Humanist Publications

Book Review: Becoming Eve: My Journey from Ultra-Orthodox Rabbi to Transgender Woman

The dedication of Abby Chava Stein’s autobiographical book, Becoming Eve: My Journey from Ultra-Orthodox Rabbi to Transgender Woman reads: “To my dear son, the love of my life, Duvid’l, to long years.” This protestation of love for her son sets the stage for a tale of her own parents’ rejection of their transgender daughter. She follows this with a quote from Song of Songs, a text found at the end of the Tanakh, the Hebrew Bible. It reads: “Mighty waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot sweep i

Humanist EDge: Dear Male Humanists, or a Feminist Manifesto in Ten Suggestions

Last fall I was granted a precious space to speak at an interfaith breakfast ahead of the Planned Parenthood Day of Action in Lansing, Michigan, as well as on an interfaith panel at the Women’s Convention held a few weeks later in Detroit. Both instances were at the behest of Jenny Byer, the inspirational director of reproductive justice for the Michigan Unitarian Universalist Social Justice Network. Further, I spoke not just as a man but as a representative of the humanist viewpoint in the cont

Belief in a Shared Future

This interview has been edited for clarity and readability.

In February Dr. Abdul El-Sayed, a Muslim-American, announced he would seek the Democratic nomination for governor of Michigan.

El-Sayed is a Rhodes Scholar who holds a doctorate from Oxford University and a medical degree from Columbia University, where he subsequently taught as an assistant professor in the Department of Epidemiology. Two years ago the mayor of Detroit selected him to lead the city’s Health Department. Now, at thirty

Notes from the Institute for Political Correctness

Institute for Political Correctness (IPC): Institute for Political Correctness, how may I help you?

Caller: I’m in charge of decorating our office common space for the holidays and was looking for some advice. We want to be extra politically correct this year.

IPC: Well, that’s wonderful! It’s important to respect everyone’s beliefs, traditions, and cultures. That being said—

Caller: I know holly is one of the symbols of Christmas, but Jews, for instance, don’t celebrate Christmas, so my firs

The Case for Re-Enfranchisement

I was registering voters not too long before the California primary in June when two men came in. One registered, and the other thanked us but declined. We asked if he was a citizen and a resident of California. He said he was both, but that he couldn’t register. We pushed further, only to be met with more deflection. We soon began to wonder if maybe he was an ex-convict who thought he couldn’t vote and was embarrassed to admit it. We probed gently to confirm this and, trying to ease his humilia

The Cartoon History of Humanism, Volume One: Antiquity to Enlightenment

The conceit from which The Cartoon History of Humanism, Volume One: Antiquity to Enlightenment launches is as funny as it is paradoxical. In fact, its humor comes from its contradictory nature. As a child, our protagonist Dave makes fun of a passing logical positivist, who then proceeds to do something very antithetical to logical positivism. He curses Dave, forcing him “to wander time and space conversing with humanist philosophers until he learns his lesson.” One imagines the lesson might be t

"The Compassion Experience" and the Marketing of Religion

My family and I recently experienced this firsthand when we attended something called the Compassion Experience . It’s a marketing event for Compassion International, a Christian charity that employs what they dub the “one-on-one” model of giving. Donations from each individual go to sponsor a single child. The patron receives a photo of the child, a description of their life, and is encouraged to communicate with the recipient child via letters. We attended this event at my wife’s suggestion be