To illustrate why the CFI statement was a terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad statement, I will use
strikethrough for fluff; that which is without substance in this context. I will use bold to represent obvious falsehoods.
As background, this statement was necessary because CFI’s CEO, Ron Lindsay used his opening speech at the Women in Secularism 2 Conference to chide and patronize its attendees, while implying that feminism in the movement has gone too far.
June 17, 2013
The mission of the Center for Inquiry is to foster a secular society based on science, reason, freedom of inquiry, and humanist values. The Center for Inquiry, including its CEO, is dedicated to advancing the status of women and promoting women’s issues, and this was the motivation for its sponsorship of the two Women in Secularism conferences. The CFI Board wishes to express its unhappiness with the controversy surrounding the recent Women in Secularism Conference 2. CFI believes in respectful debate and dialogue. We appreciate the many insights and varied opinions communicated to us. Going forward, we will endeavor to work with all elements of the secular movement to enhance our common values and strengthen our solidarity as we struggle together for full equality and respect for women around the world.
First, the statement title is in part “on the CEO and the Women in Secularism 2 Conference,” but the statement doesn’t address him in the context of the conference at all.
Second, they dare to say that Ron Lindsay is dedicated to advancing the status of women and promoting women’s issues, after he gave a speech that was patronizing and contemptuous of feminism and social justice issues in a slippery slope style, asking:
“Who decides what’s included within the scope of social justice anyway?”
“Is the destruction of capitalism considered part of a social justice program? If so, that position certainly has very significant implications,”
“Are there truly no significant divisions currently within the feminist movement?”
And which give the impression he just managed to stop from asking ’Isn’t it just too much work to be feminist and skeptical? I mean, we have Bigfoot to argue against here.’
Third, they say that the controversy was surrounding the conference, instead of Ron Lindsay and his speech of amazing inappropriateness. No. Just no. That is insulting to the intelligence of everyone involved.
Take a look at that statement, once all the fluff and nonsense is gone:
“The CFI Board wishes to express its unhappiness with the controversy.”
And that is why they would have been better off not saying anything: because they aren’t unhappy with Ron Lindsay’s speech, nor with misogyny and sexism, nor with harassment nor inequality nor anything else addressed at the conference.
No. The CFI Board is unhappy with the controversy.