Category: Humanist Voices

A Personal Take on Government Support for Clergy

By Paul Heffron

The new federal CARES Act, designed to offset hardships because of the COVID-19 crisis, has highlighted again the controversy over government support of religion. CARES provides loans to cover the payrolls of businesses and nonprofits that have been harmed economically by the virus-related shutdowns. They are forgiven if the recipients keep their workers on staff.

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A Humanist Brings Secular Values to Senate Run

By Ross Meisner

I am a secular humanist, an atheist, and a proud member of HumanistsMN. And I am running for the Minnesota State Senate in the Fridley/Columbia Heights area. It’s a strange experience to run for public office: part issues advocacy, part popularity contest, part punching bag, and part community therapist. The motivation to run came after years of general activism and community support, when my professional and personal environment allowed me to embrace the mantra to be part of the solution. What most energizes me is the possibility of bringing clear-headed and unflinching secular values to the MN legislature.

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COVID-19 Flight Cancellations Complicate a Return Home from Amsterdam

By Ellie Haylund

It’s an odd juxtaposition. Imagine the city center of Amsterdam, The Netherlands, March 2019. Tourists from absolutely everywhere in the world bobbing and weaving across the historic hub. On our street, just a few blocks from the notorious, but remarkably commercial, Red Light District, things are tamer but buzzing. Canal tour boats pass periodically, bikers whiz by, and passersby are mostly locals.
One year later: March 2020. A city nearly overrun with tourists year-round has been silenced.

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The Boy Scouts of America: Looking for Corruption in All the Wrong Places

By David Perry

The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) has filed for bankruptcy. This comes in the wake of 275 sexual abuse lawsuits, with as many as 1,400 more to come. The organization has already paid more than $150 million in settlements and legal costs and it seems to be only the beginning. Ninety percent of the abuse took place more than 30 years ago. Since 2002, 17 states have created laws that allow victims to file charges beyond the normal statute of limitations, permitting these cases to move forward. Sexual abuse is not something new to the BSA, even if public knowledge of it is.

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Stop Santa Truthism! It Softens Children’s Brains.

By Erica Klein

Let me start in the traditional Festivus fashion: I HAVE A LOT OF PROBLEMS WITH YOU PEOPLE! The particular problem I want to talk about today is Santa Claus. Specifically, what I call Santa Truthism, which means telling the Santa story like a true story. Santa Truthism softens up kids’ brains so those brains are susceptible to weird stuff. What is weird stuff? Weird stuff means astrology, Bigfoot, biorhythms, chemtrails, dianetics, energy healing, foot reflexology, homeopathy, Holocaust denial (I’m only up to the letter H!), and a million other make-believe things that too many people believe are true.

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Reimagining Humanism: Let’s Promote Widespread Human Flourishing

By Jerry Smith

The meanings of the words “humanism” and “humanist” have evolved considerably from the time of the Renaissance. Then humanists were people, like Erasmus of Rotterdam, who discovered, read, and often translated writings of classical Greece and Rome, secular works that lay outside the dominant Christian worldview. 
Much more recently, humanism has been defined by three “Humanist Manifestos,” each emphasizing secularism, naturalism, and humanitarianism.

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First-Person Humanism: Questioning the Biblical Filter in Search of Truth

By Justin Bovee

Life’s fulfillment emerges from individual participation in the service of humane ideals. ~ Humanist Manifesto III
Humanism. A life lived in the service of others, lacking dogma, focusing on compassion and a better world for all humans based on the best evidence and the eternal search for truth. In contrast, had you asked me 10 years ago where my purpose for living came from, I would have opened with the Westminster Shorter Catechism: Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.  

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Cohousing: An Antidote to Loneliness, a Path to Community

By Katherine Johnson

“Humans are social by nature and find meaning in relationships. Humanists long for and strive toward a world of mutual care and concern, free of cruelty and its consequences, where differences are resolved cooperatively without resorting to violence. The joining of individuality with interdependence enriches our lives, encourages us to enrich the lives of others, and inspires hope of attaining peace, justice, and opportunity for all.” That’s from Humanist Manifesto III. It has special significance for me right now because I’m devoting a great deal of time and energy to creating the first energy-efficient intentional community in the Twin Cities. 

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A Story of Persecution, Survival, and Annihilation with Lessons for Today

By Bob Aderhold

We were in Lübeck almost two years ago, walking down the street, when we came upon a little brass plaque, about four inches square, embedded in the sidewalk. My Aunt Ursula, who grew up there, explained it was a memorial to a Holocaust victim who lived at that address. I’d never seen these before. It had been a long time since I was last in Germany.

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Government Can Work – If It Follows the Evidence

By David Schultz

Hope is great when it comes to miracles. Belief is terrific when it comes to the Tooth Fairy. But neither hope nor belief should guide the making of public policy to solve our nation’s or Minnesota’s pressing problems, especially now. The making of good laws and government programs should be driven by facts and good evidence regarding what does work, otherwise taxpayer dollars maybe wasted.  Unfortunately, often that is not the case.

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First-Person Humanism: Becoming Captain of My Own Rational Ship

By Ellie Haylund

My “descent” into humanism began, like many of us, before I even had a name for it. At the ripe old age of 14, I had a stark realization: the concept of a god seemed silly. Magic was the word I used when I nervously confessed to my then (and still) best friend, Jenna. I grew up going to church, but it was a progressive, open-minded Congregational community that encouraged exploration.

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Local Humanist Leaders Explore Ways to Make Humanism Thrive

By Richard Logan

How do we build a thriving secular humanist future? How do we compete with organized religions, especially fundamentalist ones, which offer their members compelling narratives, a sense of meaning, a welcoming community, and comfort in times of distress? A panel of local humanist leaders explored those questions on Oct. 11 at First Unitarian Society of Minneapolis.

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Why I Write — And Why You Should Too

By Mary McLeod

My propensity to write letters to the editor is well known, but not well understood. When someone says to me, “I saw your last letter in the paper, and agreed with what you wrote,” I sometimes respond, “Well, I write a lot, because I consider the letters section our equivalent of the ‘public square.’ I’d love to see your letter published, too.”

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First-Person Humanism: Engaging the Younger Generation

By Michael Rauser

What do you believe in? It’s a question that everyone gets at some point in their life. For a lot of people, the answer depends on when and where you ask them. I know that answer has changed for me a lot. I grew up in a very religious family and realized at a young age that I was not very religious, or in fact religious at all. However, religion fascinated me.

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Getting in Touch with My Inner Conservative

By Harlan Garbell

Most of my life (yes, even including childhood) I have considered myself a “liberal.” This is no accident. My parents were dyed-in-the-wool FDR liberals, and union members, who always identified with the underdog. I recall despising Joe McCarthy as a kid while watching him on television demeaning his opponents.

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