Yeah, it seems like all it would take would be one Satanist offering to give a prayer. Of course, it also highlights the important difference between what their policy might say and the reality of what someone who tried to do something like that would have to endure from the community.
Wildfires, earthquakes, blizzards, flooding, mud slides, tornadoes, and hurricanes - there aren't very many places where someone can avoid all of them.
Didn't Lindsay go out of his way to say that all feminists do NOT think alike and that there is disagreement among feminists. Remember this part:
"Obviously not the case, But are there truly no significant divisions currently within the feminist movement? It would be surprising if that were the case b/c the feminist movement has had sharp divisions in the past. I just referenced a blog post from Louise Pennington in which she said capitalism had to be destroyed to eliminate patriarchy. Does everyone in this room who considers herself a feminist agree with Pennington? If not, then you already have one very significant difference among feminists."
Or this part:
"Also if there were no divisions among feminists, that would arguably make feminism unique among social movements; the secularist movement has significant divisions."
His point was that there ARE disagreements among feminists, which is exactly what one would expect because there are disagreements in EVERY community.
I just double-checked, and mine appears to have went through okay. At least, it was not returned.
The top spot? According to the schedule posted on the Women in Secularism 2 website, he simply gave the opening remarks.
Nothing is wrong with shutting up and listening. It is a great skill to have, and you are right that we could probably all do a bit more of it.
But justified or not, telling someone else to "shut up and listen" may be off-putting, ineffective, and can at times even harm what could otherwise be productive dialogue. I think this was one of the good points Ron Lindsay made in his remarks at the conference. Another concerned the special knowledge to which you refer: "But having had certain experiences does not automatically turn one into an authority to whom others must defer."
Great post! You are absolutely right about the importance of thick skin and the ability not to take everything personally. The threat narrative that has become so popular in some circles makes me think that quite a few people need to read this.
Unfortunately, the process of how people are selected to speak at these things is not particularly transparent. It isn't like there is a peer review process in which potential speakers submit proposals and the best are selected by qualified reviewers. Sometimes the selection seems to be driven by perceived popularity, and other times it looks almost cliquish.
But more to the point, equality of opportunity does not seem to be the type of equality many in want. It sounds like Watson and her allies are more interested in equal outcomes (i.e., a certain percentage of the speakers must be women). This is where privilege comes in as well. If male privilege did not exist, then holding conferences like this probably would be perceived as sexist. Taking privilege into account, many do not see it that way (or are at least willing to overlook it).
What I find myself wondering is what a conference like Women in Secularism 2 would be like for a woman who was not a feminist to attend. I wonder if she would find it welcoming, safe, and relevant. From many of the tweets I have seen, I'm not sure she would be welcome. This leads me to wonder if the stated goal is far less important than what seems to be an unstated goal (i.e., indoctrinating a portion of the secular community with a particular form of radical feminism). I'm not sure this is what is happening, but I am beginning to think it is a possibility.
I think a "Men in Skepticism" conference would receive negative attention because most skepticism conferences already feature far more male speakers than female speakers and are probably more attended by men than by women. According to the organizers of Women in Secularism, one of the reasons to have these conferences was to give more women an opportunity to speak. I think this is a worthwhile goal.
From what you quoted from the FFRF statement of purpose, their mission is twofold: separation of church and state and educating the public on nontheism. I don't see them claiming that one is the logical consequence of the other. I see them saying, "Hey everybody, we are about these two things." I don't see this as a conflict. If a group were to be say that they were about atheism and feminism, that would not be a conflict either. The conflict seems to come into play when people demand that all atheist groups should include feminism in their mission because it is a logical consequence of atheism.