BE. Orlando Humanist Fellowship is a service-minded non-theistic community in Central Florida. We were established in 2011 and host about 70 projects per year. We continually seek ways to make a positive difference in our community, engage the secular community in philanthropy and volunteerism, and educate the greater public about atheistic values.
The Positive Postcard Project was established in 2012 to bring positive messages of hope, comfort, and human connection to others. Recognizing that many similar support letter projects come from people of faith and contain language that is at best simply not meaningful to non-religious people, we wanted to establish a project that educates others about the diversity of recipients as well as provides an opportunity for positive, secular messaging.
The purpose of writing a card to a stranger should be to uplift someone else. It may make us feel good to do good for others, but our purpose should not be the gratification or assertion of ourselves. Compassionate action for positive impact requires that we set aside our own agenda and biases and focus on the needs of the people we serve. We must set an example of providing supportive messages that will be meaningful to ANY individual who receives them.
Imagine you are in a situation where a card might come to you. You are at a hospital with your terminally ill child. You face an unexpected challenge that wipes out your life savings and you need assistance feeding your family. You are the victim of violence and seek emergency shelter for your safety, leaving behind everything you own for a chance at a new life. You are overseas, away from your family, serving our country. You don’t believe in G/god(s). You receive a note from someone telling you that a supernatural entity is watching over you and advising you to trust in him. You can simply toss it aside – meaning the sender’s intent of connecting with you is negated. But it may remind you that you are marginalized, and make you feel further isolated and unvalued, and make you realize that the person didn’t truly care about you; they wanted to use your hard time as an opportunity to market their faith to you because that is what comforts them.
People with atheistic identities are all around us, and are among those in need. The Positive Postcards Project seeks to ensure that their voice is heard, their existence is respected, and they receive the same care and support from the community that religious people receive.