Humanism on the Move


July 29, 2009

Atheists of Florida has recently launched a new Webcast to reach out to the community and correct misconceptions about atheism. Atheist Forum, which airs every Tuesday at 8 p.m., will feature an open forum, interviews with persons of note, information about volunteer opportunities, and current events.

"It was mostly designed to give people an option to hear an alternative point of view," said Rob Curry, president of the group.

Atheists of Florida have also made waves recently by calling for an end to the Largo mayor's sponsorship of the annual Largo Mayor's Prayer Breakfast.

Camp Quest UK will make its debut this week, entering the scene as the first children's camp for atheists, agnostics, humanists, and freethinkers in the United Kingdom (Camp Quest is also in six locations in the United States).

The first week-long camp, which encourages children to develop their critical thinking skills free from religious dogma, will be held just south of Bath, England. It includes a program of the conventional camp activities-canoeing, drama, nature hikes, singing, and swimming-and the less conventional, such as role-playing evolution games.

Samantha Stein, a postgraduate psychology student who set up the event, said, "At Camp Quest, children aren't taught that 'There is no God.' Instead, they are taught to come to their own conclusions, but more importantly, that 'It's OK not to believe in a god'…We believe that the positive influence of Camp Quest UK will help to develop children into happy, healthy and respectful adults."

The camp started on Monday, the 27th and will conclude on Friday the 3st. The theme for this summer's camp is evolution in commemoration of Charles Darwin's 200th anniversary.

The Indiana Atheist Bus Campaign (INABC) reached a settlement this week with the Bloomington Public Transportation Corp (BPTC), ending a lawsuit INABC launched against the transit company for refusing to display their bus ad, which read, "You can be good without God." According to the agreement, BPTC will post the ad on as many buses and as for as long as INABC desires, and INABC will pay the standard rate normally charged for advertisements of comparable size. BPTC will also reimburse the ACLU-Indiana, who filed the lawsuit on INABC's behalf, for a significant portion of their legal expenses.

Charlie Sitzes, spokesperson for the INABC stated, "The Indiana Atheist Bus Campaign is very grateful to the efforts of the ACLU and the many supporters who have made the Indiana Atheist Bus Campaign such a success. It is a shame that it is necessary to resort to litigation in order to express atheist views."

The lawsuit was filed on May 9, 2009, after the ad was rejected because it was deemed "controversial" in violation of BPTC advertising policy. Later that month, Bloomington Mayor Mark Kruzan instructed the city's legal department not to represent BPTC because it would be tantamount to "promoting government sanctioned censorship."

New York City Atheists has launched a bus advertisement in Manhattan to much applause. The ad, which reads "You don't have to believe in God to be a moral or ethical person," is on approximately two dozen of New York City Transit's 981 busses that service the city.

Kenneth Bronstein, president of New York City Atheists, said, "Many, many atheists were so proud that we finally put a sign up. We announced to the world that we're around. We're here."