A Fifth Grader’s Response to the CFI Board’s Statement

June 17, 2013



Olivia from

Olivia, 5th Grader


“The mission of the Center for Inquiry is to foster a secular society based on science, reason, freedom of inquiry, and humanist values.

The Center for Inquiry, including its CEO, is dedicated to advancing the status of women and promoting women’s issues, and this was the motivation for its sponsorship of the two Women in Secularism conferences. The CFI Board wishes to express its unhappiness with the controversy surrounding the recent Women in Secularism Conference 2.

CFI believes in respectful debate and dialogue. We appreciate the many insights and varied opinions communicated to us. Going forward, we will endeavor to work with all elements of the secular movement to enhance our common values and strengthen our solidarity as we struggle together for full equality and respect for women around the world.” Source.

The first sentence is about CFI. It is its own paragraph. There are 23 words in the first sentence. Twenty-three is a number. “Twenty-three” means the same thing as “23.”

The second and third sentences make up the second paragraph. The second paragraph uses the word “women” four times. The word has a capital W twice. It is an important word in the second paragraph.

In the second paragraph, we learn that the CFI Board has a wish. A wish is a want, or a desire. Some people believe wishes come true under certain circumstances. For instance, some people believe a genie can make a wish come true. Other people believe wishing upon a star makes your wishes come true. I don’t believe in those things, but maybe the Board does.

The CFI Board’s wish is to express unhappiness. Unhappiness is a lot like sadness. This is a very sad wish. Why is the Board sad? Because of a controversy about their women’s conference. I wonder who did this to them? Whoever did controversy to them must be pretty mean, because it makes the Board wish to express unhappiness. The people who made this controversy must have a problem with women. I hope the Board’s wish comes true, so that they can express this unhappiness, and the people behind this controversy can feel ashamed! Maybe I will wish upon a star that their wish will come true.

In the third paragraph the Board says that CFI believes in respectful debate and dialogue. This is when you don’t yell at each other and call each other names, even if you disagree with someone about something. Sometimes people disagree about very important things, and they get mad. Sometimes only one person gets mad, and the other person is really calm. The calm person will remind the mad person that they should be respectful, and the mad person should apologize. If the mad person believes in respectful debate, he will say “sorry about that.”

People get mad for different reasons, though. Some people get mad because they think someone is being mean or bad. They will get mad at this person and say, “you should not be doing that, because that is wrong!”

Sometimes the person being mean or bad is really smart, and will pretend that what he is doing is no big deal. He will say, “hey, let’s be respectful about our disagreement.” This can make the mad person look like the unreasonable one. This will make the mad person even more mad, because they are not the ones being disrespectful, it is the bad or mean person! It is a mean trick that bad smart people play sometimes. You should be careful about this if you ever disagree with someone about something. If you are the bad or mean person, you should try to not be so bad and mean, and you should also apologize for being bad and mean.

Sometimes it is really hard for a person to admit that he was disrespectful. The best thing to do is to do the right thing and apologize for being disrespectful. The worst thing to do is to pretend you weren’t disrespectful, or to ignore the other person’s feelings. This will never make things better. You should keep this in mind if you ever accidentally disrespect someone and make them mad.

My friend Dave Muscato works for a group that got a billboard wrong once. Everyone yelled at them for getting it wrong. Dave and his group apologized for getting it wrong, and changed the billboard, even though it was expensive and a little bit embarrassing. Everyone was really happy that they did that. It is a good example of someone admitting that they were wrong, even though it was hard to do.

The Board says that they appreciate the varied opinions and insights communicated to them. “Appreciate” means to like something that someone does. This really confuses me, because I think a lot of the opinions and insights communicated to them were from people who were very upset. I think this was part of the controversy they talked about in paragraph two. This confuses me because the controversy makes them sad, but they also appreciate it.

In conclusion, the Board said a number of words. Some of these words were “women,” and “unhappiness,” and “controversy.” They also said, “respectful.” The statement is made of words, some short, some longer.