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Why the Ethical Humanist Society of Chicago's Decision to Dis-Invite Me Must Not Stand

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I have seen many of the emails regarding the controversy your organization has been in over Sunsara Taylor. It is ironic that an organization dedicated to the defense and promotion of critical thinking would be involved in such a controversy.

In 1989, FREE INQUIRY had a debate in the pages of its journal on libertarianism versus socialism. We have printed the writings of postmodernists, theists, and others with whom we disagree. That is why it is hard to understand why some members of your organization do not want Ms. Taylor to present her views to your group. Humanists and Ethical Culturists are supposed to be about unfettered free inquiry, if nothing else.

There are many different conceptions of humanism. Indeed, some people speak of "humanisms" just as some feminists speak of "feminisms." It is a mistake for anyone to believe that they have the one and only true conception of humanism.

Over the years, I have met people that believe that true humanism inevitably leads one to embrace socialism and reject capitalism. I have heard other humanists say that all humanists must reject socialism and embrace capitalism. I know of one humanist that defines humanism so cleverly that only anarchists can be said to be true humanists. (Surprise! He's an anarchist.)

All of these people are misguided. True humanists, Ethical Culturists, etc. should be primarily concerned with testing their ideas, listening to others, and learning to value the opinions of those with whom they disagree. Otherwise, why not just be religious?

By now it should be absolutely clear that your organization should allow Ms. Taylor to address your members. Please do the right thing.


Norm R. Allen Jr.

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Executive Director

African Americans for Humanism*

To Whom it May Concern:

Have we become so polarized in this society that we cannot respectfully listen to opposing viewpoints, especially ones that are as well informed and presented as Sunsara Taylor's are? I have heard Ms. Taylor on this subject, and as a matter of fact have added my own perspective to hers.

I can guarantee you that Ms. Taylor's presentation will be informative and will spark a much needed dialogue and give every one who attends much needed food for thought.

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Cindy Sheehan

Mother of Casey Sheehan, KIA in Iraq on April 04, 2004

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Sunsara Taylor is a writer for Revolution Newspaper and sits on the Advisory Board of The World Can't Wait.

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