American Humanist Association

American Humanist Association
Official AHA logo.svg
AbbreviationAHA
Formation1941; 78 years ago (1941)
TypeNon-profit
PurposeAdvocate for progressive values and equality for humanists, atheists, agnostics, and freethinkers.
Location
Key people
Rebecca Hale
(President)
David Niose
(Immediate Past President)
www.americanhumanist.org

The American Humanist Association (AHA) is a non-profit organization in the United States that advances secular humanism, a philosophy of life that, without theism or other supernatural beliefs, affirms the ability and responsibility of human beings to lead personal lives of ethical fulfillment that aspire to the greater good of humanity.[1]

The American Humanist Association was founded in 1941 and currently provides legal assistance to defend the constitutional rights of secular and religious minorities,[2] actively lobbies Congress on church-state separation and other issues,[3] and maintains a grassroots network of 150 local affiliates and chapters that engage in social activism, philosophical discussion and community-building events.[4] The AHA has several publications, including the bi-monthly magazine The Humanist, a quarterly newsletter Free Mind, a peer-reviewed semi-annual scholastic journal Essays in the Philosophy of Humanism, and a daily online news site TheHumanist.com.[5]

Background

In 1927 an organization called the "Humanist Fellowship" began at a gathering in Chicago. In 1928 the Fellowship started publishing the New Humanist magazine. H.G. Creel was the first editor. The New Humanist was published from 1928 to 1936. By 1935 the Humanist Fellowship had become the "Humanist Press Association", the first national association of humanism in the United States.[6]

The first Humanist Manifesto was issued by a conference held at the University of Chicago in 1933. Signatories included the philosopher John Dewey, but the majority were ministers (chiefly Unitarian) and theologians. They identified humanism as an ideology that espouses reason, ethics, and social and economic justice.[7]

In July 1939 a group of Quakers, inspired by the 1933 Humanist Manifesto, incorporated under the state laws of California the Humanist Society of Friends as a religious, educational, charitable nonprofit organization authorized to issue charters anywhere in the world and to train and ordain its own ministry. Upon ordination these ministers were then accorded the same rights and privileges granted by law to priests, ministers, and rabbis of traditional theistic religions.[8]