Humanism on the Move


Oct. 21, 2009

The United Coalition of Reason has helped fund two advertising campaigns designed to raise awareness about people who don't believe in a god-one launched by the Chicago Coalition of Reason on Tuesday with a new billboard and one to soon be launched by Big Apple CoR with ads in Manhattan subway stations.

The Chicago ad proclaims, "Are you Good without God? Millions are." It appears on a downtown billboard. The Big Apple CoR ads, which are slated to debut next week in a dozen subway stations, will read "A million New Yorkers are good without God. Are you?" Both are timed to coordinate with the launch of a new book titled "Good Without God," written by Greg Epstein, the humanist chaplain at Harvard University.

Earlier this week, word broke about the New York City ads ahead of their slated launch date. Media coverage ranged from numerous local articles and blogs, and extended to national coverage in the Dallas Morning News and the Houston Chronicle.

The first-ever National Secular Service Day was held in locales across the country on October 18. The event, which is spearheaded by the Harvard Secular Society with organizational help from Humanist Charities, a division of the American Humanist Association, and the United Coalition of Reason, encourages nontheists to give back to society by engaging in community service. Events as far ranging as blood donations and planting a sustainable garden to supply food to schools took place in areas such as Columbus, Ohio and Boston, Massachusetts.

The goals of the National Secular Service Day are to make community service more of a part of nonreligious tradition and to help demonstrate that many people are good without believing in a god. "Humanists believe in life before death," said Greg Epstein, the Humanist Chaplain at Harvard. "Because this world and this life are the only ones we'll ever have, we have so much more responsibility to help each other and make the world a better place." 

Sabri Husibi, an atheist and former Muslim, is reported to have received death threats following the publication of a Tulsa World article in which he was critical of Islam and other religions. The article promoted a speech he was giving the next day at a Tulsa Atheists event.

Husibi said he received 30 calls, mostly from foreign-born, Tulsa-area Muslims who Husibi personally knows. He also received objections from some friends and relatives. One caller warned Husibi if he said anything against Shariah law at the Tulsa Atheists event he would be killed.

The event went on as scheduled, and Tulsa police were notified beforehand. Said Husibi about calls from the Muslim community for him to apologize, "I won't apologize. I'm not going to be a chicken. This is my right, to give my point of view."