Atheist Ticket-Holders Turned Away at Hitchens/D’Souza Debate

Last Monday, Christopher Hitchens was up in Boulder debating Dinesh D’Souza. I didn’t go because it was a school night and tickets were sold out before I could change my mind, but it seems from this e-mail I just received that it’s possible I wouldn’t have gotten in anyway. Listen to this:

Neither of the organizers of DAFT are in any big hurry to drive all the way up to Boulder for an event at Macky Auditorium after we were so recently turned away from the Hitchens/d’Souza debate even though we had tickets in hand. (Note that the upcoming event has a completely different sponsor who was in no way involved in the debacle at the Hitchens debate.)

For those who don’t know, the Hitchens/d’Souza debate was sponsored by the St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church, at the Catholic Student Center at CU Boulder. To guarantee a Catholic majority in the audience they gave away free tickets at masses and prior to the debate, resulting in such a large crowd that the Macky Center turned away a number of people (including DAFT organizers) who had paid for their seats at the debate, even though there were actually plenty of seats available.

If you or anyone you know had tickets and could not get in, refunds should be sought from the St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church. TicketWest was not responsible, but they say they are working with the St. Thomas (etc.) Church to ensure that nothing like that happens again.

Wow. Just wow.

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5 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Al on January 31, 2009 at 3:27 pm

    The church should reimburse travelling expenses too

  2. Agreed. That was another factor in me not going. I don’t actually drive yet.

  3. The church is such a chicken. 🙂

  4. Lame. And yet, typical.

  5. DAFT Jeanette here. I talked to a lot of people who said there were empty seats all around them, so the venue bears some responsibility, too. And the security people or ushers or whatever the hell they were lied to us, telling us that they had given away all available seats at 6:30, when I know people who did get in around 7:00 right before us.

    But yeah, the main fault lies with the St. Aquinas Catholic Church, because the venue must have been worried about the fire code with the massive number of people who were there. And it’s galling that the promoter gave away large numbers of tickets to their own people while atheists had to pay for our tickets.

    And from what I’ve heard, atheists made up a good chunk of the audience in spite of that.

    It’s just not enough to marginalize us, and to expect that they’re the only people with freedom of speech. Now they’ve found a way to get us to fund their churches, too. (Even aside from “faith-based initiatives” and tax-free status for religious organizations.)

    Greg and I had to walk a long way to and from the event center in the bitter cold, too, because there was no parking anywhere close to the event. We lost three hours of our time, gas money, and $3. for parking, and we’re still waiting for refunds on our tickets.

    So how can we come up with a similar scam, to get churches to pay for our causes? Or is that type of devious thinking easier to come by with religious morality?

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