Atheist solidarity

Oh sure. Of course. See a photo of people sending a message of solidarity to imprisoned atheists in majority-Muslim countries, a photo organized by Maryam Namazie, the founder of the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain and inspiration for Councils of Ex-Muslims elsewhere such as Morocco, France, North America.

In that photo we’re all holding messages we composed for the purpose. Mine said “WE ARE ATHEIST. WE ARE WITH YOU.”

Stephanie Zvan, Ophelia Benson, Brianne Bilyeu, Maryam Namazie, Jason Thibeault, Kate Donovan, Miriam Mogilevski, PZ Myers, Ashley Miller. Photo by Brian D. Engler.

See that, I say, and photoshop it for a rather different purpose.

Embedded image permalink

 That’s atheist solidarity for you. I’m sure the persecuted atheists in majority-Muslim countries are very grateful.


  1. Chris J says

    ^ And by that I mean the people who bully FreeThought bloggers… it sounded less ambiguous in my head…

  2. splen says

    Oh cute, he put his little cartoon avatar into the picture. I guess using his actual face would have been too creepy.

  3. says

    The handiwork of the usual lovely bunch – a dedicated group of obnoxious, uncouth, and hateful morons who use their godlessness as an excuse to parade their vile misogyny and sexism and direct their bilious – and frankly pathetic – hate obsessively towards Ophelia and a few other FTBloggers. To me it feels… I don’t even know how I feel at this point. Sad, tired, irritated, angry at these pathetic morons and their obsessive hatred – so far removed from the freethought movement that I had once welcomed.

    For the sake of my sanity, Imma gonna cling to the comfort of the idea that this represents only a handful of obsessive, useless haters with nothing better in life to do, except wallow in bullshit.

  4. Pen says

    Who has the wit of a 7th grader? Errrr….*

    I’m pleased to say that unlike several of the commenters here, I don’t know the name of the perpetrator of this ‘masterpiece’. I think he should be set lines though. Or maybe a detention or two.

  5. says

    I spent some time after seeing this scrolling through that Mayhew Tumblr, wherein she has opinions about art (‘can you imagine anything more cliché than Surlyramics?’–sure, manga-inspired sci-fi “epics”) and humor (Rebecca Watson is bad at it, because ‘snark). Perhaps she should turn those opinions on her pals, who seem to think that crude Photoshoppery is the height of artistic expression, and that telling the same joke over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over again for years is the stuff of comedy legend.

  6. splen says

    Don’t forget Downfall parody videos, nothing says comedy genius like a dozen Downfall parody videos.

  7. PatrickG says

    @ Tom Foss: To be fair, they can only come up with an original attack once every two months or so. Not the sharpest tools in the shed, here.

  8. dorfl says

    I don’t even get it. It’s like when they heard about muslims and feminists, they just threw together the words ‘sand’ and ‘vagina’ and decided it was as good as a joke.

  9. Bjarte Foshaug says

    Here’s what I don’t get: Why aren’t these people more ashamed of themselves? I mean, even if I didn’t have any shred of decency, I’m pretty sure I would still be too embarrassed to reveal myself as the kind of person who had such shameful thoughts going through my head in the first place. It’s juvenile!

  10. says

    “Shame? I must have no shame. Shame is the mind killer, the little-death that brings total self awareness. I will ignore my shame. I will permit it to pass over me and land on someone else. And when it has gone past I will turn my inner eye upon it and laugh at the poor sucker it landed on. Where the shame has gone there will be nothing but my comedic genius. Only I will remain.”

    Brave Hero oath

  11. says

    Bjarte – don’t forget – most of them aren’t doing this embarrassing juvenile shit as themselves. That’s one big reason shame and embarrassment don’t get in the way: they do it behind nyms. Why do they do it behind nyms? So that their embarrassing juvenile shit doesn’t dirty up their lives and careers, and so that they can feel free of embarrassment and shame themselves.

  12. PatrickG says

    @ Subtract Hominem, 13:

    Oh, I didn’t mean to imply this was original. Just that they’re forced to constantly recycle. 🙂

  13. throwaway, never proofreads, every post a gamble says


    What ‘terrible grammar’?

    Because the question is phrased singularly (“Who has a…”), the collective answer implies that a single sandy vagina belongs to all of them. The correct phrasing would have been “Which of us have sandy vaginas? We all do!”

  14. says

    throwaway @22 Wouldn’t “Who among us ….” also be acceptable?

    Gosh, what terrible, terrible bullies you hang with, Ophelia! Clearly lacking the classiness added by that ‘shop-job ….

  15. throwaway, never proofreads, every post a gamble says

    I was thinking that as well, A Waterchapel. Unfortunately it wasn’t until after I hit submit when the thought crossed my mind. I’d have preferred the “Who among us..” if I were going to be an unrestrained asshole like M*keru.

  16. RJW says



    My dictionary also defines “who” as, ‘any person’ and “be it who may’, so the question could, in my “dialect”, be interpreted in the plural.
    It’s not really “terrible grammar” but simply common usage.

  17. Bjarte Foshaug says

    @Ophelia #19
    Anonymity may help them hide their shame and dishonor from others, but not from themselves. I don’s see how anyone can live with that, but I’m probably just weird 😉

  18. latsot says

    This is the lovely gentleman who accused me all over Twitter of being a rapist because… well, because he wanted to, I suppose. It was his idea of an argument. Twitter decided that was perfectly OK.

    There aren’t many people as horrible as Mykeru. But it’s probably not a coincidence that the few people I know who are nearly as horrible are his friends.

    I think part of the problem is that these people take things so personally. They seem to think that any perceived attack on what they believe is an attack on them, personally. And their response is always personal too. It’s as if they have no senses of proportion, empathy or not being a hateful puke. Perhaps it’s the lack of any sense of proportion that leads to photoshop jobs like this one. They’ve forgotten what it is they’re protesting about. Who knows?

    I get a tiny fraction of the abuse Ophelia and others get, but it still wears me down from time to time. I can’t imagine how I’d cope if I had to face this kind of hatred all the time.

  19. Schlumbumbi says

    What stuns me much more is the more than obvious white, middle-aged, middle-class privilege of all people in the photograph, holding up Gutmensch signs of solidarity… enough to send cold shivers down my spine.

  20. says

    Yes, nothing is more frightening than people with the privilege to be able to express their beliefs freely raising awareness about the people who aren’t. So scary.

  21. says

    What a beautiful sentiment, Shlumlord. Yes indeed. You’re another Nelson Mandela, you are, expressing your disgust at “middle-aged” women by dressing it up as pseudo-leftist outrage at “privilege.” Of course that requires completely ignoring the presence of Maryam Namazie in the photo, along with her reasons for organizing us to express our solidarity with imprisoned atheists in majority-Muslim parts of the world. But what the hell, what do Maryam and the imprisoned atheists matter compared to your need to express disgust at some bloggers? Priorities! It’s good to see that you have yours right.

    I do hope you’ve recovered from your spasms of disgust by now.

  22. says

    Ophelia, he’s just expressing that same cold fear that I’ve seen the last several days on the news coverage, where clearly distressed pundits and media personalities recounted with horror, as one might a ghost story, when the mostly white, middle-aged, upper-class privileged men and women in Congress overrode a presidential veto to impose sanctions on the apartheid government in South Africa in 1986, and how the South Africans who had implored governments around the world to do so were caught in this monkey’s paw scenario, not knowing what terrible horror they had unleashed. Let us hope the world never again has to endure the terrible, unfathomable consequences that occur when those with privilege try to stand up for those without. It gives me goosebumps just to think about it.

  23. shari says

    seriously, has that guy done anything reedeeming ever? I can follow the FTB activism because you guys promote speaking gigs, radio appearances, articles, etc. Is there anything out there he has done that’s constructive?


    I mean, identifying as an atheist ought to mean alignment or support against institutionalized religious harm or something. So there ‘could be’ some good he is doing….theoretically…..once…..somewhere……

    has there been?

  24. throwaway, never proofreads, every post a gamble says

    shari: The only good he’s ever done is provide as an example of shitty behavior for multiple teachable moments. Not teachable in the sense of “he’s capable of being taught,” no, hell no, I mean anyone who wants to be a decent person can look at his behavior and do the opposite and they’d be on pretty firm ground. So it’s kind of the ultimate irony that the whole kerfuffle they owe their existence to, and the catchphrase that had them up in arms, is so widely applicable to everything they’ve done and continue to do – “Guys/gals – don’t do that.”

  25. says

    Here’s what I don’t get: Why aren’t these people more ashamed of themselves?

    Because, atheist or no, these are the dregs of our society: the undisciplined, uncultured, uneducated, uneducable lowlifes who either never got the education and civilized upbringing they needed, or vindictively rejected what education they were offered because being a boorish goon was just the easier path. These are the kind of people we use door-locks, call-blocking, cops, selective socialization and other routine tricks to avoid — who have suddenly found a new technical means to bypass all of our blocks and hog all the attention they’ve been denied all their wretched lives.

    Before the Internet became a fixture in nearly every household, the tech-race between pond-scum seeking to inflict themselves on everyone else, and everyone else, was mostly in favor of decent people: every new means of communication managed to evolve countermeasures that kept the lowlifes from using them to harass others. Now we have the Internet, and all its various tools for getting public attention, and — at this time at least — we haven’t yet found the means to consistently keep the lowlifes out of our business; and the general public are not yet reconciled to the fact that certain people on the Internet should not be on it, and should not be commanding our attention as they currently do.

    I like to think of a previous new-and-indispensible technology, the telephone. First it was invented, then everyone saw how useful it could be, then everyone got telephones — and then we learned the hard way that “everyone” includes undisciplined, unscrupulous lowlifes who use it to harass, threaten, and defraud people. So then we developed means of blocking the worst of the worst from making our new communication tool less usable: new laws, new call-filtering, call-blocking and call-tracing tools; and as a result, the problem of obscene and harassing phone calls is now much smaller than it once was. Sooner or later, something similar is bound to happen with the Internet. We could probably start by: a) treating Twitter as a toxic-waste dump; and b) not giving too much additional attention to the lowlifes when they do show themselves in their designated playpens.

  26. says

    RB – well except that that’s not always the case. For all I know it’s not even often the case. “Mykeru” for instance has a respectable job with a respectable agency of the federal government.

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