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. 57, No. 3, May-June

A Perspective on Belief
Is it possible to be an idealist and not a fanatic? I ask the question as an intensely personal one, as well as theoretical inquiry. For over the years, I've been involved in various "alternative" movements: political, radical, New Age spiritual,...
Cheeseburger in Paradise
I was not ready. My Talmud study group was preparing the class for the day, but we got ahead of ourselves; perhaps that was the problem. As we waded through the Aramaic text, we reached a troubling section. Abbaye, a great sage, the ancient volume...
Critical Observations of an Independent Auditor
The following is a portion of a report believed to have been written by an alien intelligence superior to our own during a visit to Earth. Discovered in Antartica, this remarkable document was damaged in its recovery. Only through the painstaking efforts...
Global Warning
If a modern-day Rip Van Winkle had fallen asleep a decade ago to awaken this month, he would surely be shocked by the stories in his morning newspaper. The absence of the Soviet Union would surely catch his eye. But Rip might also be startled to observe...
How to Kick a National Habit
If successful, President Clinton's election-inspired proposals to curb tobacco smoking by teenagers will help reduce the most preventable cause of ill health in America (an estimated 450,000 smoking-related deaths occur in the United States each year),...
Keep Marijuana Illegal - for Teens
Many adults, especially if they hold public office, profess to be alarmed at the increasing prevalence of marijuana use among teenagers. Teens, on the other hand, don't seem particularly worried. The rise in the number of adolescent marijuana users over...
Military Policing of the United States
The current rush to law and order via military policing of the United States violates basic principles of democracy and American tradition. Until recently, the only large scale military policing of the nation had occurred in the post-Civil War South,...
Omissions
A few months ago, I wrote my first obituary. It was for my friend Jeff, and I omitted how he had died. I could have written anything, but I simply wrote that Jeff was forty four, loved birds and travel, and I claimed that he cared deeply about life....
Race Rage and Denial: The Media and the O.J. Trials
There were remarkable contrasts between the media coverage of the verdicts in the criminal trial of O. J. Simpson and the civil proceedings. The contrast was not in the amount of attention paid to either event, as the most astonishing aspect of this...
Reporting the World through Conglomerate-Colored Glasses
Most people realize that the ABC television network (and news department) is owned by Disney/Capital Cities, NBC by General Electric, CBS by Westinghouse, and CNN by Times-Warner. But one would never know these facts by watching the nightly news....
Second Thoughts about Cloning Humans
Scientists announced last February that they had cloned the first large adult mammal. Despite President Clinton's immediate response that no federal funds will be used for research on human cloning (because, in his words, "human life is unique, born...
Subsidizing Pollution
The "polluter pays principle" is an idea with which it is hard to quibble. Simply put, when we act in ways that hurt the environment--when we harm other people, property, or nature through pollution or resource depletion--we ought to be held accountable...
The Grand Inquisitors
Fourteen percent of the American population, given the opportunity, would impose a Christian theocracy on the country. This figure comes from a survey conducted in 1996 by the Gallup International Institute for the American Jewish Committee, the latter...
The Holocaust: Denial and Memory
They caught Eichmann." My mother flew into the kitchen, hissing an epithet through tight lips--a mixed curse and hosanna that reverberated against the knotty Dine walls. I was sitting at the kitchen table with our neighbor and my mother's best...
The Partnership for a Candor-Free America
The most famous anti-drug commercial in history--a frying egg and a somber warning, "This is your brain on drugs"--is badly in need of a sequel. Our new spot opens with a wide-angle shot of a press conference featuring the president of ABC Television....
The Tenacity of Error in the Treatment of Addiction
It was a hot, humid July evening and I knew that the room wouldn't be air conditioned. I also knew that the atmosphere would be stuffy and repressive. It had been more than a decade since I'd been to an Al-Anon meeting but, strangely drawn to return,...
Vouchers: The Heart of the Matter
In a November 1990 pastoral letter entitled "In Support of Catholic Elementary and Secondary Schools," the bishops of the Catholic Church in the United States announced that among several goals to be accomplished by 1997 would be "new initiatives...
Who Is D. James Kennedy and Why Should We Fear Him?
One of the important far right preachers with a highly political message is televangelist D. James Kennedy of Coral Ridge Ministries in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Although he is less visible in the media than Pat Robertson and James Dobson, he is almost...