Update on CFI

There’s been a lot of unhappy and unfortunate stuff going on at the Center for Inquiry lately. I’m not going to link to any sources because I haven’t been able to find any that seem at all impartial (and also because several of them are at Facebook rather than at more public sites). To summarize briefly – Paul Kurtz was ousted or removed or set aside (see? I can’t even find an impartial verb) as CEO, and Ron Lindsay took over that job. There were changes. There were funding cuts or re-allocations. (See? Depends what you call it.) Senior people left, for various reasons. (See?) Paul Kurtz resigned altogether, and published an open letter about his resignation and the changes at CFI. There were pointed editorials in Free Inquiry; there were pointed blog posts at the CFI blog and elsewhere, which generated long threads full of pointed comments from CFI staffers and former staffers and members.

Stuff. Lots and lots of stuff. Competing and conflicting accounts; resentments; bad blood; gossip; attempts to tamp down all these; repeat. Public linen-washing. Recrimination.

On June 1 CFI issued an urgent fundraising appeal. That’s an exception to the no links, because it’s a press release and it’s unambiguous. They need money. By all means donate to them if you’re so inclined.

They had a donor who had forked over 800 grand every year; the donor has stopped giving and has also not responded to communications from CFI.

CFI was forced to lay off some people. One of them was Norm Allen, who among other things ran the African Americans for Humanism program. He was also – this is my addition, I haven’t seen it mentioned anywhere – their liason with Leo Igwe. I don’t mean “Leo will be cut off from CFI now!” – I just mean that’s another valuable thing he was involved with, and one that I know a little about. Debbie Goddard is taking over much of Norm Allen’s work, and I’m confident that Leo will not be cut off from CFI – though I can’t say I’m confident that whatever money they were spending on their Nigerian branch is safe. I don’t know what their Nigerian branch involves – maybe it’s just a notional branch that really means some part-time volunteers, and maybe it will be no worse off than it was. I hope so.

At any rate, all this did not go smoothly. That’s not surprising. That’s you updated.

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