June 11, 2013

Center for Inquiry Board to Meet About Ron Lindsay

I wrote a post yesterday in which I encouraged those of us in the atheist community to think twice about marginalizing those among us engaged in activism. While we can (and should) express disagreement with our colleagues when appropriate, trying to force them out of our community because we disagree with some aspects of their politics seems counterproductive.

This reminds me to remind you that the Board of the Center for Inquiry is expected to meet this month to discuss the complaints they have received about the opening remarks made by their CEO, Ron Lindsay, at Women in Secularism 2. On the basis of these comments, comments which should not have been controversial, Dr. Lindsay was embroiled in controversy. He has been called a misogynist, and some are calling for his resignation.

Fortunately, the picture is not quite so one-sided. Dr. Lindsay has received support from many in the secular community. Support was even expressed in the recent letter from Skeptic Women.

I think this is another situation where we should feel free to criticize Dr. Lindsay and express disagreement with him. At the same time, the notion that we must pressure the Center for Inquiry to remove him (or push him to issue another apology) seems misguided. How can we hope to attract competent people to positions like that of Dr. Lindsay when we treat them this way?

If you have an opinion on Dr. Lindsay you would like to share with the Center for Inquiry, now is the time to do so. They have asked that comments be emailed to Secretary Tom Flynn at tflynn@centerforinquiry.net.

Update: The Board has met and released a statement.