The Centre for Inquiry logo (above) is from the CFI Canada Facebook page. It's an amazing piece of work because it embodies one of the key features of CFI as an umbrella organization that brings together a number of different groups to unite around common goals.
This is a lot harder than you might think. I think of myself as a skeptic and an atheist but I am not a Humanist. If an organization like CFI were to be taken over by Humanists, I could not be a member. Other people are worried that CFI might be dominated by atheists and an atheist agenda. Some of them have left the organization because they think of themselves as skeptics who are not anti-religion.
Lately the conflict between (some) skeptics and atheists has claimed another victim. PZ Myers is so upset with the narrow view of skepticism promoted by Jamy Ian Swiss [see Skeptics have the amazing superpower of being simultaneously fierce and timid] that he now declares, "I officially divorce myself from the skeptic movement."
What's the problem? It's that some skeptic movements want to concentrate on pseduoscience and pseudomedicine and leave religion alone. They are atheists and accommodationists. Not content with just ignoring vocal atheists, they criticize their tactics as being offensive and inimical to the important skeptical causes. I don't agree with that version of skepticism and neither does PZ Myers. However, unlike PZ, I think the solution is to make it clear that people like Jamy Ian Swiss are wrong to exclude atheism from the skeptical movement.
If the skeptical movement becomes officially accommodationist and anti-atheist then I will have to abandon it just like PZ Myers did.
The advantage of CFI is that it can "accommodate" all these points of view, if we are careful. It can promote an "Extraordinary Claims" campaign that links skepticism about religion and skepticism about pseudoscience and quackery. It can launch a campaign against religion in the schools without antagonizing believers. It can promote charitable causes that bring together freethinkers, humanists, and atheists. It can sponsor Humanist officiants who can preside at weddings and funerals. It can do much to promote what all those groups have in common. All we have to do is tolerate the occasional cause that we might not completely agree with.
It's a bit ironic that PZ Myers is offended by the direction that skepticism is taking yet seems blind to the re-branding of "freethought" that he supports. I'm hoping that in Canada we can avoid the competing conferences that pit freethoughters against skeptics and atheists against humanists. So far, we seem to be on the right track with the Committee for Advancement of Scientific Skepticism (CASS) and CFI events celebrating Dawkins & Krauss and "The Unbelievers" as well as Eschaton 2012, and the upcoming Imagine No Religion.
UPDATE: Jack Scanlan of Young Australian Skeptics says, "A person can be a skeptic and believe in a god." [PZ’s Problem: Does Skepticism Makes An Exemption For Religion?]. I disagree.