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The Humanist Hour

The Humanist Hour (HH) Audio Podcast is a monthly one-hour talk show produced by the American Humanist Association. Every episode of the HH Audio Podcast explores a different area of humanist thought, from politics to pop culture.

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The Humanist Hour #213: Growing Up Humanist

Today's adolescent humanists in the U.S. aren't the first generation of young people to be raised in a nonreligious philosophy. They are, however, the largest in modern times here – and the demographic shift means the generations that follow will likely be even larger. That means it's time for us to pay attention to the challenges and opportunities faced by teenaged humanists.At the American Humanist Association's annual conference in Chicago this past May, the AHA convened a panel of familiar names. At least the last names of the panelists were familiar. This was a new set of humanists, however, the teen-aged children of humanist leaders and other longtime humanists. They came together to discuss the challenges of being a minority among their religious peers, charting their own paths, and finding ways to live up to their humanitarian ideals. We're sharing audio from that panel this week.

21 Sep 2016

Rank #1

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The Humanist Hour #212: Lauren Lane on Skepticon and Rethinking Conferences

Skepticon is an unusual conference in several ways. It started as a student-run event that survived its founders' graduation. It's an independent event, run as its own nonprofit organization. It's a free conference and vows to remain that way. In any given year, roughly half its speakers are women. It's held in a smaller city in the middle of the country in a very religious area. It attracts a younger audience on average, many of whom bring their families. It blends religious skepticism with what proponents call scientific skepticism with a minimum of friction.In short, Skepticon meets many of the demographic and other challenges the secular and skeptical movements have identified. It's no surprise, then, that it's the largest annual conference in either of these movements. This week, we talk with Skepticon co-founder and president Lauren Lane about Skepticon's past and its future. We talk about its history of innovation, and what’s changing this year. Lauren will tell you what you can expect at this year's Skepticon, November 11-13, 2016. We'll also laugh rather a lot.

14 Sep 2016

Rank #2

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The Humanist Hour #211: Noelle George on Foundation Beyond Belief

We like to say that we’re “good without a god,” but the fact of the matter is that we’re not always very organized about it. One of the good things organized religion has introduced to the world is ways to encourage giving and volunteering to help those in need. Foundation Beyond Belief is a secular nonprofit organization that provides a similar structure to help those of us who have left religion or who never had religion in the first place when we want to give.Noelle George is the executive director of Foundation Beyond Belief and the former head of the Beyond Belief Network, Foundation Beyond Belief's program that supports secular volunteers across the country. She joins us this week to discuss the history of the organization, its various programs, and how people can contribute time, money, or word of mouth to Foundation Beyond Belief. She also talks about the matching grant that American Humanist Association is offering this month to support the Humanist Service Corps' work in Ghana.

7 Sep 2016

Rank #3

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The Humanist Hour #210: Miri Mogilevsky on Sex Positivity and Teaching Consent

Sex positivity sounds like a wonderful thing, but do you really know what it is? As a social movement, it's older than you might think. It can be traced back through the Free Love movement. No, not the one in the 1960s: the Victorian Free Love movement. In its more modern incarnation, sex positivity has been associated with LGBTQ liberation and the battles within feminism over pornography and sex work. It's also closely tied to movements to destigmatize kink and polyamory.With all these associations, perhaps it shouldn't be surprising that not everyone agrees about what sex positivity is and what it looks like in practice. Sex positivity fills different roles for lots of people. And while, at its heart, sex positivity is an intellectual tradition, not everyone relates to it on an intellectual level. Miri Mogilevsky is a licensed therapist, a writer, and a long-time provider of sex education for adults. With articles having appeared in xoJane, Salon, and Everyday Feminism, she's a recognized resource on mental health, feminism, and consent. In recent years, she's offered a workshop at secular movement conferences titled, "Getting It On at the Con: How to Get Lucky Consensually". She's recently written about some of the common misperceptions about sex positivity, and she joins us this week to clear the air.One note: This is a show about sex. While it doesn't get graphic, it may still be inappropriate for work for other reasons, such as the swearing.

31 Aug 2016

Rank #4

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The Humanist Hour #209: The Intersection of Humanism and Social Justice Work

The concept of social justice is enjoying a renaissance. That doesn't necessarily translate into action, however. Even people who support social justice may find themselves uncertain how to put their principles into practice. They may be unsure what is needed from them.At the American Humanist Association's 75th Anniversary Conference in Chicago this year, Sincere Kirabo, social justice coordinator of the AHA, moderated a panel on this problem. Diane Burkholder, co-founder of Kansas City Freethinkers of Color; James Croft, outreach director of the Ethical Society of St. Louis; and Randall Jenson, executive director of SocialScope Productions, a nonprofit focused on LGBTQ and gender documentary projects, discussed the practical impediments to social justice in the humanist movement and our broader society. They talked about the needs we don't see and the solutions that allow us to put our time and money where our mouths are.

24 Aug 2016

Rank #5

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The Humanist Hour #208: Juhem Navarro-Rivera on Changing Demographics and Changing Politics

There is a significant portion of the U.S. electorate this year who seem determined to "take back their country". It's rare, however, that these people are willing to explicitly state who they want to take the country back from. In reality their political fears reflect a voting population that is less white, less male, and less religious than it has ever been before.Juhem Navarro-Rivera is a political scientist who studies the political behavior of many of the groups within this rising American electorate. He specializes in studying Latino voters and the religious Nones. This week, he joins Stephanie Zvan to talk about the concerns and behavior of these groups, as well as the concerns and behaviors of the largely white, male, and religious voters who are resisting their participation in the political process.

17 Aug 2016

Rank #6

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The Humanist Hour #207: Kelly McCullough on Building Religion through Stories

Kelly McCullough is a fantasy and science fiction author with twelve novels under his belt to date. Despite being raised outside religion, his work often focuses on what it means to exist in a world where gods are real. In his WebMage series, McCullough’s protagonist is the descendent of one of the Greek Fates. His Fallen Blade series follows what happens when the goddess of justice is killed by the other gods in her pantheon.This week, Kelly McCullough talks to Stephanie Zvan about why he explores the themes of religion in his books. He also talks about having accidentally created a religion outside his writing and how he managed to become one of those nearly mythical atheist politicians in the U.S.

10 Aug 2016

Rank #7

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The Humanist Hour #206: Alix Jules on the Politics of Racial Resentment

The 2016 U.S. presidential election has turned into something that wasn't supposed to be able to happen anymore. We’re supposed to be past this kind of open racism, yet here we are. So much for living in a “post-racial” America.Alix Jules is a secular activist, writer, and sometimes co-host on Dogma Debate. He's also on the advisory council of American Humanist Association's Black Humanist Alliance. This week, he joins us to talk about the politics of racial resentment. We'll talk about Alix's visit to a Trump rally, but acknowledge that racial resentment reaches far beyond one party or candidate. We'll also discuss Alix's experience trying to talk about racial issues within the secular movement.Please be aware that the final segment of the show contains mention of a racial slur.

3 Aug 2016

Rank #8

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The Humanist Hour #205: Examining Honor Culture and Violence in Islam

Earlier this month, model and activist Qandeel Baloch was found dead in her home in Pakistan. She'd been drugged and murdered by her brother in what he claimed was an honor killing. Baloch was a feminist and a pop star who didn't adhere to local Islamic modesty standards. Her brother claimed that this brought shame upon their family.Baloch's murder was more widely reported in the U.S. than most honor killings. Reactions to the news were varied but demonstrated a broad lack of understanding of the ways in which honor killings are distinct from domestic violence in more individualistic societies. This past May, Muhammad Syed, Sarah Haider, and Mya Saleem of the Ex-Muslims of North America explored those differences in a panel titled, "Examining Honor Culture and Violence in Islam" at the AHA’s 75th Anniversary Conference in Chicago. This week, we bring you that panel and part of the Q&A that followed. The full Q&A can be found on the video on the AHA’s YouTube channel.

27 Jul 2016

Rank #9

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The Humanist Hour #204: Callie Wright on the “Gaytheist Manifesto”

When Callie Wright came out as a trans woman in 2013, there weren't a lot of queer voices in the secular movement that focused on issues affecting queer people. She set out to change that. With her partner in crime Ari Stillman, she now runs The Gaytheist Manifesto podcast and the blog of the same name. She is also co-chair of the American Humanist Association's LGBTQ Humanist Alliance.Callie joins Jenn Wilson this week to talk about founding the podcast and its mission to support the LGBTQ community within the secular movement. They discuss Callie's outlook on activism, her goals for the LGBTQ Humanist Alliance, and even a recent controversy in LGBTQ media representation. After we hear from Callie and Jenn, we'll also give you a quick sample of the work Callie does educating humanists at conferences.

20 Jul 2016

Rank #10

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The Humanist Hour #202: Amanda Marcotte on Feminist Topics in Current Politics

Any year in which we have the first female major party presumptive nominee for president is going to be a busy one in feminist politics. Beyond Hillary Clinton, however, there's still plenty going on in current political discourse that's of interest to feminists. From the misogyny of Donald Trump to the recent Supreme Court decision on abortion, we have a lot to talk about.To cover these topics—as well as Clinton's rise to nominee—Stephanie Zvan talks this week with Amanda Marcotte, a political writer for Salon with more than a decade of experience covering these kinds of topics. Listen and catch up on the presidential campaigns, online discourse, and the state of abortion rights.(Marcotte photo by Brian Engler)

6 Jul 2016

Rank #11

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The Humanist Hour #200: Women in Secularism & Secular Woman

In spring of 2012, the secular movement was a different place for women. We were grossly underrepresented on stage, in print, and in the membership of our organizations. In a movement that prides itself on asking questions, the people asking why this under-representation was happening were being shouted down. The Center for Inquiry's (CFI) Women in Secularism conference in Washington, D.C. was created to address these problems. The brain child of Melody Hensley, the conference featured a weekend of only women speakers, and it changed the movement.This week, Stephanie Zvan talks to Debbie Goddard, Director of Outreach at CFI and Director of African Americans for Humanism, about the history of the conference and what people can look forward to this year. Debbie is organizing the fourth Women in Secularism conference, taking place September 23–25, 2016.Stephanie also talks with Monette Richards, president of CFI Northeast Ohio and co-president of Secular Woman, an organization that was born at the first Women in Secularism conference. We'll catch up on what it's been up to, as well as its hopes and plans for the future.

22 Jun 2016

Rank #12

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The Humanist Hour #199: Greta Christina on "The Way of the Heathen"

"So you're an atheist. Now what? The way we deal with life—with love and sex, pleasure and death, reality and making stuff up—can change dramatically when we stop believing in gods, souls, and afterlives. When we leave religion—or if we never had it in the first place—where do we go? With her unique blend of compassion and humor, thoughtfulness and snark, Greta Christina most emphatically does not propose a single path to a good atheist life. She offers questions to think about, ideas that may be useful, and encouragement to choose your own way. She addresses complex issues in an accessible, down-to-earth style, including: Why we're here, Sexual transcendence, How humanism helps with depression—except when it doesn’t, Stealing stuff from religion, and much more. Aimed at new and not-so-new atheists, questioning and curious believers, Christina shines a warm, fresh light on the only life we have."That's the publisher's blurb for Greta Christina's new book, The Way of the Heathen: Practicing Atheism in Everyday Life. This book is a distillation of more than a decade of thinking and writing about atheism. Greta joins us on this week's show to talk with Peggy Knudtson and Jenn Wilson about how the book came to be and why she's been wanting to write this particular one for so long.

15 Jun 2016

Rank #13

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The Humanist Hour #197: Josiah Mannion and Baba Brinkman on Art and Activism

Art has the potential to reach people in ways no simple argument can. As such, it's always been harnessed for activist pursuits. From design that adds impact to a message, to providing the sugar coating on an educational pill, to telling us stories we need to hear – activism needs art. Humanist activism is no exception. On this week's show, we talk to two artists whose art exists for far more than art's sake.Stephanie Zvan talks to Josiah Mannion about his photography and his motto, "I take pictures of humans. This is my Humanism." Later, Kim Ellington talks with Baba Brinkman about his album "The Rap Guide to Religion" and about having his work peer-reviewed by scientists.(Photo of Josiah courtesy of Lindsey Ford)

1 Jun 2016

Rank #14

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The Humanist Hour #195: David Cobb on Corporate Personhood

David Cobb is a lawyer and co-founder of Move to Amend, a coalition dedicated to winning a constitutional amendment to firmly establish that money is not speech, and that human beings, not corporations, are persons entitled to constitutional rights. He has sued corporate polluters, lobbied elected officials, run for political office himself, and been arrested for non-violent civil disobedience. He believes we must use every tool available to effect the systemic social change we so desperately need. In 2002, David ran for Attorney General of Texas, pledging to use the office to revoke the charters of corporations that repeatedly violate health, safety, and environmental laws. In 2004, he ran for President of the United States on the Green Party ticket and successfully campaigned for the Ohio recount.At the AHA’s 2015 Annual Conference in Denver, David discussed the legal doctrine of "corporate constitutional rights" and the idea that money should be treated as speech. He contended that these illegitimate, irrational, court-created concepts have allowed a small ruling elite to hijack the social, political, and economic institutions of this country. He described the growing efforts of Move to Amend, a multi-racial, multi-ethnic, intergenerational mass movement demanding a constitutional amendment to abolish these doctrines. David also made the case that humanists are uniquely positioned to attack and discredit these concepts. He provided concrete ways members of the AHA might get involved as individuals or through their existing local chapters.In this week's show, we bring you the audio from David's speech to introduce him and his ideas to a broader audience.

18 May 2016

Rank #15

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The Humanist Hour #194: American Humanist Association’s 75th Anniversary Conference

This year is a special one for the American Humanist Association – it marks 75 years since our founding. To celebrate, our annual conference returns to the AHA's original home of Chicago this May 26–29 with lots to do for everyone.In addition to being AHA's Director of Development and Communications, Maggie Ardiente also organizes AHA's annual conference. She took time this week out of her busy schedule to talk to us about the history of the conference, what attendees can expect, how to make the most of your conference experience, and the kinds of political considerations that go into creating a conference like this.

4 May 2016

Rank #16

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The Humanist Hour #193: Carrie Poppy and Ross Blocher

"We show up so you don't have to."That's the tagline for the Oh No, Ross and Carrie podcast. If you've ever wanted to get out and experience all the world's weirdness for yourself, this podcast might not be for you. If, however, you've been dying to have other people put themselves through that and then tell you about it, you're in the right place. Skeptics Ross Blocher and Carrie Poppy are ready to experience it all (or almost all) for you and share all the best stories afterward.On this week's Humanist Hour, Carrie and Ross join us to talk about how they got started, the roles compassion and honesty play in their skepticism, and a few of their favorite episodes. They also tell us just what they are and aren't willing to do for an episode.

20 Apr 2016

Rank #17

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The Humanist Hour #192: The Humanism of Star Trek, with Susan Sackett & Scott Lohman

Gene Roddenberry was openly humanist, and his best-known creation, Star Trek, reflects his views in many ways. Our guests this week talk about how Star Trek informed their humanism and how they use the show to educate others about humanism.Susan Sackett became Roddenberry's executive assistant in the mid-1970s and a humanist shortly thereafter. She contributed story ideas for two episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation and worked with Roddenberry until his death. She joins us to talk about her career with Roddenberry, working with some of the Star Trek original series actors, and her career in humanism after Roddenberry's death. Sackett also serves on the AHA Board of Directors.Scott Lohman is the former president of the Humanists of Minnesota and a self-professed “serious geek.” He runs Diversicon, a science fiction convention in Minnesota, and gives presentations on humanist principles using examples from Star Trek. He joins us to talk about teaching Star Trek to children at Camp Quest.

6 Apr 2016

Rank #18

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The Humanist Hour #191: Sincere Kirabo on Building Social Justice

Over the past year or so, the American Humanist Association has been making changes to reflect its commitment to social justice. These changes can be found in the pages of The Humanist magazine and the words of its leaders. Change can also be found more recently in the announcement that Sincere Kirabo would be stepping into the role of the AHA's social justice coordinator.This week, we welcome Sincere back to the show. He speaks with Peggy Knudtson and Jenn Wilson about his new role, what social justice and intersectionality mean, and the ways that social media can be used to further the cause of social justice.

23 Mar 2016

Rank #19

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The Humanist Hour #188: Black Nonbelievers: The Author's Circle

In this episode, Jenn Wilson introduces our new producer, Stephanie Zvan, and Kim Ellington talks to Frank Edwards, Ronald F. Murphy, Cheryl Abram, and Darrell Smith – authors who presented at the Black Nonbelievers fifth anniversary celebration in Atlanta last month.On January 16, 2016, Black Nonbelievers from all over gathered together in Atlanta to celebrate the organization’s five year anniversary. One of the day's panels focused on black atheist and humanist authors. Kim Ellington attended the anniversary celebration and took the opportunity to talk to these panelists. ---Frank Edwards is the author of the Jupiter Strong series, books designed for children and parents. The focus of this series was to showcase images of African people in dignifying terms and rebuild family values. From our series, children will learn critical thinking skills, self love, communal responsibility and have fun doing it!---Ronald F. Murphy, one of three children born to Raymond and Catherine Murphy, was raised in the quiet town of Maplewood, New Jersey. Having parents as educators, his upbringing was layered with the clichéd notions that education is the key to a better future, and moreover a necessity for acceptance in our modern society. Thus, it was Mr. Murphy’s inquisitive nature and desire for learning that bred in him a healthy skepticism and ultimately led to his pragmatic search for answers to life’s biggest questions.---Cheryl Abram was born in 1975 in Houma, Louisiana. She is a mother of four and currently lives in Northern Virginia. A graduate of the Catholic University of America in Washington D.C. she holds a Master's degree in Social Work and a Master's of Science in Quality Systems Management. A life-long learner, Cheryl is an Army veteran working as a learning and development specialist in a federal government agency in Washington DC. Firing God is Cheryl's memoir of her "leap of doubt" that led her to fire God.---Darrell Smith is an educator, author, writer, lecturer, and atheist advocate. When he came out atheist to his children, they told him he couldn't be an atheist because there were no black atheist. You Are Not Alone was Darrell's answer to that charge.

10 Feb 2016

Rank #20