I have spent the last week mulling over what I want to do at this point in the movement. I’m tired of the in-fighting: at every level. I am especially tired of allowing myself to get sucked into it and engaging in the very behavior that is irritating the hell out of me. It’s hypocritical of me at best and only serves to exacerbate the very thing that’s pissing me off in the first place.
First, let me thank all of you who offered words of advice and encouragement. Yes, I am even thankful for my detractors who threw in their two cents. Your comments, messages, and emails meant a lot to me. Some of you even brought a tear to my eye while reading what you had to say. I can never thank you enough for the encouragement you gave me.
So what to do? That question has plagued me all week. I have reached what I hope is an acceptable compromise for my personal sanity and the atheist movement that I love so much.
- I am resigning immediately as the Director of Outreach for American Atheists.
- I feel that given my level of frustration and, to be honest, outright anger, I do not think I can effectively execute the demands of this position or do so without tarnishing the name of American Atheists. I do not want to do any damage to American Atheists because someone thinks my personal issues are related to American Atheists. I’m not yelling at you because I work for American Atheists: I’m yelling at you because I’m angry Blair Scott (v2.0).
- I will still complete the “how to” video series on starting new groups and organizing local conventions. The demand and need for these are too high for them to become victim to my transition.
- I will remain on the Board of Directors as long as I continue to be reelected. It is an honor to serve in this capacity and continue to be involved in the forward movement of the best national atheist organization in the United States.
- I will still MC the National Convention as requested by David Silverman (March 29-31 in Austin, TX: get your tickets NOW!).
- I am removing myself from all pages and groups on Facebook that are atheist-related.
- The exception is the local group that I attend where all my awesome friends are at: the North Alabama Freethought Association. It was this group of amazing people who gave me the most honest and frank advice and were true to themselves and to me. They fucking rock!
- I will remain on Facebook as an activist and for atheist networking with a few caveats.
- I will be unfriending anyone who is a 9/11 truther, believes in homeopathy, is an anti-vaxxer, etc. In fact, save me the time and unfriend me if you’re one these people. You are no longer worth my time and effort.
- I will no longer respond to any infighting, pedantry, etc. If you feel it is absolutely necessary to nit-pick and attack your fellow atheists over trivial issues, so be it, but I am no longer going to feed the trolls. Your chances of being unfriended are now much higher.
- I will remain a boots-on-the-ground activist and continue doing what I’ve done for 23 years now: take the fight directly to the theocrats. I love the fight too much to walk away from it completely. Roy Moore was reelected as the Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court. The next four years in Alabama should be very interesting and I don’t want to miss a thing! I am looking forward to working with the new Alabama State Director for American Atheists (can’t wait to find out who it is).
- I will continue to co-host the Critical Eye Podcast with my amazing co-host and friend, Tom Hand. The CEP is the one place I can vent and rage and say “fuck all” to the world as I need to and Tom is the one person who knows me well enough to talk me down. You’re the best Tom, I love ‘ya bro!
- I will be concentrating more on my standup comedy and improv. This is the one thing in my life (besides my friends and daughters) that brings a smile to my face on a daily basis. It’s something I greatly enjoy: especially when I can make a Christian audience laugh at atheist jokes.
As I enact this transitional phase in my life I ask that all of you take a close look at your contributions to the in-fighting and ask yourself, “Is this thing I am about to attack another atheist for really worth it? Is this thing really that big of a deal that I can’t let it go even though I agree with this fellow atheist on almost everything else? Does attacking this fellow atheist help or harm the overall movement or contribute anything positive to the movement?”
I hope this is a good compromise and allows me to take the time I need to figure things out for myself and how to move forward with my fellow activists in a way that’s helpful to my sanity and well-being. Keep fighting the fight: regardless of the method you use!
I think you’re doing the right thing Blair. It’s the devolution of the movement. The Internet activists have gone as far as they can go and are now eating their own. It’s an unfortunate but necessary evolution of the movement. The pioneers, like yourself, will now have to find the next trail. I think you and the rest of the movement has taken Internet activism as far as it will go and have done as much as you can with it. Best of luck. I enjoyed meeting you in Austin at TFC.
There is an old saw, nonetheless true for being hackneyed – BE the change you want to see. You’re not leaving the atheist movement – you’re just leaving the public circus of it. Props.