The Humanist magazine published two articles from Sarah Braasch as an outside contributor (not a staff member or regular blogger). We regret that this material remained up as long as it did and appreciate those who brought its offensive content to our attention.
We have removed the article “Lift the Veil, See the Light” by Sarah Braasch (published in the Sept/Oct 2010 issue of the Humanist magazine) from our website after it was brought to our attention that it contains racially offensive argumentation. The article was part of a point-counterpoint on the topic of laws barring Muslim women in France from wearing face-covering veils. In the article in question, which argues for the ban, the author equates the small number of slaves who wanted to remain with their owners after emancipation (an idea that is itself still a justification for racism in some circles) with women who choose to be “slaves” in abusive, misogynistic, or otherwise patriarchal religious traditions. She makes this analogy–which we have judged to be inaccurate and racially offensive–to argue that if human beings are forced or conditioned to accept indignity, suffering, and an inferior position in society then that society has an obligation to make laws to correct that. While the author’s final point is one some humanists might champion, the analogy to American slavery is definitely not.
We have removed Sarah Braasch’s second article, “Original Intent” (published in 2009), after finding it racially offensive. The article was a commentary on the Puritanical dogma and religious tyranny in colonial America, making the case that our nation was founded on principles antithetical to such oppression. However, the author’s interjection that racism is a “silly” social construct renders this article out of step with our commitment to social justice and to the pressing need to be realistic about the racism that permeates our culture today.
We sincerely apologize for publishing these articles and we will strive to do better at upholding our humanist values going forward.