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. 56, No. 3, May-June

Black Holes: How Secret Military and Intelligence Appropriations Suck Up Your Tax Dollars
Corrupt and undemocratic conditions within the United States government were evident last fall when Congress siphoned a half-billion dollars from an illegal slush fund maintained by the secretive spy satellite agency, the National Reconnaissance Office,...
Dealing with Death and Parents
Why, in our culture, can we applaud violence and death on film but shy away from discussing how to handle both the death of one parent and the survival of the other, who is then left alone? Magazines print pieces suggest, ing how to handle moving away,...
Forecasting the Future of Religion: The Next 50 Years
Toward the end of his life, Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to John Adams, wrote his prediction for the future of religion in the new American nation. Jefferson predicted that Unitarianism would soon become the religion of a majority of Americans because...
Free Will: A Human, Fuzzy, Chaotic Process
In keeping with the policy of The Humanist to consider the diverse social, political, and philosophical viewpoints of its readers, this feature has been reinstituted to allow expression of alternative opinions to issues previously raised within these...
Funding for the Culture War
A cultural war for the hearts and minds of Americans has been raging for at least two decades. James Dobson, the right,wing leader of Focus on the Family, in his book Children at Risk, promotes the idea of a "civil war" and says, "Bloody battles are...
Learning to Teach
Each summer, the International Women's Writing Guild moves onto the campus of Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs for its annual conference. Days later, hundreds of participants from all over the country and the world leave. Many of these women are...
Private: Keep Out!
If the ultraconservative Heritage Foundation has its way, Congress will "begin a new national debate to help renew the role of religion in American life' " It will pass a resolution "that data on religious practice are useful for policymakers and researchers...
Ratings and the V-Chip
The CDA makes it a felony--punishable by a $250,000 fine and up to six years in federal prison--to post "indecent" material to the Internet or Worldwide Web if accessible by minors. It also requires television networks to devise a comprehensive ratings...
Reality Check: Inequality and the American Family
Anyone who even occasionally turns on the television, listens to the radio, or opens a newspaper knows that this country has been talking up a storm about the family. "Family values:" the "crisis in the family," the "dysfunctional family," the "breakdown...
Spirituality - from a Skeptical Believer's Point of View
The typical humanist's view of spirituality astutely (and sometimes mockingly) pokes holes in the New Age nostrums that are only too prevalent nowadays. Such disparagement is certainly merited when spiritual belief becomes an ideology that blocks scientific...
The Condom King of Thailand
Mechai squats at the edge of his solid teak-wood coffee table--the surface a bright mosaic of red, green, blue, and yellow condoms. Nick-named "The Condom King of Thailand" (or Lord Condom, as Prince Philip once dubbed him), Mechai Viravaidya wears many...
The Myth of Progress
Progress is the process whereby the human race is getting rid of whiskers, the veriform appendix, and God. --H. L. Mencken Throughout much of 1995 we were bombarded with a hailstorm of news reports clueing us in to what a wonderful thing progress...
The New Republican "populism."(Humanistic Economics)(Column)
Pundits and politicians celebrate the "globalization" of our market economy. According to Time magazine, all economists believe that "free trade is a long term boon that delivers better bargains on consumer goods and boosts demand for the products of...
The Socialism of Fools
Swarms of cringers, suckers, dough-faces, lice of politics"--to borrow Walt Whitman's timely invective--continue doing their worst. The earliest TV ad in Bill Clinton's reelection campaign was a ringing endorsement of the death penalty, and in mid-march...
The U.N. Withdrawal Act and the U.S. Debt to the U.N
On October 24, 1995--the fiftieth anniversary of the United Nations--frosh Representative Joe Scarborough (Republican--Florida) introduced a bill in Congress to, as the old slogan goes, "get the U.S. out of the U.N. and get the U.N. out of the US" Scarborough's...
The Wheel of Violence
all of us--men and women alike--have experienced violence of some kind. All too often, we see it first in our own families or witness it in the families of others. Maybe a father shakes his son to quiet him, a sister hits a younger brother, a child gets...
Toward "Hired Gun" Control
Preparing a book of my most severe essays, Crimes of Culture, has me thinking about libel. Since the word means "a false statement that damages a person's reputation," no writer respectful of the truth intrinsic in scrupulous documentation should worry...
Trooping to Bosnia: An Ode to Virtual Democracy
In the distinctly postmodern Clinton presidency, where illusion has totally supplanted reality, promise is everything, performance nothing. Thus when the president said that he would seek congressional approval before committing U.S. troops to Bosnia--even...