University of Wisconsin–Madison

Here’s the hate mail, it never fails/It makes me wanna wag my tail…

And now, what you’ve all been waiting for…

              Ah, it’s that time of year again in beautiful Madison, Wisconsin. The leaves become red, gold, and orange, like an unchecked forest fire, locusts flock to the area in droves, Mendota and Menona begin to run with blood, and Lucifer himself takes a break from eternally punishing the souls of the damned and unbaptized to send the biannual AHA mass email! Let’s take a look at what horrible evil was sent out to the entire UW-Madison student populace this semester:

I would like to take this moment to have a short (long) discussion with you concerning the sentence that has caused a bit of a stir: 
“If you get mad about this, we will make fun of you on our blog.”

Out of all the emails we received in response to our mass email, emails with a focus on this seemly innocuous little line were the greatest in number. Now, to avoid any potential confusion, I would like to explicitly assure anyone and everyone that we appreciate the emails we receive, whether concerned, supportive, questioning, in agreement, or in disagreement, provided that the emails are thoughtful and respectful. (For reasons that completely baffle me, most of the emails received could not quite be classified as “thoughtful and respectful.”)

However, for those of you with legitimate concerns about this line (that we’re misrepresenting the atheist movement by appearing close-minded, that we are coming off as petty, etc.,) and for those of you with anger issues (YOU’LL MAKE FUN OF ME???!?!?! ARRRGGHH!!!!11?1@21!!), I offer you the following explanation.

This message is sent once a semester from a UW generated list.
You are not subscribed to anything, and will not receive additional messages.
If you get mad about this, we will make fun of you on our blog.
The line in question follows a little disclaimer, which informs all who read it that what it is that they are reading is, in fact, a mass email, and it goes to everybody. Thus, when we say “If you get mad about this,” the “this” references the e-mail itself, and only the email itself. The utilization of a demonstrative pronoun suggests that we are continuing the subject of the preceding sentences; in this case, we are discussing the mass email. We are not saying “we will make fun of your religion,” nor “we hate your stupid dumb belief things!!!” It is not meant to be some sort of jab.

Additionally, as many of you know, we send out one of these mass emails every semester… and receive quite a bit of hate mail for it. If you would like some examples of the last mass email’s responses, you should click right here. The tradition of sharing and poking fun at some examples of what we get in return for advertising our student organization is simply a lighthearted way to take into account some of the very real and very awful things said to atheists/agnostics/etc. simply because they are atheist/agnostic/etc. We do not make fun of legitimate beliefs and concerns, and welcome all to come to our meetings, regardless of religious affiliation. However, some things just need to be shared, for the sake of comedy and for the sake of our sanity.

Now, I know what you’re thinking, because I can read your thoughts with my Wiccan mind-reading heathen powers. You’re thinking, “Gadzooks Calli, that just got really serious and wasn’t even very funny. You are the worst blog post writer ever.” That last line was pretty rude of you to think, but I generally agree that we should quickly put a halt to all of that silly seriousness and get to the good stuff.


That’s the difference between you and a man of faith.  The man of faith would not “make fun” of you for your beliefs.
I wish this faceless, righteous man of faith would make fun of me for my beliefs in lieu of doing some of the other stuff he does, like attempt to garner legal control over my uterus by citing his personal religious beliefs and telling me with some regularity that I am going to burn in hell for an eternity and what-have-you. But I suppose we all have our priorities. Some of us are just really sensitive to being made fun of. 🙁 Sowwy.

Yes, I am mad., I don’t care if you make fun of me but knowing that I stand for God through his son Jesus Christ who died for all our sins. I pray for you guys that God whom I serve will enlighten your hearts, that you will come to the knowledge of the Saving Power in Jesus Christ. Invite me once and I will prove you that Gos is real!
You were already invited dude, you got the email. But I would be absolutely thrilled to pieces if you could prove Gos is real. In fact, I already believe in Gos. 

Oh, Gos… *swoon* Wait, you were talking about Ryan Gosling, right? Or was that just me severely misinterpreting the whole situation? Who cares. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ll be watching The Notebook on repeat all night. I mean… I’ll be reading The God Delusion while doing… calculus? Err…
If I see my name anywhere on your nifty blog ill report you for using a government subsidized as a tool for religious / spiritual recruitment to the proper authority. Please send a response showing that you understand.

Wha-… what is a Deezle? Seriously guys, help me out here. Like, should I fear Deezles? I don’t know what feels I feel right now.

This is ridiculous. “You’ll make fun of me?” Great organization. I hope this organization fails.
I suppose you didn’t hear about our recent success in acquiring GSSF funding eligibility, huh? (BOOM. NAILED IT.)

And my personal favorite…
oo Scary……Atheist Blog

Welcome to AHA, young one.


Now, don’t go thinking that every email we received was in response to that single line. We got a lot of legitimate criticism from the student body. I have organized some of the tips, tricks, and suggestions sent our way for your reading convenience.

Oh… I’m… I’m sorry…

stop emailing me otherwise you have to deal with police!
I mean, they probably have other stuff to do, but if you must…

this is awful
I know.

Rock on!
Oh god, how did this get in here?
fuck off

Oh jeez, sorry you had to see that, guys. I lost my temper.

Your timing is horrible. Couldn’t you have waited until after Sukkot to rip Jews from their tradition? You know, you athiests have turned into an organized religion. You even proselytize to recruit people from other religions. It’s completely despicable. You are entitled to your opinions, but don’t pervert the concept of atheism by turning it into a religion.
Does this mean we have to stop worshiping Richard Dawkins? Hey, guys, stop construction on the forty-foot-tall marble idol immediately!

By now, I am sure you are exhausted of trudging through my seemingly endless blog post. I am so close to shutting up, I promise you. I will leave you with one last gem. Before I reveal it in all its sparkling glory, however, a very serious topic must be addressed. At the very beginning of the document, you will notice that I included an actual screenshot of the email as I personally received it. It is even time-stamped if you don’t believe me that it is the True Mass Email. Amazingly, this email even caused grammar controversy (!). Some people informed us that, in the line “And since we’re the only one, we’re automatically the best!,” instead of saying “we’re,” we typed “were.” But, if one were to respond to our email to tell us of this catastrophe, the original email appeared under their response perfectly fine – apostrophes and all. Basically, the point of all that I am saying is that the apostrophes were there, I swear to Gos. Maybe the email just looked weird on your screen or something.

Anyways, enjoy.

Dear Godless Email Spammers,

Based on your email, I feel it is safe to assume that you also do not believe in punctuation. Confusing “were” and “we’re” is pretty embarrassing for an organization hoping to attract new members.


Godless Spam Email Recipient

And upon our suggestion that perhaps he is mistaken about the “were” vs. “we’re” debacle…

Dear godless ass-covering amateurs,

It was a nice attempt to cover up for your stupid mistake by editing the original message in your reply. I have the first email you sent with the punctuation mistake, and I will send you a screen shot if you like.


Perhaps Jesus will forgive you for your sins.


***** *******

It is your choice whether you laugh or cry at that last email.

I thank you for your time. 
Live long and prosper.

P.S.: To the many, many, many, many, many people who responded to the email to ask us to take you off the mailing list: The mass email goes to everyone in the school. It literally says that in the very email you apparently did not have the time to read, but had the time to respond to. If you want to be taken off the list, drop out of college. Thank you.

3 thoughts on “Here’s the hate mail, it never fails/It makes me wanna wag my tail…”

  1. Hey fellow atheists,

    I totally get where you're coming from. You put out a disclaimer and you think everyone should be able to get the joke. However, telling folks that if they simply "get mad" you'll make fun of them on your blog is asking for trouble. I don't understand why you would even make such a statement. I honestly think it's safe to say you were baiting people and leaving yourselves open to interpretation.

    In your mission statement, you claim one of your activities is "Collaborating with fellow religious student organizations on campus to foster a greater degree of mutual understanding between atheists and people of faith, through the Freethought Forum." I don't understand how your statement of "making fun" of anyone invites collaboration . I think you came of as jerks. I don't think it was an appropriate way to make a mature, respectful impression of yourselves to the campus community. You may very well have alienated folks that might have considered joining into this organization. I think that if you were really trying to "collaborate" with religious/quasi-religious folk you would have said something to the effect of, "If you get mad about this, we welcome your questions and encourage you to attend one of our meetings to voice any constructive input you may have." This to me would honor your claim of "collaborative" efforts.

    As atheists I would hope that you too recognize that being areligious is not easy in our overwhelmingly secular country. In light of this I strongly encourage you to have a more respectful tone towards both theists and non-theists alike in your blog. This entry is nothing short of "article" and I would recommend you revise it to show you meant no ill will. We non-secular folks have a hard enough time in society without folks looking at us like we're freaks. Please consider a more respectful tone in the future or I, along with others, will likely not speak so highly of your organization and its goals in the future. To be clear, that's not some threat meant to stir controversy and make you perhaps write another judgement-riddled blog entry, but rather a plea to treat others with compassion if you yourselves expect it, especially at a higher education institution.


    A fellow badger, atheist

    p.s. For the logic of Spock and the sake of humanity, don't tell people to drop out of college just because they didn't like your email. People did clearly had the time to read your email– you're the ones who apparently didn't have time to consider the impact it would have.

  2. Yep, realized I said "secular" instead of "non-secular" or "religious" society, along with making some other grammatical typos. Hope the core of the message isn't lost 🙂

  3. Dearest Anonymous,
    I appreciate your comment, but I feel as though any and all points you raised in it have been answered directly by the blog post that you are commenting on. So, this is all I have to say about that.

    P.S.: I don't think you understood my P.S. I was suggesting that getting the mass email is inescapable. Also, it was a joke.

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