Ethical Humanism part two

I’ve been putting this off because I wanted it to be really good, but it’s only a blog, for heaven’s sake.  So, to pick up from a couple weeks ago, is Ethical Culture a form of humanism?  Describing something new is usually challenging, so when people ask me what the Ethical Society is about, I often begin with the two-word answer “religious humanism.”  How we are religious, while not obvious to those who equate religion with worship of the supernatural, is clear enough to those like me who call something a duck if it looks, quacks, and waddles like a duck: we hold inspirational Sunday services, we educate children and youth to live ethical values and to have reverence for the natural world, we marry and bury and counsel our members and hold community naming ceremonies for their babies.  We mark the coming-of-age of children growing into adults.  Et cetera.  We are humanist in the same way—that is, not-so-obviously to those who equate humanism with atheism, but clearly enough to the duck-definers: we teach our children about the many forms of religion that worship god, but we don’t worship anything in our meetings or festivals.  We find inspiration and clarify our values by studying and experiencing nature, art, the humanities, and especially by struggling together to act more kindly and fairly toward more and more people.

Some Ethical Society folks don’t want us to use the word “humanist” because they don’t want to imply we’re all atheists, since some of us aren’t.  Some don’t want to use the word “religious” because they don’t want to imply we’re all theists, since some of us aren’t.  But to me, it’s clear that we’re both religious and humanist.  Ethical Culture is an odd duck, but still a duck.  Perhaps even an ugly duck, but if I recall, that’s the one that got the last laugh.  Or quack, I guess.
What do you think?  Does “religious humanism” describe your experience of Ethical Culture?  Is it a creed that gets in the way of our deeds?  How do you describe the Ethical Society to others?