Humanism on the Move


For Humanist Network News

July 14, 2010


Student Atheist Group Protests Professor’s Dismissal

The University of Illinois has fired a professor for expressing anti-gay sentiments. Kenneth Howell, a professor of Catholicism, released an e-mail to his students addressing his beliefs on the immorality of homosexuality, an act the university deemed unacceptable. The Atheists, Agnostics and Free-Thinkers of the University of Illinois, however, released a statement condemning Howell’s dismissal. 

“In spite of all our differences Dr. Howell and AAF are both committed to the open and free discussion of all topics of merit,” the statement read. “We are equally committed to freedom of speech and to the virtue of public debate. We each see the university has a special place a nation should set aside for the free exchange of all ideas–offensive to some or otherwise. A campus is supposed to be a marketplace of ideas, not an exercise in authoritarian squelching of unpopular voices.”

Florida Atheists File Prayer Law Suit

The Atheists of Florida filed a federal law suit in response to the vocal prayer preceding each Lakeland, Florida city commission meeting. Though clergy members from various religions have been invited to lead the prayer, Ellen Beth Wachs, president of the Atheists of Florida, believes a moment of silence to be a more respectful alternative.

"It offends nobody, and everybody can choose what they want to do during that moment of silence,” Wachs told Tampa Bay Online. “If you choose to pray you're free to pray. If you want to do a grocery list during that moment of silence you're free to do a grocery list. Nobody knows what you're doing, but nobody's stopping you from praying."

American Atheists Speak Out Against World Net Daily Writer

The American Atheists spoke out against Crissy Satterfield’s endorsement of vandalism of a North Carolina Secular Association billboard (the group put up the billboard with additional funds provided by FreeThoughtAction, an adjunct of the American Humanist Association). Satterfield, a writer for, asserted that atheists had vandalized her beliefs for years, hence the vandalism was suitable retribution.   

“It's one thing to disagree with what other people–Atheists or Muslims or Christians–are saying, but endorsing violence and incivility in the form of vandalism crosses an important line,” said Ed Buckner, president of American Atheists. “When people are intimidated by physical violence for politely (or strongly) stating their views, the First Amendment rights of everyone in our society are threatened.”

 Amazing Meeting 8 Held In Las Vegas

The Amazing Meeting 8, a four-day convention featuring critical thinking workshops and an array of engaging skeptic lectures, was held in Las Vegas last week. Featured speakers included Paul Kurtz, David Javerbaum and Richard Dawkins.