Adam Lee of Daylight Atheism has started a petition at Change.org, to be sent to the leaders of the top atheist/secular organizations, that responds to Thunderfoot’s latest video attack on those who are trying to bring more gender diversity to our communities and supports those who have been the target of terrible harassment, including many people on this network. I have signed it, with the following message:
I support this petition because the entire atheist/secular community needs to stand up and condemn these vile attacks on those trying to bring attention to a real problem. There is a serious conversation to be had on how to best increase diversity in our communities, but that conversation cannot take place with those who scream “witch hunt” and “atheist cult” and “you all just hate men” and other hyperbolic nonsense at those who are trying to affect change. Still less can it be had with those who deride those women who have rightly spoken out on this issue as “bitches” or “professional victims.” And it certainly can’t be had with those who think the right response is to publish the addresses of those women, or who send rape and death threats to them. It’s time that we all took a strong stand against such behavior in our communities.
There are legitimate issues to be hashed out here. What is the best way to increase diversity in our community? How do we go about making sure that people feel comfortable at our events regardless of their gender or race? How should anti-harassment policies be worded and how should they be enforced? What steps can be taken to make the speaker lineup at our events more accurately reflect the diversity of the community? These are important questions and it’s a discussion we need to have. But these attempts to shout down, bully and intimidate those who raise those questions not only don’t further that conversation, they distract from it and make it far more difficult, if not impossible, to have. If you agree, please sign the petition.