What We Do
The Humanist Association does quite a bit, here are some examples of what we do:
We hold a regular conference on Humanist Ethics and Community Building at the Mission Valley Resort Hotel. Sponsored by the American Humanist Association, some of our best memories of Freedom From Religion Foundation Co-President Dan Barker accompanying Supreme Court “One Nation Under God” plaintiff Michael Newdow giving an award-acceptance speech. We have also featured Mr. Deity, Jamy Ian Swiss, James Croft, Sean Faircloth, Aron Ra, and many others. Please visit our Conference Page to find out details about our 2015 event.
We often host popular speakers and fly in ones that our community wants to see. These have included James Croft, Matt Dillahunty, Mr. Deity, Margaret Downey, Sam Singleton, Joe Nickell, Roy Zimmerman, Ben Radford, and many others.
Lectures & Discussions
We have a monthly lecture & discussion focussing on issues relevant to Humanists and other Freethinkers (often continual themes or annually repeating topics). Every Saturday we meet to discuss current events from a Humanist perspective (Coffee & Conversation). The third Sunday of every month we focus on a particular issue with common recurring topics (January: What is Humanism, March: Secular Government, October: Logical Fallacy Clinic, November: Freethought Family Thanksgiving, and December: HumanLight). In the past we have held meetings for the Secular Organization for Sobriety (SOS) and a youth-education program (Secular Sunday School). We also have book clubs, social events, and often engage in political-issues (marching in demonstrations etc). We also have series-discussions where we take on a particular issue or range of them in a broader context. in 2013 we covered the list of Humanist 10 Commitments in Ethics Chats. This year we are covering a broader dialogue on the Humanist Response to Inequality.
We snorkel, hike, do karaoke nights, go on whale-watching excursions, have picnics and bonfires, and much, much more. In the past, we were often called the “fun” Atheists (though not all of us are Atheist). We have also done outings to the Creation Museum in Santee, where two of us noticed that some of the plastic plants in the anole-terrareum resembled a certain smokeable, psycho-active substance with palmated-leaves. We are a fun group of warm, caring individuals that likes to have a good time.
One particular event that is rather popular are our play-readings. In 2009 for Charles Darwin’s 200th Birthday, we produced an original recreation of the best bits of the Scopes Monkey Trial by its transcript. This was later done again as a reading of the script for Inherit the Wind where everyone was expecting a similar play reading as in 2009. When people showed up, they were given a name and read that part when it came up in the script. It was amazing. Laslty, we do regular seasonal celebrations. The third Sundays of November and December we have a large community-wide Thanksgiving party (Freethought Family Thanksgiving) and in December we hold an observance of the Humanist Solstice holiday: HumanLight.
We have been involved in more than the local Freethought community. The Humanist Association has marched for the last 19-years in the San Diego LGBT Pride Parade (and has often had a booth there). Recently the San Diego Coalition of Reason has become the umbrella group representing the community at Pride, and we continue marching (under the larger banner). We also are proud to have become the first Humanist-Freethought group to march in the San Diego Martin Luther King Jr. Parade. We have also participated with other groups in having a booth at Earth Day, most recently with the San Diego Coalition of Reason. We feel that the Humanist Association should not merely be one of the leading Secular, Humanist, and Freethought organizations–but a thriving voice for our worldview in the general community as well.
One of our achievements as an organization for which we are most proud would be our civic recognition. We have the proud distinction of being the only Humanist/Freethought organization in town invited to provide an invocation for the San Diego City Council as well as have been able to get the city to proclaim 12 February, 2009 as “Charles Darwin Day.” Our “Proclamation and Invocations” page has more information on this.
We like to be engaged in the world around us. Please check out our Community Service Page for more information on what we do, and how to get involved.
Recently, our Community Service and Outreach Director Victoria Cortés represented us at a San Diego Coalition of Reason panel on what its various member groups do. We have sent representatives to speak at different community organizations including Christian and Unitarian church groups. In March, our President Jason Frye represented the Humanist Association and Humanism on an interfaith panel on LGBTQ issues at Mission Gathering Church’s conference on social justice. The dialogue never went to debating the existence of God, but drew out the common struggles that each community leader has in bringing people together, providing social cohesion, healing, and interpersonal development; all in the name of social justice and common humanity. Representing Humanism and finding what is best about each other through our shared common humanity and learning from each other is part of our outreach mission.
Taking to the Streets
Social justice is important to us and when there is a cause that demands our attention we are quick to take to the streets in support of what is good and just. Though we have done a lot in terms of LGBTQ rights advocacy, we are not exclusively focussed on that angle. We have also participated in anti-war rallies and the MLK parade. The important element that we focus on is that most of our problems are human-caused, and human-caused problems have creative and cooperative human-solutions.
As the Boy Scouts of America has actively discriminated against nontheists and LGBTQ people, we have represented Humanism and the Humanist Association twice at the annual Scouting for All Rally in Balboa Park. Both times we made rainbow merit badges and distributed them to the crowd, signifying the audience’s commitment to diversity and equality.