I’m hoping I misunderstand, because it makes no sense to me to exclude other forms of Humanism. I think the term Humanism covers a wide variety of POVs and I see no reason to exclude those like Epstein and Spong from that definition.
I agree with you Mriana. I am undeniably of the “secular” variety that you refer to, but I see no reason not to include other forms of humanism under the humanist umbrella. To me, the cause of asserting good ethical principles both precedes and supersedes the need for increased secularism and I see no reason why secular humanists shouldn’t work cooperatively with liberal religionists toward ideals that are compatible to humanism.
I am curious what you find to be “dogma” in “The Affirmations of Humanism: Statement of Principles” that is listed on the inside cover of Free Inquiry, or in the Humanist Manifestos. I might change a word or two to the focus of my interests, but by and large I find them to be altogether different from such morally absolute statements as the ten commandments. If you don’t like the assertion of moral absolutes, would you consider it as acceptable to assert that one should not assert a moral principle that is absolute? This assertion seems, to me, implicit in the wording of each and every one of these affirmations. In this light, I don’t think that they tell people what to do, as such, but rather point toward independent thought in various categories of human experience.
I was very skeptical of the “Statement of Principles” when I first encountered it, but I don’t think that any humanist really takes it as a set of rules or laws that they obliged to obey. Humanism is much more of a milieu than it is a belief system. Similarly, while it has its celebrities and its respected thinkers, it doesn’t have authorities in the conventional sense. You don’t have to answer to anyone.
I can understand how you might see these principles that are detailed in the “Statement of Principles” as obvious if they are obvious to you, but I don’t think that they are obvious to most people. I think that one ought to say something about what one does believe, in light of the fact that religious people generally regard “atheists” as being without any principles.