Humanism on the Move


July 8, 2009

The American Humanist Association has put up the second of three planned billboard in the Moscow, Idaho area. The billboard reads, "Want a better World? Prayer Not Required," and is part of a campaign to spread awareness about being good without a god.

"We want nontheists to know that there is a community out there for them and that it's OK  not to believe in a god," said Karen Frantz, communications and policy manager of the American Humanist Association. "Many feel alienated and vilified for their lack of belief. But nontheists are upstanding citizens. They're true to their families, friends and values."

The first billboard the American Humanist Association ran in the Moscow area appeared this past spring with the slogan, "Don't Believe in God? You are not alone." The AHA has also put up billboards in various other cities, often joining forces with other likeminded organizations, such as the United Coalition of Reason and FreeThoughtAction. Such cities include Phoenix, AZ; Philadelphia, PA; and Charleston, SC.

Camp Quest West kicks off their summer camping next week with Kids Camp for kids ages 8-17 and Family Camp for families with younger kids. Both will be held at Camp Ross Relles, near Nevada City, California.  Kids Camp will be held July 12-18 and Family Camp will be held July 16-19. Registration is still open.

Camp Quest West is affiliated with National Camp Quest, which is the first secular summer camp for youth in the United States. It aims to foster community among secular youth and the freethought community and encourage critical thinking based on empiricism. This year's theme is "Encounter With Reality"

The Secular Coalition for America met last week with Paul Monteiro, White House associate director of public engagement,  marking the first time a group has met privately with the White House to focus solely on nontheists' interests. Topics addressed included coercive religious proselytizing in the military, the faith-based initiatives and employment discrimination.

The meeting, and the rise of nontheists as a political identity group, was spotlighted in The Nation's blog. The piece quotes Herb Silverman, president of the SCA on his thoughts about the meeting:  "[We] pointed out that we are much more unified than we used to be, and so we hope our needs will be taken into account. And that we watch legislation, we watch what politicians say. And we think that it could be beneficial to the Administration for them to take our point of view into account, just like they do for other interest groups. I think they did get the message in the White House…. We're hoping now to become players in all three branches of government."

The Secular Student Alliance has extended its early registration rates for their 2009 Annual Conference until this Friday, July 10. This year's conference will be held August 7-9 at Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio, and will feature PZ Myers of the acclaimed Pharyngula blog as the keynote speaker.

The 2009 SSA Conference will offer activist training, workshops on group-running, and presentations from national organizations and published authors. In addition, in conjunction with the SSA Conference, the SSA will be sponsoring a field trip to the Creation Museum with PZ Myers.