Dream Diary, 11/20/15: Bobby Jindal in Discworld

bobby jindalI dreamed that Terry Pratchett had written a Discworld novel in which Bobby Jindal was a character, and was gay. In the book-within-a-dream, Jindal’s mother was a super-progressive, pro-LGBT PFLAG mom, and Jindal was embarrassed by this, because he was still a conservative Republican politician, and although he was out about being gay, he was embarrassed about it and didn’t like to talk about it.

Comforting Thoughts book cover oblong 100 JPGComing Out Atheist Bendingwhy are you atheists so angryGreta Christina is author of four books: Comforting Thoughts About Death That Have Nothing to Do with God, Coming Out Atheist: How to Do It, How to Help Each Other, and Why, Why Are You Atheists So Angry? 99 Things That Piss Off the Godless, and Bending: Dirty Kinky Stories About Pain, Power, Religion, Unicorns, & More.

Godless Perverts Social Club in Oakland Thursday 11/19: Genderqueer & Trans Identities, Hosted by Cinnamon Maxxine!


The Godless Perverts Social Club is meeting in Oakland on Thursday, November 19 — and we’re very happy to present a Social Club hosted by Cinnamon Maxxine, a local genderqueer sex worker and performer for a session discussing trans and nonbinary gender identities.

The binary of boy/girl man/woman has been treated as obvious and unquestionable for centuries, even those who fought and chafed against the rigid roles that society assigns according to sex. But the more that we talk about sex and gender, the less the binary fits everyone. Tonight, Cinnamon Maxxine will guide us in a conversation about what being nonbinary, genderqueer, or trans means, the ways that society (even in liberal or “sex-positive” communities) tries to enforce gender, and how our concepts of gender are evolving in culture, religion, and politics.

We welcome everybody of all genders (or none) to come join us in this discussion. Please be prepared to respect everyone’s choice of pronoun.

We meet at Telegraph Beer Garden, 2318 Telegraph Ave. in Oakland (near the 19th Street BART station). 7-9 pm. It’s free, although we ask that you buy food and/or drink if you can to support the venue. Hope to see you there!

Cinnamon Maxxine

Cinnamon Maxxine

Cinnamon Maxxine is a Bay Area original. Born and raised in Oakland, Cinnamon Maxxine is determined to be an advocate for those who are typically left under-represented. From people of color to people of size to people with invisible disabilities and trauma. Cinnamon Maxxine seeks to give those communities a voice. You can find Cinnamon here:


The Looming Unfinished Task

(Content note: some discussion of depression, although it’s very much not the main focus. Also overdue library books.)

So for the most part, I’m a pretty responsible person. I take promises and commitments seriously, and I mostly keep up with them. But there’s this thing I sometimes do that throws a giant monkey wrench into my ability to do the things that I’ve promised to do, even things I actually want to do. I’m wondering if other people do this thing, too. (Actually — no, I’m not wondering, I am 98% positive that this is a common human phenomenon, but I’ll feel better when I see other people say, “Great Caesar’s Ghost, I do that too!”) And I want to hear from other people about your strategies for dealing with it.

It’s the Looming Unfinished Task.

check-list 200With some things on my To Do list, if I put them off, they start accumulating this load of guilt. The fact that it’s late and I’ve put it off makes me feel bad about it. Then the fact that I feel guilty and bad about it makes the task seem both more unpleasant and more daunting. And because it’s now seeming more unpleasant and more daunting, I put it off for longer… and the longer I put it off, the more guilty I feel about it… and the more guilty I feel about it, the more unpleasant and daunting it feels… so I put it off for longer… until eventually, the unanswered email is looming in my consciousness as both The Most Unpleasant And Upsetting Thing Anyone Could Ever Do, and a prime example of Why I Am An Irresponsible And Generally Terrible Person Who Lets Everyone Down.

I don’t just do this with work, by the way. I do it in personal relationships, with unanswered letters or emails from family or friends. I have actually let relationships drift away because of this: I’ve felt so guilty about the unanswered email from three weeks or six months or two years ago, I not only couldn’t bear to reply to the damn email — I couldn’t bear to contact the person about anything else. I was convinced that if I dropped them a note saying, “Hey, we haven’t been in touch for a while, how are you doing?”, they would reply with, “HOW HAVE I BEEN DOING?!?!? I’ve been stewing about that unanswered email, that’s how I’ve been doing! Every time I think about you, I think of what a terrible person you are!” It’s absurd and irrational. After all, I don’t react that way when people don’t reply to me: I assume they’re busy and overwhelmed, and I just write them again. But somehow I’m convinced, not that my colleagues and friends and family are WAY more harshly judgmental than I am, but that my own misdeeds are somehow much worse than theirs. The terrible judgment I’m imagining from them seems entirely proportionate.

The thing is, though — there have actually been a handful of people in my life who did judge me this way. [Read more…]

Refugees, and One of the Great Shames of U.S. History

Passengers board the SS St. Louis. —US Holocaust Memorial Museum, gift of Anne Marx

Passengers board the SS St. Louis. —US Holocaust Memorial Museum, gift of Anne Marx

In July 1938, when polled on their attitudes toward allowing German, Austrian & other political refugees to come into the US, two-thirds of Americans said we should try to keep them out. Another 18% said it would be okay to accept them, but only if it didn’t mean raising our immigration quotas. Less than five percent said we should encourage them to come.

In January 1939, when asked if the US government should permit 10,000 mostly Jewish refugee children to come in from Germany, over 60% of Americans polled said, “No.”

In February 1939, a Congressional bill that would have admitted 20,000 German Jewish children above the existing immigration quota died in committee.

In May 1939, the St. Louis, a transatlantic liner with 937 passengers — almost all Jews fleeing from the Third Reich — was turned away by the United States.

Fears were raised that the Jewish refugees were politically dangerous — Communists, anarchists, potential German agents. There were economic fears about an influx of refugees in the wake of the Depression. And, of course, the very anti-Semitism the refugees were fleeing was fueling the American hostility against them.

This is one of the greatest shames in U.S. history.

Let’s not repeat it.

There are already people rushing to explain why these situations are not the same. There are already people rushing to insist that the Syrian refugees are part of ISIS or Al-Qaeda (“the Jewish refugees are dangerous anarchists and communists!”); that the Syrian refugees won’t be able to assimilate because they have low IQs (seriously?); that the two situations can’t be compared because reasons, or no reason given at all. Of course the situations aren’t identical: no two situations are. But they are damn well similar enough that we should be paying attention.

The Syrian refugees are not ISIS. The Syrian refugees are fleeing from ISIS, and from conditions created by ISIS. Let’s not repeat one of the most shameful mistakes in our history. Let’s not have to explain to our grandchildren why, in one of the greatest humanitarian crises faced by our generation, we let fear and willful ignorance overcome compassion.

Comforting Thoughts book cover oblong 100 JPGComing Out Atheist Bendingwhy are you atheists so angryGreta Christina is author of four books: Comforting Thoughts About Death That Have Nothing to Do with God, Coming Out Atheist: How to Do It, How to Help Each Other, and Why, Why Are You Atheists So Angry? 99 Things That Piss Off the Godless, and Bending: Dirty Kinky Stories About Pain, Power, Religion, Unicorns, & More.

#mencallmethings: “hideous,” “ugly,” “cunt”

Content note: misogyny

On Twitter:

Screen Shot 2015-11-15 at 5.51.01 PM

Screen Shot 2015-11-15 at 5.51.13 PM



#Mizzou event at #skepticon was just a PR event for white videographer. Totally inappropriate and fucked-up use of platform. [For those who weren’t following it, this was in reference to this incident, for which Skepticon has apologized.]

Asshole on Twitter:

Man, this is one stupid feminist-because-she’s-ugly cunt!

It’s almost magical how women named “Greta” are invariably hideous!

#mencallmethings, Intersectional Edition! It’s weird how speaking about racism got me hit with misogynist slurs and hate-trolled about being an ugly feminist. No, actually, it’s not weird. It’s entirely predictable.

Also, can I just say: hate-trolling about my name? That is deeply weird, so irrelevant as to be incoherent. It’s like saying, “It’s almost magical how women born in Chicago are invariably hideous,” or “It’s almost magical how women with mild asthma are invariably hideous.”

[Read more…]

It Isn’t Like That/Happy Tenth Anniversary, Ingrid

walking down the aisleIngrid and I were married ten years ago today, on November 12, 2005. Of course, we were also married in February of 2004, and in June of 2008… It’s one of the things about being a same-sex married couple in the early 21st century: because of the changing laws about same-sex marriage, a lot of us had a lot of weddings. But the one on November 12, 2005 is the one we tend to think of as our “real” wedding. It didn’t have any legal standing whatsoever — it was technically a “commitment ceremony,” our friend Rebecca officiated, and at the end, she said, “By the power vested in me by Ingrid and Greta…” But it was the one where we wrote our own vows; the one with the big party with our families and friends; the one with the dresses and the flowers and the dancing and the cake; the one with the invitations and programs and bouquets designed by our friends; the one with the music played by our friends; the one with the parents making toasts, the siblings and best friends making speeches and singing songs. It’s the one that wasn’t snatched in haste at City Hall, wondering if and when it was going to be taken away from us, squeezing ourselves into a window that we knew could be closing again any day. November 12, 2005 is the wedding we made for ourselves.

I still do, sweetie. Happy anniversary.

I wrote this piece before the wedding, and we put it into our wedding program. I’m reprinting it here today.

It Isn’t Like That
by Greta Christina

“My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun…”
-William Shakespeare, Sonnet 130

She is not the sun and the moon and the stars, and she is definitely not my sole reason for living. I wake up in the morning and go to sleep at night for many reasons, of which her existence is only one. She is not all I can think about; I spend time thinking about work, and friends, and what to have for dinner, without too terribly much trouble. I don’t feel the earth move or the sky fall, although I do feel a bit like I’ve been conked on the head by a giant vaudeville rubber mallet. I can talk to other people when she’s around, and I can keep my hands off her if I have to. I don’t feel that every minute spent without her is wasted, and there is at least some sunshine when she’s gone. I do not believe we were destined to meet, or that my life would be empty, or hollow, or even incomplete, without her. And her eyes, while large and lovely and the color of the ocean on a dark day, are, in fact, nothing like the sun, except in that they are big and round and bright. It isn’t like that.

It’s just that I grin and giggle and blush when I think of her, and sulk when she’s far away. It’s just that I feel a cold terrified rage at the thought that anyone, myself included, might hurt her. It’s just that I feel brave when I’m with her; not brave enough to slay dragons, but brave enough to feel what I feel and say what’s on my mind, which for me is plenty brave. It’s just that she knows what I mean, and I know what she means; not always, not as if we were soul-sisters or psychically linked, but enough, and much more than enough. It’s just that so many of the things that are good about her are things that are good about myself, things I would be happy to have grow stronger from being in her presence. It’s just that there isn’t anyone else, not even gorgeous movie stars, that I’d rather have in my bed. It’s just that a part of me that is hard and cool and distant, a part I rely on but don’t much care for, turns into oatmeal when I think about her. It’s just that I feel that my life is not entirely in my own hands, and, rather uncharacteristically, am not feeling that this is a problem. It’s just that she’s smart and funny and thoughtful and cheerful and playful and good and sexy and beautiful, and it feels like a miracle — not a huge miracle, just a small one — that she seems to see me the same way.

I like it this way better. Much.

Living in Interesting Times, and Letting Go of Sixties Envy

Yesterday, journalist Shaun King posted this on Facebook:

Listen, I need you to understand what I’m about to say. This is what I taught the students at Morehouse last week.

2015 is not what we thought it was. The deadliest hate crime against Black folk in the past 75 years happened THIS YEAR in Charleston.

More unarmed Black folk have been killed by police THIS YEAR than were lynched in any year since 1923.

Never, in the history of modern America, have we seen Black students in elementary, middle, and high school handcuffed and assaulted by police IN SCHOOL like we have seen this year.

Black students, who pay tuition are leaving the University of Missouri campus right now because of active death threats against their lives.

If you EVER wondered who you would be or what you would do if you lived during the Civil Rights Movement, stop. You are living in that time, RIGHT NOW.

There’s a particular piece of this that jumped out at me: “If you EVER wondered who you would be or what you would do if you lived during the Civil Rights Movement, stop. You are living in that time, RIGHT NOW.”

This is something I’ve been thinking about, A LOT.

electric kool-aid acid test coverWhen I was younger, I used to have a lot of Sixties envy. I was born in 1961, so I was a little kid in the Sixties, a pre-teen and teenager in the Seventies. And I used to have a lot of Sixties envy. When I was younger, I saw the Sixties as colorful and adventurous and exciting; when I was somewhat older, I saw them as a time of great political change, a time when you could really make a difference. And I envied people who’d gotten to be part of it. For years, I passionately wished that I’d been an adult, or even a teenager, in the Sixties.

In recent years, I have been letting go of that.

I’ve been looking at the deep polarization in this country; the rabid, bigoted, willfully-ignorant hatred of the Tea Party; the “We don’t care, we don’t have to” government serving its rich cronies and treating its citizens like children or criminals; the filthy rich turning the planet into a wasteland and treating anyone who tries to stop them like children or criminals; the pointless and apparently endless wars overseas; the grotesque hostility to black people, poor people, LGBT people, immigrants, women, for saying they want to be treated with basic human decency; the rapidly-changing attitudes about gender, race, family, drugs, sex, religion; the people who are terrified of that change and are responding to that fear with hatred.

And I’ve been realizing: Oh. This must have been what the Sixties were like.

1968 Democratic National ConventionI grew up in Chicago, and in the summer of 1968, my family went on a long camping trip. All I knew at the time was, “Camping trip! Rocky Mountains! Grizzly bears! Dinosaur National Park!” It wasn’t until years later that my parents told me the reason for that camping trip: my folks were beatnik hippie lefties, and Chicago in the summer of 1968 was a really fucking scary place to be, and they wanted to take the kids and get the hell out of Dodge.

I get that now.

I do not, in fact, want to get the hell out of Dodge. (Except temporarily, for an occasional breather.) I get that the saying “May you live in interesting times” is, in fact, both a curse and a blessing.* I do feel weirdly privileged to be living in interesting times. I feel weirdly privileged to be part of all this, to be part of social change movements that will be shaping the world for decades to come.

But yes. Shaun King is right. I have sometimes wondered who I would be or what I would do if I lived during the Civil Rights Movement; the Women’s Liberation movement; the early gay rights movement; the early ecology movement; the peace movement. And we are living in that time, RIGHT NOW.

I hope I’m doing okay. It’s really fucking hard.

*(It’s not an ancient Chinese saying, by the way.)

Comforting Thoughts book cover oblong 100 JPGComing Out Atheist Bendingwhy are you atheists so angryGreta Christina is author of four books: Comforting Thoughts About Death That Have Nothing to Do with God, Coming Out Atheist: How to Do It, How to Help Each Other, and Why, Why Are You Atheists So Angry? 99 Things That Piss Off the Godless, and Bending: Dirty Kinky Stories About Pain, Power, Religion, Unicorns, & More.

What I Would Have Thought Would Be an Obvious Observation About Social Media

women on computer by #WOCinTech Chat 200Not everyone uses social media the same way.

I would have thought this was obvious. But it seems not to be. So here comes the measured rant.

There’s this pattern I’ve been seeing for a while. I keep seeing people pay intense, microscopically-close attention to other people’s behavior on social media. I don’t mean “things people say on social media”: I mean their behavior. Who are they friends with? Who are they not friends with? Who did they un-friend or un-follow or block? What posts did they like or share or re-Tweet? What posts did they not like or share or re-Tweet? A lot of people pay intense, microscopically-close attention to this social media behavior — and then tie it in with a micro-analysis of the thoughts and feelings and intentions that supposedly lie behind it. People make assumptions about shifting alliances, secretly-held opinions, behind-the-scenes machinations — based entirely on this friending and unfriending, this blocking and un-blocking, these likes and dislikes. I’ve started calling it “reading the Facebook tea leaves.”

So I’m going to say this again:

Not everyone uses social media the same way.

guy-with-laptopSome people use social media more for their personal lives, to stay connected with friends and family. Some people use it more professionally, to promote their work or do research or maintain professional connections. Some people have a couple hundred friends, or fewer, mostly or entirely their actual friends. Some people have hundreds or thousands of “friends”: their actual friends, plus colleagues, neighbors, friends of friends of friends, people they met at a party or a conference that one time, people they friended because they made a funny comment on someone else’s page, pretty much anyone who sends a friend request.

Some people “like” pretty much everything they see on their feed. Some people “like” only things they feel strong agreement or affinity with. Some people “like” posts to express agreement or support. Some people “like” posts to keep track of the thread, so they’ll get notifications when new comments appear. Some people share or re-Tweet only when they agree with something. Some people share or re-Tweet to increase the visibility of ugly opinions they think people are ignoring or denying.

Some people unfriend or block because the blockee expresses opinions they find deeply objectionable or upsetting. Some people unfriend or block because the blockee keeps posting things they find upsetting, regardless of whether they agree (e.g., “Yes, I agree about animal cruelty, but I don’t need to keep seeing gruesome graphic pictures of it in my feed”). Some people unfriend or block because the blockee posts extensively about things they’re just not interested in: politics, religion, atheism, folk dancing, kids, gossip and news about people the blocker doesn’t know, pictures of food. Some people unfriend because they’re trying to keep their Facebook feed manageable, and are culling it down to people they know well. Some people unfriend because they’re stepping away from a profession or hobby or political movement. Some people continue to follow or be “friends” with people they have serious problems with, because they want to keep an eye on what they’re saying, or because they want to tag them when they criticize them. Some people friend or unfriend, follow or un-follow, block or un-block, like or don’t like, because they hit the wrong damn key and didn’t notice.

Not everyone uses social media the same way.

woman on computer by #WOCinTech ChatSo it’s a really, REALLY bad idea to make assumptions about people’s thoughts and feelings and intentions, their shifting alliances and secretly-held opinions and behind-the-scenes machinations, based solely on what they like or don’t like on social media, who they are and aren’t “friends” with, who they do and don’t “follow.”

Plus, there’s often an inconsistency to this micro-analysis. I’ve seen people passionately defend the right to block or unfriend or unfollow anyone you want, for any reason — and then turn around and get outraged because someone has blocked them, or has blocked other people they think shouldn’t have been blocked. It’s like that joke about “I am confident, you are cocky, they are arrogant”: “I am curating my Internet experience; you are creating an echo chamber; they are fascist censors who are stifling free speech.”

Again, I’m not talking about the things people actually say on social media. The words that come out of people’s mouths and fingers are, I think, a pretty reasonable guide to at least some of their thoughts and feelings and intentions. But when it comes to the other ways people use social media — liking and friending and following and blocking and the rest of it — can we please quit using it to decipher hidden meanings? Can we please quit trying to read the tea leaves? They’re a crappy news source, about as reliable as the National Enquirer. And trying to read them just adds more misinformation, more paranoia, more general noise, to an Internet that seriously doesn’t need any more.

(Images 1 and 3 by #WOCinTech Chat‘s page of free stock photos of women of color in tech.)

Comforting Thoughts book cover oblong 100 JPGComing Out Atheist Bendingwhy are you atheists so angryGreta Christina is author of four books: Comforting Thoughts About Death That Have Nothing to Do with God, Coming Out Atheist: How to Do It, How to Help Each Other, and Why, Why Are You Atheists So Angry? 99 Things That Piss Off the Godless, and Bending: Dirty Kinky Stories About Pain, Power, Religion, Unicorns, & More.

More Atheist Leaders Who Aren’t Dawkins or Harris: Jeffrey L. Falick

In June, I wrote a piece for AlterNet, titled 8 Awesome Atheist Leaders Who Aren’t Richard Dawkins or Sam Harris. The gist: When a media outlet decides that atheism is important, they all too often turn to Richard Dawkins or Sam Harris. Then, when Dawkins or Harris puts their foot in their mouth about race or gender — again — the reporter cries out, “Atheism needs better leadership! Why doesn’t atheism have better leaders?” Atheism does have better leaders — so I profiled eight of them, to bring just a small fragment of the range and variety of atheist leadership to more people’s attention.

At the end of that piece, I wrote, “And these eight are the tip of the iceberg… I could write a new profile of a different atheist leader every week, and still be at it ten years from now.”

So I decided: Why not do that?

I don’t know if I’ll do it for ten years. But for at least a while, once a week I’ll be profiling and interviewing a different leader in organized atheism.

This week’s profile: Jeffrey L. Falick.

GC: Tell me briefly what your organization does and what you do for them. (If you’re in a leadership position with more than one atheist organization, feel free to tell me about more than one.)

Jeffrey Falick 200JF: My professional leadership position is to serve as the Secular Humanistic rabbi of the Birmingham Temple Congregation for Humanistic Judaism in Michigan. (The name “Birmingham Temple” is an historic holdover from the days when it was a more conventional liberal Jewish synagogue.)

Humanistic Judaism — which began in my community — combines an adherence to the philosophy of Secular Humanism with a celebration of Jewish culture. We are basically secular Jews who choose to adapt the forms and functions of Jewish customs in ways that serve our needs as non-theists. This is no “theist-lite” brand of Judaism. I am an outspoken atheist. Rather, it is a way to enjoy our cultural heritage in a manner that conforms to our commitment to Secular Humanistic principles. Whatever cannot conform or adapt does not survive!

My day-to-day functions are pretty similar to many members of the “clergy” (a word I don’t use) but without the dogma, doctrines, authoritarianism or loyalty to tradition that characterize everything that they do. So while the functions are similar, the mindset is completely different. The best comparison might be to the (sadly diminishing) UU Humanistic clergy. I visit the sick, I provide Humanistic resources for people in crisis, I lead Humanistic life cycle ceremonies, I teach (about Humanism and the historical and contemporary Jewish experience), and I coordinate speakers and cultural programs. I also serve as a kind of liaison to the greater Humanistic community.

In addition to my professional position, I’m also on the executive committee of our North American body, the Society for Humanistic Judaism, and active in the American Humanist Association. I am president and co-founder of the local AHA chapter, Humanists of Southeast Michigan.

Tell me about a specific project or projects your organization is working on.

Because this is a thriving congregation of Secular Humanists, there are always a dozen or more things happening here. One of my biggest projects has been to open our doors to the larger non-theistic community. We are fortunate to have a building and there are simply not very many Humanistic spaces like ours in the world. We now host the local Sunday Assembly, frequent programs of the Center for Inquiry and the Humanists of Southeast Michigan, just to name a few.

The Humanists of Southeast Michigan is a very new group that has really taken off. We have thirty members and we have just decided that our biggest project going forward is to support women’s reproductive rights. We have a huge problem in our state with Catholic hospitals taking over formerly secular ones and imposing their religious restrictions, mainly on women. And, of course, we want to do everything we can to support Planned Parenthood during their current crisis.

Where would you like to see organized atheism go in the next 10 to 20 years?
What do you think are the main challenges facing organized atheism now?

I’m not really sure how I feel about “movement atheism.” On one hand, I think it’s fantastic to see all of us getting together at a Reason Rally and in other venues. But then I read or listen to some public atheists and I’m appalled at the ways that they think. Something that really surprised me when I “came out” as an atheist is the misogyny and backward thinking about race. On the other hand, I do believe that the vast majority of us agree on probably 95% of the really important issues even if we have different “styles.” In that sense I support the notion of “movement atheism.”

Jeffrey Falick at rallyI think one of our greatest challenges is to provide enough variety so that we have something to offer non-theists with different needs. Those who love the good things that religion had to offer – community, celebration, ties to heritage – can have their Sunday Assemblies, UU Humanistic fellowships, Ethical Culture groups and Secular Humanistic synagogues. Those seeking other forms of organized community – political activism, recovery from religion, atheist advocacy – need to be able to find something for themselves, too. And we all need to cooperate. In the largest sense we are one community even if we have many subdivisions.

I am convinced that atheism will one day become the default position in our society. I know that this will not happen in ten to twenty years, but we are moving slowly in that direction. The atheist organizers of today are pioneers. The more outlets that we create for living outside of a theistic framework, the better we will be prepared to welcome the atheists of the future!

Do you consider yourself a “new atheist”? Why or why not?

I’m just a regular atheist with a commitment to a life of reason and compassion. My preferred “label” is Secular Humanist (I capitalize these words to draw attention to their legitimacy parallel to the ways that religions capitalize their titles).

I tend to think of the “new atheists” as a group of writers more than anything else. I agree with some of what they write and I disagree with some of it too. It depends on the writer and the topic! I think the most gratifying part of the “new atheist” movement (if it is one) is the visibility that it provided. It’s terribly important for a put-upon group to have people brave enough to point the way to others seeking to leave their closets. When I was a conventional rabbi I lived in an “atheist” closet. For professional and personal reasons I was frightened to admit to myself that I was, indeed, an atheist. Some of their books helped to nudge me out.

Any questions you wish I’d asked, or anything else you’d like to add?

One of the things that I love about being out as an atheist and conducting my life as a Secular Humanistic is that my beliefs are entirely consistent with my behavior. This plays out in really interesting ways in my professional life, too.

Just this past week I met with a member of my community who is coming out as a bisexual. He and his wife are trying to negotiate how to have an ethical open relationship.

After we talked, I reflected on how it would have gone if I were still a conventional rabbi, committed to traditional values. I could not possibly have helped him to think through the ethical dimensions of this change in his relationship because I would have been antagonistic to the very idea.

But today, as a Secular Humanist, tradition has no claim on my values. This is liberating. It enabled me to openly embrace this couple’s journey, to lend a willing ear and to refer him to some resources to explore the ethical way to take that journey. Even the most progressive of conventional theistic rabbis can’t do this. They remain loyal to a tradition that idealizes monogamy.

This is an incredible gift of Secular Humanism and one that I would never have experienced had I not embraced my atheism.

Comforting Thoughts book cover oblong 100 JPGComing Out Atheist Bendingwhy are you atheists so angryGreta Christina is author of four books: Comforting Thoughts About Death That Have Nothing to Do with God, Coming Out Atheist: How to Do It, How to Help Each Other, and Why, Why Are You Atheists So Angry? 99 Things That Piss Off the Godless, and Bending: Dirty Kinky Stories About Pain, Power, Religion, Unicorns, & More.

Godless Perverts Holiday Benefit Party for St. James Infirmary – Please Support!

Godless Perverts Holiday Fun Time 2015

Godless Perverts is hosting a fundraiser party for St. James Infirmary, the health clinic for sex workers in San Francisco — and we need your help to make it happen!

Every year, Godless Perverts hosts a Holiday Fun Time party, with festive food and drink, door prizes, atheist holiday songs, ridiculously adorable icebreaker games, and more. (This year’s party will be on Saturday, December 12, at Borderlands Cafe.)

This year, we’re turning the party into a fundraiser for St. James Infirmary. St. James is a unique healthcare resource, even in San Francisco. Founded by and for sex workers, they provide free, compassionate and nonjudgmental healthcare and social services for current and former sex workers of all genders and sexual orientations. Like so many San Francisco non-profits, they are being forced to move after losing their lease. They need to find a new site by the end of the year.

Godless Perverts wholeheartedly supports St. James Infirmary — and we want to put our money where our mouth is. So this year’s Holiday Fun Time is a fundraiser. All donations collected at the party will go directly to St. James Infirmary. We’re aiming to make it a barn-burner that raises a heap o’ cash!

But we need your help. We need to cover the expenses of throwing the party: renting the space, printing songbooks, acquiring door prizes, providing food and beverage (the party’s a potluck, but we need to offer something to our early arrivals!). So we’re doing a crowdfunding campaign on GoFundMe.

We’ve estimated that our total costs will be $700. If we raise more than that, or if the party expenses are less than that, any extra funds will go to St. James Infirmary. (If the party expenses are more than that, we will suck it up and pay out of our pockets — we will not spend more than $700 of your donations on party expenses.)

Please help make this happen! Even small amounts help — if you can only donate $5 or $10 or $20, it really does add up. Your donations will help us throw an awesome party that brings in a bucket of cash for St. James Infirmary. Let’s do this! Please support the event, and spread the word!

(You can also donate directly to St. James Infirmary.)