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. 69, No. 2, March-April

Dissenting
In recent years (notably in California in 2008) the religious right has adopted the strategy of diverting attention from the merits of same-sex marriage--the social stability benefits, personal rights, absence of harm to others, and so forth--to the...
Evangelizing: The Good, the Bad, & the Ugly
I HAVE OFTEN been called an "evangelical atheist." Technically, evangelism is the Christian practice of proselytizing, of bringing souls to Christ. But for the sake of argument I'm employing the looser definition--evangelizing as an attempt to convert...
Humanist Profile: Ulysses S. Grant (1822-1885)
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] "If we are to have another contest in the near future of our national existence, I predict that the dividing line will not be Mason's and Dixon's, but between patriotism and intelligence on the one side, and superstition,...
Invocation Irritation: What's to Be Done about Government Prayer?
THE TOWN COUNCIL of Newton, New Jersey, recently agreed to end a sixty-year tradition of opening its meetings with the Lord's Prayer after a resident pointed out the obvious violation of church-state separation. When I read about incidents like...
Israel in Gaza
ISRAEL'S ATTEMPT to wipe out Hamas is understandable, but dumb. No country in the world is going to ignore the provocation of rockets being launched from neighboring territory day after day. If Mexico had a group of anti-imperialist South Americans...
McGraths's Practice: A Hero on All Fronts
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] IN GUILFORD, CONNECTICUT, there is an old building with offices on the second floor above Shepherd's Tavern on Water Street. The staircase smells like a highway motel or an old resort in the Pocono Mountains. At the edge of...
More Than a Shout-Out
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] ONE SENTENCE in the inaugural address of Barack Hussein Obama has become the talk of humanists and freethinkers: "We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus, and non-believers" Commonly referred to as the new...
Pedaling Our Way to Energy Independence
DURING THE 2008 U.S. presidential campaign the buzzword "energy independence" reemerged atop the nation's political agenda. U.S. policy makers and talking heads have increasingly declared the need for energy self-sufficiency. According to economist...
Presenting Humanism
WHETHER WE USE terms like religious liberal, spiritual progressive, or simply the religious left, believers of a more moderate stripe can be a bit of an enigma to humanists. In contrast with the better known religious right, religious liberals generally...
Prosocial Maintenance in the Age of Religious Decline
"Religion, then, as a saving resource for the human species cannot gain much mileage from the origins of morality. But the second part of the claim, that relating to maintenance of social morality, remains more persuasive."--Alexander Saxton, Religion...
Religion in the Ranks: Members of the Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers Speak Out
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] THE BLAZING AFTERNOON SUN crowned the emerald-green valley of Tagab, Afghanistan, where Adam Jennings patrolled as a Special Forces medical sergeant in the fall of 2007. But as the sun crawled below the horizon, his Humvee...
The Humanitarian Impulse: Not "God's Work" for This Veteran
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] "IT'S HARD FOR AMERICANS to be humble" Mike Boehm reflects, while talking with me on the phone about his humanitarian work. Boehm is being realistic, not critical, about the typical privileges and comforts Americans enjoy....
The Issue at Hand
THIS WAS THE WINTER of our renewed content. Or at least the signal of ideologically better days to come as George W. Bush vacated the White House and Barack Obama was sworn in as the forty-fourth President of the United States. (I joined the masses...
The Obama National Security Team: Old Wine in Old Bottles
IT'S IRONIC THAT, in unveiling his new national security team, then President-elect Obama would state: "The time has come for a new beginning, a new dawn of American leadership." Though offering himself as a transformative leader who represents a dramatic...
Who Killed Neil Beagley?
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] NEIL BEAGLEY DIED LAST JUNE in Oregon. He had a urinary tract blockage that could have been corrected by a fairly simple catheterization. It wasn't corrected though, because Nell's parents had taught him that God, not man,...
Who's Your Guide? the Burden of Proof Falls Hard on Nonreligious Conscientious Objectors
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] ON SEPTEMBER 2, 2006, Agustin Aguayo--an army specialist who had gone AWOL the day before while his unit was gearing up for deployment to Iraq--emerged from hiding to engage in an unlikely activity. "I'm about to turn myself...