In the online world, natural disasters can bring out the worst in people. Whether it's troll comments, scam campaigns or bogus fundraisers, major storms and events often bring no shortage of bad news to report.
But they also bring about some remarkable stories of communities banding together and looking to help those on the other side of the world. One such story has arisen in the aftermath of the deadly Oklahoma tornadoes as one families courage to stand up for their convictions has united thousands of people around the globe.
Rebecca Vitsmun was one of countless people in the Oklahoma City area to see her family's home ravaged by the tornado. Grateful to be alive along with her young child, Vitsmun recounted her story to CNN reporter Wolf Blitzer.
Towards the end of the report, Vitsmun was prodded by the reporter as to whether she “thanked the Lord” for her survival. The woman was quick, but gracious to note that she was an atheist, leaving Blitzer somewhat dumfounded and caught off guard.
While Atheism is gaining acceptance in much of the western world, in the extremely religious Bible Belt region of the south, where Vitsmun lives, such views can be few and far between. That the mother would assert her stance at such an emotional and vulnerable moment touched home with many atheists around the globe.
In response, they kicked off a fundraising campaign to help recoup the family's losses and get them into a new or rebuilt home. Backers include comedian Doug Stanhope, who jokingly offered to send atheist “prayers” on behalf of donors.
The result has been nothing short of stunning. As of the end of the week, a campaign that had orignially set its target at $50,000, had raised more than $100,000 with more than 50 days remaining in the donation window.
In such a time of devastation, it is great to see communities of all religions, beliefs and convictions band together to help those in need.
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