The Secular Principles Pinky Swear

Conservative Christian teens have the Silver Ring Thing.

What do non-religious people have?

How about a Secular Principles Pinky Swear? It was started by a group of young humanist activists from Georgia:

I strive to live my life according to progressive, secular values, not dogma or superstition. Therefore, because the conservative religious community promotes pledges of abstinence and religious obedience, I want to demonstrate that I am committed to legitimate and ethical secular principles. I commit to living by my humanist principles so long as those convictions are central to my worldview.

There’s also a list of seven principles, including:

I will be open about my secular values and will not feign religious values due to pressure from friends, family, employers and/or the general public.

Here’s a bit more info:

And who knew you could pinky swear online? Only 53 people have done it so far. Let’s increase that number, yes?

  • Ian S.

    Coolness! I’m in. I’m pretty sure my girlfriend would be understanding about the principles should we end up moving forward in our relationship down the line… her parents may be more difficult, but I think it’ll work.

  • Dave

    I like how they say they won’t revert back to traditional religion for insincere reasons, due to pressure from family or society. I know lots of people who do just that – they don’t believe the dogma of their parents’ church, but they go back to that church to get married, then they baptize their kids there. These kids are showing a way to break that cycle. Good for them!

  • medussa

    Oh, they’re so cute, I just want to pinch their little cheeks.
    But, no, really, where were these kids when I was in college??!!

    Way to go create the future!

  • Erik

    I wish they’d pinky swear to produce a video without such painfully frequent cuts and effects.

  • http://religiouscomics.net Jeff

    painfully frequent cuts and effects

    I agree. I hate the film-making technique of rapidly changing camera angles all the time.

    I am very encouraged by what I’m seeing on college campuses now, though.

  • http://sporkintheeye.blogspot.com Spork

    the pinky swear sounds a bit roundabout. It’s sort of a “I promise to do what I think is right while I think it’s right.” Kinda meaningless.

    I much prefer the older oath: “I swear, by my life and my love of it, that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine.”

  • http://yrif.org Joel

    I hate to nitpick secular kids, but I think they could improve their principles a bit:

    http://yrif.org/2009/05/29/silver-ring-things-and-secular-pinky-swears/

  • http://religiouscomics.net Jeff

    Joel,

    You are indeed correct in your criticism. Although perhaps “recognizing diverse viewpoints” is a good first step in the evolution from “the bible is the only valid viewpoint” to skepticism.

    Jeff

  • CatBallou

    I’m puzzled by the “I promise to live by my principles as long as I believe in them” statement. We seem to have lost the true notion of “commitment” and “promise.”
    There’s no need to promise to do something you want to do anyway. Promises only have value if they might be challenging to keep.
    Under what circumstances would “legitimate and ethical secular principles” not be central to a humanist’s worldview? If that person becomes religious? Oy.

  • NeuroLover

    Love, love, LOVE that Ayn Rand quote, Spork :)

    I also have to agree with Jeff. Their pledge certainly isn’t perfect, but it’s a great step. Let’s keep in mind that these are a few kids from Georgia– not exactly a nonreligious haven. Good for them.

  • Vincent

    I wear my Friendly Atheist jelly bracelet all the time. Isn’t that good enough?

  • http://www.reedsecular.org Frik

    I really think the secular pinky swear ruined a golden opportunity secularists could have taken to speak out about premarital sex. Instead of really addressing the abstinence issue, a nebulous pinky swear was undertaken. What would be more valuable is an effort to pledge to not abstain from premarital sex, but rather to only have sex in a loving, committed relationship. Then, they should explain why that is a better stance than the no sex till marriage that the Religious Right pushes.

  • http://liberalfaith.blogspot.com/ Steve Caldwell

    Frik said:
    -snip-
    “Instead of really addressing the abstinence issue, a nebulous pinky swear was undertaken. What would be more valuable is an effort to pledge to not abstain from premarital sex, but rather to only have sex in a loving, committed relationship. Then, they should explain why that is a better stance than the no sex till marriage that the Religious Right pushes.”

    We know that “no sex until marriage” isn’t a realistic expectation.

    I would also suggest that “no sex except in loving committed relationships” is also an unrealistic expectation.

    People are going to have casual sex. I don’t see that changing any time soon.

    I would suggest instead of saying “no sex except in loving committed relationships” that we promote healthy sexual relationships using the ideas and values developed in the sex education curriculum jointly developed by the Unitarian Universalists and the United Church of Christ called “Our Whole Lives” or “OWL” for short.

    OWL can be taught in religious or non-religious groups (all explicitly religious materials come in a separate supplement but the basic curriculum is totally secular).

    The values that are woven into OWL can be found here:

    http://archive.uua.org/owl/values.html

    Of particular interest here are the characteristics of a healthy sexual relationship that included in the values that I’m pasting into this post:

    “Healthy sexual relationships are:

    - consensual (both people consent)

    - nonexploitative (equal in terms of power; neither person pressures or forces the other into activities or behaviors)

    - mutually pleasurable (both receive pleasure)

    - safe (no or low risk of unintended pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections, or emotional pain)

    - developmentally appropriate (appropriate to the age and maturity of persons involved)

    - based on mutual expectations and caring

    - respectful (including the values of honesty and keeping commitments made to others).”

    If two people are communicating their expectations effectively and both decide to have a healthy sexual experience, do they need to wait until they have a loving committed relationship to experience sex?

  • GullWatcher

    the pinky swear sounds a bit roundabout. It’s sort of a “I promise to do what I think is right while I think it’s right.” Kinda meaningless.

    Not meaningless, flexible. If you change your mind about whether something is right or wrong, it’s unethical to go on doing the wrong thing just because you said you would.

    I much prefer the older oath: “I swear, by my life and my love of it, that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine.”

    I didn’t recognize the quote (until someone attibuted it below) so I had a chance to think about it on its own merits.

    It is the singularly most stupid, useless, pathetic ‘oath’ I had ever heard. Me, my, mine, my life – nothing about good or bad or the larger world or a cause or being decent or anything except the self. This is truly a meaningless oath. There is no point in swearing an oath only to yourself – if you are that self-centered, you will do it without swearing, and if you aren’t, your better self will emerge and regret it eventually.


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