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Posted on Oct 4, 2012 in blogosphere, separation of church and state | 229 comments

I resign my leadership position with Secular Coalition for America

For immediate release

October 4, 2012 – 12:15PM EST

For more information, please contact Justin Vacula:

@justinvacula on Twitter

Justin Vacula resigns leadership position with Secular Coalition for America

Following a lengthy period of self-reflection and deliberation, I am freely resigning from my position as co-chair of the Secular Coalition for America’s Pennsylvania chapter.

The Secular Coalition for America was founded in order to “formalize a cooperative structure for visible, unified activism to improve the civic situation of citizens with a naturalistic worldview.” Unfortunately, some persons in this community who have been quite vocal in objecting to my appointment – and many who were quick to dismiss me — do not seem to be interested in that.

Instead of mainly focusing on issues such as religious privileging, defending the separation of church and state, strengthening the secular community, engaging in ‘real-life activism,’ improving the perception of secular individuals, or even constructively discussing how to constructively guide others who may err – a ‘you are with us or against us’ attitude is coupled with personal vendettas and whispering campaigns taking the stage regardless of concerns about the cohesion of the secular movement.

Organizations are attacked, leaders of major organizations are condemned, prominent authors are boycotted, and ‘real-life’ careers are targeted as a result of disagreements or misunderstandings which likely could have been resolved by a simple telephone call…or ignored. Many have left the secular community, similarly vacated leadership positions of national organizations, or have been discouraged from participating as a result. This is not a constructive and positive way to address conflict.

Almost immediately following my appointment with the Secular Coalition for America, I was the target of a campaign of lies, character attacks, and distortions. My detractors did not only brand me as an ‘enemy of the people’ in a similar fashion to the respective play written by Henrik Ibsen, but also attacked the Secular Coalition for America – an organization with women as staff members including the organization’s executive director – claiming it “dislike[s] feminist secular activists in Pennsylvania,” is responsible for “alienating women,” and “is woefully out of sync with the atheist movement” to just mention three items. Those who demand respect and object to disrespect — as should be apparent — offer no or little respect to others, thus not modeling the behavior they wish to see.

I have indeed made some mistakes and handled some situations poorly in past months. These mistakes were errors of judgment and were not, by any means, coupled with malicious intent. My detractors have blown these mistakes out of proportion almost never bothering to mention my concessions, never to personally contact me in a constructive manner to address grievances, or correct their own mistakes — and treated me unfairly.

It is obvious that there is a significant problem in the secular community. Conflict which is not conducive to growth and positive change — especially that which can be avoided — is a blight on a secular movement which could be so much stronger, effective, and working toward better accomplishing the goals which many in the community likely became active because of.

I am thus putting my personal wants aside and resigning from my position as co-chair of the Secular Coalition for America’s Pennsylvania chapter in order to end this toxic controversy. I do not wish to see the organization and its staff which I will continue to support – and many individuals who support me — buffeted with attacks. The Secular Coalition for America should return to dealing with legislative action, lobbying, press releases, and so much more rather than controversy drawing unnecessary and unhelpful ‘lines in the sand’ which are unfortunate for all in the community. I look forward to a more positive and constructive secular community which I will continue to be a part of.

Intrepid readers have noted some issues concerning word usage and an extra ‘with.’ I have corrected those silly issues. Thanks for the tips. The non-edited version is frozen here.

19 Pingbacks/Trackbacks

  • ERV

    And the terrorists win.

    Hope you keep working hard and being productive in your work towards secular causes in real life, Justin.

    • Mick

      I guess you are referring to Vacula’s crowing that “Jen’s allegedly finished blogging…and this time it’s not her boyfriend who kicked her off the internet”-in reference to Jen McCreight closing her blog after getting to many rape threats.

      Did I guess that right?

      • Huh. I assumed he was talking about posting Surly Amy’s home address in the shark tank that is the Slyme Pit and making like Urkel “did I do that?” when the sharks tore into it.

        At least I assume that’s what “and ‘real-life’ careers are targeted” meant since she was forced to move. And of course this exposure also freaked out her [former] apartment complex neighbor who I understand was none other than DJ Grothe.

        This is not a constructive and positive way to address conflict.

        Well that’s for sure. And another way is to not put an instigator of same in a position of influence.

        • real horrorshow

          Sulky Amy was forced to move? I still find Surlyramics listed at the same address. Tres de luxe too!

    • Gogo Yubari

      lol. This from the hate-monger who waged a cruel year-long war against a young woman and everyone who dared defend her.

      Abbie, you’ve succeeded in marginalizing yourself and your slimy, narcissistic little friends. Try not to go all Donald Rumsfeld on everyone’s ass, k? ‘Cause nobody but the likes of Justicar, Scented Nectar, and Jeremy Stangroom is buying that shit.

  • Christian Poppycock

    Bummer. The last thing we need is to be fighting amongst ourselves.

    • Josh Anderson

      > Bummer. The last thing we need is to be fighting amongst ourselves.

      You mean like posting diatribes against female atheists on “Men’s Rights” websites? Justin here is a class act.

      • Copyleft

        He is indeed, I’m glad you recognize that.

        Despite what the plusser gestapo demands, skepticism does not require lockstep agreement with the bizarre brand of extreme (and irrational) feminism preached at FTB. Nor does rejecting such dogma make one a ‘misogynist.’

      • James Huff

        You mean like actually telling the truth about feminist hypocrisy and their inability to accept any objective reality in order to propagate the same old tired “I’m a victim” (read attention-whore) schtick?

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  • Justin, you linked to Emily Dietle’s post standing up for you where it was made clear even she thought you had things to apologise for. You say as much yourself

    I have indeed made some mistakes and handled some situations poorly in past months. These mistakes were errors of judgment and were not, by any means, coupled with malicious intent.

    On that post it is made clear that no one (Well almost!) was against the idea of you having a second chance if you admitted to mistakes and apologised. Specifically I believe the AVfM post and the Surly Amy address posting which is even roundly acknowledged by slimepitters (Not ERV) as a mistake.

    So why not take that route? Or is it impossible to apologise when the people demanding it are almost universal hate figures in the slime-world?

    Frankly if you had apologised and it was not accepted then you would have a pretty strong case for the divisive nature of FtBs/Skepchicks. As it is… Not so much.

    • Oolon wrote: “and the Surly Amy address posting which is even roundly acknowledged by slimepitters (Not ERV) as a mistake.”

      What are you talking about? We roundly agree that he simply showed that *Amy herself* had made her dox public on a business promoting site, and she still hasn’t removed it, I guess she’s REAL scared.

      He did it in response to accusations that he was only appealing her earlier false DMCA claim in order to get her address.

      The only mistake he made was in not predicting that malicious assholes would cherry pick his showing of the address, which was really Amy’s own showing of her address, by copying it instead of just linking to it. They, AND YOU, are acting like he exposed private info, when in fact he was simply disproving a spurious claim that he was trying to get her address.

      I think most of the SlimePit agrees on this one. What Bizarro World Slimepit were you reading?

      • Even Tuvok described it as ‘a mistake’ … He is one of the most hardened anti-FtB’ers I’ve come across. Quote from the slymepit

        I don’t think many people found him posting it a smart idea – from memory he posted it and immediately people were like WTF (because the Slimepit self-corrects, heh)

        Maybe you have your ‘ignore’ settings on too high a level Nectar?

        • I don’t use the ignore settings.

          I believe that most people think the mistake was not in docdropping, but in leaving a hole wide open for you guys to cherry pick. And cherry pick you have! Why won’t you acknowledge that *Amy herself* made her own address public and she still hasn’t taken it down. So, where’s there been any real docdropping on Justin’s part?

          • Mike Wagner

            There is a difference in having your information posted in the context of your business and having someone drop that information in front of a lynch mob.
            Lynch mobs are lazy and stupid. He was playing up to hostile assholes knowing they would do his dirty work.

            • Astrokid.NJ

              And what exact ‘dirty work’ did those ‘hostile assholes’ do with the address?

              • Ella

                Harassed and intimidated her? What else do you think a bunch of semi-anonymous people on the Internet in a forum called the Slyme Pit would do with such information about someone they had been actively ridiculing and taunting?

                But now you’d have to ask the people who live there as to what sort of harassment they continue to receive, because, as I understand it, Surly Amy was forced to move. And I sincerely doubt she gives two craps about relating the experience to anyone who disdainfully airquotes ‘hostile assholes’ regarding the people that caused her to do so.

                • Warthog

                  “What else do you think a bunch of semi-anonymous people on the Internet in a forum called the Slyme Pit would do with such information about someone they had been actively ridiculing and taunting?”

                  Well, what did they do?

                  “Surly Amy was forced to move”

                  Why? What happened? Did a raging misogynistic horde of men and their she-beasts descend on the building with flaming pitchforks and Dawkins propaganda?

                  I’ll bet not.

              • Astrokid.NJ

                Yawn.. where have we heard this story before? Oh.. from skepchick RW. “Hundreds of rape threats” etc etc. And people are fed up asking for evidence. agin and again. This is really boring. What.. do you think we have nothing better to do that seek out that idiot? I am slimepitter myself and We mostly LOL at you idiots, and speaking for myself.. am only trying to discover the psychology in you losers that results in this idiot behaviour.
                Call the cops. Iam sure slimepitters will be happy to cooperate with any LE investigation into the “harassment due to address drop”.

        • CommanderTuvok

          Yeah, I said it was a mistake to actually post a link to it. I agree with Justin that Amy was lying when she said the DMCA was to simply get her address. Justin could have mentioned the address is already available, which was true, and could have easily demonstrated what a dishonest person Surly Amy is.

          I’m sure you would agree that on this basis PZ Myers, Rebecca Watson, Greg Laden and Surly Amy are all to be shunned in the community, for they have doc-dropped. Doc-dropped information that was actually private, and not what was already available on the web anyway.

          You can toddle back along to Uncle PZ now for your milk and cookies.

    • BrainFromArous

      “Frankly if you had apologised and it was not accepted then you would have a pretty strong case for the divisive nature of FtBs/Skepchicks.”

      … because there’s a lack thereof, as things stand?

      That Justin screwed up here or there does not grant his attackers legitimacy. This wasn’t about “The Movement;” Justin’s foes were out to take the scalp of someone who publicly defied them because they’re vicious, creepy culture-Marxist Jacobins and that’s how they roll.

      Nor had this anything to do with the status of women in Secularism. Justin could have a DV rap sheet as long as my arm and still be A-OK with you-know-who so long as he faithfully proclaimed their catechism.

    • Oh bollocks, he DID apologize for the surly amy thing, he admitted it was a mistake and he shouldn’t have done it. What he didn’t do was bow and scrape ENOUGH.

      • I believe you John, shame I didn’t know about it as I would have linked to it on FtBs as being in his favour. Where? In a post on the Slymepit?

        • Steersman

          Not quite sure what you’re getting at there but in the following post on the SlymePit Justin did at least concede that it was an “Unwise posting”:

          There’s also a notation from the board moderator indicating the reason for the deletion: “request of OP”

    • Oolon, I have been hearing a lot of talk from you here and there. Still, despite the numerous occasions where I have seen you try and make a valid point I always find myself saying aloud “What the hell is that supposed to mean?” or ” I wonder how someone can come to such a silly conclusion” I rarely find myself behaving in such a way. Today is no exception. How someone can take an olive branch and attempt to beat the person who offered it is beyond me. I think it is safe to say people like you are not part of any solution to conflict. You are just shallow and vindictive. You are simpleminded and unable to realize that some are able to see their mistakes and work to correct them. I would like to give you credit for one positive aspect which arises from reading your twisted view of the world. Every morning when I wake up I give thanks to whatever force that created me, be it chance, or some invisible childish entity that I was not born as god damn dumb as you.

      • Maybe I’m wearing my ‘not-pology’ sensitive sunglasses today but where in that post is this ‘olive branch’ of which you speak?

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  • Eliza Kashinsky

    Thank you Justin, for the work that you have done in the past for Secularism and for the PA State Chapter of the Secular Coalition. We wish you well in your future endeavors.

    Eliza Kashinsky
    Secular Coalition for America

  • Shadow of the Hedgehog

    The gloating is already beginning at FTB. It’s your life and your decision Justin but I’m afraid you’ve given them encouragement to harass and bully every secular organization out there.

    • Agreed. This just shows those that are attempting a hostile takeover of atheism that they can bully and harass their way to their goals.

      I understand why Justin would want to remove the controversy about him from the SCA so they can concentrate on their actual work but it’s a shame.

      That FtB etc are celebrating this when they raged about BlagHag being “forced off the internet” only demonstrates their blatant hypocrisy.

      Best wishes for your future endeavours, Justin.

      • rickthetwinkie

        Blatant hypocrisy? Was he sent rape and death threats? If he has been, many of us would be among those who decry them.

        If by harassment you mean calling attention to Vacula’s actions and petitioning a public organization for what many consider to be an inappropriate choice for a leadership position, then you obviously don’t support many of the ways in which people act on issues.

        How does the atheist community get things done? They call attention to the actions of the religious community. They file lawsuits. They file petitions. They do something about it. Would you call this harassment? Would you call this bullying? Oh, but you’ll name the call for accountability for Justin Vacula “bullying”.

        Maybe you should call for atheist and freethought organizations to stop bullying all of those poor religious organizations.

  • James Gavin

    On the understanding that you don’t know me from Adam:

    While I respect your reasons for stepping down, I do wish you hadn’t.

    That said: it’s good to know that you’re continuing your activism and I wish you all the best with that.

  • But…you never apologized.

    If you had, and people had ignored your apologies and continued calling for your resignation, the case you’re making here could definitely be made. But you never apologized for publishing Amy’s address. You never apologized for writing for a misogynistic publication. If you have, please provide links to those apologies.

    • Copyleft

      Why would he apologize for writing a column for AVfM? It’s not a crime to disagree with radical feminism.

      Not yet, anyway….

      • Ruby

        Oh, please. The MRM don’t just disagree with ‘radical feminism’. I daresay they disagree with the notion of women being anything more than subservient, sandwich-fetching sex toys — and this is coming from a sex-positive feminist.

        The greater MRM movement (at least on the internet) is a viper pit filled with jerkfaced throwback neckbeards and creeps who mask their insecurities and bitter belly-aching for being jerkfaced throwback neckbeards and creeps with pitiful whinging and victimhood behavior. They’re 2’s who feel entitled to 12’s (not just looks-wise but personality-wise as well as ideologically) and it’s all those damned womens’ fault… because we look at them and know we can do better, even if we’re alone.

        Anybody who aligns themselves with the MRM is going to get dragged down into the viper pit, unless the men out there who are genuinely in favor of equality on many different levels and facets of society disengage and distance themselves from the poisonous ‘manosphere’ movement.

        • highjohn

          “jerkfaced throwback neckbeards and creeps” “They’re 2′s who feel entitled to 12′s (not just looks-wise but personality-wise as well as ideologically) and it’s all those damned womens’ fault… because we look at them and know we can do better, even if we’re alone.” My, how liberated, how egalitarian … oh wait, how bigoted, how reactionary, how 1950ish, how prefeminist…

        • Copyleft

          I’m sure you do see the MRM that way, Ruby… but so what? Why should we accept your assessment, obviously biased and hateful as it is, as the truth?

          (There’s that darn ol’ skepticism again….)

          And even if they were every bit as opposed to equality for women as you claim–again, SO WHAT? How does that make Justin less of a skeptic for posting on their site? How does it hurt his work to preserve the separation of church and state? So some extreme feminists are pissed off… big deal. Some extreme racists are probably ticked off that so many prominent skeptics are white, too. Such people cannot demand obedience; heck, they cannot demand we even pay attention to their irrational whining.

    • Comment

    • Miriam, how about every contributor to every feminist publication apologises for misandry? Does that sound reasonable to you? Use balanced objectivity or shut the fuck up. K? K.

      And Amy’s address wasn’t published. It was (and remains) public domain.

      Are you always this stupid, or do you get up especially early to practice?

      • Mike Wagner

        Can I have your address and phone number? I’d like to post it over on Stormfront.

      • Gogo Yubari

        how about every contributor to every feminist publication apologises for misandry?

        1) Justin did not write for just any MRA site.

        2) Feminism is not about misandry. I know ya’ll love to pretend it is, but it isn’t.

        On the other hand, the MRM is infested with misogyny.

        And more to the point, misogyny is widespread and internalized in a way misandry just isn’t. And males–generally speaking!–have power and cultural capital females lack. The evidence for this is overwhelming (to everyone but MRAs.)

        3) Even if you disagree with #2 above, “tu quoque” is not a valid argument.

        • Copyleft

          Gogo: You’re right that femnism’s opponents don’t get to define what feminism is all about.

          Guess what? Opponents of the MRM don’t get that privilege, either.

    • No, he didn’t apologize ENOUGH for the Surly Amy doc drop thing, and why should he apologize for a SINGLE post on AVfM, which was mostly a way to ensure the post that Surly Amy et al tried to silence wouldn’t be.

      One post. he added a few paragraphs to it, and now, you’ve decided that he is in lockstep with everyone on AVfM, despite having NO evidence for that whatsoever.

      Where’s the apology from Laden and Zvan and Myers for the crap they put Abbie Smith through, including trying to manipulate her boss into silencing her?

      Where’s the apology from Zvan for supporting Laden’s right to threaten violence against another FTB blogger, and the relentless attacks Laden made on Justin Griffith because he didn’t march lockstep with how they thought he should think.

      Where’s the apology from Rebecca Watson for doc-dropping?

      no where. And yet, you demand a level of behavior from Justin that you demand from no one else. Why should Justin Vacula grovel at your feet when you have no problem with the people on your “side” being everything you accuse him of?

      • Do you really think Greg Laden, PZ, Ophelia ‘represent’ me or anyone else in the atheist community? Beyond me being a fan of *some* of their output I am not on their ‘side’. I didn’t sign up to the PZ-draft to fight misogynist assholes on the internet as defined by him or anyone else. So I am not responsible for any perceived ‘sins’ of theirs and I don’t need to take every action of theirs into account when deciding if Justin has acted like an arsehole.

        This is one of the most tiresome stupidities trotted out by *some* slimepitters. If we really had to weigh the sins of Justins detractors against his own to make any moral decision then we really would be in some sort of bizarre religion. A* theism?

        • So in other words, just as you feel you have no requirement to demand apologies from Laden, PeeZus, Zvan et al, why doesn’t that apply to Justin.

          Why must HE apologize, over and over, for every damned mistake he’s ever made, and they get a free damned pass from you?

          • Well John I’ve not been ‘monitoring’ all of FtBs output with the microscopic level of detail the slimepit goes in for. Which is bizarre given I go there a lot to read it and like most of it – in fact there are probably very few FtBs fans who know as much about FtBs and its bloggers/commenters as the slymepit!

            The one incident I saw, Greg Laden’s ‘threat’, I criticised. I have also criticised Greg for it in comment threads. He ended up off FtBs, that was good enough for me if Justin was happy with it.

            But see! I’ve fallen into your trap. Get the conversation over to every little/medium/big thing that anyone on the other ‘side’ has ever done so you can go over and over and over it ad nauseam.

          • Gogo Yubari

            Has he apologized?

  • Patrick

    This is how the FTBullies will ultimately win, to rule over a failed and shrunken movement.

    Fuck ’em.

    • I for one welcome our new bullying overlords and their glorious shrunken movement.

  • I find it interesting that Atheism+, a small splinter group that claims not to be divisive, has succeeded in establishing its first victim through its divisive actions.

    I cannot say I am impressed. Your detractors will now have the impetus to continue their vendetta against you, robbing the community of one of the hardest working and more eloquent amongst us.

    In fact, far from being unimpressed, I am disgusted. Those that will claim this as a victory will ultimately ostracise themselves further. They are only a small group, vociferous as they are. As their lies and misrepresentations continue to erode the secular movement, so will their influence.

    Do not let them win again.

    • ? The platypus

      A+ was never ment to be non divisive. Much the oppisit, it recognizes there is a division between those who attack women for tacking and active role in society and those who don’t find that acceptable.

      • Copyleft

        Yes, that’s their self-serving definition of their virtuous cause. Other interpretations exist, of course… but they hate America.

        Welcome to the Atheist Tea Party, supreme judges of all that is right and good. Disagree with them at your peril, freethinkers!

  • margiebargie

    I am disappointed that you resigned, and I am extremely disappointed that you are playing the victim. I wish you would have apologized for your part in the conflict. You definitely did some things that were inexcusably wrong (“A Voice for Men”, posting Amy’s address).

    Resigning implies that you would rather pass up this opportunity than acknowledge and learn from your mistakes. That is too bad. It really is.

    • Copyleft

      Again, writing for AVfM is not–repeat, NOT–a crime. Nor is it an outrage, an offense, or an inexcusable act of hostility. It’s writing a freakin’ opinion piece that’s posted on a site that a lot of extreme feminists despise with every fiber of their being.

      As skeptics and freethinkers, we should be applauding such actions rather than demanding apologies.

      • margiebargie

        Good grief! AVfM is featured on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s hate watch blog. Can you name any “extreme feminist” sites that have received that honor? Can you name any other atheist leader associated with a hate site?

        Writing for AVfM is not a crime, but it does show very poor judgement. And it is certainly problematic for someone with a leadership position in a diverse movement.

        We’re talking about the SCA, not the Lady-hating Atheists of America.

        • Marcus

          Please don’t you dare pretend that you are unaware of the calls for the extermination of the male gender by some radfem sites.

          Feminism: hypocrisy in little girl knickers.

          • margiebargie

            I’m unaware. Educate me.

            And when you’re done with that explain what all this radfem business has to with Justin resigning. As far as I know no radfems have been appointed to leadership positions in the SCA.

            Thanks in advance.

            • They identify as feminists. So do you. So, by using your logic that makes justin no different than actual misogynist nutbars, YOU are no different than the most radical radfem out there.

              That was some of the logic used to justify the jihad against Justin, and since you clearly have zero problem with it, well, why are you a radfem who hates men and wants them all dead?

              • James Emery

                John, again, show some of these feminist sites where they want men exterminated. Also, these SCA leaders that identify as feminists. Also, what do you have to justify claiming that Margie hates men and wants them dead?

                • antirad

                  “Show me feminists sites where hatred against men is preached”:

                  ex-feminist expossing rad-fem nutters.

                  On their private forums, they posted shit like “castrate all boys”, “fuck with the minds of male children” etc

                  The problem is not with their bigoted statements, but the fact that their identities were revealed. Many of those nutty feminists actually had access to children (social workers, psychologists etc)

                  And yet… for SPLC, women who call for abuse of male children are NOT bigoted or hateful

              • margiebargie

                John C. Welch,

                You seem to acknowledge in your argument that AVfM is, indeed, a hate site. We agree on this, and so does the SPLC. For the purposes of this discussion then, this fact is not in dispute.

                You continue with your feminist/radfem example. I believe the point you are trying to make is that the fact that Justin posted to this hate site does not mean that he necessarily supports the hateful bits in any way. He is simply a supporter of mainstream men’s issues who wrote an article on what we both acknowledge is an extreme hate site.

                This raises a number of questions in my mind.

                Why wouldn’t Justin simply post the article on his own blog? Or to a mainstream site?

                If you and I, and the SPLC, can readily see that AVfM is a hate site, why couldn’t Justin? What does this say about his judgement? What does this say about his suitability for a leadership position in a diverse organization that is trying to increase membership?

                I suppose its possible that it was a simple mistake, but Justin himself hasn’t said that it was. It would be great if he would clarify.

                There is no “jihad” against Justin. His own actions raised valid concerns about his suitability for the position he was offered. If he would have addressed those concerns in a straightforward manner, his resignation may not have been necessary.

                • aweraw

                  Here’s the post on the slymepit where justin announces he’s doing a guest post at the request of AVfM where he specifically espouses his views, not theirs, and that he doesn’t identify as an MRA but he want to tell people his side story… and for this he’s portrayed as a despicable human being.

                  It’s mind boggling how misconstrued the whole story has become… It’s saddening that so many so called skeptics have not done any research into the gospel flowing forth from the FTB/A+ pulpit

                • aweraw
                • margiebargie


                  Thanks for the link. But I’ve got a couple of comments.

                  It looks like some slymepitters attempted to warn Justin off posting at AVfM. He went ahead and did it anyway. Again this speaks to his judgement.

                  It seems he realized that he was unable to justify his behavior on mainstream sites – not even his own blog apparently – and so he went looking for a narrower and more receptive audience. Unfortunately, this particular audience holds some hateful views. Again this suggests that he’s not fit for a leadership position in a diverse organization like the SCA.

                  Actually, the explanation you provided is much more disappointing than some of the alternatives that crossed my mind. I thought I might read that Justin had no idea what AVfM was really all about when he agreed to the guest post. It looks like he did know what they were about, was warned about it, and did it anyway. Not good.

                • real horrorshow

                  “Why wouldn’t Justin simply post the article on his own blog?”

                  Because Sulky Amy issued a bullshit DMCA to get it taken down, because Justin pointed out her fondness for censorship of disagreement. Taste the irony.

                  • margiebargie

                    My understanding is that the DMCA applied to Justin using a likeness of one of Surly Amy’s necklaces. How would this prevent him from posting an article to his own blog using a different avatar?

              • F. Mertz

                It is only equivalent if margiebargie has published work on radfem sites.

                • margiebargie

                  Correct. Btw, if I did knowingly publish work on an anti-male hate site or a hate site of any sort I’d have no business leading any sort of diverse organization either.

          • Gogo Yubari

            Please don’t you dare pretend that you are unaware of the calls for the extermination of the male gender by some radfem sites

            53 year old, “Second Wave” feminist here, also unaware of such sites.

            Please do provide a link to such a site.

          • Benjamin

            I’m unaware of those calls. Links please?

      • Ruby

        I’m not an ‘extreme’ feminist and I find AvFM a reprehensible heap of yak droppings. But then again, I guess any woman with an ounce of self-respect and confidence would be considered an ‘extreme’ feminist to that lot. xp

        • Copyleft

          Please share your views with the women who post and even write for them there. They’ll be glad to educate you.

  • TFJ

    Oolon, still going with this line then? Perhaps Justin doesn’t agree with most of the accusations made. Perhaps he’s just plain NOT GUILTY. Why should Justin apologise because a bunch of narrow-minded, intolerant identity politicking pack dogs have it in for him. He can post articles for any site he wants without your permission and it doesn’t make him responsible for anything others have said on those other sites.

    He’s already admitted that pointing out Surly Amy’s readily available address was not wise. His reasons for making that error have been explained and unless you have any proof of a pattern of maliciousness which casts doubt on his explanation, then please just drop it.

    Justin, I’m sorry it’s come to this.

    • Yeah I said I have not seen where his apology lies. John Welch mentioned it – why did no one on the slymepit mention it when I said why I was against him? I even said if he apologised I would retract my beef as it is a clear principle that people get second chances when they admit they were in the wrong.

      • Honky please.

        If shown the apology, it won’t be enough. If it was enough, then he has to apologize for (list of other sins). if he does, well, he did it once, HOW DO WE KNOW HE WON’T MISBEHAVE AGAIN.

        What you are is a scorpion. Unlike the frog who makes the mistake of thinking the scorpion will be anything than what it is, I recognize that you are what you are, and shall never change, either opinion or behavior.

        Attempting to prove anything to you is as big a waste of time as reading Darwin to Ken Ham.

        • James Emery

          So, instead of linking to the apology, you shift the goalposts to saying it won’t be enough? Hell, if someone shows me Justin’s apology, I’ll go to Secular Woman, A+, and wherever I can find to repost it. Seriously. It doesn’t work to make your last statement about proving things if you haven’t even TRIED.

        • That is unfair John, I’m a believer that people are not defined for eternity by their actions or words right now (I’m an atheist!). I often say and do stupid things, I have hope that people will forget them or judge me for what I’m doing now. Not detail them on a website solely dedicated to documenting every ‘wrong’ I’ve ever made and damning me for eternity for it… *cough*Phawrongula*cough*, so where in the slime-ideology is the room for ‘growth’ or forgiveness of mistakes?

          Oh and in true Pharyngula-fashion cite the apology or STFU, I asked nicely twice assuming you were not lying… You are exposing my gullibility.

  • Nadine

    I am glad that you have chosen to resign. Given your past history, you should have never been chosen for a leadership position. Your own actions and attitude have created this problem for you.

    It is unfortunate that you do not seem to be willing to accept full responsibility for how you act towards others. Instead, you continue to accuse other people of blowing “these mistakes out of proportion almost never bothering to mention my concessions, never to personally contact me in a constructive manner to address grievances, or correct their own mistakes — and treated me unfairly.”

    The burden and responsibility to understand and correct your mistakes is your own, not your “detractors”, who you have treated with far less respect and consideration than they have ever treated you.

    • aweraw

      Again, you completely ignore the actual story of this situation. JV was roundly told by slymepit denizens that posting Amy’s address was bad form, and he ultimately acquiesced that it was the wrong thing to do. He was contrite in his actions.

      He has not, however, kow-towed to the authoritarians who appose him based on their unique perception of the situation. That’s appears to be his primary transgression.

  • Resigning was the right thing to do. Some of the things you did, such as posting to AVfM need serious explanations and aplogies. I was following and reserving judgement until you went there.

    • Copyleft

      How so? Do you reserve the right to demand “explanations” if someone posts a comment on ERV too? Oh, wait, that’s exactly what some of the FTBullies did with poor Gurdur….

      Guilt by association. And you wonder why the plussers are scorned as irrational and divisive….

      • Guilt by association is not always to be ignored. I have wandered about AVfM enough to know what they stand for. To guest there implies some agreement with their policies, unless the post was a counter to something on the site. Justin’s was not.

        • Copyleft

          “Guilt by association is not always to be ignored.”

          It is if you’re a rational skeptic. Of course, radical feminism is incompatible with rationality, so you’ll need to choose which comes first.

          • Dodging the ‘guilt by association’ is a cop-out. We know whart kind of person Todd Akin is. If someone appeared on a stage with him now, without a word of criticism, it seems to me that is is reasonable to consider that person a supporter of Akin’s position.

    • camurgo

      He had a post he previously wrote on his own blog pick up and mirrored by AVfM. He didn’t actively write for them.

      • F. Mertz

        He added content for AVFM. That is actively writing.

    • But when Rebecca Watson doc drops, THAT’s okay.

      When Surly Amy violates Namco’s IP for profit, THAT’s okay.

      When Svan supports another FTB blogger making threats against someone, THAT’s okay.

      it’s only because justin made ONE post on AVfM, he’s now the devil.


      • James Emery


        • CommanderTuvok

          You do realise you are now guilty of the FTB crime of “hyperskepticism”, James?

          Thing is, I applaud asking for evidence. However, ask Ophelia, Greta, Watson, Myers and Svan for evidence and suddently the novel concept of “hyperskepticism” appears.

          Double standards, as ever.

        • aweraw
          • Badland

            Good heavens. So posting the IP and email addresses (the latter of which is clearly a pseudonym) of someone who submitted an feminism-trolling youtube link to her blog is the exact same thing as posting the physical home address of an outspoken feminist on an MRA website?

            We live and learn.

  • Mike Hartwik

    I can’t blame you. A certain set people within the secular “community” (even though it must be said that they’re hardly a part of any community other than their own private hate club) have made a career out of performing bullying moves and manufacturing drama – and you happen to be just another victim in a long line of victims of their hatred.

    I hope you keep on doing the other good work that is already on your CV, and that the SCA finds someone suitable to replace you. Sometimes it’s best to move out of the way to show how malevolent and obsessed the bullies really are.

    There is no need to feel shamed by fully laden svans who in their life couldn’t be arsed to reach the airspeed of a snail.

  • This has upset me more than i can say. I only recently started listening to the podcast you contribute to & have only followed this “Hounding” of you from the periphery, but IMO you should have faced these nasty people down, i believe that if people had been made aware that there really was any chance of them succeeding you would have had a lot more support from almost all quarters. You have done nothing wrong & this will be seen by a very few mean spirited people as a victory (I hope they’re happy now). If this really is a “Final” decision, i wish you all the best in whatever you do, convinced that it will be bigger & better. Finally, this “Movement” (if it is such) will likely suffer more, now the “bad apples” have started to poison the barrel. ☮ :-(

  • Justin – As sour as the lemons are, this is a positively fabulous opportunity to to write a brilliant new chapter. I look forward to witnessing it. Best of success to you. ~Karla

  • I know it must have been a tough decision on your part, and I completely understand that, at the end of the day, the bullying from the FTB crowd just got to be too much.

    Sadly I can tell you that this will just encourage them to do it again to you, and others. I probably would have stood firm, but I do understand that everyone has to make their own decisions, and you decided what was best for you.

    I hope that you use this experience to grow stronger and to fight harder against the immoral asshats that will stop at nothing to destroy others.


    • James Emery


    • Badland

      Ah. So citing his actions, quoting directly from his writing, holding him solely to task for what he himself has done of his own free will, using only the evidence of what he himself has done, and explaining why this is inappropriate for someone in a leadership position in the SCA, is ‘bullying’.

      It’s lovely to know you don’t believe people should be held accountable for their actions. It’s lovely to know that you believe someone who mocks a person that has just announced she’s taking a hiatus from blogging due to an incessant rain of hatred is great manager material.

  • Gee, look at all the great things A+ is accomplishing.

    They set out to create division and rifts, and are doing that quite well. I wish I could say “damn them to hell,” but that doesn’t quite work.

    I suggest we simply ignore and marginalize them as much as possible. Treat them the way we treat truthers and chemtrail freaks.

    • That is exactly what I am doing. By starving them of the oxygen that is an audience, they hold no influence.

      I am in the process of unfriending all Atheism Plussers on Facebook and Google+, and will unsubscribe to any blog group or organisation that harbours one. Goodbye FtB, Skepchick, Atheist Experience and Patheos. Nothing your bloggers have to say will reach my newsreader whilst you support Atheism+ in any guise.You are all dead to me.

      • Attribute

        Ophelia Benson wrote, “As far as I’m concerned, he also needs to apologize for the podcast he did about my reasons for not going to TAM and do a correction. He basically did a podcast calling me a liar, and refused to correct it when I pointed out how he misrepresented me.”


        • Ah yes, the same ophelia benson who screams bloody murder about her precious private emails being published with in a week of a “I get email” post wherein she….

          Publishes a private email.

          She’s a real exemplar of ethical consistency she is.

          • Ignatz

            I fixed your comment for you:

            “Ah yes, the same person who screams bloody murder about their precious wallet being stolen within a week of a post wherein they…

            …mentioned donating money to charity.

            They’re a real exemplar of ethical consistency, they are.”

            or perhaps this one:

            “Ah yes, the same person who screams bloody murder about being physically assaulted within a week of a post wherein they…

            …talked about a martial arts tournament they were in.

            They’re a real exemplar of ethical consistency, they are.”

            Consent! It matters.

        • real horrorshow

          Ophelia got all in a tizzy over a so-called ‘threat’ e-mail which, when eventually published, proved to no more than an overly solicitous message from a fan.

          If memory serves, Justin invited Ophelia to take part in another podcast to discuss the issue. She refused.

      • Tris Stock is straight up right about this. You don’t like a group of people and hate what they stand for? What do you do…
        1. Ignore them and get on with your life?
        2. Obsess over everything they do and say and centre your online existence around this?

        Rational? Select option one. Slimepitter? Select option two.

        • I tend to prefer option 1, but to be fair, Oolon, the sustained and multifaceted campaign to remove Vacula from SCA PA smacks of option 2.

        • aweraw

          #2 could just as equally be applied to what the Axis of half-truths does to anyone who doesn’t fall into lock step with their views. Nice bias there, brah.

        • Copyleft

          Option #2 is the whole purpose of the Atheist-plus movement, forum, and crusade.

          Thanks for admitting how irrational and pathetic they are, Oolon.

        • real horrorshow

          3. the oolon method.
          Go to the Slimepit, throw around questions/accusations. Ignore all responses. Rush back to A+ sites to get your pat on the head. Repeat ad nauseam.

  • “My detractors did not only brand me as an ‘enemy of the people’ in a similar fashion to the eponymous play written by Henrik Ibsen…”

    If you’re going to write a self-regarding, puffed-up line like this, maybe make sure you know what “eponymous” means first? Apparently you don’t.

    • Oh look, a wild grammar tool appears.

      • More about hubris than grammar, to be honest. The line is pretty cringe-worthy without the mistake, but the mistake kicks it up a notch.

      • Gogo Yubari

        Grammar and vocabulary are two different things.

    • Esra Ymssik


      giving one’s name to a tribe, place, etc.: Romulus, the eponymous founder of Rome.

    • aweraw

      Are you saying that Henrik Ibsen did not infact write a play entitled “An enemy of the people”?

      I’m pretty sure he used the word legitimately, and you just put your foot square in your pie hole.

      • Ella

        No and no. It’s wrong because Henrik Ibsen did not write a play called “Henrik Ibsen”. That would be eponymous.

        • aweraw

          Seems you’re correct. My bad.

          • Badland

            Ah! I must now hound you to the ends of the earth because you made a mistake but subsequently admitted it!

            Oh wait, that’s right. Vacula is yet to get to step two. Seems my indignant self-righteousness is misplaced.

  • Erin Ellis

    The people who wanted Justin Vacula to be removed from this post (or any such posts in the future) decided long ago on this course, as he is a critic of several members of the Free Thought Blogs and Skepchick, and that just will not do.
    They were able to use actions of his that are not illegal, but easily used against him by people on a vendetta to get their wish.

    Justin is not the first and he won’t be the last person they go after.

    The SCA lost a person willing to actually WORK to promote education and skepticism rather than just blog about it, due to bullying. Congratulations.

    • Attribute

      TAM lost people willing not only to work but to donate money by bullying them away. They’ve gone elsewhere where they needn’t put up with it. Just let them go without tagging along to get in one last inaccurate accusation.

      As Ibis3 wrote, “The petition wasn’t directed at Justin Vacula, but at the Secular Coalition for America. What is required from them is a statement of policy that going forward, they will vet their representatives, ensuring that people who espouse bigotry, belong to hate groups, or engage in harassment, will not be appointed, selected, hired, or otherwise accepted in representative or leadership roles.”

      • “Now that the SCA has acquiesced to our demands re: vacula, we have more. They must now ensure that every person associated with their organization is vetted in a way that meets our approval, else we shall once again force the SCA to kowtow.”

        And we see that paying the danegeld never gets rid of the dane.

        • James Emery

          And how, exactly, did ANYONE force the SCA to do anything? Were there A+’ers with pitchforks, torches and guns outside their offices?

          Awww, you’re soooooo mistreated, aren’t you, John?

          • aweraw

            Justin did this himself, because he could see that it would be better for the secular movement, rather than have the campaign (re: witch hunt) against him sully the SCA or secular movement in general.

            By the way, just think for a second how the FTB/A+ crowd would react to someone responding with a “ooh, poor hard done by babies!” to their constant gum flapping on privilege? Yet this is how you treat others. Nice.

            • Gogo Yubari

              Wut? FFS, the Slymepit have thrown vitriol all over their “enemies” (RW, FtB bloggers, everyone they obsess over,) from day one, and when people objected, they reacted by dismissing the objectors as “professional victims.”

              • real horrorshow

                That’s our privilege.

      • Erin Ellis

        Please describe in detail, the bullying that went on that TAM was responsible for.

  • Ryan Grant Long

    This is all well and good, but when are the bloggers at FtB and Skepchick going to apologize for all of the lies and attacks, and their own brand of sexism?

    Having studied gender issues, I don’t see how some of the questionable claims by MRA’s are any more offensive than a lot of the egregiously sexist things radical feminists write about. Both ends of the gender war spectrum are crazy. Yet FtB and Skepchick readily embrace an extreme, toxic brand of gender feminism that, among other things, has involved accusing good liberal men like Richard Dawkins of “white supremacy”, characterizing all males as potential rapists; and accusing anyone who disagrees with them, including other liberals and feminists, of “rape apology” and “misogyny”.

    Meanwhile, despite certain bloggers’ crazy claims that misogyny is rampant and skeptic conferences are unsafe, the vast majority of skeptics appear to be fully on board equality for women, LGBT people, and people of color; and they have fun and feel safe at conferences. More and more, I am hearing that most people with lives outside the Internet either don’t know about the childish blogosphere drama, or don’t care. And why should they? To most people, these on-line arguments and attacks look like exactly what they are: pointless bickering and petty division perpetrated by a bunch of people who don’t even have any formal background in gender issues, and barely understand most of the concepts they toss around at each other.

    • Having studied gender issues, I don’t see how some of the questionable claims by MRA’s are any more offensive…

      How far did you get in those studies? Maybe you missed the last lecture where they point out you don’t get to decide how offensive something is to women? I’m pretty sure saying they shouldn’t be *as* offended because look over there… Misandry! Is a specious argument.

      “Extreme, toxic brand of feminism…” Was this ‘gender studies’ class written by Paul Elam? Your straw feminism and feminists would burn nicely on AVfM.

      • You sure don’t seem to have a problem telling everyone else how offended they should or shouldn’t be. Maybe you should stop that yourself before you dictate behavior to others?

        • No quarter given this time John, citation or it didn’t happen ;-)

      • aweraw

        We’re constantly told that we shouldn’t be offended by offensive ideas like schrodingers rapist, et al. We should “listen to the women”, I believe is the line we’re perpetually clubbed with. Because their quantification of the situation is all that counts, right? On the other hand, we can’t say “calm down, you’re over reacting”, with out being set upon, can we? Fucking double standards are ridiculous.

        I’m unconvinced that a society of gender equality is what they have in mind as their end goal, given their actions so far in this mess.

        • I don’t like the ‘tone’ of schroedingers rapist, mainly because of the concept of women being in fear like that all the while. But given it was her personal experience and lots of women identify with it.. How can I object?

          You are not ‘told’ to do anything, it is clearly here are my experiences and here is what you could do to make my life easier. You can choose to be offended by her existence and how she experiences life if you want, but it makes little sense.

    • Chas

      @Ryan Grant Long – I have the hardest time talking to people in my local atheist group because there’s so much background information that they have no clue about nor could they could care less. Btw, love that Hypatia is adorning this site and learned that you had a lot to do with the design of SIN. Great job!

  • Justin,

    I am really sorry about this. I may not have agreed with everything you said or did, but none of it was “evil” or any of the other crap they painted you with. I’m also impressed that you put the needs of the many, (The SCA), over your desire to prove a small number of nit-wits wrong, or allow said nit-wits to drag down the SCA because they have a personal vendetta with you.

    It’s not like the attacks on you will stop, but you did reduce the number of people who would become collateral damage from said attacks. That’s the right thing to do, even though it sucks and it shouldn’t have happened. Good on you dude.

  • xxxild

    I’m sorry to hear this. I’d hoped you wouldn’t step down. I’m sickened by the Freethought Bloggers and the behavior of their followers. I see you as one of the few who see what is wrong with that particular part of the community. You tried. Let it run its course now.

    I’m disgusted. I say boycott any event in which any of those hate mongering fools are speaking.

    • Hear, hear!

    • real horrorshow

      “I’m disgusted. I say boycott any event in which any of those hate mongering fools are speaking.”

      Too bloody right. It’s time the conference gravy-train was derailed.

  • Robert Chambers

    Way to give into the heckler’s veto, shithead.

  • John D

    I will continue to support SCA as I have for many years. I give Justin credit for stepping down even though I do not consider the attack on him to be valid. The FTBlogers, Skepchicks, and A+(theists), have attacked Justin as a way to stir up controversy and get more hits on their pathetic blogs.

    And to JT, Greta, Jen, Rebecca, PZ and the rest… Your pathetic A+ coffee clutch pack of schoolyard bullies makes my ill. Shame on you for your divisiveness and media mongering.

    • How come you repeat the ‘controversy equals hits’ rubbish when evidence contradicts it?
      LousyCanuck also did some analysis on hits and ‘they’ are not getting a big pay off other than more twitter bombs and trolling on the A+ forum. You need a new reason for their ‘divisiveness’ … I have faith it will be entertaining.

      • Erin Ellis

        How about they are very unpleasant people who like to go after critics and can do so easily as a pack?

        Maybe they don’t make a lot of money (although I will not discount that), but I think they get a good sense of self-satisfaction by working as a team to destroy people who do not fall in lock step with them.

      • corpsepants

        So, they’re jerks for no reason. That’s not really better.

      • Godless Foreigner

        Well the fact that increased publicity failed to result in more regular readers speaks more about the quality of content on their sites than it does about their intentions.

      • Oh, and of course, we’re supposed to blindly believe his analysis sans backing data.

        When we get to see the raw data and perform our own analysis, to see if it matches his, then that’s valid. Until then, it’s all “trust me” and trusting the FTB lot is just stupid.

        • James Emery

          Soooooo… Visit Alexa or something, and do your own analysis?


        • So John, can now magically assimilate any tld they want… Be afraid! So you are telling me has been Borg’d?

          And as a techie not knowing alexa data is open to all. Well I’m embarrassed for all us nerds now.

      • oolon that data is flawed. Any 5th grade kid could figure it out. Even the person presenting the data admits it is flawed. How can you expect anyone to convince anyone of anything with flawed and inconclusive data? What’s that? It’s all you have? That’s your problem keep it to yourself and leave the rest of us out of it.

        • Well LousyCanuck did a post with the actual data in (Web logs) and pointed out some of his peaks were from ‘other’ controversies such as the republican abortion story.

          But that would have required the anti-FtB brigade to accept a story on that network was not all lies!lies!lies! I know how you hate getting dents in your tin foil hat.

      • aweraw

        Just because it isn’t working, doesn’t mean that wasn’t the straegy to begin with. Not saying I have proof either way, but they haven’t disproven that this was not their intention, just pointed out that given the numbers presented it doesn’t seem to work.

        • Goodness me, do you identify as a sceptic as well as an atheist? Please re-read that comment and try again.

        • F. Mertz

          You infer a motive, say you have no proof, use a lack of denial as affirmation of thesis and sit back to victory.

          Because no negative was proved you must be correct.

          Good show, old chap! Way to “teach the controversy”.

  • dpjones

    very sad indeed, these people at fftb make decision’s to try and ruin people’s live’s for simply not agreeing with there radical view’s. i think what really get’s under there skin is the fact justin accomplish’s real life goal’s instead of ranting about how unfair life is.

  • Justin, I tried in vain to defend you, and to tell others not to make their mind up about you as quickly as they did. I’m very disappointed in the outcome. I was hoping you could use this opportunity to show your support for atheism and human rights in general. Such a shame that it’s all come to this.

  • Phil Giordana FCD

    Justin, you know you have my full support. I cannot yet assess if your resignation is a good or bad thing (at least, it’s bad for SCA), but I’m confident you will do great work in the future.

    All the best, and don’t hesitate to ask if you need help.


  • Pingback: Vacula Resigns – My Thoughts/Rant | The Wooly Bumblebee()

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  • Sicilia

    If you really cared for that position you would have apologised publicly for your mistakes and completely and publicly disenfranchised from the MRA’s.

    As it was, many of the members of Secular Women were incredibly worried about this appointment.

    I really really hope it was Justin’s idea to step down but this post blaming everybody for it, it’s as best incredibly childish and intended at creating the divisiveness, he purports to not ones. The RMA’s in the comments are lapping it up.

    • corpsepants

      Like, maybe he could post a public list of all the people online, specifically and by name, with whom he disagrees, with cross-referenced links to posts that elicited the disavowal, or at least a couple of BBS buzzwords to specifically explain why they are BAD PEOPLE. Oh and if you don’t have an original account, repeating the controversy without the substance will do just as well.

      Maybe that would be a start.

      And no, disagreeing with a position, philosophy, statement, or POV is not the same. We want a list of individuals. Only one strike needed.

    • John Brown

      OK, I keep seeing this reference to MRAs set down like some ad initio/a priori statement.

      What, exactly, is so distasteful (to the point of being being unable to hold public position) about MRAs?

      • Michael

        A certain segment of the blogosphere (let’s call them radical feminists, because there seems to be a large overlap, but unlike lousy canuck I can’t be bothered to create a venn diagram now) perceives that anybody who argues for the rights of men must do so because they hate women and want them to make their slaves (literally and figuratively). So calling someone an MRA is an attempt to essentially discredit their position, because, well, who wants to be associated with Nazis?

        • Ruby

          Actually, no, it’s the frequent discussions about how most women are lying, filthy, disease-spreading, gold-digging, cock-carousel-riding whores by men in the MRA movement that makes us think the MRA at large on the internet hates women.

          • real horrorshow

            And Justin said this to you when?

      • The vast majority of MRAs are simply trying to ensure equal treatment under the law in certain areas where men get shafted, mostly divorce-related, spousal abuse, (at best, only 10% of men ever report spousal abuse, and I’d say that’s optimistic). That is not to say that women are consistently treated well in those areas either. You’d have to be a bit thick to think women don’t get fucked over by the legal system. (or poor people, or non-white people or really, any group that isn’t massively rich. The rich do all right. Funny that.)

        Like *any* other group, there are of course, a significant number of whackjobs that attach themselves to the movement, and in short order, because whackjobs are loud, become identified as the main representatives. This is like saying Fred Phelps is mainstream Christianity, or the hardcore hasidim who spit on women dressed “immodestly” are mainstream judiasm, or that Stalin was a mainstream atheist. It’s exactly the same thing as Rush Limbaugh painting all feminists as being the most extreme radfem groups. It’s stupid, and childish, and you would imagine a group that not only espouses support for rationality and logic, but is also regularly the victim of that kind of attack would have nothing to do with it.

        If you’d actually think that, bless your heart you sweet innocent.

        Groups like A+, FTB, Skepchicks find it convenient to paint ALL MRAs as fully supporting whackjobs, because it allows them to ignore everything any of them will ever say. Basically, it’s a large-scale implemenation of Ad Hominem, wherein rather than addressing the argument, they say “you’re an MRA, therefore nothing you say is valid”. Disagree with them? Misogynist/MRA, and your argument is invalid.

        Essentially, they’ve taken the same othering tactics used against them, and are now using it themselves. Look how many problems its solved.

        • Gogo Yubari

          Like *any* other group, there are of course, a significant number of whackjobs that attach themselves to the movement

          Actually, no. In most movements, there are not a significant number of whackjobs. In most movements, the whackjobs are outliers.

          The Westboro Baptists, for example, are basically one large family and a handful of hangers-on. Compared to the number of Christians in the U.S., they are a drop in the ocean.

          Misogyny, on the other hand, is utterly common, mainstream, within the MRM.

          Just look at the public comments of Paul Elam, for example, founder of A Voice for Men. He’s not some minor, self-published figure, or nutty patriarch with a scant handful of followers, is he now?

          • Copyleft

            Just as blatant, rampant misandry is commonplace to the point of ubiquitous among online feminists. Good point, Gogo.

    • Copyleft

      Justin’s resignation did not include an admission that the FTBullies are right, for the simple reason that they are not.

      If they’re waiting for THAT type of apology, they’re not going to get it. Being an MRA, or even friendly to MRAs, does not render you unfit to be a skeptic or to advocate for atheism…. despite what the A-plusser gestapo say.

    • “If you’d just stop thinking that you have any rights to thoughts we don’t approve of, we’d have no problem with you.”

  • Parge

    Two positives come out of this. 1) It takes the squeaker out of Ingsoc’s chewtoy – the hate campaign worked, so no need to harp on about it. 2) It comes just in time to avoid over-overshadowing the I Am Curious Dillahunty Affair. I think you get bonus points, because now you become a political martyr. This will be a key event in the annals of how the petty tyrants got their way in one of their sordid attempts to quash honest discourse. You’ve had more bile flung at you before this. You’ll weather it, Justin. It just sucks that the knives have to come from those who should be working toward the same goal. Et tu, Baboon?

  • Yes, it is very important that Justin apologize for writing a post on A Voice for Men, because after all, when it criticizes feminism, AVfM attacks the most holy religion of all secularists and, by extension, also attacks all women everywhere. Because feminism represents every woman in the world, including all secularist women. Therefore, any criticism of the positions taken by privileged white women call themselves feminists is by its nature misogynist.

    Also, the site publisher of AVfM once called Rebecca Watson a corporate attention whore, and that means he’s calling all women everywhere whores. Misogyny!

    Also, AVfM is a hate site, because SPLC says it is. Well actually, no, SPLC specifically denies saying that it is, only that it might be in some way enabling of hatred somehow by allowing some people to say intemperate things in the comments, so, booga-boogah!

    Anyway, sorry the witch hunters got you down, Justin. Best of luck in your future endeavors in trying to keep us tied into secular government. We just now know the other religion that has to be fought: radical, hate-based, intolerant strains of feminism.

    • Jeff Alexander

      From the Southern Poverty Law Center:

      A Voice for Men

      A Voice for Men is essentially a mouthpiece for its editor, Paul Elam, who proposes to “expose misandry [hatred of men] on all levels in our culture.” Elam tosses down the gauntlet in his mission statement: “AVfM regards feminists, manginas [a derisive term for weak men], white knights [a similar derisive term, for males who identify as feminists] and other agents of misandry as a social malignancy. We do not consider them well intentioned or honest agents for their purported goals and extend to them no more courtesy or consideration than we would clansmen [sic], skinheads, neo Nazis or other purveyors of hate.”, an affiliated website that vilifies women by name who have made supposedly false rape allegations (among other crimes against masculinity), is one of Elam’s signature “anti-hate” efforts. “Why are these women not in prison?” the site asks.

      There are plenty of places for Justin to post articles, why would he choose to post for AVfM? This isn’t guilt by association but rather a question of judgment and implicit support for a website which many people find offensive. Would you and others be defending him had he posted his article to Focus on the Family?

  • Godless Foreigner

    Im saddened by your decision but I understand your reasons for it.
    Those shitheads have managed to push you an SCA into a no win scenario and a resignation was pretty much the only thing you could have done for the good of the SCA and yourself.
    But still this way they will think that this was a victory for them and be encouraged in such behaviour in the future.
    In my opinion the optimum way to deal with them would have been to stick it out until things quieted down and then resign. But spilled milk and all that.
    I can only say that this is a sad day for the movement of atheism when a few hateful goblins have succeeded where christians and death threats have failed. They made Justin Vacula back down.

  • Randi

    Vacula doesn’t agree with AVfM? Do you see devout Christians post on this site or other secular ones? No. If his beliefs are incongruent with those of AVfM, he should not have posted there. AVfM is an awful, hate-mongering site that claims rape victims ”enjoy” their experience, among other things. Doesn’t take a radical feminist to see the sheer hatred of women in that cesspool of filth.

    • Phil Giordana FCD

      Familiar with a lady called FTK? If not, go check Wes’ AtBC. Being reposted at AVfM (which I never red, not even Justin’s post) is not a crime.

      Will people just cheer up somedays?

    • Copyleft

      Actually, it does. Radical feminism requires the deliberate rejection of reason and logic in favor of a political agenda through which everything is filtered.

      With those filters firmly in place, you can easily spot hatred of women on AVfM… or at the gas station… or on a crosstown bus….

  • Allison

    Justin, I thank you for all the good things you’ve done for the community, and I’m sorry that you’ve chosen to resign. Good luck to you in all your future endeavors.

    As for your critics – and I refer to the FTB/Atheism+ crowd – I will redouble my efforts to expose their hypocrisy and nonsense. While I consider myself to be a feminist, that bunch certainly does not speak on my behalf.

  • I imagine that wasn’t an easy choice, Justin, but whatever else may be said about you, it’s to your credit that you put the best interests of the SCA above your own and stepped down.

  • jose

    Your activism is to be recognized and praised. Thank you!

    You made a few severe mistakes that tainted the good stuff you have done, and you have made amends for it only partially. I think you made the right call resigning, as a personal concession for the sake of avoiding further polarization, which gives you a lot of credit; but imho you should show the white flag to Jen and Ophelia, too.

  • Michael

    A misogynist hoped that people wouldn’t call him out on his sexism and was wrong. So he did the right thing for once and resigned. Now if Vacula would decide to drop his sexism and become a decent person, it would be a real win. But that’s not too likely, is it Justin?

    • Erin Ellis

      You are making strong accusations. Please back them up.

      Posting a link to an address to a person who has criticized him (who happens to be a female) And having a post reprinted on a site that has possibly objectionable material does not equal misogynism and sexism.

      Are you assuming anything negative he has stated about people like Amy is because she is female, and not because he disagreed with her tactics?

      Please find posts of his that prove misogyny or sexism, and not just tweets about people whom he disagrees with (who happen to be women).

      • F. Mertz

        Adding 2k words of new material is more than just being passively reposted.

        If nothing else it calls his judgment into question.

    • Copyleft

      When do you plan to drop yours, Michael? After all, falling into line with the irrational radical feminists is blatant sexism.

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  • Evel

    Agreed about AVfM.

    What a relief. Vacula would have been a total embarrassment. Surely we can find leaders who aren’t linked to sites of SPLC’s shitlist? Is that really too much to ask for?

    • Steersman

      What “shitlist”? The one where they sort of retract their condemnation of A Voice for Men? Where they say:

      It should be mentioned that the SPLC did not label MRAs as members of a hate movement; nor did our article claim that the grievances they air on their websites – false rape accusations, ruinous divorce settlements and the like – are all without merit.

      The same AVfM site which happens to air those same grievances as well as others such as the travesty of prison rape – mostly of men – which Freethought Blogger Jason Thibeault also condemns and speaks out against? Maybe you might want to condemn Thibeault with “guilt by association” as well ….

  • Aerik

    You seriously want us to believe that doxxing Surly Amy, with her address and a photo of her apartment complex, to a forum that’s clearly a hate group, was not malicious?

    You want us to believe that all your hateful, bigoted, vicious tweets against Amy and Svan and other women are not malignant?

    Absolutely everything that comes out of AVFM is malicious. From JTO and Barbarossaa both saying that they wouldn’t help women being raped even if they were witnessing it, to all the times Elam et al have accompanied hateful articles with pictures of battered women, to the many times AVFM has doxxed, often enough with cash rewards for the providers of the info, to the time Elam asked readers to hire private detectives to get dirt on Josh Jasper… to the times that the authors at AVFM have actually threatened violence, to “bash a violent bitch day”, to GWW saying that some women need to be slapped … you don’t see any of it as malignant?

    Get real. the SCA let the first person who called get a job, and you just got called out for being a total bigot who wields his fans in twitter and blog campaigns to harass enemies into submission.

    Go fuck yourself. Crawl in a hole and mummify.

    • Erin Ellis

      You have a point of view lacking both sides.
      Have you actually ever read posts by Justin Vacula, or just what FtBloggers have told you he said?

    • Yeah, word on the street is they sacrifice babies, worship Satan, and even have homosexual intercourse too.

    • mec

      Aerik wrote;
      “You seriously want us to believe that doxxing Surly Amy, with her address and a photo of her apartment complex, to a forum that’s clearly a hate group, was not malicious?”

      Aerik, you got it wrong. Vacula did not dox Surly Amy with address and photo to AVfM. I don’t want to link to the site, but the post is easy enough to find, if you can hold down your lunch long enough to visit the site. No where in that post is any doxing of Surly Amy. Further, AVfM reprinted Vacula’s post; he did not submit one to them. He could have told them they did not have permission to reprint his post and for that omission he should be ashamed.

      To Justin; This was a mistake, dude. You should have stayed on. Should not have let the bullies win. The movement will not be splintered to much by A+ shit -they will be little more than a pimple on the ass of the movement but your resignation deprives Penn secularists a valuable voice. You should also have been much better at your apologies.

      To all. I hope you ignore the sniping and lying and bullying that is swirling around FTB and the Slymepit. It’s just sound and fury. Focus on the needs of the secular, or atheist or skeptic community. Put this bullshit behind us. There are more worthy adversaries.

    • Astrokid.NJ

      Hate bounces, Aerik motherfucker. Hate bounces. Thats human nature.
      Hate Bounces: How man-hating and man-bashing harms women – the making of a misogynist

      If we investigate each of the episodes you mention above, the MRAs have solid reasons for what they say, and it will be just.

      Tomorrow, if PZMyers or Becky Watson is getting their ass kicked on the road by some mugger, I am not going to help them even one bit, and even show them the finger. And I am sure many in the atheist community will do the same. And you can rest assured that the FTB assholes will do the same to us. FFS, they cant even tolerate JV getting a position with SCA.

      Hate bounces.. motherfucker. Nobody.Is.Above.That.

      • Gogo Yubari

        Justin Vacula–please, look at this. This is the sort of person you’ve chosen to align yourself with.

        • Crispytoad

          I don’t think you can blame him for the behaviour of his supporters; some of the MRAs in this thread are clearly behind him for the wrong reasons.

    • Astrokid.NJ

      The atheist community backlashed so hard in part because of the demonization of males by the feminists.. even Schrodinger’s Rapist made an appearance. Guess what toilet slave Josh Jasper did?
      Riverview TV 1

      Always catch them young huh?

    • Copyleft

      Actually, we don’t care what you believe, Aerik, because you’re an embarrassment to the skeptical community. You’re not worth our time or attention.

      Go fuck yourself right back, you waste of skin.

    • real horrorshow

      “Vicious tweets”? Oh no, to the Fainting Couch!

  • Jo

    The avfm article states that there are feminists within the A&S community that are intolerant of dissent and quash it with underhanded methods – and the response to this is to be intolerant of dissent and quash it with underhanded methods?

    Ill pass on the kool-aid thanks.

  • Steve Schuler

    Ahh, I do love the smell of witch-burning, no matter the time of day!

    In honor of this glorious atheist accomplishment I think that Stephanie Zvan, Greg Laden, Ophelia Benson, and
    Jason Thibeault (at least) should be awarded with some really ornate, tall and pointy hats to distinguish themselves as valiant defenders of the faith against heresy and be acknowledged henceforth, at least semi-officially, as “Grand Inquisitors Deluxe of the True Atheism”!

    But seriously, Jason, I feel for you in this regrettable situation and trust that, in the long run, your contributions to the advance of humanity will far outpace those of your detractors in this absurd and deplorable power play.

    Peace to ya, Brother!

  • Clare45

    “AVfM reprinted Vacula’s post; he did not submit one to them.” I think this is a very important point. As a journalist/columnist myself, I know people have plagiarized my articles from time to time, and who knows where they end up. Maybe even on an MRA site! Justin, I don’t know you, but I feel you have been the victim of a witch hunt and on-line bullying. You have absolutely nothing to apologise for. Even if you were a MRA supporter, whatever happened to freedom of speech? What does any of this dispute have to do with secularism-separation of church and state? Personally, I don’t think you should have caved in to the pressure, and I suggest you might even consider legal action in light of the on-line petition and misinformation and lies spread about you.
    Oolon, you are a shit disturber of the first order, passing on false information to readers of this and several others blogs. I am not even sure where your loyalties lie. As has been reiterated over and over, Surly Amy’s address was public knowledge. How else could she sell her ceramics?

    • I agree, that is a very important point to remember.


      Mr. Vacula’s article was simply mirrored by AVFM, he didn’t actually write for them.

      But… what if he had? What if Vacula had written for a website that advocates for the rights of male human beings?

      Can you even imagine? *shudder*

      • Gogo Yubari

        He wrote for a site that advocates against the rights of female human beings.

        • CommanderTuvok

          He wrote for a site that advocates against the rights of female human beings.

          I take it you shun all the people who write on Lousy Canuck’s site, the home of FtB’s resident homophobe?

          • Gogo Yubari

            Does anybody really believe the Lousy Canuck is homophobic?

            C’mon. Be honest for once.

            See, this is why nobody takes you guys seriously.

            • Heintje

              Does anybody really believe that all critics and opponents of A+theism, FfTB, and Skepchick are misogynists?

              C’mon. Be honest for once.

              See, this is why nobody (outside of your echo chambers) takes you guys and girls seriously.

            • antirad

              Hate to say the truth, but “atheists+” are tiny lunatic fringe minority on-line.

              The accusations of “misogyny” simply can’t work

              Disagreeing with feminists – misoginy

              Daring to point out real female suffering in the third world = misogony mixed with racism

              you are all insane

            • real horrorshow

              “Does anybody really believe the Lousy Canuck is homophobic?”

              I think he’ll throw any abusive cheapshot he can think of when it suits him. Then, if he’s called on it, he’ll deny saying or meaning it, or any other weasling excuse.

              I think people like you will back him while screaming for the resignations of people like DJ Groethe and Justin who are worth ten of him any day.

        • Copyleft

          Citation needed. Remember, expressing anger at women is not advocating against their rights… nor is pushing for equality that requires wome to sacrifice some of THEIR unearned privilege.

          And before you bother claiming that there’s no such thing as female privlege… don’t. We’re skeptics, remember? We ain’t falling for that shit.

  • Steve Schuler


    A thousand apologies to you Justin, not to be confused with Jason!!!

  • Randy

    Surely you realize the “line in the sand” will remain, with or without you. Your resignation merely leaves it to the next person to deal with.

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  • KiwiInOz

    More strength to your elbow Justin. The lack of scepticism by those who are sceptical of everything but their own vested interests is shameful.

  • Tag

    Man, I can’t wait for the 12 minute long video whine from Justin. Should be another narcissistic bonanza of victim-hood!

    • CommanderTuvok

      Man, I can’t wait for the 12 minute long video whine from Justin. Should be another narcissistic bonanza of victim-hood!

      I think you are confusing him with doc-dropper and bully Rebecca Watson.

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  • Y. Kane

    Justin Vacula? Who cares.

    • Copyleft

      You clearly do, since you posted here. Trolling attempt fails.

  • prussian

    Well, word of solidarity. I’ve been tracking the antics of these clowns, and I will be writing a longer essay on the subject later on.

  • Spahznork

    How DARE all you haters!? Did your mothers raise you to be terrible people or are you just stupid? Just because Justin wrote for an MRA page doesn’t mean anything. I wrote a couple articles for The Burning Cross long long ago, but that doesn’t mean I agree with the bad things the Klan has done!

    I know for a fact that Justin, Copyleft, Scented Nectar, John Welch, Tuvok, and the rest will have my back and tell you that my tenuous connection with a PUBLICATION associated with the Klan (NOT THE ORGANIZATION ITSELF) means nothing. Without more PROOF you MUST give me the benefit of the doubt. The same with Justin.

    Also, you don’t seem to be taking your own advice. You shit all over anyone who comes onto FTB without having written a freaking thesis on bullshit feminism, but you don’t appear to have done any research into the good things that have been done by men’s rights activists (or the Klan, or the Nazis… believe it or not, it’s not all about hating women, blacks, or Jews!).


    • Copyleft

      Nice attempt at sarcasm. I see that you really don’t understand why guilt-by-association is called a fallacy.

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  • For a bit of background: I’m a recent college graduate who knows Justin by Facebook through a mutual friend.

    Justin, it isn’t quite accurate to claim that no feminist critics of yours have approached you privately to discuss your objections. I may not write a blog or be well-known on the Internet, but I am a feminist atheist woman.

    I approached you several times on Facebook with the polite offer to discuss your views on feminism and answer questions or even debate, all quite civilly. You never responded to your offer. I can only assume because I’m not a well-known blogger.

    I’m beginning to wonder the reasons behind why people are siding with Justin or Skepchick. I don’t, as a feminist, care much for either side, but it seems that some people are following Justin because they also hate feminism. Justin has been called out for his inappropriate actions. Is it not stalking that he has harassed feminists on Twitter and obsessively focuses on feminists to the point of ignoring other atheist issues?

    Just for the sake of curiosity: what differentiates an “acceptable” feminist from a radical one?

    • Copyleft

      For skeptics, an ‘acceptable’ feminist is one who uses reason and evidence to make their arguments, and respects those who do the same in good faith.

      Radical ideology is not compatible with rationalism.

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