Grand Traverse Humanists
Careful thinking… thoughtful caring

Grand Traverse Humanists

Welcome to the Grand Traverse Humanists.  If you value science, reason, and compassion and believe that humans are responsible for their own destiny, you have come to the right place.  We are a community for the non-religious in the Grand Traverse area, offering a forum for discussing and advancing a secular worldview based on our common humanity. Our programs include monthly speakers and discussions, film and book groups, and various volunteer and social events.  All are free and open to the public.  Check out Upcoming Events below, or click on the calendar. Nontheists, agnostics, atheists, freethinkers, rationalists, humanists, and more...we welcome you to join us!

Grand Traverse Humanists Main Meeting

Second Monday of each month, 7 p.m.

History Center of Traverse City

322 Sixth St., Traverse City

Winter Solstice Party Saturday, Dec 20!


Celebrate the beginning of longer days with the Grand Traverse Humanists at our annual winter solstice party. Snacks/beer/wine provided; dishes to pass are welcome! 7 p.m. at the home of Mark and Heather, 7670 E Shore Rd., TC.


Michigan Atheists Convention Saturday December 6

10 a.m. - 5 p.m.... Wyndham Garden in Ann Arbor

Speakers include Rob Boston and Dan Barker. 

For more information, click here or contact Arlene-Marie - 313-938-5960 –

Upcoming Events…


JusticeMonday, December 8

Meeting at the History Center: Isiah Smith on Economic and Racial Discrimination in the Criminal Justice System

7 p.m....322 Sixth St., Traverse City


MacArthur Foundation “Genius Award” recipient Bryan Stevenson writes in his compelling new book, Just Mercy that each of us is more than the worst thing we’ve ever done.  Too often it seems, however, that our criminal justice system has adopted the opposite view: Each one of us is worse than the best thing we’ve ever done.  Thus, to be caught up in the American Justice system is to be treated as lacking in basic humanity.  Therefore, whatever is done to any of us in the name of keeping the peace is OK, so long as it promises to keep us safe.

When we allow ourselves to not be deceived by what we read in the newspaper, or what politicians with an ideological mission tell us, we find that we have been misled by what passes for justice.  From three-strike laws, to draconian drug laws, to corrupt judges, law enforcers, and Supreme Court Justices, we have allowed the thirst for revenge and retribution to supplant justice, mercy and fundamental fairness.  How else to explain Justices Scalia and Thomas’ dissent in In re Davis stating that the Constitution does not forbid the execution of an innocent man?  There is, however, room for hope, and optimism, and that hope and optimism can be found reflected in an activist Humanistic Manifesto that values action over words.


Isiah Smith, Jr. received undergraduate and graduate degrees in Psychology from the University of Miami. He has worked as a newspaper columnist, social worker and a psychotherapist.  In his thirties he enrolled in the University of Miami’s Law School where he served as the Editor of the Law School Newspaper and a member of the International Law Journal. In 2013, he retired from a cabinet level Federal Agency where he served as a Deputy Assistant General Counsel for 20+ years.  Since moving to Traverse City from the Washington, DC area he has devoted himself to writing and furthering his interest in the study an eclectic blend of legal history, Civil Rights and economic theory. Informed by his personal and professional experiences, his presentation provides a fascinating glimpse into the impact of history, economics and law on social justice.

StateTheatre.TCFFMonday, December 15

Volunteer at the State Theatre

7:30 - 10:30 p.m...State Theatre, 233 E Front Street, Traverse City

The third Monday of each month is Grand Traverse Humanists volunteer night at the State Theatre! Come take tickets, sell reasonably-priced popcorn and drinks, help with clean-up after, and earn a voucher for a future free movie. Help us support this worthwhile part of our community and have fun at the same time! Sign up at the meeting the week before, or email Heather at

Winter-Solstice-2010-300x225Saturday, December 20

Winter Solstice Party

7 p.m....7670 E Shore Rd., Traverse City

Join us to celebrate the beauty of winter and the beginning of the lengthening of the daylight. All are welcome! Snacks/beer/wine provided; dishes to pass welcome.

  • Do All Black Lives Matter? Feminism, Humanism, and State Violence

    Last Saturday I took my six year-old daughter to a demonstration and die-in in Hollywood. Across the globe, protestors from every walk of life have converged to express their outrage over the double whammy non-indictments of the white officers who killed Michael Brown in Ferguson and Eric Garner in New... Read more »

  • The Humanist Hour #129: James Croft on the Complex Issues of Ferguson

    Click here to download an audio file of this podcast. In this episode, Bo Bennett and Kim Ellington interview James Croft, humanist activist involved in the events unfolding in Ferguson, MO. James Croft is the Leader in Training at the Ethical Culture Society of St. Louis – one of the largest humanist... Read more »

  • Congress Moves to Defeat DC Marijuana Law

    After 70 percent of District of Columbia residents passed a semi-legal marijuana bill, allowing individuals to possess up to two ounces and cultivate a small number of plants in a private home, Maryland Congressman Andy Harris said, “I will consider using all resources available…to stop [DC’s marijuana initiative].” Harris made good... Read more »

  • Help Free the “Witches” of Ghana

    Last Spring, the Humanist featured an article by Wendy Webber about Pathfinders Project, a yearlong international service trip sponsored by Foundation Beyond Belief. Pathfinders Project was the initial step toward a first-of-its-kind program enabling humanists to put their values into action through global service, and was named as such because... Read more »

  • A History of Violence: Why the Senate Report on CIA Torture Shouldn’t Surprise Humanists

    On December 9 the United States Senate Intelligence Committee released an alarming report detailing the horrendous torture practices that the CIA used to interrogate individuals suspected of terrorism.’s Clay Farris Naff has already discussed the egregious and immoral nature of these appalling actions carried out by CIA operatives. What... Read more »

Humanism in the News...

  • Breaking: Michigan House Passes Religious ‘License To Discriminate’ Bill

    Michigan House Republicans just passed a religious “license to discriminate” bill, which would allow anyone to refuse service to anyone and claim their “religious beliefs” require them to discriminate. The Michigan House of Representatives, led by Speaker Jase Bolger (photo, above, left, with Gov. Rick Snyder,) just passed a bill that would allow discrimination to become sanction by the state. The Religious Freedom Restoration Act, akin to one that made nationwide headlines in Arizona but was vetoed, appears […]


        (Washington, D.C., Oct. 14, 2014)—Today the American Humanist Association’s Appignani Humanist Legal Center sent a letter to officials at East Gurnsey Local Schools in Old Washington, Ohio, and at Buckeye Trail High School in Lore City, Ohio, on behalf of a student who was threatened with punishment when he exercised his right to refrain from participating in the school’s daily recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance. The student, a sophomore who wishes to […]


    (Washington, D.C., Oct. 15, 2014)—The American Humanist Association’s Appignani Humanist Legal Center applauds the Madison County School Board in Danielsville, Georgia, for deciding to modify a sculpture located at the Madison High School football stadium that prominently displays biblical references and Christian scripture. “No public school should be promoting the majority religion,” said David Niose, legal director of the Appignani Humanist Legal Center. “We are pleased that the school board has decided to respect the […]

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