Weekend Coffee: July 26

Coffee

I got back from Iceland yesterday and I'm still catching up on news that happened while I was away. Here are a few of the stories from my backlog:• More to come on this, but for now I'll just mention it briefly: a very welcome joint statement by Richard Dawkins and Ophelia Benson denouncing all forms of harassment, sexist and otherwise. I'm not prepared just yet to say this wipes the slate clean, but I'm cautiously optimistic!• Anti-abortion fanatics disrupt a Unitarian … [Read more...]

I Think the MRAs Are Mad At Me Again

Quiche is delicious.

[Content note: This post contains obscene and sexist language that I wouldn't normally allow on my site. Consider yourself advised.]I wrote in May about the "men's rights activists" - a tribe of angry misogynists who, despite the name, have no interest in actual issues of justice that affect men but only want an excuse to insult and degrade women. A large faction of MRAs are atheists, but there are some who subscribe to traditional Christianity as well.One of the latter faction, who goes … [Read more...]

Sexist Religion Still Isn’t a Democracy

BricksInWall

In past eras when ignorance and prejudice were the norm, religious authorities could decree ignorant and prejudiced rules without anyone taking notice. But in the centuries since, the world has changed, while religious morality has largely stayed the same; and to many believers of the modern era, those unchanging doctrines, born in a darker time, are archaic relics at best and an embarrassment at worst. The passage of time casts the contradictions between moral progress and ancient dogma into … [Read more...]

Religious Violence Isn’t a Mental Illness, and Neither Is Misogyny

Sexism

In the wake of the mass shooting in California last month, committed by a killer who left a long, misogynist manifesto vowing to punish women for not dating him, many pundits and commenters have strained to blame something other than sexism for his rampage. The most common claim is that the shooter, Elliot Rodger, was mentally ill, that the illness was the real cause of his killing, and the misogyny is just what his disturbed mind happened to latch onto as an excuse; if not for that, it would … [Read more...]

Male Entitlement Is a Deadly Drug

When I wrote about atheism's MRA problem, I wrote that it was imperative to drive these sexists off because of the harm they do through harassment and threats against women. Now there's a much more graphic and horrible example of the threat posed by misogynists: a mass shooting in the California town of Isla Vista this weekend, in which seven people died including the shooter.The apparent killer left a video monologue ranting about how he had been unfairly spurned by women, whom he accused … [Read more...]

Facing Up to Atheism’s MRA Problem

Thistle

We've known for a while that there's an ugly strain of aggressive anti-feminism within the larger atheist community. Now it appears that we know where they congregate: the "men's rights activist" subgroup on Reddit ran a survey of their members, which found that the vast majority (94%) identify as atheist or religiously indifferent.That came as a surprise to me, although the other numbers were more or less what I'd have expected. MRAs are overwhelmingly white (98%), between the ages of 17 … [Read more...]

TV Review: Cosmos, Episode 8

108-008-cosmos-sisters-of-the-sun-large-photo-960x540

(I've decided to review the new Cosmos series hosted by Neil deGrasse Tyson that's airing on Fox. If you missed it, you can stream full episodes online.)Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, Episode 8, "Sisters of the Sun"In earlier episodes, Cosmos has conspicuously missed opportunities to highlight the scientific contributions of women. I found that all the more perplexing because it's co-written by Ann Druyan, whom we know is attuned to feminist issues. In fact, it's because of her that Cosmos … [Read more...]

A Lesson in the Premature Counting of Chickens

Several months ago, I reported on an article by Dr. Karen Stollznow that laid out her experience of sexism within the skeptical community, alleging years of on-the-job sexual harassment by a colleague. Soon after her article was published, CFI's Benjamin Radford was accused, though not by Stollznow, of being that colleague.I'd heard rumblings that Radford was threatening to sue Stollznow for libel, but those were just rumors until a few days ago. The first I heard of this was over the … [Read more...]

What Is #UpForDebate in the Secular Community?

As I mentioned in an earlier post, David Silverman of American Atheists incited a firestorm when he said at CPAC this year that there was a secular argument against abortion rights. He's not the only one: Disappointingly, my Patheos colleague Friendly Atheist gave a platform to an anti-choice atheist earlier this month and then declined to post a rebuttal by the group Secular Woman. In response, SW started a hashtag, #UpForDebate, sarcastically asking what else we should consider negotiable … [Read more...]

Sexual Assault in Christian Patriarchy

In the last few weeks, there's been a rash of stories about sexual assault at Christian colleges and ministries. It's worth putting them side-by-side to highlight the common elements and show how they're all rooted in the more pernicious teachings about gender that are pervasive in conservative Christian theology.In the New Republic, Kiera Feldman writes about sexual assault at Patrick Henry College, the ultra-right evangelical school in Virginia that was a pipeline to government jobs during … [Read more...]


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