Atheist Safehouse an Atheist Cockfest

Late last night, a Facebook post from my friend, Australian author Margaret Morgan, grabbed my attention.

The image was so startlingly sexist and tone-deaf in the age of #metoo I could scarcely believe it.

Atheist Safehouse? The image shows eight rather intimidating angry men apparently ‘guarding’ this closed group of 42,114 members from unwanted intruders. 

And, last night, the unwanted intruder was me.

Eight men! Where were the atheist women? Was this some kind of “Playboy Atheist” men-only club where women serve only as brainless bunnies to bolster the egos of a group of Godless incels? Or was this simply an aberration that could be easily and elegantly fixed by the admins with an ‘Oops! Yes, we screwed up. We’re fixing it now”.

Not a bloody chance!

For the past twelve months I’ve been working, behind the scenes, at the coal face of the #metoo movement, documenting cases of domestic violence ending in death and looking at incidents and the consequences of trolling and cyber-bullying. I’ve come to understand that, as long as women are not represented and treated equally in society, their physical safety, mental health and financial security will be severely compromised. In short, casual sexism like this normalises the inequality of women. This has  serious consequences; the worst of which are poverty, gender violence and death. 

The equal representation of women in public and private spaces matters. It matters because saving women’s lives and maximising their wellbeing requires a tectonic cultural shift in our society that starts with recognising women’s contributions. It is, frankly, inconceivable that a group which prides itself on intellect and reason would choose a composite photo showing eight men – mostly white – to represent its mixed-gendered membership of 42,114 members.

I joined the group last night in order to comment. Naively, I thought it would be a simple matter of drawing the issue to the attention of the admins and getting the photo changed. 

“Why are there no women in the profile picture for this group?”, I wrote. “You do know there are atheist women, right?”

It immediately became apparent this was not a new issue for Atheist Safehouse. It also became clear the admins weren’t likely to take the elegant “Oops … we’re sorry!” option.

“Here we go again,” wrote a male member of the group. “Could not agree more, but have seen what moderators do about this.”

“O goodie, this again … ” groaned another, less supportive, man.

A female member said tentatively, “I did ask myself the same question.”

Emboldened, another woman chimed in, “Please put Tracie Harris and Annie Laurie Gaylor. Thanks.”

Others suggested Madalyn Murray O’Hair – but it took a few goes to get the name and the spelling right.

My friend, Australian atheist and intellect, Cushla Geary, confirmed what I was beginning to suspect:

“It’s one of the reasons I seldom contribute here – because the debates all too often echo the masthead.”

One male member said one might just as well argue there are no animals represented in the photo because ‘animals are atheist as well’ right? He went on to explain the image wasn’t sexist because the people represented in the photo had just been picked ‘randomly’. 

Soon an admin appeared – a female:

“Please read the pinned post at the top of the page, there’s a section that says the debate on this topic is currently closed, due to lack of consensus.”

(I imagine the big, brave male admins ducking for cover in the cyber-trenches while they sent out the female foot-soldiers to throw grenades at the tiresome feminazi interloper.)

Lack of consensus? About what? Atheist Safehouse is a group of 42,114 atheists and it’s 2018 for Chrissakes! We’re in the midst of fourth wave feminism and the #metoo movement – focusing on combating sexual harassment, assault and misogyny.  Yet, in a group of people who pride themselves on their intelligence and rationality , there’s a lack of consensus over whether an image that depicts eight blokes and no women sufficiently and fairly represents the atheist movement? 

A male ally raised a pertinent question:

“How do you get ‘consensus’ when you regard the topic as ‘closed’, I wonder.”

I agreed, remarking that, surely, the idea that men and women were equal, and should be represented equally, was uncontentious. 

At which point some genius suggested there should be a poll. Yes. Seriously. A fucking POLL!

It was suggested the matter should be put to a vote. Apparently, in this group, women’s equality is not a ‘given’, it is a privilege which can only be bestowed if the ‘consensus’ or ‘majority vote’ deems us worthy of inclusion.

“This is the most regularly asked question on the page,” said a jaded male member of the group, “and I guarantee you’ll be disappointed and dissatisfied with the vast majority of the answers. The powers that be have decreed that the subject is not up for discussion and a large portion of the group agree, so I’m afraid that’s how it’s going to stay.”

Naively, it occurred to me this group simply didn’t realise there were female atheist leaders. “Where is Polly Toynbee, Greta Christina, Karen Stollznow, Ophelia Benson, Annie Laurie Gaylor, Susan Blackmore, Sumitra Padmanabhan, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Susan Jacobs, Margaret Downey, Ariane Sherine, Debbie Goddard and more?” I wrote.

But the admins were unmoved. Another female admin chimed in: 

“Chrys Stevenson, please go read the rules of the group and it will be explained as well as what is appropriate topics we allow. You are new but this topic has been hashed and rehashed. The banner stays as it is. Turning off comments for this post.”


Consider the gravity of this in today’s cultural climate:

The female admins of a group of 42,114 free thinkers shut down a discussion on whether women should be represented equally on their masthead.Not only that,they shut it down because people kept complaining and, instead of changing the damn photo, they preferred to just prohibit people from talking about it!

As a result of this ‘discussion’ I was quickly expelled from the group, as was my friend, Cushla, who stepped up to defend my position. Before I was banned – as I knew I would be –  I made it known I had taken screenshots of the conversation and would bring the matter to public attention. That post was deleted too.

There was a time when I would have kept these kinds of disputes ‘in house’.  I kept shtum for years over various atrocities within organised atheism for fear of bringing a movement I believed in into disrepute. But the atheist movement’s shameful stance on feminism is now well known. If organised atheism is seen as disreputable it is the fault of the misogynists, not those of us who call it out.  The men (and women) who prop up the mean-spirited, myopic misogyny of groups like Atheist Safehouse are solely responsible for the crumbling edifice of a movement which once had promise, but is now rotting from both the head and its core. 

If an atheist group of 42,114  (42,112 members now Cushla and I have been booted) cannot take the simple step of removing a single photo and replacing it with a more representative image, what hope is there that atheism can be rescued from the grip of the immature, socially inept, MRA man-babies who seem to have colonised the movement.

New Atheism is supposed to be about freeing the world from the irrational beliefs that hold back human progress. One of those irrational beliefs is that women are less deserving of equality, recognition and respect than men. And yet, in one of the largest atheist groups on Facebook, you cannot even discuss this issue – it is verboten. And 41,112 atheists choose to belong to such a group!

Tell me again how New Atheism is going to make the world a better place?

Chrys Stevenson

78 thoughts on “Atheist Safehouse an Atheist Cockfest

  1. Glenn Watson

    It’s probably because no-one amongst the admins has the werewithal to make another photomontage – that attempt was as good as they get. so, being a solution provider, how about you give me your eight nominees for the people in that banner and I’ll/we’ll make one up, and see if the very simple matter of replacing the banner doesn’t make it a cinch?

    1. thatsmyphilosophy Post author

      Sounds like a fine idea, but I’m banned so have no way of offering them an alternative. One might have trout with over 40,000 members someone could use photoshop!

      1. Brad Hoschar

        I’m an admin of that “sausage-fest” FB page. Although it wasn’t me who banned you, I can tell for certain that it was the way you came across bringing this to our attention that got you banned, not for posting this in the first place. as with anything in life you catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar. And let me tell you and the OP lady, you reek of apple cider.

      2. thatsmyphilosophy Post author

        That is quite false. I have the screenshots of the whole conversation. It was made clear that I was banned for breaching the rule that the photo was not to be discussed. You have banned other women for the same thing. You banned Cushla who said nothing more than she supported my view. I warned I would take this public and your admins chose to ignore that. So now your group is facing the consequences. I’m just the messenger. PZ Myers has also written about the misogyny of your group and has blogged about this post. I’m guessing by the end of today there will be few atheists online who haven’t got the message that Atheist Safehouse is toxic. Of course, you could change the photo and your policies and stop banning people from calling out sexism and discussing feminism on your page …

      3. Elanore

        Brad – so women have to be sure to ask nicely enough for people to stop discriminating against us? Please excuse the typos – my eyes rolled right out of my head and across the floor.

    2. Em Nunyah

      Hi Glen, sadly this is not the case. I was an admin in this group last year. I offered my services to design a new photo. Or alter the current one. The owner of the group did not want to hear that. I ended up stepping down a few months later due to the mistreatment of another female admin. I was initially banned for stepping down and most of my posts deleted.

      1. AJ Nel

        I’ve just looked at the screenshots.and am somewhat concerned regarding your regurgitation of the averred factual matrix. I note that your first post regarding the (in my view rather dated) banner was “switched off” for comment and it was explained to you that the matter has previously been dealt with and a form of consensus was achieved. You then merely started a new post in order to persist with the same point and expressly insulted and belittled a female admin whom in turn banned you for not complying with the rules of the group.

        PS please note that apart from cursory view on the aforementioned banner, I have elected not to express any other views but to merely correct a somewhat skewed representation of the facts and the impact thereof on the group.

      2. Wilmi Nel

        If you went to go and read the rules as was asked of you (which you agreed to when signing up in answering that specific question) you would have known.

  2. Lois Kobb

    I’ve said before that getting rid of religion won’t solve the world’s problems, and here is some evidence. Sexism, hatred, disharmony, and greed exist outside the bounds of religion. Without the worship of God, people will still find reasons for division.

      1. silkworm

        Getting rid of religion won’t get rid of patriarchy, but getting ridding of patriarchy will get rid of religion. This is why the #metoo movement is a game changer in our cultural evolution.

    1. Annie Chant

      Did Brad just say that women had to ask for representation nicely? Yes yes I think he did.

      Why do assertive women bother you Brad? Poor Brad. Sad Brad.

      1. Brad Hoschar

        Since it was never brought to our attention before, then all of a sudden attacked and an attempt to ‘change or feel bad about the picture’ was implemented, a simple suggestion would have sufficed.
        And representation? Really? I work on the ‘so what’ process. Let us assume for one moment that these apologists and members were correct, that there were in fact a thriving misogynistic element within the world of atheism. (And why not? Is there some requirement as to which type of people are allowed to be atheists?) I would ask, “So what?” How does this affect the existence of atheism? Does this prove the existence of god? Does this make the misogyny of theism more acceptable to them? Misogyny, or the lack of it, is a personal characteristic. What does that have to do with atheism?

      2. thatsmyphilosophy Post author

        Brad, that is just absolute bullshit. People have been coming out of the woodwork to tell us they’ve complained about that photo, at least as far back as March.

        Your own admin told me it’s one of the most frequently discussed issues on your page – hence the ban, written in your TOS, from discussing it.

        Don’t you dare come here and outright lie that I was the first person ever to raise this issue. PZ wrote about it months ago. You’ve been booting people out for raising it for months.

        You are welcome to have your say here but don’t bloody lie, right?

      3. Miriam English

        Sorry, Brad, but I call bullshit. I joined the site last year and suggested that it might be a good idea to add some women to the all-men lineup in the banner. I even supplied a list. Another woman, Gabriella Bagnulo, agreed and added a few more names. The result? Nothing.
        After a week or two I realised the site was a bit of a waste of time so I un-joined (if that’s the right term).
        What I wrote wasn’t angry or rude:

        There are plenty of wonderful women who are atheists. Best of all, the number is increasing. Of course it isn’t helped by the common depiction of atheism as being a male thing (note the header image for this group). There are lots of famous women atheists: Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Julia Sweeney, Sarah Silverman, Rebecca Watson (founded Skepchik), Madalyn Murray O’Hair (founded American Atheists) — all big promoters of atheism. Also many famous women are atheists: Janeane Garofolo, Angelina Jolie, Julianne Moore, Emma Thompson, Keira Knightley, Helen Mirren, Kathy Griffin, Nigella Lawson, and many more. Add to them, more than 90% of women in the sciences are atheist.

        I notice my post is no longer there. (I kept a link to it).

      4. Owlmirror

        I work on the ‘so what’ process. Let us assume for one moment that these apologists and members were correct, that there were in fact a thriving misogynistic element within the world of atheism. (And why not? Is there some requirement as to which type of people are allowed to be atheists?) I would ask, “So what?” How does this affect the existence of atheism? Does this prove the existence of god? Does this make the misogyny of theism more acceptable to them? Misogyny, or the lack of it, is a personal characteristic. What does that have to do with atheism?

        I suspect that Brad will not be returning to read this, but just in case . . .

        Misogyny is bigotry against women. Presumably you would oppose bigotry against atheists; why would you be indifferent to bigotry against women?

        Either atheists groups should oppose bigotry in general, and should therefore oppose bigotry against women, or those groups should only oppose bigotry against atheists — which means that they would be fine with one subgroup of atheists being bigoted against another subgroup of atheists.

        As a moral question, what do you really think what atheist groups should be like?

        As a practical question, which scenario do you really think will be viable in the long run? The really long run?

    2. chris wood

      Yes, they will. But taking religion out of the equation is quite a biggy, is it not ? After all, perfectly sane people will do perfectly insane things to each other if they feel their particular religion come under attack. Throwing acid in the faces of their own daughters to disfigure them for life should the daughter step outside of daddies plans for her to be married off ? And that is within their own religion !

  3. Alice Ashton

    The fact that Lawrance Krauss is center stage should be a sign. He has has multiple women make credible allegations of harassment against him, yet a large segment of the community stands behind him. I’ve found that men and women who ask for more equality within the movement are quickly labeled “social justice warriors,” and thus I have found my place in their ranks.

    1. silkworm

      SJWs! That is a term that was developed by Roosh V, a rape apologist. It is a term beloved by the alt-right and used in their quest to attack the left, especially feminists. It was taken up in Australia by Cory Bernardi, which just goes to show that the anti-feminist warriors populating the alt-right are strongly associated with the religious right.

    2. Maria Scholes

      And yet, he hasn’t been found guilty. The admins already stated that he would be removed upon being found guilty.

  4. Pingback: Oh, look, I just alienated another 42,000 atheists!

  5. NekoOnna

    This experience is why I’ve more or less left organized atheism behind. After Elevatorgate, what I had always suspected became manifest- “free thinking” was as dogmatic and rigid in its own way as the theists. I’m still a personal atheist, but I don’t waste my time or effort on the so-called “movement” any more.

  6. manosingham

    Apart from the major flaw that you so clearly pointed out, I was also struck by the fact that even given a mindset that accepts that having only men is not a problem, the photo itself is ghastly. Surely something advertising itself as a ‘safe house’ would be accompanied by a welcoming image? This photo is like something created for a ‘scare house’.

    We have Hitchens glowering, Maher with his patented smugly superior look, Tyson looking as if he’s seen a ghost, Teller yelling, and Krauss right in front doing who knows what, perhaps calling on Yahweh to smite all the women who have said that he abused them? Not a single friendly, welcoming smile to be seen among the lot.

  7. Aaron (@DrPeril)

    Maybe send the screenshots to NDT’s publicist, or Rickie’s. Surely dudebros like Harris and Kraus won’t care, but maybe a sternly worded letter from someone’s lawyer will draw them out of apathy?

  8. Forklift Jones

    I am a female member of this group and I think maybe someone should just make a new logo and submit it. If I had Photoshop or a reasonable editing program, I would have made one myself.

    But…, it’s also not that serious. Seeing a picture of a woman atheist doesn’t change or strengthen my views. I am a black female and I didn’t meet another black female atheist until my adult years. It didn’t change my atheism.

    So, either someone provide me with a link to a decent photo editor or starting making your own new group picture.

    1. thatsmyphilosophy Post author

      There are 42,000 people in your group. It is inconceivable that no one in that group has the skills to put together a more representative image featuring at least Susan Jacoby, Annie Laurie Gaylor, Debbie Goddard and Ayaan Hirsi Ali.

      It is not a matter of your group lacking photo editing skills. I was told, clearly, they had no interest in changing the photo.

      By its own actions your group has been brought into widespread disrepute. It is up to your group to fix it; not my readers.

      You have 42,000 members. If not one of them has photo editing skills raise some money to pay a professional.

      Or, here’s a novel idea, just Google to find a more appropriate photo and implement a gender representation policy so this won’t happen again.

      Oh, and remove the ban on calling out sexism in the group. That’d be good.

      1. Brad Hoschar

        Feel free to apply for moderator or adminstration status, PLEASE. Also, one or 2 persons ideas won’t go to waste. It’s all in how this was presented.

      2. thatsmyphilosophy Post author

        Brad it’s obvious from comments on this blog and around the internet this isn’t a problem caused by my attitude. The problem is your misogynistic site. Until you own that and fix it things aren’t going to get better for you. Flinging mud at me just makes you look silly. You were being criticised by PZ Myers and by your own female members long before I came along.

        The fact you implemented rules banning discussions about the photo and restricting discussion on feminism shows clearly that misogyny is an ongoing issue that Atheist Safehouse just didn’t want to deal with.

        So now the whole internet is talking about it because you don’t control the whole internet.

        Lift the bans, fix the photo and implement a gender equity policy for photos and discussions.

    2. Annie Chant

      No. I could have done it but you banned me for providing a list of prominent atheist women.
      I wouldn’t touch your group now with some one else’s ten foot barge pole. I had no training when I put together an awesome cover pic with around 60 prominent atheists.

      You burnt your bridges by banning me and I owe you nothing. Surely there is someone in your little tree house who can do it. Personally you sound like you are just making excuses because you and your club members don’t think its important to represent women.

    3. Annie Chant

      Can you wipe your own nose or do you need others to do that for you too?

      I have no Photoshop training yet I put together a cover pic with 70 prominent atheists for my group after I downloaded a trial version of Photoshop. Stop being so needy and get onto it.

  9. Miriam English

    Yeah, some months ago I was a member of that group for a while, but cancelled my membership after I raised exactly the same concerns, posting a long list of female atheists. A few people agreed and added to the list, but the admins were unmoved. On reflection I probably should have made a logo myself with a more representative set of faces. I have Gimp* and I’m an artist. I even made the logo for the “Rainbow Atheists” facebook group.

    Perhaps, in a retarded kind of way, it’s almost a good thing that the banner for “Atheist Safehouse” remains as it is. It honestly advertises its constituency. :/

    * Gimp is a brilliant, free, open-source image editor, every bit as good as the obscenely expensive Photoshop

  10. manosingham


    Let us grant for the moment your point that it was the vinegar tone that led to the banning and that a honeyed voice would have been better. Surely that is a separate issue from whether the photo should be changed? If you agree that a better photo should be used, then you could have said so and taken steps to do so, while also saying that you felt the tone adopted was unfortunate.

    To not make a change that you think is worthwhile simply because of the way that the change was suggested seems a little immature, no?

    1. Brad Hoschar

      I agree. I think there should be some women in that picture….but, I’m only a mod, and not an admin. It’s been brought up and talked about a couple times, but the consensus is that it doesn’t change things. Atheism isn’t about a banner picture. There is a good mix of men AND women members, admins, and moderators. We’re not sexist, and of course we’ll delete posts that attack.

      1. thatsmyphilosophy Post author

        If you aren’t sexist why are you so resistant to fairly representing the contribution of women and people of other cultures in your banner? Why are you happy to have a photo of a man who has been dismissed from his university for sexual harassment front and centre? Symbolism matters. Representation matters. It appears from the feedback we’re receiving that your group is widely considered to be both sexist and toxic. Tens of thousands more people now know about this because you guys are so keen to keep your frat house culture you refuse to even discuss the issue. Anyone who has raised it is banned.

        Here is how you should respond to what has been fair and reasonable criticism.

        Change the damned photo.
        Develop a gender equity policy for the page.
        Remove the ban prohibiting people from discussing feminism or gender equity issues on your page.
        Affirm your commitment to gender equity, diversity and equal representation of all who contribute to secularism – not just middle aged white men.
        Tell members that anyone posting in a way that is disrespectful to women or feminists will be removed from the page. This does not mean women can’t be criticised or disagreed with, just not in a gendered way.
        And finally, say that you will reinstate privileges for those who were banned for pointing out your failure to embrace gender equity.

      2. thatsmyphilosophy Post author

        Here’s another suggestion – just cut and paste:

        A message from the Safehouse Admins

        On reflection we realise the banner photo we have used is unrepresentative of the gender and cultural diversity of atheist leaders.

        We also realise that refusing to deal with this issue by banning discussion has been short-sighted and disrespectful to the women and male allies who find this image offensive.

        We also acknowledge that some of the men in this image are, allegedly, sexual harassers and that this has caused further offence.

        We propose to replace the offensive image immediately with a composite image of female atheists. We believe this is only fair as the all male image has been in place for some time.

        In the meantime, and as soon as possible, we will have a more representative image created.

        We have removed the restrictions placed on addressing feminist issues in this forum.

        Further, we affirm our commitment to gender equality and making this place a safe and accepting place for women. People in this forum who do not support those goals will have their membership reviewed.

        Finally, we apologise to the women and male allies who have been expelled merely for raising legitimate queries about gender equity issues in this group. We will work to reinstate access for those people.

      3. Miriam English

        We can call them out for being sexist asshats. We can ridicule them for their denialism. We can promote other venues that are much better places for thinking atheists to go. We can suggest ways they could make amends for their stupidity. But telling them that they MUST do such-and-such is to futilely tilt at windmills. We know they won’t. They are clearly misogynist — not all of them, but there is obviously a rich vein of misogyny there. Time is better spent telling people what Trumps they are (using his name as an insult is long overdue).

      4. Miriam English

        Oops… my mistake. Sorry. I misread your comment. On re-reading I saw that it was a suggestion, not a demand. I have to be more careful.

      5. Owlmirror

        I think there should be some women in that picture….but, I’m only a mod, and not an admin.

        Did you not claim a couple of days ago (04/08/2018 at 8:29 AM) that “I’m an admin of that “sausage-fest” FB page.” (emph mine)?

        Did you just mistype, or was your status downgraded between then and now?

  11. Annie Chant

    I’ve been banned for providing them with a list of prominent atheist women.

    So has my friend.

    Oh dear, this is still happening. We had the same discussions and responses from The Thinking Atheist Fan page, UK Atheists, Australian Atheists over the years.

    The Atheist Community is not as progressive or as free thinking as it thinks it is.

    Thanks Chrys Stevenson.

    Prominent atheist women.

    1. Eva Cox, writer, feminist,sociologist.
    2. Amber Heard – Actress
    3. Amy Davis Roth – She is thefounder/leader of the LA Women’s Atheist and Agnostic Group.
    4. Andrea Dworkin – radical feminist – Author
    5. Angelina Jole – Actress
    6. Ann Druyan – Producer/writer and
    7. Anna Hutsol – Founder of Femen
    8. Annie Laurie Gaylor Freedom fromReligion Foundation
    9. Audrey Hepburn- Actress
    10. Ayan Hirsi Ali – Activist, writer andpolitician
    11. bell hooks – author, feminist, and social activist.
    12. Bjork – Icelandic singer and actress
    13. Butterfly McQueen – Actress
    14. Carolyn Porco – Planetary Scientist
    15. Catherine Deveny – Comedian/writer.
    16. Catherine Fahringer – activist whocampaigned for the separation of church and state
    17. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
    18. Christina Rad – Romanian atheist vlogger andblogger.
    19. Chrys Stevenson – Writer
    20. D. M. Murdock – Mythicist, Author
    21. Diane Keaton – Actress
    22. Elaine Morgan, author of The Descent ofWoman in 1972
    23. Elizabeth Cady Stanton – led the firstwave of the feminist movement
    24. Ella Gibson – secular feminist
    25. Emma Goldman – Anarchist philosopher, women’s rights, andsocial issues
    26. Emma Thompson – actress
    27. Ernestine Rose – atheist feminist,
    28. Eugenie Scott – National Centre forScience Education
    29. Eve Ensler – feminist
    30. Germaine Greer – atheist feminist
    31. Gloria Steinem – American feminist, journalist,and social and political
    32. Greta Christina – atheist writer /commentator
    33. Helen H. Gardner – author, rationalist publicintellectual, political activist
    34. Helen Mirren – Actress
    35. Hypatia Bradlaugh Bonner – Peace activist, author, atheist and freethinker,
    36. Hypatia of Alexandria – head of the Platonist schoolat Alexandria.
    37. Inna Shevchenko – part of the feministgroup FEMEN
    38. Jane Carro – social commentator, writer
    39. Jane Morris-Goodall, anthropologist, UN Messenger of Peace.
    40. Jen Peebles – aerospace engineer,exmilitary test pilot, atheist experience.
    41. Jodie Foster – actress
    42. Julia Gillard – Former Prime Minister
    43. Julianne Moore – actress
    44. Kate Nash – singer, songwriter, musicianand actress.
    45. Katharine Hepburn – Actress
    46. Kathy Griffin – Comedian a self-described”militant atheist,
    47. Keira Knightley – Actress
    48. Kylie Sturgess – Award-winning blogger, author podcasthost
    49. Leslie Cannold – author, academicethicist, columnist, activist
    50. Lucretia Mott – led the first wave of the feminist movement
    51. Madalyn O’Hair – American atheistactivist; founder of American Atheists
    52. Margaret Downey – FreeThoughtPedia
    53. Margaret Sanger – American birth controlactivist, sex educator,
    54. Margaret Whitlam. Women’s rights, abortion law reform
    55. Marie Curie – scientist
    56. Marilla Ricker – A suffragist, philanthropist,lawyer, and freethinker,
    57. Maryam Namazie Iranian-born secularist and humanrights activist – Atheist
    58. Matilda Electa Gage – suffragist, aNative American activist, a freethinker
    59. Maya Angelou – African-American author, poet,dancer, actress and singer
    60. Meredith Doig – Rationalist SocietyPresident Australia
    61. Mollen Matsumura , evolution activist
    62. Natalie Portman actress withdual American and Israelicitizenship.
    63. Natalie Reed – Transgender atheistactivist
    64. Nigella Lawson – Journalist,broadcaster, gourmet, and food writer
    65. Ophelia Benson – author, editor,blogger, and feminist.
    66. Patricia Churchland – philosopher – neurophilosophy and the philosophy of mind,
    67. Phyllis Diller – actress
    68. Rebecca Newberger Goldstein – authorprominent in humanist movement
    69.. Rebecca Watson – blogger and podcast host. Founder of Skepchick blog
    70. Sarah Vowell – author, journalist,
    71. Sherri Tepper – writer of feministscience fiction, mystery and horror.
    72. Sikivu Hutchinson feminist, atheist Authorof Godless Americana: Race and Religious Rebels
    73.. Simone de Beauvoir – existentialist philosopher, politicalactivist, feminist and social theorist.
    74. Stella Young – comedian, journalist and disabilityadvocate
    75. Susan B Anthony who led the first waveof the feminist movement
    76.. Tanya Levin – Atheist Nexus -Social worker/writer
    77. Taslima Nasreen – author and formerphysician
    78. Tracey Thorn – pop singer and songwriter
    79. Tracie Harris – Rotating co-host. Of TheAtheist Experience
    80. Vashti McCollum – plaintiff – 1948 McCollum v.Board of Education
    81. Wafa Sultan – MD – authorand critic of Muslim society and Islam.

    1. Owlmirror

      As DeeDee implies, Maya Angelou does not belong on a list of atheists — her Wikipedia bio states that she was a member of at least 3 churches (Mount Zion Baptist Church, Unity Church, Glide Memorial Church) for many years, and one of the links used as a source has the explicit quote:

      Maya Angelou, who died on Wednesday at age 86, said in an interview last year that after studying at the Unity church, she came to fully realize that “God loves me,” that God made the physical world and human beings, and that this is why she, Angelou, exists and she is “amazed at it and grateful for it.”

      I’d also be leery about including Hypatia; as a Neo-Platonist philosopher, she probably was not an atheist.

      I note that the list does not include Jennifer Michael Hecht, who is indeed a self-identified atheist, and whose book, Doubt, a History, includes agnostics/skeptics and possible atheists among early historical figures, as well as explicit atheists among early feminists and people of colour struggling against systemic racism.

  12. Annie Chant

    Also I think it’s ironic they are asking you to put together a pic Chrys when they banned you.

    BTW little ol me, with no photoshop skills managed to put together a comprehensive cover pic of prominent atheist women years ago. I’m sure they have some who they havent banned who can put one together. It’s not hard. They are just pretending it is.

  13. Rammeses

    Brad Hoschar,
    I sent a request to join the group last night and was accepted this morning. I looked around the page and was not impressed. One post, apparently supported by quite a few of the members, likened feminism to a disease.
    I wrote a post pointing out all-male nature of the banner and suggested Krauss and Dawkins could be replaced by Rebecca Watson and Gretta Christiana. I did not use any offensive language not make any personal attacks.
    I immediately received a whole lot of angry misogynous posts calling me a SJW and similar. I only responded to one response which attacked Rebecca and Gretta, in which I said I would have thought feminism was a progressive value that would be accepted by progressive atheists.
    About fifteen minutes from my original post without any warning or discussion I was banned.
    Forgive me for being blunt about it, but your group is a cesspit of intolerance and misogyny.

  14. mricho61

    Ughhh ! Well that’s yet another “atheist” group I wouldn’t join. There are many smart, informed, interesting women (like yourself! ) that have such a contribution to make.
    I am 1 owner of a” sausage” who %100 on your side on this Chris! It seems like such an easy thing to get right and they are determined to get it wrong.
    More power to you Sister.

  15. abbienoiraude

    Why would anyone join “Atheist Safehouse”?
    They seem confused at what Atheism includes/entails and certainly do not present a “Safehouse” by any stretch of the imagination.

    A thoughtful, inclusive Atheist group they are not.

    Any group who would not welcome and embrace someone with Chrys Stevenson’s intellect, drive and profile is a group you should stay right away from.

    Silly Sausages!
    (Now go stand in the corner till you have thought this through. Naughty little boys!)

    1. Wilmi Nel

      Interesting. When looking up the meaning / definition of atheism, not one dictionary mentions any word of feminism / sexism (as this is what sparked this whole post) being connected and / or affiliated to atheism. Same with politics, global warming issues, gun control etc.
      Disbelief or lack of believe in the existence of god or gods.

  16. Gaye Harding-Kirikiri

    Question? Why do some male atheists ditch god but not the patriarchy religion built? Are they confused? I’m confused……..

  17. silkworm

    It’s ironic because just this morning Cory Bernardi launched an app as a “safe space” for conservatives on the Internet. Perhaps the people at “Atheist Safehouse” are friends of Cory.

  18. Wil C. Fry

    Thank you for this. Atheism is indeed infected with misogyny. I’ve lost track of how many groups I’ve left and pages I’ve unfollowed over this very issue. Feminism is non-negotiable for me.

  19. Pingback: Well, that was interesting

  20. Bobi Lloyd

    I was also kicked from this group, but for entirely different reasons.

    One admin regularly got his jollies by trolling his own group, by posing as a reactionary fundamentalist interloper. New members, who weren’t familiar with his ‘sport’ would inevitably take issue with something that was so far removed from what they’d assumed an ‘Atheist Safehouse’ should be, and with the admin’s further trolling the newbie would often be so affronted that they’d block the troll … which was the entire point of the troll’s game – to force a member to block an admin so they could be booted for breaking the “no blocking admins” rule.
    When I challenged the troll/admin over this practice I too was booted.

    The group is irredeemably corrupt, and not fit for any purpose.

    1. Wilmi Nel

      Please let me introduce myself, I’m the FEMALE ADMIN that removed her from Atheist Safehouse. And this, might I add, after I have asked her to go read our rules and what’s regarded as appropriate posts. It’s quite easy and self explanatory; posts relating to atheism, posts relating to agnosticism and / or the bad that religion is. We also deal with the banner issue in the same pinned post and why the subject is closed. Yes, rules won’t always appease everybody but we all know, as in any society today, rules and regulations serves as a norm of conduct for all citizens / members of society, especially when you have 42 277 members (as it currently stands) in any given group. Chrys chose to disregard my comment on her above-mentioned post, which also clearly asks members to not take issues up in the group, but to contact any Admin of the group, and we can then personally help and take it from there). Instead, she petulantly opted to go onto her next rampage of the misogynistic group etc, personally “telling” me that I’m a misogynist, complicit in my own subjugation to the patriarchy & doing my gender a great disservice. LET ME BE VERY CLEAR on this, I am not a “brainless bunny to bolster the egos” as it was so “eloquently” phrased….. so as if to say that no woman could actually formulate an idea, view or opinion of their own, without it being somehow influenced by “male patriarchy”. In this day and age, with all the bad that has/is being caused by religion worldwide, which we should fight to eradicate (i.e. sexual abuse on children by Priests, to name but one) people would rather fight over a banner on a Facebook Group.

      1. Valerie Gould

        Why on earth would you ban discussions on your main photo?
        Given that women are 50% of the population, it makes absolutely no sense to have a pic of all males up. Of course people are going to comment on it.

        Banning any discussion about it is unreasonable. It’s the same as Christians refusing to discuss whether God is real. I’m at a loss as to how you and the rest of the admins cannot see that. Just the fact that people keep bringing up the photo shows that it is an issue. The admins clinging to an all male picture after having it brought to their attention that it is not a true depiction of people involved in atheism shows how truly unreasonable and close-minded they are.

  21. kyuss

    The image shows eight rather intimidating angry men…

    The image doesn’t show anything of the kind. You’re a fucking moron.

      1. Miriam English

        I frequent “Rainbow Atheists”
        In Australia there is Fiona Patten’s “Reason Party”
        In USA there is the “Freedom From Religion Foundation”
        There’s Hemant Mehta’s genuinely inclusive “Friendly Atheist”
        (he also makes YouTube videos )
        There are oodles of places on YouTube.

  22. Wilmi Nel

    Chrys, your whole point of spreading this “far and wide” is because you believe we “oppress” EQUALITY for women as we are allegedly being prejudiced and stereotyping woman based on their gender / sex… Yet in your post above, you singled out the race / skin-colour based on the men in the photo as predominantly white? Which has nothing to do with feminism nor woman’s rights, but more with stereotyping based on ethnicity…

    1. thatsmyphilosophy Post author

      I don’t ‘believe’ it. I know it from the number of women and male allies who have come out with horror stories about your group. I can guarantee if you treat women with disdain you do the same or worse to people of other colour and other cultures.

      As for spreading it ‘far and wide’ I wrote a single blog post. Your group is so widely recognised as toxic it went viral and got picked up by bloggers with far greater reach than me.

  23. Wilmi Nel

    If we went viral as you claim, we would not have picked up on this blog seven days after it being published. Oh, and I see how you side stepped my question, by just not giving an explanation as to your “word choice” on race comment. However, what perturbs me the most is the fact that you didn’t “approve” any of my other comments on this blog where I fully explained the situation and stated our side over your outburst… Funny that, hey? And they were posted well in advance, way before my last (and only) comment you approved. Oh wait, this comment will probably also not be approved. Good luck to future endeavors and remember, in blogging / posting about your gripes, always approve all posts from both sides. And with this Chrys, I bid thee farewell.

    1. thatsmyphilosophy Post author

      I have a 94 year old mother in hospital at the moment. Strangely, your comments are not my first priority but they have all now been approved.

      Please note the irony that you and your little band of misogynists are allowed to post here, but are banning anyone who even raises this topic at Atheist Safehouse.

      1. Wilmi Nel

        Ah yes, when you fail to attack the argument and start by personally attacking the person, as I am again referred to as being a misogynist.

        Thats said, I hope your mom is okay. I lost mine at a young age. Take care of her.

    1. thatsmyphilosophy Post author

      You have no issue with NO females being recognised as leaders of the movement and a man who has been dismissed for sexual harassment being front and center? Nor with only one person of colour appearing in the photo? The fact that YOU don’t find this offensive or wrong doesn’t make it right, but it says rather a lot about you.

      1. Lindsey

        You know what says a lot about you? The fact that you’re spending so much time and energy on something so trivial in comparison to real issues that could actually benefit from your effort. Something like a charity or learning how to not be a bully by passive aggressively insulting someone.

      2. thatsmyphilosophy Post author

        I actually spend 7 days a week working on the #metoo movement, advocating for voluntary euthanasia, and working to eradicate domestic violence. Asking atheists to be decent human beings is just a sideline.

  24. Valerie Gould

    I am a member of the Atheist SafeHouse, a woman, and I DO have an issue with it showing all men. Women are 50% of the population, your picture leaves one thinking that there are not any female atheists. Just because a female moderator doesn’t have an issue with there not being any females in the picture does not mean it is okay.

    The fact that you are not allowing open discussion of it, yet allow discussion of just about everything else, plus people trolling makes not a whit of sense. Why is that?? I’d really like to know.

    Chrys, my thoughts are with you on your mom and her health. I’m going onto my seventh year of caregiving. I’m with you on your “other” projects as well.

      1. Anand Swayamshri

        I’m a former admin of that group. This just caught my attention and I disagree with the post.

        I’m Indian. There were no Indian atheists in that cover pic. It didn’t matter to me. Seeking inclusivity in a cover pic is foolish. I sought inclusiveness in the forum of discourse itself. And I got that as soon as I joined the group. I did indulge in discourses and initiated many of my own.

        The cover pic was just to get the point across that this is an atheist group. That’s all that was.

        People got banned upon talking about the cover pic because that was the rule of the group. Not to talk about it.
        It never mattered.

        What really mattered was the discourse on real life events, religious influence in politics and on people’s personal and public lives and decisions, and also criticism of religious tenets that go against modern day human values. The cover pic was of no consequence. The real world is.

        When Facebook users requested to join the group, they were asked to read the rules and abide by it. Those were one of the three questions that were laid down for the users to answer to before their requests would be accepted or declined.
        Only when they responded to all of that in affirmative, were they allowed.
        But by talking about the cover pic, they violated one of the rules, and also lied. So they were banned.

        To think that the cover pic is any more important than just getting the idea across that ‘this is the group for atheists only’ is way too much investment of mental and emotional faculties over a very trivial object.

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