CSH Policy on Coalitions
The following article is from the Secular
Humanist Bulletin, Volume 18, Number 2.
The purposes of the Council for Secular Humanism are to
foster interest in and encourage the growth of the traditions of democracy,
secular humanism, and the principles of free inquiry in contemporary society,
and to make known the values of those traditions to the general public by
educational means. The Council will attempt to develop an appreciation for free
thought and the democratic ideals of the founders of the American republic,
typified by Jefferson and Madison. The Council, as stated in the Certificate of
Incorporation, is an educational, literary, scientific, and philosophic
organization. The purpose of the Council shall be, within the meaning of
501(c)(3), a tax-exempt and nonprofit corporation of the State of New York. The
Council is nonreligious.
The policy of the Council for Secular Humanism shall be to
engage in cooperation and friendly exchanges with groups with whom we share
basic values, such as support for: religious liberty; separation of church and
state; protection of the rights and reputations of nonreligious people;
advancing critical thinking; defending science and reason; and a healthy
skepticism about any unusual claims.
We will not approve of any plans that we consider to be in
conflict with our own mission. We will further decline to use the resources,
whether financial or in kind, of the Council in ways that will have the primary
effect of benefiting other organizations rather than benefiting secular
humanists and other nonreligious people in general. This means that we will be
eager to approve of and support, to the extent that our resources permit,
activities that do have these more general benefits.
For example, if a U.S. president announced support for
nominating a justice to the U.S. Supreme Court who appears likely to undermine
the separation of church and state, we would help draft and would sign on to a
joint statement, with like-minded organizations, warning of the dangers of the
nomination. Similarly, we may well want to join in issuing statements from
kindred groups protesting a pending constitutional amendment or protesting a
politicianís slur on atheists. Or if a government elsewhere in the world
persecuted citizens for blasphemy, we could work to support or establish
organizations of secular humanists there. We are also eager to have exchanges of
ideas and other communication, formal and informal, with groups who share
important ideals with us.
Examples of actions we will be unlikely to approve include
cosponsoring major public meetings with organizations with whom we have
important philosophical differences or committing our resources to conferences
or projects that require allowing people outside the Council to exercise control
over significant Council resources. We have a fiduciary responsibility to our
supporters to exercise that control ourselves and through administrators duly
appointed by us. As a 501(c)(3) organization subject to public accounting of
(and auditing of) our revenues and expenditures, we deem it unwise and possibly
illegal to cede that responsibility to any other organization.
We reiterate our commitment to advancing secular humanism
and protecting secular humanists, whether or not the individuals involved are in
any way officially associated with this Council. We also reiterate our respect
for all our allies in the great ongoing fight for religious liberty, whether or
not those allies share our commitment to secular humanism.
Adopted March 2, 2002.