read Teresa MacBain's comments on Facebook before you attend the meeting so that you will be well informed on this matter. Thanks to all.

    October 1, 2013

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