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The Toxic Centrism of Bernie Sanders

The Toxic Centrism of Bernie Sanders (Image by Gage Skidmore)
Bernie Sanders by Gage Skidmore

For many people, calling Bernie Sanders a centrist is the most counter-intuitive kind of doublespeak there is. He may have lost the Democratic primary last year, but he did in fact win the branding war: in the media, Sanders is immediately associated with the “progressive” wing of the Democratic Party. This is a neat trick, given that he’s steadfastly refused to share his mailing lists with the party, support their candidates, or even join the Democratic Party, something that’s generally considered a prerequisite for being part of the leadership.

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The Toxic Centrism of Bernie Sanders

Something is Rotten in Atheism: The “Amazing Atheist” and Secular Racism

TJ Kirk, aka "The Amazing Atheist"
TJ Kirk, aka “The Amazing Atheist”

Comment policy: Comments telling me to “show you the evidence” of TJ’s racism will not be published; if you haven’t been convinced by Martin Hughes’s thorough, science-based critiques, you’re so deep in denial that it’s not worth my time to try to convince you. Similarly, comments that are primarily insults or just telling me to “kill myself” will be tossed straight down the hole.

Watching atheists start to talk about — or desperately deny — the racism of “The Amazing Atheist” (aka TJ Kirk1) has made me feel both despondent and hopeful about the future of organized atheism. I’m flashing between extremes after recovering from a week where I’ve already spent a lot of time depressed as fuck.

I’m not going to go into laying out reasons that Kirk’s videos were racist. First of all, that should be both obvious and unsurprising to anyone who’s familiar with Kirk’s history or thinks about racism on any level deeper than “the KKK are bad people.” Second of all,  Martin Hughes has done a much better job of tearing Kirk apart than I ever could. The masterful skill of his writing in his original piece and then in his follow-up after Kirk responded with a 37-minute tirade makes me envious. It also gives me hope. Knowing that we have people with that degree of skill and integrity still willing to speak up in our communities means that we may yet heal ourselves of the disease that “The Amazing Atheist” represents. Have no doubt: He is a disease, and if left untreated, he and his fans may kill any hope that atheism can make the world a better place.
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Something is Rotten in Atheism: The “Amazing Atheist” and Secular Racism

Why I Never Have Been — And Never Will Be — “Charlie”

I Am Still Not Charlie

Like virtually every person on the planet with some sort of a conscience, I was appalled by the massacre at the offices of the French satire magazine Charlie Hebdo last year. How could you not be? It was an act of appalling violence. But the evidence that Charlie Hebdo had a mean-spirited and racist streak piled up so quickly in my social media that I never wanted to declare “Je suis Charlie.” The same conscience that made me sickened at the murders of 12 human beings made it impossible for me to join in solidarity with the magazine they worked for.

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Why I Never Have Been — And Never Will Be — “Charlie”

Q&A With Cinnamon Maxxine: A Fat Black Sex Worker Speaks Out

Headshot of Cinnamon Maxxine, a black genderqueer sex worker.
Cinnamon Maxxine

As co-organizers of Godless Perverts, Greta Christina and I have had the honor of working with Cinnamon Maxxine on several occasions. At one of the Godless Perverts Story Hours, Cinnamon did a great burlesque performance which they followed up with an improvised account of coming out to their parents about doing sex work and the consequences that followed. Since then, Cinnamon has co-hosted two Godless Perverts Social Clubs: One about sex work politics, and another about cultural appropriation in alternative sexuality communities. I think that I can speak for Greta as well as myself when I say that we both look forward to any opportunity to work with Cinnamon. They’re as passionate as they are insightful, and have a lot to say about issues that often are far too neglected even in social justice communities, such as body image, racism, sex work, mental health, and all the places that those topics intersect.

When I read on Facebook that Cinnamon was starting a Patreon page in order to support their own blogging and writing, I thought that it was an excellent opportunity to introduce them to people here. Check out the Q&A below for your first taste of a truly wonderful person and powerful activist. (Note: One of the pictures near the bottom of the article is a NSFW nude shot from one of Cinnamon’s porn shoots.)

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Q&A With Cinnamon Maxxine: A Fat Black Sex Worker Speaks Out