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Freethought Arizona Message Board › Charitable work in the community and elsewhere - atheist style

Charitable work in the community and elsewhere - atheist style

Stephen H.
user 59950062
Tucson, AZ
Post #: 2
Does the Free Thought Arizona organization do any charitable work (of the traditional kind) in this community or elsewhere? If not, does anyone know of any non-religious, charitable organizations or events in Tucson? If again the answer is no, does anyone have any ideas for starting one? It would be beneficial to do good for humanity without strings attached and at the same time improve public relations for the atheist/secular humanist community. I believe atheists (esp), free-thinkers, secular humanists etc are considered threatening by a notable portion of this country's population. Seems to me, the ignorant and disadvantaged among us (those most in need of our charity) are the ones in which these seeds of mistrust (and hate) are often the most easily sown. Any thoughts, comments would be greatly appreciated.
A former member
Post #: 7
I ran into this issue myself several years ago when I decided helping out in some way on T-day would be a great way to give back to the community. Trouble was, the only operation involved in putting on a feast was the Salvation Army. So I had to hold my nose and save souls while I helped fill bellies.

While I suppose the identification-by-tee-shirt thing is better than nothing, it seems to me it also sends the message that godless people are on the fringe, and the movers and shakers, the drivers of charitable activity are those with God on their side. Or Allah, or whatever is going to plague humanity next.

Further is the "driver" issue itself. When people form an organization, it sets the agenda. It's not just a matter of branding and the PR that goes with it; it's a matter of being the ones to set goals and priorities, of determining what needs to be done, not just helping out the leaders. Why leave the leadership to the delusional? Those of us who think rationally are best equipped for leading, why are we ceding this to those who are not?

A former member
Post #: 8
I didn't mean to demean anything other people are doing, and, as appears to be the case, if my comments have been construed that way I sincerely regret the lapse in my communication skill that caused it.

I was, rather, trying to present a desideratum ... the goal we all might want to keep in mind as we go along and the reasons why I think it's a worthwhile one. If I were equipped to do so, I probably would try to set up such an organization; it's something I've thought about for a long time. If my comments stir someone who is so equipped into action, they will have been worthwhile after all.
A former member
Post #: 32
Here's another possibility for Freethought charity work. The atheist blogger Greta Christina has learned that she has endometrial cancer. It appears to be an early stage form, but she will need surgery and possibly radiation and/or chemo. During these treatments, she will not be able to meet her speaking and blogging obligations, which are a major source of income. If you would like to contribute something to keep her going during this rough time, or would like to buy her book, please check out this page:


This is the kind of community service opportunity that religious communities do all the time. We can emulate that without having to invoke god to make us do it.

Thanks for reading!
Tucson, AZ
Post #: 13
***this is a postscript
Oops. In my rambling thought I forgot to answer the question. There are many "non-religious" social orgs in Tucson (although they may be populated by religious people) JA (junior achievement) big bros and sists, all kinds of environmental groups, united way, red cross, and others, there is also one--along the lines of salvation army--Primavera foundation, which operates shelters, housing, and assistance (deliberately non-religiously) to homeless in finding work and starting businesses [He started it for men because there were none willing to help homeless men, but it has expanded]. Good luck!
Well, to look at history, all public charity work is a product of the free thought movement which started in the 15th and 16th centuries (some say 13th, but even hermes trismestigus chanllenged the elite league with the emerald tablet, saying that the superior and the inferior are the same, and thus the beginning of besmirching oppressive rule.

In the 1700s the enlightenment became so great that the religious institutions had to start being charitable to the public (not just their own, or for what they'd get out of it) in order to compete with the "rampant onslaught of secular humanism" (I forget who it was that said it, but they were terrified for the end of Christianity in America.

Moreover, most of the charitable work done anywhere (especially for the public) is secular humanism; taking care of the people's and buildings daily needs is a secular duty left exclusively to "secular priests". (Before free thought and the enlightenment, secular priests only tended to the duties of the garden and the buildings etc., paying the bills.)

Moreover, even the salvation army was started by a secular humanist, who felt that the religious need to do more for the suffering and impoverished, and (like so many others burdened with desire to help people) hi-jacked the religious fervor to turn it into something good. They were first very opposed by the religious whom they were connected to. Remember, there was a time in this country that it was a crime to not go to church and at least act like you believed ( and it wasn't that long ago--Billy Graham is an example--they used to close all business, by legal edict, when he came preaching, and all "the workers" had to attend sometimes under penalty of jail, losing their union jobs, and being ostracized to the gutters.

Western religions, ever since Zoroaster, have been about saving the spirit, not the person, and especially not the person who is suffering ignorance so deep that they were born into poverty. For the Catholic church, it was better to torture the ignorant slowly to death prolonging it as long as possible, giving them the opportunity to end it by "confessing" (of course, they never told them what they were supposed to confess--which begs the question, "why, in the US, are outspoken neo Nazis not allowed to keep children they sire, while Jesuits (who were worse than the Nazi-gestapo--and some were in it--) are glorified and given great jobs as professors and scientists?))
Jerry K.
user 10955898
Tucson, AZ
Post #: 1
Stephen, I invite you to present your idea to set up a charitable volunteer group at our meetings at Duval and/ or submit your ideas for announcement on our web page. We have discussed various activities such as working at the Food Bank, delivering food to the home bound from PCOA or other organizations programs but we need someone to organize it and get volunteers who are committed. Most of our board members from FreethoughtAZ are already busy on keeping up with the organizations functioning like arranging speakers, getting publicity through the web, emails and social media like meetups, Facebook and newspaper announcements. We do clean up a road in Pima County twice yearly also. I mention these to let you know that we are in need of more volunteers to expand our involvement in the community to make it a better place and to help create a better image for the secular humanist (non-believer) community. I like your idea but you will have to realize you will have to make the commitment to carry it out. We will give you the sounding board and support wherever possible to fulfill your undertaking. Go for it. You may contact me if you wish and we can discuss further.
Stephen U.
user 2477055
Tucson, AZ
Post #: 1
Jerry K., from your remarks above, I am encouraged to go more public with the project that I am working on to get us seculars in more influential positions to influence our challenged public schools. There may be others of our group in a better position than I to form Parent Teacher Community Action Networks. Please go to for current details.--Let's discuss further on our drive to Phoenix--I would hope our member parents of public school children would go to that website and then contact me at
Tucson, AZ
Post #: 16 get us seculars in more influential positions to influence our challenged public schools. ...
that reminds me: anyone can also volunteer to help in schools, and reading programs with the schools. Also, reading at bookstores.
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