Learn more about Matt Bulger, the American Humanist Association’s new programs assistant! Matt comes to the AHA from the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law where he formulated policy papers on civil rights issues related to housing, employment, and voting rights. Matt has also interned in the offices of Senator Al Franken (D-MN) and Representative Travis Childers (D-MS). He is a graduate of American University in Washington DC and founder of the American University Rationalists and Atheists.
HNN: What’s your educational background?
Matt: I am currently attending the American University in Washington DC, and will graduate at the end of this semester. I chose to major in Political Science because I wanted to further my understanding not only of public policy, but of political theory in general.
HNN: How did you first learn about humanism?
Matt: I first learned about humanism through my only atheist friend back home in Plano, Texas. I remember us discussing whether humans could still be ethical without a belief in a deity, and she introduced me to humanism at that time.
HNN: Did you grow up in a religious tradition?
Matt: I grew up in a non-practicing Reform Judaism household that only attended religious services on the high holidays. My parents, while not explicitly religious, introduced me to the religion and allowed me to decide for myself as to whether I wanted to be a part of it.
HNN: Is there a single moment in your memory that helped you decide, “I’m a humanist/atheist”?
Matt: Growing up in Texas I was exposed to some of the worst parts of fundamentalist religion, and as a result was non-religious for the majority of my life. I became an atheist in 9th grade after reading Voltaire’s essays, and I became a humanist shortly after.
HNN: What interested you most about working for the AHA?
Matt: The history of the AHA and the prominence of many of its founders and leaders are both extremely impressive qualities that have piqued my interest in the organization for quite some time. However, I find myself most interested in the AHA because of the humanist inspired billboards the organization periodically places in locations across the nation.
HNN: Tell us about your campus freethought group and how you got involved.
Matt: I founded American University Rationalists and Atheists with two friends my freshman year of college and have subsequently led the organization until this year. AURA frequently participates in friendly debates with religious organizations on campus, in addition to holding general body meetings once or twice a month. We have also brought numerous guest speakers to campus, including evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins and Freedom from Religion Foundation President Dan Barker.
HNN: Have you read any good books lately? What’s your favorite book?
Matt: I recently started reading Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace, which is so far a really interesting book. My favorite book of all time would most likely be American Gods by Neil Gaiman.
HNN: If you could have dinner with any three people (living or dead), who would they be?
Matt: Fortunately, one of the three people I would have dinner with is alive, so only two miraculous resurrections would need to occur. I would chose to have dinner with Cambridge professor Aubrey De Grey, liberal political theorist John Rawls, and super-nerd Gary Gygax.