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Letter to CFI Board of Directors June 5, 2013

Posted by Ubi Dubium in Events, Rants, Responses.
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(I’ve finally written to the CFI Board regarding Ron Lindsay’s behavior at WIS2, and thought I should also post the text of my letter here:)

To:  The CFI Board of Directors

Re: Ron Lindsay, and his unwelcoming speech

I know that you have received many letters regarding Ron Lindsay’s conduct at the Women in Secularism 2 conference, so I will keep this brief.

In his role as CEO of CFI, Ron’s responsibility to the organization was to open the conference with welcoming remarks focusing on support for the mission of CFI, perhaps summing up the previous conference or introducing and welcoming the speakers for the current conference, and generally getting the weekend off to a positive and enthusiastic start.  Instead, Ron delivered an “unwelcoming” sermon that focused on the personal opinions of Ron Lindsay.  None of his actions that weekend did anything to boost my opinion of CFI, or encourage me to be a financial supporter, or become more active with the organization. 

The attendees at the conference included not only currently influential secular activists and CFI donors, but also future secular activists and potential CFI donors as well, and Ron managed to alienate almost everyone in the room, both with his speech, and with his defenses of it over the rest of the weekend.  Ron’s behavior was unprofessional, and reflected badly on the conference organizers as well as reflecting badly on CFI in general. 

I give great credit to Melody Hensley, Lauren Becker, and all the CFI staff and volunteers who made the rest of the conference such a success.  The presentations and panel discussions at each WIS have been a focus and inspiration for further discussions, understanding and action, and these important conferences need to continue.  I will look forward to seeing the Board’s response to the actions of Mr. Lindsay, and hope that CFI will continue to be able to bring “science, reason, freedom of inquiry, and humanist values” to an increasingly diverse audience.




1. sezit - June 7, 2013

Here’s (part) of what I sent:

I request each of the board members to ponder and ask Dr. Lindsay:

1. Did Dr. Lindsay consider that his actions were targeted to growing the organization, or showing it in its best light? If not, why were these not his top motivations?

2. How can future convention speakers trust him to behave respectfully and resolve issues in a professional manner if disagreements arise?

3. Do you think he understands why I and others doubt his respect?

4. Can I or any other member feel confident that he has the political capability, focus and self-control to represent us and our best interests without future personal derailment ?


ubi dubium - June 7, 2013

I like what you said, there.

Unlike some other writers, I did not specifically call for Lindsay’s dismissal, and I see you didn’t either, at least not in that extract. The Board needs to consider what happened, discuss it amongst themselves and with Ron Lindsay, and make some kind of response. It’s still a possibility for this to be resolved without anybody being fired, although I fear Ron may have dug himself in too deeply to be able to admit he made an error in judgment. We will see. It’s rare that I have actually been anxiously anticipating the results of a board meeting this much, and that includes the board that I actually sit on!



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