We strive to bring about a progressive society where being good without a god is an accepted way to live life.
Aug 13, 2012
From the book Consilience by E.O. Wilson, AHA's 1999 Humanist of the Year.
Aug 14, 2012
Humanist Press author of Hope in Small Doses Nikki Stern is a guest on the most recent Skepticality, the official podcast of The Skeptics Society & Skeptic Magazine.
Information on the book is available at www.hopeinsmalldoses.com
Aug 15, 2012
Listen to Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry’s speech after receiving the 1991 Humanist Arts Award from the American Humanist Association.
Aug 16, 2012
Just in time for back-to-school activities, the AHA's Kochar Humanist Education Center has a new website!Please visit (and share with your friends) the resources available, including an extensive library of curriculum resources for teachers; the Many Faces of Humanism online course; lesson plans for children; adult education manual; information on the Humanist Teacher Corps (including how to join); the Ten Commitments, providing a moral foundation for education, and more!
Aug 21, 2012
For Immediate Release
(Washington, DC, August 24, 2012) —In anticipation of Women’s Equality Day on August 26, 2012, and adding to a long history of supporting equal rights for women, the American Humanist Association Board of Directors unanimously passed a resolution calling for passage of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). The ERA was originally introduced in 1923, and passed by Congress in 1972. Thirty-five states have ratified the Amendment, three short of the 38 states necessary for adoption.
“There is no reason to wait any longer for women’s equality,” said Roy Speckhardt, executive director of the American Humanist Association. “Discrimination on the basis of sex continues to this day, and the swift passage of the Equal Rights Amendment will finally provide the protection women deserve.”
“Until the Equal Rights Amendment is adopted, women will continue to be treated as second-class citizens, legally, because without protection under the Constitution, our fundamental rights are subject to the whims of local lawmakers and our recourse is limited,” said Zelda Gatuskin, co-chair of the Feminist Caucus of the American Humanist Association. “This is long overdue. Congress needs to step up and commit to the ideal of equal justice for all.”
The American Humanist Association is supporting the Three-State Strategy, a legal position that holds there is no time limit for the remaining states to ratify the ERA because none is mentioned in the text of the amendment itself, only in its proposing clause.
The American Humanist Association (AHA) first supported the Equal Rights Amendment by issuing a resolution in 1975, and again in 1982. The AHA also adopted a resolution on Equal Pay for Women in 1963 and the World Bill of Rights for Women in 1981. The Feminist Caucus of the American Humanist Association was established in 1977 as a coalition of women and men working toward the advancement of women’s rights and equality between the sexes in all aspects of society.
Women’s Equality Day is celebrated on August 26 to mark the passage of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution in 1920, granting women the right to vote.
A copy of the resolution can be found here: http://www.americanhumanist.org/AHA/Board_of_Directors/resolutions/ERA
This press release can be found on the AHA website here.
Aug 24, 2012
August 26 is Women's Equality Day.It commemorates the historic day in 1920 when women achieved the right to vote. Sadly, 92 years later the religious right is working hard to roll back the freedoms and protections that women have fought for.
Today's political climate makes it abundantly clear that American women need to have their rights permanently protected through an amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) states, "Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex," and has already been ratified by 35 of the 38 states required before it can be enshrined in the Constitution.
Why is this important?Because until we have the ERA as the law of the land, women will continue to fight every few years to get equal pay for equal work, fair family leave policies, protection from violence against women, access to the reproductive health care of our choice, and many more basic human rights.
How can we get it ratified?By convincing our representatives in Washington to sign on to the joint resolutionthat does away with the deadline for ratification while also getting 3 more states to ratify the ERA.
What can you do?• Become involved in our campaign to get the last 3 states to ratify it.• Lend us your voice and a few minutes of your time by signing this petition.• Contact those who represent you in Washington and let them know abo....
If America wishes to serve as an international example of liberty and just governance, we must ensure that all citizens are afforded the same rights and that institutionalized discrimination is made illegal. We must all come together, regardless of religious beliefs or political opinions, in order to guarantee equal treatment under the law and the end to gender discrimination.
Sincerely,Roy SpeckhardtExecutive Director
The YouTube channel by C0nc0rdance contains a reading of Humanism and Its Aspirations (Humanist Manifesto III), the most recent comprehensive statement on humanism adopted by the AHA's Board of Directors (2003).
The document can be found here: http://www.americanhumanist.org/humanism/Humanist_Manifesto_III
Aug 30, 2012
In this month’s The Humanist Hour Podcast, Jes and Todd interview AHA President, freethought activist, blogger and author David Niose, about his book, Nonbeliever Nation: The Rise of Secular Americans. This episode is also available on YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FAZ1Pqmpt7Y), Vimeo (https://vimeo.com/48809857) and iTunes (http://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-humanist-hour/id99193025)
Sep 4, 2012
Today there are many fronts in this struggle that humanists are leading in favor of civil rights and against the war on women.
By Roy Speckhardt, September 02, 2012
Popular bloggers such as Jen McCreight and Greta Christina are vocal proponents of a more feminist-oriented atheism. While a few see those involved in this new push for change as misunderstanding sexual harassment, encouraging censorship, or treating people monolithically as bullies or misogynists, others see the focus as a more general struggle to eliminate secular sexism of all stripes, thus getting our own house in order as a pre-requisite for further advancement of nontheist aims. Objectively, it appears that atheism isn't immune from the influences of the broader culture, and that atheists and humanists experience the effects of online hostility to women as well as face-to-face sexism at freethought conferences and other gatherings. As those in the secular movement seek solutions to the real problems we're facing, it's worth taking a moment to realize that humanists have an honorable feminist legacy and that the feminist movements themselves were in fact led by a majority of atheist humanists who set aside patriarchal religions in order to seek equality for all.
Most folks have a sense today that humanism has historically supported feminism, but few realize how deep that connection is. The American Humanist Association (AHA) supported elective abortion in the 1950s long before NARAL existed and before Planned Parenthood expanded beyond contraceptive services. Among nearly two dozen AHA resolutions spanning seven decades that specifically promoted feminist ideals is the latest, released just August 24, which calls for final passage of the Equal Rights Amendment. The AHA's Humanist magazine was carefully prepared in gender-neutral English in the 1970s, long before most newsstand magazines even considered the issue. In response to this issue, past AHA President Bette Chambers said, "The AHA always recognized men and women as equals in all matters and has always been 'feminist.'"
To read the rest of this Patheos article, click here.
Sep 5, 2012
In the most recent issue of Humanist Network News, the weekly ezine of the AHA, you can join the lively discussion and poll on circumcision, read about why "You Can't Much Help What Turns You On," enter a trivia contest--and more!
Sep 11, 2012
The AHA joins Interaction (http://www.interaction.org/) coalition asking Congress to maintain foreign aid funding levels in order to help fight poverty.
Details can be found here.
Sep 12, 2012
The news swept the globe this week of the senseless killing of the U.S. ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens and three of his staff members by an angry mob upset with a movie made in America. While we are immensely saddened by this unnecessary loss of life, some recent statements made by government officialsapologizing for the movie and condemning those that made it are concerning.
Certainly, people, religious or not, should be treated with respect, but that doesn't mean that religious ideas are immune to criticism or parody. And no matter how strong one's principles of religious freedom are, there is no excuse for violent actions taken by individuals on the grounds of defending their faith from outside criticism.
True religious freedom requires that people are able to believe as they so choose, but it also demands the ability to be free from belief and to question beliefs as one sees fit. Ideally, criticism should be constructive and remain polite and reasoned, but even if the remarks made are vulgar and offensive, the same legal protections regarding free speech and religious freedom must be maintained.
To read the rest of this Huffington Post article by AHA Executive Director Roy Speckhardt, click here.
Sep 13, 2012
In conjunction with the AHA, the Center for Inquiry is offering an online course beginning Nov. 1, "Critical Inquiry: The Appeal to Reason." The four-week course is being taught by John Shook, PhD, CFI director of education, AHA education coordinator; and David Koepsell, JD, PhD, Asst. Professor of Philosophy at Delft University of Technology, DE. For more information and to register, click here: http://action.centerforinquiry.net/site/Calendar?id=103121&view...
Sep 20, 2012
I’m excited to tell you that David Niose, president of the American Humanist Association and author of Nonbeliever Nation: The Rise of Secular Americans, will be speaking at the first-ever congressional briefing on "The State of Secular America," hosted by the Secular Coalition for America on October 1.
Your Representative is invited to attend, and we need your help to encourage her or him to learn more about the humanist movement and the growing number of secular Americans. Contact your Representative today and encourage him or her to attend this congressional briefing.
Secular Americans are a large—and rapidly growing—demographic, yet we lack representation in Congress relative to our size. With recent Pew studies showing that 19% of Americans are religiously unaffiliated, our elected officials can no longer ignore the interests of our movement.
It’s time for our movement to speak out. This is a great opportunity for humanists, secularists, atheists, and freethinkers of all kinds to show our Representatives who we are and what we stand for. As the election season heats up, we must take advantage of every opportunity to make your voice heard.
Do your part to help grow the secular movement by contacting your Representative today and asking them to attend this important briefing.
Roy SpeckhardtExecutive Director
Sep 25, 2012
Please join the AHA in asking the U.S. State Department to assist Egyptian atheist Alber Saber. He has been arrested after he and his mother were attacked by an angry mob for criticizing religion. Details on how you can help can be found here.
Sep 27, 2012
Tackling the issue of absence of meaning many people profess about their modern lives, psychologist, philosopher, and psychoanalyst Jon Mills uses the character of Dr. Owen Ross to explore the personal power of transcendence in When God Wept, the first novel by the award-winning author.Living in a godless universe, Ross is a Chicago psychologist who realizes that his life has become empty and meaningless after enduring a lifetime of personal pain. The character is forced to come to terms with his mother’s suicide, his father’s religiosity, his daughter’s death, and the undisclosed love he has for a female co-worker. Afflicted by an insidious apathy, he no longer cares or feels compassion for others. Upon getting divorced, he reassesses the events that constitute his life, and throughout the course of one day, becomes horrified by his existence.“Many people in contemporary society are secretly in search of spirituality without God, yet they are often a silent voice. That is one reason why I wrote this novel,” says Mills.John Lacks, Centennial Professor of Philosophy at Vanderbilt University and author of In Love with Life, said of the book: “In a wonderfully perceptive account of human inadequacy, Mills reveals many of the most troubling ills of the modern world. This is a beautifully crafted, totally absorbing book.”Depicting the toils of human existence within the decay of modern society, this novel is a journey into the human soul, examining the greater questions of authenticity, life and death, immortality, and the personal power of transcendence. Regardless of one’s background, the reader will identify with the universal themes that preoccupy us all.M. Guy Thompson, author of The Death of Desire, said “Mills’ powerful and reflective novel is destined to have the same impact on twenty-first century readers that Sartre, Camus, and Kafka had on the twentieth. A splendid, contemporary achievement!”The novel is the first title produced exclusively as a Ebook by Humanist Press and can be found online at HumanistPress.com, along with dozens of other titles. When God Wept is also available at major online Ebook retailers like Amazon and Barnes & Noble.Dr. Jon Mills is director of Mills Psychology Prof. Corp. in Pickering, Ontario, and Professor of Psychology & Psychoanalysis, Adler Graduate Professional School, Toronto. He is also the editor of two international book series, and author or editor of over 100 publications including 12 books. In 2006 & 2011, he was recognized with a Gradiva Award for his scholarship from the Association for the Advancement of Psychoanalysis in New York City, and in 2008 was given a Significant Contribution to Canadian Psychology Award by the Section on Psychoanalytic and Psychodynamic Psychology of the Canadian Psychological Association.He lives with his wife and daughters in Ajax, ON.A chapter excerpt can be found here: http://wdn.ipublishcentral.net/american_humanist_association/viewin...
Sep 28, 2012
A new episode of the Humanist Hour is available for listening. Keep reading to find out about the guests on this month’s show.
In this month’s podcast, Jennifer Bardi, editor of the Humanist, interviews world famous author and activist Gloria Steinem. “It’s not about not believing,” says the 2012 Humanist of the Year. “It’s about rejecting a god who looks like the ruling class.”
You can read a transcript of this interview in the September / October edition of the Humanistmagazine online.
Gloria Steinem is a writer, lecturer, editor, and feminist activist. She travels in this and other countries as an organizer and lecturer and is a frequent media spokeswoman on issues of equality. She is particularly interested in the shared origins of sex and race caste systems, gender roles and child abuse as roots of violence, non-violent conflict resolution, the cultures of indigenous peoples, and organizing across boundaries for peace and justice. She now lives in New York City, and is currently at work on Road to the Heart: America As if Everyone Mattered, a book about her more than thirty years on the road as a feminist organizer.
For complete information on this episode of The Humanist Hour, click here: http://podcast.thehumanist.org/2012/09/the-humanist-hour-78-gloria-...
Oct 1, 2012
The AHA and the Center For Inquiry are co-sponsoring "Critical Inquiry: The Appeal to Reason," an online course beginning Nov. 1 that will explore all of the various tools necessary not just to persuade, but to make logically valid and sound arguments.
Oct 3, 2012
Everybody's talking about Big Bird today. Here's a Sesame Street clip of Big Bird understanding the concept of death ... with no references to a god or heaven. Instead, "we can all be happy that we had the chance to know and love [Mr. Hooper], and have memories of him." Sounds like humanism, no?
Oct 4, 2012
Here is the latest image in our Sounds Like Humanism campaign.If you run across a quote that "sounds like humanism" from a surprising source, pass it along to us at email@example.com.
Oct 9, 2012
Alice Walker, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of "The Color Purple," received the AHA's Humanist of the Year award in 1997. Listen to her acceptance speech where she expresses her beautiful admiration for nature.
Oct 11, 2012
@Jessica: Sure. If you wish to reach out at some point, you can do it here or via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.Welcome!
Oct 19, 2012
Writer, activist, and feminist Gloria Steinem is the subject of the cover story of the latest Humanist magazine from the AHA. Steinem was named the 2012 Humanist of the Year by the AHA and was presented with the award at the AHA’s 71st annual conference in New Orleans, LA, on June 8, 2012. The article is adapted from her acceptance speech.
(Washington, DC – Oct. 21, 2012) – Humanists and atheists are mourning the death of humanist Dr. Paul Kurtz, former editor of the American Humanist Association’s Humanist magazine and founder of the Council for Secular Humanism, who died on Oct. 21, 2012 at the age of 86. His death means the loss of one of secular humanism’s most prominent advocates.“Paul Kurtz worked tirelessly for decades to see secular humanism become accepted as an alternative philosophy to traditional religion,” said Roy Speckhardt, the executive director of the American Humanist Association. “The attention and guidance he gave to the humanist movement had an unmistakable global impact.”Paul Kurtz served on the American Humanist Association Board of Directors from 1968-1981 and as editor of Humanist magazine from 1967-1978 before establishing the Council for Secular Humanism.In 1973 he worked with Edwin H. Wilson and the American Humanist Association to create the draft of what would become the Humanist Manifesto II (an updated Humanist Manifesto III was adopted in 2003).“Humanism has been shaped by many people since the beginning of the 20th century, and Paul Kurtz was one of the greatest contributors to the development of our nontheistic philosophy,” Speckhardt said.Kurtz published over 800 articles and authored more than 40 books, many of which have been translated into scores of languages.In his most recent major statement, Kurtz declared that “our planetary community is facing serious problems that can only be solved by cooperative global action.” In Neo-Humanism Statement of Secular Principles and Values: Personal, Progressive, and Planetary, published in 2010, Kurtz offered 16 detailed recommendations for a humanistic world.“These are the vital principles and values that a secular, personal, progressive, and planetary humanism proposes for humanity,” Kurtz wrote about his statement. “Today the campaign for equal rights and for a better life for everyone knows no boundaries. This is a common goal for the people of the world, worthy of our highest aspirations.”In 2007 the American Humanist Association presented Kurtz with the Humanist Lifetime Achievement Award. During his acceptance speech, he stated, “I am a secular humanist because I am not religious. I draw my inspiration not from religion or spirituality, but from science, ethics, philosophy, and the arts.”After leaving the Center for Inquiry and the Council for Secular Humanism, Kurtz established the Institute for Science and Human Values in 2010, a humanist think tank based in Tampa, Fl.Kurtz was born on Dec. 21, 1925 in Newark, New Jersey. He received his BA from New York University in 1948. Columbia University was next, where in 1949 he earned his MA and his Ph.D. in philosophy was awarded in 1952.Kurtz later became Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at the State University of New York at Buffalo. That post followed time teaching at Vassar, Trinity, and Union colleges, as well as the New School for Social Research.
Oct 21, 2012
Long before Ted Turner said that he no longer considers himself atheist or agnostic (2008), he won the AHA's Humanist of the Year award, where he told the audience "the more I lost [faith], the better I felt" and that arguing with fundamentalists is like "arguing with a wall." Turner was introduced by former AHA board member Lloyd Morain. Turner's speech begins at about 6:37.
Listen here: http://www.americanhumanist.org/HNN/details/2012-10-from-the-aha-ar...
Oct 25, 2012
(Washington, DC, Oct. 26, 2012) —The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) has agreed to hear the appeal from a humanist family challenging a state law that requires daily recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag in public schools. The plaintiffs claim daily classroom affirmation that the nation is “under God” violates state constitutional prohibitions against religious discrimination.
The plaintiffs brought the case through the American Humanist Association’s Appignani Humanist Legal Center. The SJC on Thursday approved the petition for direct appellate review of the case, which means a lower court will not have to first consider the appeal.
“Public schools are defining patriotism and loyalty on a daily basis by exalting one religious group and stigmatizing humanists and other non-theists. Of course that’s discrimination,” said American Humanist Association Executive Director Roy Speckhardt. “We feel confident that a fair hearing will result in a finding that the state law requiring this discriminatory practice violates the state’s equal rights amendment.”
The lawsuit, brought on behalf of three public school students and their parents, was filed in November 2010 and is the first of its kind seeking equal rights for atheists and humanists based on equal protection guarantees in the state constitution instead of traditional First Amendment Establishment Clause arguments.
Massachusetts law requires public school teachers to begin each day with a classroom recitation of the Pledge. The suit claims that daily affirmation that the nation is “under God” in the context of an exercise designed to promote national loyalty “directly contradicts the religious beliefs and principles of the plaintiffs” and effectively defines patriotism in terms of God-belief, thereby marginalizing plaintiffs and contributing to existing prejudices against nonbelievers.
A lower court ruled against the plaintiffs in June, and the plaintiffs appealed. With the SJC granting direct appellate review, the case will now be decided by the state’s highest court.
Religious interest groups have intervened in the case to defend the daily “under God” recitation. The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty represents the Knights of Columbus and a family that supports the “under God” wording.
The phrase “under God” was inserted into the Pledge in 1954 during the post-WWII Red Scare, a moment in time when partisan forces exploited the fear many Americans had of communism, using that fear to promote religion in public life and to vilify atheists and other nonbelievers. The original Pledge was written in 1892, with a later version—still without “under God”—not adopted by the U.S. Congress until 1942.
The case is Doe v. Acton-Boxborough Regional School District.
Oct 26, 2012
Newly Elected Congress Told: Don't Join Prayer Caucus
(Washington, DC – Nov. 7, 2012) – The winners in yesterday’s U.S. House races are being asked by non-religious Americans to keep their distance from the Congressional Prayer Caucus.
In a letter sent today by the American Humanist Association (AHA) to all members-elect of the U.S. House of Representatives, the AHA is asking them “not to join the Congressional Prayer Caucus and to actively work to ensure that the wall of separation between church and state is strengthened and maintained.”
“Members of the Congressional Prayer Caucus have repeatedly introduced and supported legislation that many secular Americans feel is unconstitutional and often favors Christianity above all other religions,” said American Humanist Association Executive Director Roy Speckhardt.
The Congressional Prayer Caucus was founded in 2005 by Representative J. Randy Forbes (VA) to “preserve the presence of religion, faith, and morality in the marketplace of ideas.” According to the Congressional Prayer Caucus website, current issues for the Caucus include “supporting the freedom of school boards to open meetings with prayer,” “urging the President to preserve religious hiring rights,” and “affirming America’s rich spiritual heritage.”
Members of the Prayer Caucus have supported legislation such as H.Con.Res.121, which called on the President to designate 2010 as “The National Year of the Bible” and “acknowledge the importance of the Bible in American society.” Prayer Caucus members have also signed on to amicus curiae briefs in court cases in support of Christian crosses on public land.
“Incoming House members should know that approximately one in five of their constituents are not religiously affiliated, and even more insist on maintaining the wall of separation between church and state,” Speckhardt continued. “Secular Americans are ready to work with all members of the 113th Congress, regardless of their personal beliefs, if they agree on this basic constitutional principle.”
The letter can be found online here: http://www.americanhumanist.org/system/storage/63/a7/3/3494/CPC_Let...
Nov 7, 2012
The American Humanist Association has been proud to work with 2008 Humanist of the Year Rep. Pete Stark on issues such as the Darwin Day Resolution in 2011 and the National Day of Reason Proclamation in 2012. Thank you, Rep. Stark!
Stanford’s Atheist Chaplain Launches 150+ Student Community
November 9, 2012
Contact: Chaplain John Figdor (914) 954-3276, email@example.com
Atheists, Humanists, Agnostics, at Stanford Finally Given a Voice: New Humanist Chaplain Creates Community for the Faithless
PALO ALTO, Ca - Atheists, Agnostics, and other non-believers at Stanford welcome the addition of a Humanist “Religious Professional” at Stanford. On college campuses like Stanford, non-religious students constitute more than 30% of the University population.However, unlike religious students who benefit from the community aspect of religion, non-religious students often report feeling “isolated” and wish they had a non-religious Chaplain to talk to about personal problems, questions about the meaning and purpose of life, and questions about life as an Atheist, Humanist, or Agnostic. “If Stanford is going to provide resources such as funding for programs and activities to promote religious life at the university and Chaplains for religious students, then Stanford should provide those resources for Atheist, Humanist, and Agnostic students as well. We launched the Humanist Community at Stanford to remedy this problem, and I am excited to announce that Scotty McLennan, the Dean of Religious Life at Stanford University, has graciously welcomed our representative, John Figdor, the former Assistant Humanist Chaplain at Harvard to be the ‘ir-Religious Professional’ at Stanford,” said Norm Schwartz, Chair of the Board of Directors of the Humanist Community at Stanford.
The organization was founded in July of 2012 to “build, educate, and nurture a diverse community of Atheists, Humanists, Agnostics at Stanford and in Silicon Valley.” The group has already hosted controversial Atheist celebrity Richard Dawkins for a conversation about popularizing science and co-sponsored a candlelight vigil for the Pakistani women's rights advocate, Malala Yusafzai, in addition to numerous dinners, pub nights, conversation meetings, and film screenings. Humanist Chaplain John Figdor concurred, commenting, “I am very thankful to Dean Scotty McLennan and the Religious Life team at Stanford for being welcoming me to Stanford to represent the non-religious perspective among Stanford’s Religious Professionals.”
For more information, please visit our website at www.stanfordhumanist.org and our Facebook group at www.facebook.com/stanfordhumanist.
Nov 9, 2012
On Nov. 13, 2012, the American Humanist Association launched a national ad campaign to promote a new website, KidsWithoutGod.com. This new resource has been created to strengthen and support kids and teenagers who don’t happen to believe in a god. Online display ads will be running throughout the Google network, Youtube, as well as on Cheezburger sites, Pandora, Reddit and Facebook. (Disney, Time for Kids and National Geographic Kids turned down our ads based on content.) The campaign also includes interior and exterior bus ads in Washington, DC and a billboard in Moscow, ID.The press release with more information can be found here.
Nov 13, 2012
In order to give parents a fun and effective tool when teaching young children evolution and the science behind it, author Mary Anne Farah has written Pepper’s Special Wings, a children’s ebook that uses the Peppered Moth species, a recent example of natural selection, as its inspiration.“Children have the right to know the truth about how life evolves and species change,” says Farah. “The well-documented story of how the Peppered Moth species eventually changed due to pollution darkening the plants where they congregated was perfect for a children’s book. The new survival advantage for moths with darker wings is an easy example to explain to children with no need to use words that may not have yet been learned, such as species, population, predation and camouflage.”The story of Pepper the moth covers more than just evolution, however. While Pepper’s Special Wings relates to small children about how Charles Darwin’s evolutionary theory of natural selection works, children will also identify with Pepper’s struggles with the recurring childhood themes of self-esteem, self-image, bullying and being teased.
To read the full press release, click here.
The American Humanist Association (AHA) is delighted to announce a new partnership with the Humanist Community at Harvard (HCH) on a nationwide effort to build and promote communities for the nonreligious.
“The nonreligious population has exploded, even without much local organizing. It’s going to grow even faster and become politically influential once more atheists and freethinkers build strong, humanistic communities,” said Greg Epstein, Humanist Chaplain at Harvard University and director of the HCH, a local chapter of the AHA.
In November 2012, the HCH and the AHA agreed to co-sponsor the Humanist Community Project (HCP): a Cambridge-based initiative to help create, establish, and connect a stronger nationwide network of Humanist communities focused on individual, group, and societal betterment, for the benefit of the secular and freethought movement. The project will support and supplement the AHA’s ongoing efforts to develop successful local chapters, of which it already has more than 150 nationwide. Under the agreement, the AHA will endorse the HCP as its official community development project, providing access to staff and existing Humanist community development research. Since the AHA is not providing direct funding for the HCP, the HCH will spend the rest of 2012 raising additional funds to support research and program development through May 2015.
Read the complete announcement here.
Nov 19, 2012
Black Friday and Cyber Monday are good for the economy, and Giving Tuesday is good for the causes you care about! The American Humanist Association is joining more than 2,000 organizations on #GivingTuesday (www.givingtuesday.org) to bring friends and family together in supporting charitable organizations. Text HUMANIST to 50555 to donate $10 and support the AHA today! http://givingtuesday.org/
Nov 27, 2012
The American Humanist Association's Appignani Humanist Legal Center is now assisting the Arkansas Society of Freethinkers in their complaint about taking public school students to a church to see a performance of "A Charlie Brown Christmas.""The message of the play is clear: Jesus Christ is the son of God and the messiah, and the real meaning of Christmas is to celebrate the anniversary of his birth," wrote Bill Burgess, the legal center's coordinator in a letter to school officials. "It is completely sectarian in nature and expressly rejects any secular version of Christmas."
Details found here: http://www.arktimes.com/ArkansasBlog/archives/2012/11/29/freethinke...
Nov 29, 2012
The Humanist Institute is pleased to announce the addition of Level Two online courses to the Continuum for Humanist Education (COHE) website. Level two courses include: Humanist Activism & Organization, Science & Humanism, Psychology & Humanism, Law & Politics, Religion & Spirituality, Ethics and Philosophy & the Humanist Connection.
Register today to access these free online courses!
Dec 6, 2012
AHA Executive Director Roy Speckhardt recently appeared on the Fox News Radio program The Vipp Jaswal Report and had a cordial and informative discussion on humanism and the AHA. The podcast of the program is found here, where comments are welcomed.
Dec 10, 2012
HumanLight is about celebrating and expressing what fills our lives with love and meaning.
By Roy Speckhardt, December 09, 2012
The winter holiday season is a great time for families and friends to get together and enjoy each other's company. It's among the few times each year that those close to us join to reflect, celebrate, and perhaps eat a bit too much fattening food.
From a humanist perspective, one of the most enriching things we can do is strengthen the connections we share with other human beings, and this time often provides us just such an opportunity. Unfortunately, most of these holidays also have deep religious connections. And depending on how nontheists came to exclude an intervening god from their worldview, some would rather forget those religious connections, and others even find them to be unpalatable.
Most humanists, freethinkers, and other nontheists came to their rational understanding of the world gradually, finding flaws in the faith they were raised in and eventually deciding for themselves on alternatives to the supernatural. Some others were already there, having been raised in secular ethical traditions. But some came to their nontheism more abruptly, as a response to harm experienced from within traditional religions. This could be something dramatic, like the tens of thousands of kids who were molested by Catholic priests, probably only a small portion of whom have sought justice in recent years. It might also be less dramatic, but still significant, like discovering all of a sudden just how ineffective prayer can be.
To read the rest of this Patheos article by American Humanist Association Executive Director Roy Speckhardt, click here.
Dec 11, 2012
The effort to get AHA board member Herb Silverman appointed to fill an open S.C. US Senate seat is getting attention. A Charleston newspaper notes the support of Richard Dawkins and has started an online poll where Herb is way ahead!Consider adding your vote, and S.C. residents can use our Action Alert system to send a message to Gov. Haley asking her to choose Herb for the post: http://action.americanhumanist.org/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=...
Dec 12, 2012
Politicians are working themselves into a frenzy trying to prevent the much feared "fiscal cliff," a term used to describe a bundle of momentous federal tax increases and spending cuts that will happen later this year if government officials fail to act. But as the White House and Congress consider ending middle-class tax breaks like the payroll tax cut while also reducing valued programs like Medicare, they may be missing an opportunity to level the playing field among religious and philosophically-based organizations in a way that would also have a big impact on our nation's ability to return to fiscal solvency.
It's time to reconsider the huge tax benefits and government subsidies that are provided to government-recognized religions in this country. Beyond the obvious constitutional issues of the state giving preferential treatment to religious organizations, it just makes sense that in these times of budget tightening, the government can no longer afford to subsidize religious groups, their leaders, or their programs.
To read the rest of this Huffington Post article from AHA Executive Director Roy Speckhardt, click here.
Dec 17, 2012
Dec 18, 2012
(Washington, DC – Dec. 18, 2012) – A Christian nativity scene has been joined by a HumanLight display on the grounds of the Wabash County Indiana courthouse. County officials approved it on Dec. 3 following an inquiry made by the American Humanist Association’s Appignani Humanist Legal Center.
HumanLight is a non-religious alternative to Christmas or other December holidays. Observed on December 23rd, HumanLight celebrates positive, secular values such as reason, compassion, humanity and hope.
Attorneys from the Appignani Humanist Legal Center worked with a local Wabash resident who inquired in November about a Christian display on government property. Research showed that the county has an “open forum” policy for the courthouse property, meaning other displays can also be erected. In response to a previous inquiry in 2010, officials wrote that the county “allows anyone to use the Courthouse lawn for expressive purposes as long as the activity does not violate local ordinances, or state or federal laws, is not disruptive to traffic . . . and does not create unreasonable safety risks, and as long as any expression is not obscene or defamatory, and does not promote violence, physical harm, or lawless action.”
“When it comes to church-state separation issues, the best choice is to keep government property free of all religious displays,” said Appignani Humanist Legal Center Director Bill Burgess. “But if a local government defends a nativity scene display by claiming that it is private speech, they must allow other private speakers, including secular ones, to participate in the forum on the same terms. They cannot discriminate against speech because of its humanist or atheist viewpoint.”
The American Humanist Association (www.AmericanHumanist.org) advocates for the rights and viewpoints of humanists. Founded in 1941 and headquartered in Washington, DC, its work is extended through more than 150 local chapters and affiliates across America. Humanism is a progressive philosophy of life that, without theism, affirms our responsibility to lead ethical lives of value to self and humanity.
Special thanks to the Louis J. Appignani Foundation and The Herb Block Foundation for their support of the Appignani Humanist Legal Center.
Recently, the Orleans Parish School Board in Louisiana banned schoolbooks that teach creationism or intelligent design as science or scientific theories, mandated that history books not include revisionist propaganda promoted by the Religious Right, and forbade teachers in its school district from teaching any aspect of religious faith, creationism or intelligent design as science in science classes. We need to thank those in Louisiana that stood up for church-state separation and science education. Please use this Action Alert form to send a message to Orleans Parish School Board President Thomas Robichaux thanking him and the other board members for their defense of science education and church-state separation.
Dec 20, 2012
What Thomas Jefferson did for the Bible, the American Humanist Association did for the world’s other major religious texts—in Jefferson’s words, separated “the gold from the dross.”
A Jefferson Bible for the Twenty-First Century includes Jefferson’s famously edited version of Christianity’s holy text, but this updated offering also includes similarly edited versions of the Hebrew Bible, the Qur’an, the Bhagavadgîtâ, the Buddhist Sutras, and the Book of Mormon. In addition, selections of the “dross” have been included alongside the “gold” for each.
(Washington, DC, January 7, 2013)—The American Humanist Association (AHA) is pleased to announce the recent election of Rebecca Hale, co-owner of EvolveFISH.com in Colorado Springs, Colorado, as president. In addition to Hale's new role, she will also serve as a member on the AHA board of directors.
Hale is the 20th president, and the 4th woman, to serve in the organization’s history. She will preside over the current AHA board of directors, which is comprised of six women and six men. The last female president of the AHA was Suzanne Paul of Farmington, Michigan, whose term completed in 1992.
Hale has been an advocate for secularism and humanism for many years as co-owner of EvolveFISH.com, the largest online store of freethought merchandise. She is also the co-founder of the Freethinkers of Colorado Springs, a local affiliate of the American Humanist Association, and serves on its board of directors. She is a Humanist Celebrant certified by the Humanist Society of the American Humanist Association.
“I am proud to continue the American Humanist Association’s long tradition of representing humanists, atheists and the non-religious in the United States,” said Hale.
As AHA president, Hale hopes to help raise public awareness and acceptance of humanism, advancing the AHA's agenda of supporting public policy based on reason and science.
To read the complete announcement, click here.
In the latest Humanist Hour podcast, Todd and Jes speak with Cecil Bothwell about his experience as an atheist politician in Asheville, North Carolina. You can also catch the program on our Youtube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0UFDjmKrBCY) or Vimeo (https://vimeo.com/57081134) channels.
Mary Anne Farah, author of the Humanist Press ebook Pepper's Special Wings - A Story About Natural Selection, was a recent guest on Canada's Rogers TV program "Daytime" to talk about the book, which was written to teach evolution to kids.To find out more about the book, and read a sample, visit www.humanistpress.com. You can also get it from all the major online ebook retailers.Click here to watch the interview!
The American Humanist Association proudly worked with Representative Rush Holt (NJ) to introduce House Resolution 41 “expressing support for designation of February 12, 2013, as Darwin Day and recognizing the importance of science in the betterment of humanity.” We are asking you to help win approval for the resolution by using this form to contact your Congressional representative asking for their co-sponsorship and support.
Visit www.darwinday.org to learn more about the Darwin Day resolution and join a Darwin Day event in your community. Thank you for standing up for science.
The following is a statement from the AHA's Appignani Humanist Legal Center and can be found on their website here.
January 28, 2013 – The YMCA Flowertown Festival recently refused to allow a local humanist group (Secular Humanists of the Lowcountry, “SHL”) a booth at its annual event in Summerville, SC. The Festival, which will be held in April, is open to the general public and expects to attract over 200,000 visitors this year.
The Festival’s policy permits all types of community groups, including non-profits and civic organizations, to apply for a booth, so long as the group has “inclusive membership” and supports “community building.” Although SHL meets both of these requirements, the YMCA Festival Coordinator told the SHL president not to apply, stating, “We are a Christian organization.”
The Festival’s refusal to do business with an atheist organization amounts to unlawful discrimination on the basis of religion in violation of Title II of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as well as South Carolina’s public accommodations statute.
The Legal Center demanded that the Festival allow SHL to participate in order to avoid litigation as well as criminal penalties under the nondiscrimination statues.
The letter sent to the Summerville Family YMCA can be found here.