Humanism on the Move


Jan. 13, 2010

Good Without God: What a Billion Nonreligious People Do Believe, a new book about humanism that was written by Harvard Humanist Chaplain Greg Epstein, made this week's New York Times Best Sellers List in the nonfiction category. The book, which debuted in October 2009, is about to go into its fourth printing.

"This is proof that people are beginning to recognize our work, hear our voices and pay attention to our message that of course we can be good without God, and we are best in communities like ours," said Epstein.

David Niose, president of the American Humanist Association, sent a letter to Brit Hume in response to his comments on Fox News Sunday that Tiger Woods should convert to the Christian faith. Hume argued that Woods' Buddhist views were inadequate and that Christianity is the proper path. Niose condemned the assertion and called on Hume to apologize.

"…Such statements are a direct slap in the face to the billions of people around the world who live decent lives, including lives that recover from difficult and challenging situations without the Christian faith," Niose said in the letter. "…You owe an apology to non-Christians around the country and around the world."

A federal judge in Kansas last week dismissed a lawsuit launched by an atheist soldier who had been required to attend events that featured prayers while stationed at Fort Riley. U.S. District Judge Kathryn Vratil argued that Army Spc. Dustin Chalker had failed to exhaust other alternatives before he and the Military Religious Freedom Foundation launched their suit. Traditional avenues for addressing such matters include reporting concerns to the chain of command, the inspector general or the equal opportunity office.

 "It's a shame because Dustin did all that he could," said Mikey Weinstein, president of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation. He argued that Chalker's case demonstrated a pattern of proselytizing taking place within the armed forces. He also made the claim that the official process for issuing complaints is often rife with hurdles, such as soldiers being disciplined for speaking out.