CHAT: Goodbye, CFI

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CHAT: Goodbye, CFI HJ Hornbeck 6/19/13 6:20 PM
  I'm done with CFI.

   No, not *that* CFI; the Calgary and Canada outposts are quite
independent of the target of my ire, their US parent. Remember that
intro to Women in Secularism 2 from CFI CEO Ron Lindsay, that turned
into a ridiculously tone-deaf mansplanation of feminism to a room full
of feminists? The one that prompted my angry letter to CFI's board?

   Well, a month has passed. Feedback has been solicited, including
letters signed by almost all the presenters and thirty of the
attendees, explaining why Lindsay's lecture was inappropriate. They've
gathered it all up, deliberated over it, and come to a conclusion.

   They're unhappy.

   The CFI board "wishes to express its unhappiness with the
controversy surrounding the recent Women in Secularism Conference 2."

   And that's pretty much it. They throw in some boilerplate about the
fabulous job they do "advancing the status of women and promoting
women’s issues," they "appreciate the many insights and varied
opinions," but there's far more insight to be gained by seeing where
they shifted the blame. The problem was not Ron Lindsay, but "the
controversy." Not his speech, but the conference.

   In other words, they think Lindsay did alright. The real problem is
with the rest of the secular community, which apparently loves to
manufacture controversy and doesn't appreciate how awesome CFI are.

  Fuck. That. Shit.

  I am right done with CFI, and will be doing everything I can to
support other secular organizations that don't put up a false front of
caring about me.

   I was originally going to write a lot more, but it just wasn't
gelling. And so many others have done such a good job tearing down CFI
that I'd rather quote them. Christina is in fine form:

"It has become all too clear that the people in charge at CFI — not
the staffers, not the volunteers, but the people in power — are
profoundly out of touch with the realities of this movement. They are
profoundly out of touch with the ugly realities that any woman in this
movement faces if she raises her head to speak about sexism. They are
profoundly out of touch with the ways that Ron Lindsay’s opening talk
at WiS2 was a dog-whistle to the misogynistic harassers in this
movement. They want solidarity and a focus on common values, but are
profoundly out of touch with the fact that it is literally impossible
for this movement to be inclusive of everyone: that it is literally
impossible to be inclusive of atheist women, and at the same time be
inclusive of people who hate women or are dismissive of our concerns
and our realities.

And they are profoundly out of touch with the direction this movement
is going in. They are profoundly out of touch with the fact that the
young people in this movement are overwhelmingly on board with
feminism and other social justice issues. They are profoundly out of
touch with the fact that the young people in this movement
overwhelmingly want the atheist movement to work on these social
justice issues in the places where they overlap with atheism… and want
the atheist movement to pay attention to these issues in internal
matters and be willing to clean up their own house. They are
prioritizing the concerns of the old guard — and the lack of concern
of the old guard — at the cost of alienating the vibrant, energized,
well-organized, rapidly-growing segment of this community that is 25
and under."

   But Dana Hunter is my favorite of the lot:

"I now know what sort of organization you are. You are the kind of
organization that will ignore years of determined harassment in the
interests of some mythical unity. You are the kind of people that will
pay lip service to women while embracing their abusers. You would
rather blame everything that happened on the people who were offended
and the conference they attended rather than admit for one instant
that your CEO did the slightest thing wrong. You are the kind of
people who believe the Supreme Leader must never sully his lips with
an apology. And you are the kind of people who either believe skeptic
women are stupid enough to accept your statement as a proper close to
this painful chapter, and if we turn out to be smarter than that, you
figure you can do without us."

HJ Hornbeck