American Humanist Association (AHA)


American Humanist Association (AHA)

The American Humanist Association advocates progressive values and equality for humanists, atheists and freethinkers in the United States. We work to promote humanism--the idea that you can be good without a god.

Location: Washington, DC
Members: 784
Latest Activity: Jul 11, 2017

AHA Updates

Humanist Press is the publishing house of the American Humanist Association, providing material for the humanist/freethought/atheist market since 1995.

With the largest print book seller in the United States now selling more ebooks than paper books, it was time the freethought movement invested in the future of publishing so that we can remain relevant and accessible to readers in the U.S. and around the globe.

With new ebooks becoming available on a bi-monthly basis, Humanist Press will have a regularly expanding catalog of interest to atheist and agnostic humanists everywhere. Visit


Darwin Day is a global celebration of science and reason held on or around Feb. 12, the birthday anniversary of evolutionary biologist Charles Darwin.

On this website you can find all sorts of information about Charles Darwin and the International Darwin Day Foundation. If you are hosting a Darwin Day event, you can post information about it on our events listing. You can also locate Darwin Day programs near you by searching our events section.

Let Humanism Ring! The American Humanist Association is pleased to announce that its 73rd Annual Conference will be held June 5-8, 2014 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Join hundreds of humanists, atheists and freethinkers in Philadelphia for a four-day celebration of humanism! The American Humanist Association will feature informative lectures, book signings, celebrity guests, networking opportunities, child care, fun activities and more!

Book your room early by calling the Sheraton Philadelphia Downtown Hotel at 1-800-325-3535 (mention the American Humanist Association) or visit the AHA’s Personalized Reservation Page to get the special rate of $169 per night (subject to taxes). Rates increase after May 5, 2014 so reserve now!

More information will be announced soon!

Discussion Forum

New Young Adult Book

Started by Chris Brockman. Last reply by Don Feb 28, 2015. 5 Replies

Violence Against Women

Started by Joan Denoo. Last reply by Deidre Oct 7, 2014. 11 Replies

Advice for an atheist volunteer.

Started by Vulpes. Last reply by Joan Denoo Feb 4, 2013. 3 Replies

Humanist Network News

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Comment by Brian Magee on October 26, 2012 at 11:42am

“Under God” Pledge Case to be Reviewed by Massachusetts Supreme Jud...

(Washington, DC, Oct. 26, 2012) —The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) has agreed to hear the appeal from a humanist family challenging a state law that requires daily recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag in public schools. The plaintiffs claim daily classroom affirmation that the nation is “under God” violates state constitutional prohibitions against religious discrimination.  

The plaintiffs brought the case through the American Humanist Association’s Appignani Humanist Legal Center. The SJC on Thursday approved the petition for direct appellate review of the case, which means a lower court will not have to first consider the appeal.

“Public schools are defining patriotism and loyalty on a daily basis by exalting one religious group and stigmatizing humanists and other non-theists. Of course that’s discrimination,” said American Humanist Association Executive Director Roy Speckhardt. “We feel confident that a fair hearing will result in a finding that the state law requiring this discriminatory practice violates the state’s equal rights amendment.”

The lawsuit, brought on behalf of three public school students and their parents, was filed in November 2010 and is the first of its kind seeking equal rights for atheists and humanists based on equal protection guarantees in the state constitution instead of traditional First Amendment Establishment Clause arguments.

Massachusetts law requires public school teachers to begin each day with a classroom recitation of the Pledge. The suit claims that daily affirmation that the nation is “under God” in the context of an exercise designed to promote national loyalty “directly contradicts the religious beliefs and principles of the plaintiffs” and effectively defines patriotism in terms of God-belief, thereby marginalizing plaintiffs and contributing to existing prejudices against nonbelievers.

A lower court ruled against the plaintiffs in June, and the plaintiffs appealed. With the SJC granting direct appellate review, the case will now be decided by the state’s highest court.

Religious interest groups have intervened in the case to defend the daily “under God” recitation. The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty represents the Knights of Columbus and a family that supports the “under God” wording.

The phrase “under God” was inserted into the Pledge in 1954 during the post-WWII Red Scare, a moment in time when partisan forces exploited the fear many Americans had of communism, using that fear to promote religion in public life and to vilify atheists and other nonbelievers. The original Pledge was written in 1892, with a later version—still without “under God”—not adopted by the U.S. Congress until 1942.

The case is Doe v. Acton-Boxborough Regional School District.

Comment by James M. Martin on October 25, 2012 at 5:11pm

To Brian, this is part of the Humanist belief system, that you waste your time trying to argue with anyone who has nothing but dogma and a primitive foolishness when it comes to God to support what he says. 
One cannot argue with dogma.

Comment by Brian Magee on October 25, 2012 at 3:41pm

Long before Ted Turner said that he no longer considers himself atheist or agnostic (2008), he won the AHA's Humanist of the Year award, where he told the audience "the more I lost [faith], the better I felt" and that arguing with fundamentalists is like "arguing with a wall."

Turner was introduced by former AHA board member Lloyd Morain. Turner's speech begins at about 6:37.


Listen here:

Comment by Joan Denoo on October 22, 2012 at 12:18pm

@Brian MageeMike TrevinoJames M. Martin, I can only add one thing, he was sensitive to those groups that were not part of the privileged class because he believed that we all co-exist on a full-of-wonder planet. To repeat Brian:

“our planetary community is facing serious problems that can only be solved by cooperative global action.” In Neo-Humanism Statement of Secular Principles and Values: Personal, Progressive, and Planetary, published in 2010"

Paul Kurtz

Comment by James M. Martin on October 22, 2012 at 7:59am

Mike Trevino says it all.  I agree totally.

Comment by Brian Magee on October 21, 2012 at 8:37pm

Humanists Mourn Death of Paul Kurtz, Humanist Philosopher and Advocate

(Washington, DC – Oct. 21, 2012) – Humanists and atheists are mourning the death of humanist Dr. Paul Kurtz, former editor of the American Humanist Association’s Humanist magazine and founder of the Council for Secular Humanism, who died on Oct. 21, 2012 at the age of 86. His death means the loss of one of secular humanism’s most prominent advocates.

“Paul Kurtz worked tirelessly for decades to see secular humanism become accepted as an alternative philosophy to traditional religion,” said Roy Speckhardt, the executive director of the American Humanist Association. “The attention and guidance he gave to the humanist movement had an unmistakable global impact.”

Paul Kurtz served on the American Humanist Association Board of Directors from 1968-1981 and as editor of Humanist magazine from 1967-1978 before establishing the Council for Secular Humanism.

In 1973 he worked with Edwin H. Wilson and the American Humanist Association to create the draft of what would become the Humanist Manifesto II (an updated Humanist Manifesto III was adopted in 2003).

“Humanism has been shaped by many people since the beginning of the 20th century, and Paul Kurtz was one of the greatest contributors to the development of our nontheistic philosophy,” Speckhardt said.

Kurtz published over 800 articles and authored more than 40 books, many of which have been translated into scores of languages.

In his most recent major statement, Kurtz declared that “our planetary community is facing serious problems that can only be solved by cooperative global action.” In Neo-Humanism Statement of Secular Principles and Values: Personal, Progressive, and Planetary, published in 2010, Kurtz offered 16 detailed recommendations for a humanistic world.

“These are the vital principles and values that a secular, personal, progressive, and planetary humanism proposes for humanity,” Kurtz wrote about his statement. “Today the campaign for equal rights and for a better life for everyone knows no boundaries. This is a common goal for the people of the world, worthy of our highest aspirations.”

In 2007 the American Humanist Association presented Kurtz with the Humanist Lifetime Achievement Award. During his acceptance speech, he stated, “I am a secular humanist because I am not religious. I draw my inspiration not from religion or spirituality, but from science, ethics, philosophy, and the arts.”

After leaving the Center for Inquiry and the Council for Secular Humanism, Kurtz established the Institute for Science and Human Values in 2010, a humanist think tank based in Tampa, Fl.

Kurtz was born on Dec. 21, 1925 in Newark, New Jersey. He received his BA from New York University in 1948. Columbia University was next, where in 1949 he earned his MA and his Ph.D. in philosophy was awarded in 1952.

Kurtz later became Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at the State University of New York at Buffalo. That post followed time teaching at Vassar, Trinity, and Union colleges, as well as the New School for Social Research.

Comment by Brian Magee on October 19, 2012 at 10:33am

Writer, activist, and feminist Gloria Steinem is the subject of the cover story of the latest Humanist magazine from the AHA.

Steinem was named the 2012 Humanist of the Year by the AHA and was presented with the award at the AHA’s 71st annual conference in New Orleans, LA, on June 8, 2012. The article is adapted from her acceptance speech.

Comment by Brian Magee on October 11, 2012 at 8:59am

Alice Walker, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of "The Color Purple," received the AHA's Humanist of the Year award in 1997. Listen to her acceptance speech where she expresses her beautiful admiration for nature.

Comment by Brian Magee on October 9, 2012 at 3:25pm


Here is the latest image in our Sounds Like Humanism campaign.

If you run across a quote that "sounds like humanism" from a surprising source, pass it along to us at

Comment by Mriana on October 5, 2012 at 8:42am

I like Big Bird too.  If Rumnut gets into office he'll try to kill Big Bird, PBS, and education.  The only thing I didn't like about the video is when Gordon said, "Just because".  I think that could have been done better, like everything lives and dies and that's the way life is.  My older son once said, after we lost two of our cats that after the next three die, he's not getting anymore pets because they die.  It didn't make much sense to me and even though it was a bit late in his life to experience death (he was a teenager) I still had to explain it to him.  Seemed weird explaining death to a teenager, but I guess if it takes the long to experience one's first death, it's reasonable, but because he was older, explaining the psychological issues we go through was easier and his questions weren't as juvenile either.


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