The chief motivation for moving the RBB blog to Patheos is to circumvent the increasingly frequent blocking of our site at many military bases.
These bases allow similar content from religious perspectives, so it’s not just some blanket policy on blogs. Frankly, this is likely to come up again (and again). Even the main website for the festival we launched was blocked by many military bases, despite the event being largely staffed by DoD personnel. Blogging with ferocious activists like Chris Rodda probably did not help (worth it, love ya Chris!)
As a foxhole atheist, I want nothing more than equal treatment. I just want a seat at the table. Atheists are just now beginning to break through the stained glass ceiling in the US military. I even spearheaded a damn festival on the front lawn of several generals, with Richard Dawkins and Aiden headlining as children ‘walked on water’ (and corn syrup) in front of the Fort Bragg chapel.
Have you heard the commercial? We aired *this* hundreds of times on various radio stations. We even snuck it in during an episode of Sean Hannity’s talk radio program.
No idea why it was yanked from that station after the first play.
It was the first meaningfully endorsed atheist meeting allowed on a US Military base. Still our internet presence was blocked on several other bases (or worse – publicly accused by an Army captain of endorsing arson aimed at chapels during our festival.)
Rock Beyond Belief started as a festival. It got far more attention as a blog. It became a vehicle for empowering other foxhole atheists to overcome a variety of issues. My advocacy was pretty much in some level of news coverage several times a week. Military policies were changed. Justice was often granted. Issues were getting solved. Of course that would have consequences for me personally. I expected it, that’s why I sprinted towards the gunfire while I could. On the other hand, I was marched into many general’s offices with no explanation, only to find out that they wanted to shake my hand and tell me what screen name they used to comment on my blog!
We’re hoping that by moving the blog to Patheos – an interfaith site – they’d have to ban similar theistic content to silence us (and choose not to). Perhaps we’ll have to accept our fate as internet vagabonds to reach fellow service members. Maybe we’ll move again every few years.
Why the recent radio silence?
The breakneck pace for my advocacy had consequences. It was not sustainable. I don’t want to discourage any of my brothers and sisters from speaking out, but I was over-the-top (with no regrets). I brought several dozen issues to the media, not just one. Most were corrected immediately, despite the endless exhaustion of internal channels. I will never be able to explain fully why I can’t participate anymore, but I’ve attempted to explain in an extremely watered-down version a few weeks back at Ellenbeth Wach‘s.
Paul Loebe stepped up and picked up right where I left off. He likely will never be able to reveal the full consequences he’s faced either. I’m so proud of him and he’s been doing an excellent job as the new Military Director of American Atheists. I’m still in close contact with him, and I’m helping with some advocacy / advice where I can.
Loebe’s a machine. He’s going to move mountains, but as with all foxhole atheists speaking out, he’s going to need your help from time to time. So please subscribe / like / follow him closely, and look out for letter-writing campaigns and the like. That stuff works more often than you think.
It feels like I’m forgetting something…
It’s no secret that Greg Laden was shit-canned from FtB for his violent threats against me. Do you remember the way PZ Myers handled the situation? He posted a public hand-washing of *me* over the disclosure of Laden’s vile words. Always name names (unless it’s when our bff’s do it?)
Staying at FtB after being publicly renounced by the only major draw to the blog network…? Fuck that.
He’s also a fake. PZ has a “Trophy wife”, has used ‘gendered slurs’ multiple times, such as endorsing the phrase “Science, it works bitches!” as great motto for scienceblogs, etc. Why people think he’s a super feminist ally is beyond me. If he’s only converted to this brand of feminism recently, then why all the overblown hatred for people making the same mistakes he’s made several times? Can’t they too come around?
I recently left this brief summary elsewhere.
PZ posted the day Laden was shit-canned over that incident… PZ publicly washed his hands of me? If PZ had his hands on me for any reason, I’d need a goddamn shower. Did you know that he recommended and linked to cartoons of women being *raped* by octopus-like tentacled animals? He’s made several ‘under the sea’ adult references in his posts over the years.
All apologies for the kink-shaming there, but when your apparent fetish breaks multiple laws in just about every country you don’t get to publicly wash your hands of people. Incredibly, PZ has recently chided the nation of Japan for their ‘rape culture’, pointing to the very rape comics that he previously recommended to his audience.
PZ, stop washing your hands of people. Just wash your hands.