Second Humanist Principle: “Respect Life and Property”

(this is taught to students at our humanist schools in Uganda)

Humanists believe people have the right to own their lives, and the right to own property.

We believe killing people is bad, because it “steals” the lives of other people. We believe war and the killing that takes place in war, is ethically wrong. We must never go to war, except to defend ourselves. Humanists are also opposed to executions - killing people who have committed a crime. We also believe prisoners should be treated with kindness.

Humanists believe laws must be fair. If people are accused of a crime, they need to be given a quick trial, so they are not kept in jail a long time. They must be tried quickly. If they are innocent, they need to be released immediately. If they are found guilty, their punishment must be fair. Humanists believe all people are the same. We do not believe governments or religions when they tell us certain people are evil. We need to let each other live.

Humanists believe people should be kind to animals. We understand that animals need to be killed and eaten, but we believe people should treat animals with kindness while they are alive. Animals should be cared for and we should not cause them to suffer.

Humanists believe men and women, boys and girls, have the right to decide what to do with their bodies. We believe no one should force anyone to do something with their body that they don’t want to do. Rape is very very wrong. Humanists also believe boys and girls should receive sex education in school. We encourage teachers, and the medics at our clinics, to properly inform school children about their bodies and sex. Humanists also believe it is up to the woman to decide if she wants to get pregnant or if she does not want to get pregnant.

Humanists believe abortion is a decision that a woman gets to make. If she wants to get an abortion, it is right for her, because it is her body and she gets to decide. She has the right to do that. Humanists believe no government and no religion has the right to tell women how to manage their bodies.

We also believe birth control methods are a woman’s decision. Humanists believe condoms should be used, if either person having sex wants a condom to be used. The Brighter Brains humanists want condoms available in our clinics. We believe condoms and other birth control methods can be used, because we believe people have the right to decide how large their family should be.

Humanists believe people have the right to love and marry whoever that want, as long as both people are adults. We believe people should decide who they want to love and marry, not their parents. We do not think “arranged marriages” are right. They are not fair, they do not give freedom to people. Parents should let their sons and daughters decide who to marry.

Humanists also believe married people have the right to divorce each other. We do not believe government laws and religious laws have the right to tel you who to marry or not marry, or have the right to tell you that you cannot get a divorce. We believe people should be free, to decide who to marry and when to divorce.

We also believe it is a human right to marry someone the same gender as you. People have the right to decide who to love and who to marry, as long as both are adults.

Humanists believe mothers and fathers have a serious responsibility. They must take care of their children. They must keep their children fed, clothed and educated. We believe it is very wrong not to take care of children properly.

Humanists believe property needs to be respected. If you find something valuable that is not yours, you need to find out who it belongs to, and return it. This is because we need to respect the property of others.

Humanists believe owning something, like a farm, means that you need to take care of it, work at it, and seek to improve it. You must use what you have to help your community.

Humanists believe people have the right to not have their property ruined by pollution. If you own farmland, no one upstream has the right to pollute your water. You do not have the right to pollute water either, you must keep it clean for people downstream.

This is the second principle of humanism - To Respect the Life and Property of Others. To let People Decide What to do with their lIves and their Bodies, and to help others also take care of their lives.