Ron Lindsay’s Extraordinary Bullshit II, In Which I Compose a Letter


Here is the missive I have sent to the board of CfI.

Dear CfI Board Members:

You may notice that I haven’t spent this opening paragraph telling you how grateful I am that you have championed excellent causes in our secular community. Of course CfI has done great work in the past. We in the secular community have been very happy to join you in common cause, and are proud of the work you have done, “but this is something you know already, and, although I don’t want to appear ungracious, why take up time to state the obvious, because the reality is we have much work to do, and presumably you’re reading this letter for substance not rhetoric.”*

The president and CEO of CfI should know better than to stand up in front of a conference focusing on women in the secular movement and spend his time telling them how they have disappointed him, what he expects them to do, and how he desires they act. I can think of no other opening to a conference that treated its speakers and attendees with such blatant disrespect. Ron Lindsay has created an enormous problem for CfI. This problem can be resolved by removing him from his position. Failing that, he must apologize, in full and without qualification, and demonstrate by his actions that he understands that what he did was beyond the pale and must never, ever happen again. He will have to show his full and unqualified support for the women in the secular community he has wronged. And he must promise never to speak at a Women in Secularism conference, nor any other conference for women, without ensuring his speech focuses on their accomplishments and initiatives, and supports them fully.

This woman, and many of the women I know, are finished with men who feel they must always make it All About Them. This is precisely what Ron Lindsay did. That would have been quite enough to justify the anger of speakers, attendees, and those of us who were following the conference from a distance. However, his subsequent behavior was frankly appalling, and shamed CfI deeply. An apology for one statement in one blog post does nothing to make amends. And so, members of the board of CfI, I call upon you to shape him up or ship him out.

Does this sound harsh? Take my harshness as a measure of my disappointment. I’m afraid that if CfI cannot discipline or dismiss Ron Lindsay for his outrageous behavior, I will never be able to support your organization financially, nor by recommending it to secular people seeking an organization they can rely on, nor by publicizing your campaigns, fundraisers, or any other actions that may require community support.

I know I am not alone in this. I know I am not the only one who has expressed anger and disappointment. All of us would be delighted to support CfI in the future. Your actions in this matter will determine our course.

Thank you for your time and attention to this matter.

Sincerely,

Dana Hunter

En Tequila Es Verdad and Rosetta Stones

*If this portion was offensive, speak to Ron regarding it: I lifted it nearly verbatim from his statement in his WiS2 speech.

 

bleak-future-lolcat

Comments

  1. rq says

    Yup, as someone said previously, remind me never to piss you off! ;)
    I like the intro. Very pointed.

  2. A Hermit says

    OK, of all the Lindsey letters I’ve seen this is my favourite. That first paragraph is brilliant and this bit summed up what was wrong with that speech perfectly:

    The president and CEO of CfI should know better than to stand up in front of a conference focusing on women in the secular movement and spend his time telling them how they have disappointed him, what he expects them to do, and how he desires they act.

  3. blorf says

    I love the echo of Lindsay in that first paragraph. Hopefully the CFI board sees the parallels.

  4. StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return! says

    Great letter.

    Seconded by me.

    Seriously – if you want to add my name to it feel free to do so because very well said and 100% spot on there in my view.

  5. StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return! says

    PS. Hey that looks like my cat, well, the cat that owns me! ;-)

    (A black tortoiseshell. Maybe a little more colour – mine has a splash of custard hued fur on the paws and face as well.)

    • Dana Hunter says

      I LOL’d. I would’ve spent the next week scrubbing myself if he’d given me his seal of approval.

  6. kraut says

    “This woman, and many of the women I know, are finished with men who feel they must always make it All About Them. This is precisely what Ron Lindsay did.”

    Where precisely? ”
    But it’s the second misapplication of the concept of privilege that troubles me most. I’m talking about the situation where the concept of privilege is used to try to silence others, as a justification for saying, “shut up and listen.” Shut up, because you’re a man and you cannot possibly know what it’s like to experience x, y, and z, and anything you say is bound to be mistaken in some way, but, of course, you’re too blinded by your privilege even to realize that.

    This approach doesn’t work. It certainly doesn’t work for me. It’s the approach that the dogmatist who wants to silence critics has always taken because it beats having to engage someone in a reasoned argument.”

    Is that the statement that you are referring to?
    Is that what makes it all about him? Do you support the shut up part, is that what makes it all about him?
    Do you think a discussion is possible when one part – as I have read on FTB numerous times before – is asked to shut up?
    If that is your conviction, that your partner in a discussion better shut up and only listen to what you have to say, then I think I better do shut up and will have no further input in a site that seems to resemble more an authoritarian site issuing edicts than a forum to explore ideas.

    Should I be mistaken, maybe you can clarify by pointing out which part of his speech http://www.centerforinquiry.net/blogs/entry/my_talk_at_wis2/ you object to, as your statements leave me guessing.

    • Dana Hunter says

      You don’t see how lecturing rather than welcoming the women attending a Women in Secularism conference is making it All About Teh Menz? Very well. I suggest corrective lenses. Perhaps perusing this will help.

      As for what I object to, Greta Christina’s thoughts are presented better than my thoughts, and say all I wish to say. See A Blatant Misrepresentation — And An Insulting One: The Content of Ron Lindsay’s WiS2 Talk for objections to content that match my own.

      But it’s not merely the content, but the context. The straw that breaks the back is where Ron chose to unleash his steaming pile of bullshit. See He Treated Us With Contempt: The Context of Ron Lindsay’s WiS2 Talk for the reason why.

      If, after this, you still don’t understand why “shut up and listen” is necessary, nor why we are rather put out with Ron, then I would suggest you stick your flounce. You will not find this cantina a comfortable venue.

    • smhll says

      I think a one word assertion that the other party in a debate is dogmatic, does as much to shut down discussion as an assertion that the other party is privileged.

  7. DBP says

    Do you think a discussion is possible when one part – as I have read on FTB numerous times before – is asked to shut up?

    This is tiresome and whiny.

    I think I better do shut up and will have no further input in a site

    Sounds good to me.

  8. says

    Very good post.

    It does seem to me that his behavior over the event, the talk and then the later blogging, was highly unprofessional even if one were to agree that he had some points that needed discussion. Yes, Greta spelled it out pretty clearly. It does seem that at this point it’s a pretty difficult thing to fix without replacing Lindsay.

  9. kraut says

    “This is tiresome and whiny.

    I think I better do shut up and will have no further input in a site

    Sounds good to me.”

    Thanks, I love the predictability of FTB. I expected little else.

    “you still don’t understand why “shut up and listen” is necessary,”

    If you and others find that necessary…I rather read blogs that do not want to make me “shut up”.

    • Dana Hunter says

      Then I’d suggest you stick the flounce, Kraut. Don’t comment here again until you have something of substance to say. One more whine about how you’d rather read other blogs, and I will assist you in doing so by revoking your commenting privileges.

    • DBP says

      There have been hundreds if not thousands of words spent explaining and discussing the concept. I have no interest in rehashing it for someone too lazy to do their own (very basic) research into a (very simple) concept. There are people who make their living or part of it talking about this stuff, read the stuff they have already written instead of demanding someone go over it again.
      Most of the bloggers on this site have broken it down pretty well. Why don’t you go find what they had to say instead of acting like it is somehow offensive that people aren’t pandering to the tantrum you threw.

      PS: Your “input” here is negligible. Threats of removing yourself to the site aren’t going to coerce anyone into anything.

  10. kraut says

    ” and I will assist you in doing so by revoking your commenting privileges.’
    Who fucking cares? You just go ahead.