Thursday, May 30, 2013

My email to CFI in support of Ron Lindsay

  To put it bluntly: A small number of extremely vocal bloggers and speakers have decided that the core mission of all skeptical, secularist, and atheist organizations and communities must be to support a number of "progressive" liberal political ideals, and that any individuals who do not comply immediately, without discussion or debate, must be silenced, ousted, shamed and shunned. They have zero interest in skepticism, and their only interest in secularism extends no further than how it can help their political agenda. Included in this group are bloggers and speakers PZ Myers, Ophela Benson, Stephanie Svan, and Jason Thibault of Freethought Blogs, Rebecca Watson of Skepchick, and Amanda Marcotte.

  I only name a few of the most vocal, and the only reason I name them is so that you can take the time to see what these people actually say and do. PZ Myers recently posted a blog offering the opinion that anyone who identifies as a "Men's Right's Activist" is simply a mass-murderer of women without the guts to pull the trigger. Amanda Marcotte recently penned a hit piece on atheist/secular activist Justin Vacula, claiming that he believes "women exist to serve men", simply because Justin does not agree with her that atheism logically leads directly to feminism. Some of these people have been directly involved in "outing" or "doxxing" people who disagree with them, so that their followers can call employers, harass, and intimidate. Some of them have been seeking to get people fired from their jobs, ousted from organizations, and attempting to establish blacklists of people not welcome to speak at or even attend events, all for the crime of disagreeing with their politics or their morally bankrupt tactics. Obviously false threat narratives, claiming harassment and fear of violence, have been built up around many individuals who dare to disagree with these ideologues.

  You now have a case of this treatment in your own organization. For simply noting what is obvious to any casual reader of these individual's blogs, that limited sociological terms are often used to silence dissent and vilify people who disagree with their views, Ron Lindsay has been called a sexist, a misogynist, a "thug in a cheap suit" (PZ Myers), and the hounds are now baying for blood.  These individuals and their supporters have little or nothing to do with secularism or ending religious discrimination, and are almost the polar opposite of "skeptics". They respect no science that does not validate their worldview, and they cannot tolerate even a hint of debate or open discussion. They openly mock the principle of free speech as being only a cover for hatred and bigotry and oppression. In their minds, anyone being allowed to talk back, instead of permanently "shutting up and listening", is oppression. How people so privileged became such experts on oppression is anyone's guess, but they certainly have no intention of "checking their own privilege" or "shutting up and listening" to anyone.

  I hope that you will take the time to see the full picture here. I hope that you will support Ron Lindsay, and keep a careful watch on those who seem to think their voices are the only ones that matter. Irrational ideologues like this are poisonous to any movement, but especially to one based on skepticism, freethought, and open discussion. I and many others will be watching the outcome of this particular "putsch", and I for one will not support any organization that gives these individuals any more influence than they already have. Again, please support Ron Lindsay in this matter. He has done nothing wrong and simply said out loud what so many reasonable people in our community, men and women, liberal and conservative alike, have been thinking lately. He couldn't have been nicer about it, yet witness what such consideration gets one in return...ridiculous accusations and outright dishonesty and hatred. Do not pander to these poisonous ideologues, it will benefit nobody.

I thank you for your time.
Neil Terry

In the interests of full disclosure, I made some small changes to my original email, which was written hastily.  I removed a three-word redundancy, I added Ron Lindsay's name earlier in the text, since some now might read this and not know to whom I was referring, and I corrected a misspelling.

If you are familiar with the internal political on-goings in the relatively small atheist/skeptical/secular communities, you might have a clue as to what this is all about.

If not, hello and welcome!  At this point, all I can say for online Atheism is...we're not all liars and ideologues, so sorry if you got a bad impression.