MHA Newsletter - February 2017

Greetings, humans! As 2017 rolls in, we need your support! We’ve got our second annual membership meeting coming up TOMORROW - February 11th, and along with the chance to meet and eat with your favorite fellow humans, you’ll have a chance to change up our leadership, approve of our new bylaws, and hear a presentation by Godless in Dixie blogger and vice presidential candidate Neil Carter titled “Why Darwin and Jesus Can’t Get Along.” It’s Darwin Day themed, as we’re meeting the day before Darwin Day.


These activities aren’t free - though they are free to attend - and that’s why we need your support now, more than usual. Feel free to drop by our website and join or donate - most of our operations are funded by your membership fees, and the rest are funded by your donations. We don’t receive any grants or sponsorships, which means that we don’t have to spend time on the grant-writing and sponsorship pursuit treadmill. We can spend that time better by coming up with new things for humanists to do in Mississippi.


Despite your efforts and interest, the governor’s office declined to issue an official proclamation for Darwin Day in 2017. Maybe next year!


Maybe Phil Bryant would never have approved such a proclamation - but that is indicative of our need to visibly organize in 2017. The AHA was on capitol hill last week, explaining to legislators the importance of the Johnson Amendment. The Johnson Amendment, which was enacted in 1954, and named after then-senator Lyndon B. Johnson, prohibits 501(c)3 non-profit organizations - like most churches and, incidentally, the MHA - from endorsing or campaigning on the behalf of candidates for public office.


The current presidential administration has the Johnson Amendment in its crosshairs. The AHA, and by extension, local organizations like the MHA, rely on the parity provided by the amendment to prevent our message from being swamped by the campaign donations funneled through churches.


Additionally, a nation-wide attempt for Mississippi-style “religious freedom” bills are seeking to legislate dubious freedoms - pretending that discrimination and spite are protected, core tenants to religious beliefs. This ignores the importance of actual religious freedom, the separation of church and state, the freedom that allows us to live in a nation free of religious influence from the state.


We have fought these laws in Mississippi, and with your help - and the help of allied organizations and individuals - we will continue this fight in Mississippi and beyond. We need your help and we need your support to keep this going. Email us with any news of protests, actions, rallies, and the like! We are limited by the Johnson Amendment, and cannot support any candidate or political party, but we can help educate and enlighten.


As a final note, our regular activities for the month are cancelled in order to let us concentrate on the annual meeting. We know you love our regularly scheduled brunches and happy hours, but this month we’re not only planning our annual meeting, we’re working hard on the Seth Andrews appearance in May, and an additional speaking engagement in March or April.


Thanks, we’ll see you soon!

Mississippi Humanist Association