Council for Secular Humanism

Get Active!

Sign up to receive CSH emails and Action Alerts

Donate online
to support CSH

Free Inquiry

Subscribe for the
Internet price of
only $19.97

Renew your

back issues

Visit our
online library

Shop Online

What's New?


Introduction to
Secular Humanism

Council for
Secular Humanism

CSH Organizations

The Center for Inquiry

Paul Kurtz

Speaker's Bureau

Humanist Hall of Fame

Web Columns
and Feedback

Find a Secular Humanist
Group Near You

Field Notes:
Council Activities
Around the Nation

Worldwide Index of
Humanist Groups

Humanism on TV

Freethought Alliance


for Humanism

International Academy
of Humanism

Secular Organizations
for Sobriety



Contact Info

Site Map




Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday


On Monday we here at the Center for Inquiry in Amherst, NY, will join businesses and governments all over the United States in closing in honor of the Martin Luther King national holiday. It is reasonable to ask, as some have, why wea group of secular humanists, skeptics, freethinkers, defenders of science, etc., should pause to honor the Rev. Dr. King. We do not do so because of his religious thinking (though we do not deny his considerable influence on religion in America), but because of his principled, thoughtful, consistent defense of minority rights. King understood, and frequently wrote and spoke about, the importance of protecting the rights and ideas of those who might be, for whatever reason, unpopular. He cared passionately about the truth and ultimately lost his life, shot by a sniper in April, 1968, in Memphis, Tennessee, because of his unyielding support for nonviolence, minority rights, and his concerns for the downtrodden of all races and groups. (He was in Memphis to support and help improve the plight of garbage and sanitation workers there.) We join Americans and others everywhere in honoring a man of peace and vision--and thus in honoring the critical importance of free thought and minority points of view. Below are two quotes from King that we think are instructive. Please feel free to pass these on to others if you wish. 

With regards, 

Ed Buckner 
Executive Director 
Council for Secular Humanism 

[Many reputable organizations and prominent individuals defended the decision {U.S. Supreme Court decision banning state-composed and mandated school prayer, Engel v. Vitale},] among them a number of liberal Protestant ministers. Most prominent of these was The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, revered black leader, who called it "a sound and good decision reaffirming something that is basic in our Constitution, namely separation of church and state." 
(Leo Pfeffer, "Prayer in Public Schools: The Court's Decisions," in the "Church and State" issue of National Forum: The Phi Kappa Phi Journal, Winter, 1988, p. 26.)

"The hope of the world is still in dedicated minorities. The trail blazers in human, academic, scientific, and religious freedom have always been in the minority." 
(Martin Luther King, Jr., 1929-1968, American civil rights leader, The Words of Martin Luther King. From Margaret Pepper, compiler and ed., The Harper Religious & Inspirational Quotation Book, New York: Harper & Row, 1989, p. 190.)

[*] Secular Humanism Online Library

house.gif (1274 bytes) Council for Secular Humanism Web Site



This page was last updated 12/04/2003

Copyright notice:  The copyright for the contents of this web site rests with the Council for Secular Humanism.  
You may download and read the documents.  Without permission, you may not alter this information, repost it, or sell it. 
If you use a document, you are encouraged to make a donation to the Council for Secular Humanism.