Defending the tolerant secular state
and other enlightenment values

The Humanist Society promotes a non-religious non-supernatural world view and supports a number of issues which certain (fundamentalist) religious interests and prominent pro-active individuals with deep religious convictions oppose including abortion law, drug law, euthanasia law reforms and unaccountable allocation of public monies to religious organisations. These religious interests illegitimately want to compel certain values in the public space when society as a whole wishes to be rid of those restrictions. It is part of the movement which argues that the state and religion should remain separate.

Humanists do not rely on scriptures, theological or ideological abstraction, and asserts that humanity must take responsibility for its own destiny.

Apart from its outwardly directed function we serve as a group or venue for meeting like-minded people; to talk about subjects which may not occur or even be possible elsewhere. If you feel socially isolated because of values shared by us, you are more than welcome to apply for membership.

Humanists are anti-religious to the extent where we see it encroaching the civic or public sphere in an illegitimate way. The Humanist world view requires extensive appraisal and thinking about many aspects of individual or personal and civic or public life. As a consequence we tend to be polymath - i.e. have wide and extensive interests.

These broader interests include concerns about the environment and about the lack of sufficient concern about non-human species.

We see ourselves as defenders and promoters of the values from the Renaissance and the Enlightenment, which means democracy - free open societies, rule-of-law; it gives primacy to the individual and human rights coupled with corresponding responsibilities. We are "progressive" in our views about economic and societal matters including seeking general compassion and equity in social policies. However "socialism", meaning pursuing the "public ownership of the means of production", is controversial amongst us. The present writer does not support the concept on the grounds that its pursuit tends to lead to totalitarianism and economic shortages because the stifling rules of public ownership stifles the "animal spirits" in JM Keynes' words.

We are concerned about equity issues such as excessive income and wealth inequality, the unequal treatment of women, massive global inequity etc. but our main active focus remains addressing the ongoing issues from our roots, which is the inappropriate dominance of the religious organisations in public affairs. To be involved in these "non-core" issues we tend to form alliances and/or support groups focussed on these areas including organisations such as GetUp! and

Clearly we support and promote the sciences and the arts.

Victor Bien
17 April 2011

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