Although we’ve been planning to launch this blog for some time, a major motivation in finally getting it up was the fact that I could no longer link to my main site from my MySpace page, as they are now blocking all links to adult sites. This is also one of the reasons we decided to separate my blog from my main site, and keep it strictly non-nude, so that I could reach as wide an audience as possible. However, even when I have covered up my “naughty bits”, I have still been subjected to censorship. One example of this was the removal of my contribution to The Blasphemy Challenge by YouTube.
The image above links to a high quality version of the video we originally posted (in MPEG4 format, so you’ll need QuickTime 6 or later to view it). As you can see, anything that might be considered “offensive” is strategically covered by my hair (we also posted an extended fully nude version on my main site). Yet YouTube took it down within hours of us posting it! In response, my webmaster Lee whipped up a ridiculously censored version of the video, and posted that on his YouTube channel.
This led to obvious accusations of selective censorship of atheists—after all, you’ll see a lot more skin than this on practically any music video these days, as well as on many, many other videos that have been posted on YouTube (and have been allowed to stay up). So why do you think they took down the original version of this video? Why did YouTube give my video “special treatment”?
BTW, I imagine my posting this will inevitably lead to a discussion of the merits of The Blasphemy Challenge itself, and my reasons for contributing to it. As I said at the time:
Although I am open to all different opinions about God and the universe, I myself am an atheist. And my increasing despair over the seemingly endless and intractable religious war in the middle east has made me decide to become a more outspoken one. Unless the Abrahamic religions can learn to end their warlike tendencies (which has proven to be impossible for centuries now), it would seem that our best chance of having lasting, global peace is to put what they’re fighting over behind us instead.
However, even in this supposedly “enlightened” age, there is still an enormous stigma attached to being an atheist (especially in the US), or even talking about it. And one of the major reasons for this is because people aren’t supposed to question religion. Hence my support of The Blasphemy Challenge. Yes, it is provocative, but it needs to be: it is intended to stimulate open discussion about religion and atheism, and encourage atheists to “come out of the closet”.