Tom Flynn, a Longtime Leader in the Secular Humanist Movement, Has Died at 66 August 23, 2021

Tom Flynn, a Longtime Leader in the Secular Humanist Movement, Has Died at 66

This is unexpected and devastating news from the Center For Inquiry: Tom Flynn, the editor of Free Inquiry magazine and former executive director of the Council for Secular Humanism, has died at 66. The cause of his death was not announced.

“Tom didn’t believe in magic, but he was magical,” said Robyn E. Blumner, president and CEO of the Center for Inquiry. “How else to describe this unlikely combination of brilliance, charm, vision, and roll-up-your-sleeves accomplishment?”

“The death of Tom Flynn is a tragedy of epic proportions for everyone who cares about the equality of atheists anywhere in the world,” said Edward Tabash, veteran freethought activist and chair of the Center for Inquiry. “He was our conscience against religious bigotry. He was our conscience against irrational action and thought.”

For those who aren’t familiar with him, consider this: Long before the “New Atheist” books were widespread and before the internet allowed people to learn about life with God much more easily, many people discovered Secular Humanism through magazines like Free Inquiry after stumbling across it at their local libraries. Tom began contributing to that publication in 1985 and spent more than three decades working to influence readers, introducing many of them to freethought. He also knew when to stir the pot; he was, after all, the sort of person who would come into work on Christmas because he believed there was no reason to take a day off for a Christian holiday.

I had the opportunity to do an internship with the Center for Inquiry in 2004 and I was fortunate to meet this man whose articles I’d been reading for years. He turned out to be exactly as I’d imagined, which is a testament to his talent as a writer: He knew how to put his entire personality in those articles.

I would urge you to read CFI’s announcement for now — and scroll through the archives of his articles. The organization will undoubtedly say much more in the days to come. What a tragic loss.

(Image via Wikipedia)

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