According to an American Atheists Managing Director, Amanda 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. She looked down, then looked at me and [American Atheists President] Dave Silverman and said she couldn’t sign the documents because of “personal reasons” and went to find another notary who was eating his lunch to come do the authentications.
That bank was a Toronto Dominion bank in New Jersey. I’m pretty sure that this notary’s behaviour isn’t bank policy but while representing the bank, it certainly could be interpreted that way. Furthermore, maybe I’m just being really Canadian here, but I found this incident embarrassing because TD is a Canadian bank and we are generally seen as more atheist friendly up here.
I hope this is resolved soon and the bank provides an explanation and apology to American Atheists. For more details, check out David Silverman’s Facebook post.
I’m pretty sure that this notary’s behaviour isn’t bank policy…
I think we can be completely sure of that, given that (1) another notary signed the documents, (2) American Atheists had dealt with the bank before without problems, and (3) a “no atheist organisations” policy would be pretty crazy for a major Canadian bank like TD.
That said, the notary should have been prepared to do her job, and TD should indeed provide an explanation and apology. They might want to have a talk with the notary while they’re at it.
There is not a shred of evidence that this was related to religion (or lack there of) at all. Amanda made several unfounded accusations and the original title was a bald faced lie. American Atheists should be ashamed of themselves. Egos got bruised and the atheist mafia was called on to hang the lady and the bank from the nearest tree. If i were this lady or the bank i would sue for defamation.
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As I see it, the head office has said this was just a miscommunication. I have a great idea! David Silverman and Amanda Knief now need to go back to the bank (perhaps with a hidden camara or a newspaper reporter). Since Ms. Gandarez is now familiar with the forms and the procedure, she should have no problems notarizing the forms. The statement of the head office (““Our employee did not understand how to process this particular paperwork and needed help that, unfortunately, led to the miscommunication.”) is a disgrace. This was just a signature that was needed! Mr. Dzeidzic’s statement (“She’s allowed to refuse on personal reasons. If you’re unhappy, that’s why there are so many banks to go to.”) is inexcusable” Once again, discrimination rears its ugly head. Shame on you TD Bank! Get a spine and do the right thing!