Ignorance at the Top


Today I was approached by a highly placed individual in one of the ever-mounting number of secular coalitions. He wished for Reasonable New York and specifically Feminist Freethinkers to join their coalition.

RNY has chosen not to join any national coalitions as we are simply a local group whose main mission is to help promote the local member organizations.

I thought perhaps Feminist Freethinkers might benefit from such a relationship. But I did my research and realized that it was not a good fit for us. I tried to explain this to him and all hell broke loose.

First he insulted FFNY exclaiming that we didn’t really “do anything”. Then he went on to defend his organization ending with this choice line:

“I’m starting to believe that the reason the secular movement doesn’t have more women is the women. Prove me wrong.”

Wow! In what universe does that create a welcoming environment for women?

I replied: “If you thought this approach would work you are dead wrong. It is offensive and ignorant. And it will be shared I can assure you.” To which he sent me an “Ethical fuck you.”

He spoke frequently of the “rage” and infighting within the movement and was clueless how he was contributing to it!

We certainly have our work cut out for us! There are many men in the secular movement who take this kind of hostile tone every time they are confronted with any pushback. I suppose in the early days of any movement, those that rise to the top are frequently large-ego white men. I really don’t know how we make any progress with people like that but the first step has to be exposure and an unwillingness to align ourselves with that kind of narrow thinking.

With every word he wrote he confirmed my initial sense that this was not a good fit. I can only hope that other women continue to stand up to him and that we create better and more inclusive avenues to explore.



Filed under Commentary

14 responses to “Ignorance at the Top

  1. kimmer01

    I had a similar conversation with the same (I assume) person conversation recently. Feel free to contact me at Secular Woman.

    Liked by 1 person

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  4. Tony

    “I’m starting to believe that the reason the secular movement doesn’t have more women is the women. Prove me wrong.”

    How anyone can say something this sexist and think women are the problem is beyond me. The atheist/secular/skeptic community does indeed have a problem, but women are not the cause. Those who are fighting against the making the community more inclusive are the ones at fault. But not in their eyes. Nooooooo, the problem is with women. In a way I’m glad this individual made their sexism so public. It means that those of us seeking a more inclusive movement know who NOT to associate with.


  5. Well, this religious man certainly is offended by the way you’re being trashed by your own (theoretical) ally. Not that I’ve ever had that problem from my fellow Christians, of course 🙂


  6. Great American Satan

    Whenever I see someone being that egocentric and unreasonable, I assume they’re a cokehead. It’s really the most charitable interpretation.


  7. H2s

    Name names. It’s annoying not knowing who is this sleazy.


  8. I agree with H2s. Name names. Not only should this sort of thing not be allowed to fester under the cover of being politely “discreet”, others who would otherwise be allies might join up with them not knowing the character of those with whom they’d be dealing.


  9. Elaine Lynn

    Is there a reason this man and his organization can’t be identified here?. Everyone needs to at least know.


  10. The man and his organization was identified in the comments of Ophelia Benson’s post on the subject. I doubt anyone will be even remotely surprised.

    On the other hand, I totally forgot that Feminist Freethinkers of New York existed! And this reminded me that y’all do, and that I should attempt to be a bit involved…? If that would be cool…


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