August 2021

Anthony Fauci, MD – AHA Humanist of the Year!

(Washington, DC, July 1, 2021)

Anthony S. Fauci, MD

Today, the American Humanist Association (AHA) announced scientist and immunologist Anthony S. Fauci, M.D. as the 2021 Humanist of the Year. AHA Executive Director Roy Speckhardt said, “We are honored that Dr. Fauci will receive our highest award at the AHA’s 80th Annual Conference. His unwavering commitment to accessible, evidence-based information and his robust communication to people about public health issues is commendable and necessary, especially in this critical time.”

Dr. Anthony S. Fauci is the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) at the U.S. National Institutes of Health, where he oversees an extensive research portfolio focused on infectious and immune-mediated diseases. As the long-time chief of the NIAID Laboratory of Immunoregulation, Dr. Fauci has made many pivotal contributions in basic and clinical research and is one of the world’s most-cited biomedical scientists.

In the US and throughout the world, he is respected for his efforts to address COVID-19. Throughout the global pandemic, his push for evidence-based solutions and emphasis on the importance of science and reason has been a guiding light in difficult times.

Dr. Fauci has identified as a humanist and mentions that he aligns with humanist values. He has said in recent interviews: “I look upon myself as a humanist. I have faith in the goodness of mankind.” and “I’m less enamored of organized religion than I am with the principles of humanity and goodness to mankind and doing the best that you can.”

Dr. Fauci is the recipient of numerous prestigious awards, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the National Medal of Science, the George M. Kober Medal of the Association of American Physicians, the Mary Woodard Lasker Award for Public Service, the Albany Medical Center Prize in Medicine and Biomedical Research, among others. He also served as the trusted advisor of seven U.S. Presidents.

Dr. Fauci’s remarks will wrap up the American Humanist Association’s 80th Annual Conference on the afternoon (EST) of July 25th. The Annual Conference will be held virtually on July 24th-25th, 2021 and, in addition to Dr. Fauci’s remarks, will feature interactive sessions, inspiring speakers, and opportunities to connect with fellow humanists.

—American Humanist Association

President’ Message

There are so many exciting things coming during this very hot summer! I hope you are staying cool, staying safe and enjoying your summer days. Our annual BBQ is coming on evening of the 12th at Sugarhouse Park. It is a free event with games, raffle prizes and lots of delicious food. We hope to see you and your families there. Bring a friend, we would love to meet them. We are taking count, so we can be prepared with plenty of food. Hop on to the FB page or group and let us know you are coming. I appreciate it. As a quick FYI, we will be starting our speaker series again and coming into the holiday season, we will have our traditional events too. I hope you are as excited as the board and I are, it is going to be a great way to round this year out.

We are witnessing many things in the political climate, as well. There is much hope and work to be done. I admonish you all to stay open minded and aware of what is happening and to vote the way you believe. It is truly important and is very helpful in furthering ideals that you believe in. Recently, I attended the American Humanist Organization Conference and was part of a wonderful group of folks that align in the same way that we do. It was awesome to hear of the work being done nationwide in helping support humanistic ideals, principles and fighting the good fight. I will be sharing many of these with you over the next few months too.

As always, I send my hope for happiness to you all. I am excited to see you at the BBQ and look forward to seeing you all in person again.

Kindest regards,
Melanie White-Curtis

A Plea For Peace

This letter to the editor was printed 20 years ago. Tawna Skousen is still an active HoU Chapter member.

We are moved by the alarming news and crisis our country is facing. This is a great nation founded in the belief that “all men are created equal” and that we are the “land of the free.” May each of us have the strength to assist in every way possible to help and comfort those who are suffering, hurting, and in fear.

Our nation is one of justice and due process and we seek humbly for wisdom, constraint, and patience as we search to bring to justice those responsible for these acts of terrorism.

May we reach out to all those affected by this tragedy, providing refuge for those who lost security, strength to those who have been weakened, and peace to those in turmoil.

In peace,
Tawna Skousen
October 2001

Summer BBQ

Note that Facebook RSVPs are appreciated but NOT necessary for attendance

Collective Failure

In a article by Leonard Pitts published by the Salt Lake Tribune about deaths from firearms, when I came to the point where he used the term “collective failure.” A simple two-word phrase, but a good one. It got me thinking about how it fits so many problems confronting humanity, and more specifically our society here in the U.S.

Collective failure is an apt term and a fitting description for my thoughts this month, which speak to the unfathomable number of human deaths and suffering caused by tobacco.

Using myself as an example, I can say that no relative, or friend has been killed by a firearm. Whereas at least five relatives in my parents’ generation, including my father, at age 60, died from smoking tobacco. I don’t mean to trivialize firearms deaths, it is a terrible problem, but by comparison, tobacco kills over 12 times as many people yearly than firearms do.

I also understand that shootings get more press coverage because they are terribly traumatic incidents and are newsworthy, especially when a mass shooting or a police shooting happens. Whereas the statistics about the deaths of over 1,300 people PER DAY in the U.S. from smoking tobacco doesn’t get the media very excited.

To paraphrase some statistics from the CDC, the leading cause of preventable deaths in the U.S. is tobacco smoking, which kills over 480,000 people per year. Which is more than the deaths from car accidents, alcohol, illegal drugs, AIDS, murder, and suicide combined.

It costs the U.S. over 225 billion in health care expenditures and more than 180 billion in lost productivity each year. In addition, smokers lose on average a decade of life, not to mention the pain and suffering they endure; such as one of my uncles struggling with emphysema for several years before it dragged him to his death.

We can understand how this continues to happen when we see that the tobacco industry spends 8.2 billion annually, which is 22.5 million per day on marketing.

We can nod in agreement when we hear the adage “money talks and bullshit walks,” when applied to tobacco. We can agree that there is collective failure here, both in society to deal with this problem as well as collective failure from the tobacco industry to own up to the fact that the purpose of their product is to extract money from their victims. These victims get addicted to their product – basically a poison that kills 480,000 people annually in the U.S., and 7,000,000 annually worldwide. Yet this industry cares nothing about the death and suffering their product causes.

I understand that a lot of jobs are at stake if we were to abolish tobacco, and I am always leery of banning anything, but, if a foreign country was somehow killing 1,300 U.S. citizens daily, we would be at war with them.

What I don’t understand is how anyone can consider themselves moral, ethical or a religious individual and still work for an industry that produces a product that causes pain, suffering and death.

—Bob Lane

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