Humanism on the Move


Apr. 14, 2010

The American Humanist Association (AHA) will join Green Day and Lance Bass as a co-sponsor of the second annual Second Chance Prom, which will be held for Mississippi youth, including students from Itawamba County Agricultural High School in Fulton. The school made headlines in March when officials canceled its prom rather than allow a lesbian student, Constance McMillen, to bring her girlfriend as her date or wear a tuxedo.

The involvement of the AHA in the event was called into question two weeks ago when the ACLU of Mississippi erroneously rejected a $20,000 donation made by AHA members Todd and Diana Stiefel. However, the AHA received notification last week that the Mississippi Safe Schools Coalition, which had the final decision on sponsorship, accepted the donation.  

"We've very pleased to be able to support and promote LGBT equality alongside other sponsors," said Roy Speckhardt, executive director of the American Humanist Association. "We're proud to be standing on the side of love and acceptance instead of fear and prejudice, and we hope that the event will bring appreciation of the diversity within our society and encourage others to embrace it as a positive value that can continue to forge progress for all Americans."

The Second Chance Prom will feature dinner for guests, live entertainment, a ceremony to honor outstanding youth in Mississippi, booths highlighting organizations striving for LGBT equality and celebrity guests. The event will be held on May 8, 2010 in Downtown Tupelo, Mississippi, and other sponsors include Cat Cora and


Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens, notable British atheists, are calling on authorities to arrest Pope Benedict XVI "for crimes against humanity" in his part in a cover-up of sexual abuse in the Catholic church. According to the United Kingdom-based Sunday Times, both argue that the Pope is not protected from arrest under diplomatic immunity, and have commissioned lawyers to request the initiation of criminal proceedings, launch civil action or refer the case to the International Criminal Court.

Dawkins and Hitchens join several nontheist organizations in condemnation of the Pope, including the American Humanist Association, which has called for a criminal investigation into his alleged role in the cover-up.