Openly Secular: A Needed Project With A Vague Name

Logo for the Openly Secular project

I’ve been part of the non-religious community for 20 years and one thing is constant, we have many different groups to support us and it seems new ones show up regularly. Case in point is ‘Openly Secular’, a ‘new’ coalition of several large secular groups. Its mission of drawing attention to discrimination of non-religious people is needed but I’m disappointed in the fact that they named the group ‘Openly Secular’ instead of ‘Openly Non-religious’.

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No, Penn Jillette, Rape And Death Threats Are Not Free Speech

screencap from the movie My Chauffeur (1986)
Penn Jillette being artistic?

There has been a major storm over misogyny in the freethought movement for several years. Women in the movement who have spoken out against it have been harassed with rape and death threats among other nasty reactions. People who don’t see anything wrong with the misogyny, like comedian Penn Jillette, worry more about being able to call a woman a ‘cunt’ than why one shouldn’t be doing that in the first place. That’s the problem.

Buzzfeed has a very thorough article about the misogyny conflict in the freethought movement. It actually gave both sides of the issue and while I knew most of the incidents described the article also included interviews with several women who had been raped and/or harassed.

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Atheists Who Cherry-Pick The Holy Bible Aren’t Helping

image of a the Holy Bible with a warning sticker

A link to a post titled ‘Bible Verses That Atheists Love’ showed up in my Facebook feed Monday and just the title made me throw up in my mouth a little. We atheists complain when theists cherry-pick the Bible because they tend to focus on the ‘good’ parts and downplay the ‘bad’ parts. Why in pink unicorns would atheists play into that game by contributing to this silly article. There is nothing in the Bible that I ‘love’ or even like and atheists who play this game aren’t helping the cause.

Several prominent atheists and atheist bloggers contributed to the article:

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To Be More Inclusive Stop Using Interfaith

created imaging showing prohibited symbol over word Interfaith

I hate the word ‘interfaith’. I’m not religious and don’t have a ‘faith’ so anything labeled ‘interfaith’ doesn’t include me no matter what word spinning you try to do. You just can’t add nonbelief to ‘interfaith’ and be inclusive. Using the word reduces nonbelievers to the level of unwanted step-children. We need a new word to express cooperation between people who have faith and those who don’t. I nominate ‘interpath’.

There has been a call in the nonbeliever community to participate in interfaith groups. One such group we have here in Columbus is called B.R.E.A.D. In my twenty years in the humanist movement, I am very familiar with arguments like those made by Chris Stedman:

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Nobody Expects The Atheist Tone Police!

image of a man and woman arguing

A tendency with organized atheists that burns me up sometimes is the need to tone police other atheists. Basically someone will have a problem with how someone says something – especially if it’s provocative or might be offensive to believers or even other atheists. So it might seem ironic that I will tone police an essay, written by Ed Brayton, I read yesterday. I’ve been told for years that we need to tell people what we are for and not what we are against but that doesn’t seem to apply when speech is policed by other atheists. I just see far more ‘don’t do this’ and not enough ‘this is better’ essays. These police actions sap energy from organized atheism and actually doesn’t fix anything.

I want to state, out of the gate, that Ed Brayton can say and write anything he wants. I don’t have a problem with Ed or his viewpoints in general. I like his blog and he’s a credit to organized atheists** every where. I happen to disagree with a post:

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