Council for Secular Humanism & FREE INQUIRY Magazine

The United States is normally a supporter of free inquiry, but therehave been important exceptions. The Alien and Sedition Actsof 1798 restricted people’s right to criticize thegovernment. Joseph McCarthy and others investigated andblacklisted people who were thought to be associated with the CommunistParty. While most of these people had committed no crime,they were fired from jobs and prevented from gettingother jobs in the government and many private industries.

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Native Americans celebrated the wonder of the red hawk for its freedom and revered its feathers for their special powers. The red hawk is a meaningful metaphor that supports academic freedom and speaks for a proper knowledge that is prioritized, free from anything that compromises its value. The hawk’s freedom draws us to a higher vision, that knowledge is, in a sense, detached, and like truth, beauty and law is almost outside of us. It takes us a step forward beyond ourselves. We ascend to it and discover its truths. For us, the hawk’s freedom symbolizes free inquiry.

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And in my opinion, he would undoubtedly want you to read Free Inquiry. Why? Because let’s face it … a guy that smart wouldn’t want to spend eternity with anyone dull enough to blindly believe in him!

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Regarding free speech on campus: I recall the forming meeting at a local Catholic college for a major or concentration in feminist studies. I asked why a priest's (extremely popular) course on sexuality was not included as a course for which one could get credit for this concentration. The leader of the group said: Maybe we don't agree with the priest and the Catholic Church.

Meanwhile, a course on feminism and sexuality had as a required course a strange book on sex by Foucault, a strange person cited by Stanley Kurtz (writing on Leo's essay) as a contemporary force against free inquiry. And one member of the committee who worked in the library, having failed to get the head of the library to remove from the reserve shelf (where it was spotlighted as something students might want to read) an article critical of feminist studies, tried to get the committee to petition the library to have that item removed from the reserve shelf. An act of insubordination against the library head in the name of speech repression.To oppose and supplant the mythological narratives of the past, and the dogmas of the present, the world needs an institution devoted to promoting science, reason, freedom of inquiry, and humanist values. The Center for Inquiry is that institution.Free Inquiry
Countering religious fundamentalists, the humanist scholars who write this controversial magazine promote secularism in the contemporary world.
Still, private organizations can violate the ideal of free inquiry bydiscouraging or forbidding the consideration of certain point of viewin their publications or by their employees. This may beparticularly damaging when done by organizations providing news oreducation. A private newspaper might deliberately refuse topublish certain views, or a private school might not expose students tocertain information that supports a view they disapprove of. While this isn’t illegal (a violation of free speech) we mayhave good reason to object to it because it can allow false ideas to gounchallenged.