Take Action Toward Unity


The attacks in Paris, Beirut, and Baghdad last week have left the world reeling and many people scared. In light of that fear, some American politicians are attempting to fight against this country’s already limited support of the refugees fleeing Syria. Foundation Beyond Belief condemns these political attempts to turn away those in need and encourages those politicians who are standing fast in support of compassion for Syrian refugees to stay strong in the face of this hate and divisiveness.

While it is natural to be frightened in the face of terrorist attacks, it is not okay to turn that fear into an attack on others. The issues are complex but, luckily, humans are able to consider complex issues and make thoughtful decisions without vilifying entire groups of suffering people. Religions and the great majority of people who practice them are not responsible for the extremists of their religion.

We at FBB believe that as human beings we have many more things in common than things that separate us. That is why, although we are a secular humanist group, we offer the Challenge the Gap program which brings together secular donors with non-proselytizing religiously-based charities.

The simple thing would be to assume that because we are different we cannot find common ground, but we believe that as humanists we need to help our fellow humans. In our rush to make ourselves feel safe, let’s not turn our backs on these victims of terrorism who want nothing more than to live without fear and danger.

Sadly, there will continue to be attacks. In fact, there was one just last night in Nigeria. Often we feel there is little more that we can do besides offer our love and best wishes from afar, but we can do something. Here are five actions that we as humanists can take to reach out to our neighbors and live our compassionate humanist values during this time of divisiveness:

1. Acts of kindness – making an effort to say hello, buying a beverage, chatting up someone that you wouldn’t normally talk to, maybe the Muslim family in your neighborhood or the middle eastern mom from your child’s preschool. Let them know that they aren’t alone and that you don’t blame them for these recent heinous acts.

2. Get involved – write your news organization a letter, reach out to your local interfaith organization, or attend a city council meeting

3. Speak out on social media – when you see people posting bigoted or divisive things online, call them out on it. Remind people that the moderate and liberal member of a religion are not responsible for the extremists of their religion. We have more in common than we have differences.

4. Educate – if your kids, nieces, nephews, friends kids etc are old enough, use this as a teaching moment to remind them that we are more than our differences.

5. Donate – donate to programs like Challenge the Gap, or Interfaith Youth Corps (a previous FBB beneficiary) that further communication and understanding between those of different faiths and no faith.

Talking is important and necessary, but we must act on our words to truly unite against terror during such difficult and frightening times. Please share with us how you are taking action to help your fellow humans.