As one of the people who openly calling for Ron Lindsay’s resignation after his unfortunate, condescending behavior at the Women in Secularism conference this year, it would be consistent for me to stick by that position now that he’s apologized without resigning. But consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, and after reading his apology and his defense of it on Twitter, I have one thing to say:
Apology accepted. Thank you, Ron. Apologizing is hard, and you sucked up and did it. I will now take back my demands for your resignation and return to supporting the Center for Inquiry and all the great work they do.
There’s no value, I realize, in not meeting people of good will halfway, especially when you really do share common goals and ideals. The reason that some of us were so mad at CFI is that they’ve been one of the “good guys” since the beginning of the freak out from misogynists in the community that cannot stand women’s growing influence and power in the atheist/skeptic movement. CFI was listening to feminist concerns and doing good work in meeting them. Feminists raised concerns about sexual harassment at conferences, and CFI responded with an excellent harassment policy. Feminists talked about the dangers of marginalizing women’s voices, and CFI created the Women in Secularism Conference specifically to combat that. It’s always been a smart organization that sees the intersections between secularism and feminism clearly. That’s why it was frustrating to feel like that was all being pissed away because of a knee-jerk desire to placate misogynists—a desire that we’ve all experienced, but one that has to be resisted if positive change is to be achieved.
Thank you, Ron, for listening and thinking about why the “both sides” pablum simply cannot work when one side resists basic values all secularist activists should share, for equality and expanding the reach of our arguments. I take back my demands for your resignation, restore my support to CFI, and hope that we can go forward in the progressive spirit that we all enjoyed before. And let’s hope there’s a Women in Secularism 3 that can be as awesome as this one was!