The Humanist Hour #68: Serving the Humanist Community

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, Jes Constantine and Todd Stiefel interview Rabbi Binyamin Biber about his services to the community as a Humanist Celebrant and Humanist Chaplain at American University. Also, we highlight the AHA’s recent “Naughty” Awareness Campaign, aimed to raise awareness of discrimination against nonbelievers in America.

Segment 1: Gratitude, Human Nature, and Motivation

Sparked by their Thanksgiving experiences, Jes and Todd discuss (read: debate) concepts of human nature and motivation. What motivates human behavior? Are humans inherently good/evil? Tell us what you think! Call our listener comment line: (202) 618-1371.

Segment 2: AHA’s “Naughty” Awareness Campaign

American Humanist Association "Naughty" Awareness Campaign Newspaper AdThe American Humanist Association recently launched our holiday advertisement campaign aimed to raise awareness of discrimination against nonbelievers in America.

The billboards and full-page newspaper ads contain the message, “Bias Against Atheists is Naughty, Not Nice,” and features Santa Claus making up his “naughty” list. The ads are placed in cities across the United States where atheists have experienced discrimination due to their lack of belief in a traditional god.

For example, the AHA placed an ad in the Cranston Herald newspaper because a high school student, Jessica Ahlquist, endured harassment and threats—one even called her a “stupid atheist”—for objecting to the display of a religious prayer banner hanging in her public high school auditorium.

Another ad was placed in a newspaper near Bastrop, Louisiana, where a student named Damon Fowler was ostracized by his community—even his own parents kicked him out of his home—for objecting to a Christian prayer that would be held during his graduation ceremony.

To read more stories of atheist discrimination and see the full list of ‘naughty’ towns, visit

Brian Magee is the communications association for the American Humanist Association. I hosted a one-hour weekly atheist radio program in Fargo, ND on KNDS which was rebroadcast on WPRR in Grand Rapids, MI. In the ’90s was the editor of the Maryland Coast-Dispatch in Ocean City, Md. and news director of two sets of radio stations in Southern Maryland, WMDM/WPTX and WSMD/WMOM.

Segment 3: Serving the Humanist Community

Chaplain Biber is an ordained Humanistic rabbi who has for a decade served a DC congregation called Machar,* the Washington Congregation for Secular Humanistic Judaism. He is also currently the President of the Association of Humanistic Rabbis – North America, a member of the Rabbinic Cabinet of J Street – working for a just peace between Israel and Palestine, and a board member of the Humanist Society, the professional organization of chaplains and officiants active within the American Humanist Association (AHA).

*”Machar” = “tomorrow” in Hebrew.

The Humanist Society

The Humanist Society applies Humanism to daily life through a unique celebrant program, education, and community involvement. Recognizing the important role life occasions play in individual and community life, the Humanist Society’s unique ministry prepares Humanist Celebrants to lead ceremonial observances across the nation and worldwide. Celebrants provide millions of Americans an alternative to traditional religious weddings, memorial services, and other life cycle events. Celebration of life is central to a meaningful Humanist philosophy, and Humanist Celebrants officiate significant celebrations vital to Humanist life.

Humanist Chaplaincies

Humanist chaplaincies provide consultation, preside over ceremonies, and offer opportunities for educational outreaches and community service projects to nonreligious students and members of the armed forces. Chaplaincies can provide a permanent humanist presence and can help student groups stay strong as their leadership changes with graduation.

Links from this month’s episode:

Music from this month’s episode (in order of appearance):