I stopped financially supporting the Center for Inquiry (CFI) a couple of years ago after years of doing so. In addition to financially supporting CFI, I also went to CFI conferences and lobbied the Florida Legislature against the licensure of naturopathy on a CFI sponsored lobbying day (I am generally against licensure of professionals anyway so this was not a difficult position for me to advocate). I was always aware of CFI’s liberal bias as this liberal bias is found all throughout freethought, but there was enough discussion of reason and skepticism that I ignored the bias.
My willingness to look the other way ended when CFI became more political with its Office of Public Policy. When I started reading its advocacy positions, I realized that these positions were incompatible with my libertarian outlook. It was one thing for me to be the odd man out at conferences when politics was discussed, but to financially support an organization that takes positions that inevitably lead to an increase in the size and breadth of government was no longer tenable for me.
Let’s consider a couple of recent advocacy positions by the CFI. First, there is a call for the rejection of the Blunt Amendment which was an attempt within the Senate to end the health insurance mandate on birth control for religious employers who object to providing this type of coverage for their employees. The second advocacy position is to oppose a similar health insurance mandate for acupuncture.
Wait a minute. So it is OK to force employers to provide health insurance coverage for birth control, but not OK to do the same for acupuncture. The arrogance of these positions is staggering. I agree with CFI that there is more science behind birth control than acupuncture. But why does CFI think that the government gets to make that decision? People may not be as scientifically literate as I would like them to be, but that does not mean that the government has the right to force them to pay premiums for only the services that really smart people like those who work for CFI deem worthy for such heavyhanded government mandates.
CFI was better when it stuck to reason and skepticism of the supernatural, but its political advocacy activities have taken it into a direction with which a libertarian/conservative freethinker can no longer live. This is a shame because there is a need to counter the religious ideas that permeate American society and CFI does that effectively with Skeptical Inquirer and Free Inquiry so I would love to support its efforts. But CFI and much of the freethought movement for that matter continues to conflate liberal politics with freethought and that continues to alienate people like me who want the freethought without the liberal political indoctrination.