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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.

[*] Secular Humanism Online Library

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