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Atheism. Activism. Culture. There's a new network in town. Help make it a success.
Atheism. Activism. Culture. There's a new network in town. Help make it a success.
247 backers pledged $10,125 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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Introducing The Orbit

The Orbit is a diverse collective of atheist and nonreligious bloggers committed to social justice, within and outside the secular community. We provide a platform for writing, discussion, activism, collaboration, and community.

What social justice means to us

We aim to contribute to a more just and equitable world for all people, free of disadvantage on the basis of gender, gender identity, race, age, economic or other social class, sexuality, physical ability or mental illness, geography, nationality, immigration status, and other forms of marginalization and systemic oppression. Our site is feminist and progressive. We know black lives matter and that no one is illegal, we know trans women are women and that sex work is work, and we support a socially conscious atheist movement.

As atheists, we believe criticism of religion must fall within this framework. While bloggers' views differ, our shared belief is that we can criticize systems and social structures in which others participate without practicing bigotry, and that these include religious structures. We recognize that all of us are likely to perpetuate some forms of prejudice, and are committed to listening when criticized, as we ask the movements we criticize, our own among them, to listen to us. Finally, we believe atheists have an essential part to play in progressive culture, and that social justice needs us as much as we need it.

Who we are

Our site is currently home to over twenty bloggers. We're the first atheist media site founded explicitly to work on all forms of social justice, and when we're not writing about religion or activism, we blog on politics, food, film, gaming, and geek culture. In other words, whatever we like. Our members come from all over the blogosphere, and our work's been published in all kinds of places, from Salon to Scientific American, xoJane to The Atlantic and The Times. You might have heard of some of us, but we hope you also find new voices here that deserve to be amplified.

Contributors are cis and trans, male, female, and nonbinary, queer and straight, kinky and polyamorous, asexual and active in the adult industry. We're boomers, Gen X-ers, millennials, black, white, hispanic, desi, Jewish, Romani, migrants and children of migrants, mentally ill and physically impaired, socially and economically marginal. Some of us were brought up in religious communities—Christian, Jewish, Muslim—while others weren't, and some of us feel opposed to religion, while some don't. There are more ways to be an atheist than the headlines suggest, and we think it's high time our atheism got noticed.

Bloggers at The Orbit include Alex Gabriel, Alix Jules, Alyssa Gonzalez, Ani, Ania Bula, Aoife O'Riordan, Ashley F. Miller, Benny Vimes, Brianne Bilyeu, Chris Hall, D. Frederick Sparks, Dana Hunter, Dori Mooneyham, Greta Christina, Heina Dadabhoy, Jason Thibeault, Luxander Pond, Miri Mogilevsky, Niki M., Sincere Kirabo, Stephanie Zvan, Tony Thompson, and Zinnia Jones, with a lineup that is continuing to grow.

What we believe

It's our belief that any atheist movement that sees social issues as mission drift is failing at its own mission, whether that mission is to challenge faith, to support people leaving theirs, or to build new communities. At the same time, we don't think progressive politics can be complete while discussions of religion are left off the table. The power dynamics of belief are worth talking about, and we want to be a home for nonbelievers who've been harmed by religious culture, who feel estranged from movement atheism and alone among progressives.

Why "The Orbit"?

Lots of reasons. The church punished Galileo for saying the earth orbited the sun, and we like reminding ourselves heretical ideas can be vital, that the universe doesn’t revolve around us, and that one pale blue dot is all we have. Being in someone's orbit means being relevant to them, and from particles to planets to galaxies, everything orbits something else. An orbit is a movement, a relationship, a sphere of influence, as well as the name of the human eye socket, and we like thinking about perception, perspective, and how our lives affect other people’s.

Why we’re unique

We want to reach beyond atheism and into progressive communities, and we’ve chosen internal structures that reflect that goal. Our site has no editor or person in charge; decisions are taken collectively by contributors who know one another and share the same basic principles. All maintenance is carried out by our bloggers, with working groups formed for specific tasks, and all the work of bringing this site into existence was done by people here. Having such a collaborative structure makes us different from any other atheist site, and we love it.

About Our Fundraising Goals

Base Goal: $5,000

Reaching this goal will cover our costs to launch and run The Orbit for a year. This includes incorporation, setup, and paying for our servers. That gives us the flexibility to control the ad experience for our readers and writers.

First Stretch Goal: $8,000

We believe in paying writers as a matter of social justice, but we're willing to kick in some extra work to sweeten the pot. When we reach our first stretch goal, we'll put on an online conference dedicated to the topics we cover. We know you can't always come see us when we talk, so we'll bring the talks and panels to you.

Second Stretch Goal: $10,000

When we reach this goal, we'll release an ebook compilation of some of the best writing The Orbit's authors have to offer. This will be delivered to all backers at the Wear It Proud level and above.

Third Stretch Goal: $14,000

This is the level where we bring in a designer to help make the reader experience at The Orbit the best it can be. We're pretty happy with what we've done in house, but professionals are professional for a reason.

Risks and challenges

The two biggest risks in running a publishing network are not being able to pay to keep the lights on and losing your talent. This Kickstarter exists to take care of the first, at least for our first year.

As for losing talent, it happens. People burn out on writing or activism. Writers get exclusive gigs with major media. Life happens. Everyone at The Orbit, however, is dedicated to making this network work. We believe in it enough to have dedicated several months to putting a new network together. We can't promise your favorite will always be here to write for you, but we can promise a dynamic group of atheist writers dedicated to social justice.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    For the Love
    Want to help make the new network happen? This is for you. Receive our gratitude and our public thanks (if wanted).

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    Pledge $12 or more About $12

    Make It Work
    Celebrate the birth of a new network with our logo sticker.

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    Wear It Proud
    Celebrate the birth of a new network with our logo t-shirt or necklace from SurlyRamics. See our FAQ for t-shirt options and sizing.

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    Take Home Great Design
    Celebrate the birth of a new network with our logo t-shirt or a poster print from one of our bloggers. See our FAQ for t-shirt sizing and options as well as print choices.

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    Pledge $35 or more About $35

    Read All About It
    Get a signed copy of one of Greta Christina's books (Why Are You Atheists So Angry?, Coming Out Atheist, Bending, Comforting Thoughts About Death That Have Nothing to Do With God, or The Way of the Heathen) in paperback.

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    Swag It Up
    Get the sticker, the Surly, and the t-shirt.

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    Reward no longer available 30 backers
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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    Swag It Up
    Get the sticker, the art print, and the t-shirt.

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    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    Hang With Us
    Join an hour-long hangout with Orbit bloggers (subject to pro-social behavior). Group discussions held roughly monthly. First come gets first choice of timing.

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    Advertise with Us
    Take out a banner ad on the new network for two weeks. First come gets first choice of timing and placement. Subject to network approval.

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    Assign Us a Beat
    Pick your blogger and your topic, and we'll cover it for you in a post. First come gets first choice of blogger as available.

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    Pledge $200 or more About $200

    Dine with Us
    Includes t-shirt, SurlyRamics necklace and sticker, and dinner with a blogger at a conference you're both attending. Group meal. Locations to be set based on interest and availability.

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    Pledge $200 or more About $200

    Dine with Us
    Includes t-shirt, art print and sticker, and dinner with a blogger at a conference you're both attending. Group meal. Locations to be set based on interest and availability.

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    Pledge $10,000 About $10,000

    Let's Put On a Show
    Want to put on a conference with speakers from The Orbit? We'll get at least four of us to you for a day-long conference, including venue, and pull in local talent as needed. ***Contact us before pledging to ensure feasibility of location and other minor logistics.*** U.S. cities only.

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Funding period

- (30 days)