Professional Discourtesy


Hi friends and stalkers!

Many years ago I was part of a collective of publishing professionals called Storytellers Unplugged.  We posted stories and advice about writing and publishing for anyone who was interested in reading them.  There were a lot of big names and blazing talents in SU, and I was lucky to be a part of it.  I always felt like a bit of an imposter there, but I did my best.  I think some of my posts hold up well enough to recycle here

Here is one from well over a decade ago, when the publishing landscape was far different than it is today, but I think the basic point still applies today.


The other day I listened to an interview with a man who many consider to be one of the saviors of the horror genre.  I happen to agree, and I think most of you reading this who are familiar with the genre would also agree, if I told you his name.  I won’t do that though.  I have a point to make, but I don’t want to shame anyone in the process.  From this point on, for the sake of clarity, I’ll refer to our savior of the genre as Mr. Editor.

I’ve chosen to omit his name from this essay for two reasons, because I’ve met the guy a few times and genuinely like him, and out of simple professional courtesy.

Professional courtesy is a vague concept, and I’m sure everyone has their own idea of what professional courtesy entails.  I could spend the time making a list of things I think fall under the heading of professional courtesy, and I’m willing to bet that list would vary only slightly from your list.  I’ll skip the list though.  I have a feeling this rant will be long enough without it.  Instead, I’ll give you my simple bare bones definition.  Professional courtesy means not muddying the waters, not pissing in the well, not shitting where you sleep.

Throw in your own hacky metaphor.  I’m sure you get my point.

I’ve been guilty of my own lapses into rudeness and stupidity over the years, but I think I’ve learned from my mistakes, and I try not to repeat them.

Back to the subject of the first paragraph, the hero of the horror genre, Mr. Editor.

I happen to agree that the man is one of the horror genre’s greatest treasures, but for me the mere mention of his name is enough to raise my heart rate and blood pressure, to make my face flush red and put me in a rotten mood that can take days to shake off.  To me this man is the embodiment of frustration, anger, and the futility of trying to make a future in this business.

I am sure Mr. Editor would be shocked to hear this.  I doubt like hell that this was his intention.  I know he works hard, and I understand that I’m barely a blip on the periphery of his professional radar.  However, I believe that he is guilty of a huge professional discourtesy, and I would bet my next advance that I’m not the only one who feels that way.

Here are the facts, as simply and innocuously as I can put them.

At World Horror Convention 2004 I was approached by a fairly big name writer (who shall also remain anonymous – he hates it when people drop his name) who told me that Mr. Editor was looking for me, that he wanted me to meet him at the party in room such-and-such, that he wanted to discuss my work.  So I met with Mr. Editor, pitched him my book, and he invited me to send him the full manuscript.

I met Mr. Editor again a few years later at another pitch session, and again he invited me to send a manuscript.  About halfway through the second meeting he made brief reference to the manuscript I’d sent two years previous, saying he thought he had something of mine on his desk already, but didn’t think he’d gotten around to looking at it.  I confirmed that he did indeed have another book of mine under consideration, and left it at that.  I didn’t want to irritate the man.  I engaged in a bit of professional courtesy and kept my mouth shut.

It has now been over four years since the first manuscript crossed his desk, and not a word.  Manuscript #1 was available as a trade hardcover when he requested it, and has since gone out of print.  Manuscript #2 was about to become a limited edition hardcover when he requested it.  It sold out by the publication date and remains out of print.  Mr. Editor knew about the publication history of Manuscript #1, and was aware that Manuscript #2 was on the road to hardcover publication, and since he has reprinted novels originally released by both of my hardcover publishers, I don’t believe that was ever an issue.

In the four years since our frustrating professional interaction began, I have sent four or five follow-up emails, all spaced at least six months apart.  Again, I didn’t want to irritate the guy, but I am assured by people much higher in the business than I am, that a short follow-up every six months or so shouldn’t be an irritation.

He has replied to none of my follow-up queries.

One of the first things a writer aspiring to publish his or her work has to learn is how to handle rejection, and while I will never embrace it, I have leaned to deal with it.  Every writer who ever published has dealt with rejection.

But Mr. Editor hasn’t rejected these manuscripts either.

There is simply nothing.  Not a word.  Dead silence.

A yes or no would be nice, though I’ve never asked for either.  All I’ve ever asked is to know if the manuscripts, after four years for one and two for the other, are still under consideration.  Are we still playing the game, or should I pack up my toys and go home?

Others have given me advice over the years.

“Be active on the genre message boards.  Mr. Editor is always reading them, and if he sees your name out there it’ll improve your chances.”

I have tried that with no obvious gain.

“Stay off the message boards.  Too much casual interaction with fans makes you look unprofessional.”

I am doing that now, though for different reasons, but it hasn’t appeared to help.

“Keep sending him your stuff.”

I won’t send him unsolicited material.  If he isn’t answering gentle queries about material he requested years ago, I have no reason to believe he would reply to a query for something new.  More importantly, I just can’t bring myself to throw another manuscript down that black hole.  I see no gain in that, only additional frustration.

To be fair, Mr. Editor isn’t the only publishing professional I’ve dealt with who is guilty of this particular professional discourtesy.  There are other Mr. Editors, a few Mrs. Agents, and a Mr. Comic Editor (there has been some communication with Mr. Comic Editor, but I think the requested script has slipped his memory again).

Tell me, fellow writers, is this your experience?  Is this to be expected?  Is this standard operating procedure?  If so, then writers are without a doubt the most masochistic people on the planet.  We would have to be to keep soliciting this kind of treatment.

To Mr. Editor, if you are reading this.  I sincerely hope this doesn’t cause you any grief.  My apologies if it does.  This has been very much been on my mind lately, and it seems like the kind of thing in which Storytellers Unplugged readers might be interested.  I hope you find I’ve tried to practice professional courtesy, even in the midst of a rant about the business.

To editors and publishers in general, I’m not suggesting you should let a bunch of pain-in-the-ass writers run your business for you, but it sure wouldn’t hurt to treat your potential talent pool with a bit of respect.  If you respect an author’s work enough to request a full manuscript, you might respect the author enough to keep him in that outermost loop of your business where his manuscript awaits that hoped for Yes, or the much more common Thanks but no thanks.

The golden Yes is the reason we keep casting our pebbles into your talent pool, and those of us who aren’t used to the Thanks but no thanks already had better get used to it.

Endless silence though, that’s just rude.

This Shitshow Brought to You by Untreated Syphilis Or We’re All Inside A Decomposing Brain

“These are mad times we live in.  Mad!” – Professor Horace Slughorn.

Hi friends and stalkers.  I know it’s been a long time.  Sorry, these last few years have been a bummer and I haven’t felt all that chatty.

This morning as I walked into the living room my son informed me that he cleaned up a “Pile of Pappy Puke.”  Pappy is a one-eyed Norwegian Forest Cat roughly the size of a medium dog (and still growing), and he has a peculiar habit of puking in threes.  Always, without exception, and often scattered throughout the house.  A pile in the living room, one in the kitchen, then maybe in the laundry room.

Every day in 2020 is like waking up to the news that one pile of Pappy puke has been located, and knowing you’ll encounter two more, probably before your first cup of coffee.

Entire continents burning to the ground, a word wide pandemic with almost 900K dead, mass unemployment, mass protests against racial injustice and white supremacist scum coming out of the woodwork because apparently racial justice is right out of the question.  Demented maskholes and youtube constitutional law experts making life even more hellish for the essential workers who just want to be able to feed their families and pay their bills – window lickers and mouth breathers who will spit directly in your face if you have the audacity to suggest they comply with local, state, or company guidelines and wear a mask in their place of business.  We have what appears to be a Federal Police Force assaulting and kidnapping American protesters off of American streets, regular police armed and outfitted like heavy infantry, often with their nametags and badges obscured to avoid identification doing likewise, and heavily armed civilians treating our streets like shooting galleries. 

I have been much luckier than most.  My wife and I were both employed in essential industries (she is a social worker and I delivered fuel to homes and other essential businesses), and when my employer of twenty years finally pushed my essential ass a few steps further than I was willing to tolerate, I found a new essential job.  As much of a shitshow as 2020 has been, from January right up until today, it is also the year my son came home.

I’ve heard some people compare the past few years of division and civil unrest to the 1960s.  I’ve heard others who were alive during the 1960s say the present is much worse.

We are living in strange times.  Maybe things will start to get better on November 3rd, maybe they will get worse.  We can’t exist on this knife’s edge forever, so it will be one or the other.  We can’t go back to the way things were either.  Those happy, ignorant times are over now.  We cannot go back to ignoring the systemic racism, the rampant incompetence, the ignorance and bigotry that ushered in this shitshow.

Maybe one day I can stop wondering if a case of untreated syphilis with bad hair and a spoiled toddler’s sense of entitlement will be dragged kicking and screaming out of the seat of power before he manages to burn everything down around him, and I can go back to sharing stories instead of political opinions.

Well, I’m going to share stories anyway, I’ll post a new one tomorrow, but I’m gonna need you to go out and vote this November anyway.

It’s not just about me, or you, or even American.  I don’t think the world can take four more years of this shit.

Where I’ve Been … Where I Am Now

I rediscovered my twitter account a few months ago and tweeted for the first time in a couple of years.

 “Wow, I still have a twitter account?”

I was surprised by the reply that came almost immediately.  It was from a man who I respect, whose career I always followed with great interest, and who I was surprised even remembered me.

 “We thought you’d joined the merchant marines or got abducted by aliens.”

No merchant marines or aliens, but I have been gone for a while, absent at least from the horror genre, where I was, once upon a time, considered an up-and-comer.

Where have I been?

On the outside, lurking on the fringes, watching all the writers I used to know either succeed or disappear themselves.


When I published my novel Feral in 2003, I considered myself a writer who drove truck to pay the bills, but only until I made enough money with my fiction to write full time.  Now I know I’m just a truck driver who likes to write, though there have been a few empty years where I wrote next to nothing.  This transition took a dozen years and a lot of disappointments to achieve.

I had a plan back then, you see, a plan that had worked well for others.  My plan was, now that I had a hardcover release from a respected publisher, to sell the paperback rights to Leisure.  I had every confidence that this plan would work, especially after a friend in the business, one of Leisure’s most notable authors at the time, arranged a one on one pitch between Don D’Auria and me at a party at WHC in Phoenix.

Don liked my pitch and invited me to send him the manuscript, which I did immediately upon returning home from Phoenix.  I thought things were going well.  I was young and optimistic.  The publishing business cured me of that.

I did eventually receive a reply from Leisure regarding Feral.  In 2011.  I’ll come back around to that.

Between 2004, when Don D’Auria requested Feral, and 2010, when it became clear that all of those Leisure authors I envied were being thoroughly screwed, I was invited by Leisure’s senior editor to send two more novels.  I never heard back about either, although sending those novels led to perhaps the most devastating conversation of my writing career.

Another dear friend of mine who worked at Leisure for a time (I think she read slush, edited, or both) phoned me up to ask when I was going to make the big announcement.  I asked her what the hell she was talking about, and she said she’d seen a copy of my novel Broken Angel on the senior editor’s desk with a sticky note on the cover that said, simply, “Yes.”

I held out hope for a while, even though it had been years since I sent Broken Angel, and had received no replies to my follow-ups.  I had since placed the paperback rights for Broken Angel with the original hardcover publisher, Delirium Books, but maybe Leisure would instigate some kind of constructive contact.  I never did hear back about Broken Angel, and it has since gone out of print.  I’ve considering submitting it to Don D’Auria at Samhain Publishing, but I probably won’t.

I began my own personal boycott of Leisure books long before 2010 (for the full story of the decline and eventual crash of Leisure Books, including the boycott that helped sink them for good, read Brian Keene’s Trigger Warnings – a fun and informative look into the life of one of the most influential authors of our time that happens to include a long section on the Dorchester War).  My personal boycott had nothing to do with passive-aggressively withholding my meager couple of bucks for every book I didn’t buy from them, and everything to do with the fact that I could not look at the Leisure logo on the spine of a book without seeing red.  Leisure published a lot of writers I liked personally, respected, and whose work I loved, and I could no longer bring myself to buy their books.  When Leisure finally contacted me in 2011 about Feral, after the editor who requested it had moved on and Leisure itself was in the process of moving on, my goddamn brain almost exploded.

A short but necessary digression here.  Although I didn’t appreciate being ignored for close to a decade by Leisure regarding material they requested, Don was by most accounts a fantastic editor, well loved by most of his authors.  The debacle that led to Leisure’s decline was not his doing, and from what I’ve heard he did everything within his power to do right by his authors before Leisure let him go.  The few times I chatted with him at conventions, quick and casual chats that had noting to do with me trying to pitch him, I found that I liked him a lot.  I would have liked to work with him.

I continued to write, though not as enthusiastically as before, but I read virtually nothing.  There was no longer any joy for me in cracking the spine of a book and immersing myself in the stories that had once been the most important things in my life.  In those years I published very little horror, and usually with publishers who have no real distribution or promotion.  At that point I didn’t give much of a shit if anybody bought them or not.  I enjoyed writing those stories, but I no longer had any expectations that my publisher’s could actually sell them.

There were a few non-horror novels I had very high hopes for.  The first, a novel about a repo-man / bounty hunter, perhaps the funnest thing I’ve ever written, was called Sex, Death, & Honey.  This was supposed to be the first in a series of three or four (the second remains half written on my hard drive), but it didn’t work out.  I don’t want to disparage the publisher, a man I like a great deal, but the editor who convinced me to sign had plans to promote the book that were never realized once he parted ways with the publisher.  The production values were fantastic, and the cover phenomenal, but promotion for Sex, Death, & Honey never amounted to more than a few tweets and Facebook posts. The book is now out of print, and will probably never see print again.  It’s a shame, because I am very proud of it.  I think Sex, Death, & Honey has great, unrealized potential.

I also wrote a YA / Midgrade fantasy trilogy, The Phoenix Girls.  I finished the final book this past summer and hope to see it released some time next year.  The first two books, The Conjuring Glass and The Crimson Brand, were favorably reviewed by Publisher’s Weekly and Kirkus, but haven’t sold as well as the publisher or I would have liked.  I have not regretted writing them though, or working with JournalStone.  The Phoenix Girls Trilogy is one of my proudest achievements, and I think book three is probably the best story I’ve ever written.

When I finished PG3, my last contracted book, I had expected to quit writing entirely and get out of the business while I still had a little of my sanity left, but a funny thing happened.

I got new ideas.  Horror ideas.

I got excited.

I also started reading for pleasure again.

I have a new plan now, and this time I have some experience and a few hard lessons to inform me.  I also have thicker skin.  That’s important.

I’ve started work on a new novel, and few short stories just to help me get back into the swing of writing horror.  This next novel is going to be very nasty, very brutal, and more intense than anything I’ve written before.

My name is Brian Knight.  I’m a truck driver who likes to write.  If some day my writing allows me to quit my day job, that would be great, but I’m no longer taking it as a given.

I was gone for a while, but now I’m back.

I’ve come to scare people, and have some fun doing it.

Congratulations, you survived 2012!

2012 was a challenging year for most of us.  Economic recession, numerous professional disappointments for YHA (your humble author), political and religious crazies making a whole lot of noise and trouble, other crazies murdering, raping, and making us despair for the future of humankind.  We survived the rapture – twice if memory serves – and the end of the world – again twice.  Ever larger portions of the Earth’s population, including those from what are supposed to be the more civilized corners of our spinning globe, reject rationality and science in favor of superstition, fear, and hatred.  Those of us still lucky enough to have stable employment find our opportunities for upward mobility shrinking, and are expected to work harder and harder, generating larger profits for our beneficent masters, for shrinking benefits and wages that fail spectacularly to keep pace with increased costs of living.

What do we have to look forward to in 2013?

The cynical part of me says it’ll probably be a whole lot of the same, but a hopeful part of me continues to blindly assert that things will get better.  Hope is a good thing, so I will continue to give my inner hippie enough space to live.  Maybe he’s right and things will start to get better.  Anything is possible in an infinite universe.

There are a few good things on the horizon.

They Call us Monsters is coming soon from Gallows Press.

In 2008, the cult novelette 1200 AM Live introduced readers to the sick, perverted world of Andy Crow and Charles Green. In 2009, The Avian presented the tragic story of Jove, his mysterious curse, and his quest to find identity. Finally, They Call Us Monsters, a brand-new novella and final book of this fantasy/horror trilogy, brings these characters together and answers many questions in an explosive conclusion. When Jove and the mysterious Andy Crow finally meet, all hell breaks loose. And, for readers who missed out on 1200 AM Live and The Avian, this volume collects all three books.

This is not a novel, but a collection of related novellas that work together to create a larger story.  They were fun stories to write, and Andy Crow and Charles Green were fun characters to work with, but my writing is going in slightly different directions now, so this is the final appearance of Crow, Green, and their wacky and slightly demented adventures.

Also coming out in 2013, a book I’ve been trying to get published for 6 years.

The Phoenix Girls, Book 1: The Conjuring Glass, coming March 8th from Journalstone.  Check it out on Goodreads or Journalstone.

When thirteen-year-old orphan Penny Sinclair moves to the small town of Dogwood to live with her godmother, she expects her life to become very dull. She doesn’t expect to find a strange talking fox roaming the countryside near her new home, a kindred spirit in her new friend Zoe, or the secret grove where they discover the long-hidden magic of The Phoenix Girls.

Learning to use magic isn’t easy, though; Penny and Zoe get their magic wrong almost as often as they get it right. When something sinister threatens Dogwood, their often-accidental magic may be the only thing that can stop it.

I wrote this story a long time ago, and in the years since have come to know the characters better than any other I’ve ever written about … and that’s probably a good thing since you may have noticed the Book 1in the title.  As currently envisioned The Phoenix Girls series will run from 5 to 7 novels.  The second in the series is finished, and I’ll be starting work on the third soon.

The Phoenix Girls stories are YA fantasy – remember that new direction I spoke about earlier? – but will appeal just as much to adults.  I think the mark of a good YA or children’s book is that there is no upper age limit.  I don’t write down to a YA audience, I wrote a story that is age appropriate for them.  A good story is a good story, no matter what genre you tag it with, and I think The Phoenix Girls, Book 1: The Conjuring Glass, is one of my best.

The Phoenix Girls’ road to publication has been a long and bumpy one.  I might share it here someday.  For now, I’m letting my inner hippy bliss out on the fact that book 1 will finally be available soon.  I have never been more enthusiastic about one of my books, and I hope my enthusiasm will spread to you, dear reader.  A good story is the best magic in the world, and I think we can all agree that a little good magic would be welcome in this new year.

Brian Knight

Adults Should Read Whatever the Hell They Want

“The only thing more embarrassing than catching a guy on the plane looking at pornography on his computer is seeing a guy on the plane reading The Hunger Games.”

Joel Stein, a columnist for Time magazine, started a recent article in the New York Times Opinion Page with the above line.  I stopped reading there and spent a few minutes trying to wrap my brain around that statement, trying to find a way to relate to Stein’s point of view.  When I couldn’t, I read on, thinking that perhaps he was engaging in a bit of satire, expressing a personal prejudice against a certain kind of fiction in a manner meant to elicit chuckles.  The next 269 words in his article, Adults Should Read Adult Books, disabused me of that notion.  He was dead serious.

Stein goes on to equate reading primers like Hornton Hatches the Egg with works like Harry Potter, Twilight and The Hunger Games, while admitting to not having read them.  I’ve dipped into Twilight, just to see what all the excitement was about and found it wasn’t my cup of tea.  Same with The Hunger Games.  I enjoyed Harry Potter quite a lot and feel no shame.  Stephen King, recipient of the Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters, and about a thousand other awards, an accomplished wordsmith in his own right one might say, said of the Harry Potter novels “Jo Rowling set out a sumptuous seven-course meal, carefully prepared, beautifully cooked, and lovingly served out.”  I couldn’t have said it any better, so I won’t try.

Mr. Stein is undoubtedly an accomplished writer and all-around smart guy.  Very well educated as well, I would venture to say.  Probably well-respected to boot, Time Magazine and The New York Times don’t publish morons.  His snide and simplistic characterizations in Adults Should Read Adult Books make him sound like a pretentious and narrow-minded jackass.

Adults should read whatever the hell they want.  As long as they read.  Read Charles Grant, Stephen King, Elmore Leonard, Jeff Lindsay, Charles Dickens or John Steinbeck.  Read modern fiction, genre fiction, classics, or even Hornton Hatches the Egg, if that’s what floats your boat.

Stein says that the only time he’s okay with an adult holding a children’s book is if he’s moving his mouth as he reads, and that’s just fine, just as long as he doesn’t expect the reading public to base their choices on his good opinion.  It’s not going to happen.

Enjoy your Dochevsky, Mr. Stein.  I’ve got some J.K. Rowling to catch up on.

Brian Knight

Holy Crap!  Regarding Religious Freedom and the Upcoming Elections

I generally don’t like to talk about politics or religion – “Damnit, Jim, I’m a writer, not a political pundit!” – but it seems like we’ve backslid about sixty years in the past few months, especially regarding women’s rights and the idea that the United States of America is not now, nor has ever been, a Christian Nation.  I imagine the 1950s were a wonderful time in some regards.  In others, however, it was not.  Widely accepted and protected racism and sexism are only a few of the social evils we have mostly left behind.

It seems lately that a lot of these old notions have been pulled out of the trash-heap and dusted off.  It seems insane to me, how many people seem eager to erase sixty years of social progress.  When I heard a man who I once liked and respected refer to The President of the United States as – and I apologize for this – “The Niger ‘N’ Chief,” it felt like someone slugged me in the stomach.  I guess I always knew there were people who thought and behaved that way, but it’s a shock to find out how many there are, and how close I am, or in this case used to be, to some of them.

So, here are my two cents, for what they’re worth.

Regarding Religious Freedom and the Upcoming Elections.

National elections have always been a messy business, lots of name calling, finger pointing, and hate of contrary ideas and beliefs manifesting as hate toward the people who hold those contrary ideas and beliefs.  The upcoming election seems, to me at least, to be an especially rancorous one, and most of that ugliness seems centered around political figures presenting themselves as religious leaders to a constituency of THE FAITHFULL.  They betray a sense of entitlement, a GOD GIVEN imperative for THE FAITHFUL to spread THE TRUTH as far and wide as possible, and to turn THE TRUTH into THE LAW whenever they can.

I come from a family of Jehovah’s Witness, and say what you will about that particular sect, they refused to get involved in politics in any way.  All of the ones I knew at least believed they had no business at all getting involved with the political process, which they considered too worldly to participate in, and I was led to believe that was the official position of the JWs.  Maybe that is why the idea of mixing religion and politics seems so ridiculous to me.  Or maybe the notion of turning religious belief into law is just a ridiculous one.

Most religious sects see it as their job to make everyone else behave and think the way they do, and since good old fashioned conversion is plainly not doing the job for them anymore, they have decided they must write their beliefs into law and force us to behave and think as they do.  Kind of like The Taliban did in this little Middle Eastern country some of you may have heard of.  If you think The Taliban is an unfair example, then you need to start paying attention to how some of the Christian extremists behave.  It’s frightening.  If the Hard Religious Right was given free reign in the USA, we would be burning witches and demon worshipers (ie, anyone who doesn’t agree with them) at the stake, and stoning homosexuals, liberals, and atheists to death in town squares for the entertainment of THE FAITHFUL.

They are not fighting for religious freedom.  They already have religious freedom.  They are fighting to create a GOD CENTERED AMERICA, also known as a theocracy.  Google theocracy if you don’t know what it is.  I am referring to the extremists, not the sane majority of religious people, but unfortunately it is the extremists who are making the most noise and putting forth a huge effort to recreate America in their demented image.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.

I found the line above in a curious old document called The United States Constitution.  Evidently the fellows who wrote The United States Constitution were so serious about the idea that they included it in The First Amendment.  They didn’t waste any time putting it down on paper.  They wanted it right out front.  And just in case the Founding Fathers didn’t make their opinion of religion mixing with politics clear enough in The First Amendment, I’ll offer the following historical quotes.

“The United States in is no sense founded upon the Christian religion.” – George Washington

“History, I believe, furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil government. This marks the lowest grade of ignorance, of which their political as well as religious leaders will always avail themselves for their own purpose.” – Thomas Jefferson

“In no instance have churches been the guardians of the liberties of the people.” – James Madison

“This could be the best of all possible worlds if there were no religion in it.” – John Adams

“I disbelieve all holy men and holy books.” – Thomas Paine

I know these last two aren’t Founding Fathers, but the quotes are excellent.

“The Bible is not my book, nor Christianity my profession.” – Abraham Lincoln

“I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do because I notice it always coincides with their own desires.” – Susan B. Anthony

We live in a nation, in a world, full of conflicting opinions and ideas, and here in the good old USA you are allowed to hold and express any opinion you want.  That right, granted to you by The First Amendment, extends to your religion.  Worship Yaweh, Allah, Odin, Zeus, the sun, Mother Nature, Justin Beiber, or even The Flying Spaghetti Monster, whatever floats your boat.  You can even – and here’s a radical notion indeed – worship nothing at all!

What The First Amendment does not grant is the power for some backward thinking politician to write his religious beliefs into law.  If said politician feels strongly about a topic, then he/she must find a way to promote his or her position without falling back on the Bible or God.  If they can’t, then he or she is not worthy to promote that idea, or the idea itself is not a worthy one.

Separation of Church and State is not a radical idea, or even a new one.  It’s what will prevent this nation from becoming a theocracy, and if you think a theocratic nation would be a good thing, just imagine what life would be like if it wasn’t your faith or sect in the seat of power.  Then you might discover what religious persecution is all about.

Brian Knight