Why the Petition Matters

Cloudbreak

Earlier this week, I posted a petition asking the leaders of atheist and secular organizations to support feminism and measures to improve diversity and stop harassment. The petition went up at 9:30 PM on Thursday night, and as of this writing, on Saturday night, it has around 1,300 signatures and is still accumulating more at a healthy clip. I think that's a very good response, and I'm grateful for the attention it's gotten and the many messages of support people have left along with their … [Read more...]

Petition: Support Feminism and Diversity in the Secular Community

AtheismPlus

You may have heard that the video blogger "Thunderf00t"* recently published a video titled "Why 'Feminism' is poisoning Atheism", which he's been sending to the heads of atheist and skeptical organizations. In this video, he attacks named individuals who've been active in promoting diversity and fighting sexism and harassment in our movement, describing them as "whiners" and "ultra-PC professional victims" who are "dripp[ing] poison" into the secular community, and urges conference organizers to … [Read more...]

Diversity Doesn’t Just Happen: A Response to Michael Shermer

We're talking about diversity in the skeptical community again, this time occasioned by some unfortunate and ignorant comments from Michael Shermer about atheism and skepticism being "a guy thing", which drew a predictably sharp response. As Jacques Rousseau said, it's just barely possible that Shermer might have meant this statement descriptively, rather than normatively. But he then proceeded to dig the hole much deeper with this comment on Twitter which leaves absolutely no room for … [Read more...]

Support African Americans for Humanism

As NPR recently reported, there's a high price to pay for being a black atheist in America. African Americans who come out of the closet as nonreligious may be cut off by their own families, may be labeled a "race traitor" or an "apostate", or accused of lacking morals or having "holes in their souls" - this despite the fact that atheism, humanism and freethought have a strong and lively tradition within the African-American community. That's why I was glad to hear about African Americans for … [Read more...]

The Contributions of Freethinkers: Asa Philip Randolph

The civil rights movement in America is often identified with Christianity. In large part this is because of the influence of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who was a Baptist minister and worked the language and cadence of sermons into his most famous speeches - especially the famous paraphrase of the Book of Amos, "We will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream."But the civil rights movement wasn't organized or led solely by Christians. As … [Read more...]

Weekly Link Roundup

• Greta Christina posts her completed list of atheists of color.• In early 1981, Carl Sagan sent this letter to the Explorers' Club - an international society dedicated to scientific exploration - regarding their men-only admission policy. Several months later, the first female members were admitted. (HT: Geek Feminism Blog)• Johann Hari writes about "the myth of the panicking disaster victim" and what it implies for humanity's inherent moral sense.• Catholic … [Read more...]

Atheist Action Items

• We've all been following the news about the massive earthquake and tsunami that's devastated Japan, and I won't waste your time rehashing the details. Help on an international scale is urgently needed, and the Foundation Beyond Belief has stepped in and is raising funds for the Japanese Red Cross. They've already collected almost $10,000, but that's just a drop in the bucket compared to what's needed. Visit their ChipIn page and contribute if you can.• On another note, my good … [Read more...]

The Abolition Spirit Is Undeniably Atheistic

Having written recently about what really caused the Confederacy to secede, I wanted to say some more about the topic. I've previously discussed the religious foundations of the CSA and how they repeatedly appealed to God and Christianity as a defense of the rightness of slavery, and I'd like to add some more evidence on that subject.Benjamin Palmer was born in Charleston in 1818 and became one of the preeminent Christian preachers of the antebellum era. He served as Moderator of the first … [Read more...]

Encouraging Diversity in Atheism

I wrote last month about the importance of making non-white atheists feel welcome. I intend to continue banging that drum, and now I again have occasion to do so, thanks to this article from Religion News Service, "Atheists' Diversity Woes Have No Black-and-White Answers".This article complements the last one I discussed. Alom Shaha's essay was about being a person of color and an atheist, looking at the community from the inside. This one is more about looking in from the outside, how the … [Read more...]

Making Non-White Atheists Feel Welcome

I was reading this outstanding essay by Alom Shaha, an atheist and ex-Muslim of Bangladeshi descent, who describes what it's like to come out as a nonbeliever in a tightly-knit, intensely religious community. But as he makes clear, the social and cultural pressure on people in his situation isn't just a matter of happenstance; it formed as a defensive reaction against a wider society that was bitterly prejudiced:My family was one of a large wave of Bangladeshi families who emigrated to the … [Read more...]


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