Gloucester County Humanists Message Board › AHA Monthly Report- November 2013

AHA Monthly Report- November 2013

Janice R.
Group Organizer
Clayton, NJ
Al Palmer from Delaware Humanist Association forwarded the American Humanist Association Monthly Report- November 2013, so I thought I'd share it with GCH members.
November News from the American Humanist Association National Office
Legislative: Matthew Bulger, legislative associate for the AHA, lobbied many different federal government officials and their staffs in November on issues that affect the secular and non-theist communities in America.

During this period Matthew met directly with U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy. Matthew also met with staffers from the offices of U.S. Representatives Corrine Brown, David Cicilline, and Chaka Fatah.

At these meetings Matthew talked about the need to maintain church state separation and about the humanist perspective on a wide variety of pending legislation, including the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, the Student Non-Discrimination Act, the Marriage and Religious Freedom Act, and amendments to defense appropriations bills that would allow humanist chaplains in the military. Matthew also spoke with the staffers of various Representatives about joining the newly created bi-partisan House Science and National Labs caucus, which advocates for increased federal funding of scientific and medical research.

Finally, in November the AHA signed on to a letter sent to U.S. Senators by a diverse group of faith, civil rights, victim rights, women’s rights, social justice, and service members’ organizations. The letter urges Senators to support Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s Military Justice Improvement Act when it is offered as an amendment to the 2014 National Defense Authorization Act. The letter states that “the Department of Defense estimates that 26,000 incidents of unwanted sexual contact occurred in the military in 2012, a 37 percent increase from the 2010 estimates.”

Legal: The Appignani Humanist Legal Center has issued a letter to Birdsville Independent School District in support of a student who had been suspended for tearing pages out of the bible in protest to bullying for his homosexuality. In a victory for the AHLC and students’ rights, the school has since removed the suspension from the student’s record, and the student is now able to carry his ripped Bible to class.

The AHA received a flood of attention from various media outlets in response to AHLC’s letter to administrators of a South Carolina public elementary, East Point Academy. The school was encouraging students to donate boxes containing varying items for the Operation Christmas Child toy drive, a program of Samaritan’s Purse. Samaritan’s Purse is a Christian organization that sends Christmas packages, complete with literature about Christianity, bibles, prayers, propagating religious conversion materials and agreement forms, to children in poverty all over the world. The School, knowing they had made an unconstitutional decision, canceled the program for the season.

The American Humanist Association has been covered by Fox News, The Washington Post, Christian Post, the Examiner, TIME, and countless local news sources all over the country.

Roy Speckhardt, executive director of the American Humanist Association, was published twice in The Huffington Post: “Being Good for Goodness' Sake: Why Operation Christmas Child Is Wrongon November 26th, discussing the immorality and unconstitutionality of Operation Christmas and “War Memorials Should Honor All That Serve” on November 11th, expressing the unfairness of war memorials being represented by religious symbols. He also appeared on Fox News’ The Kelly File and with Lauren Green to discuss the Operation Christmas Child case.

AHA Board Member Herb Silverman published three articles in Washington Post’s On Faith entitled “God in Papua New Guinea” on November 5th, “Atheists do good anyway” on November 15th, and “Whose Jews?” on November 25th, 2013.

Grassroots and Community: Currently the AHA has over 177 chapters and affiliates, and that number is growing!  We recently welcomed a new chapter to the AHA; the Stanislaus Humanists of Modesto, CA. We have also added a new affiliate group; KOL HADASH (Northern CA Community for Humanistic Judaism) of Berkeley, CA. Our celebrant community is growing with 182 current celebrants and counting! We have four new celebrants from Washington, California, Texas, and Ohio. We have one new chaplain from New York. To learn more about the Humanist Society and our celebrants, please visit:­.

Many of AHA's local groups are celebrating the holiday season with exciting events! Make sure to check out your local groups' website and meet-up page to participate in the celebrations. To search for chapters near you, please visit:­.

We also have our secular holiday coming up just before Christmas. On December 23rd, many AHA groups and chapters will be celebrating Human Light. Human Light is a secular alternative for non-believers who want to celebrate the season without religion. Human Light is an occasion for many who are non-religious, freethinkers, atheists, and humanists to celebrate the positive human values, hopes, and ideals. To learn more about Human Light, please visit:­.

Social Networks: The AHA now has over 165,000 likes on Facebook, over 15,000 followers on Twitter, and regular activity on Google+, Pinterest, Vimeo, YouTube and Tumblr.

We have begun the process of planning our 2014 conference which will be held at the Sheraton Downtown Hotel in Philadelphia, PA. We are thrilled to welcome former U.S. Congressman Barney Frank as our Humanist of the Year, host of National Geographic’s Brain Games Jason Silva as our Humanist Pioneer, and Eugenie Scott as our Lifetime Achievement Award recepient. In the coming months we will continue to announce more exciting guests joining us in Philadelphia!

The American Humanist Association, founded in 1941 and based in Washington DC, is a nonprofit organization advocating equality for humanists, atheists, and nontheists. The AHA has 23,000 members and supporters and over170 chapter and affiliate groups in the United States. For more information, visit www.americanhumanist.­org.
Rachael W. Berman
Grassroots and Celebrant Program Coordinator
The American Humanist Association
1777 T St. NW  |   Washington, DC 20009
Tel: 202-238-9088[/url] |   Fax: 202-238-9003[/url]­
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