Rebecca Vitsmun

2013: Atheism’s 10 defining moments

Atheism was in the headlines perhaps more than ever before in 2013. To highlight some of atheism’s defining moments and trends from the last year, I worked with a panel of ten writers, scholars, and activists to come up with ten major moments or currents in American atheism from 2013. Their contributions are below. Godless congregations become global phenomenon

2013 was a landmark year for atheists, Humanists, and nonreligious people building communities. Ex-pastors Jerry Dewitt and Mike Aus grew innovative and successful congregations in Louisiana and Texas, and the Yale Humanist Community launched in Connecticut.

Humanist Hub opening

Humanism at Harvard gets an address — and a nod from the governor

Last week, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick officially declared that Sunday, December 8 would be “Humanist Community Day” in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. This was a historic moment for Humanists, atheists, agnostics, and the nonreligious—not just in Massachusetts, but across the United States. To my knowledge it is the only proclamation ever released by a governmental authority in the U.S. specifically acknowledging “Humanists, atheists, agnostics and the nonreligious.” (And, as others have noted since the proclamation was released, it is likely the only one that recognizes atheists and, amusingly, ends with the phrase “God Save the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.”)

The closing paragraph is among my favorite parts of the proclamation. (Though it truly is worth a full read.)
“[I] urge all the citizens of the Commonwealth to welcome the Humanist Hub into the mosaic of our broader community, acknowledging, in the spirit of friendship and respect, that its members can contribute positively to the Commonwealth’s proud tradition of pluralism.”