Damned Hippie

I'm a goddamn ray of sunshine.

Category: Atheism

I Have a New Friend.

IT’S MINE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

All mine. Ellen Lundgren crocheted it just for the highest bidder, who happens to be me. Jealous? Get your own friend.

SSA Week is crazy close to its goal. They’ve got one more day to raise the last $17,000 of their $100,000. Go donate.

Need a reason? Here you go.

Update: I forgot to mention, your donation is getting matched up to $250,000. That’s an instant 100% return value on your investment. Go chip in, even if it’s $5.


The Guys You Don’t Want to Talk About

Dear JT and other assorted nice guys¹ and Nice Guys™

Thank you for your concern about whether your behavior makes women¹ in the secular movement uncomfortable. Here is my solicited advice: don’t be one of the bad guys. You know, the ones you don’t want to talk about.

In order to determine if you are one of the bad guys, ask yourself this question:

Do you use manipulation, deception, social pressure, intimidation, isolation, intoxication, high through-put² solicitation, lewdness, or persistence as strategies to gain intimacy with women?

YesYou are one of the bad guys. You are The Problem. Stay home. We do not want you in our movement, not on the local, regional, national, or international level. Do not darken our podiums, seats, or elevators until you improve yourself as a human being.

Only when I drink→Do not drink at our events.

Only on this one girl I like→That is still a yes. That is horrible. If this is how you treat people you like, how do you treat people you aren’t fond of? Stay home.

No→Congratulations. You are not one of the bad guys. You are not likely at all to gain the reputation of a skeeze. Not being The Problem is a necessary, but not sufficient, part of being part of the solution. You may still unintentionally contribute to the problem. You may occasionally make women uncomfortable or reinforce cultural assumptions and norms that allow the bad guys to operate without deterrence.

I appreciate your eagerness to overcome your possible unintentional contributions to the problem and become part of the solution. In order to advance this discussion to concrete steps you guys can take in order to do that, we first have to address an issue in how this discussion is framed. Read the rest of this entry »

Worst. Christmas. Ever.

JT Eberhard recently wrote a post about an atheist activist who was made to say grace during the holidays by her family. It made me think of my own holiday grace story.

The day after Christmas, my husband and I drove to his uncle’s country cabin by the lake for the in-laws’ holiday dinner. I never had much in common with my in-laws, but I tried to be friendly. Toasty garage, toasty food, a toast to gathering with family. Halfway into my third glass of wine, Uncle Keith offered grace.

“We thank you for your scripture, and for the history you gave us . . . and I know it brings controversy, but we know it also brings PEACE.”

Wait, what? I tried to process this turn of events in my wine-soaked head. Prior holidays featured my uncles- and father-in-law thanking Jesus for food, family, and safe travel. Controversy? What controversy? This was supposed to be a time of fellowship, of clan gathering, of inclusion. Was this about me? If it wasn’t, then Uncle Keith was being awfully insensitive. Did he expect me to sit as a captive audience to this?

Fuck that noise.

I got up and used the bathroom, not for its usual function, but as a pretense to leave the room. Through two doors, I could still hear him speech make for what seemed like two or three minutes. I got up from the toilet, washed my hands, and went back to the garage. We all acted as if nothing happened and ate our dinner.

This episode does not have a happy ending. I blew off my steam on my facebook page, and after thinking it through with my friends, decided to ask Uncle Keith for an apology the next time I saw him. My sister-in-law stumbled across the conversation and was of the opinion that since I offended everyone in the room by walking out in the middle of their sacred prayer, I was not entitled to an apology. A few days later, Uncle Keith called and angrily told me that I was reading too much into things, he didn’t even know who Glenn Beck was, and if I didn’t want him to be a part of my life, that was just fine with him.

Uncle Keith does not have a facebook account. He heard about my gripe through the family rumor mill. Nobody apologized to me. Nobody told me they could see why I’d be upset. Nobody stood up for me. Nobody from that family took my side except my husband, who agreed that it sounded like that “prayer” was meant for me. He said that he didn’t like to see me picked on like that. I told him that I wasn’t going to any more gatherings on his dad’s side of the family.

It broke my heart to realize how dispensable I was to that family. At that point, I had sat through seven and a half years of family gatherings. Other than some qualms about having the bible read at my wedding, I had never made an issue of our differences in religion. When the subject came up in conversation, I simply stated what I thought and the reasons I thought that way. I never asked them to not pray, or tell them they were stupid for praying, or disrupt their prayers in any way. Never in seven and a half years.

In fact, if you had asked me before that day, I would have said that the holiday prayers were an endearing tradition, a way to communally express hope and gratitude. Even if no ghost was listening, the family was. To my way of thinking, Uncle Keith had disrespected that tradition, not me.

After December 26, 2010, though, that quaint view of the true value of prayer unravelled. As I told my indignant sister-in-law, “If you guys are going to use your rituals to pick fights with people who aren’t like you, do your rituals really deserve my respect?” And the more stories I hear from other non-believers, the more I think that this is the true intention of communal prayer. If praying in front of the atheist doesn’t make her uncomfortable enough to either convert or go away, then insist she act like she’s praying too, or pass the prayer around the table, or ask that she lead the prayer, or pray something she really really can’t keep silent about. Up the ante until you get some reaction from her, then play the religious persecution card when the shit hits the fan.

Fuck that noise.

I need some cheering up. Take it away, Tim!

Too Late, American Cancer Society. Your Money Is Already Tainted.

Author’s note: the FBB does not exchange pornography for bibles. This activity is known as “Smut for Smut,” and is an activity done by many college freethought clubs to bring attention to the illicit content within the bible its self (Lot and his daughters is the most infamous example). This is an example of the level of creativity and boldness such clubs would bring to the table if recruited to raise money for the American Cancer Society.

I’ll say this clearly, right up front: The American Cancer Society did not explicitly reject a massive donation offer from a non-theistic organization on the basis of it being a non-theistic organization.

Greta Christina

No, but as Greta elaborates, the ACS is being very evasive, inconsistent, and ungrateful in turning down a partnership with the Foundation Beyond Belief to raise up to half a million dollars.

Big mistake, ACS.

Not only have you made yourselves look like bigots, you’ve turned down an epic alliance. Todd Stiefel has already pointed out that we are legion, well networked, and growing. I will also point out that we are creative, highly motivated, and shameless attention whores.

Just take a look at this activity page from the Secular Student Alliance. We are willing to sell our souls to raise awareness and money. Literally. We are also willing to sport mohawks, have things thrown at us, give away pornography for bibles, give out free hugs, overdose on homeopathy, dress like spaghetti, dress like pirates, talk like pirates, walk under ladders, and even go to church! Needless to say, we go above and beyond the usual bake sale.

And we get results. Just this summer, in a single month a notorious crew of internet heathens (here, here, here and here too) raised over $30,000 for scholarships to send children to Camp Quest. This is how they did it:

Apparently you haven’t heard, ACS, but now I’m telling you. We don’t fuck around.

That’s what you left on the table, ACS: not only half a million dollars, but also amazing talent, creativity, and enthusiasm. All because you seem to think you are too good for atheist money.

It’s too late, though, ACS. Your money is already tainted. This is what an atheist raising money for the American Cancer Society looks like:

That’s me back in 2006. For a free-will donation to the American Cancer Society, people could stick a hand print on my 1990 Toyota Corolla. And if you think it is trivial to get permanent purple paint on a car in the shape of donors’ hand prints without getting paint on the donors, think again.

You just thumbed your nose at thousands of such current and potential donors and volunteers. It takes a real hero to pass over genuinely good people you don’t want to be seen with. Way to fight for the cure!

Upset? Go tell them on their facebook page. Find more ideas on how to make a stink at Greta’s blog.

Our Schools Are Their Mission Field

Ah, Clubfest. Every single club on campus is randomly assigned half of a folding table and crammed into a single room. When I say randomly, I mean randomly. Last year, the BDSM club shared a table with the Mormon club. Either the table assignments are totally random, or somebody is a smartass.

I went mostly for the free candy bars. I signed onto the mailing lists of the triathlon club, and the Indian culture club. The student missionary group that fancies its self as hip handed out free Ramen. Across the aisle from the tower of freeze-dried noodles was this un-manned booth: Read the rest of this entry »

Why Do I Argue About This?

The following is an essay I wrote back in 2008. It seems a bit trite reading it again all these years later. Those who are familiar with the atheist movement will have likely heard these arguments before, but for those who aren’t, it is a good primer for why I give a damn about your religion.

Most people who know me know that I am very open about my atheism. Many, I know, are at least uncomfortable with how open I am. “People just have their beliefs, and it just makes people upset,” one person said. Why do I even talk about this stuff? Why don’t I avoid the subject? Why bother?

Read the rest of this entry »

In This Country, the Testamony of Two Women is Worth Less than the Good Conscience of the Community

According to the newspaper, this is what happened.

Late Thursday night, 19-year-old Marcellus Richard Andrews was hanging out at the home of his friend, Nakita Wright. At about a quarter to one in the morning, Nakita and her cousin, Tudia Simpson, decided to take a walk. Marcellus stayed behind on the porch.

The two women hadn’t even walked a block when trouble started back at the house. Read the rest of this entry »