The first time I talked to Ron Lindsay was when he called in to Atheists Talk while I was talking to Melody Hensley about the Women in Secularism conference. Neither Melody nor I had any idea he’d be calling, but he thought it was important to tell everyone that CFI strongly supported the conference for a number of reasons. Given the pushback to the announcement of the conference, this was both important and particularly welcome.
He made CFI’s support every bit as clear when he spoke at the conference itself. This wasn’t a project he’d just greenlighted then looked on from afar. Ron was clear that CFI had much to offer secular women and would benefit much by their participation. While he was speaking to a friendly audience, it was once again refreshing to see this understanding treated as an obvious, though reasoned, fact.
When I contact the CFI Management Committee about anti-harassment policies, Ron responded himself. Once again, his response was both welcoming and deeply professional. The same goes for CFI’s making the policy available to interested parties through More Than Men before CFI was ready to post it, although I understand the pdf provided didn’t come from Ron directly.
Now Ron’s done it again in releasing the CFI policy. Ron has written a great post on why he feels such a policy is needed and how the CFI policy was shaped by the mission and the concerns of the organization. Once again, it is welcoming, focused, and highly professional.
I know (!) the last month or so has been rough for some people in our movements. I know that dealing with a vocal and hostile minority is wearing. I know it’s tiring to explain the same basic things over and over. I know it’s difficult to deal with indifference or condemnation from people who claim to be on our side. I know that some people have felt like giving up and going to find someplace else to spend their time and energy.
I really hope that all these people have stuck around at least this long. I hope they’re paying attention as the leaders in our movements make these changes. I hope they’ve seen American Atheists responsiveness in creating their policy. I hope they read Ron’s post. I hope they understand that the future of our movements lies with these people–men and women–who are working together to make strong organizations that are welcoming to all.
That, after all, is what makes all this strain worth it.