By now you’ve probably read EllenBeth Wach’s post about why she left Secular Woman, including a claim she made that there was a campaign to get Ron Lindsay fired from his position as CEO of CFI and replaced with either Rebecca Watson or Melody Hensley. You’ve perhaps also read her second post showing “evidence” of this.
One of the pieces of evidence that she quoted was the following:
Honestly… I *do* want Lindsay gone. After everything, an apology just isn’t enough anymore. Lindsay will, at this point, do nothing but hurt the organization. At least… that’s what I think…
As I believe in taking responsibility for my words and actions, I would like to say that yes, this was me.
I made that statement because, at the time, I was still angry.
Of course, that is no excuse for posting this bullshit… and to be clear, I do feel that this statement I made was bullshit. I am very sorry I made it, because it is, in fact, untrue. I do not want Ronald Lindsay to step down. Indeed, as Stephanie Zvan points out in her post about it, I was one of many, many people who signed a letter asking for Ron to apologize, not “step down”.
Back on June 22, Ronald Lindsay apologized. Here is the text of his apology in full:
It has been a few weeks since I have said anything in public about the controversy over my remarks at the Women in Secularism 2 conference. As CFI announced via Twitter, this pause was to enable the board to have time to consider the matter. The board has issued its statement. It is now an appropriate time for me to make some remarks.
I am sorry that I caused offense with my talk. I am also sorry I made some people feel unwelcome as a result of my talk. From the letters sent to me and the board, I have a better understanding of the objections to the talk.
I am also sorry that my talk and my actions subjected my colleagues and the organization to which I am devoted to criticism.
Please accept my apologies.
My initial reaction, when I first read it, was lukewarm. But I warmed to it rather quickly, and have, in fact, been defending this apology since, including on CFI’s Facebook page, where I said this:
For me, this is good. This is a good first step and I’m actually looking forward to seeing how this pans out.
I was at WiS2.
I sat through that speech.
I hated it.
I read Rebecca’s blog response. I thought it was good. I read Lindsay’s response. He had to apologize.
He did. But not for that opening speech.
Then CFI’s statement which said absolutely nothing at all. It was the first time I ever really experienced reading words while feeling like I was staring at a blank screen. It was almost weird. Like… “there are words here, but I don’t understand what those words are supposed to be saying.”
And now we have this. So thank you Ron Lindsay. This is a great first step and it may very well be a path that wins back at least *my* support. The end-goal, for me, would be a WiS3, just like WiS2, all about feminism within the secular community, organized by Melody Hensley.
I like this first step. Is it perfect? No. Could it have been better? Yes. But it’s actually better than what I was originally expecting, and I think things can move forward from here.
That’s my take, anyways…
I am very grateful to read Ron’s apology, and while I grant that it’s not perfect, it is a great first step and I believe that we can now move forward into mending burnt bridges and putting out fires. News from CFI’s leadership conference suggests that Ron is actually listening and working to understand, and that is incredible, and makes me very happy.
So no. I do not want Lindsay to step down or be fired. I was wrong in saying that initially, and I apologize for it. I’m optimistic (albeit cautiously) about how this will progress from here, and I’m admittedly looking forward to watching it unfold, and even participating as it does.
So thank you, Ron, for this. And now we can move forward.
Commenting note: I’m quite interested in avoiding a blogging/comment war, on this post and elsewhere. Feel free to discuss and debate, but it will be done in good faith and respectfully/politely from both sides. Anyone who might have triggers will be respected as to those triggers, there will be no ad hominems, and please… temper your anger as much as is possible. If you find that you can’t, then it may be better to simply disengage from the conversation all together. And yes, I will be following my own advice, here…