An Interview with Robert Wilson (a.k.a. rwlawoffice), the Commenter Who Always Seems to Disagree With What I Write

For more than a year now, it feels like a day hasn’t gone by without a comment thread involving “rwlawoffice,” a Christian lawyer who seems to disagree with everything I write. Even on what I believe are air-tight church/state separation cases, I can always count on Robert Wilson to tell me I’m completely wrong — albeit politely, without CAPITAL LETTERS, Bible verses, or snide/sarcastic jabs. It’s gotten to the point where, if he doesn’t chime in, other commenters wonder where he is, which is especially evident on posts about Christians behaving badly, where commenters openly wonder how he’ll spin the story when he finally speaks up.

It made me wonder: Is this guy just another Christian troll on an atheist site, trying (poorly) to convert us all? Or is it more complicated than that?

So I asked him.

I asked him several questions, actually, over the course of a few emails. Our (edited) conversation is below:



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The Author of Jesus and Mo Is Doing an AMA (‘Ask Me Anything’) In Our Comments Section. Fire Away!

Small world: I found out only weeks ago that a British colleague with whom I’d exchanged friendly messages over the years is the anonymous artist behind Jesus and Mo, the acidly witty comic strip featuring two self-obsessed prophets. Every month, the Freethinker publishes a new installment, but the two roomies’ divine black-and-white adventures can also be found in six Jesus and Mo books — and on their own website, which is updated twice a week.

Since its launch, a little over eight years ago, the atheism-influenced comic has attracted some prominent admirers. Richard Dawkins praises Jesus (I’m tempted to stop here for effect) and Mo, saying the gruesome twosome and their creator provide some of the

… shrewdest, wittiest, most critically penetrating running commentary on the absurdities of contemporary religion.

Fans also include novelist Salman Rushdie, columnist Nick Cohen, biology professor Jerry Coyne, and, truth be told, me.

This month, over in England, Jesus and Mo became something a flashpoint in a national debate over free speech, censorship, and religious accommodation. You can read up on the tumult here.

I asked Jesus and Mo‘s creator if he would answer your questions and mine. “Gladly,” he said.

Allow me to start us off.

You first published Jesus and Mo in the late fall of 2005, just a month or two after the Islam cartoon controversy involving the Jyllands-Posten in Denmark began to rage. Any connection?

“It was right after the start of the Danish toons controversy — the shit didn’t really hit the fan until January or February of the next year, after months of determined campaigning by Danish imams. I’d been harboring thoughts of a religious satire comic featuring Jesus and Mo for ages, and I think the early stages of that particular controversy acted as the catalyst that kicked me into action. It was [Islam's] ludicrous depiction taboo that provided the strip’s first joke.”



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An Interview with Paul Provenza: Finding the Funny in Authentic Atheism

This is an article by Becky Garrison. It appears in the 3rd Quarter 2013 issue of American Atheist magazine. American Atheist magazine is available at Barnes & Noble and Book World bookstores in the U.S. and at Chapters Indigo bookstores in Canada. Go to Atheists.org/magazine to see a map of store locations, to subscribe, or to join American Atheists. Members receive free digital subscription.

Why in no god’s name did a comic emcee the Reason Rally? Has Atheism now de-evolved into a punch line that’s past its prime replete with watered down cocktails, stock sitcom characters, and right leaning puppetry? Paul Provenza riffs via telephone with Becky Garrison on the evolution of comedy, Atheism, and all that jazz as he points the way forward for those seeking authenticity and truth in a culture driven by Christianity and commerce.

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An Interview with Creationist, Filmmaker, and Banana-Enthusiast Ray Comfort

Some of you know Ray Comfort because of his latest movie “Evolution Vs. God.”

Most of you know him better for his video “The Atheist’s Worst Nightmare“:

Nearly four years ago, I interviewed him for this website and he was gracious enough to answer all the questions I asked.

So, given the opportunity to do it again, and with some of your submitted questions in the mix, I asked Ray about everything from his selective-editing of videos to the infamous banana routine.

His answers are reprinted below in their entirety. (I have edited the exchange only for grammar/clarity and added links to Ray’s responses when I felt they were helpful.)

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Is There a Problem with the Evangelical Adoption Movement? An Interview with Kathryn Joyce

After Mother Jones published an excerpt from journalist Kathryn Joyce‘s new book The Child Catchers: Rescue, Trafficking, and the New Gospel of Adoption last month, the Christian media went into defense mode. The excerpt offered a rarely-seen view into overseas adoptions, where children can sometimes be taken away from their (very much alive) birth parents, who are led to believe the separation is only temporary.

So what’s the real story? Are these criticisms valid?

I sent many of the questions I had to Kathryn Joyce and she was kind enough to respond (via email):

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