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The following article is from the Secular Humanist Bulletin, Volume 18, Number 4.

Council Puts Renewed Emphasis on First Amendment Task Force

Katherine BourdonnayRecognizing the ever-increasing assault on the wall of separation between church and state, the Council for Secular Humanism will be placing renewed emphasis on its First Amendment Task Force. The Task Force is chaired by Los Angeles attorney Eddie Tabash and consists of eighteen other individuals around the country.

The Council has announced the appointment of Katherine Bourdonnay as the new executive director of the Task Force. For the past year she has functioned as communications director for the Council. Her additional duties as executive director of the Task Force will call upon her legal and lobbying experience. Bourdonnay, who is an attorney, served for several years as the Public Policy Liaison for the Alzheimer’s Association of Western Washington and has spearheaded lobbying efforts on behalf of state and national issues.

“With legislation like the Houses of Worship Political Speech Protection Act making their way through Congress, we really need to marshall our resources to prop up that crumbling wall between church and state,” said Bourdonnay.


Council Efforts Overseas Get Boost

Bill CookeThe Council for Secular Humanism is pleased to announce the appointment of Bill Cooke as the new executive director of the Commission for International Development. Dr. Cooke will be based at the Center for Inquiry–International in Amherst, New York. He has a wide range of talents and a broad-based background—born in Kenya, he has lived or worked as an author, a scholar, and a humanist activist in many countries, including Russia and India and most recently New Zealand. He describes his last home country “as the most secular nation in the world”:  more than one million of New Zealand’s inhabitants describe themselves as nonreligious.  The country’s only religiously linked political party, the Christian Heritage Party, can count as members only a little more than 1 percent of the total population. Cooke plans to expand secular humanism’s influence in the world in his new position.


African Americans for Humanism News

Norm R. Allen, Jr.African Americans for Humanism Executive Director Norm R. Allen, Jr., has been very active in getting the humanist message to the public.

On October 7 he debated John Jefferson Davis on the existence of God at Boston University. The Campus Crusade for Christ hosted the debate, and about five hundred people turned out for the event. Davis has a degree in physics and advanced degrees in other fields. He has received money for research from the Templeton Foundation and has written several books in defense of creationism.

On October 13 Allen spoke to the Ethical Society of Queens. He discussed “Cultivating an Attitude of Gratitude,” in which he talked about the benefits of embracing the power of humanism with a positive attitude. He believes it is necessary to combat the stereotype of the unhappy, nihilistic atheist, and to show that human beings can be happy without a belief in God.

On October 18 Allen discussed the same topic at the Humanist Association of Ottawa in Canada. On October 19, members of the Ottawa group visited a cemetery where a monument to the Canadians that died in the World Trade Center has been erected. Allen laid a wreath with a humanist message at the monument.

On October 23 Allen spoke to the New Jersey Humanist Network on the history of AAH. He discussed some of the group’s accomplishments in the media, in Africa, and in the intellectual community. He discussed his upcoming book The Black Humanist Experience: An Alternative to Religion, which he believes will help to bring more African Americans to the humanist fold.

To arrange speaking engagements or debates with Allen, contact him at (716) 636-7571 (extension 326), or e-mail him at nallen@centerforinquiry.net.

[*] Secular Humanism Online Library

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