The timing is coincidental. I know because Adam Lee and I talked about his petition about a week ago. It was driven by Thunderf00t’s video, not by the timing of the HEADS meeting that Ron Lindsay asked about two days ago. Nonetheless, the timing is good.
We, the undersigned, are atheists, skeptics and nonbelievers who value free speech and rational thought and who seek to build a strong, thriving movement that can advocate effectively for these values. We’ve chosen to put our names to this petition because we want to respond to a video created by a blogger calling himself Thunderfoot. In this video, Thunderfoot attacks named individuals who’ve been active in promoting diversity and fighting sexism and harassment in our movement. He describes these people as “whiners” and “ultra-PC professional victims” who are “dripp[ing] poison” into the secular community, and urges conference organizers to shun and ignore them.
We hold this and similar complaints from other individuals to be seriously misguided, false in their particulars and harmful to the atheist community as a whole, and we want to set the record straight. We wish to clarify that Thunderfoot and those like him don’t speak for us or represent us, and to state our unequivocal support for the following goals:
What are those goals? Making the movement more diverse and inclusive; having strong, sensible anti-harassment policies at our gatherings, and supporting those of us who have been targeted by bullying, harassment, and threats.
Why is the timing good? Shortly the leaders of several national secular organizations will meet to discuss the state of the movement and their priorities for the near future. They could have gone into this knowing that this is an important issue to some of them but not really being able to sort out the balance of opinions from the loud voices talking about these issues. They could have gone into it having heard only from those followers of Thunderf00t who listened when he asked them to take his video to the organizations (though Ron’s request and the responses he’s received mitigated that at least somewhat).
Instead, if you are one of the many people who have spoken up here, or nodded quietly while lurking, Adam has given you an easy way to make your opinion known. You can go and leave a message to those leaders with your vote, or you can simply sign and be counted. Many of them responded well to the call to implement anti-harassment policies. Several contributed to Surly Amy’s series speaking generally against hatred. They should be receptive to this as well, but being leaders, they’re not always answerable just to themselves. Help them know they’re speaking for you too when they move forward on this.
Adam has more at his blog on his reasons for creating the petition.