June 2024

A Christian Nation

by Robert Lane

This month I want to take a break from my serialized “Journey to Humanism” and write about what has been in the news lately and that is the idea of a Christian Nation. Actually, it is more than just “lately,” the idea and the desire of many Christians for a Christian Nation goes way   back. In fact, they say that it started (the U.S.) as a Christian Nation. For me that is a scary thought. You don’t have to spend much time studying history to see the horrors of past theocracies to know it’s a bad idea. The Islamic Republic of Iran is an example of theocracy at its worst in my opinion. In this country we would probably have some ruling coalition of sorts that would start to look down their noses at the Jewish population, the not quite Christian enough Christians, the Islamic people, LGBTQ, Atheists, and so on.

The highly religious, be they Christian or otherwise, don’t want to accept or understand that secular government is what ensures that all the religions [ed note: and all people] of our society are treated the same way, starting with being tax exempt. But I believe that the religious don’t want to just govern the people but to control the people. There would be a total ban on abortion and contraceptives immediately. The idea of keeping women “Bare foot and pregnant” would be back in fashion. And it goes on.

For me, I want no theocracies, not Christian, not Islamic, not Jewish, nor any other religion. It is a little harsh and to the point, but, a quote by Emile Zola kind of sums it up for me at times. “Civilization will not attain to its perfection until the last stone from the last church falls on the last priest.”

I have another bone to pick with the religious. It is their attitude toward science. When  Creationists are dismissive about real science, it insults my intelligence, irritatingly insults my intelligence. They want people to believe almost all of the geological, geographical, biological, anthropological and other earth and life sciences are all wrong.

One of the best examples of the difference between science and religion is their approaches to the study of what turns out to be evidence of an area being post glacial.

The religious scholars had been for along time ben pointing to post glacial environments as evidence of the great flood. They were finding evidence and making it bend to their beliefs. But in the mid-1800s, science was seeing more clearly that these areas with debris, erratic’s (large boulder), etc. were evidence of glacial, paraglacial and post glacial environments. This story is depicted in a book titled “Ice Ages” by Imbre and Imbre.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it over and over again, looking at reality through the lens of science gives me great joy. Despite what the religious say about the various sciences, my degree in Physical Geography gives me an understanding about this planet, and this solar system is awesome.

Growth of Renewable Energy Generation

by Wayne Wilson

According to the Guardian, 30% of renewable energy sources accounted for more than 30% of the world’s electricity in 2023. Wind and solar accounted for 13.4% of the total.  “Although fossil fuel use in the world’s electricity system may begin to fall, it continues to play an outsized role in global energy – in transport fuels, heavy industry and heating.”

There is optimism that the trend to use non-burning generated sources of electricity will indeed succeed in helping to slow global warming. Unfortunately, in my opinion, this trend is not being supported by the “Utah Way,” as we now have laws in the books that will support coal mining and burning at least until the 2040s.

If I were King of Utah, I would declare the end of coal mining and burning. I would offer early retirement or training to all workers who were 50 or older or whose jobs would be lost in the process. I would also advocate giving all these workers a new Electric Vehicle and a home charging system. Hopefully, this would sweeten the deal for the most personal affected by the change.

The Humanist Society of Santa Barbara had a wonderful speaker last November, Professor Greg Daddis of San Diego State University, talking about the portrayal of “others” (e.g. communists, atheists, and others deemed dangerous to democracy) and the promotion of a culture of fear in Cold War era comic books targeted at young people.

It’s now available on their YouTube channel. Here is the link:

Is This Tomorrow? Cold War Comics and the American Identity

Enjoy! Please subscribe to the channel and ‘like’ the videos. 

Pride is Here

by Melanie Curtis White

In its original sense, pride was hardly something to be proud of, as it carried the meaning of “inordinate self-esteem” and “an unreasonable conceit of superiority” (as per Merriam Webster dictionary). The term is old as it has been used in this context since the 13th century in both verb and noun context. Since the 14th century, the term pride, started to take on different meanings and contexts. Interestingly enough, moving between positive and negative connotations; as is the case with many other polysemous words. With the most recent shift being the association with the modern gay rights movement which began in June 1969 with the Stonewall Inn riots. In recent years, there is still controversy of the term and the use of the rainbow icon for LGBTQ+ community identity.

Humanism is a worldview that values respect for ALL people, based on reason, empathy and concern for human beings. We believe in equality based on sex and gender. This fully includes ALL people: LGBTQ+, women, men, EVERYONE! Humanist organizations have taken positions on LGBTQ+ issues. Included are supporting same-sex marriage, campaigning for pride events and marches, supporting the ENDA (Employment Non-Discrimination Act, including EVERYONE to our meetings, activities and organization. 

Human Rights are paramount and at this time of year, are at the forefront of celebration for our LGBTQ+ community. This includes everyone, family, friends and neighbors. For many, it is a time of empowerment and feeling seen and validated. This is incredibly important for mankind as a whole. Connection in our communities is something we, as humanists, cultivate and support. 

June is a powerful month for standing up for human rights. Including, Pride and Juneteenth, as well as other activities offered around the world. Important events in our country’s history and the direct outcomes of human resiliency have been born and inspired from these events. 

The concept of Pride Month began with the Stonewall riots in June 1969. These riots for gay liberation took place over several days beginning on June 28, 1969. They began after a police raid at the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in lower Manhattan, New York City.

Later that year, in November, the first proposed Pride march to be held in New York City as a resolution at the Eastern Regional Conference of Homophile Organizations (ERCHO) meeting in Philadelphia. Craig Rodwell, his partner Fred Sargeant, Ellen Broidy and Linda Rhodes made the proposal and started this amazing movement that has spread worldwide. 

My friends, it is a time of celebration. Celebration of the human spirit, celebration of moving through adversity, celebration of differences and celebration of the evolution of humans to include each other and to champion equality for all. I hope you enjoy this rainbow filled month and that you find your voice and strength in your humanist values. Carry them into the rest of the year, into your communities, and always remember that you are important to this world and to all of us. 

Winners of the Fifth Annual Haiku Contest

TheHumanist.com announced the winners of the fifth annual Haiku Contest. The contest requested entries of haikus about humanism and humanist values. Submissions were required to be in the form of a haiku, a seemingly simple form of poetry in three lines: five syllables on line one, seven syllables on line two, and five syllables on line three.  Over one hundred entries were received and our judges chose ten of their favorites published at TheHumanist.com.

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