Blog Site

Friday, October 29, 2010

Twellow adds Humanism category

Twellow adds Humanism category.
Photo: Twellow logo (c) WebProNews.
Twellow Humanism!

In response to my request, the website Twellow (, a "yellow pages" for Twitter users recently added Humanism as a sub-category to its Religion & Spirituality section. The popular website allows users looking for interesting Twitter accounts to follow to browse by topics and categories, as one would in a yellow pages telephone directory. It also has a handy feature called Twellowhood, that lets the user find people in their city.

I use Twitter to put out announcements of my new articles, as well as some other occasional notes that may be of interest to my readers. As such, I wanted to update my profile on Twellow. When selecting categories yesterday, I noticed there were many other faiths and traditions listed under the Religion & Spirituality section, but not Humanism. So I emailed them the following request:

I am writing to ask that you please add Humanism as a sub-category under Religion & Spirituality. Humanism, though a minority, is a major tradition with a long history. Humanist organizations, both local, national, and international exist all over the world. In many European nations their populations are significant. There is a Humanist Chaplaincy at Harvard University. Many notable figures such as scientist Carl Sagan, Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry, and noted writer Kurt Vonnegut are Humanists, as are many Nobel prize winners today.

Humanists outnumber some of the sub-categories you already have listed, and many are twitter users. While Humanism is non-theistic, so is Buddhism. Like Buddhism, Humanism is more than mere atheism and has specific principles.

I am a Humanist minister who writes one of many Humanist columns on Humanism for newspapers and other publications (in my case, the Houston Chronicle and Examiner) and would appreciate being able to list myself by my actual tradition.

For more information, please see:

International Humanist & Ethical Union

American Humanist Association

Council for Secular Humanism

Humanism at Wikipedia

Thank you :)

Daniel Strain
Humanist Minister

This morning, to my surprise, Twellow responded with the following:

Hi Daniel,

I am pleased to announce that "Humanism" has been added to Twellow's 'Religion & Spirituality' category. The respective URL of this new category is provided below.

Please be sure to follow @twellow ( for future category additions and updates.

Thank you for your category suggestion and also for your continued interest in Twellow!

Chad Sweely
Support Analyst

So I went back to my profile and added myself under the new category. In the process, I discovered that currently the number of Twitter accounts falling under the Humanism category outnumber those in the categories of Baha'i, Gnostic, Hare Krishna, Hinduism, Jehovah's Witnesses, New Age, Santeria, Scientology, Taoism, and even Unitarian Universalism. There are 16 other categories outnumbered by Humanism, which are other sorts of things, such as Interfaith or Feng Shui, for example.

I have made a request long ago to MySpace to add Humanism to its list of religion choices in the drop-down menu on the Details section of a person's profile. There was no response. Yesterday I was inspired to ask MySpace again to add Humanism - and got back a similar 'we'll look into it' form letter. I guess we'll see. If you'd like to contact MySpace and join me in requesting Humanism be added, you can click here.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Christian writer: why being gay is not a sin

Stacey Johnson Donovan,
(c) Stacey Johnson Donovan.
Today's post is from guest writer Stacey Johnson Donovan. Stacey writes romance novels and poetry. Her blog is, The Poetry Habit

Most people understand how this works, but just in case.

First off, don’t talk to me about Leviticus. Don’t even. Are you doing everything in Leviticus? Really? Every time you have your period, you go off by yourself for seven days and you don’t touch anything for fear of getting your lady cooties on it? And on the eighth day you take two pigeons or two turtles to a priest and have them sacrificed? And you don’t wear any clothes with mixed fibers…no rayon/spandex, no cotton/polyester? Your church doesn’t let any handicapped people near the altar? You think buying slaves is fine? If you believe everything in Leviticus, I think you are a terrible person, and also a very weird person. Seriously. Just shut up about Leviticus.

All right, what about the New Testament? Well, it's good to be a little knowledgeable here. When Paul wrote his letter to the Romans, he had just visited an area where people were having orgies in the temples, castrating themselves in honor of Venus, and having sex with child prostitutes. In that context, his talk about people exchanging the natural for the unnatural is probably a little more specific than being gay and lesbian. As far as Corinthians goes…no one is really sure what the Greek words “malakois” and “arsenokoitai” really mean. The most likely bet is that one of them refers to married men who use child prostitutes, which is in fact disgusting.

The truth is, I take Paul’s opinion with a grain of salt anyway, because he seemed to be okay with slavery also. I don’t know anything about slavery in his time and region, and I doubt that it matched the horrors and holocausts of slavery in the Americas, but I’m sure it was wrong. Anti-abolitionists and segregationists dug up Bible verses supporting their positions, too, but in the end most people listened to their innate understanding of good and evil.

Paul was human, a product of his era and his culture. I think it’s okay to recognize that people have evolved and become more enlightened in some ways over the centuries. As far as I can tell, Jesus was kind of hoping for that.

Speaking of Jesus, let's move on to the Gospels. What does Christ Himself say about same-sex couples?


If it’s important, why didn’t He mention it? If you believe He’s the Son of God, and perfect, I think it would be sort of heresy to suggest He just, like, forgot. You could say they neglected to write down the anti-gay rant part of the Sermon on the Mount, but whatever, I could argue that they left out the part when he said, “Blessed are the gays, for they are God’s favorites.” And honestly, my guess would seem more in character than yours.

The most logical conclusion is that Jesus didn't care if people were gay.

What did He care about? We know his Big Rules are Love God and Love One Another. Other favorite topics include taking care of poor people and working on improving yourself instead of going around judging others. Now whether you’re a Christian or not, you are almost certainly doing a better job at these things than I am, but you’ll probably still admit that just focusing on these things is plenty of a challenge for one lifetime.

Even if a Christian can't convince herself that it's okay to be gay, she should ask herself why other sins aren't condemned with the same fervor. Why aren't judgmental people kept away from children who might pick up their bad habits? Why aren't people who aren't generous enough with their money (i.e., almost all of us) ostracized? The argument that gays aren't trying to change doesn't hold up. Are you trying to become someone who sells all her belongings and gives all her money to the poor, like Jesus suggested? Is that going to happen soon? If not, then who are you to get up in arms about this one thing? And if so, I'll buy your elliptical machine, if it's cheap.