The American Humanist Association (AHA) has named Dr. Anthony Fauci the 2021 Humanist of the Year.
Fauci has been the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the U.S. National Institutes of Health since 1984 and the chief medical adviser to President Joe Biden. AHA chose to award him for his embodiment of "humanist values" and "steadfast commitment to science," according to a Religion News Service interview with AHA executive director Roy Speckhardt.
The organization's humanist worldview promotes the protection of "progressive values and equality for humanists, atheists, freethinkers, and the non-religious across the country," according to its website.
Dr. Fauci once said in a 2003 interview with Science Magazine, "Broadly and generically, I am not a regular church-attender." He has also expressed how he aligns with Humanist beliefs in recent interviews, during which he said he holds less of a Roman Catholic theology—cultivated in his childhood attending two Jesuit-run schools—and more of an "evolved" view as someone who "tries to keep a degree of spirituality about them."
Seeing himself as a humanist, "I have faith in the goodness of mankind," Fauci said.
Speckhardt fully concurs with Fauci's statements. He told RNS, "Our tagline is 'We're good without a god.'"
Fauci continued in the 2015 C-Span interview, "I think that there are a lot of things about organized religion that are unfortunate, and I tend to like to stay away from that and think more in terms of the principles that I learned from the Jesuits, from the Catholic religion, the principles that I run my life by. But the idea about the organization of religion is not something that I adhere to very much."
The Humanist of the Year award has been given since 1953 to those who have contributed "research derived from biographical data, writings, studies and contributions to humanity."
Fauci will accept the award and deliver his remarks at the annual conference, held virtually this year, later this month.
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