Women’s Suffrage Centennial – The Intersection of Suffrage and Freethought
September 15, 2020

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One hundred years ago, women across the United States finally won the right to vote after decades of activism and struggle. The role of freethought and religious skepticism in that struggle has been whitewashed out of the history of women’s suffrage, when in fact secularism was a driving force as primary obstacle of suffragists was …

Ingersoll 1876 Poster is Larger Than Life!
May 14, 2019


New in the Robert Green Ingersoll Birthplace Museum for 2019 is an 1876 broadside poster excerpting an Ingersoll speech. Almost six feet tall, it’s one of just two known to survive. And it’s proof that “A Vision of War,” perhaps the best-loved single passage in the Ingersoll repertoire, was recognized as special within days or …

The Tale of The Truth Seeker
September 13, 2018

Of the periodicals published at the Center for Inquiry, none has a longer – or more winding – history than The Truth Seeker. I’ll pause a moment while some of you say to yourselves, “Huh? CFI has something to do with The Truth Seeker?” – and while others of you say “What’s The Truth Seeker?” …

What Secular Humanism Means to Me
March 21, 2017

It’s been a while since I blogged here! Herewith, an oldie-but-goodie from the October/November 2010 issue of FREE INQUIRY. At the time I was kicking off an event inviting readers to describe secular humanism is one word. I picked the word “emancipatory.” Subject only to a 1000-word limit, here’s what I wrote.

A Seasonal Reflection
December 16, 2016

As some readers know, I’m a longtime advocate of humanists, atheists, and other secular folks conspicuously sitting out that Christian observance of Jesus’s birthday that monopolizes the last six weeks of every year. I’m hardly the only one, but clearly “going Yule-free” is a minority stance among nonreligious Americans. From time to time, seculars who enjoy the holiday in whatever form – and who may resent my suggestions that by doing so, they might be harming our community – pose a question along the lines of, “But I like exchanging gifts with my loved ones. I like the decorations and the songs. Hell, I like eggnog. What evidence do you have that nonreligious people celebrating the holiday in some form is harmful?”

Secular humanism and secularization
March 24, 2016

Yesterday a member of the public asked me, “What could secular humanism have done to prevent today’s slaughter in Brussels?” Here is how I answered:

An Anti-marriage Rebel’s View of 50-state Same-sex Marriage
June 29, 2015

First, I join in the general jubilation that same-sex marriage is now legal in all 50 states. It’s a great step forward for same-sex couples who want to marry. But not all do. Come to think of it, not all opposite-sex couples want to marry. Civil-rights landmark that it undeniably is, the same-sex marriage victory has left some of us behind.

Wanted: Better Understanding of Humanism
June 1, 2015

Molly Worthen’s Sunday New York Times op-ed on the Sunday Assembly phenomenon (“Wanted: A Theology of Atheism,” May 30) demonstrates, if nothing else, how badly we need to educate the media about the humanist movement — and about atheism, for that matter.

What RFRA Sowed, the Nation Reaps
April 1, 2015

First Indiana, now Arkansas have passed “religious freedom” bills that will protect Christians who discriminate on religious grounds. This is a predictable result of the 1993 federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), a regrettable law whose beneficiaries are now (in the wake of the disastrous Hobby Lobby decision) free to unleash all the unconstitutional mischief that this ill-considered legislation always portended.

The Top Church-State Un-Story of 2014
January 2, 2015

What’s the top church-state un-story of 2014? I’d have to nominate the close cooperation between the United States and the Holy See in the diplomatic negotiations that led to the change of U. S. policy toward Cuba. The pope is the head of a church; he is a head of state only by dint of a huge and archaic legal fiction. For the White House to work that closely with a single church on a geopolitical issue violates the separation of church and state in the most literal way imaginable, and I’m amazed that none of the usual church-state watchdogs raised an objection to it.