Atheists Talk: Kim Rippere on Secular Woman

On June 28th of this year, the first national membership organization dedicated exclusively to advancing the interests of atheist, humanist and other non-religious women was launched. This group is called Secular Woman. Secular Woman is an educational non-profit organization whose mission is to amplify the voice, presence, and influence of non-religious women.

Kim Rippere, the president of Secular Woman, will join us this Sunday to discuss the vision, mission, goals, and values of the organization. We’ll speak with Kim about the progress and accomplishments that have already been made in the first two weeks since the organization’s launch, and how Secular Woman will contribute to the broader secular and humanist communities.

 Related Links

Listen to AM 950 KTNF this Sunday at 9 a.m. Central to hear Atheists Talk, produced by Minnesota Atheists. Stream live online. Call in to the studio at 952-946-6205, or send an e-mail to radio@mnatheists.org during the live show. If you miss the live show, listen to the podcast later.

Talking About Harassment

I’m not yet dead of con crud. I simply want to be intermittently. Bleagh.

Luckily, it didn’t really kick in until after SkepchickCon/CONvergence, because in addition to my three panels and some very loud parties, my voice had to last for a radio show with Debbie Goddard and a podcast recording with an old friend, both on Sunday. It did, but just barely.

As you may have seen, Felicia recorded our panel on the kinds of abuse women on the internet are subjected to, and Criss posted the video. (Aside: *Squee* on meeting both of them in person.) Jason posted a bit about the reaction to the video, as well as an audio track for those who can’t hear the video well enough. I got to see Criss’s reaction to the YouTube comments on this one, but they’re hers to share when she feels like it. I’ll be interested to see how they go over, though. Matt Lowry also has some notes that are not a perfect transcription (so check the video if you want to rely on anything someone said) but will give you the gist of the panel if you don’t have time to watch it.

That being said, some of the most interesting conversations I had at the con about harassment and policies were had outside that panel. They were also mostly with men. [Read more…]

How to Argue

I don’t know how JT did it, but he somehow got a hold of my argument playbook for this speech at Freethought Festival.

Now you know all my tricks, including the most important one. Don’t start the argument unless your opponent is dead wrong. Think that’ll help?

Nothing New Over the Tubes

The first panel I was on at SkepchickCon/CONvergence this weekend was “Growing Up Online”. I’m a little old to have really grown up on the internet, but I participated in the transition to online life as soon as that was a reasonable (as opposed to unweildly techy) thing to do.

As such, one of the things that amuses me in dealing with people who have grown up online is the way they think they’ve invented so many pieces of online life. I had the silliness of that assumption pointed out to me many times this weekend.

[Read more…]

Committing to Marriage Equality

November is marching ever closer. We have two noxious amendments on the ballot here in Minnesota, one requiring voter ID and one denying marriage equality. I am starting to be a little more hopeful that Minnesota might be the first state to defeat an amendment that enshrines a discriminatory definition of marriage in our constitution.

First, there were the good poll results in the wake of Obama’s support for marriage equality.

Public Policy Polling (PPP) today released results from its latest survey that showed 49 percent of Minnesotans oppose amending the state constitution to define marriage as between one man and one woman, while 43 percent support it. A January PPP poll showed 44 percent opposed amending the constitution, while 48 percent supported (-5 support; +5 oppose). This represents a 10-point swing in just four months. Meanwhile, 47 percent of Minnesotans said they believe that marriage for same-sex couples should be legal.

Then there are the resolutions from rural parts of the state condemning the amendment.

Leading the way on the Iron Range, the city council of Mountain Iron became the 11th city to vote to publicly oppose the proposed constitutional amendment that would limit the freedom to marry for committed, same-sex couples in Minnesota and the first to join the coalition comprising Minnesotans United for All Families, the official campaign to defeat the freedom-limiting amendment.

The council voted 3-to-1 to adopt the resolution, which states the proposed amendment is “contrary to the purpose of our State Constitution to protect the rights, privileges and freedom of conscience of all citizens” by excluding same-sex couples from the freedom to marry. The resolution urges Mountain Iron residents to vote no in November.

Poll numbers are good, and rural rejection of the amendment is critical, but of course that isn’t enough. People have to keep working on this if we’re going to defeat the amendment. A year or two from now? Sure, then we wouldn’t have to work so hard. That’s why the amendment is on the ballot now.

To help make sure the amended loses, Minnesotans United for All Families has adopted a new variation on their broader strategy. In addition to volunteers calling voters to tell them why it is so personally important to the volunteers that the amendment be defeated, they are asking Minnesotans who support marriage equality to take these conversations to their friends and family. And if these volunteers can talk to strangers, you can talk to your friends.

Sixty-seven percent of people with gay and lesbian friends VOTE NO if we talk to them about marriage.

This means that the single most important action you can take to defeat this hurtful amendment is to start conversations about the freedom to marry with your friends, family, and the people you see every day.

Even if you’re not gay or bisexual, you know people who are. Maybe they are your friends and colleagues. Maybe they’re too scared to tell you about their sexual orientation. Whatever the situation, you know people whose relationships this amendment would declare to be worth less than mine. As much as I think the world of mine, that’s just not right.

We need to have these conversations, now and into November. Won’t you pledge to have some of these conversations?

Based on Judeo-Christian Values, Huh?

Our own Chris Rodda does an amazing job taking down the idea that the U.S. was founded as a Christian nation at an incredibly detailed level. Andrew Seidel of the Freedom From Religion Foundation did the same thing on a conceptual level at Freethought Festival.

I know a number of people I wouldn’t mind showing this to. It’s just the right length for that sort of thing.

Saturday Storytime: Comes the Huntsman

We call them fairy tales. Many of them even were, once upon a time. Now they are the forms on which some of us stretch our own stories out. This story by Rachael Acks is one of those.

i.

Red and round and perfect on a low stone wall, the apple wobbled in the chill breeze. It was cold in my hand, colder still against my teeth. But the taste: tart enough to make the lips numb, sweet enough to fill my mouth with flowers.

I did not eat the apple because I was hungry; I was returning to my hotel after dinner, tongue thick from too many drinks and stomach curdled with gravy. No one who isn’t desperately hungry eats food they find on the street, left waiting by chance.

No, it was that same urge we all feel for the split second we look out over the railing of a bridge and wonder what it would be like to jump and fly away. I was never brave or mad enough to fly from a bridge. I should never have been mad enough to eat that apple.


ii.

The Huntsman finds me in my hotel room, his breath hidden in the hiss of the radiator. Snow swirls against the window.

He straddles my hips and kisses my neck with cold lips. I smile at him, fingers winding up my sheets.

He cuts out my heart.

Keep reading.

Diversity in the Atheist Community

This was the talk at Freethought Festival that prompted Brianne to thank Alix Jules for making her uncomfortable.

If you follow this blog, you probably already know I’m going to say this, but we should be uncomfortable about this. We should be uncomfortable that there is a large population of nonreligious people who don’t feel part of the discussions we have, don’t find our movement relevant to their lives. Then we should fix that.