All of us at the American Humanist Association hope you and your loved ones are taking care of yourselves and each other during this unprecedented time. In this moment of heightened concern, people are relying on the AHA to be there to advance civil liberties and secular governance while providing assistance and comfort to our members who are suffering isolation, illness and grief.
Here’s an update on how we’re advancing humanism during the COVID-19 crisis:
Center for Education
The AHA Center for Education is helping people directly confront some of the many challenges and ethical questions presented by the epidemic in a new webinar series that highlights how humanists across the country are taking action in the time of pandemic. Part 1 of the series “How to Connect with Humanist Community,” took place last week and the recording is now posted on our YouTube channel. In it you’ll hear how local group representatives and humanist chaplains are staying connected, supporting each other, and continuing programming despite social distancing. In Part 2, “How to Engage in Mutual Aid,” you’ll learn from activists about the assistance humanists can offer each other locally and nationally. Part 3, “How to Live a Good Life,” will feature discussion of how our shared humanist values can guide us through these difficult times. Watch your email for dates and information about how to participate in the upcoming episodes and keep an eye on our YouTube channel for the recordings.
The pandemic is presenting serious threats to people’s rights, safety and our very democracy. The AHA is committed to ensuring the current crisis isn’t exploited for political power grabs. Through our Humanist Action Headquarters, humanists from 47 states sent 1,354 messages to Congress to ensure that Secretary Betsy DeVos wasn’t given unprecedented waiver authority to weaken students’ right to public education in the last COVID-response bill. And we’re now hard at work making sure the pandemic isn’t exploited to shut down access to reproductive health care.
We’re also continuing our ongoing advocacy for humanists. We’re working in the Senate to advance a resolution opposing blasphemy laws, and we’re ensuring that the United States holds India accountable for religious discrimination.
Our Feminist Humanist Alliance is reaching out to humanists directly affected by the current crisis by expanding one of its grant programs to include projects focused on community responses to COVID-19.
Learn more about the Feminist Humanist Alliance here.
Appignani Humanist Legal Center
The AHA’s Legal Center is hard at work making sure your constitutional rights are protected. We sent a demand letter to the Arkansas Governor about an unconstitutional “Day of Prayer” Proclamation, and just this Monday, we admonished school officials at Tyler Independent School District in Texas for unconstitutionally holding school activities at a local Baptist church. The AHA also co-signed an amicus (friend of the court) brief supporting the State of Pennsylvania in Little Sisters of the Poor Saints Peter and Paul Home, Petitioner v. Pennsylvania, et al. The case is about providing a religious or moral exemption to the contraception mandate created under the Affordable Care Act.
The Humanist Magazine and TheHumanist.com
The May/June issue of the Humanist magazine examines how we can get through the current crisis by centering our humanist values. Massimo Pigliucci, Anne Klaeysen, Anthony B. Pinn, Hiram Crespo, and John R. Shook apply Stoicism, Ethical Culture, moralist humanism, Epicureanism, and secular humanism, respectively, to life and death during the coronavirus pandemic. We also continue to regularly post original articles exploring politics, science, technology, art, and culture from a humanist perspective on our online publication, theHumanist.com.