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Sep 05 2012

Could Nudist Atheists be an Atheist+ Group?

There are Christian nudists and there are atheist nudists. Some Christian nudists have even formed groups announcing that they are both Christians and nudists.

See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_naturism ; http://www.naturist-christians.org/ ; http://www.christiannc.com/.

To my knowledge, atheism has not yet formed such an alliance. But nudism is good, healthy, and liberal, so maybe we should. But composed of a group of nudists tending to attract atheists not Christians.

Certain blog commenters seem to have neither read nor thought carefully on this issue. The point of my blog on Atheist+ is not intended to say anything bad about Atheist+ or those who embrace it. People can form the “Atheist+ All Things Fall Up When Dropped Club” if they want to, without complaint from me.

My only objection would be if such were to become an official policy of American Atheists. That would be not so good. Organizations have schisms. It may be part of universal law. AA has certainly had schisms in the past. Indeed, that is exactly why we have many of the larger freethought organizations that exist today.

It has been said that the present Atheist+ movement is not a schism, but a response to a schism that has already occurred. Probably lots of schisms say that.

American Atheists remains the Marines of Freethought. We protect and defend the civil rights of Atheists and we work for the total separation of Church and State. That keeps us fairly busy.

One can, of course, be a part of American Atheists and of anything else they want to belong to, so long as it is not thereby connected to AA. And it is certainly fine to form clubs largely limited to those who share one’s world view.

The problem is that not all atheists share this view. There are, for example, among atheists, the “carnivore humans” and the “grass clippings and tofu humans,” each perfectly able to have their own opinions and to form their own groups. And to call the result an A+ organization.

But suppose there were to arise (as there will) schisms within say the grass clippings and tofu group(s). And if some members of this splinter group thought it was okay to eat hummingbird eggs and others thought not should we then carve out another new division within the “Atheist+ Grass Clippings and Tofu” Group? What should we call this new vision?

Perhaps it should be an Atheist++ group, or an Atheist+V group. Or an Atheist—Hummingbird Speed of Light Squared Group.

Then the new group could feel superior to the group from which it parted and it could then heap invective on the Anti-hummingbird Atheist+? people who remained in the parent organization.

In brief response to the absurd charge that AA is a misogynistic outfit run by old men, please know that as of this writing the following are some of the positions in AA that are held by young women: three board of directors positions; bookkeeper; public relations director; managing director; development director; editor of American Atheists Magazine.

American Atheists. When you are ready to quit fooling around.

Edwin
© Edwin Kagin 2012.

66 comments

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  1. 1
    Improbable Joe, bearer of the Official SpokesGuitar

    If all you have to recommend you is snarking at other groups, and trying to latch onto the reputation of the Marines without having earned it, then you’re a poor spokesperson for the group.

    1. 1.1
      timothysmalls

      Hey Joe, you are correct, Kagin wasn’t a Marine. He served in the USAF instead. Calling him a ‘poor spokesperson’ isn’t snarking then?

      To the core of Edwin’s article, well, I agree with him. The recent allegations made by atheists against atheists are rather misguided; none of the undesirable traits mentioned are more prevalent amongst atheists, in fact, they occur less frequently in this group than in wider society. It is therefore a little naive to think atheism can me made perfect, and the only way to do that in practice, is via exclusion, or in the longer term, education. Education would mean dealing with that wider society, and they might make less subtle comments than invitations for coffee, I was once strangled by a Christian I was debating with, for instance.

  2. 2
    Killerrat

    Thanks Ed – I am with you. I have supported American Atheists with money donations for over 5 years now. I do not think AA is misogynistic (since there is no evidence that it is).

    I like AA because it has focus and a goal. AA is not trying to solve all the problems in America… it is only trying to improve free speech and keep church and state separate. Please stick with this goal and I will support you till I die.

    Many social issue are contentious even amongst atheists. I do not consider myself a progressive nor a feminist (but I do support liberal freedoms and equality under the law). Regardless of my opinions on these topics we are in agreement that the social and political discourse will be better with less influence by religious zealots.

    Please do not let some people bully you into embracing goals outside your core mission. Tip of the spear!

    1. 2.1
      One Thousand Needles, lumper-splitter

      I do not think AA is misogynistic (since there is no evidence that it is).

      Has anybody made this claim?

      1. Killerrat

        Ed mentions this in the OP. I do not know the circumstances, but I suspect someone has made this charge if Ed mentioned it. I am only supporting Ed with the statement that I do not think AA is misogynistic. Is this acceptable to you oh “needled one”?

        I have been called a misogynist by several idiots on FTB myself.

        (I have advice for the posters here… tossing the charge of misogynist around like a basketball makes a person look like an idiot)

        1. One Thousand Needles, lumper-splitter

          I do not know the circumstances, but I suspect someone has made this charge if Ed mentioned it.

          This is how lies are perpetuated. I’d be surprised (but happy to concede) if you or Edwin produced a single instance of somebody claiming that AA was misogynist.

          1. Killerrat

            Are you calling Ed a liar? Seriously? Are you saying he made this up?

            And do you really think that there are not idiots (many who post here) that would call any group that did not have a perfect 50/50 split of men and women a misogynist group?

            You are a class act oh “needled one”.

            (oh… I know what you are thinking…. you are thinking he is a privileged white man so he must be a liar)

          2. Killerrat

            It is like tossing a basketball… everyone gets to be called a misogynist here. (and I have been called a rapist, wife beater, child abuser, and rape apologist… just to set the record straight on the class found at FTB).

          3. One Thousand Needles, lumper-splitter

            Did I call Edwin a liar? No. But I was mistaken in using the word ‘lies’. I should have said ‘falsehoods’, because I meant for that statement to include the possibilities of being mistaken or exaggerating.

            And do you really think that there are not idiots (many who post here) that would call any group that did not have a perfect 50/50 split of men and women a misogynist group?

            Irrelevant.

            (oh… I know what you are thinking…. you are thinking he is a privileged white man so he must be a liar)

            Irrelevant and laughable.

            Everyone gets to be called a misogynist here.

            At the time of this comment, there is not a single comment in this thread accusing you of misogyny.

            (and I have been called a rapist, wife beater, child abuser, and rape apologist… just to set the record straight on the class found at FTB).

            Also irrelevant. But do enjoy your pity party.

          4. John D

            Burp!

  3. 3
    Josh, Official SpokesGay

    That was totally helpful and necessary, Edwin. Slow clap.

    The fuck is wrong with you to pile on like this given the shit going down right now?

    1. 3.1
      Randomfactor

      Seconded, squared.

    2. 3.2
      PG

      Well, what the fuck are you doing? He’s not allowed to have an opinion, regardless of the current climate or events that’s transpired?

      Maybe you ought to stop and think about it what you’re saying for a minute or two. Or three. Or a hundred.

  4. 4
    Doug Kirk

    I’m sorry, I’m a lurker in all this, but your last two posts seem to say that atheism necessarily means the support of initiatives to separate church and state and maintain a secular society. Could you please point me to anything that says atheism necessarily entails supporting a secular society? Atheism is just lack of belief in gods, some people are fine not believing in gods and living under a theocracy after all.

    Now I’m not trying to criticize you secularists and say that you shouldn’t form organizations like AA or groups about secularism, just that doing so is divisive and that’s a bad thing… also that people shouldn’t do bad things that are liberal (snark for a snarky post)

    1. 4.1
      baal

      Secularism is a good in and of itself. That said, most atheists are interested in not getting fired, denied housing, having their business blacklisted or having other forms of discrimination applied to them. Most (all?) of the discrimination originates from Christians – particularly the conservative ones. Christians like to use not only personal but also State power to carry out their views. Secularism, then, to the atheist, is one way to protect themselves from bad-things. If you want evidence of discrimination, please continue to read FTB. It gets written about regularly.

      1. Doug Kirk

        I’m sorry, that post needed sarcasm tags. I agree that secularism is a good in and of itself, so is social justice. I was asking Edwin where, if atheism just means just the one thing and that’s all that it can ever inform us, he gets to conflate it with secular activism while berating other atheists for using it to inform social justice activism.

  5. 5
    michaeld

    I don’t know anyone saying that american atheist is misogynistic. I don’t know anyone saying that american atheist should embrace new goals. I also read your previous post. It’s still a complete non sequitur to atheism +.

    Also just cause this irks me. I wish you’d stop acting like American atheist is some sort of marines of atheism or some beacon we should all rally around cause there are plenty of atheists who aren’t american.

    To the best of my knowledge AA has done nothing to seriously affect me as an atheist in Canada. You haven’t lobbied one politician, written a brief on a court case or even helped put up one billboard in my country. You do good work but stop acting like you’re more then you are.

    1. 5.1
      Killerrat

      AA = American Atheists… not Canadian Atheists.

      USMC = United States Marine Corps… not Canadian Marine Corp.

      (last time I checked Canada had its own activist organizations and its own military… but nothing like the USMC in my humble opinion).

      I think it is fine that you are Canadian and I have been to Canada many times. I just don’t spend my time blogging about Canadian organizations like I expect something from them.

      1. michaeld

        I don’t expect 1 thing from AA (also there are no Canadian marines from my knowledge of the Canadian armed forces). It’s stuff like this that bugs me:

        “We protect and defend the civil rights of Atheists and we work for the total separation of Church and State.”

        If you want to make the claim that you defend the civil right of Atheists and the separation of church and state it has to apply to all atheists. If you don’t like that qualify your words in the first place. As I said it irks me and as I will say now comes off as grandiose masturbation when its written like that to seem greater then it is.

        As I said before you do good work but you’re only defending the civil rights of some Atheists. And this kind of sloppy word use still bugs me.

  6. 6
    Janie Miller

    I run an atheist group and within the group are folks who hold beliefs far different then mine on social and political issues. I’m sure of that. At times,we may find each other uncouth, sexist,racist,boorish and disturbing. That’s how it is with groups. We all recognize that we don’t have to love every member of the group or agree with them but at the end of the day we stick together because we are all atheists. We can use as many personal labels for ourselves as we would like but to separate ourselves from other atheists is a mistake which may cost us dearly.

  7. 7
    One Thousand Needles, lumper-splitter

    That’s interesting, because I can be an American and an Atheist and have nothing to do with freethought.

    I could be an American and an Atheist and a Bigfoot hunter. Maybe AA needs a chapter for them?

    I could be an American and an Atheist and a 9/11 Truther. I’m sure they would love an AA chapter.

    This is fun! I like your clever word games.

    Maybe you should get back to being the Marines of Freethought® while we’re busy focusing on other issues. Is that so difficult?

  8. 8
    Durga

    Uh huh. Did anyone even ask you to speak on this issue? You could have just kept your mouth shut. But you’ve made a stand, after all. Well screw you, your splaining, and your organization, and I will not be associating with any of it.

    1. 8.1
      Killerrat

      Admit it Durga… you never had anything to do with AA before… did you? I suspect you don’t toss any time or money at atheist causes. Ever hear of FFRF, or SCoA? They could use help too.

      Your favorite cause is probably gender feminism or some such thing. Fine…. go for it.

      1. Durga

        Who the hell are you ans why should I care about the dumb assumptions about me you pulled from your ass?

  9. 9
    Durga

    Is anyone else reminded of the “war on caterpillars” comment?

  10. 10
    Aratina Cage

    It would be easy to alter the meaning of “freethought” in this post to make you look hypocritical. I was tempted to do it for a minute.

    Anyway, you are deliberately leaving out just who is heaping invective on others in this conflict. So I want to call you out on that. Who is heaping the invective, Edwin? Who?

    1. 10.1
      msironen

      Let’s see… “screw you”, “what the fuck is wrong with you”, “fucking moron”, all coming from A+ supporters and just in this thread.
      Keep it going guys; Voltaire’s prayer and all that.

      1. Aratina Cage

        And…? Anyone else? Tell the truth now.

  11. 11
    Jennifer, Uppity Bitch and General Malcontent

    Oh, for fuck’s sake, stop appropriating my Marine Corps for your organization, and particularly stop it when you’re comparing belief in social justice to belief that things fall up. After you’re done going through physically and psychologically rigorous training and risking being blown up on a roadside in Afghanistan then you can claim the Corps. Until then, kindly leave us out of it.

  12. 12
    Mattir, Another One With Boltcutters

    American Atheists does not own the word “atheist.” Atheism+ is not about American Atheists. It’s about being willing to identify as someone interested in social justice issues AND an atheist, at the same time. And since FFRF, the ACLU, PFAW, and Americans United all do very similar work on separation of church and state and (in some cases) also do other work on social justice issues, and since they are not having their legal director froth at the mouth at the possibility that someone could identify as an atheist and a knitter, nudist, social justice advocate, or whatever (while carefully insisting that his blog is only his blog and not the opinion of American Atheists as an organization, despite the frequent mention of AA in the blog), I am inclined to give them even more money.

    I’d planned on adding AA to my donations list this year, after meeting some quite congenial and social-justice-aware AA staff members at Women in Skepticism. Probably not gonna happen after this. It would have if you’d remained silent, or been quite clear that atheists could form all sorts of advocacy groups, including Atheism+, but this has just confirmed what I’d thought of AA before I’d met the WIS attendees…

    1. 12.1
      Mattir, Another One With Boltcutters

      And lest anyone say I didn’t give any money to atheist/skepticism causes, last year I gave close to $2000 to various atheist and skeptical organizations.

  13. 13
    Anthony K

    It has been said that the present Atheist+ movement is not a schism, but a response to a schism that has already occurred. Probably lots of schisms say that.

    ‘Probably’?

    What’s the matter? Your Google broken? You allergic to research? You some kind of fucking moron?

    It has been said that atheism is just another religion. It’s certainly true that some atheists are just as fond of pulling things out of their ass in order to justify a presupposition as any theologian ever born.

    1. 13.1
      Randomfactor

      I want to belong to atheist organizations which, considered as a whole, behave better than theistic ones.

      This whole debacle has certainly indicated some I can apparently cross off my search list.

      1. Mattir, Another One With Boltcutters

        Yep, it’s been quite useful as a selection factor in which organizations NOT to give money to in 2012. The RNC, Concerned Women for America, Focus on the Family, the Justin Bieber Fan Club, and American Atheists.

  14. 14
    didgen

    Not sure this post was effective in making American Atheists attractive in the way you obviously thought. It has had quite the opposite effect for me.

  15. 15
    JJLatFtB

    Oh Mr. Kagin… I hope you’ve thought this through and it plays the way you expected. As you can see, the feelings of A+ club members are easily hurt and they aren’t shy about using hostility to express themselves. If you’re not careful, you’ll soon be painted with the same ugly colors they’ve painted Dawkins and thunderf00t, and some of that paint will splash onto AA.

    Good luck -

  16. 16
    chaos_engineer

    In brief response to the absurd charge that AA is a misogynistic outfit run by old men, please know that as of this writing the following are some of the positions in AA are held by young women

    I’ve gotta warn you – whenever I hear someone say, “I’m not a racist/sexist/homophobe”, that raises a red flag. Especially if they follow up with, “In fact, some of my best friends are those people.”

    My experience is that it takes about five minutes to get from there to “And how come there’s no White Entertainment Television/League of Male Voters/Straight Pride Parades???” And five minutes more to get to “How dare you call me a racist/sexist/homophobe! I’m always really careful not to say the N-/C-/F-word!”

    (I mean, I know you’re not like this. I’m just saying what my experience has been with other people.)

    Anyway, I’m having trouble understanding your point about the A+ movement. From what I’ve read, A+ was formed because there were tensions between two groups in the greater atheist movement — let’s call them Decent Human Beings and Bigoted Jerks. The Decent Human Beings wanted to have a place to interact where they wouldn’t be pestered by Bigoted Jerks.

    Right away you can see how this differs from tensions between the nudist/non-nudist and pro/anti-hummingbird factions. Those factions are able to put their differences aside and work together on projects that they agree on. In particular, nudists have a solid history of only being nude in designated areas, because they don’t want to risk upsetting non-nudists. Bigoted Jerks aren’t able to do that. (Because they have a compulsion to upset the people they’re bigoted against.)

    Now, it almost seems like you’re saying: “American Atheists is a place where all atheists are equally welcome, whether they’re Decent Human Beings or Bigoted Jerks. If some people refuse to support us because of that policy, then that’s no great loss. We don’t need that sort of divisive person in our organization.”

    Is this how you envision the mission of AA? Or am I misunderstanding something?

  17. 17
    Z

    This is all about being in the cool kids group, unfortunately. High school mentality all over again.

    A personal note:
    The whole skepticism movement as a whole has moved from the original will to apply skepticism in daily life to the (not so) new, Identity Skepticism. It is no longer about applying skepticism, it is about Being A Skeptic (regardless of your skepticism). It’s about being in the cool kids’ group.

    People that refuse to play this child’s game will be hated, will be refered to with scorn. You will be hated by these people Edwin, unfortunately.

    1. 17.1
      shockna

      The whole skepticism movement as a whole has moved from the original will to apply skepticism in daily life to the (not so) new, Identity Skepticism. It is no longer about applying skepticism, it is about Being A Skeptic (regardless of your skepticism). It’s about being in the cool kids’ group.

      Not quite; it’s less about “Being A Skeptic”, than it is “applying skepticism to aspects of culture”. Much of the anti-A+ group are loudly complaining, “NO! ATHEISM IS ABOUT BEING A SKEPTIC ONLY ABOUT SUPERNATURAL CLAIMS! CULTURE AND POLITICS ARE TO BE LEFT OUT!” In reality, the social justice causes espoused by most who identify with A+ are the result of applied skepticism, not a lack of it.

      The shoe, in truth, is on the other foot.

  18. 18
    nohellbelowus

    Great post, Edwin Kagin.

    It’s obviously sweet food for thought, because look at all the A+ cockroaches you attracted!

  19. 19
    Dan Gerhards

    The problem is that not all atheists share this view.

    The “view” being talked about here is to be more inclusive! Instead of American Atheists saying, “Sure, we always thought that anyway,” you are advocating that AA says, “Don’t contaminate our mission with your ideas of tolerance!” Is that right?

  20. 20
    Tom

    Until this post I never made any connection between A+ and AA.

    AA is an organisation with cash, staff and a mission statement.

    A+ is an unstructured, informal, self selecting group who want to focus on an additional set of issues on top of the fact they are atheists.

    The two groups do not have any necessary overlap at all.

    Why comment on it?

  21. 21
    Egbert

    It is clear to me that new atheism is based on a hatred of religion, while atheism plus is a further decadent form of a hatred turned on fellow atheists.

    At least the first was a kind of weird idealism like war on terror, or fight for freedom, while the second is just a hatred of people and persons.

    When did atheists fall so far asleep and turn to nihilistic hatred?

    1. 21.1
      hyperdeath

      Yes, you’re right. When women are bombarded with rape threats for speaking out, it’s clearly their fault for not wanting to be part of the mainstream atheism movement.

      1. PG

        Bombarded with rape threats by the general atheist movement? I think you’ll find a statement like that is pretty damn dishonest, but oh well, you seem to have made up your mind. Also, that’s one way to construe what he said. Or misconstrue, as the case may be.

        Basically, atheist women receive rape threats and blames the entire atheist community. Wait, what? The entire the atheist community is to blame and therefore a “subset” of atheism is required, a so-called “third wave of atheism.” Then calling the “old wave” a bunch of “middle-class, white, heterosexual, cisgendered, able-bodied men” condoning harassment, sexism and misogyny, and its ‘leaders’ “old white guys.” That’s one way to do it, I suppose.

        But you can’t expect people not to be a little bit upset to be called misogynist and sexist, gender traitors and rape enablers, and what have you, or that your actions (general you) are responsible for this “third wave of atheism,” dubbed the-not-so-subtly-morally-superior Atheism Plus or A+.

    2. 21.2
      feedmybrain

      Atheism is based on a non-belief in God.

  22. 22
    feedmybrain

    Then the new group could feel superior to the group from which it parted and it could then heap invective on the Anti-hummingbird Atheist+? people who remained in the parent organization.

    It’s not about feeling superior, it’s about concerning myself with other issues that I feel are important as well as the traditional goals of atheist movements. And I’m sure, from reading the comments, that it’s supporters feel the same. If we just wanted to feel superior we could stick with laughing at creationists.

    If you don’t want to concern yourself with these issues then continue to concentrate on what you do. But don’t tell others they shouldn’t concentrate where they want to.
    How many times does this need repeating?

  23. 23
    Tyrant of Skepsis

    Ok so do I understand the original post correctly, AA is not going to extend its scope to more explicitely include further social justice issues beyond separation of church and state – because you want to be maximally inclusive and avoid dealing with any complications that would result from a broader scope because you feel it would hinder the work you do?

    Then that was not a very productive, friendly, not particularly intelligible way of saying that.

    1. 23.1
      PG

      … What? In what way, shape or form did he actually say that?

      1. Alex

        What did he say then???

  24. 24
    Stephanie Zvan

    Ed, are you making this statement on behalf of American Atheists? Is it intended to indicate who should join and who should stay away? You have the standard disclaimer, but your wording implies you’re doing it anyway.

    And yes, I ask as a member.

    1. 24.1
      PG

      Err. Clearly he’s responding to the invective by Natalie Reed, Jennifer McCreight, et al. about the broad accusation that the atheist movement is a bunch of “middle-class, white, heterosexual, cisgendered, able-bodied men”, condoning misogyny and sexism and cause of creating a “third wave of atheism”, with the addition of Greta Christina’s rhetoric asserting most of the speakers on conventions are old white guys.

      At least, that’s what I think is being rebutted here.

      1. Stephanie Zvan

        Are you Ed or a representative of American Atheists? If not, you’re irrelevant to my question. If you are, you can answer it straight out. Then we can have a little discussion of the importance of accuracy when talking about other organizations with overlapping goals.

        1. Steve Schuler

          Gosh Stephanie, it must really suck to be publicly dissed like this. I should think that a person of your importance would warrant Edwin’s immediate and full attention. Tears of rage are clouding my vision right now, let me take a moment to gather myself…

          Oh well, at least he published your somewhat pointed comment, while it has been my experience on your blog that you might not be so liberal in excercising such generous editorial discretion.

          As The World Turns…

  25. 25
    Rabidtreeweasel

    I fail to see how another group addressing issues other than your own pet issues hinders your work in any way. I’m not a part of either group, mainly because I was involved in a fundamentalist church growing up and avoid organized anything on principle, but I recognize this as my own personal proclivity and support the existence of any group that promotes furthering civil liberties.

    1. 25.1
      PG

      But that’s not really what’s being addressed? The subset is not the issue, the issue is the “subset group” made broad, baseless accusations against the current atheist movement of condoning or allowing misogyny, sexism, sexual harassment, etc. Or well, at least I think so.

  26. 26
    trazan

    “grass clippings” really?

  27. 27
    jenny6833a

    There are Christian nudists and there are atheist nudists. Some Christian nudists have even formed groups announcing that they are both Christians and nudists. (snip urls)

    Actually, there are nudists of all religious and non-religious varieties. As for Christian Naturism, it was more of an evangelical effort than anything else. It never got very far off the ground, and has pretty much pooped out.

    To my knowledge, atheism has not yet formed such an alliance. But nudism is good, healthy, and liberal, so maybe we should. But composed of a group of nudists tending to attract atheists not Christians.

    Nudism is hardly liberal. It’s a political and social mixture just as it’s a religious mixture. To the degree that nudism/naturism focusses on anything, its focus is on naturism/nudism. Although individuals are often active in causes of their individual choice, as groups we aren’t so stupid as to get into divisive issues.

    I can’t imagine how mixing atheism with naturism/nudism group would benefit either. It would surely harm both.

  28. 28
    Antiochus Epiphanes

    If the end of AA were to increase justice for the oppressed, I would welcome its demise.

    The problem with religion isn’t that it is delusional. The real beef is that it hurts people. Embrace that or be irrelevant.

  29. 29
    c

    Kagin!

    I AM OFFENDED! Was your “Tofu and Grassclippings” snark a slam against VEGETARIANS??? What do you have against VEGETARIANS!?.

    Whats next slamming Vegans and Raw foodist Atheists???

    You carnivorous Atheists make me sick!

    Waaaah.
    I am going home!

    (this was meant to be sarcasm btw… if some of you didn’t get that)

  30. 30
    jenny6833a

    Chaos Engineer says,

    Right away you can see how this differs from tensions between the nudist/non-nudist and pro/anti-hummingbird factions. Those factions are able to put their differences aside and work together on projects that they agree on.

    Only if the textiles don’t know there are nudists among them or, alternatively, if the nudists are willing to put up with the kind of never ending nastiness that, for example, the A+ folk are so good at handing out.

    In particular, nudists have a solid history of only being nude in designated areas, because they don’t want to risk upsetting non-nudists.

    ROTFLM633AO!

    Are you familiar with the ‘naked bike rides’ that are happening all over the country? Are you aware of nude hiking and camping on federal lands? And nude boating, canuding, etc. All of these are quite common, and all risk offending the ever-so-easily (and most often insincerely) offended.

    Every clothing-optional beach I know of began as blatantly illegal and then progressed to ‘ignored by the fuzz while the majority screamed’ to ‘reluctantly accepted while the nutcase fundies screamed’ to ‘tradionally accepted while the nutcase fundies screamed’ to ‘officially designated in spite of the majority (them again) screaming NOT IN MY BACKYARD. And even traditional and designated beaches of long standing are under periodic pressure as shown by the number we lose each year.

    Moreover, every nudist resort I know of faced loud objections from the anti-nudity set. And about half of new license applications are turned down. There are a LOT of states (and counties within states) that refuse to allow nudist places.

    There’s one recurrent situation that might especially interest you: a nudist resort has been in place for 40 or 50 years. A church buys property in the area, builds a palatial structure, and then goes to the county demanding that the nudist resort must go. “We Christians don’t want those people near our place of worship.” And, “Our parishoners are buying homes in the area now, and we can’t have naked people anywhere near them, even behind 8-foot walls. THINK OF THE CHILDEN!”

    Mr Engineer, Sir, I don’t think you’re up to date on reality. Live and live, and putting differences aside, doesn’t much happen in this land of the free and home of the knave.

  31. 31
    F [i'm not here, i'm gone]

    What manner of fuckwittery is this, Edwin and friends. Nice intellectual dishonesty you’ve got going on.

    Really, Ed, I’ve read some of your stuff that seemed questionable if one did not give it a fair reading, but this is utter tripe. There is no good way to read it, and your position is ridiculous. As are the completely vacuous ramblings of your apparent fans here. Especially PG, who is also a complete hypocrite, right in this comment thread.

    hyperdeath says:

    Yes, you’re right. When women are bombarded with rape threats for speaking out, it’s clearly their fault for not wanting to be part of the mainstream atheism movement.

    *
    PG says:

    Bombarded with rape threats by the general atheist movement? I think you’ll find a statement like that is pretty damn dishonest, but oh well, you seem to have made up your mind. Also, that’s one way to construe what he said. Or misconstrue, as the case may be.

    Then later:

    Tyrant of Skepsis says:

    Ok so do I understand the original post correctly, AA is not going to extend its scope to more explicitely include further social justice issues beyond separation of church and state – because you want to be maximally inclusive and avoid dealing with any complications that would result from a broader scope because you feel it would hinder the work you do?

    Then that was not a very productive, friendly, not particularly intelligible way of saying that.

    *
    PG says:

    … What? In what way, shape or form did he actually say that?

    What’s good for the goose, etc.

    The problem is that you just keep making shit up, you believe it, and see it when it isn’t there, even though the text is there for anyone to read.

    Yeah, sure, I’ve seen some overreaction from the people who generally advocate for social justice. It is orders of magnitude less common and less vile than the original misogynist crowd and their secondary I-just-don’t-see-it defenders. You’re all full of shit. At least some of the core misogynist crowd is honest about their position.

    And Edwin’s passive-aggressive little allegory is just sad. What’s up with that, man?

  32. 32
    chaos_engineer

    Mr Engineer, Sir, I don’t think you’re up to date on reality. Live and live, and putting differences aside, doesn’t much happen in this land of the free and home of the knave.

    This is humbling. You’re absolutely right. I don’t think it’ll surprise anyone if I say that I’m a non-nudist, so I’m a member of a privileged class and I’ve always had the luxury of not having to think about nudist concerns. What I said was stupid and insensitive and I apologize for it.

    (And I screw up like this all the time. If you’d come to me a year ago and asked, “Should atheist conventions have sexual harassment policies?” I would have replied, “I don’t think there’s any sexual harassment at atheist conventions, and if there is then hotel security will take care of it.” I’ve learned that I was making stupid assumptions there, too.)

    So, where do we go from here? Is the goal to bring nudists-who-don’t-believe-in-God into the Atheist Movement, maybe by having clothing-optional events at conventions? I can see that happening. Mr. Kagin, is this something that American Atheists would consider, or do you think that non-nudists would find it too divisive?

    Actually, a good place to look for help would be the A+ Movement; they’re interested in promoting diversity and could probably give you some organizing tips. (One thing though – don’t barge into a discussion about some other controversy and try to change the subject to nudism; they’ve had problems with trolls using this technique to derail conversations, so it puts them on edge. The “Lounge” thread over on Pharyngula is a good place to introduce new topics, or you could e-mail an A+ blogger and ask if they’ll post an article on the subject.)

  33. 33
    jenny6833a

    chaos_engineer says: “So, where do we go from here? Is the goal to bring nudists-who-don’t-believe-in-God into the Atheist Movement, maybe by having clothing-optional events at conventions? I can see that happening. Mr. Kagin, is this something that American Atheists would consider, or do you think that non-nudists would find it too divisive?”

    Nudists who don’t believe in gods are already in (what you choose to call) ‘the atheist movement,’ just as we’re in many other ‘movements’ that aren’t related to nudism.

    What I think you’re missing is that at least 98% of nudists are not involved with any nudist organization and at least 98% of people who don’t believe in gods are not involved with any atheist organization. One can be part of a ‘movement’ without being part of an organization. Let’s face it, most atheists and most nudists think organizations suck, because organizations always seem to develop dogma of one sort or another — although they don’t like that word.

    Nudism is orthogonal to atheism and vice versa. Let’s keep them officially separate, while also keeping both a big tent open to all.

    As for having clothing-optional events at atheist conventions, or atheist events at nudist conventions, I suspect the culturally conventional super-majorities in both atheism and nudism would have a hissy fit. Neither atheists nor nudists are freethinkers on topics other than their own.

    Encouraging tolerance, however, would be helpful. Skipping cheap shots in blogs would be a great way to start.

  34. 34
    Justiceis

    A-plus it is. Choose it or do not choose it. It is not a right choice, it is only a choice, which is only left up to you.

    1. 34.1
      jenny6833a

      It seems to me that choices are best made after examining the consequences. I’ve been saying that merging an unpopular idea like atheism with an equally unpopular idea like radical 3rd wave (or 33rd wave, or whatever) feminism is bound to do more harm than good to both.

      The opponents of atheism will scream that atheism is inherently radical feminist and the opponents of each version of feminism will scream that feminism is inherently atheistic. Neither will sell well when saddled with the other.

      Individual atheists should support social causes of their individual choice, but NOT under the banner of atheism or some subset thereof. Individual feminists should, if they so wish, support atheism, but NOT under the banner of feminism.

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