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Humanist campaigning

Watch Humanists UK’s Richy Thompson explain the areas humanists can typically be found campaigning on.
‘Faith without works is not Christianity, and unbelief without any effort to help shoulder the consequences for mankind is not humanism.’
Harold Blackham, Handbook of Humanism

Practical action is important to humanists. We should judge people not just on what they say about injustice, but on what they do about it. Below, Humanists UK’s Director of Public Affairs and Policy, Richy Thompson, writes about the organisation’s campaigns work.

Humanists view campaigning as essential to making the world a better place. Humanists believe that everyone should be free to live as they choose, so long as they do no harm to others, and view the world as a place that presently denies such rights to billions.

It is important to recognise that there can be a difference between the campaigns individual humanists engage with and the issues that humanist organisations campaign on. The campaigns work undertaken by humanist organisations does not represent the full range of issues that individual humanists might devote their time to.

Individual humanists can be found taking practical action in a large diversity of settings, some visibly related to their non-religious beliefs, but most less so. Humanists’ altruism means that they can be found campaigning to alleviate poverty, to prevent environmental degradation, in favour of improving education standards, and against war. (Some humanists are pacifists, while others think that war should be avoided if at all possible.)

However, in practice, humanist groups themselves particularly focus in their campaigning efforts on issues where humanist beliefs are at odds with those of many organised religious groups. This is because, on such issues, humanist groups feel that they are the only people who might speak out on them. Religious groups are highly organised and well funded in their campaigning efforts, including at the UN, at the EU, and in Westminster. The Church of England is the eighth-largest charitable trust in the world, runs a third of state schools, and has 26 bishops sitting as of right in Parliament – all things that bolster its power.

In the video above, Director of Public Affairs and Policy, Richy Thompson, explains Humanists UK’s campaigns work, past and present.

Examples of Humanists UK’s work include directly challenging laws that discriminate against non-religious people, or that demonstrate prejudice against LGBT people and women; defending human rights; campaigns for a secular state, in particular in the area of education; and campaigns on ethical issues, for instance on assisted dying and abortion.

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Introducing Humanism: Non-religious Approaches to Life, with Sandi Toksvig

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