HNN #14: Humanists in Action

The theme of HNN Audio Podcast #14 is humanists taking legal action to defend their rights. We speak with Secular Coalition for America lobbyist Lori Lipman Brown, Heidi Bruggink, legal coordinator for the Appignani Humanist Legal Center at the American Humanist Association, and Ellery Schempp, who initiated the landmark U.S. Supreme Court Case which declared that public school-sanctioned Bible readings were unconstitutional. HNN Listeners share their thoughts on humanism. And contributor Jamila Bey shares a humanist New Year’s poem.

Segment 1: What War on X-mas?

Interview: Lori Lipman Brown, director and lobbyist of the Secular Coalition for America, made her third appearance on Fox New’s The O’Reilly Factor this December. T.V. Personality Bill O’Reilly feels that the secular left has been waging a “war on Christmas.” But apparently O’Reilly doesn’t have his facts straight. HNN Co-host Duncan Crary speaks to Brown by phone.

End 13:47

Segment 2: Humanists Sue to Stop Voting in Religious Venues

Interview:The Appignani Humanist Legal Center is suing counsel the Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections on behalf of a plaintiff whose polling place was a church. The church featured numerous religious symbols, including signs exhorting people to “Make a Difference with God” and anti-abortion posters, that clearly demonstrate a violation of the Establishment Clause. HNN Co-host Jes Constantine speaks about this case by phone with Heidi Bruggink, legal coordinator for the Appignani Humanist Legal Center at the American Humanist Association.

End 24:59

Segment 3: Listener Comments

A trailer park preacher warns HNN that all our listeners will instantly turn into Christians as soon as they hear about the Poplar Creek Church of God, Jesus, and the Holy Ghost. Another listeners asks about humanist organizations in Connecticut. While a third listener wrote in from England to talk about humanism in the U.K.

End 32:26

Segment 4: Abington School District v. Schempp 50 Years Later

Interview: Fifty years ago a public school student named Ellery Schempp contacted the American Civil Liberties Union to help him protest public school sanctioned Bible readings. His lawsuit was eventually combined with a similar case by American Atheist Founder Madalyn Murray O’Hair. In 1963, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on their case, Abington School District v. Schempp , that public school-sanctioned Bible readings were unconstitutional. Matt Cherry, executive director of the Institute for Humanist Studies, speaks to Schempp by phone.

End 53:42

Segment 5: T’was the Night Before New Year’s

Poem: Contributor Jamila Bey shares her humorous New Year’s poem.

End 59:03


“I Ain’t Afraid,” by Holly Near (Theme)
“Brainwashed,” by Meagin Donovan*
“Dead Sailing Pirates,” by I’m 18*
“Love Deficiency,” by To Be Free*
“Divided Beliefs,” by Tyson Emmanuel*

(* These songs are available at


Secular Coalition for America | Media Matters w/Lori Lipman Brown | Appignani Humanist Legal Center | Ellery Schempp | Jamila Bey on MySpace

Call the HNN listener Comment line: (202) 618-1371.