Not so long ago, my friend Dean told me this beautiful line from one of Tyler Kent White’s poems: “I promise you if you keep searching for everything beautiful in this world you will eventually become it.” I love it because it reminds me that there is so much beauty in the world that surrounds us, but most of it is only available if we are open to finding it. And, for the not-so-beautiful things in this world, there is always the potential to make them beautiful. We just have to be willing to make the effort.
One thing that a lot of people don’t know about me is that I am a humanist and a member of Humanists UK. Being a humanist basically means that one’s ethos prioritizes humans’ well-being in all our decision-making processes; that one only accepts things that can be proven by the scientific method and rejects the supernatural (being either atheist or agnostic); and that one believes that this is the only life that we have and therefore we should attempt to give meaning to it by seeking happiness for ourselves and for the rest of humanity.
It is true that you can live a life where you feel related to any of these principles without becoming part of any organisation. But, for the longest time, I felt like I needed to do something else besides just treating others with respect and procuring a better world for me and for those around me. I felt like I wanted to contribute to the world in a more active way. So, after many years looking for an organisation that I could relate to, I learned about the amazing work that Humanists UK do in pro of humanity and I decided to become a member.
Since I joined a few years ago, I have seen Humanists UK work tirelessly on some of the causes that I feel strongly about:
With representation in the UN, they call for action on serious international human rights abuses; they draw attention to abortion rights deficits around the world; they promote freedom of expression and the eradication of the often deadly blasphemy laws in countries like Bangladesh and Pakistan; and they call for states to end the horrific practice of ‘gay conversion therapy’.
Through campaigns in the UK Parliament and in local and regional governments, they campaigned for free abortion services for women in Northern Ireland; they campaigned for many years to ban ‘conversion therapy’ in the UK; and they helped end the government funding for homoeopathy and pseudosciences.
They also played important roles in the campaigns for the passing of the 2006 and 2010 Equality Acts, bringing comprehensive equality legislation into English, Welsh, and Scottish law; the ‘Teach evolution, not creationism!’ campaign, which means that every state school in England must now teach evolution; the legalisation of same-sex marriage; and the campaign to abolish the blasphemy law in England and Wales, which succeeded in 2008 through an amendment to a Government Act.
They also run groups like Faith to Faithless, a programme that supports people who leave religions and trains the Metropolitan Police in how to identify and support apostates. Apostates face challenges that range from emotional and physical abuse from family members, friends, and peers in their community through to homelessness, shunning, ‘honour-based’ abuse and killings, and systemic failures by statutory organisations to support them.
These are just some examples of the amazing work that this organisation is doing to make this world more fair and inclusive. And I can’t feel anything less than proud to be a member. If you want to learn more about humanism and Humanists UK, go to humanism.org.uk.
And if none of the causes supported by Humanists UK is your cup of tea, there are plenty of organisations out there that need your support. I am sure that you will be able to relate to at least one of them. Support, join or become a volunteer, but do something. This is the time to take action. This is the time to become the beauty that you seek.
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