Ask Rob 7 – Sunlight from the Cycles, or, How to Rebuild Communities with a Hammer

by | October 18, 2019

By Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Rob Boston is the Editor of Church & State (Americans United for Separation of Church and State). Here we talk about passing the baton.

Scott Douglas Jacobsen: As times move forward from the origins of the modern secular communities and movements, the founders and the lights continue to leave us, as the ineluctable dark decrees.

With the passing of values to new generations and of batons to new leadership, how can smaller communities of the secular honour the dead, properly pass values, and elect the most appropriate skills and talents and temperaments to leadership?

Rob Boston: I’ve been involved with a humanist group in the Washington, D.C., area since the late 1980s. The group has been around long enough that many of its founders have died.

We honoured them with secular memorial services and by sharing stories and memories of their good deeds, kindness and vision. Speakers told stories of how these leaders affected their lives and built our secular community.

The founders of our group were smart enough to realize that they wouldn’t be around forever, and they groomed new leaders to take their place. The baton has been passed.

But even as they honour the contribution of founders, new leaders of humanist groups must look honestly at what they can do better. Humanism in the 1980s was largely white, male and aged. New leaders need to work to forge a humanism that looks more like America – or humanism will not survive.

Today’s leaders need to create a welcoming space for everyone and embrace the rich diversity that is increasingly the hallmark of our society. I also believe that a commitment to social justice is essential.

Humanists must oppose racial discrimination, sex discrimination, LGBTQ discrimination and other forms of discrimination. To ignore these issues is to court irrelevance.

Jacobsen: Thank you for the opportunity and your time, Mr. Boston.

Scott Douglas Jacobsen is the Founder of In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal and In-Sight Publishing. He authored/co-authored some e-booksfree or low-cost. If you want to contact Scott:

Canadian Atheist Associates: Godless Mom, Nice Mangoes, Sandwalk, Brainstorm Podcast, Left at the Valley, Life, the Universe & Everything Else, The Reality Check, Bad Science Watch, British Columbia Humanist Association, Dying With Dignity Canada, Canadian Secular AllianceCentre for Inquiry CanadaKelowna Atheists, Skeptics, and Humanists Association.

Other National/Local Resources: Association humaniste du QuébecAtheist FreethinkersCentral Ontario Humanist AssociationComox Valley HumanistsGrey Bruce HumanistsHalton-Peel Humanist CommunityHamilton HumanistsHumanist Association of LondonHumanist Association of OttawaHumanist Association of TorontoHumanists, Atheists and Agnostics of ManitobaOntario Humanist SocietySecular Connextions SeculaireSecular Humanists in CalgarySociety of Free Thinkers (Kitchener-Waterloo/Cambridge/Guelph)Thunder Bay HumanistsToronto OasisVictoria Secular Humanist Association.

Other International/Outside Canada Resources: Allianz vun Humanisten, Atheisten an AgnostikerAmerican Atheists,American Humanist AssociationAssociação Brasileira de Ateus e AgnósticoséééBrazilian Association of Atheists and AgnosticsAtheist Alliance InternationalAtheist Alliance of AmericaAtheist CentreAtheist Foundation of AustraliaThe Brights MovementCenter for Inquiry (including Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science), Atheist IrelandCamp Quest, Inc.Council for Secular HumanismDe Vrije GedachteEuropean Humanist FederationFederation of Indian Rationalist AssociationsFoundation Beyond BeliefFreedom From Religion FoundationHumanist Association of IrelandHumanist InternationalHumanist Association of GermanyHumanist Association of IrelandHumanist Society of ScotlandHumanists UKHumanisterna/Humanists SwedenInternet InfidelsInternational League of Non-Religious and AtheistsJames Randi Educational FoundationLeague of Militant AtheistsMilitary Association of Atheists and FreethinkersNational Secular SocietyRationalist InternationalRecovering From ReligionReligion News ServiceSecular Coalition for AmericaSecular Student AllianceThe Clergy ProjectThe Rational Response SquadThe Satanic TempleThe Sunday AssemblyUnited Coalition of ReasonUnion of Rationalist Atheists and Agnostics.

Photo by Braden Collum on Unsplash

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