San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas
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SHOP TALK by BRAD ROLLINS

For nearly six years, Lamar Hankins has contributed thought-provoking grist for San Marcos’ ongoing community dialogue through his weekly column, Freethought San Marcos.

More often than not, I disagreed with opinions Hankins laid out in his pieces, but I’ve also appreciated his willingness to take unpopular stands on national, state and local issues.

My vision for the opinion section of the Mercury has always been  to offer our readers a buffet of perspectives from local contributors. However, writing a weekly column is hard work — as Hankins can attest — and I’ve been unable over the years to recruit other voices to balance his. Consequently, Hankins’ opinions have, by default, come to be synonymous with the Mercury itself in a way I never intended and with which I am not comfortable.

Now Hankins has set up a website of his own,  Texas Freethought Journal, and readers can find his work there as easily as they can at the Mercury. The timing seems right to discontinue the Freethought San Marcos column in the Mercury effective immediately.

I asked Hankins if he wanted to write a farewell column, a courtesy I thought he was due after contributing to the Mercury for so many years. He opted instead to write this announcement:

Announcement from Lamar Hankins

After writing more then 230 columns for the San Marcos Mercury since November 2008, most under the column title Freethought San Marcos, Lamar W. Hankins will no longer write for The Mercury. Readers can find his columns at his blog, Texas Freethought Journal, and at the Rag Blog.

Hankins’s columns have been published or referenced by The Waco Tribune-Herald, The Freedom From Religion Foundation and the American Left History blog. He can be contacted via email through the Contact page at his website.

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15 thoughts on “Brad Rollins’ Blog: Farewell to Lamar Hankins

  1. Brad — You’ve been very generous with your space, and Lamar contributed his opinions “freely” to your news site. I think the variety of opinion is wonderful and hope you find other contributors in all areas of the spectrum.

  2. He will be missed greatly! Lamar’s thoughtful and informative columns was one of the major reasons I checked out the San Marcos Mercury on a daily basis. I will instead bookmark and visit his own site for his take on current events and policies. Silencing his voice on the Mercury removed a rational and instructive viewpoint available to its readership, and in my opinion, the Mercury is much the lesser for it!

  3. Why has it been so difficult to find anyone to answer Mr. Hankins columns? I would think it’s because his arguments are really unanswerable without dissimulation, prevarication, misdirection, and outright lies. These would be the methods of fascists like Messrs. Cheney, Bush, Rumsfeld, Cruz, etc., as well as the silly denizens of Fox News. The Mercury will be the poorer after Mr. Hankins’ departure.

  4. “…I’ve been unable over the years to recruit other voices to balance his…”

    Lamar Hankins was the main draw for me to visit the San Marcos Mercury. His topics were challenging, instructive and thoughtful. His opinions were almost always backed up with solid research and interesting facts. He exuded a level of integrity and investigative reporting that is sorely missing in mainstream journalism & news. He is Molly Ivans without the heavy satire.

    The fact that no “other voices” came forth all these years is a testament of the irrational dialogues that are, more often than not, based on emotionally charged reactions and/or religious intolerance outside of the christian faith. They simply had no factual arguments to contribute. The proof is in the pudding.

  5. Dear Mr. Rollins, Good luck finding someone with the writing skills and articulation of Mr. Hankins. He was able to present a viewpoint that was well thought-out and carefully crafted. Whether or not you agreed with him is almost beside the point; you always had to consider how he arrived at his in comparison to how you had done so. Tough act to follow.

  6. “Hankins’ opinions have, by default, come to be synonymous with the Mercury itself in a way I never intended and with which I am not comfortable.”

    Brad, I think you err here. I agreed with Lamar about 20% of the time and some of his work was tedious to read. However, I never lumped his thinking philosophically with your publication and I never thought that your publication needed to recruit a regular columnist to counterbalance Lamar’s stuff.

    It has been more fun for me to read what your readers wrote to counterbalance him. Alas and with regret, I guess that will be no more.

    Best wishes!

  7. Brad, you should be sad that you are losing Lamar. Although I agree with much of what Lamar has written, the fact is that he brought insightful conversation and discussion to the Mercury. I look forward t continuing at his new site.

  8. But with Lamar gone, who will bash Republicans around here? It was all the more entertaining (and simultaneously infuriating) that he consistently did so under the guise of being “impartial.”

    Lamar was not here to “explore issues” – he was here to push his anti-religion agenda. He did so very eloquently, but no amount of eloquence could disguise his intent nor the fundamental flaws in many of his arguments.

    I have no doubt that Hankins generated traffic, as there’s a segment of the population that thrives on the slanted perspectives and fast-and-loose concept of intellectual dishonesty that he proffered…..those opinions exist on both sides of the theoretical “aisle” and there are plenty of voices to speak to the loons on both sides – on one side you have the Molly Ivans, Lamar Hankins, and Rachel Maddows of the world and on the other you have your Hannitys, Becks, and Limbaughs.

    If I were Brad and I wanted to run a “hard news” site, I can completely see where a column like Lamar’s could be seen as a detriment to the reputation of the site….and I would certainly balk at Lamar’s columns becoming the “face of the site”. To be effective, journalism requires credibility….and nothing damages credibility more than having a slanted opinion piece become the item that drives public opinion of your site.

  9. I’m no Lamar fan, and I always struggled to understand the “San Marcos” in the title of his column.

    That being said, I’m not sure anyone needed to counterbalance his views. The simplest way to keep him from being the voice of the publication, would be to provide more original content in general.

    I say simplest, knowing full well that it is not the easiest. I have no idea what it would take to get enough original content to match the volume from Lamar.

    It seems like a step backward, to eliminate so much original content, but just like running the city government, it is far too easy for all of us to tell you how we would run the Mercury, if we could just be bothered to start our own, but we’re all so busy you know…

    Best wishes to you and to Lamar.

  10. Disappointing decision. I never once thought his column was the editorial opinion of the Mercury. It was very clear that his columns were his own ideas. Too bad to lose a voice of interest in the Mercury.

  11. The Mercury is losing its single claim to credibility as a thought-provoking publication. Back to covering local news about fires and police reports. An opportunity, not missed, but abandoned.

  12. It sounds like the offer from Lamar was for the Mercury to republish content he is now writing for his own blog. The ramblings seem to lose their limited value when they are not even original to the Mercury but rather republished. If the Mercury were to publish non-original commentary, there are stronger options than Lamar.

  13. athiest lovin, evolution pushin, prayer hatin, statist/liberal pretending to be a libertarian, red solo cup drinkin , cigerette smoke bannin, fun squasshin, >>> …

    man that dude was fun to argue with.

    Party on Lamar u ol NannyStater

    Sincerely ,
    Ms. Silence Liberty1st DoGood

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