Humanist Voices in Verse: Fran Schmidt

We’re pleased to feature a new poet this week, Fran Schmidt! Fran is a retired educator, trainer, consultant, and curriculum writer on peace education for students, teachers, and parents. Fran has facilitated peacemaking training workshops throughout the US, Canada, Europe, and Jamaica. She is a certified trainer in Kingian Nonviolence by the Dr. Martin Luther King Institute for Social Change in Atlanta, Alternatives to Violence Program, and the World of Difference.

She has received numerous awards including the Golden Balloon Award by the World Children’s Day Foundation, Common Cause Public Service Achievement Award, the Martin Luther King. Jr. Vision Award, Dominican Educational Award by Barry University, Peace Educator of the Year from the Consortium Of Peace Research, Education, and Development,  and the 2010 Psychologists for Social Responsibility Lifetime Commitment to Peace Education.

Fran is currently a member of the Humanists of the Treasure Coast, which serves Jupiter, Stuart, and Vero Beach.

If you’d like to contribute original poetry to Humanist Voices in Verse, write to with “Poetry” in the subject line. Please send no more than three poems for consideration per week.



Just the name
Warms my heart
I feel connected and attached
To the human family
All over the world.
Concerned about their
Human needs and human dignity
You know, The human feeling.
What happens to them
Happens to me
Knowing that all people are valuable.
Life is sacred.

Many religions are based in selfishness
People mainly pray for themselves
Care about their soul and where it is going
To Heaven or hell.

Religious people live in today’s world and the dark ages.
believe in wars, killing, taking life,
Because God is on their side.
And in their righteous belief system
Believe some people are “evil.”
And killing them makes the “world” safer.

Throughout history there have been
enlightened people.
Socrates who questioned 
the young people In Athens.
Was found dangerous by the controlling elite
and was sentenced to death
But made him take his own life.
They wanted “clean” hands.
Thank you Socrates. 
Many people today are using the Socratic method
To arrive at truth.
Not asking for answers but for questions.

Tom Paine who wrote The Age of Reason
And dared ask questions 
Was too dangerous to live.
“my country is the world and
my religion is to do good.”
Too bad, Tom. You got to go!
But know that many people
Are using reason to arrive at “truth.”
Being a humanist
And a free thinker has opened my mind
To become the human being
That I am comfortable being.
I am enriched by the writings of
Arthur Miller and Mark Twain
And all the other free thinkers.

Many women throughout history
Have questioned and fought
For women’s rights and dignity
While advocating reason and logic.
Jane Addams, Germain Greer,
Who dared challenge the status quo.
Thank you for freeing us!

To be free thinker
Is the greatest gift one can experience.
And give to oneself.
At MLK said,
“free at last, free at last.
Thank God almighty, free at last.”

—Fran Schmidt

GOD – Religion

I am asked, “Do you believe in God”?
I pause before I answer.

I think.  I want to be truthful.
Here I am seventy-seven years old
And yet, I hesitate.
No more! It’s time for my truth.

God is  the source of all energy
That connects all people and nature
To the Universe.
This means that we are connected
To each other, no matter where we live.
What we do to others is what we do to ourselves.

I believe God is not a person,
It’s the invisible strength that people
Need to face each day.

People want to believe in a power
Greater than they.
This gives them comfort and peace.
It’s blind faith in something
That is more powerful than they.
Humans have made up stories to
Give meaning to what they don’t understand.

Thinking people question
Stories told in the bible.
Noah is swallowed by a whale and
Doesn’t die?
Jesus and the story of the Immaculate Conception.
God gives Noah instructions on how
To build a boat
And causes the great floods.
It’s okay if millions of people drown.

On and on, stories abound
Most of them just stories.
Like fairy tales, or parables..
But, For millions of people
They are guides to their lives.

Most wars are backed by religion.
Or are carried out in its name
In God we trust
God be with you
God bless America.
God equals our way of life.

At times religion is used as a way to
Take away life.
The burning of the “witches.”
The inquisition

In a way religion causes people to become selfish.
Always asking God to give to them.
It’s not usually “what can we do today,
God, to strengthen our connections
To each other?”

People and governments use God/religion
To carry out wars
While carrying out bombing and killing,
They speak out and, say, “God bless …..”
After all, killing is too brutal, and our minds
‘Make our cause just.”
It makes wars possible.

—Fran Schmidt