The American Humanist Association is offering resources for humanists, atheists, agnostics and other non-religious individuals wishing to offer secular versions of Thanksgiving grace this holiday season.
“Thanksgiving is a uniquely secular holiday, as gratitude is a universal human emotion,” said Roy Speckhardt, executive director of the American Humanist Association. “This special day of the year is a chance for humanists and other nontheists to express gratitude to their friends and loved ones.”
“The humanist worldview is one that celebrates life,” said Rebecca Hale, president of the American Humanist Association and a Humanist Celebrant. “Because this is the only life that we have, we must constantly practice gratitude toward the people who make our life meaningful and the compassion and love that we experience. By doing so, we can appreciate not only what we have but also strive to make the world a better place for those less fortunate.”
The American Humanist Association has published numerous examples of secular alternatives to Thanksgiving grace on its online magazine, TheHumanist.com. Hale offers her own version of a humanist Thanksgiving grace here, and others can be viewed here, here and here.
As the number of non-religious Americans increases—the Pew Research Center reports that as many as one in five people in the U.S. do not identify with any religious tradition—these short speeches and poems can be used as alternatives to Thanksgiving prayers, particularly for interfaith or non-religious gatherings.