More than half of the residents in 11 Southern states believe the United States was founded as an explicitly Christian nation, according to the Winthrop Poll Southern Focus Survey. This doesn’t come as a surprise to anyone who lives in the Bible Belt. You probably don’t have to think back too far to remember the last time someone made that claim.
While humanists aren’t surprised by the results of the poll, religious southerners might be shocked by the truth.
Many of the founding fathers were so skeptical about religion they would have a hard time getting elected today.
As a humanist group in Mississippi, we get a lot of commentary from Christian folks, mainly telling us we are of Satan, we need Jesus, to shut up, to move. In reading such comments, we can tell that these people, and the public in general, has little to no understanding of humanism and what it entails.
Did you ever hear about Logan, a tall teen from Holly Springs, North Carolina? The 17-year old is 6’7”, and as you can imagine, his height became quite the conversation starter. People constantly asked the kid about his height, and after a while, he got tired of answering the same questions over and over again.
Guess what he did? He had a business card made up with all the answers to the most common questions.
When you are a humanist in Mississippi, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by all the evangelical events.
There are prayers at the flagpoles, public meetings and public school football games, as well as prophetic summits, tent revivals, and SO much more.
Most of the time, we humanists don’t much pay attention to these types of religious events.
Humanists believe that everyone has the right to believe what they want, as long as it doesn’t harm others, even though the obvious preference and practice of one religion over all others, or none, can be harmful, as it can make people feel excluded.
When President Barack Obama nominated Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court in the spring of 2016, I personally breathed a sigh of relief.
He would take the place of the ultra-conservative Antonin Scalia. I could actually feel the court shifting.
Finally, those rights that matter so much to me – the right to choose, the ability to marry who you want, the dignity of using the restroom that conforms with your gender – felt all that more secure.
I went to this really cool event the other night called Women in the Halls. It was sponsored by Planned Parenthood and is a movement to encourage more women to engage in politics. With my state electing fewer women this year than last year, it’s a great time to bring attention to this issue.
The Boys Club of politics must go. With women only making 70 cents for every dollar men make, with no paid maternity leave, with reproductive rights threatened at every turn, women need to step up and take on the embarrassingly misogynistic legislation in this country.
If you’ve been following the news, you may have seen that a group of atheists are suing the Federal Government to have the words “In God We Trust” taken off of our money.
You’d think they’d have a good case. It’s a clear violation the Establishment Clause as well as the Religious Freedom Restoration Act which prohibits the government from burdening a person’s exercise of religion unless it furthers a compelling government interest.
As humanists, we have a lot of issues that are important to us. We want to help as many people as possible, and we can have a hard time figuring out where to start. What can we do that will have the biggest impact?
If we truly want to make a difference, we need to start in our own communities. Here are some ways we can make a difference from the ground up in the Magnolia State.
If humanists want to make a real change in Mississippi, they have to get involved in the local political scene. Change starts at the bottom and goes to the top, so you can make a big difference by running for local office. A position on the city council or the school board will give you the power to change minds and policy in your own community.