Humanism on the Move


March 31, 2010

The Northeast Florida Coalition of Reason began running two billboards Jacksonville and St. Augustine last week. Stating "Don't Believe in God? You Are Not Alone" and giving the organization's web address, the billboards mark the public launch of the coalition, which is a joint effort between three local nontheist organizations and affiliated with the national United Coalition of Reason.

In a statement to the press, Northeast Florida CoR coordinator Stephen Peek said that the campaign's purpose is not only to reach out to nontheists in the northeast Florida area, but "to let the general public know that those of us who don't believe in a higher power live in the area, too. Folks may not know that people like us can be found everywhere. We're family members, friends, neighbors and coworkers. So we think it's time that we became open about our views, just as others are open about theirs."


Longtime humanist leader and Humanist Manifesto II drafter Paul Kurtz released a new statement on secular humanist principles on March 2, 2010. Under the title "Neo-Humanist Statement of Secular Values and Principles," the document presents "neo-humanism" as an alternative to both religious belief and the "new atheism," and outlines sixteen recommendations for the beliefs of neo-humanists. The document has attracted a variety of distinguished co-signers, including Rebecca Goldstein, Steven Pinker, Anne Druyan and James Randi.

Kurtz said, "This statement aims to be more inclusive by appealing to both non-religious and religious humanists and to moderate religious believers who share common goals. It seeks to foster moderation rather than divisiveness and to spark a genuine conversation about meaning and value and the common problems that confront us all as a nation and inhabitants of planet Earth."

Ronald Lindsay, the current CEO and president of the Center For Inquiry–an organization that Kurtz founded–declined to sign on to the document, writing on the CFI website that "the statement has too many flaws" to endorse and criticizing it for its "aggressive criticism of atheism or the ‘new atheism'."