Free Inquiry
Appeared in Secular Humanist Bulletin, vol 1 issue 2

Exciting Plans for New New York City/New Jersey Center Launched

by Paul Kurtz

The following article is from the Secular Humanist Bulletin, Volume 17, Number 1.

The Council for Secular Humanism (CSH) has announced ambitious expansion plans for its proposed Center in the Greater New Jersey/New York City area.

This project was launched at an all-day meeting held on January 20, 2001, at the Meadowlands in Secaucus, New Jersey. The theme of the meeting was "Defending Reason in an Irrational World." Participating were Paul Kurtz, chairman of CSH; Tom Flynn, editor of Free Inquiry; and Ed Buckner, executive director of CSH. Professor Michael Martin of Boston University and Melissa Pollak of the National Science Foundation also read papers at the meeting.

The Center for Inquiry (CFI) NJ/NYC had been convening meetings at the home of Dr. Robert Price, and at sundry library and hotel locations for the past eighteen months. According to Tom Flynn, "There are some 6,000 readers of our publications within 75 miles of the region, a tremendous base for expansion. There needs to be a central meeting place and offices for this effort."

Ed Buckner, newly arrived from Atlanta to head up CSH, said that "The new Center would provide a wide range of services for secular humanists in the area-including a rich program of meetings and seminars. It would offer opportunities to celebrate the rites of passage and welcome all those from two years of age to 100!"

CSH has announced a $500,000 three-year goal for the Center as the first phase of a major fund drive. This phase would rent interim office space, equip it, and pay salaries. Staff of the Center include Dr. Robert Price, executive director, fellow of the Jesus Seminar and professor of biblical criticism at the CFI Institute; and Barry Seidman, administrative coordinator. Part of the above sum will be retained for a future building program.

The immediate goal set for the fund drive was to raise $25,000 on January 20. $22,460 was raised from the 70 or more people who participated, plus another $3,200 in registration fees and the sale of publications. "We made our one-day target," said Tom Flynn. "We are confident that we will succeed."

"The Greater New York Area is the largest population base in the United States, and the financial capital of the world. A Center for Inquiry is long overdue," said Ed Buckner

CSH has appointed a search committee to locate a more permanent home. Whether it should be in North Jersey or Manhattan itself depends on the support of our readers. Our long-range plans are to offer programs for skeptics as well as humanists and to tap into the national media located in the Greater New York Area.

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