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A Bold New Step for Free Inquiry


The following article is from Free Inquiry magazine, Volume 23, Number 4.


Perhaps you noticed the cover  date: not Fall, but October-November. Beginning with this issue, FREE INQUIRY will be published bimonthly instead of quarterly. For the first time in its twenty-three-year publishing history, FI will appear six times yearly. This will enable us to respond more quickly to events and to offer more timely commentary. It will help us to express the secular humanist outlook more effectively.

FREE INQUIRY is already the best-known magazine of its kind in the world. We wish to extend its reach. Going bimonthly is a big step; among other things, it means 50 percent more deadlines. It also means 50 percent more printing and postage bills. (By contrast, our subscription price is increasing by less than 8 percent.) Given the flat economy, some might think it foolhardy to raise our publishing frequency at this time. There is no question that it is a gamble — but one we believe must be made.

A chill wind has blown through American public life since 9/11. There has been a social and religious “circling of the wagons” — a rising hostility to dissent. Some observers have raised the specter of a looming “religious McCarthyism.” Inquiring critics who pose tough questions about society, faith, and traditional values face greater risk than at any time in recent decades. At the same time, an increasingly homogeneous and corporatized media landscape makes it more difficult for queries and criticism rooted in alternative viewpoints to be heard.

Dissent is precious. No less precious are the arenas in which unpopular ideas can be aired. We felt that it was necessary for FREE INQUIRY to appear more frequently so that secular and humanistic dissent can maintain its access to the marketplace of ideas.

And so we embark on this new phase in the life of our magazine. We hope that our move to bimonthly publication will make FREE INQUIRY more timely, more useful and appealing to secular humanists, and better able to attract new readers on newsstands. (For technical reasons our newsstand price actually drops by $1, which should induce curious readers to try us more readily.) We are heartened by the success our sister publication, the Skeptical Inquirer, enjoyed when it went bimonthly in 1994.

At this important moment, we pause to thank our readers and supporters who have enabled FREE INQUIRY to survive, to grow, and to have its impact on contemporary life. More than ever, it is imperative that we who strive to live morally and humanely without religion have a publication that represents our community and reflects our concerns.

Starting now, that publication will appear 50 percent more frequently. Thank you for making the leap with us.

— The Editors


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