They’ve started the “Humanist Identity Project.”
As this email I received (kind of like a chain letter sans the superstition) says:
THE HUMANIST IDENTITY EMAIL
I’m not going to suggest that forwarding this email to five friends will cause a miracle to occur in your life. Nor will you be met with a streak of bad luck if you don’t forward it. (As a humanist, I never take such superstitious emails seriously, and I usually delete them a soon as I receive them.) However, even though this email claims no supernatural powers, it is very important. So please read on.
This email is a way of shedding light on a problem in our society. The problem is that religious fundamentalists are able to exert too much influence in America. Wrapping themselves in God, fundamentalists have managed to vilify and marginalize those who reject traditional religion, often by suggesting that only religious conservatives can be truly moral and patriotic.
That’s why the American Humanist Association has launched a program called the Humanist Identity Project, which encourages those who share a humanist outlook to publicly identify as humanists. (The basic idea of humanism is relatively simple: A humanist approaches the world from a natural standpoint, guided by reason, goodwill, and progressive values, and giving no weight to religious dogma, claimed prophecy, or creed.)
If you’re concerned about the power exerted by religious fundamentalists in America, then you probably understand why it’s time for Americans to learn that millions of their friends and neighbors are humanists. When those with humanist values begin identifying as such and demanding a place at the table in the public dialogue, the influence of religious fundamentalists will naturally diminish.
Therefore, in case you didn’t already know, I want to use this email to tell you that I AM A HUMANIST. If you also are a humanist, I’d like to ask you to send this email to at least five people. This simple act, if repeated enough, will wake up many to the significant presence of humanists in America.
The emergence of humanists is long overdue in America. The USA is the only developed country with an organized, mobilized religious right, and that’s partly because humanists have been marginalized. Everyone (except the religious right) stands to gain when humanists become recognized and respected.
That may be no miracle, but it can lead to profound change.
The emphases are not mine; they were in the email.
I haven’t found any acknowledgment of this email or the project on the AHA’s website. Not sure what’s up with that.
That said, the idea (while several months behind the rest of the Internet) is a good one. We need more people to identify as any brand of non-theism. The more people who say they are atheists, Brights, Humanists, Skeptics, Freethinkers, Pastafarians, etc., the easier (and safer) it becomes for the next person to do it. Coming out about one’s non-religiosity could potentially have a huge impact if done en masse.
(Unless the person you send this email to just deletes it, like I do with most of the annoying, cutesy Christian “fluff” emails I receive…)
You might want to tell these people in person as well 🙂
One distinction to make: The OUT Campaign encourages people to “come out” as atheists. That’s a general term: atheist. The Foundation folk want people to come out as non-religious… I don’t think anyone cares which specific label you choose.
The Humanist Identity Project email wants you to come out as a Humanist. It’s very specific in that regard.
Maybe I’m making an incorrect analogy here (and I’m sure I’ll be blogally-bitchslapped if I’m wrong), but isn’t that difference similar to a campaign requesting people to come out as Christians-in-general versus another that wants you to come out specifically as, say, a Methodist?
I think the broader campaigns have a much better chance at being successful and should be supported by those under that umbrella. Why dice it up and risk alienating those in the vicinity of your camp?
[tags]atheist, atheism, humanism[/tags]