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Center for Inquiry responds to freedom of speech & press

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The head of the Amherst-based Center for Inquiry is expressing hope the mass murder in Paris doesn't scare people into giving up fundamental freedoms like speech and press.

President and CEO Ronald Lindsay says he's familiar with threats against points of view and expressed views because the center has received threats and he personally has for expressions of belief.

He said the pushback against this is to post on the center web site one of the cartoons which apparently led gunmen into a mass slaughter in the center of Paris. Lindsay says there is some irony in the site of the murders at Charlie Hebdo being close to the site of the guillotine used in the French Revolution.

Lindsay said there is some irony in the site of the murders at Charlie Hebdo being close to the site of the guillotine used in the French Revolution.

"France has progressed since that time and it, like many other Western democracies, recognizes freedom of expression. Problem is that there are citizens of France and other countries and apparently religious extremists here. I guess we don't know all of the facts here. They appear to be Islamic fundamentalists who don't accept those fundamental freedoms that have now become the cornerstone of many democracies, including France," said Lindsay.

Lindsay noted people who come here for the economic advantages of America have to recognize there are aspects of the new society they won't agree with but are part of life. His group favors a secular society based on science and reason.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.