Video: Religious Humanists of the Year, Michael Dowd and Connie Barlow

Outgoing UU Humanist Association president John Hooper had the pleasure of awarding the 2016 Religious Humanists of the Year award to Michael Dowd and Connie Barlow at this year's UUHA Annual Meeting. The meeting was held at the UUA General Assembly, Friday, June 24, 2016. Below is the video of their address, titled "Evolutionary Eco-Humanism".

Read more about Video: Religious Humanists of the Year, Michael Dowd and Connie Barlow »

Applying The Scientific Method To Charity

[Editor's Note: If you are interested in the topic of Effective Altruism, there is a Coursera course by that name being taught right now by the well-known philosopher Peter Singer of Princeton University! Coursera courses are free and there is an entire week devoted to the Giving Game including an opportunity to play online as part of the course.]


“Thank you. I never thought of applying the scientific method to charity. My giving will never be the same.”

I was delighted to hear this feedback from a participant in a workshop I ran for my local Unitarian Universalist Humanist group at the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Columbus in late July 2016. The workshop, called a Giving Game, aimed to help facilitate rational thinking about our positive impact on the world through applying the scientific method to charity. Read more about Applying The Scientific Method To Charity »

Fake Fights

Oooh, fights. We either run from them, run toward them, or pretend they’re not there (haven’t we all just smiled while passing the sweet potatoes at Thanksgiving?). And many of we Unitarian Universalists have been thinking a lot about fights, since hearing the Rev. Nancy McDonald Ladd’s sermon on “Fake Fights” at this year’s General Assembly.

As blogger (and fellow UU Humanist Association Board member) Adam Gonnerman noted in his great post about the sermon, some humanists have been nervous that Rev. Ladd was pointing to the ongoing humanist-theist conversation within Unitarian Universalism as one of those fake fights. Those folks are likely remembering Ladd’s mention of how we are “still fighting about who’s a humanist and who’s a theist--as though those two terms are mutually exclusive in the first place.” Read more about Fake Fights »

Not Just Mourners

Last summer, there was terrible violence in South Carolina. 9 individuals, 9 black Americans, were shot dead by a deranged terrorist in their church. There was outcry. Preachers and leaders promised change - or, at least, held up the communities of concern that formed out of pain.

Now, a year later, across the country there are communities of concern that have gathered in response to pain. This time, 49 individuals, LGBT Americans, many Latino, were shot dead by a deranged terrorist in an LGBT Club. 49 murdered, 53 wounded. 

Just a few days ago, here in Oakland, a young girl was shot dead after leaving a funeral. 

What do we do in response to these murders? What does our movement, religious and secular, do in response?

Some people, when pain happens, need to be alone, or with one person. 

When I heard the news, I craved community. I wanted to be around others, I wanted to see and contribute and be with other people trying to do something- even if initially it was only a witness.  Read more about Not Just Mourners »

An Open Letter to the Unitarian Universalist Association on Renewed Relations with the Boy Scouts of America

[Editor's Note: the UU Humanists have been in dialog with our UUA leadership about the renewed ties between the UUA and the Boy Scouts of America in spite of the BSA's explicit rejection of non-theist boys and adults. You can read more background here and here. We are currently gathering signatures to the following letter to send to UUA president Peter Morales and to UUA chief operating officer Harlan Limpert who represents the UUA on the BSA's Religious Relationships Committee.]

We applaud the progress made by the BSA toward inclusiveness around sexual orientation, but the BSA requirement that all boys and volunteers sign the following:

“The recognition of God as the ruling and leading power in the universe and the grateful acknowledgment of His favors and blessings are necessary to the best type of citizenship"

[from the BSA Bylaws, Declaration of Religious Principle]

is discriminatory and counter to the UU principles and sources.

As an organization of nontheistic lay-members and clergy, UU Humanists are disappointed that the UUA has made no public mention of this exclusion.

The BSA has denied membership and advancement to those who will not sign.  Our UUA leadership can work for change from within, but we need a commitment to engage on this issue. Hoping that UU-sponsored packs and troops will be able to ignore the religious requirement invites hypocrisy, and ignores Non-theists in non-UU units.

We, the undersigned, call on the UUA to:

1. Make a public statement disagreeing with the BSA’s Declaration of Religious Principle, and with its policy requiring all members to sign it.

2. Pledge to work with the BSA to get that bylaw changed, adopt local non-discrimination policies, and to report on those efforts.

3. Work with other organizations like Scouts for Equality to remove this discrimination.

Good moral character and citizenship come from non-theistic as well as theistic groundings;  we call on the UUA to stand up for all Non-theists and to proudly proclaim its support for Non-theist UUs.


Here is a printable version of this letter on UU Humanist Association letterhead that individuals are encouraged to print and bring to their congregation, for instance at coffee hour. The second document is a page for gathering signatures.



If you are currently a member of a congregation. You can write "former", or "considering" here, or some other response if you are not a member of a UU congregation.
For example: Boston, MA


Subscribe to Front page feed