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Is unity possible in North American humanism?

In our lead article on the opposite page, Howard Radest examines the question of whether a unified humanist movement can become a reality in the United States, split as we are into a variety of humanist sects, each preoccupied with guarding its organizational turf. The question begs a deeper question: do we agree that unity is desirable? Can we articulate a common secular agenda that would define the need for a unified humanist movement in this country? Many would reply with a resounding yes, for the reasons stated by Dr. Radest. But the record of division among us suggests that many are not so sure.

If there is a common humanist agenda, we would wish it to be discernible within the pages of this journal, committed as we are to the concept of such unity of humanist purpose. But we are also committed to the concept of a wide variety of humanist subcultures within our secular family, reflecting our different temperaments--poetic, scientific, and otherwise--as well as the different paths along which we each have traveled to reach our naturalistic and nontheistic outlook.

In searching for our unity of purpose, we might profit by paying some attention to our European colleagues who, in spite of their profound language and cultural differences, have formed the European Humanist Federation through which to give a strong voice for humanist values within the political and social councils of an increasingly unified Europe. The EHF proudly describes itself as representing a pluralistic but unified humanism. Surely, we should aim at no less on this continent.

For the information of The Humanist's readers, I include here the following excerpts from a letter dated May 25, 1993, from me to Michael Werner, president of the American Humanist Association:

With regret I must ask you to accept my resignation as editor

of The Humanist, effective August 31, 1993. My reasons result

from the fact that I have been, and continue to be, unwilling

to assume responsibility for certain editorial arrangements that

predate the beginning of my mandate last October.... This

should not be taken to reflect negatively, however, on the many

staff members, both paid and unpaid, with whom I have enjoyed

a harmonious and productive, albeit short, working relationship....

I am grateful to the AHA for its confidence in

appointing me in the first place and am sorry that we could not

have had a longer relationship.
COPYRIGHT 1993 American Humanist Association
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1993, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
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Author:Page, Don
Publication:The Humanist
Article Type:Editorial
Date:Jul 1, 1993
Previous Article:Boom!
Next Article:Dialectic or disarray: do humanists really want a humanist movement?

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