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Petitioning Wells Fargo

Apologize and reaffirm their policy of non-discrimination against atheists

Are you tired of people hating atheists, calling them immoral, inferior people because they don't believe in God?

In 2012, Wells Fargo paid $175 million to settle federal accusations that it steered black and Latino customers into bad loans with high fees. Then in 2014 Chicago sued them for doing it again.

Now Wells Fargo discriminates against atheists, and I can prove it.

My name is John Whiteside. When I was a kid I wanted to be a pilot like my dad. So I flew in the Marines and won six medals including the Distinguished Flying Cross for heroism. Then I spent 25 years flying in the airline industry, retiring as a pilot for United. I transported more than one million passengers safely to their destinations.

I'm happy and fulfilled, but I am also part of the most hated minority in America. I've been harassed my entire life since becoming an atheist. A study in 2011 at the University of British Columbia and University of Oregon found that religious people hate atheists more than they hate rapists. That really hurts.

The prejudice that atheists are morally inferior is widely accepted and even promoted by our government. Religions get special privileges under the law on the idea that they deserve it more than secular nonprofits. That is wrong.

So in 2010, some friends of magician Penn Jillette and I thought, "Why not start our own church?" We can give it a silly name, The United Church of Bacon, and expose the bias in society by claiming the same legal rights for praising bacon that other churches do for worshipping God. Praise bacon!

The United Church of Bacon is now four years old, a real, legal church of atheists and skeptics with 4,000 members. Unlike other churches, we don't claim tax exempt status and we accept no donations for ourselves. Instead we fundraise for others. Just in 2014, we raised nearly $100,000 to benefit cancer, autism, and secular charities.

Our priests can conduct weddings, which is wonderful and fulfilling. All I have to do is file some documents to authorize a new officiant. In April 2014, I brought paperwork into a Wells Fargo Bank in my home town of Las Vegas to get it notarized. My ID was accepted but my request refused.

People who discriminate like to make up excuses, but there was no excuse. The ONLY function of a notary is to check your ID and watch you sign. They are not attorneys or government watchdogs. The only explanation for their refusal is that the notary didn't like my church's funny name and our open rejection of God. She didn't like that I was playing around with a system that presumably HER church should get to dominate. That is discrimination.

An incident at one branch is no big deal, but when I asked Wells Fargo to investigate, they stonewalled me. So now there's corporate support for discrimination from a major bank with a history of discrimination. What's the point of having a non-discrimination policy if employees may violate it without consequence? I really can't even get an apology?

Are you tired of the assumption that religious people are better people? That atheists should be hated and marginalized? Homophobia, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, and racism are considered bigotry, and now atheophobia and secularphobia should be too.

Discrimination is hard to verify, but this case is rock solid, and that's why it's so important. By signing this petition, you are symbolically standing up for all the times that people who discriminate couldn't be pinned down.

Those of us who don't believe in God are real people, your neighbors and friends. Thank you for standing with us. It means so much to see your support on this petition. Our previous petition was only up for a day but fetched 2,000 votes and likes! This one is even better worded.

We the undersigned demand that Wells Fargo Bank apologize and affirm to their staff not to discriminate against atheists or minority churches of any faith.

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