Study on diversity in the atheist movement shows we have a ways to go, but are making progress

The defining feature of the atheist movement over the last two or three years may be its focus on issues of diversity, privilege, and social equality within the movement itself. The discussion hasn’t always been pretty; indeed, even mentioning the issues will often draw eye rolls or outright ire. Thus far, most of the discussion has been based on anecdotal evidence, personal experiences, and casual observation. A newly-published, peer-reviewed study hopes to change that.

The study – Increasing Diversity in Emerging Non-religious Communities, by Christopher Hassall of the University of Leeds and Ian Bushfield, formerly of British Columbia, who now blogs at Terahertz Atheist – looks at the speakers at 48 atheist conferences over 11 years, a total of 630 speakers. Conference speakers represent the nearest thing the atheist movement has to leadership – they are the people that atheists specifically, via atheist organizations, choose to hear from. And because of that platform, their voices influence the atheist community as a whole.

Hassall and Bushfield use that set of conference speakers to see if the “atheist leadership” is representative of the atheist community at large. They also look into whether the disproportionate dominance of white male speakers continues to exist, or whether women and people of non-white ethnicities are getting better representation.

You may ask why these questions matter. Dr. Hassall explains:

There is plenty of evidence that diversity in leadership is a positive force. This diversity provides role models for a range of groups, different perspectives on issues, and (in some cases) greater organisational efficiency. As a result I do think that the current lack of diversity in leadership may be a problem.

In a blog post about the article, Bushfield explains why trying to quantify the diversity problem is so important:

There’s been a dearth of evidence in the discussions about diversity in the atheist community. Most focuses either on personal anecdotes or specific events/people and their actions or commentary. These discussions are clearly important – personal stories tell us that sexual harassment has happened at atheist and skeptic conferences and those making sexist comments should be challenged. But to make our efforts to change things – particularly at the systematic level – we need to mirror the successes of the evidence-based medicine movement (and by extension the more recent science-based medicine movement). This should seem obvious to a community that prides itself on using reason and evidence to guide its worldview, yet such a discussion has been slow to come.

(Both authors graciously answered questions about the study in an email exchange, from which several of the quotes in this post are taken. The full exchange is available on my private blog.)

The journal they published in, Secularism and Nonreligion, started up two years ago, and is the world’s first journal dedicated to the exploration of secularism and nonreligion. It is a true, double-blind, peer-reviewed journal, but – happily – is open-access, which means Hassall and Bushfield’s data, methodology, and results are available for anyone to read over.

The results of the first question – whether the “atheist leadership” is representative of the wider community – should not come as a surprise:

It is clear from both the composition of the global community, based on demographic data, and the composition of the leadership in the atheist movement, based on the subset of the community selected to speak at conferences, that white men still dominate.

Specifically, they noted that the global percentage of women atheists is 42.3% (with 95% confidence interval of [40.9%, 43.8%]). That is significantly below the global percentage of women in general. But even worse were the percentages of women speakers: either 30.5% or 31.6%, depending on whether you count speakers or speaker slots.

However, the second question – whether there has been an improvement over time – has a much more interesting answer.

Three charts showing the diversity of the speakers at 48 atheist conferences between 2003-2014. The top chart shows the proportion of non-white speakers at atheist conferences over time, the second shows the proportion of female speakers over the same period, and the third shows the proportion of non-white/non-male speakers. All three charts show distinct signs of increasing diversity, though the bottom chart shows that overall diversity is still quite low.

Diversity of speakers at atheist conferences over time

The charts on the right are from the study (they are “Figure 2”), and you can quite clearly see the trend of increasing diversity over time. The study shows that the trend is statistically significant, both when considering diversity as a whole, and when considering gender and ethnicity separately (as shown on the charts). The trend even held when the three Women in Secularism conferences (which feature only female speakers) were removed from the data set. It even held generally for individual conference organizers.

In other words, the paper’s findings can be summed up as: there is a very real diversity problem with the atheist leadership, but we are getting better.

In light of the strife that has been dogging the movement over the last few years with regards to diversity discussions, this is uplifting news. It has been a difficult hike, and all signs suggest it will continue to be difficult, but now we know conclusively that it has not been a futile one. Dr. Hassall even suggests that the struggle thus far has been worth it:

The discussion has been predictably polarised, as seems to be the way of the atheist community. I think that these kinds of differences of opinion (“deep rifts” in PZ Myers’ words) and the public forum within which they have been explored have been intellectually positive in the sense that a lot of people who have never thought about these topics have been exposed to new ideas. I know I have learned (and am learning) a lot from the ongoing debate.

Both authors are optimistic, and both believe that objective data will only help advance the discussion. Dr. Hassall continues:

The main problem with the debate is that there have been no objective data on which to base arguments and, as a result, the discussion has become unwieldy in breadth and depth. I hope that our data can provide a stimulus to crystallise the debate that has gone on so far, and a platform from which to restart a more productive discussion.

Bushfield goes even further, already looking ahead to future studies:

… I think most of the discussion has been dominated by a small number of vocal commentators. It would be valuable to get a picture of what most “out” atheists think – my suspicion (based on data showing atheists are generally more progressive) is they would be broadly supportive of (at least limited) efforts to promote greater diversity.

The authors conclude the study by suggesting a number of measures that could aid in further increasing diversity in the atheist movement, and the atheist leadership in particular. More and better gathering of diversity data, and interventions taken based primarily on what that data says, is important. Also important is diversifying the stable of “gatekeepers” – both conference speakers and organizers – and allowing them more control in setting the agenda is also suggested as a potentially effective strategy.

Both authors take pains to stress that this study is merely the tip of the iceberg, and only represents a very limited view of the issue. As Bushfield wryly comments:

I fully recognise the irony of a sociological paper being published by a PhD in Biology and a MSc in Physics. I also realise that this is a discussion about diversity coming from two white men.

Hassall goes even further:

Our article largely deals with “are you a white man or not?” which provides a very blunt measure of diversity. Clearly wrapped up in the “non-white” (a problematic term as it defines people by what they are not, I know, but hopefully readers understand why we use it despite its flaws) are a broad range of ethnicities, and we chose (for similar reasons) to adopt a binary gender variable despite the fact that there are openly trans speakers at some of the conferences. We have not even touched on the issues of ableness, sex, gender, or sexual orientation.

I would agree with both of those observations. There is a pressing need for more research into the population demographics of the atheist movement – indeed, into the atheist movement in general. It is surprising, and a bit disappointing, that virtually nothing has been done before, and that it took a biologist and an engineer to get the ball rolling. Surely as a movement that prides itself on being evidence-based would enthusiastically welcome more evidence about its own nature – or even demand it. I join the authors in hoping that this study leads to more work in the field, and that the findings become instrumental in drafting practical policies.

But I am very pleased with what we have already learned. For historical reasons, our movement began as a very small group of highly privileged people. But it has grown, and it now encompasses sizable chunks of the global population. It hasn’t always been easy, and we’re certainly not where we want to be yet. But the evidence shows we’re on the right track. I think that’s something to be happy about.

23 thoughts on “Study on diversity in the atheist movement shows we have a ways to go, but are making progress

  1. This has happened in spite of the damage caused by people like PZ Myers and the ongoing witch hunts, not because of it.

    It’s true that the movement has been exposed to new ideas.
    We’ve learned that there is a segment in our community that is not immune to ideologically driven science denial and that “skeptic” conferences can be bullied into publicising ideologically driven science denial.

    We’ve learned that there is a hell of a lot of woo in feminism. Before this all happened, I was of the opinion that feminism was simply belief that women and men were equal. I was entirely unaware of the Frakfurt school marxist ideology being taught as feminism in universities.

    We’ve learned that there are a lot of cowards in our community and that the truth does not matter much to them. They can be bullied into submission by something as simple as a McArthy style witch hunt.

    Some of our community maintained a level head and were not pushed to the poles of the issue. Many others now call themselves MRAs having never heard of the term MRA before 2011.

    • “We’ve learned that there is a hell of a lot of” people who like to make senseless rants.

    • If there is one thing that PZ and his ilk taught me, is that even if diversity within the atheist movement is impossible, a diversity of atheist movements is not. And as an old postmodernist, seeing the various atheist narratives express themselves… Even in a rather childish war of words, gives me hope for humanism’s eventual growth into adulthood.

      You think you know progress… You’re too old already.

  2. Interesting but atheism is simply the logical position that there is no proof of gods or the supernatural. Bowels have movements not atheism. I tire of people people conflating their pet peeves with their favourite cause.

    Lack of diversity is a problem in most of our society, why not check out bowling leagues “Study on diversity in bowling leagues shows….”

    And if the authors were to check out other groups the statistics might show the same changes in diversity. Maybe our society is changing as a whole.

    • Lack of diversity is a problem in most of our society, why not check out bowling leagues “Study on diversity in bowling leagues shows….”

      I’m not aware of any bowling leagues seriously putting forward the argument that their ideology is the best way to run the city/province/country/world.

      And if the authors were to check out other groups the statistics might show the same changes in diversity. Maybe our society is changing as a whole.

      So, to be clear, your hypothesis is that the statistics should also show an increase in the proportion of women in general that matches the increase of the proportion of women in atheism because of “society changing as a whole”? In other words, you’re implying that only 30% or 40% (or less, if it really tracks the changes in proportion in atheism) of people in society were women 10 years ago, and we’re only at ~50% today because of changing demographics? So the increase in the proportion of women in atheism is not really all that big a deal because it’s simply reflecting the overall increase in the proportion of women; there didn’t used to be so many women, but now they’re all over the gosh-darned place, so it’s not really surprising they’re becoming more prevalent in atheism?

      I’d recommend taking that hypothesis back to the drawing board. Needs some work.

      • Earth to Indi

        The article is about the percentage of prominent women and minoritie leaders in a group. Not about the ratio of males to females in a group, as you wrote

        “looks at the speakers at 48 atheist conferences over 11 years, a total of 630 speakers. Conference speakers represent the nearest thing the atheist movement has to leadership”

        What is the ratio of women to men in politics in 2014 vs 1970? Western society has become more inclusive of
        women and minorities. (unless you live in Mississippi)

        Is the increase in diversity due to actions by the
        atheist movement or just the result of a general trend in the society. Are atheists just a reflection of the society in general or are they special?

        Here is a thought, why is the topic even relevant today? Fifty years ago few would have even been concerned about white males dominating leadership in a group. The atheist movement does not operate in a vacuum. Atheists are members of the society and as the society evolves so do atheists, atheists are subject to their environment as are we all.

        • Earth to Indi

          The article is about the percentage of prominent women and minoritie leaders in a group. Not about the ratio of males to females in a group, as you wrote

          How interesting that you call your planet Earth, too, just like the planet where the rest of us live.

          I actually read the article. Did you? Or are you just basing your assessment of what it says on what I wrote in this post?

          Because, on the real planet Earth, the one real people live on, the article actually gives its methodology and results in *TWO* parts. The *SECOND* part – the one on conference data – is the one I focused on in the post. The *other* section, called “Global demographic data”, considers diversity of *ALL* atheists, not just the conference speakers. In other words, in a direct contradiction of what you just said, the study does indeed consider the male/female ratio of atheists in general. You probably should have read the article before barking at me about what it doesn’t say.

          Here’s what the article you didn’t read *actually* says: “Sex ratios within global atheist communities were available for 67 countries or areas…. A two-sampled, paired t-test showed that on average the proportion of women identifying as atheist (based on the classifications outline in the methods) was significantly lower than would be expected given the sex ratios of the 67 countries (t=-8.543, p<0.001)."

          The *actual* conclusion of the article – the one that exists on the planet Earth the rest of us inhabit and the one I wrote about, not the one in your head – is that there is a diversity problem in atheism in general *and even more so in its "leadership" (the gatekeepers)*, but there is improvement. You're ignoring a full third of the study's conclusion.

          As for the rest of your "point" about the lack of diversity in other things, to put it as bluntly as possible, saying the lack of diversity in atheist leadership is simply a reflection of the lack of diversity in leadership in mainstream society in general is bullshit. Atheism has always been a counter-cultural movement outside of mainstream society. We *should* be different, and if we're not because we've picked up bad habits from mainstream society, we should be aware of that and strive to change… not simply shrug and accept it.

  3. European White Males:

    The endless reservoir of missionaries: the Poles, the Germans, the English, the Irish and so on. They were the ones receiving ‘The Great Commission’. They were the ones willing to carry the great burden; and so on. Also, they were almost all male, just like the disciples and apostles. Now the other shades and genders are doing this.

    This great reservoir of feudalistic fervor also gave rise to generations of Biblical scholars. Some of these scholars, both professional and amateur, came to atheistic conclusions about the scriptural material and then the anti-clerical and the anti-religious thoughts began to blossom.

    This relatively recent reaction to thousands of years of religious domination originated in the relatively liberal countries dominated by white Europeans.

    The original sources of evangelism became the more recent sources of skepticism.

    Most likely the current sources of African evangelism will eventually give rise to future sources of African skepticism.

    The time-line will hopefully be shorter but it will not be instantaneous. Remember, science and technology are more prevalent today.

    In the near future we can expect more horrendous events happening in the religiously dominated corners of the globe, but alongside this mayhem, a gradual growth of modernity and liberalism; similar to what took place in the mostly white western societies, including Japan and to some degree in communist China.

    If you want to see more Aboriginal scepticism, for instance, it will have to come out of the current Aboriginal religious leadership. This process has barely begun!

    In the meantime we can be a bright and shining alternative to the great lies of our possessed forefathers.

  4. The discussion hasn’t always been pretty; indeed, even mentioning the issues will often draw eye rolls or outright ire.

    [Eye roll]

    There is plenty of evidence that diversity in leadership is a positive force. This diversity provides role models for a range of groups, different perspectives on issues, and (in some cases) greater organisational efficiency.

    I like that “in some cases”. I wouldn’t be surprised if one common effect of enhanced diversity among the leadership of an organisation is an increase in misunderstandings, cliquishness and petty conflicts, none of which is terribly conducive to efficiency. And to the extent that free thinkers need “role models” at all, I don’t think I’m alone in being perfectly capable of admiring and learning from people who differ from me on various demographic axes.

    The “different perspectives” argument is a better one, but why not look assess people’s perspectives more directly? If I were trying to put together a diverse philosophy department, I would rather look for a Kantian, a Nietzschean and a Platonist than an Asian, a black person and a white person.

    I’m not terribly invested in the atheist movement, as such. I contribute to this blog and I’m unapologetically and somewhat outspokenly godless in my social and intellectual life, but I doubt I’ll ever join an atheist organisation or attend an atheist conference (from the sound of things, my eyes would be rolling pretty well constantly). From my position on the sidelines, though, what you describe as a “focus on issues of diversity, privilege, and social equality within the movement itself” just sounds self-indulgent and irresponsible. If demographic diversity is genuinely helpful in achieving the atheist movement’s broader goals, like persuading more people to reject religion and keeping religion well away from the levers of governmental power, then diversity will increase fairly painlessly as atheist organisations search for ways to acheive those goals. If it’s not helpful in that sense, then it’s something of an irrelevance. Either way, I would suggest that a “gatekeeper” who sees demographic diversity as an important goal in its own right is a suboptimal gatekeeper who ought to be replaced.

    This isn’t to say that Hassall and Bushfield’s study is useless – on the contrary, it seems like a generally worthwhile analysis of the demographics of atheism and the atheist movement. Methodologically, though, it’s virtually meaningless to compare the composition of the global population of atheists with that of the roster of speakers at atheist conferences without taking into account where the conferences are happening, where the organisations that run them are based, and who can afford to attend.

    • I like that “in some cases”. I wouldn’t be surprised if one common effect of enhanced diversity among the leadership of an organisation is an increase in misunderstandings, cliquishness and petty conflicts, none of which is terribly conducive to efficiency.

      You don’t need to speculate. Studies have been done, across many different fields, and for many different definitions of “efficiency”. They prove you wrong. Google for the evidence – there’s plenty of it.

      The “different perspectives” argument is a better one, but why not look assess people’s perspectives more directly? If I were trying to put together a diverse philosophy department, I would rather look for a Kantian, a Nietzschean and a Platonist than an Asian, a black person and a white person.

      The difference is that atheist leadership is concerned with actual people, with actual genders and ethnicities – not abstract philosophies that have little or no connection to gender or ethnicity. Just as you would want diverse philosophies represented on a philosophical board, you should want diverse genders and ethnicities represented on a board whose focus is on real people with diverse genders and ethnicities.

      Methodologically, though, it’s virtually meaningless to compare the composition of the global population of atheists with that of the roster of speakers at atheist conferences without taking into account where the conferences are happening, where the organisations that run them are based, and who can afford to attend.

      Of those three things, the study actually takes into account the first two. I don’t know why the third would matter; it seems completely unrelated to *both* the global atheist population *and* the population of conference speakers. The conference speakers are not chosen by the attendees – quite the opposite, in fact, the attendees will be largely determined by who’s speaking.

      • Google for the evidence – there’s plenty of it.

        I did poke around a little. From what I can see, the evidence is limited and ambiguous, as one might expect. This PDF might be a little dated, but it’s a nice, thoughtful review, and its main message is that what the authors call “the business case for diversity” needs to be drastically toned down and qualified. I didn’t find anything that was much more encouraging for advocates of diversity, although admittedly I didn’t spend all that long looking. If you’ve got references that make a strong positive case for demographic diversity as a driver of efficiency, I’d be interested to see them.

        The difference is that atheist leadership is concerned with actual people, with actual genders and ethnicities…

        It’s also concerned with facts and ideas – or at least, it bloody well should be. And people aren’t reducible to their genders and ethnicities anyway.

        Of those three things, the study actually takes into account the first two.

        Well, sort of. As far as I can see, the authors tested to see whether the trend towards increasing diversity among conference speakers held up when “the identity of conference organisers” was taken into account, and fine, it did. On the other hand, they were happy to compare the proportion of female conference speakers to the global proportion of female atheists without worrying about geographic bias (Fig. 1 in their paper), and their statement in the Discussion that “[i]t is clear from both the composition of the global community, based on demographic data, and the composition of the leadership in the atheist movement, based on the subset of the community selected to speak at conferences, that white men still dominate” loses a lot of its force if the conferences are happening in countries where the population (and especially the adult, educated population) is predominantly white.

        Speakers can of course be flown in from far away, but it’s unreasonable to imagine that the speakers’ list at a conference held in Canada would reflect global demographic trends without some bias towards Canadian ones. The paper mentions, for example, that Vietnam is an officially atheist country with a huge atheist population (although if Vietnam is like the parts of east Asia I’m familiar with, beliefs that run the gamut from quasi-religious to pseudo-scientific will be far from rare among those “atheists”). How many of those Vietnamese atheists are likely to show up at a conference held on the other side of the world, let alone speak there? How many of them, in their atheistic society, would feel the need to be part of an “atheist movement”? How many, for crying out loud, would accept people who give a lot of talks on the atheist conference circuit as leaders of global atheism? My larger point is that the authors have a bizarre implicit vision of a globally connected atheist community led by conference speakers, and it simply isn’t realistic.

    • “I’m not terribly invested in the atheist movement, as such. I contribute to this blog and I’m unapologetically and somewhat outspokenly godless in my social and intellectual life, but I doubt I’ll ever join an atheist organisation or attend an atheist conference (from the sound of things, my eyes would be rolling pretty well constantly). From my position on the sidelines, though, what you describe as a “focus on issues of diversity, privilege, and social equality within the movement itself” just sounds self-indulgent and irresponsible.”

      I’m with you on that. Aside from the practical boundaries (ie living two flights away from any such conferences, having other priorities in life), this social justice driven schism has caused me to lose a lot of interest. It seems to be the M.O. of S.J.W. types to be unable to sustain a conversation about anything else and consistently change the subject back to their pet cause. Frankly its boring. In fairness to the authors of the study they seemed to avoid the implication that the solution to the “problem” (if you believe there is one) is something along the lines of Atheism+. From my perusal of the data it looks like something that is taking care of itself.

  5. I so want to root cause the lack of female atheists and hope that it reflects who women were in society and is improving because the times are changing. I seem to often be an outlier and as a outlier enjoy wondering why.

    • Actually, in my conversation with the authors I asked more or less that question, and they both said that they believe that the lack of women in atheism has a lot to do with the “social cost” of atheism.

      Because atheism has always been sort of outside of mainstream society, and generally viewed negatively by mainstream society, being an out atheist has a cost. People with high social capital – powerful people, which tends to mean male, white, straight, etc. – can afford to pay that cost. People with less social power are less able to pay that cost. That, of course, includes women.

      I like that theory, and it actually leads me to an intriguing observation. As women’s social power increases, more and more are able to pay that extra cost of being an out atheist. That would imply that despite what many people pretend – that atheism and feminism are somehow in opposition – the two things feed on each other, and make natural allies. It’s mutual and symbiotic – as feminism gets more traction, more women have the social power to take the risk of being out atheists; as atheism gets more traction, the traditional religious structures that depowered women become less relevant so women get more power in society.

      • It also explains why I didn’t have that social cost as I worked in a male dominated profession & mostly hung around males so didn’t care what the females said and they were busy shunning me for not having kids anyway (women are great social enforcers of things that are detrimental to themselves like choosing when or if one should reproduce).

        • Religious leadership is akin to political leadership. When you observe small religious communities throughout Canada you immediately notice a male predominance. The Catholic church is an equally obvious example.

          Women have been brought up to accept male religious leadership and consequently they are inclined to accept male political leadership as well. Education can set women’s minds free but this doesn’t alter their environment. It is a mistake to think that there is anything real about religious stories: consequently refuting these tales rarely has an impact on anyone.

          The current atheist leaders are endeavoring, for the most part, to challenge the legitimacy of other male’s claims to authority. When the claim to legitimate authority, by way of religious standing, disappears from our society an associated other phenomena will also disappear. Atheism, as a social organizing force, will also disappear. It will have served its purpose and will have become irrelevant.

          My adult children are atheist but wholly unaware of it. The right to authority by way of religious standing is an unintelligible social malaise in their perspective. It can be recognized but it can never be understood.

          Possibly imagining one group of male creatures resisting imposed leadership by another group of male creatures is the best way to think about this. The religious leaders are using psychological fear tactics in place of real physical prowess. They are being opposed by male rationalists who use sarcasm in place of real prowess.

          Most females observe this street-fight from the doorways. They will have to get along with whoever succeeds. There is no one on the block who is going to kick Stephen Harper’s ass currently. He will continue to support religious privilege and to castigate sociological reasoning. It is quite humorous to visualize these two groups of males trying to impress all the females with their piety, or conversely, their impiety.

          Naturally, this comedy farce isn’t being played out on the streets of Tehran. People in Iran are been deprived of this form of civil entertainment. If non-secular-atheists gained the upper hand in Iran and then used violence to suppress the religious males, everyone else would equally be deprived of a view of this fierce combat.

          My thesis seems to be: religion and opposition to religion are a testosterone driven political struggle between primitive males and progressive males: sexually aroused beasts butting heads. It is ugly to watch. My hypothesis is: when social submission to male leadership dissipates, both religion and its opposition will disappear as well.

          Making up budgets and educating children are in no way primarily male activities: no matter how earnestly Conservative politicians claim them to be. Sadly, buying expensive fighter aircrafts and killing other religiously manipulated males is.

          • “The Catholic church is an equally obvious example.”

            Let me amend that sentence: The Catholic church is an equally obnoxious example.

            “religion and opposition to religion are a testosterone driven political struggle between primitive males and progressive males: sexually aroused beasts butting heads.”

            Wow!

  6. “but I doubt I’ll ever join an atheist organisation or attend an atheist conference (from the sound of things, my eyes would be rolling pretty well constantly).”

    🙂 Yes!

  7. Better headline:

    Study by Progressives finds that Progressives are making progress

    In other tumblr news:

    OMG We R so WIN!!1, Amirite?!

  8. Diversity of the individuals within CFI Canada is a subject that I take seriously and I want to thank Indi and others who’ve commented for this article and the discussion.

    In the fist several months of joining CFI Canada in March 2014, one of my earliest observations was that the people who knocked on the door for the fist time to offer to volunteer and be involved was very diverse. I was meeting men, women, people from several continents, gay, straight, young, old and indeed people who maintained a theistic position but supported the work CFI Canada does.

    That told me there was a significant disconnect between the “established” organization and the full community of interest. Since those observations we’ve been taking steps to greet and include those new volunteers.

    I won’t turn this response into a complete advertisement, but I want to also comment that Joe’s comment about a diversity of atheist movements is quite valuable to recognize the opportunity to create a set of social destinations that sits on the non-religious side of the theist vs. atheist debate.

    If the people who are leading this community of interest don’t provide a welcoming and encouraging destination for all people…someone else will.

    Anyone interested to put time and energy into studying and advancing CFIC’s diversity and inclusivity is very much encouraged to email me and get involved.

    • Naturally I wish your efforts all the best. The Canadians abandoned or harassed by religious psychosis families and neighbors need more than another fraternity. They need a real political home.

      Two of the current political parties have made a welcoming environment for either all the religious or at least for the mainline religious. Both of these parties have created sweeping economic mechanisms to encourage religious growth and isolation.

      The “someone else” you are referring to should be a real political entity that wants to fight for secular inclusiveness. A party that wants to build Canadian universalism. In short, a party that promotes broad citizen involvement: not another goddamn segment.

  9. First, Tim @ 2:26: excellent disquisition! We very much share the same opinions.

    Secondly, this recent NYT article is relevant to some aspects of the discussion here:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/07/opinion/sunday/adam-grant-and-sheryl-sandberg-on-discrimination-at-work.html

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