On Saturday (15th June) I spoke at the Boston Pride Interfaith Service at Old South Church, a service designed to show support for the LGBTQ community. I was asked to provide a reading to preface the offering, which was held in support of PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays). I chose to read a poem by Algernon D. Black, formerly a leading light in the Ethical Culture movement.
I’m sitting in the lecture theatre at the Harvard Kennedy School, at the opening session of Faith and Leadership in a Fragmented World. We’re here for a week-long interfaith workshop on the role of faith in leadership, and we’re being addressed by world-renowned experts in religious pluralism and political organizing. And everyone is talking about “faith backgrounds”, “faith traditions”, “faith-based values”. I’ve been invited to attend to represent Secular Humanism, and I’m feeling a little left out. So I raise my hand, and ask whether, together, as a group, we can come up with language that is inclusive of those, like myself, who do not have faith.
And one of our esteemed workshop leaders replies “Everyone has faith. Atheism is a faith! It requires just as much faith to be a Humanist as anything else!”
And I have to resist my immediate instinct to facepalm.