Merger creates nation's largest secular organization

Jan 22, 2016

A major merger in secularism was announced Thursday. The Center for Inquiry in Amherst is merging with the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science. WBFO's Eileen Buckley spoke with the woman who will be leading the newly blended organizations.

"The two organizations have perfectly matched missions -- promote secular world that's based on science, reason, rationalism and humanism," said Robyn Blumner, President and CEO for Dawkins Foundation.

Blumner arrives in the Buffalo area Monday. She will become the next leader for the Center for Inquiry headquartered in Amherst. Blumner takes over for Ronald Lindsay who announced last year that he would be stepping down. The merger was decided as the organization searched for the new leadership.

"The Richard Dawkins Foundation brings a lot of ambition, energy and youthful interest to the secular movement. We have over 1 million hits a month to our website," stated Blumner in a WBFO News interview. 

The merging of the two secular organizations will now create the largest group in the United States in promoting secularism and science. 

Dawkins is well known for his best-selling book "The God Delusion" in 2006. He is also outspoken and at times considered controversial.  After the terrorist attacks in Paris, Dawkins made remarks challenging Muslim women to remove their veils to support the victims. But Blumner describes Dawkins as a true gentleman.

"What you need to know about Richard Dawkins is he is a sweet, darling man, who goes out of his way to make people comfortable around him and compliment people and to listen to people who want to tell him about how he has changed their life," remarked Blumner.  

Dawkins now becomes a member of the board of director's for the Center for Inquiry. CFI will remain headquartered in Amherst. The annual budget of the newly merged organization will be $6 million with about 45 employees. The merger will be finalized this spring.