A Humanist Memorial Service for the Victims of the Boston Bombings

Atheists were excluded from the “interfaith” service in Boston earlier this week but that doesn’t mean they had no reason to mourn.

Later today, the Humanist Community at Harvard will have a secular memorial service to pay respects to the four people who lost their lives as a result of the Boston bombings as well as the 170 who were wounded (including one of their own volunteers). Anyone, religious or not, is welcome to attend:

One hope with this meeting is to provide a safe space for nonreligious people who may not yet have had a chance to express their feelings in a supportive environment. We trust that all who attend will help us create an atmosphere of respect and dignity. Licensed psychologists will be available to support members of our community in case of extreme distress during the event.

I’m hoping they videotape it so that everyone can see this is not a service designed to antagonize people of faith, nor would the speeches have been out of place at the interfaith service earlier this week.

Even though the bombers are no longer out there, there’s still so much healing to be done. This service is an opportunity for all the atheists in the area to share their thoughts and come together as one in support of their fellow citizens.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the chair of Foundation Beyond Belief and a high school math teacher in the suburbs of Chicago. He began writing the Friendly Atheist blog in 2006. His latest book is called The Young Atheist's Survival Guide.

  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Invisible_Pink_Unicorn Anna

    I think this is probably a better idea than asking to be included in regular interfaith memorial services. For one thing, they don’t seem to want us there. For another, it certainly wouldn’t comfort me to have to sit through two hours of talk about God, heaven, and angels just to hear an atheist representative speak for 5 minutes. I’d be even more upset by all the religious stuff beforehand. The only thing that would make me feel better in such a situation would be to attend a secular service where people weren’t going on about such things.

    • Gus Snarp

      I think it’s probably better in the long term as well, but I’m not really satisfied with it while the President and the governor are showing up for the interfaith service and not for this one. As long as the interfaith service has the imprimatur of government officials participating, it should include Humanists as well.

  • r.holmgren

    religious or not, is welcome to attend”

    Well, yes, they’re welcome to attend. But have Christians been asked to speak, or have they been barred from that?

    • http://www.flickr.com/photos/chidy/ chicago dyke

      i’m sure if a christian asked to speak, s/he would’ve been allowed and welcomed. contrast this with the treatment of humanists at the “inter”faith ceremony. it was so heartless, the way the humanists were treated.

      the thread over at RawStory on this made me crazy. so many haters, so many ignorant fools who literally could not understand the simple notion of “nonbelievers can grieve.” dorks.

    • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Invisible_Pink_Unicorn Anna

      Were they asked to speak? I can’t think why Christians would have been specifically asked to speak, since this event is for secular people who were ignored by the religious memorial. However, it is a secular service, so if they are able to keep their remarks secular, I see no reason why they would be barred from speaking.

    • Zachary_Bos

      You might have asked the organizers; several theists did speak, yes.

  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Invisible_Pink_Unicorn Anna

    I’m hoping they videotape it so that everyone can see this is not a service designed to antagonize people of faith, nor would the speeches have been out of place at the interfaith service earlier this week.

    I’m hoping that, too. I’d like to see it. I also hope they were able to get the word out soon enough to attract all the people who might like to attend. I’m not on Facebook, so unfortunately I can’t see the official page for the event.

    • Zachary_Bos

      The event was recorded with a cell phone camera — alas, our technological amateurism — and will likely be available on YouTube later this evening.

      • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Invisible_Pink_Unicorn Anna

        Thanks for letting us know! I’ll keep an eye out.

  • rgcustomer

    So, the big O is a no-show, right? He needs to be called on his easy bigotry against godless people.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jerome-McCollom/100000327150215 Jerome McCollom

    Why do I think if that the headquarters of a humaist organization were targeted and blown up in a terrorist attack, in the ensuring memorail serivce, there still wouldn’t be any humanists included?


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