Upon returning from my trip to Dublin, during which I reported on the Empowering Women Through Secularism conference thanks to very gracious supporters who donated to and promoted my fundraiser, I was surprisingly removed from my former blogging home at the Skeptic Ink Network (SIN). Since reading the public notification hours after my return to the United States, I took a brief hiatus to rest, reacquaint myself, evaluate my options, and focus on the transition process of returning to my old – and now new – home at justinvacula.com with services from NEPA Geeks.
John Loftus announced my separation from SIN on his blog in a post titled “About Justin” in which he commends me as a “tireless atheist activist who has done terrific work” and a “talented activist who we believe will continue making positive contributions to the secular movement” who has “highlighted and opposed religion in the public square through his writing, debating, and a slew of media appearances.” In juxtaposition to those commendations, he states the reason for my removal from SIN as “communication style and areas of focus are not compatible with the mission and values of the network.”
I lament the fact that we could not reach a compromise (nor did John offer me one) or some way by which I can remain on my former home I dedicated considerable time and effort to. At the very least, I would have appreciated the common courtesy of a voice conversation with John prior to my removal. Instead, with such swift action, I was not afforded reasonable time to announce a public departure prior to John’s utterly blindsiding public announcement. His post announcing my removal from the blog network was published in less than 24 hours after my return from Dublin during time I enjoyed much-needed sleep and returned to a full day of work.
I am extremely accessible, open to discussion, and welcome discussion through multiple mediums – and John knew this. He could have easily contacted me with concerns and perhaps crafted a compromise with me, but instead I received a swift boot upon returning from an extremely successful venture to Dublin in which I had used my blog on SIN to share interviews with speakers (1, 2, 3), report on the event via radio (1, 2), report on the event via blogging (1, 2), detail some of my travel experience, fulfill obligations to my supporters, and promote and gain readership for SIN through word-of-mouth, exchange/distribution of business cards, and more.
While blogging at my former home since its inception — before it was even named Skeptic Ink Network — I wrote alongside many respected voices in the atheist/skeptic community who have been extremely supportive of my writing, church/state activism, and atheist activism which often graced the pages of my former blog. I will miss writing alongside these great individuals — including John Loftus himself — and wish them the best in future endeavors.
It is regrettable that although I asked for John’s word to be the final word on the separation, John continued to follow-up – engaging with commenters on his blog with comments on the initial “About Justin” post and in bizarre follow-up posts/comments declaring many of my supporters anti-feminists who are associated in some way with men’s rights groups, considering tolerance of men’s rights groups to be “somewhat similar to supporting KKK groups,” and stating he “share[s] the goals of Atheism + most emphatically” after authoring a post titled “Atheism entails anti-discrimination” in which he oddly claims that “the basis for atheism leads to anti-discrimination.”
This then, following John’s breach of the ‘no more about this’ agreement I initiated, ought to be my final word on these matters.
I am — although no longer writing on the Skeptic Ink Network — more optimistic than ever about my future which will include more church/state activism, atheist activism, recorded debates with religious believers, protesting, public speaking, conference reporting and live-tweeting, work with secular groups ranging from local to international, and engagement with media ranging from local to international.
The near future will include more involvement with my objection to government-led prayer at Wilkes-Barre City Council meetings and further activism. I want to continue focusing on ‘the positives’ — moving away from ‘the drama’ which plagues the so-called atheist/skeptic community — and hope that many of my detractors [and associates] may do the same.
Welcome [back] to www.justinvacula.com – a score to a new beginning! I hope my former readers and blogging colleagues from SIN will continue to follow and support my work. Please update your bookmarks, blogrolls, reader programs, RSS subscriptions, favorites, and consider spreading the word about my new home through your preferred channels. I would also like to thank NEPA Geeks for assisting me with this transition and providing affordable server space for my new home.
As always, your comments are welcome below…but first be sure to enjoy music composed by Phil Giordana preparing you for #metalmonday! Look back tomorrow for a major update concerning my continued objections to government-led prayer at Wilkes-Barre City Council meetings which includes a major national organization joining my fight.