The Humanist

The Humanist is a magazine focusing on critical inquiry and social concern from a humanist perspective. Published by the American Humanist Association, The Humanist covers everything from science and religion to politics and popular culture.

Articles from Vol. 55, No. 1, January-February

A Quantum Leap for the Right to Die
It was 9:00 PM on the evening of November 8--election day, 1994. Since early afternoon, newscasters and conservative pundits had been pronouncing the nationwide election results the most sweeping mandate for the Republican platform in over 100 years....
Democracy and Sustainability
In recent years, sustainable development has become a concept more sacrosanct than motherhood itself. But just as motherhood now admits of many definitions, sustainable development can have very diverse implications for our conception of ecology, social...
Environmentalists Cause Malaria! (and Other Myths of the "Wise Use" Movement)
Toward the end of her life, the late Dr. Dixy Lee Ray, former chair of the Atomic Energy Commission, former governor of the state of Washington, and professor emeritus of marine biology, became a spokesperson for the various anti-environmentalist groups...
MTV and Morality
Religious moralists have always hated the music of youth culture. Jazz, rhythm and blues, rock 'n' roll, and now rap have been excoriated, condemned, and even banned throughout their histories. In recent times, however, Christian pop-culture critics...
Neo-Fascism and the Religious Right
After the collapse of the Soviet Union's communist system, most Americans breathed a sigh of relief that the danger of totalitarianism had largely passed. There was a similar relief when fascism of both the German and Italian varieties was defeated during...
Personal Insights from the 1994 Humanists of the Year
Mary Morain is past-president of the International Society for General Semantics, has served on birth-control boards in Massachusetts and San Francisco, and has lectured and written widely on the need for population-growth control. Lloyd Morain is past-president...
Public Policy and the 'Wicked Stepmother': The Ideological War against Institutional Child Care
Call yourself an advocate for youth in America, and your position on institutionalizing adolescents is supposed to be clear: you must be against it. De-institutionalization has no firmer constituency than the professional child-welfare movement. Although...
Reaping the Whirlwind
On november 8, 1994, I joined many other citizens who voted for Democrats in order to stop Republicans. To no avail. The Republicans will now control both the Senate and the House of Representatives. So let's blame them for fighting dirty, for appealing...
Sodomy and Scripture: A Message to Michael Lerner
As the editor and publisher of Tikkun, a progressive Jewish publication, you are free to publish whatever you wish--including "Homosexuality and Family-Centered Judaism" by Reuven Kimmelman in last July's issue. (See my reference to this matter in the...
The Feminist as Humanist
The media have done a remarkable job of distorting and discrediting the meaning of the word feminism. The specific techniques by which this verbal mayhem was accomplished have been documented in detail in Susan Faludi's Backlash. It is possible that...
The Myth of a Liberal Media
It is a widely accepted belief in this country that the media suffer from a liberal bias. Television pundits, radio talk-show hosts, and political leaders--including presidents of both parties--help propagate this belief, and their views are widely disseminated...
Toward an American Renaissance in Art and Ideas
The above quote from Leonardo da Vinci sums up not only what the first Renaissance leaders did but what we in America must do: provide a renewed vision for our age. The fountainhead? Now, as in Leonardo's time: ancient Greece and the prototype of the...
Uh, Oh!
November 8, 1994, bears a certain resemblance to December 7, 1941--only this time Americans did it to themselves. Clearly, Americans are unhappy with government. This was evident in George Bush's defeat and Ross Perot's respectable third-party showing...
Welfare-Bashing Redux: The Return of Charles Murray
In 1984, a little-known social theorist named Charles Murray published a book entitled Losing Ground: American Social Policy, 1950--80. Murray argued that our policy solutions to poverty were actually exacerbating social problems. Above all, he blamed...
Who Owns Indigenous Peoples' DNA?
Aboriginal leaders have long struggled to control native lands. Now some have begun to worry that they may have to fight for control of native genes. In August 1993, Pat Mooney, the president of Rural Advancement Foundation International (RAFI), a nonprofit...