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Humanists Praise Bold New York Times Ad

September 9, 2008

For Immediate Release - Contact Fred Edwords at (202) 238-9088
fedwords@americanhumanist.org - www.americanhumanist.org

(Washington, D.C., September 09, 2008) The American Humanist Association congratulated the Freedom From Religion Foundation for its full-page ad in today's New York Times . The ad's headline reads "Imagine a World Free From Religion" above a photo of the Twin Towers.

"This is a bold stroke to remind people of the elephant in the room," declared American Humanist Association President Mel Lipman. "People don't crash airliners into skyscrapers in the name of science or in the name of those common decencies we all believe in. But they can do it when prompted by blind faith in the unseen and unproven."

This is the anniversary week of 9/11 during which a special memorial will open at the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia.

"The FFRF has our congratulations for their frankness, honesty and courage in generating discussion on this important issue," added American Humanist Association Executive Director Roy Speckhardt. "It is efforts like these that have helped more and more people take an honest look at how religious fanaticism can lead to the destruction of humane values."

In recent years, humanist and freethought groups all over the United States have reported significant growth in their membership numbers, some more than doubling in size. Moreover, public outreach by humanist and freethought organizations has expanded dramatically since the American Humanist Association got the ball rolling with its first national public awareness ad campaign in 2005. This ongoing campaign was highlighted last year when the American Humanist Association ran an ad in the Washington Post congratulating Congressman Pete Stark for "coming out" as a nontheist. Today, humanist and freethought billboards are being placed on major highways in the metropolitan areas of New York City, Los Angeles, Philadelphia and Phoenix, as well as in the cities of both the Democratic and Republication national conventions.

"Clearly, the humanist and freethought movement is growing in significance," concluded Lipman. "Today being nonreligious constitutes the fastest-growing 'religious' identification in America, already outnumbering that of Jews, Muslims, Mormons and Hindus combined. That's why we can now participate on the national stage with dramatic advertising campaigns and programs with broad impact. Expect to see much more from us in the future."

"And of course, humanism is positioned to offer the next step after people set traditional religious faith aside," added Speckhardt. "Humanism is more than absence of belief in a deity; it is a positive ethical outlook that gives meaning and purpose to one's life without need of ancient texts or divine revelation."
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The American Humanist Association (www.americanhumanist.org) advocates for the rights and viewpoints of humanists. Founded in 1941 and headquartered in Washington, D.C., its work is extended through more than 100 local chapters and affiliates across America.

Humanism is a progressive philosophy of life that, without theism, affirms our responsibility to lead ethical lives of value to self and humanity.

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