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Aug 29 2012

Major Life Changes

After a lot of thought I’ve come to a difficult decision. I’m going to end my radio show and devote my time and energy to turning the documentary project I had in mind into a book instead. My goal is to have that book written by the end of the year.

Now that I’ve actually made that decision, I have to wonder why I didn’t make it before. After all, what do I know about making a documentary film? Nothing. I am, on the other hand, a writer. So why not put those efforts into something I actually know how to do and do something that doesn’t require raising $50-$100 thousand dollars to get off the ground? It seems pretty obvious to me now.

So what is the book about? It is about the experiences of people who file lawsuits involving separation of church and state. The plaintiffs in those cases are almost invariably greeted by intimidation, harassment and death threats, and in many cases vandalism and serious violence. It’s a pattern that has repeated itself over and over again, all around the country, for the last three quarters of a century (and perhaps even further).

There are so many stories to tell. The most recent, of course, is Jessica Ahlquist, but there are many more: Ellery Schempp, Matt LaClair, Joann Bell, the Dobrich family, Steven Hewett. There is a very dark underbelly to this country that considers violence and intimidation a justified response to any and all threats to Christian hegemony, and it needs to be exposed.

44 comments

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  1. 1
    josiahmannion

    I’ll miss the show, it’s become one of my favorites, but I look forward to reading the book!

  2. 2
    Area Man

    I strongly suggest you not do this Ed, or you might just have a little accident, if you know what I mean.

    I know where you live.

  3. 3
    Spanish Inquisitor

    Don’t forget the Dover Plaintiffs.

  4. 4
    Ophelia Benson

    That sounds like a terrific book.

  5. 5
    wscott

    It seems pretty obvious to me now.

    In my experience, that’s usually a sign you’re making the right move. Good luck, and I look forward to the book!

  6. 6
    Modusoperandi

    Spanish Inquisitor, after I buy the Philly 76ers, I’m moving them to Dover and renaming them that.

  7. 7
    TX_secular

    I’ll miss the show, it is one of my favorite podcasts. Good luck with the book.

  8. 8
    Spanish Inquisitor

    @Modus

    I think you can pick them up cheap these days…

  9. 9
    Alareth

    I propose the title of the book should be “You’ll know them by their love”

  10. 10
    frrolfe

    ed: hope things work out for you. i really admire you and hope you keep on kicking arse.

  11. 11
    machintelligence

    Don’t forget to include a few stories of people who were not harassed and intimidated (assuming you can find any.)

  12. 12
    Jasper of Maine

    I’m going to build a time machine so I can go buy the book now.

  13. 13
    Jasper of Maine

    Well, technically I already have a time machine, but it’d take me a few months to get me there.

  14. 14
    Ed Brayton

    My working title for the book is By Their Love: The Dark Side of Christian Hegemony.

  15. 15
    Modusoperandi

    Ed Brayton “My working title for the book is By Their Love: The Dark Side of Christian Hegemony.”
    Make it a comic and change “Dark” to “Far”. If anything, the resulting lawsuit will be interesting.

  16. 16
    rturpin

    That’s all? When I saw the post title, I thought maybe you were giving up BBQ.

  17. 17
    Loqi

    @Alareth
    I was thinking the same thing. Glad to see Ed was too :)

  18. 18
    Gretchen

    Excellent news! You’ve had this idea in mind for a long time; it’s time for it to crystallize and be spat out into the world. I’m very eager to read it.

  19. 19
    Abby Normal

    By Their Love: The Dark Side of Christian Hegemony.

    There’s a light side?

    Anyway, put me down for a preorder.

  20. 20
    ashleybell

    Why not do both? (wishful think)

    I just think Jesus Camp could never have had the same impact as a book as it did a film. But when you finish the book, I could imagine it inspiring an experienced documentarian to the task…

  21. 21
    raven

    Title: Jesus loves us and hates you.

    Don’t forget Judge Jones of Dover who ended up having federal Marshalls guarding him.

    The Dennis family in Mount Vernon Ohio who ended up moving.

    Eric Pianka who ended up being investigated by the FBI after Dembski reported him and who also got death threats.

    BTW, it’s a great idea for a book and documentary.

  22. 22
    garnetstar

    Ed, I’m very glad. I would so enjoy a book from you, especially on that subject.

  23. 23
    Childermass

    This sounds like a much needed book.

  24. 24
    aaronbaker

    Never actually heard your radio show–but I’ll guess that it’s good as this blog. Best of luck with the book and hope to see it soon.

  25. 25
    stoferb

    I think a fitting title would be the rip off from the bible:

    “By their fruit you shall know them”

  26. 26
    Ace of Sevens

    And yet Ed doesn’t get swarmed with people telling that he’s being hysterical and shouldn’t take all those death threats seriously. They’re just trolls.

  27. 27
    grizzle

    No! Your show (well, podcast anyway) is an essential two hours of my week! Can’t you do both?!?!?

  28. 28
    D. C. Sessions

    Ed I have no idea whether this is a good idea or not. Frankly, the only one who gets a vote is you and so all I have to say is, “Wind to your wings.”

  29. 29
    niftyatheist, perpetually threadrupt

    Best of luck on this project, Ed. I’ll be looking forward to buying/reading your book!

  30. 30
    computerguy

    Good Luck. I think the book will be a handy tool. It can be used to wack over the head any Christians who insist that Christianity is all about love and superior morals.

  31. 31
    grendelsfather

    Jesus, Ed! You scared the crap out of me with that title. I thought you were getting married, or going vegetarian, or something even worse. I was greatly relieved to find you were merely converting your project to a dead-tree format. As part owner of tree farm, I heartily approve. Good luck with the writing. And don’t forget the Doe family from Santa Fe, Texas.

  32. 32
    Anne C. Hanna

    Sad to hear it about the radio show, Ed, because I’ve really been enjoying it, but I’ll look forward to the book.

    By the by, since there are apparently very few episodes of the radio show remaining, can you see if you can get the download link on the PRR site for the latest episode fixed? Right now it just goes to a bunch of XML gibberish. I’d like to savor all the shows are left. :D

  33. 33
    michaellatiolais

    Why not try to crowdsource your documentary project funds? I mean, you already have to interview all of the people. Why not just sit down and video tape the interviews? You will then be able to cut it into both a movie and a book.

  34. 34
    dingojack

    Whatever happened to John T. Scopes? I’ll be looking forward to finding out (hopefully in a nice shiny digital format*).
    Dingo
    —–
    * I hear they have these new-fangled digital reader thingies nowadays that make reading easier, and (self) publishing cheaper.

  35. 35
    dingojack

    michaellatiolais – That’s sounds like a great idea! Then Ed could use direct quotes from the actual people if he decides to go into audiobook format*. :)
    Dingo
    —–
    * oops, sorry Ed we’re starting to sound like a redaction** of editors now.

    ** adapted to English from the Dutch redactie [= all editors working on a particular project/publication/show]

  36. 36
    fyreflye

    You can only do what you think is possible, so good luck with the book. But from the point of view of effective propaganda a documentary in which you can see and hear from the actual people involved would be much more effective than a book.

  37. 37
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    Good luck and hope it works out well. I’ll certainly be interested in reading your book once its written.

    I also second (#25) stoferb’s “By their fruit you shall know them” title idea.

  38. 38
    Ernst Hot

    I’ll really miss your radio show, it is without comparison my favourite podcast, but that sounds like a book that needs to be written.

    You could always have someone with film experience pick it up and make a documentary of it.

  39. 39
    Reptile Dysfunction

    I also look forward to buying & reading your book,
    even though I only got a B+ on my Turing test.

  40. 40
    kangxi

    Ed,
    I agree with machintelligence where he/she says “Don’t forget to include a few stories of people who were not harassed and intimidated (assuming you can find any.)”
    I’d go a bit further. I strongly suspect, like machintelligence, that counterexamples will be hard to unearth. So if you make a serious attempt at searching them out, and document your search, then an explanation of how & why there are so few counterexamples might make a fitting part of the conclusion to your book.
    Please keep us informed of your book’s progress, especially the publication date!

  41. 41
    VeritasKnight

    You know, you could always shop the book around to a documentary director or three to see if any is interested in making one. Then you would be Ed Brayton: Lucrative Movie Deal Guy. (minus the lucrative part)

  42. 42
    twincats

    Why not try to crowdsource your documentary project funds? I mean, you already have to interview all of the people. Why not just sit down and video tape the interviews? You will then be able to cut it into both a movie and a book.

    This is a pretty good idea.

    I’m not much of a radio listener, but the idea of a documentary had me salivating a bit. Let us know when we can preorder the book, though.

  43. 43
    Pierce R. Butler

    Liberty Counsel wants to make sure our esteemed host has lots of material:

    The plaintiffs sought a protective order shielding their identity because of the animus expressed by the public regarding the case. Liberty Counsel, a Christian legal group affiliated with Liberty University, represented the Giles County School Board and filed a brief opposing the ability of the plaintiffs to use pseudonyms. Urbanski issued a protective order saying in part, “no harassment, threats, intimidation, or interference with the Plaintiffs will be tolerated.”

  44. 44
    JT Eberhard

    There’s a lot of life changes going around, it seems.

    The book will be marvelous, sir. Good luck with it. *hug*

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