6 Reasons Humanists in Mississippi Should Vote on Tuesday
Right on the heels of a federal judge blocking Mississippi’s so-called “heartbeat” anti-choice bill, the Louisiana House of Representatives passed its own “heartbeat” legislation, and the Democratic governor says he will sign it into law. Alabama has passed the harshest anti-choice bill in the country, Missouri is threatening to shut down the only abortion clinic in the state, and the list goes on and on. The abortion debate is hotter than ever right now, and a common ground seems impossible to reach.
Why does this issue continue to divide the nation? Thomas B. Edsall explores the sexual revolution, women’s rights, religion, and how these issues relate to the abortion debate.
About five or six months ago, I made it my mission to determine what humanism means to me. I read literature (well, a little bit anyway), studied, and talked to others, but nothing quite felt right. I was trying to define something that seemed unidentifiable.
I know, that’s just what you want to hear from the MHA’s Communication Officer, right?
My belief that humanism is undefinable changed one Friday night as I stood in the middle of Smith Park with a roll in one hand and a homeless man’s hand in the other. Suddenly, the entire concept of humanism came down to a single word for me.
Humanists all over the state have contacted the MHA about Mississippi’s standard license plates that display “In God We Trust.” To get a plate that doesn’t display this religious message, state residents have to pay extra for a specialty plate. We understand why our members are so upset about this, and we have been fighting hard behind the scenes to provide an additional option at no extra cost for Mississippi residents.
Get the details on how the fight started and where we are now.
Nobody has tougher questions about religion than little kids. Adults don’t have time to ponder the universe. We are too busy worrying about the mortgage. But little kids—they got time.
Really though, my parents got off easy, considering they provided no formal spiritual guidance of any kind.
I think I was 10 when I asked my Dad what religion we actually were. I know you think 10 must be awfully old to not know the answer to this question, but we lived in South Florida, land of synagogues, Santeria, and Yankees. And there were plenty of kids playing four square in the middle of the street on Sunday mornings instead of going to church. My Dad is the type of dad you can ask serious questions as long as you are prepared for a lengthy professorial answer, but I think I completely caught him off guard.
As humanists, we believe in living life to the fullest! We want to leave this planet better than we found it because we each have only one turn on the big blue ball called Earth.
But what does that look like? How do we spend our days as humanists? How do we contribute to our communities in ways that made a difference?
Last night, close to 1,500 Mississippians didn’t have a place to call home. Some stayed in shelters while others struggled to find a spot to rest in a park or on the streets. Still others likely stayed up all night, afraid to close their eyes underneath the dark sky.
Many are adults on their own, attempting to figure out how to survive. Others are families working to stay together during terrible circumstances. Then, there are unaccompanied children, trying to navigate a harsh reality as they move closer to adulthood.
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.