Humanist Society of New Zealand (Inc.). PO Box 3372, Wellington, New Zealand 

 Registered Charity No. CC36074

The Humanist Society of New Zealand is a Member Organisation of the International Humanist and Ethical Union

Humanist Newsletter – September 2019

Hello there! 

Gaylene, the regular scribe of this month’s newsletter, is currently on a humanist focused expedition to India. Part of her voyage involves a meetup featuring Babu Gogineni, the popular and prominent Humanist activist who we were lucky to have as a guest here in New Zealand earlier this year. No doubt she will return with many insights and stories to share.

This leaves the privilege of crafting this month’s newsletter to me. Recent events in my life have had me pondering things relating to politics, ethics and morality. Doing this with logic and reason increasingly endears me towards some of the goals that the Humanist movement strives for. Having only been a part of Humanist NZ for a few years makes me still feel like I have much to learn, but one epiphany I reached a while ago was this: religion, or any supernatural belief system, does not have a monopoly on kindness, empathy or unity. 

  • Aaron Davies

Humanists New Zealand Monthly Meeting

Our meeting this month will be a chance to catch up and discuss Humanist related topics. If you’re new and have any questions about humanism in general, or specifically about Humanist NZ, please join us. People of all beliefs and views are welcome to this safe and friendly social event.

Monday, 2 September from 6:30pm onwards.

The Thistle Inn, 3 Mulgrave Street in Wellington (near the Railway Station).

Upstairs in the George Room.

Here is a collection of news articles and other resources from the past month that humanists should find interesting.

New Zealand

The Secular Education Network is still pushing forward with its legal case to change the laws related to the privileged position that religion, and religious instruction, currently enjoys in our schools. A major issue here is many schools that offer exclusively Christian based religious education classes are discriminatory and can make a school unwelcoming to some. There is currently a fundraising campaign, striving to help fund a court case due sometime before July next year.

Read more about this campaign at www.humanist.nz/schools

High control religions can be extremely difficult for people to leave, but even once they are out the damage can still remain. A family of nine who fled the Gloriavale Christian Community recently are finding it a challenge to function in society. Nearly every aspect of their former life were fully controlled by a religious cult, without any education or training in how to live in the outside world.

Read more in this article at www.humanist.nz/CultEscape

Our friends and allies at the Rationalists (the NZARH) have published a set of Traditional Karakia in Te Reo Maori, with english translations. These karakia originate from pre-colonial times, and are suitable for use in scenarios that would benefit from a secular approach. This makes for an extremely useful resource for those wishing to partake of tradition, especially in a work environment, without having to reference any religious beliefs or deities.

Read these Traditional Karakia at www.humanist.nz/karakia

From Around the World

People in the United Kingdom are increasingly heading north to Scotland in order to have weddings performed by a Humanist celebrant. Frustratingly, these cannot be performed with any legal recognition in England or Wales. While it might be beneficial to the Scottish tourist industry, it’s inconvenient and potentially a demonstration of the privileged position some religions still currently have.

Read more in this article at www.humanist.nz/scotland

Is the United States changing their ways towards becoming a more secular society? If current trends continue, it might just happen. Recent statistics show that both America and Europe have increasing numbers of non-believers, something that we expect to see reflected here in New Zealand when data from the recent census is released.

Read more in this article at www.humanist.nz/secular

Curiosity

Is Star Trek the ideal show for conveying Humanist values? While the science may be dubious, the futuristic aspect of the franchise allowed viewers to see how a secular society with largely humanist values would operate – both when exploring brave new worlds, and when this society is mortally threatened by the Borg or Species 8472.

Read more in this article from www.humanist.nz/startrek