After a man who describes himself as a “militant atheist” attacked and beat up a pastor at church in Ohio, atheists have offered their help in dealing with issues related to the incident.
Religion News Service reports that Hemant Mehta, author of the Friendly Atheist blog and two books on atheism, offered to raise money to cover the medical bills or other needs of the Rev. Norman Hayes, who was injured when the boyfriend of a parishioner allegedly attacked him.
Mehta’s site has been directing people to a donation site where people can contribute. Donations, according to the site, will go toward medical expenses, counseling for the family, financial help for missed work time and potential legal fees, according to WHIO.
The donation site’s listed goal is to raise $15,000, and as of Tuesday morning more than $5,500 had been raised.
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“Atheists can be just as decent as anyone else,” stated a comment that came with a $100 donation. “Here’s hoping for a speedy recovery.”
Another person who gave a $15 donation posted: “Whether or not there is a god, what happened was unacceptable. Here’s to humanity making things better.”
WHIO noted that Mehta reportedly reached out to the family to see how they could help, said Andy Hayes, the pastor’s son who set up the donation site.
James Maxie was indicted by a Clark County grand jury for felonious assault. The 28-year-old, who previously has served prison time for felonious assault, allegedly was argumentative during the Oct. 20 church service and he reportedly assaulted the pastor after Hayes asked Maxie’s girlfriend if she felt safe.
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Maxie labeled himself a “militant atheist” on Facebook, according to WHIO.