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Local Christian Restaurant Showed Prejudice and Bigotry Toward Skepticon Attendees

Local Christian Restaurant Showed Prejudice and Bigotry Toward Skepticon Attendees

Gelato Mio, a local Springfield, Missouri Restaurant a few doors down from where Skepticon was this weekend, placed a blatant sign on their door, which was a throw back to another time, except the words were different.  Instead of saying, “Blacks not welcome” it said, “Skepticon NOT welcome at my Christian Business”.  Welcome to the new "Jim Crow".

Granted a business has the legal right to deny service to anyone, but this was discrimination, which, last time I looked, is illegal.  The business supposedly gave an apology concerning their discrimination sign.

To the Public:  I sincerely apologize for the posting of the note in the window. It was an impulse reaction to an event that I witnessed and it was only up for a few minutes before I came to my senses and realized it shouldn't have been up at all.

So you know, nobody was turned away and everyone was given the same high level of service they have come to expect. Out of the hundreds of event attendees that I served on Friday and Saturday, all of them were extremely polite and enjoyed their time in my restaurant. The event that greatly offended me was conducted by one man and I shouldn't have reacted the way I did.

Even small business owners make mistakes, and I sincerely apologize to those whom I offended.

All the Best,


However, for many of us, that is not good enough and their business’ rating went down to a one star, which of course was before they became scared and put out that apology.  The comments all deal with this larger view of the sign:

A guest from Los Angeles California said, “Original post: Gelato Mio has a sign in the front door declaring that non-religious convention attendees are not welcome inside their "Christian business." This is religious discrimination and it is illegal.”

Another from Washington D.C. posted, “As an African-American, I'm REAL SENSITIVE to signs telling me that "your kind ain't welcome here."
I guess I should be happy that my non-religion and not my dark skin are why I'm discriminated against. In the end though, no crappy gelato for me either way.”

Seems the one from D.C. agrees with me. The incident was one word shy of Jim Crow and as a humanist, fellow skeptic, and resident of this city, I am sorry those visiting for Skepticon had to see the discrimination many of us here in Springfield put up with daily. This is life in the Headquarters of the Assembly of God, who often take it upon themselves to make themselves “The Ass of God”. Of course, in this case, humans outsource and blame something external, as well as unreal, for their behaviours, at least until they think about their stupidity after it affects them and not the intended party.

Most who posted and rated the restaurant were not from Springfield. One supposedly came from as far away as France, according to site which they left comments about the establishment.

Then there is a blogger from a site called Pixel Stampede.

What would anger a person enough to make such a sign? Hundreds of extra visitors to your place of business, wanting tasty gelato? Critically thinking individuals entering your place of business? Or is it that the patrons were non-theists? By the underlining of ‘Christian Business’, my bets would be on the latter.

PZ Meyers, who attended Skepticon, posted his opinion about this on his blog.

Mio Gelato is owned by a bigot — and this was a place just one block away from the Gillioz Theater, where the convention was held.

"Skepticon is NOT welcomed to my Christian business"

One other unwelcoming thing: the Gillioz Theater did not mention Skepticon on their marquee, or in any of their advertising.

JT Eberhard, one of the organizers of Skepticon and member of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, also posted his opinion on his blog.

Man, you kept us from giving you our money.  You sure showed us.  Now we’ll starve because there are no other restaurants in downtown Springfield.  Dumbass.

4.  Fuck you.  We’re right.

Seems to me JT, PZ, others, and, not to mention, myself are angry, but then again, Greta Christina titled her lecture, “Why Are You Atheists So Angry?”  Does this answer your question?  Come see the new Jim Crow Christian Businesses if this does not explain why we are so angry.  We are treated like second-class citizens down here and some have lost our jobs and/or family because we are atheists, humanists, freethinkers, skeptics, and down right non-believers and one man was not beyond screaming at us, saying he had a gun and we are going to die because we are atheists.  However, I assure you, we are not mad at your god.  We cannot be angry with something that does not exist, but we can sure as hell be angry with fellow human beings who act like prejudice, bigoted jerks.

No worries.  He left the building as he said it and did not return.

And that is what I hate about the South and why I call this place the Bile Belt.  Welcome Springfield, Missoura, y’all.  So sorry only a few of us, mostly fellow atheists, humanists, and Unitarians, know how to show some Southern Hospitality around here and folks around these parts say y’all are rude.

I had half a mind to walk in with my Missouri State University hoodie on, sit down at a table, order food, eat it, and after I paid for it, raise my hoodie to reveal the Planned Parenthood shirt I wore under it and say, “I’m from Skepticon and I just ate at your sorry ass establishment.  Good day!”  Of course, I would walk out extremely fast after I said that.

Unfortunately, being Sunday, they were closed, probably at a local Assembly of God Church getting their neurotransmitters in their brains stimulated because they are addicted to the opiate of the masses- Religion.

Why are atheists so angry?  Do you really have to ask?

I will post the good stuff about this two-day event sometime tomorrow, but my readers can look at what we live with down here in Southwest Missouri and see an example as to why some days I seem irritable with some of our religious guests or even the topic of religion itself.  Welcome to my world and in my opinion, the owner does not actually mean the apology.  He was only concerned about the rest of his potential business after many gave him a one star rating for first sign.

About Mriana

Mriana is a humanist and the author of "A Source of Misery", who grew up in the Church of God, Anderson Indiana. After she became an adult, she joined the Episcopal Church, but later left the Church and became a humanist. She has two grown sons and raises cats. Mriana raised her sons in the Episcopal Church, but in their teen years, they left the Church and she soon followed. One of her sons became a "Tao Buddhist" and the other a None, creating his own world view. She enjoys writing, reading, science, philosophy, psychology, and other subjects. Mriana is also an animal lover, who cares for their welfare as living beings, who are part of the earth. She is a huge Star Trek fan in a little body.
  • Elise Nixon

    A monotheistic religion characterized by the acceptance of the doctrine of submission to God and to Muhammad as the chief and last prophet of God.

  • SnarkyHeathen

    Missouri isn't the South.

    • Depends on what part you are talking about. The Mason Dixon line went right through it and that imaginary line still exists to us Missourians. Those north of the line say Missouree, while many south of it, say Missoura.

  • If you translate the sign into Fundementalist it simply says, "Don't make me think."

  • Barry Johnstone

    I'm one of them pesky foreigners who is an enthusiastic and committed atheist! Guess what America! There ARE other countries and other cultures in the world.There was a sign in Shanghai just prior to WW2 that said 'no dogs or Chinese' The world HAS progressed since then, but this has to be realised and everybody has to keep on working to eliminate this SHIT from everywhere!

  • Oh good grief! And they say Christians are persecuted in American and marginalized?

    If on any other Saturday, people patronized his restaurant and he did not know they were skeptics, he wouldn't know the difference.

    Was this restaurant filled with religious decor and pamphlets to cause "one person" to behave in a way that the business owner did not like?

    Unbelievable. Thanks for sharing this story, Mriana.


    • I don't know what it was filled with because I've never been in it before and I never did get past the sign. However, he wasn't offended by a patron. See my update on this story. He wandered over to Skepticon, thinking we'd be talking about UFOs, found out we are a bunch of atheists, saw Brother Sam's "sermon", and got bent. That's the short of it.

  • Lois J. Greene-Hernandez

    Dear Mriana,

    I just heard the latest God-Discussion podcast. I'm an Atheist and a Fan of the show. I just want to say that while, I personally would have accepted Christian Ice-Cream Man's apology, I do understand the anger of the Atheist community and why some may be unwilling to. Atheists have been marginalized for many decades. Before that we were shunned (if we were lucky) and burned at the stake if we were not. I'm really tired of self-righteous religious folk taking ignorant potshots at us. I don't think all religious folk are bad or self-righteous. There are enough of those kinds out there to make wary of dealing with them. They generally get a pass in life whereas WE have to prove ourselves. It's like any other form of discrimination.

    At any rate. Keep writing and keep an open mind.


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