America's Most Convenient Bank® refuses to serve Christians
Jody Lane printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Fri Mar 28, 2014 at 12:53:02 PM EST

Representatives of a well known faith-based charitable organization were refused a New Jersey bank’s notarization service by an atheist employee. After inquiring about the nature of the non-profit organization and the documents requiring notarization, one of the bank’s assistant managers claimed she couldn't witness the signatures or attach the State's official notary seal to the documents because of "personal reasons."

The Christians later related the story in a Facebook post saying, “Even though we had a valid, legal document and valid, legal identification —she was legally able to refuse me service.”

Wait…what? No. It didn't happen that way at all.

American Atheists, Inc. President, Dave Silverman and Managing Director, Amanda Knief were refused service this week by an assistant manager at Toronto-Dominion (TD) Bank, America's most convenient bank, in Cranford, New Jersey.

In a statement released on the American Atheists Facebook page, Knief said, “I was just refused service — because I am an atheist. It was embarrassing, humiliating, and pissed me off.”

According to Knief:

"A notary at a local bank, where I have gone more than a dozen times to have work documents signed, asked me to explain what we were having notarized. The documents were charitable organizations registrations for American Atheists in several states. So I told her what AA is about."

After learning the nature of the organization and the documents requiring notarization the bank manager refused to witness the signatures on the documents. She interrupted another employee’s lunch to come do the authentications.

Knief says:

     "I have been called names, threatened, hated on and all manner of ridiculed because of my atheist activism, but I think sitting in a bank and having another professional refuse to do business with me because I am an atheist was the worst slight I have ever received. In New Jersey, notaries are not required to abide by any code of conduct or ethics that prevents them from refusing service to people based on "personal reasons." Even though we had a valid, legal document and valid, legal identification—she was legally able to refuse me service."

Knief's description of the incident was confirmed shortly afterwards by David Silverman in a another Facebook post

     “Yup. We just got refused notary services because we are atheists from the Assistant Store Manager at TD near our office. No, we are not moving our business there, at least not until this is rectified.”

The bank manager’s refusal is a violation of the bank's diversity statement, as a bank employee, let alone a manager, she clearly sucks at her job and has failed to live up to the bank's expectations and should be reprimanded.

However, as a notary she does not represent the bank, she represents the state and must be held responsible for civil discrimination.

As in most states, a notary public in New Jersey is deemed to be “a public servant.” Commissioned by the State of New Jersey she is required by law to serve as an impartial witness to the signing of documents and to the acknowledgement of signatures on documents with a duty imposed upon her to provide notary services to the public.

Additionally, according to the American Association of Notaries:

A notary public is not responsible for the content of the document. The duties and responsibilities of a notary public are restricted only to the execution of proper notarial procedures.

And the National Notary Association’s handbook, The Notary Public code of Professional responsibility specifically notes in Section I-A-3:

The Notary shall not refuse to perform a lawful and proper notarial act because of the signer’s race, nationality, ethnicity, citizenship, religion, politics, lifestyle, age, disability, gender or sexual orientation, or because of disagreement with the statements or purpose of a lawful document.

In my opinion, her actions were blatantly discriminatory and her commission should be revoked. Whether her action were illegal are a matter of intense debate.

Take the word Christian in the title of this diary and replace it with Muslim, Jew, or Hindu. Replace it with Latino, African-American, Homosexual, or French Canadian.

How long before a Pentecostal refuses to provide a service for a Catholic? The Catholics won't do business with Methodists?  

Where does it stop?


All notaries public are agents of the state in which they perform their service.  Thanks for posting this story.
_ _ _

Chip Berlet: Research for Progress - Building Human Rights
by Chip Berlet on Wed Apr 02, 2014 at 08:33:29 AM EST
In my opinion, it's not a piece of good news for Christians. They shouldn't be refuse to get served because they have equal rights among other citizens and now college paper org services are best for quality work. However, if they decided to refuse them, there would be a strong reason for that.

by PatriciaJones on Mon Nov 25, 2019 at 03:38:52 AM EST

away from most of the political websites and other venues I used to visit. Yes, the atheist involved was totally out of line, and I cannot fathom why she did what she did. Regardless, she's one person, and if I get one more Christian throwing this incident in my nonbelieving face I think I'm going to go nuclear.

It's almost the entirety of many websites, of every political persuasion and religious belief or lack thereof, and the smearing of an entire segment of the population because of a few nutjobs has grown so tiresome to me.

by trog69 on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 12:10:22 AM EST
I cannot fathom why I posted what I did. I was aware of this story when it came out, from an atheist site. How I could read the first few sentences and then knee-jerk like that. I'd almost think someone else posted that, but no, it must have been me. Wow. Talk about a mixed-message, I sure was lost. Sorry.

by trog69 on Sat Jun 14, 2014 at 07:35:44 PM EST

The story shared over here is describing a thing that is already happened. According to an officer, it is very essential to do their duty properly. I can't agree with the thought and decision of the banker. It is not right the banker needs to follow the rules that are connected to the job Hostsailor.

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