Video of the Humanist Memorial Service for the Victims of the Boston Bombings

Over the weekend, after atheists were excluded from the “interfaith” service for the victims of the Boston bombings, the Humanist Community at Harvard held a secular memorial service to pay their respects to the victims and the wounded. Speakers included representatives from the Harvard group, the Secular Coalition for Massachusetts, and the Boston Atheists:

The crowd isn’t huge, but then again, after the week they had, I wouldn’t blame them for spending some time at home with their own families and friends.

What stands out as you listen to the speeches is how they really wouldn’t have been out of place at the interfaith service.

You don’t need God to mourn for the lost.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • Mike D

    Everyone knows that if there’s no Jesus, there’s no meaning to everything, so who cares about anything? Praise!

    Seriously though, I’m appalled that non-believers were barred from the interfaith service (did it have an asterisk after the title or something?), and I applaud them for this small but sincere and important gesture.

  • Rocky Morrison

    LOOK! LOOK AT THE ATHEISTS! SEE! They are mourning too!
    …never let a tragedy go to waste when you can promote your views on the internet.

  • JDBos

    Dear Rocky,
    I filmed this event and created the video rather spontaneously as an attendee at the event. I had the same fear that some might interpret the sharing of this video in the way you described. However, I didn’t want the fear of a negative interpretation stop me from making the decision to share the video in the hopes that it will be understood as a sincere desire to share the experience at the service. So, I understand your skepticism, but I assure you that this video is meant for those who would take a positive message from it.

  • JDBos

    Originally, actually, I took it for my own personal use for friends and family. When I realized it might be beneficial to make it publicly available, I worked with group organizers to get it to the stage it’s at now.

  • Mario Strada

    I’ll make sure to quote you the next time there is a religious memorial service. I’ll tell them you think they are doing it just to be seen mourning.

  • jeanp

    Yeah, this tempts me towards non-belief. Why would I want to go chant “Ya ya ya” in a park with a bunch of people I don’t know who may or may not share ideas or emotions with me about dead and wounded people we probably didn’t know?

    People create communities or groups based on what they believe IN not what that don’t believe in. If I don’t believe in God why would I believe that humanity has any intrinsic value at all? We don’t have souls, we’re not here for a purpose, any number of us are terribly dysfunctional or cruel. And all around the world every day, groups of people kill other groups of people in just such a way. So it’s only a tragedy if it happens in one’s general geographic location? Aren’t you really mourning your own sense of safety and security then?

    For the record, I have no real use for interfaith ceremonies either.

  • Charles Honeycutt

    What a nasty, psychotic thing to say. It’s really no surprise that you believe in Jesus and think he loves the sort of behavior seen throughout your posts.

  • Charles Honeycutt

    “People create communities or groups based on what they believe IN not what that don’t believe in.”

    If you wish to be taken seriously, you might want to stop talking until you relieve at least the bare minimum of ignorance and find out what Humanists and Secularists are.

    The very easily accessed replies to your other nonsense are on the Internet. It’s that way. —–>

    Good job dismissing people seeking solace and community, by the way. Jesus must be proud. That’s what he was all about, right?

  • Sandy Kokch

    Even I, an emotionally cold Brit who has no part in these sorts of public displays of emotion, can see just how loathsome your post is. I suggest you remove the Jezuz Goggles, take a step back, and ask yourself whether you can.

    I may never want to join these sorts of events, nor in my own way understand the people who do, but even I can see that these people are expressing support and dealing with emotions in a healthy way that may just offer a sliver of comfort to the victims and their families. Americans tend to favor these sorts of group support events more than we cold fish Brits, but I see no harm whatsoever, nor any hint of band wagon jumping here.

    I wish I could say the same of the Krystyhun leeches I see using tragedy to sell more snake oil every time tragedy strikes, or get their sad and pathetic second hand 15 seconds of fame fix by emoting publicly about some event they have sod all connection with other than being a fellow human or citizen of the same country.

    If you want to discuss hijacking a tragedy, maybe we can start with that ridiculous but oh so precious and relevant “9/11 cross” you god botherers seem so obsessed with?