What we’re about
Meet other local Humanists, people who believe in the basic goodness of the human spirit without supernaturalism.
The Washington Area Secular Humanists (WASH) was incorporated in 1989 as a nonprofit 501(c)(3) educational organization in Maryland. Our purpose is to promote scientific literacy and critical thinking, to provide a forum for humanists and others to explore humanist principles and how they relate to all aspects of human experience, and to study the significance of humanism throughout history. Secular humanists are distinguished by an emphasis on scientific methods of knowing, separation of church and state, and a commitment to the pursuit of humanist goals outside religious frameworks.
WASH has several active Chapters from Roanoke, VA to Baltimore, MD.
WASH is a Cooperating Local Group of the Council for Secular Humanism, a Chapter of the American Humanist Association, and an affiliate of American Atheists and an endorsing group of The Secular Coalition of America.
While being a member of the WASH meetup group is free please consider joining as a member of WASH to help support our activities.
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Upcoming events (3)See all
- Secular Zoom CommunityLink visible for attendees
In the relentless battle between theocratic forces and democracy itself, Virginia will loom large in coming months. The Virginia House of Delegates is controlled by Republicans and the Senate is narrowly controlled by Democrats. Early voting starts September 22, and either legislative body could be controlled by either party after the November 7 final vote totals are counted. The odd year elections in Virginia are designed to favor conservatives who are more willing to actually turn out to vote in a non-Presidential election year. Gov. Youngkin has Presidential ambitions. He won the Governor role with his right-wing “parental rights” efforts. This centered on an anti-black crusade against so called critical race theory and efforts against books, classroom material, bathroom usage, name and pronoun usages that support any compassionate LGBT perspective. He wants to add a 15 week abortion ban to cement his credentials with fundamentalist Christians. Virginia is the only southern state that still retains broad reproductive choice for women. Theocratic forces desperately want to end this exception. Youngkin controls a lot of political funding that will of necessity have its impact. Many of our members will be living with the results of these elections.
As this is written, Gen. C.Q. Brown has been confirmed by the US Senate to be the next chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Sen. Chuck Schumer is being forced to have individual votes for him and a new Army chief of staff and the new Marine Corps commandant. That leaves over 300 military roles not filled because of a hold by Tommy Tuberville of Alabama. He is demanding that the military cease funding travel costs for military women needing to find adequate reproductive medical health services. It is projected that 650 military roles may remain unfilled if these holds by Tuberville do not end.
There is a near certainty that the Federal government will not be funded by appropriate law after this September. This might nominally be seen as just a question of an appropriate funding level for our national government. The alternative theocratic perspective is intrinsically authoritarian. It requires the abolition of the “deep state.” Painfully detailed democratic considerations in the legislature has resulted in executive branch systems, often based on science, that cannot be arbitrarily changed or abolished by a “conservative” President. They want to end democracy as we know it, along with its intrinsic secularism and any respect for valid science. The increasingly extremist Heritage Foundation has written a 920 page planning document to dismantle the many Federal government agencies that they find to be loathsome. The relatively modest wreckage of our many national government agencies in a shutdown or a possible draconian reduction under an extremist continuing resolution would be just a modest down payment to execute this desired radical change.
On page 43 of Mandate for Leadership/The Conservative Promise:
“The modern conservative President’s task is to limit, control, and direct the executive branch on behalf of the American people. This challenge is created and exacerbated by factors like Congress’s decades-long tendency to delegate its lawmaking power to agency bureaucracies, the pervasive notion of expert “independence” that protects so-called expert authorities from scrutiny, the presumed inability to hold career civil servants accountable for their performance, and the increasing reality that many agencies are not only too big and powerful, but also increasingly weaponized against the public and a President who is elected by the people and empowered by the Constitution to govern.”
The document continues with nearly hysterical language decrying the existing state of affairs and asserting that, “Nothing less than the survival of self-governance in America is at stake.” Government designed by moderate or liberal politicians is in their minds not “self governance” at all. All systems must reflect the fantasy worlds of right-wing wingnuts with no respect for science. The plans for the Environmental Protection Agency (pg 417 of above document) would likely completely eliminate all efforts to deal with climate change. There is a very detailed plan for how to slice and dice the many bits and pieces of an agency that they want largely dismantled.
As usual, I hope that much of our time will be spent just finding joy in our connection with other secular thinkers.
The link for our meeting is posted now. I will likely send the full zoom info in the 24 hours before our meeting as a reminder to those who RSVP.
- Readings in Tribute to Jonathan FranzenThe Writer's Center, Bethesda, MD
Jonathan Franzen has been described as an American Dickens for his books and essays which fit a social realism genre. His major & minor characters, like Dickens illustrate different types of people and divergent political positions. They fall into conventional, current debates—about climate degradation, digital privacy, the student debt crisis, and the secular age. Franzen will attend readings in his honor at The Writer's Center in Bethesda MD. “Tributes to Jonathan Franzen,” features writers Louis Bayard, David Means, and Marcela Valdez, with a response by Jonathan Franzen, who is the 2023 recipient of the F. Scott Fitzgerald Award for Achievement of American Literature. Register at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/readings-in-honor-of-jonathan-franzen-free-fitzgerald-literary-festival-tickets-656684770827?aff=oddtdtcreator
WASH MDC coordinor Gary Berg-Cross will also say a few words at the event.
- Artificial Intelligence: Share Your Experiences, Hopes, and ConcernsLink visible for attendees
This a discussion topic that will be lead by Past AHA president, Fred Edwords and The Humanist editor. Fred has written an article with AI help as he explains:
OpenAI’s now famous ChatGPT bot was used by the Humanist to generate this article as an experiment to discover what today’s AI knows
Participants attending this discussion, should use this link to the Humanist magazine cover story: The Dangers of Artificial Intelligence: From Misinformation to Autonomous Weapons
And Fred also directs your attention to an online comment by Robert Riehemann about his experiences with AI here:
Share your experiences, hopes, and concerns regarding Artificial Intelligence.