EllenBeth Wachs

My Cats are My Gods

Posts Tagged ‘atheism

Stephanie Zvan- Wrong Again

with 3 comments

So I just found out that Stephanie Zvan did another one of her vanity searches on twitter and even though I don’t even mention her name, she includes my tweets in her storify claiming harassment. She adds commentary deciding she knows what occurred between myself and Melody Hensley. She is wrong.

 

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Stephanie decided she knows what happened last year when I changed my mind about not going to WIS.  Maybe she ought to talk to Melody (if they are actually still talking, one can’t keep up these days). Melody shows as “Facebook User” because she blocked me right after this conference last year when I supported her boss Ron Lindsay after the great speech brouhaha.

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Written by EllenBeth Wachs

March 8, 2014 at 11:16 am

Elevatorgate collides with Pharyngulagate or How Not to Build Community 101

with 8 comments

So, I will let the readers decide who is being reasonable and rational and who is being abusive. Fun fact, I have never posted in the slymepit. I have never even registered at that forum. I haven’t even read it in months. Additionally, I am not sure how to disavow a video by Renee that she didn’t make. Oh, I also learned that I spend my time harassing Skepchik through twitter. WHO KNEW??

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Written by EllenBeth Wachs

February 1, 2014 at 9:11 am

Stray

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Swimming against the tide

Written by EllenBeth Wachs

June 22, 2013 at 9:00 am

Katie Leaves Skepchik

with 3 comments

Katie is fed up with the bullying of the Skepchiks and one in particular,

Rebecca Watson (and a lot of her following, really) is a cyber bully. Plain and simple. For a (semi) recent example, see this. Sara pointed out a very legitimate point but instead of discussing that point in a logical and interesting manner Rebecca just attacks her. I have seen this happen a number of times with Rebecca and other people on the skepchick network. When people point out a legit problem they attack instead of thoughtfully engage.

She has decided enough is enough and quit her position as a Teen Skepchik to return to the site The Canadian Atheist.

She has pointed out that if you disagree with Rebecca or her minions that you will be eaten alive-

Go try and disagree with Rebecca or someone on that site (or off the site) and see how fast the skepchick network minions jump on you and eat you alive.

I suggest that is because of the crossover of commenters that pollinate both the Skepchik blogs and the Freethought Blogs.

She goes on –

I don’t want to be associated with these attitudes and approaches to real life problems. I would rather be associated with thoughtful and clam reactions to what people say.

I understand the feeling the, Katie.  Good luck to you!

Written by EllenBeth Wachs

June 21, 2013 at 7:26 am

For Immediate Release: ATHEIST ACTIVIST TO ATHEISTS OF FLORIDA: PAY YOUR BILL!

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

June 20, 2013

 Lakeland, Fla. — EllenBeth Wachs has filed a lawsuit in Polk County against Atheists of Florida, Inc. to release her from paying a judgment resulting from an unsuccessful prayer lawsuit against the City of Lakeland.

Wachs, a Polk County resident and well known embattled church/state separation activist, offered to be listed as a plaintiff to provide Atheists of Florida legal standing.  The lawsuit, which was filed July 2010 in Federal District Court in Tampa, asked the city to replace its meeting prayers, which were exclusively Christian in nature, with a more inclusive seated moment of silence.  The suit was eventually lost at the district court level and was again unsuccessful on appeal.

Consequently, the City of Lakeland entered a judgment against the plaintiffs, EllenBeth Wachs and Atheists of Florida, for costs amounting to $6,691.95.

Edward Gollobith, who currently controls the Atheists of Florida bank account, has refused to pay the judgment.  Incredibly, Gollobith is demanding that Wachs split the bill with the organization in spite of the guarantee, prior to the initiation of the lawsuit, that she would be indemnified of any costs incurred.  Gollobith’s reneging of this guarantee has resulted in her filing this current lawsuit against the organization.

In November 2011, Gollobith, who at the time was Chairman of the Board, led a coup to oust Wachs, the organization’s vice-president, and its president, John Kieffer, from the group days after Wachs offended Gollobith for not including him in her slate of recommended candidates for the group’s board of directors.   Kieffer had also inadvertently troubled him for using his legal name, Gollobith, on the ballot for the 501(c)3 non-profit corporation, instead of his nickname, “Ed Golly.”  Wachs is currently suing Gollobith — and those board members who signed on to Gollobith’s allegations against her — for defamation.   Both Wachs and Kieffer are litigants in yet another lawsuit with Gollobith for control of the organization.

Wachs said, “I had my house searched, ransacked and turned upside down, spent almost a week in solitary confinement stemming from my activism,  and now I can’t even refinance that house that was raided and invaded because of this judgment entered against me.”

For more information contact-

John Kieffer,

Co-President, Atheists & Humanists of Florida

813.344.5344

Written by EllenBeth Wachs

June 20, 2013 at 10:56 am

Magical Harassment Fairies aka Dead Nazis

with 17 comments

Trigger Warning for blatant Godwinning

It seems all roads of the current atheist/feminist controversy lead back to Justin Vacula. He recorded a youtube video in which he made the statement that

And I really think that if you’re going to be on the internet, you’re going to be talking a big game, you’re going to be saying really nasty things about people–calling people “sexist”, calling people “misogynsist”–instead of approaching the situation in a different manner and being charitable and saying, “Well, maybe what you have to say there could have been reframed differently.”

In his video, he uses screen captures of some of my tweets but fails to give any context to them.It is a very dishonest tactic at worst, but using the principle of charity, it is a disingenuous tactic at best.

The tweet he uses was the end result of one those magical harassment fairies that appeared out of nowhere. The second tweet shown in the video was actually a REtweet of Vacula’s own tweet. Notice the MT in the tweet. That stands for modified tweet. I have never used the phrase “lolwut”  This stemmed from a dialogue with a person using the name John Brown that did appear out of nowhere to harasstweet  me that I should “stop using the term darkies” and asking me “why was I such a racist”  He neglects to show my tweet that I was illustrating a point.

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I find it interesting that he claims the feminists that are receiving tweets such as this are talking a “big game”  The “big game” I was talking? I actually linked to a post on the infamous slymepit that referred to black people as “darkies”

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For this, I was rewarded with heaps of abuse from John Brown that continue unabated and referred to, of course, as a “professional victim.”

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Was John Brown the actual slymepitter that referred to people as “darkies?” Is that why he is so upset with me? Well, no, he isn’t. The slymepit constantly refers to Freethought Blogs as a hivemind. The fact is that the slymepit exhibits this behavior very clearly in this exchange about me and started a twenty plus page attack on my character with no care or reference to fact or truth.   They want to make you out to be a terrible person but when or if you try to fight back against their abuse, you get labelled a professional victim.

And then THIS harassment fairy appeared out of nowhere

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Apparently, someone holding a grudge that I blocked him on facebook thinks it’s a good idea to track me down on twitter and harasstweet me to remind me that I think he is a harasser.  What is really interesting about this particular tweet is that I would never block someone for holding a political or world view.  I would certainly never block someone for saying atheism isn’t a political movement because I agree that it isn’t. I absolutely will block someone for abusive language and that is more likely what got him the boot.  Now before you respond and say he didn’t appear out of thin air, that I had previous interaction with him, I will say yes, that is correct. My last interaction with him made it quite clear to him that I wanted nothing further to do with him, though, which he plainly acknowledges.

If these aren’t clear enough magical harassment fairies, let me provide these examples –

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What is a feminist echo chamber? One has to wonder. You only have to look as far as Freethought Blogs to find differing viewpoints. I am aware that Greta Christina and Taslima Nasreen vary greatly in their feminist thought.

As the person behind these tweets is clearly a fan of the slymepit, will members of the slymepit please step forward to openly denounce these?

Edit- On 3/5/2013, John Brown and I reached an understanding and both apologized for what transpired. He issued a video apology which I have posted below.

Written by EllenBeth Wachs

March 4, 2013 at 1:36 pm

My Life as An Atheist Activist or “False Idols Fall” Part 1

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FireShot Screen Capture #011 - 'Atheists of Florida Official Arrested I TheLedger_com' - www_theledger_com_article_20110303_NEWS_110309893

Two years ago today, I opened my front door to see a SWAT team standing there. What was my crime? Sending public records requests to the Evangelical Sheriff on a mission from god demanding records relating to his illegal transfer of taxpayer property to eight local churches. For this egregious conduct, over a dozen sheriff’s deputies were dispatched with a crime scene van to my residence.  They came with guns drawn and a purpose other than arresting me.  It was to send a message to the impertinent atheists to mind our business. My house was searched for hours and left in shambles.  What was the basis of the search warrant? Well, I will let an old friend speak to that.

…Gow Fields, the mayor of Lakeland, as well as Ann Gibson, the legal affairs coordinator for the Polk County Sheriff’s Office should be duly ashamed of themselves. I would be remiss if I did not include Stacy Butterfield, a board member of the homeowners association in the subdivision where EllenBeth lives, and who is also the Director of Financing and Accounting for the Board of County Commissioners.1 These three clowns based the warrant for her arrest on an “impression” that she was a licensed attorney. An impression connotes that they never even bothered to ask. It is quite likely that their failure to properly investigate a situation before making an arrest was some sort of convoluted “sin first then ask forgiveness” trick.

Of course, this whole situation is all about timing. It is highly unlikely that EllenBeth was arrested just days before she and the Atheists of Florida were to enter into the disposition*2 phase of a suit being brought against the City of Lakeland for its practice of beginning their city commission meetings with sectarian prayers. Add to this the already existing animosity that was generated by the Atheists of Florida having brought a previous suit*3 against the Polk County Sheriff’s Office due to Sheriff Grady Judd giving sports equipment that had been in use at the county jail to area churches.

But wait, it gets even more inbred. Gow Fields, Lakeland’s Mayor, is married to Kay Fields, who is the Polk County Board Chairwoman.*4 In what can only be described as an infantile temper tantrum and an act of pure vindictiveness, the combined efforts of both of the Fields, Gibson, Butterfield and Grady resulted in the Florida State Attorney*5 arresting EllenBeth on a trumped up, disingenuous, completely bogus and un-indictable charge

I was not to be silenced. I made this apparent through multiple media outlets and interviews.  When this became a public relations nightmare and it became clear that many persuasive opinions were coming out against him such as the The Ledger, respected legal scholar Jonathon Turley and the local legal writer Kemp Brinson,  the sheriff upped the ante and sent his posse after me once more. In May of 2011, I again opened the door to sheriffs’ deputies. I was dragged away, thrown in the back of a car and taken straight to solitary confinement. No phone call, no rights read, Constitution be damned. It was not until I met with my attorney that I learned  the outrageous allegation being levied against me. If you can’t win on a level playing field, brand your opponent a pedophile and teach her a harsh lesson. I spent almost a week in solitary confinement without my MS medications.

What was my so-called crime? It was based upon a report that my next-door-neighbor’s child had heard some sound purported to be of a sexual nature coming from within my house some 48 days prior to my arrest.

I am going to leave out a lot of background and quite a bit of the story as it is tedious and not necessary for the purpose of this post. If you are interested in further details about the tangled web of government and church in Polk County follow link here which explains PUP or Polk under Prayer.

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The outrage that occurred after my first arrest couldn’t begin to compare to the noise that reverberated at the sheer ridiculousness of the second charge  instituted against me and the blatant power play in effect. The pushback was immediate and harsh. The Ledger came out with an editorial chastising the State Attorney and once again, Jonathon Turley chimed in with a snarky blog post I’ll Have What She’s Having, a reference to an  infamous line from the movie When Harry Met Sally.

At the time of my first arrest I had been asked to become president of the state Humanist organization based upon my prior activism and ability to generate excitement within the community. I offered to withdraw my name from consideration but was told that I was supported enthusiastically.  I made the same offer after the second arrest, as well, with the same result.  I  later learned that I was elected almost unanimously to the position with just one person abstaining.

Support from within the atheist community was heart-warming.  Fundraising was initiated to help with my legal expenses and petitions started on my behalf. Letters of support poured in from around the world.  Also at that time, I was serving as vice-president of Atheists of Florida and their Legal Affairs Coordinator. The board was fully supportive in defending my efforts and helping defray legal expenses and recognized the arrests were in retaliation for my church/state activism done on the organization’s behalf and at the behest.

I had known from the beginning of my activism that I wouldn’t always be well-received.  I was well-known in the community prior to these events due to my very vocal advocacy on behalf of the absolute separation of church and state. I was lead plaintiff in ground-breaking litigation against the City challenging their practice of opening every meeting with Christian prayers using an Equal Protection claim as well as the usual church/state argument. I did educational outreach about the Christmas myths. I went to speak to the school board because they moved the christian prayer prior to the start of the meeting and, by so doing,  teaching the children it is okay to flout the constitution to keep the christian privilege intact.  The president of Atheists of Florida was arrested at that meeting.  The initial newspaper account  stated,

As Bartow police dragged the president of Atheists of Florida out of the Polk County School District auditorium before Tuesday’s School Board meeting, he yelled, “Prayer has no place in government! Prayer has no place in government!”

“A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.” Winston Churchill

I was there. At no time did John yell this but this has become fact in the repetition of this event.  You don’t have to take my word for it. There is an audiotape of the whole episode.  I have learned all too often over the past  two years that truth is relative to the person and facts don’t matter when there is bias involved.

What I didn’t expect was the bitterness, push-back and hatred I would end up receiving from other atheists and self-proclaimed humanists.  I received a few snarky comments from atheists here and there telling me that I was a bad representative for the face of atheism.  It seems that if it is on the internet, even atheists will believe it to be true. The first real problem I encountered was in the form of an atheist man showing up on a Facebook thread that was promoting a petition that had been started on my behalf. He made sure to tag me in his comment which let me know that I was a vile disgusting person that belonged in jail.  Looking back, I should have seen his obsession that day, or rather over a period of three days and over seven hundred comments later. But, as they say, hindsight is twenty/twenty.

When the charges against me were dismissed, there was a huge outpouring of solidarity within the atheist movement. I had never sought “martyr” status and would gladly turn it back in but people were hailing me as a hero for the cause.  How quickly things can change.

Stay Tuned for Part Two – “The Shove off the Pedestal”

*1 Stacy Butterfield has since run for and won the office of The Clerk of Courts which oversees all Polk County court activity including all criminal and civil cases that are filed.

*2. There is no such thing as a “disposition” phase. My arrest came immediately prior to my deposition being taken in the Lakeland prayer lawsuit

*3. There was no previous suit against the sheriff for the transfer of county property. There was litigation threatened.  I was still gathering the public records thus the arrest.

*4 Kay Fields was actually Chair of the Polk County School Board

*5 It was not the “Florida state attorney.” Florida has a State Attorney General.  Each county has its own State Attorney. It was a Polk County Asst. State Attorney, Brad Copley, that approved the arrest warrant He also happens to work closely with Judd.

Written by EllenBeth Wachs

March 3, 2013 at 5:25 pm