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New beginnings.

The profile of Edwin Wilson (inside front cover) honors our founder and first editor, under whose hand The Humanist became the respected voice for naturalistic humanism in North America. Although there are now other publications, more narrowly focused, The Humanist is still the major journal on this continent with the inclusive approach to nontheistic humanism espoused by Ed Wilson. I begin as the magazine's new editor mindful of its tradition, conscious of the continuing importance of its role, and determined to keep it on its original course.

Our mission statement appearing under The Humanist logo has been slightly changed. Combining critical inquiry and ethical concern, it now encompasses those areas that concern all naturalistic humanists, whatever camp they identify with temperamentally - secular, religious, or just plain humanist. We trust the resulting editorial approach will be evident in our selection of articles.

This issue of The Humanist coincides with the beginning of a new era of hope in Washington and throughout the country. Our columnists deal with the significance of the recent election from their individual perspectives. We also feature an overall assessment by Barbara Dority in which, after expressing joy at the coming to power of people who share many of our basic values, she draws attention to the need for continued vigilance and to the formidable hurdles still in the way of the fully open society we advocate. I would add the following points on a theme which will continue to color the editorial policy of The Humanist.

It can be argued that humanists who confront mainstream society with a hard anti-religious position have unconsciously decided that humanism must always be a minority, elitist movement. During the Reagan-Bush years, it seemed that these pessimists might be right and that the humanist movement in America might indeed be doomed to such a gadfly role. Still, many of us felt this iconoclastic approach to be short-sighted and that it could only be detrimental to the attainment of our real long-term objectives. I suggest that this division of opinion that has existed among humanists for over a decade might, to some extent, reflect political differences - between libertarian pessimists who have viewed themselves as isolated humanists within an otherwise acceptable conservative regime, and the communitarians who kept the faith that a brighter political sun would dawn eventually. To the extent that this analysis is valid, we have shared with the communitarians their optimism, which has now been vindicated by the changed political face of America. Once again we can proclaim that our objective is nothing less than to bring humanist values into the social mainstream. And we renew our commitment to pluralism and its imperative: to live in cooperation and mutual respect with the liberal majority of our fellow citizens while openly proclaiming our humanism.

Finally, I express our thanks to Rick Szykowny for so ably keeping The Humanist afloat editorially during the past year.
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.

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Title Annotation:presidential election
Author:Page, Don
Publication:The Humanist
Article Type:Editorial
Date:Jan 1, 1993
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