A couple months ago, some shit went down between Center for Inquiry founder (and father of Secular Humanism) Paul Kurtz and former CFI leader R. Joseph Hoffmann.
Kurtz wrote an article on “The Future of Secular Humanism in America” in the latest issue of Free Inquiry.
While discussing the three decades since the Council for Secular Humanism was founded, he is still publicly upset over his ousting:
I recount the history of our movement because our publications constantly bring in new readers, many of whom may not know what an uphill battle it has been to build these institutions. But more pointedly, today we have reached a critical new junction; for I have been replaced as chairman of the Council for Secular Humanism, CSI, and the Center for Inquiry, a position that I held since our founding.
What I have found — much to my dismay, even at the Center for Inquiry — is that competitive battles for self-aggrandizement and personal advantage are inescapable. These tendencies, I hasten to add, exist in the broader consumer-capitalist-corporate culture in which we live, where egoistic self-interest is the norm rather than the quest for the common good or the recognition of our empathetic responsibilities to others. I recognize that all social institutions experience power plays and that not only corporations but churches and temples are affected by the competitive rat race. Hence, the frontier for the Center for Inquiry movement as I view it is whether secular humanism can achieve a new level of moral excellence. As I move on from my former role as founder and chairman of the Center for Inquiry movement, I stand on the sidelines hoping that my creation is able to mature in wisdom and develop a new eupraxsophy of quality. We must move beyond the battle with the Religious Right, important as that has been. We need a new agenda if we are to survive, and that is the development of a new morality as part of the emerging planetary community of humankind.
I do have a fondness for Kurtz, as I wrote about here. But the more his frustration gets aired publicly, the more damage it does to the product he loves.
Ironically, as he writes this, Kurtz says “What is important about secular humanism today is its positive outlook.”
It’s hard to focus on that, though. Instead of discussing the future of Secular Humanism in America, the whole article seems geared toward rehashing the immediate past.