Monday, 11 August 2014
'Friendly Atheist' Cancels Kickstarter Campaign for Book Calling God an 'Abusive Boyfriend'
campaign for an illustrated book that called God an "abusive
Hemant Mehta, known as the Patheos blogger the "Friendly
Atheist," announced last week that he was canceling an online
funding campaign for his book "God is an Abusive Boyfriend."
In the cancellation announcement, Mehta noted that he "decided
to put a stop to the project" due to "receiving a lot of negative
feedback over the past 24 hours."
"Even if I believe the concept behind the book is a valid one, the
execution was poor and it upset a lot of good people. My
apologies to anyone in that crowd," wrote Mehta.
"To everyone who supported the project so far, I appreciate your
understanding. I hope you'll support whatever I decide to do
Last Wednesday, Mehta announced the creation of a Kickstarter
project for his latest book, "God is an Abusive Boyfriend (and
You Should Break Up)."
Illustrated by Tracey Moody, the book was designed like a faux
children's book and was based off of a video Mehta had done for
the YouTube Channel the Atheist Voice.
"I've written a few books in my time. One was with a 'real'
publisher, one was done more independently with the help of an
editor, and one was a compilation of older blog posts. It's time
to try something different," wrote Mehta.
"My latest project, launching today on Kickstarter, is a book all
about how religious people ought to reconsider their
'relationship' with a Supreme Being."
The project received its share of criticism from the onset from
fellow atheists who claimed the work made light of the real
problem of domestic violence.
One blogger, doting the name "skepchick," considered the Mehta
book project to be "gross and extremely disappointing."
"Are there instances where religion is used to justify the
oppression of women? Absolutely. But to define someone else's
personal religious beliefs for them while making a hacky joke
about domestic violence is just gross and extremely
disappointing," wrote the blogger.
"And yet, people still wonder why there aren't more women
involved in organized atheism. Rather than give to this
Kickstarter, why not donate some money to a local domestic
In response to the negative feedback, Mehta had posted an
"update" on the Kickstarter page clarifying the reasoning behind
"Because people have suggested that we're somehow making
light of domestic violence, we wanted to assure you that's not
the case," wrote Mehta.
"In fact, we take the issue very seriously. This idea of God as an
abusive partner is not a new one and a lot has been written
about the parallels. Many of those essays, however, are written
for a more academic audience."
The update included contact information for The National
Domestic Violence Hotline and the group Recovering From
Religion, which champions itself as an organization that helps
people suffering from religious abuse.
On the Friendly Atheist blog, the cancellation announcement
garnered over 300 comments, with many decrying "political
correctness" and "suicidal trigger-warning happy feminism" as
the source of the cancellation.
Other commenters commended Mehta for recognizing the
"flaws" in his plan and being willing to admit to making a