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Humanist Resources: Organizations

American Humanist Association

The American Humanist Association (AHA) strives to bring about a progressive society where being good without a god is an accepted and respected way to live life. The AHA accomplishes this through the defense of civil liberties and secular governance, outreach to the growing number of people without traditional religious faith, and through a continued refinement and advancement of the humanist worldview.

American Humanist Association Related Organizations

The AHA Center for Education strives to provide educational opportunities that serve Humanist and Secular communities. The center offers a wide range of resources designed for Humanist individuals and groups across the spectrum. Our programs take an innovative approach to teaching Humanism, fostering ethical leadership and growing community for the Humanist movement. The center also supports the efforts of the Humanist Society who provides endorsement for humanist Celebrants, Chaplains and Lay Leaders.

The Black Humanist Alliance is a platform dedicated to a more inclusive humanism. We live in a country where Black lives—from that of Barack Obama to Eric Garner to Renisha McBride and Marissa Alexander—are actively devalued. While we concern ourselves with confronting expressions of religious hegemony in public policy, the BHA is also devoted to confronting social, economic, and political deprivations that disproportionately impact Black America due to centuries of culturally ingrained prejudices.

The Latinx Humanist Alliance’s mission is to facilitate social justice activism among, expand the visibility of, and foster safe spaces for Latinx Humanists. We work toward this mission through education, legislative advocacy, and activism.

The Feminist Humanist Alliance is a national network of women, genderqueer and trans people committed to the principles of humanism and inclusive feminism. We strive for social progress through promoting critical consciousness and direct action.

The LGBTQ Humanist Alliance is a forum for LGBTQ humanists and allies to come together, build community, exchange ideas, promote the humanist philosophy and values, and work together to achieve full social and civil equality of LGBTQ persons.

The Humanist Society applies humanism to daily life through a unique celebrant program, education, and community involvement. The Society prepares Humanist Celebrants to lead ceremonial observances across the nation and worldwide, providing millions a meaningful alternative to traditional religious weddings, memorial services, and other life cycle events.

The Center for Freethought Equality is dedicated to lobbying and political advocacy. We work to significantly increase humanist activity in key Washington coalitions, and have established a permanent lobbyist on the Hill that will fight for issues secular Americans care about — like the separation of church and state and protecting civil liberties.

FreeThoughtAction works to educate the general public about the personal, social and practical benefits of free and rational thought and action based on logic, reason and the scientific method as opposed to unquestioned acceptance of ancient tradition, religion and superstition. By raising awareness of these benefits, our hope is to encourage the continuing growth, open engagement, and public acceptance of a Freethought community in American society.

Launched in 2006, the Appignani Humanist Legal Center (AHLC) is the legal arm of the American Humanist Association. The AHLC’s team of attorneys, through trial and appellate litigation, amicus activity, and other legal work, provide the zealous advocacy that humanists and others need to defend constitutional rights and strengthen the wall of separation between church and state.

American Secular Organizations

American Atheists envisions a world in which public policy is made using the best evidence we have rather than religious dogma and where religious beliefs are no longer seen as an excuse for bigotry or cause to receive special treatment from the government. We fight for religious equality for all Americans by protecting what Thomas Jefferson called the “wall of separation” between state and church created by the First Amendment.

Black Nonbelievers (BN) is a 501 c3 non-profit organization. Headquartered in the Atlanta area, we connect with other Blacks (and allies) who are living free of religion and might otherwise be shunned by family and friends in a caring, friendly, and informative environment. Instead of accepting dogma, we determine truth and morality through reason and evidence. 

Foundation Beyond Belief is a humanist charity that promotes secular volunteering and responsible charitable giving. Guided by the principles of secular humanism, our mission is to unite the humanist community in volunteering and charitable efforts and Advocate for compassionate action throughout the world.

The Kurtz Institute, formally the Institute for Science and Human Values, is a non-profit organization that promotes scientific inquiry and critical thinking in evaluating claims. It works to develop values that are naturalistic and humanistic in character and appropriate to the 21st century. Religion is often at the root of society’s ethical values, and ISHV endeavors to reevaluate them on rational grounds. It continues to enlist the brightest scientists and scholars from around the globe for that purpose. Its members are committed to better developing the common moral virtues that we share as human beings.

The mission of Openly Secular is to eliminate discrimination and increase acceptance by getting secular people – including atheists, freethinkers, agnostics, humanists and nonreligious people – to be open about their beliefs.

Oasis is a place for the non-religious to come together to celebrate the human experience. We understand that vibrant communities are central to human happiness and well-being. That’s why we need Oasis: to provide a place for like-minded individuals and families to connect, be inspired and feel empowered. Every Sunday morning, we offer you the chance to get together to discuss real-world principles supported by evidence and free thought. We also provide a place where your children can explore their developing world views, ask questions and make friends in an environment that’s supportive of critical thinking.

The Secular Coalition for America advocates for religious freedom, as guaranteed by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, and works to bring respect and visibility to nontheists. Representing 19 national secular organizations, hundreds of local secular communities, and working with our allies in the faith community, we combine the power of grassroots activism with professional lobbying to make an impact on the laws and policies that govern separation of religion and government — or the improper encroachment of either on the other.

The Secular Student Alliance empowers secular students to proudly express their identity, build welcoming communities, promote secular values, and set a course for lifelong activism.

Religious Humanist Organizations

The American Ethical Union creates, nurtures, and inspires ethical humanist communities to foster a world that is democratic, compassionate, just, and sustainable. Ethical Humanism/Ethical Culture is a humanist Movement focusing on human goodness and building ethical relationships with each other and the Earth. As a non-theistic organization we do not concern ourselves with the existence or non-existence of a deity but instead embrace the diversity of our membership.

Humanistic Paganism, also called Naturalistic Paganism, is a unique Pagan orientation for those who are uncomfortable with or skeptical of the supernatural or metaphysical elements of contemporary Paganism. Individuals may use other self-descriptors, such as “Atheist Pagan”, “Atheist Witch”, “Pagan Humanist”, “Druid Naturalist”, etc. Humanistic Paganism has been described as Paganism without the “woo”. In affirmative terms, Humanistic Paganism is Paganism that is firmly rooted in the empirical world.

The Society for Humanistic Judaism mobilizes people to celebrate Jewish identity and culture consistent with a humanistic philosophy of life independent of a supernatural authority. As the central body for the Humanistic Jewish Movement in North America, the Society assists in organizing and supporting congregations and in providing a worldwide voice for its members.

The Unitarian Universalist Humanist Association is committed to Humanist principles of reason, compassion, and human fulfillment enumerated in the Humanist Manifestos(link is external) and in the seven Principles of the Unitarian Universalist Association.  We seek (1) to promote a broad acceptance of Humanism in our society, particularly throughout the Unitarian Universalist Association and its congregations, and (2) to provide an active interface between Unitarian Universalists and the secular community. 

International Organizations

Atheist Alliance International (AAI) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded in 1991. AAI is a global federation of atheist groups and individuals committed to educating its members and the public about atheism, secularism and related issues and supporting atheists around the world who are excluded, disparaged, discriminated against and criminalized. AAI was granted UN Special Consultative status in 2013.

Humanist International is a global humanist movement, uniting a diversity of non-religious organizations and individuals. Humanist International works to build, support and represent the global humanist movement, defending human rights, particularly those of non-religious people, and promoting humanist values world-wide.

The European Humanist Federation work towards the establishment of a framework in which the multitude of worldviews and life stances present in our societies can co-exist peacefully and people are able to live their life to the fullest. The European Humanist Federation believes this is achieved via the promotion of secularism throughout Europe and at EU level and  encompasses the protection of freedom of religion or belief, including the right not to believe and the right to change one’s beliefs.

The International Institute for Secular Humanistic Judaism (IISHJ) was established in 1985 in Jerusalem to serve the needs of the growing movement of  Secular Humanistic Judaism. Its three primary purposes are to train rabbis, leaders, educators and spokespersons, to commission and publish materials for the movement and to offer public seminars and Colloquia for education and inspiration. The IISHJ has ordained over 40 Leaders/madrikhim(ot)/vegvayzer and Rabbis in North America since 1985.

The Secular Web maintains a list of national secular organizations throughout the world. 

Academic Programs

Meadville Lombard partners with the American Humanist Association (AHA) Center for Education Humanist Studies Program to foster leadership that is ethically grounded, informed, skillful, globally responsible, personally sustainable and committed to meeting the genuine needs of real people.

The mission of Starr King School for the Ministry is to educate people for Unitarian Universalist ministry and for progressive religious leadership in society. Starr King School’s distinctive educational approach is rooted in the Unitarian Universalist values of countering oppressions, cultivating multi-religious life and learning, and creating just and sustainable communities.

Currently around 550 regular students are enrolled at the University in a Bachelor, Master or pre-Master programme of Humanistic Studies, or in the Master programme of Care Ethics and Policy. These programmes are (so far) largely offered in Dutch. Some courses are taught in English and open to exchange students. The University also offers doctorate programmes in the graduate school. Humanistic Studies is a multidisciplinary science that draws on various disciplines that are used in conjunction whenever appropriate. These disciplines are philosophy, ethics, psychology, education, sociology, history, religious studies, and philosophy of science and scientific methodology.

Scholarly Organizations

The Center for Inquiry strives to foster a secular society based on reason, science, freedom of inquiry, and humanist values. The Center for Inquiry (CFI) is a 501(c)(3) charitable nonprofit organization dedicated to defending science and critical thinking in examining religion. CFI’s vision is a world in which evidence, science, and compassion—rather than superstition, pseudoscience, or prejudice—guide public policy.

The Institute for Humanist Studies is committed to information and practices meant to address the socio-political, economic and cultural challenges facing communities within the United States and within a global context.

Other Organizations

The purpose of AtheistVoter is to ensure that elected officials know that atheists, agnostics, and other nonreligious constituents vote–and vote in huge numbers–so they can no longer simply ignore or take nonreligious constituents votes for granted.

The Humanist Society endorses and prepares humanist professionals to lead life celebrations and support people during difficult times.  Their celebrants, chaplains, lay leaders, and invocators provide millions of people with a meaningful alternative to traditional religious services and ceremonies across the nation.

The Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers provides community for atheists, humanists, and other nontheists in the military.

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Humanist Special Collection

This guide was created as part of the Humanist Special Collection at the Meadville Lombard Library and Archives. The Humanist Special Collection houses archival materials that document the growth and impact of humanism within both Unitarian Universalism and the larger world. The Humanist Special Collection contains personal papers from notable humanists, the records of humanist organizations and congregations, and collections centered around specific themes and events tied to humanism.

Looking for something else?

Secular Directory is an externally curated list of humanist and atheist groups and organizations. It also provides links to news, events, projects, services and other reference material. 

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