Attention Secular Groups: This Atheist Wants to Report You

This morning, while reading through emails, a curious message popped up on my screen through Facebook. Immediately, I recognized the name it came from but couldn’t remember from where. I clicked on the message and read it. It was directed to the Atheist Community of Rochester (ACoR), my local secular meetup group in Western NY, where I’m a board member and help out with social media accounts.

The message was from someone in California named Lauren Ell. Thinking I recognized the name through the secular community (in a favorable way), I responded quickly and told her that ACoR is not a 501(c)3 but we’ve discussed moving in that direction. I asked her why she was asking and she didn’t respond.

Just a few minutes later, a member of ACoR posted this screenshot that he found in one of his Facebook groups. He’s a right-leaning atheist, so I imagine he’s in several Republican/Libertarian groups and saw it there, although he didn’t say.

And then it all came back to me. I knew who she was.

Lauren Ell is the founder and head of a two-person board that runs an organization called Republican Atheists. You may remember Lauren from a rather heated exchange I had with her on the SecularVoices Facebook page back in October, or even from an episode of the Cognitive Dissonance podcast where she was promptly hung up on about 10 minutes into her interview. The hosts just couldn’t take any more of her nonsense. I don’t blame them.

After Lauren didn’t like what I had to say to her on the SecularVoices page, she then attempted to doxx me on the Republican Atheists homepage and Facebook page, as well as in several secular Facebook groups, while making an effort to trash the Young Skeptics program as well.

…As if it were a secret that I run Young Skeptics. I’m still not sure where she was going with that, but it’s an illustration of her vindictive behavior and lack of common sense.

Today, it appears she’s trying new type of attack, and your local group might be an unwitting target. This time her attention is apparently directed at all secular groups who don’t happen to be right-leaning. While not busy counting the membership numbers on her fingers at Republican Atheists, it appears Lauren is trolling around Facebook, looking for secular groups who share political posts that she might disagree with. Then she’s contacting them to find out if they’re a 501(c)3 or searching their online info to find out, and then either reporting the “offending” groups to the IRS or attempting to blow the whistle on them some other way — through social media or her own blog post, etc.

The hilarious thing about this is that the party she affiliates with doesn’t support the Johnson Amendment, the law that makes it illegal for a 501(c)3 to campaign for a candidate. I guess they only like it when they can use it in their favor. But I digress.

So for any of you who may be running a local secular group, you might want to just go ahead and block the profile below and save yourself the annoyance. If Lauren Ell is directing a group called Republican Atheists and taking aim at atheist groups at the same time, she’s not going to go very far. Alienating your own demographic is political suicide.

Pro tip, Lauren: Just drop the “Atheists” from the name of your org and find another niche on your way to fame and fortune. This one’s not going to work out, and you’re really bad at “internetting.” What a surprise it must have been when you realized that your underhanded attack on a random secular group fell right in my lap.

Kevin Davis

Kevin Davis is the head writer and editor for SecularVoices, co-founder of Young Skeptics, and author of Understanding an Atheist. He is known for local and national secular activism and has spoken at conferences and events such as Reason Rally 2016 and the Ark Encounter Protest and Rally.

View all posts by Kevin Davis →

21 thoughts on “Attention Secular Groups: This Atheist Wants to Report You

      1. Right, but the Johnson Amendment only says that 501c3’s can’t endorse political candidates, not that they can’t lobby for or promote a political views, so it seems like she doesn’t even know the law.

  1. I kind of think she has a point with using atheism as her hook. She’s trying to get some of that sweet wingnut welfare, and she knows that members of other groups that the right has traditionally harmed can get get money by becoming tame lickspittles to the powers that be. Think of the gay GOP group who call themselves the Log Cabin Republicans. Or former Milwaukee sherriff David Clarke who tried to ride Trump’s coattails to power. Or even Milo Yiannopoulos, trying to be the official token gay guy of the alt-right.

    Given this kind of an attempt at expose style reporting I wonder if she’s going to go the route of James Okeefe and start trying to release “undercover” videos with hugely dishonest editing.

  2. Nathan Kelly
    Hey guys leave Lauren ell alone we are all have are oppinons on things and
    she’s entitled to hers just cus yall dont like it dont mean nothing
    -just cus the mogerity brlives one thing dose not make it right -unknown –
    That is what we tell Christians yet
    we can follow it yall r no,better then them,I literally have friends
    who r rang from religions of all kinds and me my self being a
    humanist/atheist we all respect eachother enof to get past it so why
    can’t yall and im all for separation of church and state love it living
    in a small east texas town going to a school were 80%of the school is
    Christian,isn’t easy but we can’t just go around calling peoples beliefs
    fairtails who knows maybe out of all the religions one,could be right
    there’s no profe there is or is not so suck it up and deal

    My brain hurts after reading this.

      1. Some of it… and I guessed most of the rest.
        But I’m not really sure if this is an extreme case of Dyslexia, a combination of Parkinson’s and smartphone or simply spite.

  3. Oh yeah, I remember when Tom and Cecil tried to reason with her! It was so bad, they didn’t even air the conversation on the show. They released it at Patreon-only bonus material.

  4. She bothered our group, Temecula Valley Atheists (TVA), and Riverside Atheist and Free Thinkers (RAFT). She seemed like a nut-job. She did try to engage us in discussions on politics. She was outwitted in all conversations by our members.

  5. so what is the argument in favor of the Johnson amendment?
    not saying I’m against it, I’m just not aware of the reasoning behind it.

    1. It prohibits tax-exempt agencies like churches and colleges from endorsing political candidates, including donating to campaigns. Without the Johnson Amendment, campaign contributions made by non-profits would be tax-deductible, since non-profits have fewer reporting requirements and would not need to disclose political contributions. So by that effort, people would be able to funnel money through non-profits into campaigns, tax-free — working around campaign finance laws.

  6. I have shared that post all over the place. “Atheist Experience and Non-Prophets Fans” is just one facebook group I posted this at.

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