Humanism on the Move


Nov. 14, 2009

The United Coalition of Reason has helped fund three new ad campaigns throughout Ohio–in Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati. All three billboards read "Don't believe in God? You are not alone," with the text superimposed over an image of blue sky and clouds.

The coordinated statewide effort signifies the launch of local nontheist coalition groups, the Cincinnati Coalition of Reason, the Northeast Ohio Coalition of Reason and the Columbus Coalition of Reason . The campaign aims to raise the awareness about people who don't believe in a god.

"The point of our national billboard campaign is to reach out to the millions of humanists, atheists and agnostics living in the United States," explained Fred Edwords, national director of the United Coalition of Reason. "Nontheists sometimes don't realize there's a community out there for them because they're inundated with religious messages at every turn. So we hope this will serve as a beacon and let them know they aren't alone."

American Atheists applauded President Obama for including "nonbelievers" in a broadcast message about the Ft. Hood tragedy. In the radio address, Obama praised the soldiers who came to the aid of the victims and noted the diversity of the armed forces, saying, "They are Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus and nonbelievers."

"We thank the president for including us in the diverse population that is the people of the United States," said Ed Buckner, president of American Atheists. "We appreciate the fact that President Obama has acknowledged what we have always known: Of course there are atheists in foxholes, and there are and always have been men and women who have worn the uniform of this nation and have served with courage in the military and in many other ways."

Obama became the first president to positively acknowledge nonbelievers in his inaugural speech, for which he was praised by many nontheist groups, including the American Humanist Association and the Secular Coalition for America.

The New Humanism, a new online magazine sponsored by the Harvard Humanist Chaplaincy, recently made its debut. According to the web site, the magazine will "explore and help pioneer new ways of bringing humanists, atheists, agnostics and the nonreligious together to build a movement that can make a lasting and far-reaching positive impact."

The magazine is named after the 30th anniversary conference the Humanist Chaplaincy held in the spring of 2007, an event that aimed to present humanism as a positive and constructive philosophy-and one that is not necessarily antireligious. The magazine will build on those themes.

"It was time to do something to show a large audience that Humanism is inclusive of, but goes well beyond atheism," said Greg Epstein, the Harvard Humanist Chaplain, in a feature introducing the new magazine. "We are Humanists because for us, Humanism is part of being the best, most honest, most thoughtful human beings we are capable of being."