Message from the President
Secularism and science need an advocate.
They have one in the Center for Inquiry.
A letter from Ronald A. Lindsay, President & CEO
The Center for Inquiry engages in a wide-range of activities: we support community groups and campus groups; we offer educational programs, including online courses and a summer camp; we publish the leading magazines for humanism and skepticism, Free Inquiry and Skeptical Inquirer; and we advocate for our mission through litigation and lobbying. We relentlessly promote science and secularism in almost every conceivable way.
We have to—because those who want religion and pseudoscience to dominate our lives and our public policy also are relentless.
Our goals are clear, concrete, and achievable.
We want a society in which the nonreligious are treated as equal citizens and can be open about their beliefs without suffering any discrimination.
We want an end to the privileged position enjoyed by religious institutions. We shouldn’t be providing religious institutions with billions of dollars of public funding for faith-based programs. If a program is based on faith instead of reason it has no right to a penny from the public purse.
We need to keep religion and pseudoscience out of our laws and public policy. Religious dogma should not dictate our marriage laws and limit reproductive rights. The constitutional right to religious liberty allows people to believe in invisible spirits; it does not provide them with the authority to impose on others the instructions that these invisible spirits whisper to them.
If secularism is to be successfully defended and promoted, we need to convince more people that the nonreligious can have meaningful lives and that the state has no business imposing or endorsing religion or religious “values.”
We work on the task of promoting secularism in many different ways. Permit me to focus on one of our initiatives, namely our Living Without Religion campaign. In March 2011 and again in September 2011, we placed billboards and transit ads in various cities, which stated: “You don’t need God—to hope, to care, to love, to live.” The ads directed individuals to our campaign website, livingwithoutreligion.org, where they were able to view a short video that vividly conveyed our message that one can lead a fulfilling life without God. Our ad campaign is but one component of our efforts to carry out our mission, but it proved to be an effective strategy, and it was recognized as the best ad by a secular organization in 2011.
Our Advocacy for Secularism
CFI works with its affiliate, the Council for Secular Humanism (CSH), to protect our First Amendment liberties through litigation and lobbying. Through CSH we participate in the work of the Secular Coalition for America; we also have our own lobbying office in Washington, D.C., namely the Office of Public Policy.
We have participated in numerous court cases and are currently suing the State of Florida and two faith-based contractors to prevent public funds from being used to support religious indoctrination.
Our Advocacy for Science
CFI works with its other affiliate, the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry (CSI) to defend science, in particular by critically examining pseudoscientific claims.
Of course, we not only want the public to apply critical reasoning to fringe claims; we also want to stop those who exploit the gullibility of the public, especially when this exploitation can cause serious harm. It’s one of the major health care scandals of our time that homeopathic products can be marketed as remedies for various maladies even though there is absolutely no scientific evidence that they have any therapeutic value (apart from a placebo effect).
CFI and CSI have launched a multi-year campaign to persuade major retailers to stop selling this junk and to prompt the FDA to exercise its regulatory authority and require appropriate testing for homeopathic products.
Our Need for Your Assistance
All supporters are our partners in our work to foster a secular society based on science, reason, freedom of inquiry, and humanist values.
If we are to defeat attempts to undercut our First Amendment rights and our reproductive freedoms, we need effective, organized opposition, and that costs money.
If we are to promote secularism successfully, we need to have our message heard, and that costs money.
If we are to take on the powerful interests that profit from peddling homeopathic junk, we will need legal assistance, and that costs money.
Please take a few minutes right now to make the most generous contribution you can so we can continue to advance our shared mission. We cannot succeed without your help. Thank you.
Ronald A. Lindsay
President and CEO
P.S. If you prefer to make a donation by phone, please call 1-800-818-7071. You can also print out a donation form (.PDF) to mail in.