Need advice on how to find local spokes people for atheists
Posted: 20 November 2012 07:21 PM   [ Ignore ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2188
Joined  2007-04-26

Newsday, thw major newspaper here on Long island has a weekly faith section in which they ask different leaders of the major faiths for their opinion on various faith issues but also on non- faith current event issues. The idea is to give the public a cross section of the views that these different religions have on issues.

I wrote to the editor of this section suggesting that she is missing a big opportunity by not including atheist voices in this section. She graciously responded that she agreed but was having difficulty finding enough atheist/ humanist leaders to quote so she wouldnt use the same people all the time. She asked for recommendations but not being active in any organizations i am at a loss for any good recommendations. Anyone have any good ideas where i could get some names?

 Signature 

For every complex problem there is a solution that is simple, obvious,.... and just plain wrong

Profile
 
 
Posted: 21 November 2012 05:33 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2602
Joined  2012-10-27
macgyver - 20 November 2012 07:21 PM

Newsday, thw major newspaper here on Long island has a weekly faith section in which they ask different leaders of the major faiths for their opinion on various faith issues but also on non- faith current event issues. The idea is to give the public a cross section of the views that these different religions have on issues.

I wrote to the editor of this section suggesting that she is missing a big opportunity by not including atheist voices in this section. She graciously responded that she agreed but was having difficulty finding enough atheist/ humanist leaders to quote so she wouldnt use the same people all the time. She asked for recommendations but not being active in any organizations i am at a loss for any good recommendations. Anyone have any good ideas where i could get some names?

There are plenty of atheist spokespeople who would be glad to be interviewed.  Tell her to contact the American Humanist Association, the Freedom from Religion Foundation or Atheists United.  I suspect, however, that she doesn’t want to quote atheists and uses the false excuse that it’s hard to find enough Humanist/atheist leaders to quote. There are plenty of them and they aren’t hard to find.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 21 November 2012 05:41 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2602
Joined  2012-10-27
Lois - 21 November 2012 05:33 AM
macgyver - 20 November 2012 07:21 PM

Newsday, thw major newspaper here on Long island has a weekly faith section in which they ask different leaders of the major faiths for their opinion on various faith issues but also on non- faith current event issues. The idea is to give the public a cross section of the views that these different religions have on issues.

I wrote to the editor of this section suggesting that she is missing a big opportunity by not including atheist voices in this section. She graciously responded that she agreed but was having difficulty finding enough atheist/ humanist leaders to quote so she wouldnt use the same people all the time. She asked for recommendations but not being active in any organizations i am at a loss for any good recommendations. Anyone have any good ideas where i could get some names?

There are plenty of atheist spokespeople who would be glad to be interviewed.  Tell her to contact the American Humanist Association, the Freedom from Religion Foundation or Atheists United.  I suspect, however, that she doesn’t want to quote atheists and uses the false excuse that it’s hard to find enough Humanist/atheist leaders to quote. There are plenty of them and they aren’t hard to find.

There is also the Ethical Culture Society, a large and active organization that’s been around for more than a century, located in a beautiful building on West 64th St. and Central Park West in Manhattan. http://www.nysec.org/

Profile
 
 
Posted: 21 November 2012 06:23 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  15368
Joined  2006-02-14

And then of course there is CFI ...

 Signature 

Doug

-:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:-

El sueño de la razón produce monstruos

Profile
 
 
Posted: 21 November 2012 10:09 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2188
Joined  2007-04-26

My impression was that the editor was genuine in her response. She could have easily ignored my correspondence if she had no interest. The section of the paper generally quotes local leaders and my impression is that she was looking for suggestions of similar people she could quote in the local atheist /humanist community although i will pass on the suggestions given here.

 Signature 

For every complex problem there is a solution that is simple, obvious,.... and just plain wrong

Profile
 
 
Posted: 21 November 2012 11:57 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2602
Joined  2012-10-27
macgyver - 21 November 2012 10:09 AM

My impression was that the editor was genuine in her response. She could have easily ignored my correspondence if she had no interest. The section of the paper generally quotes local leaders and my impression is that she was looking for suggestions of similar people she could quote in the local atheist /humanist community although i will pass on the suggestions given here.

Ok, I’ll give her the benefit of the doubt, but if she’s only interested in local spokespeople, she will continue to have less success with atheists and Humanists because we tend to be more spread out.  We don’t have buildings in every community as religions do, we don’t proselytize the way religions do and we haven’t been organizing for centuries, the way religions have been.  We are completely different and operate differently than religious bodies.  She may be genuine in her response but she’s trying to hammer a square peg into a round hole (or instead ignoring us). Atheists and Humanists are available to be included in columns like hers, if she’s truly interested, but she should know that she will not be able to reach us using the same tools as she uses to reach religious spokespeople.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 21 November 2012 12:26 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  9301
Joined  2006-08-29

The one problem I see here is lumping atheism together with humanism. The newspaper’s section focuses on faith, which humanism is, but atheism is definitely not. I have absolutely no idea what an atheist would add to any such discussion. Look for a spokesman on humanism, macgyver, if you must, but please leave atheism out of it. Do it for the rest of us who are atheists but not humanists, as I am tired of explaining myself over and over, pointing to the fact that I have no faith of any kind and that atheism only means one thing: not having a belief in the existence in God.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 21 November 2012 01:02 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2188
Joined  2007-04-26

George Im not sure if its really necessary to separate the two ( humanism and atheism) but I am open to an explanation as to why that might be important. The reason I wrote to her is that the faith section often addresses issues that are not necessarily faith issues and i think it would be beneficial for the atheist/ humanist community if the general public started to see some of our views.

The way the section is structured she will often present a topic ( such as the her most recent one on the response of faith groups to Hurricane Sandy in which she completely ignored the response of various atheist/humanist groups to the tragedy) and then she has 4 or 5 leaders from various religions ( ie. A priest, a rabbi and a buddhist ..no this isn’t the start of a bad joke) with their photo and name and then a paragraph or two discussing their response, but never anyone from the humanist or atheist community. It was particularly irksome in this particular story because the non-religious community actually was fairly active in providing assistance to those in need ( see here : http://secular.org/news/press-release-atheists-mobilize-storm-relief-efforts). I think the public generally assumes only religious people are capable of such generosity. One purpose of this section of the paper appears to be the promotion greater tolerance and understanding between people of different religious beliefs so it only seemed logical that it would be a good opportunity for them to help people better understand the most reviled group, ie. us

Anyway I sent her the suggestions made here. She did state as i suspected that the paper prefers to use local leaders since their readers are primarily long islanders but she was willing to investigate the list of organizations i gave her and try to include non-religious views in more of her columns. It may go no where but the effort didnt cost me much more than a few moments of my time and if it bears even a little fruit then something was accomplished.

 Signature 

For every complex problem there is a solution that is simple, obvious,.... and just plain wrong

Profile
 
 
Posted: 21 November 2012 01:05 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  3052
Joined  2011-11-04
George - 21 November 2012 12:26 PM

The one problem I see here is lumping atheism together with humanism. The newspaper’s section focuses on faith, which humanism is, but atheism is definitely not. I have absolutely no idea what an atheist would add to any such discussion. Look for a spokesman on humanism, macgyver, if you must, but please leave atheism out of it. Do it for the rest of us who are atheists but not humanists, as I am tired of explaining myself over and over, pointing to the fact that I have no faith of any kind and that atheism only means one thing: not having a belief in the existence in God.

Aren’t you confusing atheism with skepticism?  But anyway, your point about not billing a spokesperson as an atheist, may be a good one.  I would suggest looking for a non-theistic humanist as a spokesperson.

 Signature 

As a fabrication of our own consciousness, our assignations of meaning are no less “real”, but since humans and the fabrications of our consciousness are routinely fraught with error, it makes sense, to me, to, sometimes, question such fabrications.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 21 November 2012 01:43 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  9301
Joined  2006-08-29

Once again, macgyver, I doubt a person labeled an atheist has anything to add to the topic on hurricane Sandy. A priest may say it is a test from God to see how we can cooperate with each other (or any such other pearl of wisdom), a humanist could point to his belief in our solidarity (or whatever the humanists say). But an atheist? What about vegetarians? Should they also be included?

I am an atheist but not a humanist, and I don’t want people to associate one with the other.

[ Edited: 21 November 2012 01:56 PM by George ]
Profile
 
 
Posted: 21 November 2012 02:59 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2188
Joined  2007-04-26

I can see your point george. Humanists may have more to say about their contribution to relief efforts than an atheist group although im not sure. Other topics such as ” how should people deal with tragedy x”  may also be more appropriate for himanists. Ill have to take note to see if there are any topics where an atheists point of view would be particularly interesting but it would make sense that there would be since they discuss a broad range of social and faith issues.

 Signature 

For every complex problem there is a solution that is simple, obvious,.... and just plain wrong

Profile
 
 
Posted: 21 November 2012 06:24 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
Moderator
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  5551
Joined  2010-06-16

Even though I’m an athiest AND a humanist, i agree with George; they are quite different concepts.  As I recall, many years ago at an AHA Annual Meeting, they had a hall with a variety of booths, and one of them was by Religious Humanists.

Occam

 Signature 

Succinctness, clarity’s core.

Profile