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-books, free or low-cost. If you want to contact Scott: Scott.D.Jacobsen@Gmail.com.
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 Alliance, Centre for Inquiry Canada, Kelowna Atheists, Skeptics, and Humanists Association.
Other National/Local Resources: Association humaniste du Québec, Atheist Freethinkers, Central Ontario Humanist Association, Comox Valley Humanists, Grey Bruce Humanists, Halton-Peel Humanist Community, Hamilton Humanists, Humanist Association of London, Humanist Association of Ottawa, Humanist Association of Toronto, Humanists, Atheists and Agnostics of Manitoba, Ontario Humanist Society, Secular Connextions Seculaire, Secular Humanists in Calgary, Society of Free Thinkers (Kitchener-Waterloo/Cambridge/Guelph), Thunder Bay Humanists, Toronto Oasis, Victoria Secular Humanist Association.
Other International/Outside Canada Resources: Allianz vun Humanisten, Atheisten an Agnostiker, American Atheists,American Humanist Association, Associação Brasileira de Ateus e AgnósticoséééBrazilian Association of Atheists and Agnostics, Atheist Alliance International, Atheist Alliance of America, Atheist Centre, Atheist Foundation of Australia, The Brights Movement, Center for Inquiry (including Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science), Atheist Ireland, Camp Quest, Inc., Council for Secular Humanism, De Vrije Gedachte, European Humanist Federation, Federation of Indian Rationalist Associations, Foundation Beyond Belief, Freedom From Religion Foundation, Humanist Association of Ireland, Humanist International, Humanist Association of Germany, Humanist Association of Ireland, Humanist Society of Scotland, Humanists UK, Humanisterna/Humanists Sweden, Internet Infidels, International League of Non-Religious and Atheists, James Randi Educational Foundation, League of Militant Atheists, Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers, National Secular Society, Rationalist International, Recovering From Religion, Religion News Service, Secular Coalition for America, Secular Student Alliance, The Clergy Project, The Rational Response Squad, The Satanic Temple, The Sunday Assembly, United Coalition of Reason, Union of Rationalist Atheists and Agnostics.