At 7:00 in the morning on February 14th, 2023, Megan Phelps-Roper posted a tweet. “Last year @jk_rowling responded to a letter I wrote her. I’d asked if she’d be part of a conversation seeking to understand her perspective and those of her critics. The result is a new audio series from @thefp: THE WITCH TRIALS OF J.K. ROWLING.”
The now-complete podcast series by The Free Press, hosted by Megan Phelps-Roper, purports to bring together the “two sides” of the “debate about sex and gender,” meanwhile investigating tribalism, discernment, and humanity. It seeks to do this by having an open conversation with J.K. Rowling, a legend-turned-villain who’s “been the object of intense backlash,” according to Megan.
Like Rowling, Megan “knew what it was like to be an object of intense hatred. But I also knew the value of good-faith conversation, and the role it can play in bridging even the deepest divides.” Thus, The Witch Trials of J.K. Rowling was born.
The best deconversion stories involve shedding more than religion. I’ve talked before about how harmful beliefs like misogyny and being anti-abortion lingered with me long after my belief in God left. What I didn’t realize was that my transphobic views were the hardest to shake.
One could argue the atheist community has an unspoken rule to respect the esteemed biologist and controversial atheist Richard Dawkins. People have several reasons to respect the man: he has advocated for atheism, he has communicated the science of evolution to the masses, he has written many beloved books; hell, the man invented the word “meme”. For many of us, there has been a lot to like about Dawkins. But a line must be drawn somewhere. Just because someone has done good things at their best, does that mean we can ignore the hurtful things they say and do at their worst?