Open letter to the Secular Coalition for America?

To whom it may concern at the Secular Coalition for America,

My name is JT Eberhard.  I am an atheist activist who writes a blog on the Patheos network.  I was present at your conference call of the movement’s opinion leaders before the announcement of Edwina Rogers as the SCA’s new Executive Director.

I want to begin by saying that it brings me no joy to write this email.  That being said, I just read that you have appointed two co-chairs for their new Pennsylvania chapter; Brian Fields and Justin Vacula.

I know Brian Fields and he is excellent.  I suspect he is one of the kindest, most hard-working, intelligent people you could hope to have as part of your team.  He will serve the SCA well.

As for my opinion on Justin Vacula, he wrote me an email in July asking me to promote an online debate he was doing.  This is how I responded.


Your incessant self-promotion drives me nuts.  I also have a vested interest in promoting people of character who I believe would be exemplary leaders should fame glance their way.  I do not believe you to be such a person.  From whining at me on twitter to reports from several people I trust that you are two-faced to the extreme, combined with your aforementioned streak of endless self-promotion, I am convinced that you are not the type of person to whom I wish to lend any endorsement.

Please do not email me again asking me to promote you.

And I was being more kind than I should’ve been.

When Jen McCreight announced she was taking a hiatus from blogging due to numerous people exploiting her insecurities, Justin’s response was not the sympathy of someone who wants to win the war of ideas without casualties.  No, it was glee at another person’s suffering, and an elation to win by doing harm to another person.  This was his response.

So, Jen's allegedly finished blogging...and this tie it's not her boyfriend who kicked her off the internet.

So, Jen’s allegedly finished blogging…and this time it’s not her boyfriend who kicked her off the internet.

This type of thing has been Justin’s idiom since anybody began to pay attention to him, and he has never given even a breath for remorse.

When writing, I try to focus on pointing derision at arguments.  Almost always, I’ll say “x idea is idiotic” but not “x person is an idiot.”  I’ll say “x idea is immoral and, if you accept it, that means you are immoral.”  But sometimes you have to denounce bad people and this is one of those times.  He’s done some good activist things, but that does not make up for him being a terrible person.

And what sucks is that this isn’t about him.  I know what Justin Vacula is like.  What I didn’t know was that the SCA was this out of touch.  That he was hired reveals that the SCA is woefully out of sync with the atheist movement (most of which is aware of Vacula’s lack of integrity).  I mean, did you not ask any of the influential people in the movement about him?

Everybody knows I have my gripes with the way many feminists advocate for their cause, but you will never hear me say that their cause is not just or not legitimate.  Even with my disagreements, I still have nothing but loathing for the MRA crowd.  It’s a nest of unreasonable, often malicious men that Vacula has eagerly made his home.  Edwina has spoken at the Women in Secularism conference.  If women in secularism is a cause she cares about, she should weep to learn that people like the one she just hired are setting it back.  Justin’s presence in the ranks of the SCA will serve to make women less comfortable in this movement.  The culpability for this was on Justin’s shoulders up until you hired him.  Now the responsibility for alienating women belongs to the SCA.

The point is that this is not merely a bad hire, this is an abysmal hire.  Vacula may well be a hard worker, but he cannot work hard enough to be worth the cost in integrity the SCA has now paid to acquire him.

I’m all for second chances, but Justin has had them and every time he has doubled down.  I’d even be all for 100th chances, but those should be reserved for people who have shown some contrition, which Justin has not.  Eventually you just have to get to the point where you decide that there are going to be some bad people out there, and they need to be kept out of positions of authority.

Unless there is some sterling justification for how someone like Justin Vacula could have survived any sort of competent vetting process, I am done with the SCA for a while, possibly forever.  I was disappointed, but stubbornly hopeful when Edwina Rogers was hired.  I thought that perhaps her organizational skills on the back end of things would prove to be an asset.  But the last of that optimism has just been strangled, burned, and left for dead.  I’m not going to ask for another donation for the SCA, nor will I make one anytime soon.  And let me tell you, because I love the idea of the SCA, that fact makes me very sad indeed.  There are other organizations with their thumbs closer to the atheist movement’s pulse that are not making mistakes of this caliber.

I could be brought back, but it’s going to take an awful lot of success on your end at this point to overcome a mistake of this magnitude.

With tremendous disappointment,

JT Eberhard

About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.

  • Nicole Introvert

    THANK YOU for posting this JT! I was having a conversation earlier on FB with some folks who have been kind of scared to comment because of the possible shitstorm that will arise from calling Justin out.

    Thank you for speaking up!

  • Epistaxis

    The point is that this is not merely a bad hire, this is an abysmal hire.

    Did they actually “hire” him? It looks like he’s a co-chair of a state coalition, which probably doesn’t have any paid staff at all, considering they’re trying to start 50 of those in less than a year.

    I’m also curious about the backstory with the guy – it sounds like it’s a lot more than one tasteless tweet.

    • Nicole Introvert

      Here is some info Stephanie Zvan posted a little over a month ago: I has to do with him receiving a DMCA complaint and then freaking out. All over complaining about Surly Amy’s jewelry.

    • Kelley Freeman

      No, they aren’t paid, as far as I know. The SC co-chairs are friends of mine (one of them is a member of my SSA affiliate) and there hasn’t been any mention of payment. I think they’re just volunteers.

      • Epistaxis

        Thanks. How are they selected? Do they just take the most active people who show up at the conference calls?

    • Serah Blain

      To clarify on the “hiring” point: Directors of the state chapters are all volunteers–with the exception of Secular Coalition for Arizona, which is an independently operating state affiliate rather than chapter and has a paid Director. (SC Arizona has its own separate board and a professional staff funded by donations from Arizona’s nontheistic community, not the national organization). I hope that the nontheistic movement will continue providing productive feedback to the national organization as it attempts the ambitious 50-state plan. Without information from activists, like JT, who are plugged into the movement, it will be impossible for SCA to get any kind of grassroots political advocacy network off the ground.

  • basementmatt

    Shitstorms are fun!

  • Dale

    JT, if I may be presumptious enough to make a recommendation, you should provide some backstory on this guy for your readers (including me) who are ignorant of what your talking about. From an outsiders perspective, this letter just appears to be pretentious in that you have any say in the SCA and their hiring and as that you don’t like Vacula cause he was an ass to Jen. I hope I’m not overstepping. I enjoy your blog immensely.

    • Stephanie Zvan

      Dale, if you click through on the link JT gave, there’s a fair amount of information in the comments.

      • Dale

        Thank you Stephanie. I don’t usually read comments and as such was completely unaware of this guy. I’ll try to be more attentive in the future.

        • BirdTerrifier

          My advice to you is to remain ignorant of what transpires on the comments. It’s mostly maddening sometimes saddening.

  • John-Henry Beck

    I’ve seen a little more of Vacula around Twitter and some blog posts. I believe he’s one of those that likes to hang around #FTBullies and posting crap on #AtheismPlus.
    I’m one of those really disappointed in the SCA for that. It does give the appearance that, at the least, they aren’t paying much attention to who they pick for chapter chairs in the rush to set those up. Perhaps it was a risk they were aware of, though I suspect it just wasn’t something considered much beyond looking for people who would spend time on it.
    All in all this rather implies they’ll have some clean-up work to do later on, if they care about that kind of smudge on their reputation.

  • The Devil’s Towelboy

    [Comment deleted. I am not going to deal with apoplectic people storming in here to complain about others with no evidence to support them. I have no doubt the MRA folk will be in here with their usual rants. I will not ban anybody for having a differing opinion, but if you're just in here to rant and sling insults, you can piss right off. If you're going to defend Vacula or trash him, have evidence or get deleted.]

    • observer

      Funny. Are you sure you deleted the right comment? Your description of it has little to do with the screencap of what got deleted –

      • JT Eberhard

        Sure am.

      • Rhys

        How is that not all the things JT just described?

      • oolon

        Observer is ‘franc hoggle’ and Towelie is a FreeThoughtBlogs (FtBs) hater extraordinaire, cut from the same cloth. They exist only to hate all things FtBs…. JT will probably be ‘FtBs’ for eternity in their eyes. I wouldn’t recommend it but if anyone is interested ‘franc’ and his mate are all pals with Justin Vacula and they post at the plotting the downfall of FtBs and all the evil feminists there :-) Personally I find them very ridiculous when hating on FtBs, but I’m not a target for their hate so probably a bit easier for me to laugh.

        Maybe get whoever in the SCA that appointed Justin to have a read over at the Slymepit and see how appropriate a leader he is?

  • Adam Lee

    This is disappointing. The SCA does vital and badly-needed lobbying work on behalf of atheists, and I’m glad to see the state chapters expanding and getting organized. On the other hand, they seem to have a certain tone-deafness when it comes to public relations with the larger atheist community (as we also saw with their hiring of Edwina Rogers, and their utter lack of preparation for the resulting firestorm). This, I think, is another unfortunate example of that.

  • invivoMark

    The SCA? Sorry, I keep getting them confused with the Society for Creative Anachronism. Too many SCAs are living in made-up fantasy worlds!

    • John McKay

      I had the same confusion the first time I saw this story mentioned.

  • louise

    I am also really disappointed with this appointment and was also very skeptical of Rogers when she was hired; however, when the announcement of state chapters came I started to think that perhaps she was a good hire and I had been wrong. Then came the state chapter calls, which were scheduled right in the middle of the typical work day, and that seemed like a terrible decision as it left many who wanted to participate unable to do so.

    Now, my disappoint has been pushed even further. This appointment of Justin makes the SCA look sloppy and just down right lazy for not properly vetting applicants. It’s either that or they are aware of his history and deem it appropriate. I’m questioning the point of state chapters and the decision to rush the whole process. Is it about substance or do they just want to appear to have state chapters?

  • shaunphilly

    I see that I was not the only person, upon hearing that news, to be a bit appalled. Having lived in PA most of my life, I worked with PA groups for years, and know of Justin through various people and also through his writing (which I do not follow, but run into time-to-time).

    I can also verify that Brian Fields is a person I have found to be likeable and dependable, and have worked with him and other people from PAN over the years. As for my thoughts on the SCA in general, they are generally positive (I saw Herb Silverman speak last night, and like him very much, for example). I am working with some people to be involved in the New Jersey chapter of the SCA, and will gladly do so and hope I can contribute some good in doing so (NJ is pretty harmless from a atheist point of view).

    But JT’s reaction to Justin Vacula is warranted. I was not compelled to write such a letter, but I endorse it.

  • Kitz

    I’d say it’s a little hard on Edwina, we get a woman in a position (thank goodness) like that and instead of supporting her, it’s “oh wow you made a decision I disagree with, I’m out of here!” How about engaging her and supporting her (which means saying to her face, or via email or a phone call and telling her your concerns). It’s hard on women when they finally get a position that they have been woefully unable to attain before, and you (a man) say “Oh well, I totally disagree with one of your appointments, bye chickie!” Instead, how about we try extra hard here, and maybe give Edwina the second chance? She deserves it, and once again the public slapping “out of here!” instead of the “I talked to Edwina, and this is her side on it, here is the email and part of the phone conversation I had with her.” would be better. Like I said it’s about giving the woman a chance. Yeah, maybe we do need to give her more of a break than a man in the same position, why not?

    • ResearchToBeDone

      Here’s why not:

      Giving someone a chance only goes so far. Not nearly far enough to cover all the reasons not to hire her, in my opinion.

    • mkb

      You write as if you think that Edwina Rogers is the first woman to lead SCA. The first director of SCA was Lori Lipman Brown, who had the confidence of the movement.

    • Amyc

      Your attitude here seems very paternalistic. As another commenter mentioned, Edwina Rogers is not the first woman to direct the SCA.

  • Edwina Rogers

    Correction – the Secular Coalition for America has not “hired” anyone in any state. We have a staff of seven in DC. We are staffing state coalitions in 49 states, DC and PR. The state coalitions are made up of interested groups and individuals in the states and particupation is voluntary. We are willing to work with as many affiliated and allied groups and individuals as possible. We are seeking volunteers in the states and are thankful to those that are willing to assist. We have much work to do at the National and State level [No, no, Edwina. You definitely don't get to turn my blog into a billboard for your organization. ~ JT] Edwina Rogers

    • LeftSidePositive

      So, you’re willing to work with anyone, even those who publicly support harassing women? Even those who pile on against those women when they try to speak up about being harassed? Color me seriously unimpressed. Your inclusion of such a mean-spirited, pro-harassment, disingenuous fool who thinks nothing of harming outspoken women in the movement, shows that the SCA is deeply irresponsible.

  • John D

    JT – Your attack on Justin is petty and silly. Please stop this nonsense. Thanks!

    • LeftSidePositive

      Yeah, ’cause criticism of someone’s clear pattern of harmful behavior is just an “attack.” Standing up for the right of women not to be harassed is “nonsense.”

      Nice try, thanks for playing.

    • Bruce McGlory

      JohnD, you’re disguting misogyny and rape-denialism is well know. You’re attacks on women are petty and silly. Please stop this nonsense. Thanks!

  • D4M10N

    Sounds like you’ve elevated a personal beef (along with guilt by association) to a call for national blacklisting. Hopefully soon someone at FtB will take up the torch and make a more thoroughgoing case for banning Vacula from movement leadership.

  • Phuterme

    I always had the funny notion that email conversations were a private matter. Thanks for your enlightenment.

    • RobMcCune

      Um, JT is the one who wrote the email quoted above, so I presume he has permission from the author.

      • ResearchToBeDone

        But how can we know for sure unless he also shares the e-mail he e-mailed to himself asking himself permission? And in such a circumstance, how would we know he asked himself if he had his permission to post the e-mail to himself asking for permission?
        Clearly you haven’t thought this through :-p

  • George W.

    I was really willing to give the SCA the benefit of the doubt that they just made an ignorant mistake by making Vacula a co-chair. Edwina’s comments seem to make clear I’m too generous. The SCA doesn’t “hire” someone, they ask for volunteers. They are not, as is obvious from her comments, concerned with vetting the quality of people doing unpaid work.
    I’m a parent involved as a leader in Scouts and I think perhaps she might want to consult BSA about how that brilliant idea has worked for them over the past 100 years or so. Volunteers, just so Ms. Rogers is aware, can do a whole heck of a lot of negative things for an organization as a whole- long before you wait for people to start taking issue.

  • john

    And… time! Less than 2 months(?) into A+ and we’ve descended into full-blown McCarthyism.

    • Laurence

      That’s not a justified analogy. JT is saying that Justin Vacula is not fit for the job based on his actions (i.e. things he’s actually done) and not simply a party affiliation or made up reasons. You may disagree that Vacula’s actions warrant JT”s stance, but that’s an substantive argument to be rather than what McCarthy did. In other words, present an argument not just a cheap and easy slogan.

      • RobMcCune

        Also what is it with these people that they can’t get the topic right? Nowhere does the JT mention atheism plus or use it as a reason why Vacula shouldn’t be part of SCA’s leadership.

    • LeftSidePositive

      I feel so sorry for such an unmitigated idiot who can’t tell the difference between “accountability” and “McCarthyism.”

      Look, dumbass, just because SOME people get excluded for things unfairly, does not mean that ALL excluding of people from things must be inherently unfair. JT has provided reasons for why Vacula’s behavior is unacceptable and unworthy of trust. Why don’t you actually deal with the substance of them instead of just flinging around words like “McCarthyism” to make yourself feel important.

      • Iamcuriousblue

        Accountability? What does Justin Vacula need to be “accountable” for other than being an outspoken critic of Freethoughtblogs and Atheismplus? This and the mislabeling of Vacula as an “MRA” and even more nonsensical claims that this makes him part of some sort of organized hate group is all you people have to go on.

        Trying to hound your critics out of secular organizations? The label applies – McCarthyism, plain and simple. And I’ll point out that you tried the same shit against DJ Grothe and failed, and it won’t succeed with Vacula either. Especially since the people who want Vacula out pretty much want to depose Edwina Rogers too, and I think the SCA leadership is aware of that.

        Oh, and JT – this is Patheos, not FTB, so you can stop with the FTB vs the world drama now, which is all this pathetic campaign amounts to.

        • LeftSidePositive

          Accountability? What does Justin Vacula need to be “accountable” for other than being an outspoken critic of Freethoughtblogs and Atheismplus?

          And someone who is a “critic” of those speaking up against harassment and misogyny is an asshole and needs to be held accountable. Someone who is opposed to making the secular community more inclusive has no business representing one of the secular community’s organizations. Moreover, he’s not just a critic, he has taunted bloggers with major depression for being victims of harassment, and he has posted his enemies’ home address and photo to a group of people who also hate this person. This is vile, malicious behavior, and has nothing to do with idea-based “criticism.”

          This and the mislabeling of Vacula as an “MRA”

          He voluntarily posted an op-ed on “A Voice for Men,” which is an MRA hate site.

          and even more nonsensical claims that this makes him part of some sort of organized hate group is all you people have to go on.

          Actually, A Voice For Men was officially named a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. So, yes, it is perfectly sensible to call someone part of an organized hate group when he takes part in activities of a group that has been officially designated a hate group.

          Trying to hound your critics out of secular organizations?

          Nice try using “critics” when what you actually mean “people who conduct a sustained campaign of hate and harassment.” Sorry, idiot, we’re not going to fall for that shit.

          The label applies – McCarthyism, plain and simple.

          Nice job failing to understand the difference between “legitimate grievance for which one is seeking accountability” and “indiscriminate witch hunt.” You do understand we don’t fall for this shit, right?

          And I’ll point out that you tried the same shit against DJ Grothe

          What DJ Grothe did was absolutely reprehensible. Shaming women for speaking up about their experiences and trying to silence them is unbefitting of a leader. Telling women who have been sexually assaulted that they just “regret their sexual exploits” is disgusting misogyny and no organization should have such a clueless, mean-spirited, sexual-assault-apologist in its ranks, REGARDLESS of whether he is speaking out of rank ignorance or intentional malice.

          and failed, and it won’t succeed with Vacula either.

          You’ve got a serious case of the Just World Fallacy here. For one thing, there was no coordinated campaign to oust DJ Grothe, so it’s nonsensical for you to say it “failed,” when such an effort never actually existed. Moreover, just because something fails has no bearing on whether or not it is a worthwhile or morally correct action.

          Especially since the people who want Vacula out pretty much want to depose Edwina Rogers too, and I think the SCA leadership is aware of that.

          And if the SCA leadership had any sense, they would understand that Edwina Rogers is woefully underprepared to communicate to the atheist community, she tells easily debunkable lies that seriously undermines the organization’s credibility, and their inclusion of both Rogers and Vacula is costing them in credibility, potential members, and donors. If they don’t understand that, they will likely go the way of the dodo, and that’s too bad, but you can’t alienate people who eagerly want to be a part of your movement, and who are disproportionately affected by the harms you’re fighting against, and expect to be successful, any more than you can tell easily debunkable lies to a group that prides itself on skepticism and rationality and expect to get anywhere.

          Oh, and JT – this is Patheos, not FTB, so you can stop with the FTB vs the world drama now,

          Respect for women’s equality is bigger than any blog network, and these issues are important to people because they have REAL MATERIAL EFFECTS ON OUR LIVES, not just because, as you seem to think, they were arbitrarily championed by a blog network.

          • Iamcuriousblue

            [Comment deleted for being purely about insults with no argument present.]

          • Iamcuriousblue

            If you’re moderating for insult, you might have a word with LeftSidePositive. Or do people who take your side in an argument not get the same scrutiny, JT?

          • Iamcuriousblue

            LSP writes:

            “Sorry, idiot, we’re not going to fall for that shit.”

            JT – why does *that* tone get a free pass?

          • Joe

            That tone gets a free pass because it is surrounded by an argument. According to JT (and it’s his blog, so it’s his opinion that matters on these issues) your insults were not surrounded by an argument – see where he says “Comment deleted for being purely about insults with no argument present.” – and so it was deleted.

        • Bruce McGlory

          Blatant misogyny, dishonesty, threatening those he disagrees with, harrassment, etc. C’mon, liar, you can do better than playing THIS dumb.

  • LeftSidePositive
    • WMDKitty

      Ah, you beat me to the post!

  • RobMcCune

    First Ernest Perce V, now Justin Vacula, I hope this isn’t part of a trend for the leaders Pennsylvania atheist organizations. We need better leaders than those embarrassments in a state that declared this the year of the bible.

  • InspectorCalvino

    And you people still can’t understand why the atheist and skeptic community refers to you as bullies!

    • Tom Foss

      Yes, suggesting that someone who’s written for an SPLC-designated hate site and posted an opponent’s home address on a similarly hostile website shouldn’t be in a position of leadership is the very definition of bullying.

      • Iamcuriousblue

        Right, because the SPLC is the last word on “hate”. This is some pretty tenuous guilt-by-association you people are playing, and I think you know this. I could find a few individuals among the FTB crowd such as Skeptifem with clear links to the transphobic radical feminist movement if you want to play that game.

        • Tom Foss

          I’d say the SPLC is a relevant authority on hate groups, and the content on AVfM fits it right in amongst the Stormfronts and WBCs. It’s not “guilt by association” to say that someone who involves themselves with a hate group has involved themselves with a hate group, and we wouldn’t be having this conversation if Vacula had written a post for the KKK’s website.

          There’s also a difference between an organization’s website and a “movement,” but tell you what: if Skeptifem ends up in a leadership position where she might be representing you to a larger constituency, I won’t begrudge you the right to complain.

          • Iamcuriousblue

            Well, that’s giving one group a hell of a lot of power then isn’t it? Sorry, but I don’t think SPLC’s criteria on what constitutes a “hate group” is definitive, and it is in many cases politically-motivated. It certainly was in the case of their blanket condemnation of the MRA movement, and glaring omission of transphobic radical feminist groups. In this case, SPLC is trying to drum up it’s own relevance by tying itself to a controversy that’s “hot” in the burgeoning “feminist blogosphere” and not much else. Yes, many MRAs take extreme and disgusting positions, but that’s far from every MRA, and it would be a stretch to call them an organized hate group, much less the equivalent of the KKK. In fact, the sheer hyperbole of that claim reflects to me the need for Aplussers to engage in high drama and thinking that their petty internet turf wars are somehow the equivalent of facing down Bull Conner.

            It is also a stretch to call Justin Vacula an MRA based on this one article. What is your evidence that he’s aligned himself with that movement other than that? That he’s an outspoken critic of A+ and FTB? So are a lot of people – is everybody who doesn’t agree with your faction an “MRA”? Please.

          • Tom Foss

            How many articles does someone need to write for an MRA site before they can be considered an MRA? I love your argument: “Other than this one piece of clear evidence, what evidence is there?”

            But then, I never called Vacula an MRA. It seems “your side” has reading comprehension problems.

            As for extreme and disgusting positions, how about Vacula publicly posting Surly Amy’s home address in protest of the DMCA? Or is it “guilt by association” to associate someone with their own actions? I thought Vacula was a disgusting, dishonest, unprofessional, smarmy ass long before I thought he was an MRA. His own actions and vendettas, regardless of his association with AVfM, are enough to make the position distasteful, but his association with AVfM puts it over the top into ridiculous failure territory.

          • Iamcuriousblue

            [This portion of the comment deleted because it was only insults.]

            I’ve been publically critical of Vacula’s doxing Amy Roth, even if it was to simply prove that private information she was worried about was *already* public record. I see it as no more of a misstep than the hateful and misguided actions you people are carrying out with this petition. Get a fucking grip.

          • Iamcuriousblue

            “[This portion of the comment deleted because it was only insults.]”

            Complete nonsense, JT. I made no comment more insulting than Tom Foss’s quip about my “reading comprehension”.

            JT – if you’re going to continue to selectively edit my posts and apply double standards, then you’re practicing bad faith moderation. You ought to just block me and publicly own the fact that you’ve done so rather than behave in such a petty manner as you’re doing right now.

          • Iamcuriousblue

            Not to mention the phrase “disgusting, dishonest, unprofessional, smarmy ass”, something I repeated, in quotes. Again, JT, double standards much?

          • Iamcuriousblue

            Followup to my posting a couple posts up on Vacula’s doxing. It seems the full story was that JV realized he fucked up when posting that info and took it down. However, one of the more overzealous A+ warriors decided that some punishment in kind was in order, hunted down JV’s address via local phone directories, and eventually doxed JV’s parents, and encouraged people to contact him, his parents, and anybody professionally associated with JV. Full story here:


            I’ll note that this was right around the time when many of you were (rightly) complaining about Jen McCreight’s parents being contacted. Both very fucked up actions that are indicative of the shades of crazy this battle has taken on. The problem is that the A+ crowd takes a *very* selective reading of incidents that have taken place to paint themselves as victims of a one-sided attack.
            JT – if you don’t like this, delete it. I hereby am *not* giving you permission to edit my words.

            [It's my blog, I don't need your permission. Glad you can admit that Justin's actions were fucked up though. You're the first of his defenders I've heard say as much.

            Also, see how when you don't just throw insults around your comments get to stay? It's like magic, ain't it? ~ JT]

          • Iamcuriousblue

            Your blog, my comment. I don’t argue with your right to block me or get rid of my comment entirely, but altering my writing is not OK.

    • Gordon

      It really seems like you have this backwards. The bullies are all on the other side of this issue. The fact that it is even an issue people see sides to is staggering.

      • Iamcuriousblue

        People see “sides” because there obviously are sides, and A+/FTB/etc have picked more than their fair share of those fights.

        I’ve seen incidents of bullying on all sides of the issue, so don’t be so quick to proclaim your side innocent. The biggest problem with the A+ crowd, though, is that they think being a bully is not a matter of the way one behaves, but simply being on the other side of their line in the sand and thus defining their very worst behavior as “self-defense”.

        • Bruce McGlory

          YOU see “sides” because you’re a dishonest bigot who, for some incomprehensible reason, pretends not everyone know that about you. Go back to the hate pit already.

  • Mark

    Dissent in the ranks. Atheism is looking more and more like a religion all the time.

    • malefue

      because that’s what atheism is all about: conformity!
      thanks for clearing that up.

  • David Diskin

    Maybe I can shed some light on how individuals become part of the state chapters for the SCA. I’m on the board for the California chapter.
    As someone pointed out earlier, none of us are paid or hired. And I assume we’re not vetted either. In California (and I presume the same is true for Pennsylvania), the SCA has been hosting conference calls for the last four months allowing anyone to jump in. They’ve promoted them heavily, almost to the point of spam on Facebook. Anyone can call in, as long as they can take a half hour during their day. It’s even a toll free number.
    Now in California, we typically had 10-20 people on any given call. That’s it, for the entire state! Sadly, not many people seem to be able to give their time to something this important. I imagine PA had even fewer callers.
    Last week it was time to “elect” a board who would do most of the grunt work in organizing and promoting the chapter. I say “elect” because when it was asked “okay, who wants to be on the board” only a few people said anything.
    Now, I don’t know this individual in PA, but I do know JT and trust his instincts and so perhaps this guy isn’t the right person for the job. But please don’t fault the SCA for this “choice”. I doubt they have the resources to run background checks on 5-7 people across 49 states. It’s statistics that they would find someone the majority of the community doesn’t want to see represent them.
    It’s a shame people weren’t this interested when the conference calls were taking place. I suspect something could have been done a lot sooner and this situation avoided.

    • I Roll

      “I doubt they have the resources to run background checks on 5-7 people across 49 states.” They should slow down the state affiliate process, then. These newer groups are not independent; they are state branches of the SCA itself. A bad apple in a state leadership position poses a risk to the good name and efforts of every other state and the national program as well. And since a 1-minute Google search of JV’s name is enough to get the message that he is (at the very least) not interested in practicing the art of diplomacy – a very important trait in lobbying – a little vetting seems like an awfully low bar to set for an organization like SCA. This latest cluelessness on their part followed once more by the obligatory non-response by Ms. Rogers continues to demonstrate how unconnected SCA has become from those it claims to represent.

  • AtheismPlush

    I am outraged that the FFRF should feature a photo of Justin Vacula in their June/July 2012 issue of Freethought Today without first obtaining the blessing of the FTB elders. They should change their name to “Freedom For Misogyny Foundation”.

  • Dubliner

    [Comment deleted. Just throwing insults. No argument.]

  • Copyleft

    Last time I checked, Justin Vacula is indeed a secular skeptic. Your distaste for his opinions on radical feminism is irrelevant to the SCA’s goals.

  • PG

    [Remember that time JT said...

    You’ll note that these have always been my complaints. Not once have I mentioned feminism or Atheism plus, though Justin’s defenders bring them both up ad nauseam. You can swing at those things until you’re blue in the face and never once graze the reasons for my displeasure. My position from the get go is that Justin is a person of extremely low moral fiber who doesn’t need to be given positions of responsibility in our movement until he demonstrates some sort of contrition.


    So if you’re going to harp on my motives, you are welcome to do so. But if you continue to swing at phantoms or come into the comments doing little but tossing around insults, I will either break out the ban hammer or edit your comments in ways that amuse the hell out of me.

    Well, I done gone and fucked up by doing exactly what JT said not to do, but it looks like JT wasn't joking. I'm not really sure why I chose to accuse JT of things he's never mentioned or that he addressed directly in this post while not offering up any rebuttal of my own. I don't know why I decided to just insult other people who had nothing to do with this post, like I was obsessed over them or something. And can you believe I'm so immune to irony that I called other people childish while doing that?

    Anyway, I'm going to go back to cursing the names of my enemies elsewhere now.]

    • PG

      [Man, did I ever not learn my lesson the first time. After cursing my enemies elsewhere, I came back here and did more of the same thinking that maybe JT wasn't serious about amusing himself with my baseless comments or that maybe I could shame him into leaving up a comment of mine full of red herrings and insults.

      But I couldn't. It took me about five minutes to write my previous screed and it took JT about two amusing minutes to edit it, like he warned he would if comments addressed things other than what he wrote or were just full of insults.

      Maybe I'll come back later and see if third time's the charm. Persistence is the key!]

      • B-Lar

        PG, for some reason in this thread you have a lot more class than normal. Are you feeling okay?

  • Mike

    Those last few [edits] of the PG comments were priceless! More please, PG and JT! Actually, just JT.