What the little deal is about Ron Lindsay’s apology

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Ron Lindsay has apologized and my reaction is in one way much the same as Jason Thibeault’s: the timing of his and my previous posts demand follow up. Beyond that, we tend to diverge.

Here is Ron Lindsay’s apology:

It has been a few weeks since I have said anything in public about the controversy over my remarks at the Women in Secularism 2 conference. As CFI announced via Twitter, this pause was to enable the board to have time to consider the matter. The board has issued its statement. It is now an appropriate time for me to make some remarks.

I am sorry that I caused offense with my talk. I am also sorry I made some people feel unwelcome as a result of my talk. From the letters sent to me and the board, I have a better understanding of the objections to the talk.

I am also sorry that my talk and my actions subjected my colleagues and the organization to which I am devoted to criticism.

Please accept my apologies.

Commenting is not available in this weblog entry.

My reading of the apology is actually very similar to that of Jason’s, but my reactions are much less accepting, possibly because I am more suspicious of calculation. The fact that weeks were allowed to elapse between the WIS2 Conference and the Board statement and then five days between that and Ron’s apology look to me as though they hoped everything would just blow over if they kept their heads down and mouths shut.

It didn’t blow over, and the CFI Board released the blandest statement they could possibly write. That backfired and Ron apologized.

Perhaps I am – in contrast with Jason- being uncharitable, but I can’t imagine what the Board was doing other than stalling in the month between the speech and their statement. Was their statement really the best they could come up with in a month? I can’t imagine that to be the case and- speaking of which- there needs to be a separate apology by the Board for that corporate-speak-pablum.

While I don’t think that the CFI Board’s statement forced Ron’s hand, I think concern for the fact that CFI was getting bad press -as well as bleeding speakers and donors- might have. I don’t say that wholly as a criticism: I think his concern for his organization is admirable, but I think a feeling of needing to do something to staunch the flow would be a greater inducement to action than the CFI Board’s cardboard condolences.

As for his apology, there is nothing there. I mean: yes, he apologized, but what for?  I’m glad he realizes he was the source of the CFI Board’s unnamed controversy, but does he know how he caused offense? Does he know how he made (many) people feel unwelcome? What is this better understanding he has, and is it actually better? How on earth can anyone tell?

The last part I won’t question: He seems genuinely dismayed that his organization and colleagues have been criticized. If he can and does elaborate on the ‘What’s and ‘How’s of his apology, I am prepared to believe those too.

Until then, if you put it all together, it looks like it was scientifically determined to be the minimum acceptable apology.

It was the least he could do.

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