The Death of a Secularist

Sibanye and I spent many hours in conversation about secularism, religion, and the black community. He was a tireless activist on issues of public education, racial justice, and black male identity, and he believed that Enlightenment values of pluralism, toleration, critical reason, and secular government were essential to progress. Almost every one of these conversations ended with Sibanye looking forward to some future activities, some next step, and parting with the words, "We'll just take it from there." And so I left the audience at Adam Clayton Powell with those words, for everyone still engaged in the endeavors that animated his life. Sibanye, we'll just take it from there.


This article was first published at Religion Dispatches, a Patheos Partner, and is reprinted with permission.

Austin Dacey is a philosopher who writes on the intersection of science, religion, and ethics. He is a former representative to the United Nations for the Center for Inquiry, a think tank concerned with the secular, scientific outlook. He is also on the editorial staff of Skeptical Inquirer and Free Inquiry magazines. His writings have appeared in numerous publications including the New York Times, USA Today, and Science. His most recent book is The Secular Conscience: Why Belief Belongs in Public Life.

2/2/2010 5:00:00 AM