Dr. Richard Carrier, an atheist known on the chicken dinner circuit and professor of Ancient History, who helped get the social justice group Atheism+ started several years ago, now ironically finds himself on ‘the other side’ of the fence, as it were, by suing several people and blogs in the freethought community, including a woman who went public with a claim of sexual harassment, for $2 million.
Ronald A. Lindsay – President &CEO Center for Inquiry
The second Women in Secularism Conference was held in Washington, DC this weekend. The conference is a response to the struggle inside secular groups to reach out and encourage more participation by women. There has been a vocal minority of mostly men who have taken it upon themselves to defend the dominance of males and male-centric attitudes in the various secular groups. This political “debate”, at times, has not been respectful or rational. It seems the President and CEO of the conference sponsor, Center for Inquiry (CFI), Ronald A. Lindsay decided to use his opening remarks to light a match in the vapor enriched environment then complain when he got caught in the firestorm. I would hope he has learned how a community leader should NOT respond to criticism.
Being an atheist, I have spent a lot of time debating religious people about all sorts of things such as my freedom to be an atheist to the US motto (In God We Trust) being printed on our money. The theist is on the wrong side of the debate all the time but they seem to believe my equality and freedom is subject to debate. No one would rationally support that kind of injustice. Imagine my shock when a fellow atheist, trying to support debating the equality of women, used a line of argument we atheists dismiss out of hand when fundamentalist Christians use it against Evolution.
This all stems from the unending internal Internet arguments over sexism in secular groups that I’ve written about before in this blog. The fighting has devolved into unproductive name calling and whining one sees on the middle school playground. I try to avoid reading blog posts specifically about the conflict because those posts just seem to be attempts by the authors to feel superior to a straw man and no one really listens to what is being said. The signal to noise ratio is very low.
On Tuesday, leaders of most of the secular groups in the United States issued an open letter addressing the ongoing internal firestorm over social justice, sexism, and diversity in the freethought community taking place mainly in online forums and comment sections. I applaud the leaders wanting to take on this serious issue in the community and while it doesn’t go far enough in addressing the real issue in the dispute, I hope the letter does open the door to further progress.
Vice President Biden taking the oath of office 01/20/2013
The other day I read that a Republican legislator, in Arizona, introduced a bill that would require high school students to take a loyalty oath before being allowed to graduate. The oath includes the usual invoking of God clap trap we see in the Pledge of Allegiance. The requirement is stupid, doesn’t help educate kids, and could be used to discriminate against people who either don’t believe in such pledges or don’t believe in the God part like Atheists. What bothered me more was the reaction from an Atheist who thought the possibility for discrimination was trivial and nothing to get worked up about. In defending our rights nothing should be trivial.