James Bright, Managing Editor, firstname.lastname@example.org
A group of local atheists saved Christmas for a Chickasha woman after she and her baby were allegedly put through the ringer at a church's toy give away.
Tiffany Wait said she, her husband and their 7-month-old baby went to Bible Baptist Church's Toy Shop Christmas morning to get gifts for their child, but were met with animosity because Wait did not want to give her baby to the volunteers.
"I am poor and would not be able to celebrate Christmas this year without their charity," she said. "I went last year and it was a life saver. This year however, I was treated shockingly bad."
Wait said her baby doesn't like strangers and she'd prefer to be with him. She said the volunteer said it has to be done this way, or the family wouldn't be able to participate.
"I stood there, fighting back tears and asked, 'You would turn a baby away on Christmas,'" said Wait.
The volunteers held their ground, according to Wait and one woman tried to forcibly take her child.
Eventually, a woman passed a toy to the front and gave it to Wait.
Wait took to the internet, posting her story on various social media sites, which is where Oklahoma Atheists' Director Red McCall and members of his group set out to save Christmas.
"We had several people donate things and send her money through a PayPal," said McCall.
Christmas is a secular holiday now, according to McCall. He said everyone deserves to have a happy holiday.
"Her Christmas was ruined," he said. "The big message here is Tiffany was discriminated against, and if someone needs help we are going to help them. It doesn't matter what their beliefs are."
Wait said the actions of McCall and Oklahoma Atheists saved the holiday.
"The Christians turned my baby and I away, and a group of atheists showed us compassion, kindness, and charity," she said. "They brought us toys, dinner, gift cards, donated money and really saved our holiday."
A member of Bible Baptist Church, Shayla Clemmons, did go by Wait's house after the incident.
"She brought us a bunch of Christmas stuff," said Wait "She said they shouldn't have done that and that there are no 'rules.'"
Bible Baptist Head Pastor Kim Hayes said he and his attempted to go to Wait's house five times Christmas night, but were never able to get ahold of her. He said he intends to continue his efforts to contact her.
"I'm sure she has a very legitimate reason for feeling the way she does," said Hayes. "I regret what happened. We are certainly not in the business of creating that type of atmosphere on Christmas for any individual."
Hayes said he plans investigate the incident further.