RED BANK, NJ - Red Bank Humanists (RBH), a secular Humanist organization, will be celebrating its 10th Anniversary with a slate of special events, guest speakers, and educational activities from October 2013 through May 2014. The group was founded in 2003 by Ron Steelman and Eric Seldner and first met at the old House of Coffee in the Red Bank Galleria.
“We started out with about 15 people attending our monthly Forums,” said Ron Steelman, “And now we have 75 dues paying members, with an average attendance at the Forums of 55 to 60.”
RBH offers a monthly Forum presented at Red Bank Charter School, a monthly “Drinking Post-Theologically” mixer at the Oyster Point Hotel, a quarterly philosophical Salon to discuss various aspects of secular Humanism in the 21st Century, a popular monthly book club, and the Red Bank Humanists Community Outreach Group, which collects donations of supplies each month and delivers them to local charities.
What is Humanism? Secular Humanism is a philosophy, not a religion. As stated by the American Humanist Association, “Humanism is a progressive philosophy of life that, without theism and other supernatural beliefs, affirms our ability and responsibility to lead ethical lives of personal fulfillment that aspire to the greater good of humanity.”
A survey by The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life recently noted that in the last five years alone, those unaffiliated with any religion have increased from just over 15% to just under 20% of all U.S. adults.
In 2011 Red Bank Humanists’ President, Stephen Mitchell, proposed that the town council amend the new diversity statement that was about to be passed. Stephen pointed out that any diversity statement would be incomplete without including the phrase “non-believers.” Mayor Menna agreed, saying “This is a no-brainer.” He called the vote and the amended diversity statement was adopted unanimously by the Council. All are welcomed in Red Bank whether they are persons of faith or non-believers. Later, Mayor Menna added, "After all, we're all humans."
The RBH Forum is the second Sunday of the month at 10:30 a.m. It’s free & open to the public.
Partial list of guest speakers for upcoming Forums include:
October 13 – “The Appeal of War” – Professor Joan Devlin Rykiel, PhD. in Clinical Psychology
November 10 – Screening of TED talk: “Frans de Waal: Moral behavior in animals”, followed by a discussion of Frans de Waal's book, The Bonobo and The Atheist, led by Carol Auer, Chairman of the RBH Book Club.
December 8 - Special guest, Dan Barker, Co-President of the Freedom From Religion Foundation in Madison, Wisconsin. This former minister turned atheist will speak to "The Battle of Church and State”, and perhaps sings one of his humorous musical parodies about religion.
December 14- special time: 5 P.M. - HumanLight (a Humanist Holiday Celebration & Dinner with two speakers)
- “In It to Win: Building a Non-theist Rights Movement” - Roy Speckhardt, Executive Director of the American Humanist Association
- “Humanism Today: An Update from the AHA" - Maggie Ardiente, Development Director of the American Humanist Association
January 12 - "Equal Rights for Atheists-Humanists" - Dave Niose, is President of the Washington-based Secular Coalition for American, having previously served two terms as president of the American Humanist Association. He is author of the critically acclaimed Nonbeliever Nation: The Rise of Secular Americans.
February 9 – Annual Darwin Day Celebration – (highest attendance of the year!) Presenting a special guest speaker on a Darwin related topic (to be announced soon).
Red Bank Humanists is a 501©(3) non-profit educational organization presenting various forums and discussions about the philosophy of humanism, and is a chapter of the American Humanist Association in Washington, DC ( www.americanhumanist.org ). Monthly Forums are held on the second Sunday of the month at the Red Bank Charter School (58 Oakland St.), with other events offered throughout the year. More information about Humanism and RBH events is available at www.redbankhumanists.org .