It’s supposed to be a good thing to accept apologies, isn’t it? I’m seeing a lot of bizarre grumbling, and accusations of “back-pedaling.” It’s not back-pedaling to accept an apology. Jeez. And another word for “back-pedaling” is just “changing your mind” (ok three words), and changing your mind when there are reasons to do so is also supposed to be a good thing. It’s not “back-pedaling” unless you have shitty reasons for it.

This morning on Twitter.


Ron Lindsay tweets [in reverse, hence chronological, order]

My apology re talk at WIS2 was not a victory or defeat for anyone; it was not forced or half-hearted; it was an expression of my heart

Secularists of good will need to try to find common ground and move forward; the community is heartsick and discouraged by the acrimony

Rare is the occasion when I reference (favorably) a verse from the New Testament, but I will here: Matthew 5: 23-24

 Well then.

I replied

@RALindsay Thank you. I mean, THANK YOU.

Yes let’s. Let’s do that, I say!

Oh crap, now I have to get the Gideon.


I actually do reference the NT favorably fairly often. There are some good phrases in there, in the KJV.

You want Matthew 5: 23-24?

23 Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee;

24 Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.

Amanda Marcotte has also accepted.

As one of the people who [was] 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.

So, good.

Now I have to run to the store to find a gift to bring to the altar.




  1. says

    There’s no nice way to say this, but some social justice advocates seem to be more interested in punishing people they believe to be responsible for some measure of injustice than fixing problems.

  2. says

    I’m sorry, Ace, but what exactly is that supposed to mean?

    Ophelia… it doesn’t surprise me that some people are angry that most of us have accepted Ron’s apology. It completely destroys the narrative they’ve built about us being evil little people out to destroy the movement. Ron did the right thing, and we’ve said “thank you” and “apology accepted”.

    We’re all doing a pretty bad job of living up to the stereotype they have of us.

    I think we’re supposed to be out in force with pitchtorches (a pitchfork and torch all in one!) threatening to burn the CFI offices down or something like that…

  3. freemage says

    Ace of Sevens:

    I do also suspect that some of those folks (the ones insisting that there can be no acceptance of ‘back-pedaling’ of demands that were frequently never made, or made on a conditional basis) are less than sincere in their goals–some of them are likely more aligned with specific groups that seek to continue the strife, and thus are disappointed that the adults are working it out without their approval.

  4. Wowbagger, Designated Snarker says

    Cue desperate scrabbling and bottom-of-the-barrel scraping from the Slymepitters as they frantically try to find some way to spin this against the progressive side.

  5. says

    To be fair, some people are less trusting than others and have good reason for being so. Not everyone is rejecting the apology for nefarious reasons.

    As for me, I’m more concerned with Lindsay putting on a professional/diplomatic public face for CFI. Since he’s moving in that direction, I don’t have much in the way of complaint.

  6. jenBPhillips says

    several of the comments on Amanda Marcotte’s article (linked in the OP) also provide shining examples.

    (and by ‘shining’ I mean ‘slimy’)

  7. Kelseigh says

    Personally, I’m in the “forgive and remember” camp. What happens from here forward is what matters. Is LIndsay and CFI going to actively move forward and actually work to improve diversity and women’s voices in this sphere, or get mired in Nugent-style “dialogue” in an effort to “try and find common ground” so that everyone will play nice?

  8. piegasm says

    @6, Ophelia

    Especially given that they skipped over the later post where you walked back your original analysis a bit in order to bellyache on that post.

  9. Wowbagger, Designated Snarker says

    I think what we do now is wait and see what happens next. Ron’s indicated that he’s not simply going to triple-down and pretend what took place didn’t rub a lot of people the wrong way; however, it’s one thing to say things are going to change; it’s another to actually do things.

    Me, I’m cautiously optimistic.

  10. Stacy says

    Ron’s indicated that he’s not simply going to triple-down and pretend what took place didn’t rub a lot of people the wrong way; however, it’s one thing to say things are going to change; it’s another to actually do things

    A commitment to WiS3 with Melody Hensley at the helm would be a great start!

  11. Stacy says

    As for the Brave Heroes and the pit-iful ones–their distress doesn’t surprise me a bit. They’re not about to change their narrative just because it doesn’t fit reality. Reality must be pummeled into submission and framed so as to uphold the narrative.

    Ungenerous people don’t grok generosity. In other news, cookies are tasty and kittens are cute.

  12. John Phillips, FCD says

    Well whatever I thought of the wording of the original apology, I used the word begrudgingly, his tweet does make it appear that he is sincere. We should at the very least accept it provisionally. After all, we can always get out the pitchforks and torches later if it turns out to be meaningless : )

  13. freemage says

    The funny thing is, the Pitters are simultaneously attempting to complain about how we were all “demanding Ron Lindsey be fired”, and now accusing us of back-pedaling because he finally made the actual apology most of us were demanding. Of course, if the board HAD fired Lindsey, that would be an equally unacceptable result caused by meddling feminists. You’d almost think they were trying desperately to frame the discussion in such a way that there was no possible win.

    Note: I don’t blame those who are taking a quasi-optimistic wait-and-see attitude (that’s my feeling, too, actually), nor even those who genuinely are beyond accepting an apology. Ms. Watson, in particular, was the target of a much more direct and personal attack, and I don’t think Lindsey’s public apology has really addressed that fact, yet; if I were in her shoes, I’d probably be very reluctant to accept just this much.

    But of course, the ‘pitters can’t have that, because it would mean that… we’re not a hivemind!

  14. says

    Personally, I’m still in the “meh” camp. Ron Lindsay has made right noises before (i.e. his post in Surly Amy’s series) and then churned out the WiS2 disaster and proceeded to double down. I’ll wait for action before I trust him again. Having said that, I’m willing to accept that he may be open to acting well in the future and to give him another chance to prove himself trustworthy. Also, I still think it would probably have been better for him and for the organisation (and the movement/community too) if he had bitten the bullet and offered his resignation.

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