Seattle, WA (PRWEB) August 08, 2014
Horus Gilgamesh, author of the bestselling “Awkward Moments (Not Found In Your Average) Children’s Bible” series of illustrated books for adults is canceling all scheduled appearances this weekend after receiving multiple threats from an anonymous source writing under the pen name “God’s Little Helper.” Gilgamesh was originally slated to give a keynote presentation at the National Convention of the Atheist Alliance of America taking place in Seattle, WA this weekend. Other notable presenters include Dr. Rebecca Goldstein, Dr. Steven Pinker, and Dr. Richard Carrier.
On Monday, the author, once a Christian ministry leader who now writes under a pen name Horus Gilgamesh, received a letter to his private un-listed address. The self-sealing envelope contained no return address, only a postmark from the “Olympia-Tacoma” area - just south of the event site located near the SEATAC airport. Inside the envelope was a printed letter that addressed the author by name, opening with the question, “Do I have your attention now? You think your so safe to hide... You aren't.” The letter then quotes Bible verses Deuteronomy 13:6-9, giving explicit instructions on how to kill idolaters, before closing, “I’ll see you up in Seattle next week. You wont see me.” Signed, “God’s Little Helper.”
“I regularly receive what I consider to be empty threats and general hostility on a daily basis,” says Gilgamesh. “This just comes with the territory of controversial projects like ours and is normally harmless. However, the timing, specificity, and demeanor of the first letter led me to contact the authorities. I was told that under Washington law the letter didn’t technically fit the criteria of a threat and was likely covered under free speech. Because of the letter’s anonymity, there was really nothing for the police or postal inspectors to go on from an investigative perspective. So, I contacted the event staff to discuss the situation.”
Event organizer Amy Monsky, the Executive Director of the Atheist Alliance of America states, “We take the safety of our speakers, staff, and attendees very seriously and immediately began working with our local affiliate, Seattle Atheists, to arrange for an off-duty officer to be on-site and additional security protocols to ensure as safe of an environment for everyone as possible.”
Ultimately, after receiving a second letter from the same source, Gilgamesh notified event organizers of his cancellation. “My first instinct was one of defiance - ready to stand firm and assert my own right to free speech. However, off-duty police officers and military personnel should not have to be put in harm’s way to defend a complete stranger - simply for their lack of faith. It is insanity and I simply won’t allow it on my behalf.”
“We are all obviously quite sad to lose Horus as a speaker,” says Monsky. “He is certainly a crowd favorite with a voice that needs to be heard, not silenced. However, we fully understand and support his decision to not attend, as our thoughts are with him and his family.”
Gilgamesh adds, “A lot of really good people have put a lot of time and effort into this event and it didn't seem fair to them to make my presence a distraction or give attendees any reason to have concern for their safety. This should be a fun and engaging weekend of sharing ideas and making new friends - period. The sad irony is that much of my presentation was going to be a challenge to attendees for creating better paths of communication, understanding, and even collaboration with people of all faiths. In short, I guess I was originally going to preach about loving your neighbor.”
Even in his absence, Gilgamesh’s presence is already strong at the convention, with conference speakers and attendees wearing colorful matching nametags to show solidarity, “Hello. My name is Horus Gilgamesh.” In addition, one of the author’s colorful illustrations is on the cover of this month’s Secular Nation magazine that is given to each attendee. It features a four-page interview about his approach to encouraging adults to think critically about the Bible’s influence throughout history.
The author states, “I don’t actually feel silenced, just frustrated by the timing and circumstances that forced me back-out of the event at the last moment, letting down all of the amazing organizers and supportive fans that brought me to a position to be invited in the first place. Aside from skipping the convention, this situation has done nothing but further strengthen my resolve and I’m not going anywhere!” Gilgamesh continues, “In my mind, ‘God’s Little Helper’ has already lost by showing how such horrible threats can still be justified by the Bible. Of course, I don’t think all Christians would want to do me physical harm - that would be a wildly inaccurate generalization. In fact, Dan Kimball, a prominent evangelical author, professor, and pastor of Vintage Faith Church wrote the foreword for our latest book. However, with so much focus in this country on what many refer to as ‘radical Islam,’ I think many Christians need to take a look in the mirror and recognize that religious fanaticism is alive and well - right here in America today.”
“To me, this is why conventions like ours are so important,” Monsky adds. “People need to be able to feel safe enough to openly share or challenge ideas without the fear of prejudice, persecution, or, in this case - death. To live in fear for simply challenging the status quo is not acceptable and has already become a major topic of conversation here at the convention. All thanks to God’s Little Helper.”