CFI IS moving Right, but Humanism can’t follow
Barry’s post about our upcoming conference on radical Islam: yes, we are featuring speakers from the ideological left and the ideological right. I believe we also have CIA experts, a former Al-Qaeda member, and many secularist/dissident apostate Muslims. We don’t have a political litmus test for contribution to the conversation. Some of us here at CFI in fact are “right of center.” Others, like Barry, discount one’s commitment to secularism and humanism if one is not far left of center. Still, it doesn’t follow that humanism, secularism and atheism are leftist. (This is a long discussion Barry has had with many on this forum.)
DJ et al: I looked at a sample of the talks, and did not see too many “ideological Leftists” on the roster. But whether or not there ARE any such presenters is not the issue. While it is true that secularists and atheists can be Leftists or Rightists (and that not all ideas are so easily categorized as either or), there ought to be a level of respect for the humanists among the membership and outside world.
It is clear to me that CFI would never host a forum with the religious Right UNLESS it was a debate (and I am sure CFI would put up their best minds to oppose such a person(s) if this were to occur). This is because the religious Right (unlike the religious Left) often do not support the separation of church and state and often set their attack dogs on atheism and atheists (not to mention science) themselves.
I do not think - ideologically speaking - CFI would endorse the religious Right at a CFI Conference - which is what they’d be doing by having such persons speak on the same “side” as CFIers.
Now, the same is true of the sort of folks CFI-FL is endorsing. I do not see these people set up as debaters AGAINST humanists, but on the same team! Nowhere, either, do I see a stance taken by CFI to indicate clearly that the Rightists involved are so for pure ‘inquiry’ reasons or because they may be secularists or atheists and CFI wants to foster an overall debate with these folks.
SEE, while CSH is still a part of CFI (and the main part, I would say), it has to be made clear that CFI speaks for humanists as well as atheists and secularists. That some secularists or atheists (or skeptics) at CFI are Right of center is irrelevant because CSICOP, CSH and the other “projects” are all under the same CFI banner ... CSH need to be considered when such events are planned. Where is the dislaimer explaining why these Rightists were invited on the CFI “side”?
This is the kicker folks, I agree with DJ - as I’ve already mentioned - that WHILE secularism and atheism cannot be labeled Left or Right (of course there are few Right-leaning religious people who would agree to that statement because - to them - atheism and secularism are automatically Leftist because - to them - democracy is Leftist), HUMANISM cannot be Rightist. It does indeed follow that humanism is Left of center for all the reasons found in the history of humanism and in the manifestos.
Indeed, humanism may still be (in America, at least) too mainstream Liberal because Humanist Manifesto 2000 embraces capitalism… which is clearly an anti-humanistic system. Anyone who claims otherwise is just trying to sell magazines under a ‘big tent’ which can intice lots of rich capitalistic donors (and no, I am not a communist or statist socialist)...
The systematic watering down at CFI (and CSH, it seems) of humanism is astonishing and very disconcerting. After 9/11, Bush squandered pro-American sentiments by turning this country to the far Right and doing the same to US Foreign Policy. Similarly, CFI has neutered CSH and humanism (now described by some at CSH as “just a method of inquiry” :shock: ), and this conference proves this.
There is not one ounce of concern expressed (none that I can see, at least), that humanist members of CSH might just be a bit concerned over CFI embracing folks more likely to be embraced by the Heritage Foundation, American Enterprise, the editors of Commentary or National Review, or even groups like the Massad (I note DJ left out the Israeli military speakers from his post).
CFI has acted much like the Neo-Cons in how they have ‘disappeared’ humanism and replaced it with sidebars - science advocacy, angry-atheism and secularism… all while pretending that they are being “good inquirers.”
Good inquirers? When I see leading members of the 700 Club or the Discovery Institute paraded about under the umbrella of inquiry at a CFI conference (not as the “enemy”) then I might believe that CFI has gone neutral on ethics and morals. But then, CSH/Humanism would be dead anyway ... Not much different from today. Just when did all those ethics and morals Kurtz always talks about turn fascist or Right-Wing?
I suggest that humanists take a cold hard look at where CFI has taken CSH and humanism, and will continue to do so while all you are supporting them. More support comes from humanists than angry atheists or skeptics, so if you want CSH to be a humanist organization again, act before it is too late. It’s your money!
PS: I wonder about this ex-Al-Qaeda member? Does he feel 9/11 was NOT blowback? Does he think Bush did the right thing in Afghanistan and Iraq? Does he think 9/11 was all about religion?
CFI is neither liberal nor conservative and we don’t side with any one political party (some of us are liberals and some are conservatives, but all of us share our common mission). When we examine Christian claims or promote secularism in the west we are labeled as liberal, yet when we do the same for Muslim claims or promote secularism in the Islamic world we are called conservative.
Humanism, Thomas, is not dogma, but it is indeed liberal by design. Get used to it. ‘Those of you’ who are conservatives may be atheists, but not humanists. There IS NO “common mission” between atheists and humanists on the sociopolitical/economic scale beyond secularism ... so stop treating humanism AS atheism.
Also, the only reason the examination of Muslim claims are called conservative in the West is because too often, mixed in with these examinations, is Orientalism. Ibn Warraq is a perfect example of a brilliant Koranic scholar who is completely wrong about politics and the real reasons for “Islamic” terrorism and the rise of political Islam.
As I have learned at WBAI, some of the post-modern left may often “defend” Muslims mainly because they are often ‘people of color’ (and we have white, Western racism, Imperialism and Colonialism to thank for that), but CFI does not employ atheistic Arabs or the like to talk to the problems with religious fundamentalism (folks like Tariq Ali), but instead reactionaries, racists or -dare I say - ‘self-hating’ ex-Muslims instead.
Parading around Islamiphobes like Hitchens, Warraq and Harris is why you are called conservatives… THESE men are conservatives!