The Croatian Center for Civil Courage, a "feminist and free thinking organization," is kickstarting a kids' picture book called Humanism for Children, seeking funds to translate and publish it in English and German (it's already in Bosnian and Croatian). The book consists of "Humanism is for everybody" (an introduction to humanism and scientific ideas) and "How to live a fulfilling life" -- advice on being a "a thoughtful, jovial, rational and cheerful person" without religious stricture. £20 gets you an English copy.
Humanism for children
The importance of publishing this book needs some extra explaining of the cultural milieu of the Balkans. The rise of nationalistic feelings in the nineties in the region is closely connected to the rising of religiosity. What is even more important, it sets the norm in the minds of the people in the newly established states formed with the fall of Yugoslavia. This norm calls for the identity of the specific (white) race, specific (heterosexual) orientation, specific (pureblood) nationality, and the specific (predominantly conservative, patriarchal) religious faith, together with the specific patriotic (right-wing) view of the recent war events.
All the people who did not comply with the specified pattern, i.e. identity – whether offspring of parents with different or mixed nationalities; whether those who do not share others’ point of view concerning the happenings in the war; whether those with an irreligious attitude; or lately whether they come from LGBTIQ unions – those people became invisible, unequal and often got attacked.
Simply put, all of those who are ‘different’ from the ‘majority’ are invisible in the society and their power is marginalized. It doesn’t come as a surprise then, that so many irreligious parents enroll their children into religion classes in school. Fear of discrimination and stigmatizing is strong for a reason; we witness daily this norm getting momentum.
At the same time, the consciousness of those who do not comply with the imposed norm rises. Atheists and agnostics in Croatia and Serbia are getting organized by forming unions, petitions and actions. Gay prides are more dedicated. Citizens, even those who are religious, are becoming aware of a need for secularity which is constantly attacked by strong religious organizations.