American Cancer Society Responds – Sort Of

Well, the American Cancer Society has responded.

If you can call it that.

For two days, the American Cancer Society’s Facebook page has been deluged with posts from angry atheists — and some angry believers — about their refusal to let the Foundation Beyond Belief participate as a national team in the Relay for Life, and their turning down a $250,000 matching offer from the Todd Stiefel Foundation to make this happen. They have finally responded. Here, in total, is their response.

During the past couple of days we’ve heard your comments and we understand your concerns. Like you, many of us have been touched by cancer.

The American Cancer Society fights for everyone, everywhere, but it’s going to take all of us fighting together to end cancer. It’s clear that the American Cancer Society and Foundation Beyond Belief share a passion for saving lives.

We welcome FBB’s participation at our local Relay For Life events and we have not turned down their donations. We have shared this information with FBB and hope they know we welcome their ongoing support and involvement.


Right. Except that nobody’s disputing any of that. The AlterNet article about this matter made it clear that the American Cancer Society would accept money from the Foundation Beyond Belief, and that they would welcome the FBB’s participation in the Relay for Life at the local level. They just refused any participation from the FBB in the Relay for Life as a national team — despite the fact that many organizations similar to the FBB are participating at this level. They denied this national participation after initially okaying it, and after weeks of evasions and changed stories. Attempts to find a solution were repeatedly shot down. And the explanations they gave, both to Stiefel at the time, and to me when I was interviewing them about the situation, were not only vague, but conflicting. As detailed in the story.

Really? This is the best they can do? A bland, generic press release that evades the actual topic at hand and the actual questions being asked about it? With a passive- aggressive little scold about how “it’s going to take all of us fighting together to end cancer,” and therefore atheists should just shut up about it when we get treated as pariahs?

Move to strike as non-responsive.

If you’re angry about this situation: Here, once again, is the American Cancer Society’s Facebook page, and their contact info on their Website.

American Cancer Society Responds – Sort Of

7 thoughts on “American Cancer Society Responds – Sort Of

  1. 1

    To be pedantic… there are a lot of people out there who are not following the difference between refusing a donation, and refusing a national relay team for FBB.

    Hence the ACS is correcting some real misapprehensions in the sidelines (seen repeatedly in the facebook page comments); albeit without ever addressing the concerns of the Stiefel family themselves, who had proposed to give a large donation to match what was raised by a national FBB relay team.

    So it isn’t quite true to say “Except that nobody’s disputing any of that.”

    Weird, but at this stage unsurprising. Whether or not the ACS ever gets around to understanding and responding to the real concerns over the proposed FBB national relay team; it seems as people have been looking into this that the ACS is not the most cost-effective charity for fighting cancer in any case.

  2. 3

    Rather sad. I do think that the ACS is desperately afraid of losing theist funding and is sacrificing their believablity on that particular “altar”. Non-profits give each other money all of the time for causes and for a bit of publicity(I work for one, I know). For them to now have their hand out but still refuse to treat one non-profit equally to another indicates that they are not to be trusted. What should have happened is that they accept the money, allow them to be a national team, and if theists pulled funding, make sure everyone knows about.

    And indeed, why are theists funding ACS at all? Where are all those claims of “healing”?:P

  3. 6

    This may be a bit late (I notice that the last comment is from a few weeks ago), but:

    I just phoned ACS as a long time donor and told them of my concerns about this. The woman that I spoke with says that in fact the entire national relay for life team program has been phased out, and she denied that Freethought was being singled out. She said that she would email me additional material about this, but that she wasn’t sure when the information would reach me. I will forward it here when I get it.

    I find this profoundly disturbing. I have been a donor to ACS as long as I have been able to. My mother, step father, and a number of friends and other relatives have died from cancer, and am happy to say that a number of friends have survived this disease. However, if it turns out that ACS really is biased to the point of refusing A HALF MILLION DOLLARS from atheists, I will no longer be able to support them.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *