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6:04pm on Saturday, 12th May, 2012:

Distinguished Supporter


I went to the offices of the British Humanist Association in London yesterday, and with the wave of a magic wand was transformed into a Distinguished Supporter.

What this means is that the BHA gets to use my name, words and image promoting itself and its campaigns. I get an air of legitimacy that enables me to go to and speak at events supporting the BHA's causes.

As for whyI'm a distinguished supporter, as opposed to being just a regular supporter, well it's because I'm in the computer games industry and they don't have any other distinguished supporters coming from that angle. They heard about me through my daughter Jenny, who is outgoing president of the National Federation of Atheist, Humanist and Secular Student Societies (and you thought nepotism only worked the other way round).

People who work in the games industry, despite their popular characterisation as being mysogenistic killers out to corrupt children, are actually very liberal in comparison with the rest of the population. They are also intelligent, imaginative and free-thinking. Perhaps it's because they play a lot of games, but they have strong ideas of what's fair and what's not; they therefore tend not to hold prejudiced views, even if such are propagated by political (say, to do with race) or religious (say, to do with sexuality) sources.

Unfortunately, as they spend most of their time with like-minded people, they don't really come into contact with the kind of scaries who make life a misery for vast swathes of the population. They don't see the problem, because they spend so much time in an environment where it isn't a problem.

It's not my job as a distinguished supporter of the BHA to evangelise to game developers, which is just as well because I'm not a fan of evangelism in general (indeed, evangelical atheists can be more wide-eyed unnerving than those of some religions), plus I hate asking people for money so would make a lousy fund-raiser anyway. However, if, occasionally, gamers see my name in connection with some humanist cause, it might cause them to throw another small weight on their scales of "maybe I'll join the BHA sometime".

Of course, it might have the opposite effect, too.

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Copyright © 2012 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).