Eric Broze, a friend of mine and of Skeptic Ink, passed away suddenly this week. Eric and his wife Rose generously donated some of their time and expertise back in 2012 when we were developing this incarnation of the website. It was a difficult time for me, not having much of a clue about what I was doing, and not having a great deal of spare income. When we migrated to the new site, just about everyone immediately liked it much better and it looks and works much better than anything I could have done. I have Eric and Rose to thank for that.
That doesn’t scratch the surface of all that Eric accomplished, nor the friends and allies he helped with their struggles as he did me with mine. Judging from my Facebook feed today, he was even more prolific than I ever knew. Eric and Rose created the successful Coming Out Godless project, where former believers share their stories for all to read. He used to be a member of the Independent Investigations Group when he lived in LA. He created or helped to create many websites for secularist groups, such as the United Church of Bacon. He created loads of t-shirts and other products with clever, positive slogans (Check out the Zazzle store).
I did not know Eric so well as I would like, but I got to meet him and Rose (in person) at the last TAM, and found them delightful. Even in a place highly charged with a positive energy like TAM, their warmth and kindness stood out. The genuineness of the smiles, the exuberance for skepticism. That is the most striking thing, what I shall remember the most and what I invite you to reflect on. Consider the contrast: By chance, I met Eric during some of the darkest times in the skepticism and secularism circles I am part of. In-fighting, back-biting and general vituperative viciousness seemed to reach an all-time high. People spoke of irreparable rifts, they despaired.
It could not have been lost on Eric, as I am increasingly convinced everyone in skepticism knew him. But such darkness found no purchase upon him, at least so far as I ever saw. His pace did not slow, his smile did not wane. He made more than wry T-shirts and charming websites, he brought light. His spirit shone starkly. He kept his focus on the good work yet to be done and he helped anyone he thought was doing it. While others believed that strength lies in their attitudinal “don’t give a ****”, Eric proved the real strength, enduring strength, lies in the opposite, in caring. Nobody will remember you for what you tore down, but for what you built. Eric never stopped building, in the world, and in the hearts of his friends.
Sincerest condolences to Rose on behalf of myself and Skeptic Ink.
Rose is accepting donations via paypal and this email address: firstname.lastname@example.org