Catch me on Atheists Talk Radio Tomorrow Morning!

Holy schinoozles, people, it’s official! I’m gonna be on Atheists Talk in the ay-em! It’s tomorrow! You should totally listen!

Dana Hunter is a science blogger at Scientific American and a blogger at The Orbit network. On her Rosetta Stones blog she is known for her writing about Mount St. Helens, her travel blogs about her geological adventures, women in science, and other gneiss schist. At her blog En Tequila es Verdad she writes about atheism, religious extremism, the implicationas and effects of religion on women, and many topics relating to social justice.

Dana joins us this Sunday to discuss her recently published book, Really Terrible Bible Stories – Volume 3: Leviticus….

Join us this Sunday as we discuss God’s instructions for BBQs, holy laundry, nutritional dictates, slavery and other instances of horrifying divine micromanagement.

It’s going to be awesome. And you don’t even have to get up early on a Sunday morning to do it! Instructions for getting the podcast or listening online are here.

Talk to you soon!

Image is Really Terrible Bible Stories vol. 3: Leviticus cover. The background is black. Really Terrible is in slasher-style red font, Bible Stories in a white gothic script beneath. The painting beneath it is Tissot's "The Dead Bodies Carried Away," which shows two men in white robes carrying bodies over their shoulders out of the Israelite camp. Below is vol. 3: Leviticus in the same gothic script.

Really Terrible Bible Stories vol. 3: Leviticus is now available worldwide at Amazon:

United States  ♦  Canada  ♦  Mexico  ♦  Brazil  ♦  United Kingdom  ♦  Germany  ♦  France  ♦  Spain ♦  Italy  ♦  Netherlands  ♦  India  ♦  Japan  ♦  Australia

Pick up your copies today!

Catch me on Atheists Talk Radio Tomorrow Morning!
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“Let Us Not be a Community Who Says, ‘We got ours so fuck you.'”

Gregory Gadow gave me his kind permission to repost his very incisive Facebook post here. This is so important.

A friend of mine made a very good point. Thanks, Calvin Hipps!

Dan White murdered San Francisco mayor George Moscone and supervisor Harvey Milk on November 27, 1978. Charged with two counts of first degree murder, he was eventually convicted on two counts of “voluntary manslaughter,” the lightest possible sentence given the evidence. It was later shown that the jury gave him that sentence because A) White had been a SF police officer, and thus jurors presumed that he was acting against evil-doers, and B) because Supervisor Milk was an openly gay man.

When the verdict was handed down on the afternoon of May 21, 1979, the gay community went ballistic. San Francisco’s gay community had long been a target of SFPD’s bigotry, and many saw this verdict as police literally getting away with murdering community members. What originally started as an angry but peaceful protest quickly changed when the police tried to stop the demonstration. Police were attacked, and damage was done to SF government buildings. After several hours, the rioting subsided.

Black and white image shows a ghostly building with high windows and balconies in the background. There is a line of skinny trees whose trunks end in a puff of branches. Below the trees is a line of silhouetted figures standing in a line. The scene is lit by a streetlamp whose light seems to be diffused by smoke or mist.
Rioters outside San Francisco City Hall the evening of May 21, 1979, reacting to the voluntary manslaughter verdict for Dan White, that ensured White would serve only five years for the double murders of Harvey Milk and George Moscone. Image and caption courtesy Daniel Nicoletta (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Then the police staged a massive round of retaliatory raids in the Castro District. Cops in riot gear swarmed into gay bars and assaulted patrons, without even a pretext of claiming the mantle of law.

Sound like anything in recent events? Continue reading ““Let Us Not be a Community Who Says, ‘We got ours so fuck you.’””

“Let Us Not be a Community Who Says, ‘We got ours so fuck you.'”

What We Must Do

It’s been a horrific week for police violence. Alton Sterling was murdered for the “crime” of selling CDs. Philando Castile was murdered for the “crime” of exercising his Second Amendment rights and driving while black. Castile’s slaughter was so egregious that even many of the white folk who typically find some infinitesimal fault on the part of the black man that excuses his extrajudicial execution have to admit this one was pure, undeserved slaughter. Not that they haven’t tried. They always try. It can never be the police who are to blame.

And as protestors peacefully gathered, a sniper in Dallas shot down cops and protestors alike, in a city that was trying to get it right. This will be all the excuse some people need to declare war upon people of color in this country. Not that a clandestine war wasn’t already being waged. Black folk in this country might as well be living in a war zone, see. They’re certainly dying as if they are.

And you may be feeling helpless right now. You may have no idea what to do with your rage and sorrow and pain. If, like me, you’re white, you may not know what do to with the power invested in you by the color of your skin.

Are you ready to listen? Because people of color are telling us what they need. This is what we must do. Continue reading “What We Must Do”

What We Must Do

The Orlando Shooting: How You Can Help

A single man with an assault rifle and a handgun walked into a queer nightclub in Orlando, FL and killed at least 50 people and wounded at least 53 more. He deliberately targeted people for their sexuality: the fact that he struck on a night celebrating Latinx queerness means his victims were overwhelmingly people of color.

My Facebook feed is filled with pain and fear and sorrow and despair. But it’s also filled with wisdom. If you’re a hetero cis person, there are things you and I should be doing right now. Continue reading “The Orlando Shooting: How You Can Help”

The Orlando Shooting: How You Can Help

Indiana Is Poised to Strip Away Abortion Rights – And Make You Pay For Fetal Funerals

Before we begin, I have a confession to make: I was born in Indiana. I don’t like to talk about it. We moved away when I was three, and I’ve always been grateful for the choices my parents made. I’m sure some people love the state, but while there are tiny bits in my memory that stand out as fun or pleasant, most of it is a foreboding, empty gray abyss, and it’s full of cornfields. When my mom moved back there and tried to get me to follow her, I laughed bitterly. I loved her, but there was no way I’d ever be able to live there.

I’ve never been more happy about that decision than now. See, I’m a uterus-bearing American of reproductive age who doesn’t want to bear children under any circumstances, ever. In Indiana, they have decided to take that decision away from people like me. They’ve decided to take it away from people who want a kid someday, but not this soon. They’ve decided to take the choice away from people who are in a dangerous relationship and will be trapped by a child. They’ve decided to take it away from people who are already unable to feed the children they have, much less a new mouth. But they’ll generously allow people who became pregnant through rape or incest to abort, and they’ll even allow people to have an abortion if the pregnancy is putting their life at risk, but even if you fall into one of those categories, you’ll still be forced to listen to the fetal heartbeat first, and wait 18 hours, and other assorted things meant to strong-arm you into changing your mind.

And then, if you’ve stayed the course and cleared all the hurdles put in your way by the patronizing assholes of the Indiana legislature, you’ll be forced to have a funeral.

CONTENT NOTE: medical images of human fetuses below the jump.

Continue reading “Indiana Is Poised to Strip Away Abortion Rights – And Make You Pay For Fetal Funerals”

Indiana Is Poised to Strip Away Abortion Rights – And Make You Pay For Fetal Funerals

We Need This in Seattle – And Everywhere

I came across this remarkable way to challenge racism in our public spaces, and now I want this to be a thing in Seattle.

The Yarn Mission seeks to “use yarn to promote action and change to eradicate racism, sexism, and other systems of oppression”. The group, founded by CheyOnna Sewell, a PhD student in criminology, seeks to spark conversation about race and police brutality by engaging with curious passersby as they knit, all while providing a comforting activity for beleaguered activists.

“As a black woman, you’re invisible,” says Taylor Payne, a member of the group. “But knitting makes people stop and have a conversation with you. If someone asks me what I’m doing, I say, ‘I’m knitting for black liberation.’ Sometimes they respond and sometimes I just get ‘Oh, my grandma knits,’ like the person didn’t hear me. But at least it opens the door to talking about my experiences.”

Continue reading “We Need This in Seattle – And Everywhere”

We Need This in Seattle – And Everywhere

Seattle-Area Fundraiser for Fire Relief

It’s been a vicious year for fires in the northwestern United States. It seems like everything east of the Cascades is on fire up here, and we just lost three firefighters and had another few wounded when the blaze they were battling took an unexpected turn. We’re getting our asses kicked, and no mistake.

Many of us may feel helpless in the face of these infernos, but there are things we can do even if we’re not able to personally fight the fires.

If you’re in the Seattle area, Red Onion Burgers is having a fundraiser on Thursday:

Eat at Red Onion Burgers on Thursday, August 27th between 11am and 8pm and help raise money to aid those impacted by the Chelan Reach Complex / Wolverine / Black Canyon Fires.

Red Onion Burgers will be donating 100% of the cash tips, 50% of the credit card tips and 50% of the total sales. In addition, local firefighters will be present at the Albertson’s to help raise funds and collect food donations.

Money raised will go to the Community Foundation of North Central Washington whose relief fund benefits local families impacted by the fires in and around the Chelan Valley.

And there are other ways to help fire victims listed here.

I know most of the west is on fire, and likely some other countries, too, so if there are local fundraisers going on for your state/province/etc., please do let me know and I’ll add them.

Image shot at night shows a fire truck stopped with its lights on near a burning field. The red brake lights and the glowing orange flames in the darkness, illuminating roiling smoke, is eerie.
Fire crews work through the night at the Blue Creek Fire. The Blue Creek Fire located east of Walla Walla, WA began on Jul. 20, 2015 and has consumed an estimated 6,004 acres. The cause of the fire is under investigation. Image and caption courtesy USFS.
Seattle-Area Fundraiser for Fire Relief

“I Am Too Busy Scratching the Ribcage of a Monster That May Never Set Me Free”

I’d like you to take two minutes to listen to this poem by Ashlee Haze. Just two minutes.

There’s a rough transcript at the bottom of this post if you’re unable to watch videos, but please do watch if you can: no typed words can capture the intensity of her voice. Continue reading ““I Am Too Busy Scratching the Ribcage of a Monster That May Never Set Me Free””

“I Am Too Busy Scratching the Ribcage of a Monster That May Never Set Me Free”

20+ Ways to Help Trans People of Color

It’s hard, sometimes, to know what to do when you’re cisgender and you’re helplessly watching as trans woman after trans woman is murdered, the majority of them trans women of color. You want to stop it, fix it, but you feel helpless because you have no idea where to begin, how to change a culture where racism and transphobia conspire to kill. You don’t know how to alleviate the suffering. And so maybe you’re paralyzed by the enormity of it.

You’re not a god or a superhero, so you won’t be able to magically make it all better. But you can do your part to change the world. Here’s your map:

With all of this in mind in one of the most visibly bloody years we’ve witnessed of violence against trans women of color, I wanted to make a list of things you can do to begin to change the culture of violence against trans women of color into one of love, appreciation, and transformative change.

Some of these things may not be in your power to do, but many of them will. Many of them will be easier than you expect. And if we all do our bit, we can make a difference.

Don’t give up.

Image: Trans flag with white wording on it. A crown is featured at the top with the trans symbol protruding from it. Text: “Keep hope and carry on”
Image via Amigas Latinas.
20+ Ways to Help Trans People of Color

Some People of Color Bernie Sanders Fans Would Do Well to Listen To

Dear Bernie Sanders Fan Who is Outraged! Offended! by the Black Women Who Interrupted Him:

You’ve been all over my Facebook timeline with a wide variety of claims. As a fellow white person, I must beg you: please stop defending Bernie for a few minutes and listen to what people of color are saying. Look, I’ve even gone to the trouble of collecting a bunch of convenient links for you. And it’s important you listen up, because you know who’s going to make Bernie lose the Democratic nomination?

You.

Yes, you.

Okay, Bernie might fail to shut up and listen himself, and torpedo his own chances, but if all of you band together to make him understand he’d best be listening or else, we won’t have to worry about that. He’ll incorporate racial justice and excellent ideas on how to achieve it into his already awesome platform, he’ll make it a centerpoint of his campaign, and we’ll all be absolutely golden. (Look! He’s already started!)

But you’re the ones who will ensure he loses, if you keep trying to shush people whose lives depend on making this old white man understand what they need from him. You’re the ones who will sow division and disharmony in the ranks. I’ll tell you a secret about people of color I’ve learned by listening to them: They don’t need us, children. We have failed them time and time and time again. We need them to win. So I’ll appeal to that need to see another Democrat in office (a need I very much share), if I can’t appeal to your innate sense of justice and your progressive wish for the downtrodden to no longer be down and trodden: if you fail to listen to these voices that are telling you and your favorite candidate exactly what they need, you are the reason Bernie Sanders will lose.

It’s within your power to ensure we all become one big, happy progressive family.

So let’s lend an ear, shall we?* Even when – especially when – people are speaking in anger, let’s listen. Let’s listen like Seattle for Bernie Sanders’s admin did, right here. Continue reading “Some People of Color Bernie Sanders Fans Would Do Well to Listen To”

Some People of Color Bernie Sanders Fans Would Do Well to Listen To