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New Member Letter

The following is a letter sent with a donation to us after Dr. Ron Lindsay’s remarks at Women in Secularism II. The text of the letter has been reproduced below.

Letter from Member

Letter from Member

Dear Secular Woman:

Please let me explain why I am sending you a check for [redacted].

First, to become a member.

Second, to donate to your organization in support of your open letter to CFI taking issue with the way Ron Lindsay “welcomed” you at the recent conferences in his introductory remarks.

I have not yet had the pleasure of attending your conference but I follow happenings on PZ Myers blog, Pharyngula.

I am disgusted with the way Ron Lindsay is reported to have behaved. I have encountered such men (and some such women, as well) during my life in the Catholic Church. These are people who seem blind to the most obvious decency requirements, the most obvious justice requirements and yet they have attained positions of leadership and power.

Whether it was a priest delivering a sermon disagreeing with his church’s position on war while never noticing that NO woman could ever be allowed to stand in church and deliver a sermon as a priest disagreeing with her church’s position on abortion; a brother clueless regarding this grave gender imbalance of power and privilege as we sat through (I endured) this sermon; or the same brother remarking that there was no sexism in the way we were raised even though he knew full well we were raised in the Catholic Church where women were forbidden to be priests, etc and we all prayed to a very male gendered god.

When I have tried to speak aloud about these instances where men showed cluelessness regarding the most obvious and grave injustices against women, I have been made to feel as if I am petty, uncharitable, impolite or melodramatic. You can not imagine my relief to witness your forceful pushback against similar behavior. I am thrilled to see women rising up to fight the silent assumptions all around us – your work, the sexism everywhere project, the women’s media pushback against Facebook double standards for hate speech and female nudity.

I am so happy to se you $[redacted].



Secular Woman Member Article

Anu Ramanathan’s Response to Ron Lindsay

Secular Woman Member Article

By Anu Ramanathan

UPDATE 06/25/2013:

I thank Ron Lindsay for his apology, and hope to see the CFI Board respond likewise for their extraordinarily not-even-trying sham of a bafflegab not-pology, with that same level of courage that is required to make a heartfelt public apology.

I’m not quite ready yet to become a member of CFI, but I will once again set up my recurring donation to CFI, directed specifically to future Women In Secularism conferences, and to Melody Hensley, and meanwhile I will wait and see if Ron Lindsay and the Board of CFI as a whole have actually learned and internalized what it was that pissed me off and so many others people in the community likewise.

While this apology is a beginning, it is going to take a lot to restore my trust in CFI, and yet I am cautiously optimistic that the organization’s leadership will earn that trust back again. It will take a lot more work and actual support from CFI for an inclusive secular community before that shattered trust can be rebuilt; however, at least in my case, it will probably never be as strong as it was before WIS2…

So to Dr. Ron Lindsay – apology accepted.  Board of Directors of CFI – waiting for your apology for the awful bafflegab.

I will be watching and waiting, waiting and watching. I hope to see you earn my trust back with your demonstrated support for an inclusive community.

Women in Secularism 2 and CFI CEO Ron Lindsay’s impolitic and improper conduct during the conference and after

As a member of Secular Woman, I fully support the linked Statement of Objection.

I have ZERO confidence in Dr. Lindsay as CEO of CFI, and rapidly plummeting confidence in CFI as an effective organization for the secular community.  CFI will not see any support from me, monetarily or otherwise, for as long as Center for Inquiry’s CEO Dr. Ron Lindsay continues as CEO, and does not retract his statements and blog posts, and apologize for his shameful and impolitic conduct at last weekend’s Women in Secularism 2 conference.

I am hereby withdrawing my membership in CFI, but will continue my support of the Women in Secularism conference itself for as long as your organization continues to host and support it (the conference). If CFI decides that it cannot or will not host and/or support the conference in the future – and the longer the Board of Directors keeps Dr. Lindsay on as CEO without a clear, honest and sincere apology, the clearer it becomes to me and others like me that your organization is not serious about supporting the conference –  I will expect all the money that I have donated specifically for future Women in Secularism conferences to be refunded to me.

Even if there is a retraction and apology, and even if the Board of CFI censures its CEO  for his extraordinarily impolitic and  unbecoming  conduct, it will still take a LOT to restore in me any level of confidence that CFI’s Board of Directors meant its endorsement of the Open Letter to the Secular Community  as anything more than a shallow public relations move.  It is already clear that Ron Lindsay meant only to jump on the hip trendy bandwagon of major secular organizations’ support of the Open Letter to the secular community.

I trust that you, the Board of Directors of the Center for Inquiry, will do the right thing by your community, and not bow to the hostile demands of the few anti-feminists and MRAs over the far numerous decent members of the secular community worldwide.


Anu Ramanathan

Twitter: @AnuTrophy