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. 2, March-April

A Letter to Pope John Paul II
December 5, 1995 Your Holiness: No doubt you will be surprised to receive a letter from a secular humanist who does not share your religious views but who subscribes to our common goals of peaceful resolution of conflicts and peace and goodwill to...
Birth of a Nation in Cyberspace
In the tiny new nation of Eritrea, East Africa, an experiment in government is under way. An important adjunct to this experiment is the concept of virtual community, as practiced by 500 Eritrean citizens who "inhabit" Dehai, the cyberspace version of...
Catholics and the Religious Right
There is a widespread assumption that the Christian Coalition and many of its allied far-right groups are Protestants of fundamentalist or evangelical persuasion. The Christian Coalition in December 1995 reinforced that assumption in public statements...
Class Struggle: It's Here. It's Queer. Get Used to It
Class struggle has not suddenly broken out among queers; it's been with us all along. Certainly long before gay Republicans organized Log Cabin Clubs across the country, long before Andrew Sullivan became editor of the once-liberal New Republic, and...
Crimes against Humanity
On December 22, 1995, 75-year-old Pope John Paul Il and his Pontifical Commission for the Family handed down the latest instructions from God. Millions of the faithful worldwide hung on every divinely inspired word. Just in time for the Christian commemoration...
Crystals Light
When PBS broadcast "Healing and the Mind," Bill Moyers' reasoned foray into alternative medicine, I thought of my Aunt Kay, a true believer in the healing power of crystals. Convinced that crystals could also prevent future afflictions, she kept her...
Minimum Wage Nonsense
What's the difference between buying a tomato and hiring someone to work for you? If market economics did not so dominate our intellectual land, scape, people would laugh at the absurdity of that question. For humanists, no issue can be more important...
My Father's Keeper
We buried my mother on my twenty-fourth wedding anniversary, after her short battle with pancreatic cancer. She succumbed to the disease a few days after surgery in the early morning hours during her stay at a hospital in southern New Jersey. Although...
Private Property
Sandwiched between the Donut Shop and Ford Jewelers on Portland's bustling Broadway Avenue is Our Children's Store, whose raison d'etre, as a sign rendered in a child's scrawl explains, is: Holiday Gifts Raising Charitable Funds for Portland-Area Children...
The Freedom of Susan Smith
Most of us strongly object to the idea, raised from time to time, that we don't have free will. Such a suggestion seems almost unthinkable, or needlessly pessimistic, and we ordinarily reject it out of hand. After all, not having free will seems to...
The New "Parental Rights" Crusade
Last, year, the Christian Coalition and many religious-right supporters began calling for laws and constitutional amendments guaranteeing "parental rights" so that parents could raise their children without governmental interference. It was one of the...
The Sexist Circuits of English
To act in a way that is both sexist and racist, to maintain one's class privilege, it is only necessary to act in the customary, ordinary, usual, even polit manner. --Joanna Russ, How to Suppress Women's Writing In the 1960s, we said to ourselves that...
The Vision Thing
The Republican feeding frenzy on the national Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting has been as stunning an example of arrogantly dogmatic political idiocy as any in recent memory....
Upholding Human Rights and Environmental Justice
The murder of Chico Mendes on December 22, 1998, in a remote section of the Brazilian Amazon, made inter, national headlines largely because of Mendes' connection to the global environmental movement. "Brazilian Who Fought to Protect Amazon Is Killed"...
Where's the Party?
I'm young, I'm Ivy League-educated, and I'm politically disenfranchised. When I graduated from college this past December, I thought that I would assume certain social responsibilities. But the conventional American political institutions-namely, the...