American Atheists stands by all its members, supporters, and allies

The minute I read Amy’s suggestion that it would help a lot if leaders of the movment spoke out against the threats and hate-mongering against women – the minute I read it, I say, I thought of Dave Silverman. Mr Atheist Pants is Mr Visible. It would be great if Dave stepped up, I thought. But that’s all I did. I’m passive that way.

But Amy did ask, and Dave did step up.


As a Humanist, I see these threats as base and detestable. They have no redeeming value and will raise no awareness, solve no problems, and hurt those who should be friends. As a long term activist, I see hatred and threats of violence directed at our sisters-in-arms to be reprehensible, serving no purpose other than to hurt and intimidate valuable allies. As a white man, I know that so much of this hate comes from people who look like me — but they’re nothing like me where it counts. As the leader of a national atheist organization, I have implemented harassment policies to minimize such irrational, hateful, and counterproductive behavior wherever my authority allows. We have a war to win, and we won’t win until we can look forward, without watching our own backs. American Atheists stands by all its members, supporters, and allies, and we will not tolerate hate directed at any of us. Period.

~David Silverman

Suck on that, haters.

Amy says there will be more to come. Fasten your seatbelts, haters.



  1. says

    As though the actual implementation of anti-harassment policies across multiple organizations wasn’t enough evidence, I see a wave of these statements happening. The optimist in me is saying that the strong stream of misogyny from the skeptical/atheist movement was an unconscious reaction to the counter-reaction that is happening, that is going to marginalize those individuals and groups that are openly hostile to women. It doesn’t mean that sexism will disappear, but I do think that we’re going to see that the claims of the bigot-bullies that the FtB and Skepchick are a shunned minority are going to be slapped down and put to rest in short order.

  2. Alukonis, metal ninja says


    Sometimes people really can be awesome and decent! Some faith in humanity has been restored.

  3. Matt Penfold says

    Have Amy, and Skepchicks more generally, decided what they are going to do about their sponsorship scheme for TAM next year ? I imagine they might not want to support TAM in the future (at least not until it sorts itself out) so may be American Atheists, or the CFI, especially the Women in Secularism Conference, might benefit.

  4. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    Its times like this when i feel atheists need a secular equivalent of “HALLELUJAH!”.

    I know where my money will be going. Hint: nowhere near JREF!

  5. Matt Penfold says

    Matt – oh they’re certainly not sponsoring TAM in the future. They are indeed going to transfer the sponsorship elsewhere.

    Good to hear it. I will try and put some money aside for them.

  6. Wowbagger, Deputy Vice-President (Silencing) says

    Excellent news. Cue lies, slurs and the standard whining from the slimepit-types and their hangers-on.

  7. Wowbagger, Deputy Vice-President (Silencing) says

    I’m being moderated? Is it because I used the s-word?

  8. davidmc says

    Good stuff, and more to come. A real leader, not like that leader in his own lunch time, from other night, forget his name.

  9. Wowbagger, Deputy Vice-President (Silencing) says

    davidmc wrote:

    Good stuff, and more to come. A real leader, not like that leader in his own lunch time, from other night, forget his name.

    I think that’s one of the biggest issues in this whole kerfuffle: that those opposing FTB and Skepchick and so forth are have no real cohesion or leadership; rather, they’re just a bunch of scattered malcontents, bitter that they don’t get the recognition they seem to think they automatically deserve, either from the bloggers themselves or the commentariat.

    Because if they had anyone determined or capable enough, they’d simply stop moaning and bleating about how awful these places were and start their own blog network. But that’d take, you know, effort and such, and that’s why the best any of them has managed so far is the FTB parody that gets more laughs because, like Conservapaedia, it reveals so much more about them than it does the people it purports to mock.

    So, I guess we just have to put up with the bleating and sniping from the sidelines until they realise no-one’s listening anymore, and they all just converge on the s-pit to slap each other on the back and joke about which female blogger deserves a kick.

  10. says

    Oh come on Ophelia! There’s at least a half-dozen of you women bloggers in circulation to get a “totally hypothetical and metaphorical” kick in the “completely arbitrary and in no sense meant to target women” c***. You know if you get a single trivial and unimportant detail wrong, it justifies another 6 months of abuse, like a Punxsutawney Phil of misogyny.

  11. says

    Oh I know. James Onen has a new and very long post to say just that, among other things – I saw it via a pingback. James Onen! Of Freethought Kampala! That’s been possibly the most disappointing ex-friend in all this.

    He once told me my efforts to promote Freethought Kampala got it noticed by the British Humanist Assoc and that’s why they invited him on a speaking tour to the UK – but now there he is explaining why it’s “just rhetoric” or some fucking thing when Ivanoff rants about kicking me in the cunt – and he has the fucking gall to say I’m “milking” it. If you see this, James – fuck you. Am I glad that Ivanoff has been talking about me that way for a year, so that I can “milk” it? No. Fuck you.

  12. says

    You know, I jest and say sarcastic things, but I do so bitterly and knowing full well that there’s always going to be someone to come close or possibly surpass the most sarcastic thing I can come up with. Just so you know I’m not being flippant… I understand that there’s a real world component to this stuff and whatever snark I produce has at least one idiot attached to it that thinks my snark is a valid point.

  13. says

    In other words I answered a jokey comment with unjokey fury!

    It’s just that I saw that post just an hour or two ago, and it steamed me a good deal. Honestly. The fucking clueless callous blindness of some people – “milking it” – rrrrrrrrrrrr

    But nothing to do with your comment!

  14. Wowbagger, Deputy Vice-President (Silencing) says

    Ophelia wrote:

    but now there he is explaining why it’s “just rhetoric” or some fucking thing when Ivanoff rants about kicking me in the cunt – and he has the fucking gall to say I’m “milking” it.

    It just illustrates the clueless lack of perspective, doesn’t it? He’s obviously processing it in this way because he’s thinking, ‘Well, if someone joked about punching me in the cock, I wouldn’t get all upset about it’ – he’s either ignorant of or conveniently forgetting the significance of such a ‘joke’ in terms of how violence is used against women.

    Why is it that some people – who call themselves skeptics and/or humanists, mind you – can’t grasp that what’s ‘just rhetoric’ for them isn’t ‘just rhetoric’ for everyone else?

  15. julian says

    Why is it that some people – who call themselves skeptics and/or humanists, mind you – can’t grasp that what’s ‘just rhetoric’ for them isn’t ‘just rhetoric’ for everyone else?

    Whatever it is, it probably contributes a good bit to how poorly atheist/skeptics handle issues of discrimination (except when it’s an atheist targeted)

  16. says

    Hey Ophelia, more like you answered an implicitly angry comment with an explicitly angry comment. I’m aware of a big chunk of the other online commentary, and it is filled with people looking for anything that they can twist to make their inhumane comments somehow justified, and any tiny mistake or omission will do.

  17. machintelligence says

    Gee Julian, you might want to pull your head out of your ass and look around once in a while.

  18. says

    As soon as I saw a link to the article on Beth Presswood’s FB page and read it I immediately got a family membership. And to think I had been avoiding doing so due to their shitty graphic designs. (mostly kidding about the graphic design being my reason. Mostly. 🙂 )

  19. Rieux says

    This is indeed most heartening. Kudos to Dave and AA.

    Surely among the list of leaders to come are Gaylor and/or Barker of FFRF. Gaylor and her mother were outspoken skepchicks (not, of course, that they would have chosen that label) loooong before there were Skepchicks.

    Hopefully we’ll see folks from CFI, AHA, Atheist Alliance, UCoR, SCA, Stiefel, SSA, FBB… dare we hope for RDFRS?

    Is there any point in a statement within the series from FTB (say, from Ed)? Or would that be superfluous?

  20. ImRike says

    Wow, if I was still a christian, I would certainly now trade in my Jesus for David Silverman! He is awesome! David for President!

  21. Bernard Bumner says

    A simple, powerful gesture with no significant cost*, so much to gain, and absolutely in the spirit of the ideals American Atheists promotes. This was an entirely positive move to make clear the expectations that organisation has of its members and associates. So simple. So brilliant.

    I hope that Amy really enjoys these victories and that they make her efforts feel truly worthwhile.

    *Possibly losing some dead wood and attracting scorn from a certain few.

  22. A Hermit says

    Well he left no doubt about where he stands. A clear statement like that will do more than a hundred TAM style super-secret-harassment-response teams ever could. Well done Mr. Silverman.

  23. says

    Unfortunately, Silverman soon after retweeted a rape joke that Paul Provenza had posted. It was referring to a Catholic priest, but still a rape joke.



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