But we just don’t see it that way

Aratina pointed out a guest post at Friendly Atheist March 14 last year – shortly before the Reason Rally. The guest poster is none other than Lee Moore, the guy who kept trying to push me to “discuss” things with the people who harass me, including his friend Reap Paden. Mr Diplomacy, Mr Peace, Mr Supergood at HR.

Oh really?

Here’s how that guest post starts:

Our recent invitation to the Westboro Baptist church has sparked a bit of controversy. Kelley Freeman described our invitation as “[poking] a rattlesnake with a stick,” but we just don’t see it that way.  Reactions from others have been a mixed bag. Some have patted us on the back and thanked us for sending the invitation. Others have been less than enthusiastic.

We have serious doubts that the invitation — sent three weeks prior to the event — had much of an effect on whether the WBC planned to attend. Likely, the WBC knew of the Reason Rally well in advance and had planned on attending for some time before the invitation was sent.

It would be an outright lie to claim that publicity was not the first idea that came to mind when writing this letter. The WBC has quite a following, and they command a great deal of “media credit.”  The publicity that they generate, if handled in the right fashion, will draw positive attention to the Reason Rally, the NAP, and the freethought movement in general.

How interesting. The only trouble is, they (the National Atheist Party) didn’t bother asking the RR board, they just invited WBC on their own. This did not go down well. At all. The comments almost all express fury mixed with disdain. For example

If I agree to help support an event that others have initiated, I bear a responsibility to make decisions that are in concert with the rest of the organizers. It would be very irresponsible and selfish of me to unilaterally invite someone who is very controversial and potentially disruptive to the event without consulting the rest of the organizers first.

The WBC would have shown up as uninvited party-crashers, and they could have been treated as such. Now thanks to you, we have to treat them as invited guests. If any unfortunate incidents or violence occurs, the WBC will be able to portray themselves as the victims who were invited and then abused, rather than as the provocateurs.

Your self-centeredness and insensitivity to the basic etiquette of working with the other event organizers,  combined with your nonpology at the end of your rationalizing PR spin letter in this post have sealed the deal for me. Just as with Chris Leithiser who has made the second comment here, I had some doubts about the NAP, but no longer. I will avoid you and disassociate myself from you.

I fear that the NAP will become embarrassing to atheists in general in the same way that the WBC is embarrassing to Christians in general.

That’s Lee Moore – that’s the guy who set out to heal the deep rifts among atheists. He is!

It’s funny but it’s also disgusting. He never bothered to tell me any of this. He never evinced the slightest hint of uncertainty about his own communication and peacemaking skills. I had more than enough uncertainty of my own once I found out (also without his telling me) that he’s friendly with various people who call themselves Asshole Atheist, Angry Atheist, Angry Loud Macho Atheist…ok I made that last one up – anyway the point is, he’s not the right person to try to bridge any rifts.

Next point. Notice everybody was pissed off – and the NAP was an ally, not a constantly-sniping enemy. Notice everybody thought inviting WBC was a terrible idea. Now notice Karla Porter.


  1. says

    It’s all a bit too much… Like, if this were a movie, I’d be saying, Well, that’s a bit over the top. Who would actually invite the WBC to an event, twice? A little unbelievable, but hey. It’s a story. The director’s making a point…

    Life is surreal sometimes.

  2. Ulysses says

    Moore likes to act unilaterally and is convinced of his own rectitude. His notpology at the end of his post at Friendly Atheist is quite telling:

    We apologize to any who view this letter negatively. It was never our intent to shed a negative light on our movement, but rather to promote it in a constructive way.

    So if you don’t like Moore inviting WBC to the Reason Rally that’s too bad. He thought it was a great idea and you should just suck it up.

  3. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    What’s the matter with them? I think we’ve been finding out there are a lot of clinically anti-social people that weren’t obvious to us before. Not just run of the mill jerks, but people with serious social problems. People you don’t want to turn you back on—really, not just jokingly.

  4. Pierce R. Butler says

    From the NAP letter linked above:

    The letter was written in a light-hearted fashion, and the Twitter reply from Megan Phelps-Roper actually contained a smiley face. I am sure that we can maintain civility.

    How nice that we’ve gotten that straightened out, and now know how to maintain civility in all circumstances.

    🙂 Eat 🙂 shit 🙂 and 🙂 die :-), National Atheist Party Public Relations Department 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂


  5. says

    The question isn’t “what’s the matter with them?” since the clear answer is that they are all deeply disturbed people who need serious help before being reintroduced into society, and eventually being allowed to live without adult supervision.

    The REAL question is “why do organizations tolerate and even occasionally embrace these clearly dysfunctional people?!?!” We look at them and say what PZ said: “WTF? What is the matter with these people?” The organizers of some “skeptical” events look at the same people and say ” WTF? Why can’t we have them speak TWICE at our fundraising bonanza?!?!”

  6. says

    They are assholes who quite clearly enjoy shit-stirring, but how does that in any way make them “deeply disturbed” and “dysfunctional”?

    Not every asshole in the world has a mental disorder.

    Thoroughly agreed.

  7. Ulysses says

    I don’t think Moore is “deeply disturbed” or “dysfunctional.” I’m convinced he’s an egotist who wants to be a leader in the atheist movement. His National Atheist Party appears to consist of himself and a few sycophants. I believe he invited the WBC to the Reason Rally as a publicity stunt. “See how edgy and bold I am? Vote for me to be Maximum Leader because I would be great at the job!”

  8. sailor1031 says

    Well he as good as said it was a publicity stunt. And a joke. Just kidding you see! Now if he had only admitted straight away that it was a really bad joke gone totally wrong, really apologise and promise never to do it again (you know all that catholic confession shit) we could absolve him of his sin and no more to be said. But, as always, failure to do the simple, honest thing leads to more and more and more shit that persists long after the reason rally is a memory. But he has managed to raise the profile of this NAP thing, but in a totally negative way so I guess that’s a plus.

  9. hoary puccoon says

    Sailor @11–

    No apology, no matter how sincere, would make Lee Moore a person to trust. Maybe years of towing the line and not pulling this kind of stunt. Maybe.

    I’ve never gone along with the hypothesis that the slyme pitters were really evangelicals trying to wreck the atheist movement. But I think with the NAP, that might be something to consider.

  10. says

    So, these people are basically just overgrown frat boys, shit-disturbing for the lulz?

    Having said that, I have to admit I did appreciate the chance to see WBC in the flesh last year at the RR. Of course, 1) There were like 20000 of us vs. about a dozen of them and 2) Being straight & cis I’m not so much in their direct line of fire. I’m not sure eg. how Nate Phelps felt about having to get up on stage with his toxic family looking on…..

    Oh, and @13: Thank you, so much, for issuing that correction. Pet peeve of mine.

  11. says

    As Eamon mentioned, before I knew about this today, I was also thinking how very difficult it had to be for Nate Phelps to speak at the rally with his estranged (and very strange) family looking on – but to find out that this Lee Moore actually invited them is simply beyond the pale! Sure, they might have turned up on their own, but hten any trouble they might have caused would have been on them, not on the already-hated atheists! As the commenter you quoted alluded, the WBC is stacked with lawyers whose very raison d’etre is to sue people whom they entrap in these sorts of situations, and this Moore fool invited that on the rally! I am so disgusted!! UGH!
    Thanks for posting that, Ophelia. Obviously, pulling stunts like this is not just a one-off by Karla Porter – this is something of a thing with some people. Wow. Are they undercover operatives for the fundamentalists or what?

    Josh #5 – absolutely right – are either of these shit-disturbers expected at WIS2? Because if so, I want to know who to watch for and give them a wide berth. Jeebus!

  12. says

    Are they undercover operatives for the fundamentalists or what?

    Hanlon’s razor: Never assume a conspiracy when simple incompetence will suffice.

    That’s the second time I’ve invoked it in the space of an hour.

  13. athyco says

    How recently did Lee Moore tell you that he’d be attending WiS2, Ophelia? On March 16, he wrote this in his article “The A-News Peace Project Is Cancelled but Civil Discourse Must Go On”:

    It saddens me to report this, due to a recent medical issue I will be unable to host the proposed discussion to promote civil discourse between Atheists. Since I will not be recovering anytime soon, I see little point in just postponing it. On top of this I will not be attending any conferences or other events in the near future.

    Not life-threatening, as I understand from the comments, but there have been no updates that put him back into the swing of things. Overall, A-News has been pretty quiet since then.

  14. Anthony K says

    Lee Moore:

    It is no big secret that atheists and freethinkers have a major image problem. According to polls, we are mistrusted almost as much as rapists.

    …so we unilaterally invited the WBC as a publicity stunt and then wrote a big fuck you to all the people who said it was an asshole move.”

    Is there any chance we might get Lee Moore to take his prodigious PR skills to the other side? He could do a lot of good for atheists by working for, say, the Family Research Council.

  15. says

    athyco – it was before that. I told him I was out well before he posted that. I saw that post but forgot that he’d mentioned conferences – then again I have no idea what he considers the near future.

  16. says

    Lee Moore: I’d already drawn the conclusion he was hopelessly naïve or a fool, but the evidence for agent provocateur seems to be mounting. Whose cat’s paw is he?

  17. Anthony K says

    Remind me who’s supposed to be creating drama again?

    I think Lee here has set the gold standard.

  18. brianpansky says

    “Some have patted us on the back and thanked us for sending the invitation. …We have serious doubts that the invitation — sent three weeks prior to the event — had much of an effect on whether the WBC planned to attend.”

    wow, same bullshit excuse: “We have serious doubts that the invitation…had much of an effect on whether the WBC planned to attend”

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