Michael Brown, Entirely Normal Teenager, Is “No Angel”

Are you fucking kidding me, New York Times?

Michael Brown Spent Last Weeks Grappling With Problems and Promise

Michael Brown was “no angel” — because he got frustrated with his family, sometimes used vulgar language, dabbled in drugs and alcohol, got into one scuffle with a neighbor, wasn’t the best student, once took money meant for shoes and bought a PlayStation, and as a child climbed fences and scribbled on the wall.

None of which makes him an ENTIRELY NORMAL TEENAGER.

Also he “had taken to rapping in recent months.” OOOOOOO! No! Not rapping!

Oh, and he was accused of stealing an iPod, but actually didn’t. Which is relevant how?

Seriously? Are you fucking kidding?

Susie Bright’s Ridiculously Easy, Amazingly Delicious Roasted Tomato Sauce

tomatoes and peppers

It’s tomato season, which means I’m making big batches of Susie Bright’s roasted tomato sauce. This recipe is amazingly delicious and ridiculously easy (about 10-15 minutes of prep depending on how much you’re making, plus blending at the end). And it freezes really well, so whenever it’s tomato season, we make giant batches of it and freeze it in Tupperwares for the winter. You know that children’s book, Frederic, about the mouse who sits around in the summer gathering words and colors and sun rays to store up for the winter? That’s what making this sauce feels like. When winter comes, and it’s been gray and cold and wet and dark for days on end, we stick some of this sauce in the microwave and put it on pasta, and it feels like pulling a bit of stored summer out of the freezer. And when we’re making it, it fills the house with this ambrosial tomato perfume. We mostly make this to freeze for the winter, but we can never resist eating some of it right away, warm out of the oven.

I want Susie to get the traffic, so I’m not going to repeat the basic recipe here — you have to go to her blog to get it. But I have a few modifications and finer points, and those I’ll tell you about. [Read more...]

Is Repression Necessary for Kink? Notes on the Godless Perverts Social Club Discussion

Is repression necessary for kink?

BDSM Gear With a Red Rose

That was the topic for discussion at last night’s Godless Perverts Social Club. The Social Club is now meeting twice a month, and we’ve been alternating the format: the third Thursdays are “Topical Thursdays,” where we pick a discussion topic that we announce ahead of time, while first Tuesdays are more casual and we discuss whatever’s on people’s minds that day.

So our topic last night:

Is repression necessary for kink? Imagine a world in which there are no boundaries on what is considered normal consensual sexual expression, a world in which sexual practices are openly discussed and fully accepted as personal preference without shame or recrimination. In this imaginary utopia, would kink exist? Is kink a response to repression and, if so, how has repression formed the current ideas of what is or is not kink? Would we always find a path to kink, regardless of the enforced societal standards? We’ll discuss how repression, whether societal or religious, has shaped the idea of kink and how our personal experiences have defined our understanding of and preferences for kink. Come talk about religion’s role in shaping your kinky (or non-kinky) choices.

We had a really interesting conversation, and I thought I’d blog about it. This post isn’t going to be a coherent essay on the topic, by the way: it’s just presenting some of the ideas that got tossed out and discussed, in no particular order. [Read more...]

Greta Speaking! Farmington Hills, MI (Near Detroit) Added to Tour of Michigan, Ohio, New York State, Kentucky, and Indiana!

UPDATE: The Akron event has been cancelled, and the topic for the Columbus talk has been changed.

I have a mega-epic speaking tour coming up in the Midwest and East! And Farmington Hills, MI (about a half hour drive from Detroit) is now on the schedule! I’ll be in Grand Rapids, MI; Farmington Hills, MI; Cleveland, OH; Amherst, NY; Akron, OH; Columbus, OH; Cincinnati, OH; and Indianapolis, IN.

Here are details about this tour, as well as my other upcoming speaking gigs — including Charlotte, NC; Sacramento, CA; and Springfield, MO. If you’re in any of these cities, I hope to see you there! [Read more...]

“Where the hell can I find a secular counselor?”: Guest Post on The Secular Therapist Project

This is a guest post by Dr. Darrel W. Ray, founder of Recovering from Religion, and founder and project leader of the Secular Therapist Project. Conflict of interest alert: I am currently in therapy with a therapist I found through the Secular Therapist Project.

secular_therapist_project_banner

Thanks to Greta for providing me the opportunity to talk about The Secular Therapy Project. In 2011 and 2012, as I was speaking on our Sex and Secularism research and on book tour for my book, Sex and God, I had a steady stream of people coming to me and emailing me to ask about psychological help. Many of their stories were horrendous. Typical was a former Catholic man who said, “I was really depressed about my marriage and recent loss of my job when my wife suggested we go to a counselor. We searched and finally found one that seemed qualified and reasonably priced. I had recently stopped going to Mass with my wife and seriously doubting the whole Catholic thing. Needless to say, the counselor we chose was Catholic, her book shelf was full of Catholic counseling kinds of books. Within two sessions, I could tell this woman was more interested in our “spiritual” life than the issues we faced in our marriage. As we revealed more to her, I could tell her own biases from her expressions and the direction she tended to take in the discussion. My wife was perfectly satisfied with her, I was furious. I did not go to a counselor to get told how to make a perfect Catholic marriage. I’d been there and done that. We had done Catholic marriage encounter, among many other things in our 24 years of marriage. It always made her feel better, but ultimately drove me out. At my insistence, we dropped that counselor and searched for another. The new one turned out to be a New Agey kind of therapist that talked about energy and spiritual alignment. I was out of there in two sessions. The next one turned out to be evangelical, but he was somewhat better than the others. I lasted four sessions with him. Where the hell can I find a secular counselor?” [Read more...]

The Godless Perverts Social Club — Thursday August 21! Topic: “Is repression necessary for kink?”

BDSM Gear With a Red Rose

The Godless Perverts Social Club is meeting again this Thursday, August 21!

The Godless Perverts Social Club is the socializing/ hanging out branch of Godless Perverts. Community is one of the reasons we started Godless Perverts. There are few enough places to land when you decide that you’re an atheist; far fewer if you’re also LGBT, queer, kinky, poly, trans, or are just interested in sexuality. And the sex-positive/ alt-sex/ whatever- you- want- to- call- it community isn’t always the most welcoming place for non-believers. So please join us! We’re now meeting twice a month — first Tuesdays, and third Thursdays. We’re meeting again this Thursday, August 21.

We’re doing slightly different formats for the two clubs. Our Third Thursday Social Clubs are a little more structured — we pick a topic, let people know what it is ahead of time, have a moderator/ host who leads the discussion, maybe even get in special guests to guide discussions on particular topics. In August, that’ll be Thursday August 21.

The topic for August’s Topical Thursday: Is repression necessary for kink? Imagine a world in which there are no boundaries on what is considered normal consensual sexual expression, a world in which sexual practices are openly discussed and fully accepted as personal preference without shame or recrimination. In this imaginary utopia, would kink exist? Is kink a response to repression and, if so, how has repression formed the current ideas of what is or is not kink? Would we always find a path to kink, regardless of the enforced societal standards? We’ll discuss how repression, whether societal or religious, has shaped the idea of kink and how our personal experiences have defined our understanding of and preferences for kink. Come talk about religion’s role in shaping your kinky (or non-kinky) choices.

The first Tuesday Social Clubs are more loosely-structured casual affairs: we typically start with a check-in question and do a little moderating to make sure everyone gets to talk who wants to, but mostly we just nosh and sit around schmoozing about whatever topics happen to come up. On First Tuesdays, we’ll keep doing that. Our next First Tuesday: September 2.

All Social Clubs are at Wicked Grounds, San Francisco’s renowned BDSM-themed coffee house — 289 8th St in San Francisco, near Civic Center BART. All orientations, genders, and kinks (or lack thereof) welcome. 7:00 – 9:00 pm. There’s no admission, but we ask that you buy food and drink at the counter. (Their food is quite yummy, with both full dinners and lighter snacks/ beverages, and they have the best milkshakes in town.)

If you want to be notified about all our Godless Perverts events, sign up for our email mailing list, or follow us on Twitter at @GodlessPerverts. You can also sign up for the Bay Area Atheists/ Agnostics/ Humanists/ Freethinkers/ Skeptics Meetup page, and be notified of all sorts of godless Bay Area events — including the Godless Perverts. And of course, you can always visit our Website to find out what we’re up to, godlessperverts.com. Hope to see you soon!



Coming Out Atheist Bendingwhy are you atheists so angryGreta Christina’s books, Coming Out Atheist: How to Do It, How to Help Each Other, and Why and Why Are You Atheists So Angry? 99 Things That Piss Off the Godless, are available in print, ebook, and audiobook. Bending: Dirty Kinky Stories About Pain, Power, Religion, Unicorns, & More is available in ebook and audiobook.

Missouri GOP Chief: Registering Voters “Disgusting” and “Inappropriate”

By Eric W. Dolan at The Raw Story:

The head of the Missouri Republican Party said Tuesday that efforts to register voters in Ferguson, Missouri, were “disgusting” and unhelpful.

“If that’s not fanning the political flames, I don’t know what is,” Missouri RNC executive director Matt Wills told Breitbart News. “I think it’s not only disgusting but completely inappropriate.”

Wills was responding to reports that Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, and other civil rights activists had set up voter registration booths following the death of Michael Brown, an 18-year-old unarmed black teenager who was killed by a Ferguson police officer.

Right. Because encouraging people who have been grossly mistreated by their government to take peaceful, legal action to change that government — that’s disgusting and inappropriate. But they’re also not supposed to protest loudly in the streets. So what are people supposed to do when they’ve been grossly mistreated by their government?

Oh, right. Nothing. They are supposed to do nothing. This is not their government, and they are not supposed to push for it to change in any way.

Just in case we needed any more evidence that the Republican Party is the party that is actively opposed to the very idea of democracy

Fuck you, Republican Party.



Coming Out Atheist Bendingwhy are you atheists so angryGreta Christina’s books, Coming Out Atheist: How to Do It, How to Help Each Other, and Why and Why Are You Atheists So Angry? 99 Things That Piss Off the Godless, are available in print, ebook, and audiobook. Bending: Dirty Kinky Stories About Pain, Power, Religion, Unicorns, & More is available in ebook and audiobook.

Michael Brown and Ferguson: My Greatest Fears for My Friends

Please note: This blog post has a different comment policy from my usual one. It appears at the end of the post.

I keep not writing about this. I keep saying to myself, “This isn’t a good day — I have a deadline; I’m traveling; I just got home from traveling.” I keep saying to myself, “I don’t know enough about it; I haven’t been following it closely enough; other people are already saying what I want to say about it, more eloquently and with better information.”

And I keep realizing that this is bullshit. I keep not writing about this because it’s painful. And that is a bullshit excuse. Any pain I might have about this is completely trivial. And it doesn’t matter that others have written about it. This is one of those times when it doesn’t matter if my voice is original. This is one of those times when being one more person saying, “This is not acceptable, I do not consent to this” is what matters.

*****

I keep thinking about the children in my life, and the young adults in my life. I keep thinking about what my fears are for most of them: global warming, gross economic disparity hand in hand with political corruption, loss of anything resembling privacy.

And then I think about the black male children in my life, and the young black men in my life. And I realize that my greatest fear for them is that they’ll get shot by a cop.

Howard University Mike Brown protest hands up don't shootMy greatest fear for them is that they will get into a car accident, go to a house for help, and get shot by a cop. My greatest fear is that they will pick up a BB gun in a Wal-Mart, and get shot by cops. My greatest fear is that they walk home from a convenience store with a bag of candy, and get shot by neighborhood watch. My greatest fear is that they will get into a fight on a train platform, get restrained face down on that platform, and get shot in the back by a cop. My greatest fear is that they will be walking in broad daylight, and get shot by a copsix times, when they have their hands in the air, and are pleading, “I don’t have a gun, stop shooting!”

Actually — that’s not even it. My greatest fear for the black male children in my life, and the young black men in my life, is that they’ll get shot by a cop — and will get no justice.

My greatest fear is that is that they’ll get shot by a cop, and that their body will be left in the street for hours. My greatest fear is that people protesting their death will be met with militarized police behaving like an occupying army — stalking the streets with drawn weapons, firing rubber bullets and tear gas, and screaming at them, “Bring it, all you fucking animals! Bring it!” My greatest fear is that reporters covering their death, and the protests against their death, will be arrested, and that cops will assault them and threaten them with macing or shooting.

My greatest fear is that they’ll get shot by a cop for the crime of existing while black, while elsewhere in the country, white people openly defy the law, threaten armed revolt against the government, and point guns at law enforcement officials — and the government fires no guns, fires no tear gas, and eventually retreats and concedes the ground.

My greatest fear is that, despite a well-documented pattern of unarmed black men getting shot by cops again and again and again, despite four unarmed black men being killed by cops in the last month alone, millions of people commenting on their death will contort themselves into hyper-skeptical pretzels trying to explain why their shooting had nothing to with race.

And my greatest fear is that nothing they do in their life will protect them from any this. My greatest fear is that they will play by every rule they’re told to play by — play sports, do volunteer work, get married, go to college — and that none of it will protect them.

A few days ago, a friend and colleague of mine — an African American woman with a young black son — was asking on Facebook where she should seek asylum. Canada? New Zealand? Sweden? No part of me even considered saying, “That’s ridiculous, the United States is as safe for you and your son as any place in the world.” I didn’t even ask her what she was talking about. I knew exactly what she was talking about.

Back when I was young and naive, I used to play a pointless game in my head of comparing and contrasting marginalizations. And when I was pondering homophobia, I would say to myself, “Well, there are certainly many ways that other bigotries are worse — but being gay is literally against the law. It’s never been literally against the law to be female, to be poor, to be black.”

I don’t say that anymore.

For all intents and purposes, it is against the law in the United States to be a young black man. To be a young black man in the United States is a crime — punishable by summary execution.


The comment policy on this post is the same as it was on my Trayvon Martin post: I am not willing to host a debate about this on my blog. I am willing to host many debates on my blog, about many issues. I am willing to make my blog into a place for people to express many ideas and opinions with which I passionately disagree. This is not one of those issues, and this is not one of those times. If you have anything at all to say about this that even remotely hints at implying that Michael Brown’s murder was justified or that the police response has been reasonable and proportionate — do not comment in my blog. Now, or ever. Do not read my blog. Do not follow me on Facebook or Twitter. Do not attend my talks. Do not buy my books. Get the fuck out of my life, now. Thank you.



Coming Out Atheist Bendingwhy are you atheists so angryGreta Christina’s books, Coming Out Atheist: How to Do It, How to Help Each Other, and Why and Why Are You Atheists So Angry? 99 Things That Piss Off the Godless, are available in print, ebook, and audiobook. Bending: Dirty Kinky Stories About Pain, Power, Religion, Unicorns, & More is available in ebook and audiobook.

“When you tell us how to talk about religion, you are telling us how to discuss our abuse.”

Brilliant, must-read piece by Alex Gabriel, on how accomodationist one-policing in atheism amounts to telling victims of religious abuse how to speak about their abuse: To the atheist tone police: stop telling me how to discuss my abuse.

It is a form of privilege to be an atheist who’s never experienced religious abuse, as many of us have who are antagonistic.

It is privilege blindness to expect — without a clue what we’ve experienced or what it means to us — that we give up our self-expression so that you can form alliances with faith communities that deeply injured us.

It is tone-policing if when you’re not telling us to shut up about it, you’re telling us how to talk about it. How dare you tell us to be more respectful.

It is splaining if your answer when we detail histories of religious abuse is ‘Yes, but’ — or if you tell us we can’t blame religion for it since not all believers do the same. We know the details. You don’t.

It is gaslighting dismissing justified anger about widespread, structural religious abuse by telling us we’re bitter or hateful.

It’s civility politics implying our anger, bitterness or hatred is just as unacceptable, siding with the aggressor by prioritising believers’ feelings over ours on the false pretence of neutrality.

It’s respectability politics implying we need to earn an end to bigotry we face by getting on politely with believers, throwing those of us under the bus who can’t or won’t sing kumbaya.

It’s internalised bigotry shaming atheists for being stereotypical — smug, scornful and the rest — for letting the side down, instead of asserting our collective rights however we express ourselves.

It is victim-blaming to treat atheists who are stereotypical as a legitimate cause of anti-atheist bigotry or hatred.

It is tokenisation to impose on any individual the burden of representing atheists so our collective status can be judged by how they act.

And it is deeply, deeply problematic to cheer for snarky, confrontational firebrands of social justice who take on mass structures or beliefs that ruined their lives… then boo snarky, confrontational atheist firebrands off the stage who’ve survived religious abuse.

Read the rest.



Coming Out Atheist Bendingwhy are you atheists so angryGreta Christina’s books, Coming Out Atheist: How to Do It, How to Help Each Other, and Why and Why Are You Atheists So Angry? 99 Things That Piss Off the Godless, are available in print, ebook, and audiobook. Bending: Dirty Kinky Stories About Pain, Power, Religion, Unicorns, & More is available in ebook and audiobook.

Greta Speaking in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, and Amherst NY! (Plus Charlotte NC, Sacramento, and Springfield MO!)

UPDATE: The location of the Cincinnati event on September 16 has been changed, and it no longer involves a dinner thing. Akron has been cancelled. Details are below.

I have a mega-epic speaking tour coming up in the Midwest and East! I’ll be in Grand Rapids, MI; Farmington Hills, MI (near Detroit); Cleveland, OH; Amherst, NY; Akron, OH; Columbus, OH; Cincinnati, OH; and Indianapolis, IN.

Here are details about this tour, as well as my other upcoming speaking gigs — including Charlotte, NC; Sacramento, CA; and Springfield, MO. If you’re in any of these cities, I hope to see you there!

CITY: Grand Rapids, MI
DATE: Wednesday, September 10
TIME: 7:00 pm
LOCATION: Women’s City Club, 254 E. Fulton St Grand Rapids, MI
HOSTS/ SPONSORS: Center for Inquiry – Michigan
TOPIC: Coming Out Atheist: How To Do It, How to Help Each Other, And Why
SUMMARY: Coming out is the most powerful political act atheists can take. But coming out can be difficult and risky. What are some specific, practical, nuts-and-bolts strategies we can use: to come out of the closet, to support each other in coming out, and to make the atheist community a safer place to come out into? What can atheists learn about coming out from the LGBT community and their decades of coming-out experience — and what can we learn from the important differences between coming out atheist and coming out queer?
COST: Free and open to the public (suggested donation $5)
EVENT URL: http://www.cfimichigan.org/events/event/w-lecture-091014/
FACEBOOK PAGE: https://www.facebook.com/events/751180984920178/

CITY: Farmington Hills, MI (near Detroit)
DATE: Thursday, September 11
TIME: 7:00 pm
LOCATION: Birmingham Temple Congregation for Humanistic Judaism, 28611 W 12 Mile Rd, Farmington Hills, MI
HOSTS/SPONSORS: CFI – Michigan and the Birmingham Temple Congregation for Humanistic Judaism
TOPIC: Coming Out Atheist: How To Do It, How to Help Each Other, And Why
SUMMARY: See above
EVENT URL: http://www.cfimichigan.org/events/event/se-lecture-091114/
FACEBOOK PAGE: https://www.facebook.com/events/751180984920178/?ref=5

CITY: Cleveland, OH
DATE: Friday, September 12
TIME: 7:00 pm
LOCATION: Mavis Winkles Irish Pub & Restaurant, 5005 Rockside Road, Cleveland, OH
HOSTS/ SPONSORS: CFI Community of Northeast Ohio
TOPIC: Coming Out Atheist: How To Do It, How to Help Each Other, And Why
SUMMARY: See above
COST: Free and open to the public
EVENT URL: http://www.meetup.com/CFI-NEO/events/201063462/

CITY: Amherst, NY
DATE: Saturday, September 13
TIME: 7:00 pm
LOCATION: CFI – Transnational, 3965 Rensch Rd., Amherst, NY
(Across from the UB North Campus on Sweet Home Road. Plenty of free parking is available.)
HOSTS/ SPONSORS: CFI – Western New York
TOPIC: Coming Out Atheist: How To Do It, How to Help Each Other, And Why
SUMMARY: See above
COST: Free for members, $5.00 for non-members, open to the public
EVENT URL: http://www.centerforinquiry.net/wny/events/greta_christina_coming_out_atheist/

CITY: Akron, OH
DATE: Sunday, September 14
TIME: TBA
LOCATION: TBA
HOSTS/ SPONSORS: Secular Student Alliance at the University of Akron
TOPIC: Coming Out Atheist: How To Do It, How to Help Each Other, And Why
SUMMARY: See above
COST: Free and open to the public
EVENT URL: TBA

CITY: Columbus, OH
DATE: Monday, September 15
TIME: 7:30 pm
LOCATION: Thompson Library, Room 165, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH
HOSTS/ SPONSORS: Secular Student Alliance at The Ohio State University
TOPIC: Coming Out Atheist: How To Do It, How to Help Each Other, And Why
SUMMARY: See above
COST: Free and open to the public
EVENT URL: https://www.facebook.com/events/794817570559066/

CITY: Cincinnati, OH (actually in Newport, KY)
DATE: Tuesday, September 16
TIME: 6:00 pm
LOCATION: Radisson Hotel, 668 W. 5th, Covington, KY (Texas room upstairs)
Now at Newport on the Levee, 1 Levee Way, Newport, KY
(From the Parking Garage: Take the Gallery Building elevators to the Riverwalk Level. The CommunityCenter Suites are located opposite of GameWorks. We are in Suite B.)
HOSTS/ SPONSORS: Tri-State Freethinkers
TOPIC: Coming Out Atheist: How To Do It, How to Help Each Other, And Why
SUMMARY: See above
COST: Free and open to the public
EVENT URL: http://www.meetup.com/Tri-State-Freethinkers/events/200713502/
NOTE: Dinner will be available at the meeting. (It is what pays for the room.) Please RSVP through the Meetup.
UPDATE: Because of the change in venue, dinner is no longer happening as part of this event.

CITY: Indianapolis, IN
DATE: Wednesday September 17
TIME: 7:00 pm
LOCATION: Center for Inquiry – Indiana, 350 Canal Walk, Suite A, Indianapolis, IN
HOSTS/ SPONSORS: Center for Inquiry – Indiana
TOPIC: Coming Out Atheist: How To Do It, How to Help Each Other, And Why
SUMMARY: See above
COST: Free and open to the public
EVENT URL: http://www.centerforinquiry.net/indy/events/greta_christina/

CITY: Charlotte, NC (Carolinas Secular Conference)
DATES: Friday September 26 – Sunday September 28
LOCATION: Hilton Charlotte Executive Park, 5624 Westpark Dr, Charlotte, NC
HOSTS/SPONSORS: Carolinas Secular Association
TOPIC: TBA
OTHER SPEAKERS: Mandisa Thomas; Bridgett “Bria” Crutchfield; Steve Ahlquist; Greydon Square; Harry Shaughnessy; Faisal Saeed Al Mutar; Fred Edwords; and DJ Alex Zygmunt
COST: $125. Includes the Meet and Greet which is also a costume party (costumes optional); all speaking events and workshops; and the Awards Dinner Banquet.
EVENT URL: http://www.carolinassecularassociation.org/conference/

CITY: Sacramento, CA (Sacramento Freethought Day)
DATE: Saturday, October 11
LOCATION: TBA
HOSTS/SPONSOR: Sacramento Atheists and Other Freethinkers
OTHER SPEAKERS: Annie Laurie Gaylor, Heina Dadabhoy, Neil Wehneman, Jason Frye, Sean Faircloth, and more TBA.
TOPIC: I’m not giving a talk at this event, but I’m going to be on their Authors’ Panel.
COST: Free
EVENT URL: http://freethoughtday.org/

CITY: Springfield, MO (Skepticon)
DATES: Friday November 21 – Sunday November 23
LOCATION: Ramada Oasis, Springfield, MO!
OTHER SPEAKERS: PZ Myers, Jamie Kilstein, Cara Santa Maria, Hemant Mehta, Heina Dadabhoy, Amy Davis Roth (“Surly Any”), Dr. Nicole Gugliucci, Ben “Sweatervest” Blanchard, Melanie Brewster, Sheree Renee Thomas, Kayley Whalen, Daniel Bier, Peggy Mason, Dr. David Gorski, Scott Clifton, JT Eberhard.
TOPIC: TBA
COST: Free
EVENT URL: http://skepticon.org/



Coming Out Atheist Bendingwhy are you atheists so angryGreta Christina’s books, Coming Out Atheist: How to Do It, How to Help Each Other, and Why and Why Are You Atheists So Angry? 99 Things That Piss Off the Godless, are available in print, ebook, and audiobook. Bending: Dirty Kinky Stories About Pain, Power, Religion, Unicorns, & More is available in ebook and audiobook.