I do share with Taylor a concern about the influence of fundamentalism and a conviction that it is ultimately at odds with basic social justice. But I'd be writing this same letter if, say, I heard that Pat Robertson had been invited to speak and then canceled. Ethical Humanists, especially, should adhere to a standard of transparency and open dialogue.
Visiting Research Scholar, New York University
Contributing Editor, Harper's
Author, The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power
I was very disappointed to read that the Ethical Humanist Society of Chicago has announced the cancellation of a presentation by Sunsara Taylor on the topic "Morality Without Gods." Since I conducted an hour-long interview with Ms. Taylor in April for Atheist Talk Radio in Minnesota , I am familiar with her views on a variety of topics of interest to humanists. I know her to be not only extremely articulate and well-read, but also civil in discussions with people of opposing views. She remarked during my interview with her that she is pleased when someone points out her errors, because if she is wrong about something she wants to know it.
I think that is a model of critical thinking that should be honored by humanists. Yet too often atheist and humanist organizations are justifiably criticized as ideological appendages of the Democratic Party. While humanism should provide a common home to a wide variety of godless ethical reasoning, too often it merely parades the platitudes of American liberalism as universal values.
Have you presented other speakers who analyze morality as a product of class division, or describe a revolutionary morality that might emerge from the very practical struggle against all forms exploitation? Surely it is a topic of interest to a community of godless, secular ethics. If the Ethical Humanist Society cancels Sunsara Taylor's presentation it will be difficult to understand as anything but censorship of a minority position within the humanist community.
George Francis Kane