What is the Flathead Area Secular Humanist Association?
FASHA is a grassroots, democratic, member-driven, “non-prophet ” organization in Flathead County, Montana.
FASHA was founded by Ian Cameron in September 2011 to serve as a resource and a badly needed community for area atheists, agnostics, secular humanists and other freethinkers. FASHA’s first meeting was held in December 2011. In 2013, FASHA became a limited liability company and ownership was transferred to Richard E. Wackrow.
In December 2016, FASHA became a chapter of the American Humanist Association. FASHA also is affiliated with the Council for Secular Humanism, a program of the Center for Inquiry/Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science.
Today, FASHA schedules meetings and events in the community, most of which are free and open to the public, several times per month. It conducts community-service activities, such as participation in the Adopt-a-Highway program and volunteer conservation work in Glacier National Park. And FASHA actively works to ensure that the principle of separation of church and state is adhered to in Flathead County.
See our Home page for more details about FASHA events, activities and issues. Also see our Mission Statement, below.
Atheism, Secular Humanism, and the Rise of the Nones
According to public-opinion surveys by the Pew Research Center, the percentage of Americans who are religiously unaffiliated — describing themselves as atheist, agnostic or “nothing in particular” (the Nones) — jumped more than 6 percentage points, from 16.1 percent to 22.8 percent, between 2007 and 2014. And the trend continues.
This increase has been was across all generations — 2 percentage points among the Silent Generation (born 1928-1945); 3 points for Baby Boomers (born 1946-1964); 4 points for Generation X (born 1965-1980); 9 points for older Millennials (born 1981-1989).
The Nones refer to themselves variously as atheists, agnostics, skeptics, freethinkers and, of course, secular humanists.
By definition, atheists are people who have determined — through the use of reason — that there is no evidence for the existence of a god and therefore no good reason to waste time worshipping one. Atheism is a conclusion about the world — and not, as the religious right would have it, a competing religion. Atheists don’t believe in a god. Atheists have no dogma to follow. Atheistsí ethical principles are not dictated by a holy book of specious origin, or by what self-serving theologians tell them to think. Atheists’ moral principles are arrived at through reason. So despite what the religious right would have us believe, atheists are not — by definition or by their nature — immoral or nihilistic.
A secular humanist is an atheist who follows the Golden Rule (something that can’t be said about many Christians). Once again, the religious right would have us believe that secular humanism is a competing religion. But although it has its principles, secular humanism does not make obedience to them contingent on the will of a Great Arbiter in the Sky. A good definition of secular humanism is provided by the Council for Secular Humanism (also below).
For more extensive definitions of atheists, agnostics, secular humanists and other freethinkers, see “What is Secular Humanism?”
Become a Member
Your membership will involve your being on our confidential email list, your receiving notices from FASHA about upcoming events and current issues FASHA is pursuing, and news items. You may cancel your membership at any time simply by requesting to be removed from the email list.
To become a member of FASHA:
- Please consider a donation to FASHA — $25 is recommended; any amount will help; and no one will be denied membership because of an inability to make a donation.