The United Church of Bacon, based in Las Vegas, Nevada, is claiming their rights were a victim of discrimination at the hands of Wells Fargo Bank. John Whiteside, a retired pilot with United Airlines and a former combat pilot, visited his local Wells Fargo bank to notarize a state affidavit that would allow one of his congregates to officiate a marriage. However, the Wells Fargo employee turned him away, claiming he could not notarize the document. The United Church of Bacon was founded nearly five years ago, with a membership in excess of 4,000 individuals, 500 of which reside in Las Vegas. The Church of Bacon is made up of atheists and other individuals that are skeptical of God other deities.
According to Whiteside, he believes the woman that refused to notarize his affidavit did so simply because she was discriminating against individuals that do not believe in God. As a result, Whiteside removed all of his money and closed his accounts at Wells Fargo. However, he was able to visit another Wells Fargo branch and received the proper notarization without issue. According to the Review Journal, officials at Wells Fargo are skeptical of his claims of discrimination.
“Wells Fargo believes discrimination of any kind and against any group or customer base is wrong and we categorically deny the claims brought forth by Mr. Whiteside. We have a long history of supporting and serving the needs of a widely diverse customer base in Nevada and throughout the country. We regret that this organization and Mr. Whiteside have decided to target Wells Fargo as a means to further their agenda.”
Regardless of Wells Fargo’s stance, Whiteside takes the claim seriously and stands behind the Church of Bacon and its congregation.
The Church of Bacon was founded to allow atheists a means to protest against the discrimination against their lack of belief and to allow a safe haven for non-believers to get married without the church looking down upon them, according to Metro U.K. Whiteside claims that the status of being a church does not serve as a means to make fun of religion in any way. Instead, it is a fun way to serve fellow atheists and give back to the community as well.
Whiteside expects that the Church of Bacon will be mocked by outsiders, and he is okay with that, but discrimination is completely wrong and will not be tolerated.
“We enjoy people mocking us. We mock ourselves,” Whiteside said. “This isn’t supposed to offend anyone.”
As a church, Whiteside does not claim tax exempt status, nor does he accept donations from the outside. However, he does donate funds to charities such as Opportunity Village and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
In regards to the discrimination against the Church of Bacon by Wells Fargo, Whiteside has scheduled a protest on Wednesday at 4:30 p.m. outside of the Wells Fargo Branch in Las Vegas.
[Images via United Church of Bacon/Shutterstock]