Religious Vandals Attack Humanist Coffeehouse
by Fritz Stevens
It was bound to happen eventually. San Diego's Thomas Paine Coffeehouse, gathering
place for local freethinkers and community center for everyone from teens to seniors,
recently experienced the wrath of religious extremists.
First, books criticizing Christian theology were defaced or removed from the
Coffeehouse library. Then in the early hours of an August morning eggs were flung at the
glass storefront and sign. Later that Sunday morning, an anonymous phone caller announced
that this was a "warning" and that "heretics must heed the word of
God." More eggs pelted the glass storefront the next morning, and then again on
Wednesday morning. Tuesday afternoon a visitor entered the coffeehouse and began a sermon
accusing patrons of sinfulness and heresy; with assurances that hellfire awaits. When it
became obvious that the visitor was serious, he was politely asked to leave.
Police reports were taken following each incident, and the area's primary newspaper,
the San Diego Union and local television stations were notified.
Unfortunately the media declined to investigate or report upon the vandalism. We expect
that if such assaults were directed upon a church or temple, the story would have received
at least some mention if not considerable coverage.
Perhaps with its library/bookstore, its schedule of humanist/skeptic and music events,
not to mention great food, coffee drinks and internet stations, the coffeehouse has given
some folks something to worry about.
Humanism Online Library