I have lived in the Bay Area for over a decade and decided to meld my interest in social justice with my daily work.
Post the video of “The Great Debate”
Update: We won! ACC has posted a response and the video! Original text follows: On October 12, 2013 Adventure Christian Church hosted a debate between Dr. David Marshall, founder of the Kuai Mu Institute for Christianity and World Cultures and Dr. Phil Zuckerman, Professor of Sociology at Pitzer College and author of numerous books on humanism and secularism. Titled "The Great Debate", the question at hand as “What provides a better foundation for civil society: Christianity or Secular Humanism?” Sounds interesting, right? Unfortunately, those of us not able to attend in person will never know since the church has apparently refused to post the video. This, despite promising both verbally and in writing to do so. This is unconscionable. The point of debate is to take on issues that are controversial, open the conversation, and digest the outcome. In the digital age it is possible for many people to participate in this form of intellectual pursuit by viewing debates like this even when they’re not able to attend. Today, online video is an important part of the conversation and the church is suppressing it. What’s more, Adventure Church has used their video presence to respond to several points from the debate in isolation. They’ve taken the time to record, edit, and upload 3 videos responding to particular arguments presented in the debate without posting the debate itself. The church is abusing their power as possessors of the video footage and transforming and open debate into a one-sided non-conversation. Let's ask the church to post the video so that all of us on both sides of the debate can watch, enjoy, and learn. Please sign and share, and keep sharing until the church posts the complete video on their Vimeo page as promised.
Facebook: Remove the "Should Miri Mogilevsky be murdered?" page
UPDATE: The page is gone from Facebook! I was cautious at first (fearing human intervention by Facebook), but since it has been down for several days, I think we can safely call this a victory. Thanks to all who signed and especially those that clicked "Report" on Facebook. A Facebook user has created a page titled "Should Miri Mogilevsky be murdered?". This clearly constitutes a personal threat of violence and violates the Facebook TOS. While it claims to be an exercise of free speech, threats of violence are not protected speech, nor can they be made harmless by forming the threat as a question. Miri is the author of the Brute Reason blog in the Free Thought Blogs network. As a feminist and atheist, she has certainly bothered and offended a few people. That's the normal state of things in the marketplace of ideas: not every idea is palateable to everyone. However, in response to pervieved offense, at least one opponent of Miri's thinking has created a Facebook page titled in a fashion that muses about the justifiable murder of the blogger. This is a thinly veiled threat of violence, supposedly made "OK" by posing it as a question. This is absurd. Hateful, murderous intent or instigation cannot be rendered harmless with the simple addition of a question mark. In the Facebook Terms are included the instructions "You will not bully, intimidate, or harass any user" and "You will not post content that: is hate speech, threatening, or pornographic; incites violence; or contains nudity or graphic or gratuitous violence". This page clearly violates both these terms. Facebook should enforce their own TOS and remove the page.
Allow copy/paste on your site
Take "Mabus" death threats seriously
For several years Dennis Markuze has harassed and threatened scientists, writers, public figures, atheists, and their friends under the pseudonym "David Mabus". While this was previously a minor annoyance, the intensity and frequency of his communications have increased. I believe these threats constitute a violation of Canada's statutes regarding "uttered threats". These "Mabus" attacks now include hundreds of Twitter accounts (used and discarded as they are reported). He has threatened young boys and girls as well as adults (including Rys Morgan, 16, who was acknowledged by some in the science community for exposing a dangerous quack medical treatment). In fact, anyone who associates with scientifically and skeptically minded people like PZ Myers, Phil Plait, James Randi, Brian Dunning or Michael Shermer is likely to become a target for unsettling rants and threats to their life and well-being. Markuze has even gone so far as to attend meetings of such people, including attending the American Atheist Convention in October 2010, held Montreal. It is time for the police to take his threats seriously. The problem must be addressed before it escalates beyond Internet bullying and veiled threats to become something worse. Please make a public statement whether Mr. Markuze has violated Canada's uttered threats laws (criminal code section 264). Update: The RCMP has responded to my inquiry, declining to act: "In the province of Quebec, the type of investigation you are requesting in your correspondence falls under the jurisdiction of provincial and municipal police agencies. We will therefore transfer your request to the Service de police de la Ville de Montréal (Montreal city police). We are aware that the Service de police de la Ville de Montréal has started an investigation on the activities of Markuze. We are confident that they will handle your complaint in a professional manner." We await an official response from Montreal Police on whether they consider the constant stream of threats to be criminal. Important Reminder: Please do not engage with or contact the accused. That is the job of the police. This petition is purely to demand action and a public statement from Montreal Police or other relevant authorities. Thank you.