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Ask Rob 9 – “O Romeo, Romeo! Wherefore art thou Romeo? Deny thy father and refuse thy name.”


Author(s): Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Publication (Outlet/Website): Canadian Atheist

Publication Date (yyyy/mm/dd): 2019/11/26

Rob Boston is the Senior Adviser and Editor for Church and State of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, which is the monthly membership magazine. He began work at Americans United in 1987 and authored four books entitled Close Encounters with the Religious Right: Journeys into the Twilight Zone of Religion and Politics (Prometheus Books, 2000), The Most Dangerous Man in America? Pat Robertson and the Rise of the Christian Coalition (Prometheus Books, 1996), Why the Religious Right Is Wrong About Separation of Church and State (Prometheus Books, 1993; second edition, 2003), and Taking Liberties: Why Religious Freedom Doesn’t Give You The Right To Tell Other People What To Do (Prometheus Books, 2014). Mr. Boston can be contacted here:

Here we talk about the voices needing more coverage.

Scott Douglas Jacobsen: If you like at the submissions and the editorial positions with the secular and freethought communities’ publications, what voices and educational backgrounds seem the least represented and, proportionate to the rest of the demographics and educational attainments of the secular and freethought community, require more coverage and support to bringing more colours into the non-religious rainbow?

Rob Boston: The typical demographic profile for many humanist groups in the U.S. is older, white and male – oftentimes someone with a college education or advanced degrees. Folks who fit that profile have led and built humanism for many years, and I’m grateful for that.

But for humanism to grow in America, it needs to become more diverse. Our nation is becoming increasingly diverse, and that trend will continue. Thus, we need to hear the voices of people of colour, women and younger activists.

I’m also interested in hearing more from members of the LGBTQ+ community since conservative forms of religion have been used to suppress LGBTQ rights for centuries. Finally, I think we need to dispel the idea that humanism is only for people who have college degrees or a large amount of formal education.

Humanism is for everyone and must be accessible to everyone. As someone who comes from a working-class background, I’m well aware of what humanism has to offer members of this community. I want to hear their voices and learn from them.

Jacobsen: Thank you for the opportunity and your time, Rob.


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