Dr. Joseph Chuman

Dr. Chuman has been the leader of the Ethical Culture Society of Bergen County, NJ since 1974, and since 2008 has served as a part-time leader of the New York Society for Ethical Culture.

Activist and Community Organizer

As an activist, Dr. Chuman has worked on behalf of human rights, civil liberties and in opposition to the death penalty, as well as many other progressive causes. He founded the Northern New Jersey group of Amnesty International in 1974 and currently serves as president of the Bergen County Sanctuary for Asylum Seekers, founded by the Ethical Culture Society of Bergen County. This coalition of religious and human rights organizations provides services for asylum seekers who are released from federal detention.

Writer and Educator

Dr Chuman teaches Human Rights at the graduate level at Columbia University, and has taught at the United Nations University for Peace in San Jose, Costa Rica. He has published numerous articles in the Record of Bergen County, New Jersey. He has also had articles published in The New York Times, The Humanist, Free Inquiry, Humanistic Judaism and other periodicals. He has had articles published on Ethical Culture and religion in several encyclopedias.


Searching for the Common Good

In August 1981, Ronald Reagan carried out his threat and fired 11,000 air-traffic controllers who had gone on strike, demanding higher wages and a

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Reclaiming the Light Amid the Darkness

Donald Trump’s mind is like buckshot; concocted thoughts spew out impulsively in all directions. The problem is that he is president of the United

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What it Means to be Human

I have devoted my past five platform addresses to the political maelstrom that lies ahead. As powerful as the impulse to speak again about the

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Repairing Our Democratic Values

By Dr. Joseph Chuman, leader of The Ethical Culture Society of Bergen County It’s hard to get excited about them. It’s much harder to get

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Politics as Tribalism

By Dr. Joseph Chuman, Leader of The Ethical Culture Society of Bergen County It is as frightening as it is mysterious. Donald Trump did not create

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Staying Sane When the World Seems Not to Be – Sept. 11, 2016

Dr. Joseph Chuman, Leader The Ethical Culture Society of Bergen County As Ethical Culturists, we are attuned to the wider world. And today, to be so

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Thinking About Fascism

We have never seen anything like it – a major party candidate for the presidency who is a flaming narcissist, has never held public office and

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The Farther Reaches of America’s Racism

By Dr. Joe Chuman, Jan 3, 2016 Preview of the address The New Year usually arrives on the wings of hope and the anticipation that the year aborning

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What’s Reason Got to Do With It? Sun, May 3, 2015

…Why Americans Deny Climate Change, Embrace Creationism, Believe in Ghosts and Other Preposterous Ideas By Dr. Joseph Chuman, Leader of The

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From The Leader: Individualism Gone Wild

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world… The best lack all conviction, while the worst Are full of

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In Search of a Wider, Deeper, Richer Humanism

Today’s news is unsettling. Since September 2011, terrorism doesn’t seem so far away from us, even if it is taking place on the other side of the

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Terrorism Very Close to Home, Sun Jan. 4

By Dr. Joseph Chuman, Leader of The Ethical Culture Society of Bergen County For our platform on Sunday, January 4th I am pleased to announce that

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My Ethics are Not for Sale: Preserving the Human Spirit in a Market-Driven World

 Platform address by Dr. Joseph Chuman, February 2014 Last December I had a conversation that I often—perhaps I might say, too often—engage in

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Is Respect for Culture Good for Women?

Platform address by Dr. Joseph Chuman, May 4, 2014 It is a well-worn cliché that we can look at the glass as half full or as half empty. What is

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4/6/2014: How Can People Do This to Each Other? Rwanda, Genocide and Other Mass Atrocities

The killing began 20 years ago this April. April 4th to be exact. It lasted for a hundred days, and when it was over, 800,000 Rwandans, the

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March 2 Talk: Does the current generation have the right to remake society for its own benefit?

There has been a long and consequential debate in the history of ideas, and it can be summarized as follows: Does the current generation have the

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September 8, 2013 Platform: Resilience, Humanism and the Affirmation of Life

My recent experience with recovery from surgery (this summer I underwent my fifth orthopedic surgery in five years) has gotten me to think about the

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Must Humanism Be Reasonable?

       This platform address by Dr. Joseph Chuman, leader of the Ethical Culture Society of Bergen County, was delivered on March 17, 2013.

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Click here for a full list of Dr Joe Chuman’s Talks

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