MySpace: No place for Atheists?

Submitted by august on Wed, 2008-01-30 18:09.

Contact: Bryan J. Pesta, Ph.D., b.pesta@csuohio.edu

MySpace Deletes Largest Atheist Group in the World.

Cleveland, OH.— Social networking site, MySpace.com, panders to religious intolerants by deleting atheist users, groups and content.

Early this month, MySpace again deleted the Atheist and Agnostic Group (35,000 members). This deletion, due largely to complaints from people who find atheism offensive, marks the second time MySpace has cancelled the group since November 2007.

What’s unique in this case is that the Atheist and Agnostic Group was the largest collection of organized atheists in the world. The group had its own Wikipedia entry, and in April won the Excellence in Humanist Communication Award (2007) from the Humanist Chaplaincy at Harvard University and the Secular Student Alliance.

“MySpace refuses to undelete the group, although it never violated any terms of service,” said Bryan Pesta, Ph.D., the group’s moderator. “When the largest Christian group was hacked, MySpace’s Founder, Tom Anderson, personally restored the group, and promised to protect it from future deletions.”

“It is an outrage if Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation and the world’s largest social networking site tolerate discrimination against atheists and agnostics-- and if this situation goes unresolved I’ll have little choice but to believe they do,” said Greg Epstein, humanist chaplain of Harvard University. News Corporation, Murdoch’s global media corporation which also includes Fox News, purchased MySpace in 2005. 

“My personal profile was deleted as well, and despite weeks of emails to customer service, plus a petition signed by 500 group members, MySpace won’t budge. I think these actions send a clear message to the 30 million godless people in America (and to businesses whose money was spent displaying ads on our group) that we are not welcome on MySpace,” said Pesta.

For a Wikipedia article on the now defunct atheist and agnostic group, visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atheist_and_Agnostic_Group.

For links to Pesta’s defunct group and profile, visit http://www.MySpace.com/aiffb.

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Submitted by Pathofreason on Wed, 2008-01-30 01:09.

I have also noticed numerous Christian advertisments on myspace and facebook. Perhaps massive sponsorship is another reason for this discrimination.

Submitted by scififreak13 on Wed, 2008-01-30 15:44.

I also went to check on one of my groups I hadn't been to in a while, the Secular Humanism one Group ID = 100130357 and it had been magically deleted too. Is there some concerted attack against atheists today or what. I mean, we've always been scorned, but now people are attacking our methods of communication. Argh!! Something has to be done about the horrible religiosity in this country.

Submitted by RajIndia on Wed, 2008-01-30 17:07.

It'll only do them good.

Submitted by begood on Wed, 2008-01-30 17:32.

I learned how to punish my slaves, and the rules to follow when I sell my daughters.

They don't teach that stuff in schools anymore. Not even Sunday schools.

Submitted by thanatella on Thu, 2008-01-31 09:16.

Well, I studied The Bible for the first 19 years of my life, and now I consider myself to be Agnostic. So you're right--it did do me good.

Submitted by Godless Geek on Thu, 2008-01-31 11:43.

It'll only do them good.

Sorry for being snide, but I'm just sick of this one from Christians. I've read the Bible, and it's a horrible, evil, immoral book. It's bad advice, bad storytelling, and all around bad literature. The good stuff is buried in between some of the most hateful ignorance you'll find anywhere, in both the Old and New Testaments. It's scientifically bankrupt and offers no proof that anything it says is divine, other then it saying so.

That said, it certainly does do atheists good to read it. It makes a great argument against Christianity all by itself.

Submitted by scififreak13 on Thu, 2008-01-31 13:00.

I have read much of the bible, from Genesis to Revalation and many of the apocryphal texts as well. It's the best argument against Xianity you've ever seen. And personally, I think the Vedas actually have more to say about being moral upright beings than the Bible ever did. At least the Vedas tell you how to honor "the gods" by honoring yourself first (fasting, not eating certain foods, rituals, etc). I'd never become a Hindu, Atheism makes so much more rational sense to me, but at least it's more understandable than Xianity ever did.

Submitted by pauldsims on Thu, 2008-01-31 15:57.

This is unbelievable! I don't use MySpace, but it's shocking that the Murdoch corporation seems to have launched an attack on atheists. It sounds like all the group's users were doing was having civilised discussions about atheism!
I work for New Humanist magazine and we're running poll on our blog asking what people think should be done about MySpace. It'd be great if people could come over and vote.

Submitted by dewraith on Fri, 2008-02-01 00:28.

I put a comment on the bulletin talking about this incident. At the end, I said not to delete the myspace pages. I told them to instead put all the Atheist/Freethinker stuff they could on their pages. I already have a huge Scarlet A, a huge Meetup badge for the local Atheist meetup group, and a thing that allows visitors to sign up to the SSA google group for the group at UofL. Then I added "The God Delusion" to my list of favorite books. I'll be adding more in the coming days and weeks or as I find stuff to put on there.