Culture War at the Polls

Matt Cherry wrote an article for Humanist Network News yesterday regarding the elections. He says that they were a sign of progress for Humanists on a number of fronts. And while some of the ballot initiative results were still disappointing, there’s a lot to be thankful for. Cherry elaborates in the article.

He ends with some words of warning and encouragement:

Yet while the religious right may have overreached in the past few years, it remains a potent force in American society and politics. There may be grounds for hope for humanists, but there’s absolutely no reason for complacency.

Humanists can find allies, as well as opponents, across the political spectrum. It is vital that we make our values and policy concerns known to our representatives. Write to them now, congratulating them on their election (where appropriate) and emphazising the issues you have in common with them, as well as letting them know of any policy issues you are concerned about in their upcoming terms.

Beyond that, why not become more active in public policy by running for office? There is no more direct way to put your humanist values into action.

You can read the article here.

[tags]Matt Cherry, Humanist Network News, Institute for Humanist Studies, culture wars, elections, atheist, Christian[/tags]

  • DMG

    Running for office isn’t exactly something you wake up and decide to do one day. It’s nice to tell people to run and hopefully change the system (and I do really hope to run in about 15 years), but until there’s massive funding and support, you might as well be Ralph Nader. What the Humanist “party” needs is an organized campaign, perhaps the Institute for Humanist Studies, to raise money to support ONE or TWO good candidates and hope their actions get the ball rolling. But other than that, yes, I agree, it is always good to write your representative and let him/her know your stances and ideas. It’s your job to tell and their job to listen. Otherwise, you just fall into the trap so many Americans have already; paying your rep. to think for you. =)

  • HumanistPR

    Great idea DMG. The creation of a “humanist party” is an excellent one. However, many groups like the Institute for Humanist Studies and other atheist freethought organizations, are 501(c)(3) organizations and cannot endorse a specific candidate. Even the Secular Coalition for America, which is a 501(c)(4) organization, cannot support a particular candidate. Instead these groups are allowed to support issues. Naturally when looking at the issues a humanist party or a humanist candidate should score very well on the issues that these groups can support within the bounds of their IRS status. There is at least one atheist PAC — run by American Atheists. And I believe a PAC can endorse a political candidate. So, in the end, I suppose this shows there is a need for all these diferent types of freethought organizations out there. Each type of organization serves a specific purpose. The trick is to get all the members of each individual organization to learn about and support the activities of other groups. Fortunately publications like the Humanist Network News cover the news and activities of all the freethought groups out there.

  • DMG

    Agreed. But despite the 501(c)(3), churches have been endorsing candidates for years without recourse from the IRS. It isn’t even at all on their priority list. Trust me. I know. I’ve been told to leave it alone. That said though, it could lead to interesting litigation if the government did come after IHS to relieve them of their non-profit status, as such litigation would be sure to open the floodgates against religious non-profits who endorse candidates. But yeah, the toughest part is getting everyone to endorse ONE candidate. Like it’s been said, congregating atheists is like trying to herd cats.