The Kavanaugh Court and Extreme Patriotism – Free Inquiry Takes on Humanists’ Existential Threats


For Immediate Release: September 5, 2018
Contact: Paul Fidalgo, Communications Director
press@centerforinquiry.org - (207) 358-9785

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The premier journal of secular humanist thought enters the political fray as the Senate begins its hearings on the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court. In a timely and salient special issue of Free Inquiry, freethought leaders address the existential threat to church-state separation represented by Kavanaugh, and a powerful case is made that humanists should take a principled stand when blind patriotism goes too far.

Four top activists and luminaries from the Center for Inquiry, each one a secular movement leader in his or her own right, lead the October/November 2018 issue of Free Inquiry with hard-hitting essays on the perilous road ahead for nonbelievers and freethought in the United States after Kavanaugh takes his seat on the Court.

  • Eddie Tabash, a veteran attorney, debater, and chair of the Center for Inquiry, declares Kavanaugh “a clear and present danger to the separation of church and state” and “the most imminent threat to a constitutional system that has up to now benevolently protected everyone’s freedom of conscience.”
  • Robyn Blumner, former director of the ACLU of Florida and Utah, and now president and CEO of the Center for Inquiry, warns that soon the federal courts will no longer be a viable option for secularist organizations looking to shore up the wall of separation and that the burden now falls to state courts and the American people to demand it.
  • Nick Little, CFI’s vice president and general counsel, warns specifically of the end of Roe v. Wade, noting that retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy was the only thing standing in the way of the criminalization of all abortions.
  • Tom Flynn, editor of Free Inquiry and director of CFI’s Council for Secular Humanism, sees state and local courts as secularists’ only plausible arena, facing the cold fact that “we’re going to be on the losing side of 6–3 Supreme Court decisions for a long, long time.”

Then, in a special cover feature, journalist David Mountain spells out the dangers of irrational patriotism, making the case that humanists must confront it as they do religious belief. He writes, “Patriotism encourages a dangerous sense of superiority in its followers and demands a level of respect, loyalty, and deference toward the state that rivals similar efforts by religion.” Humanists in particular should raise concerns when patriotism goes too far. Because, he says, “patriotism poses a real and serious threat to the well-being of people across the globe, whether by fueling divisions and hatreds or by smothering our right to think and speak freely.”

Also in this issue: Ghluam Kabir, an atheist from Pakistan, tells his harrowing tale of persecution and exile from his home country and how CFI’s Secular Rescue program came to his aid. Writes Kabir, “I sincerely and truly hope that one day I shall be able to do the same to help those who need it the most.”

Look for the October/November 2018 issue of Free Inquiry in stores, and subscribe in print or on the web at secularhumanism.org/fi.

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The Center for Inquiry (CFI) is a nonprofit educational, advocacy, and research organization headquartered in Amherst, New York, with executive offices in Washington, D.C. It is also home to the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason & Science, the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, and the Council for Secular Humanism. The Center for Inquiry strives to foster a secular society based on reason, science, freedom of inquiry, and humanist values. Visit CFI on the web at centerforinquiry.org.