Welcome to the nation's most morally active and innovative atheist organization!
Hub of Atheism HUB OF ATHEISM
Atheists For Human Rights
Because the source of so many violations of human
rights is religious authoritariansim.
The Moral Atheist
November-December 2016

The November-December issue of The Moral Atheist is being distributed by postal mail and email (see the Table of Contents).

We are sending it out so it reaches everyone before the election. We do have comments on that strange example of democracy in action or more like a stumbling around in a swamp of garbage. Feel free to agree or disagree with our comments.

If you want to read the entire issue, including the cover article, letters and back page editorial that vent on election matters, just ask by email to communications@atheistsforhumanrights.org and we'll send it in PDF form — or printed if you'd like.

On the very positive side, we would appreciate donations to our winter solstice charity, which benefits Children's Healthcare is a Legal Duty (CHILD). See the item about our Moral High Ground project in the AFHR REPORT, below. Thanks, and happy holidays!

AFHR Report


Casting a ballot

This issue should reach you before the November 8 finale of the "Trump Reality TV Election" show. The barroom brawl fiasco imposed on us has been a race to the bottom (if, at this writing, the "locker room talk" hit it and it doesn't get much worse), thanks to Donald Trump's erratic behavior. We heard very little coherent substance from him on issues and more than we ever wanted to hear of threats, distortions, lies and accusations aimed at his opponent. Not that Hillary Clinton is blameless but she does offer substance. She is, after all, a politician and, like all politicians, does what she has to do in a political minefield where you're damned if you do and damned if you don't.

It can be tempting to throw up one's hands in disgust and not vote. But that makes matters worse. We will have a President and it will be either Trump or Hillary. Trump has some advantage because his followers are (as far as surveys can tell) driven primarily by emotion and incoherent rage against liberalizing changes in social mores and an economic globalization they fear. They will vote!

But that change will likely include a couple of Supreme Court appointments. Lifetime appointments — with rulings that determine how we are to live and sometimes even die. Whoever we elect, it should be by the will of a majority of the voting public, so please VOTE!

For those still in the "to hell with it" mode, consider this: One of our members, Oliver Steinberg, had an op-ed piece in the Minneapolis Star Tribune about third parties. He is all for them because they bring new ideas into the political mix and that should be encouraged. But he does not favor voting for them in this inherently unpredictable election (regardless of what polls say) and possibly distorting the results. He says voters who favor a third party should vote for it when one of the major candidates is a shoo-in to win. Then votes for a third party candidate won't distort the outcome but will help build third party numbers to where it can eventually qualify for inclusion in national debates.



The annual Philanthrofund (PFund) Foundation scholarship awards event was held September 22 at the Capri Theater in Minneapolis. There were 21 recipients. The recipient of our $500 Moral High Ground grant this year was Riley Davis. He attends Hamline University while being active in community and nonprofit organizations, including participation in Black Lives Matter demonstrations.

AFHR has donated every year since 2002 to the PFund Foundation to show our support for the LGBTQ community in a tangible way. We will be distributing Moral High Ground grants for 2017 in December to PFund, four abortion clinics in states where they are under relentless threatening attacks, and the Texas Freedom Network. We will also help Final Exit Network with the legal costs of appealing its conviction on absurd charges of assisting a suicide by "duty to suffer" religious zealots. Children's Healthcare Is a Legal Duty (CHILD) remains a top priority for our help and will also be the focus of our winter solstice charity event. We are the only atheist group in the country that supports in tangible ways the victims of religion based laws. We encourage other groups to do the same but none show any interest. We think there's more to atheism than debating the existence of gods, so we continue to do what we can. Please continue to donate what you can to this project. We thank you all for your support



Highway Cleanup
Thanks once again to Dick Segers and Paul Craven for organizing this useful project.

At our local Atheists For Human Rights fall highway cleanup in Lakeville (south of the Twin Cities), the crew found dozens of discarded containers. Crew member Nancy Ruhland, a pharmacist, identified them as "Whip-Its," small gas cylinders that had been filled with nitrous oxide. They are used as a recreational drug for sniffing by teenagers and young adults — a matter of concern to health professionals.

The cylinders are easily accessible from several sources and the gas is non-detectable so a person can't be tested for its use. Whip-Its can be very harmful and even lethal by shutting off oxygen to the brain. Cleanup organizer Dick Segers, at Nancy's suggestion, reported this to our contact at the Dakota County Highway Department, with an online link about the Whip-Its, for whatever action the department might want to take in alerting local drug control and treatment facilities. Our cleanup crew has been recognized over the years by the highway department as exceptionally diligent in cleaning up and reporting problems. Despite — or maybe because of — the roadway signs identifying Atheists For Human Rights, the crew gets many "thumbs up" and "thank-you's" from motorists and joggers.



We can now add New Mexico and Washington to Minnesota and Iowa where AFHR has marriage officiants for civil marriages. Tim Covell in Albuquerque NM and Janet Marino in Bellingham WA applied for and received authorization to solemnize marriages for friends and family members. AFHR provides this as a free service to our supporters. As a major societal benefit this also undercuts a longstanding inequitable religious legal privilege nationwide.


In This Issue

3   AFHR Report
   Election 2016: Atheist Views, the Blizzard of Lies, and
    the Basket of Deplorables. MarieAlena Castle
7   A Medley of EXmas Carols. Stephen Van Eck
8   Good With and Without God(s). Tim Gorski
10  The Changing Face of Religion. Jon Nelson
     "Help! I'm Being repressed!" Part 11 of 11.
      William Sierichs Jr.
15  AFHR's Dec. 17 Winter Solstice Charity Event.
      Former Secretary of Offense, Returns With a Report.
      Bill van Druten
BACK COVER: Locker Room Talk.
Return to AFHR Report
We are a charitable 501(c)(3) nonprofit. Our signature activity is our unique MORAL HIGH GROUND project that provides funds to help women, children, LGBTQ, and others victimized by our religion based laws. You can help. Check it out and then check  SUPPORT  for our donor benefits and premiums, and choose type of payment.
Atheist Wedding Celebrants

Atheists For Human Rights now certifies Atheist Wedding Celebrants

All-atheist authorization nationwide.*

We no longer need a contrived church affiliation to solemnize marriages.

Select one of our registered celebrants or choose a friend or family member to officiate at your wedding. We will provide that person with atheist certification at no charge.


We can help.

Call 612-529-1200 or email communications@atheistsforhumanrights.org

To Our Fellow Freethought Organizations:

We offer document templates and information at no charge so you can authorize your own celebrants.

Create memorable weddings that reflect secular values.
* Ask how this might apply in your state.

The Best Policy Guide for a Religiously Neutral
Secular Nation


The first full-size book by AFHR Communications Director Marie Alena Castle, published by See Sharp Press, Tucson AZ, and written at their request.

All proceeds go to support AFHR outreach activities. Available from Barnes and Noble in stores and on-line, and from Amazon.com. Cover price $14.95, 236 pp.

"Culture Wars is an engaging, compelling and important book. The public is so unaware how fragile our constitutional rights are. The book reminds me of our military men and women who return to the states as amputees and then speak strongly against intolerance because they understand that's what the fight was all about." — Andrew Dawkins, Minneapolis MN. Attorney, former Minnesota state legislator

"Culture Wars is brilliant, readable, to the point, and thorough. Marie Alena Castle has given us a timely book that deserves a wide and serious readership." — Cecil Bothwell, Asheville NC councilmember, author of The Prince of War: Billy Graham's Crusade for a Wholly Christian Empire.

"Over the years I have read many books on this subject, but Culture Wars stands head and shoulders above the crowd." — Earl Lee, librarian, author of Libraries in the Age of Mediocrity.

"I was amazed and entranced by Ms. Castle's breadth of knowledge, her passion and compassion, and clear-headed convictions." — Arvonne Fraser, former U.S. Ambassador to the United States Commission on the Status of Women.

"The author's grasp of theology and understanding of its irrelevance to how we live are impressive. This is rare in books about religion." — Kirk Buchanan, former Roman Catholic priest.

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Fireside Chat


If you are not a regular attendee, call (612) 588-1597
or email communications@atheistsforhumanrights.org

3rd Fridays 6-9+ PM
Hub of Atheism,
5146 Newton Ave. N., Minneapolis
Always free food and beverages.

November 18: First we will analyze, complain, or cheer about the presidential election. Then we will watch some excellent atheist videos we found on YouTube. Videos start shortly after 7 PM.

Come to the AFHR Winter Solstice Charity Event, Saturday, December 17, 1 to 4 PM, in the Party Room of Ol' Mexico Restaurant. We'll have a really good holiday buffet. $20 in advance, $25 at the door (includes buffet, beverage, tax, tip, entertainment).


*  *  *  PROGRAM  *  *  *

A Bible-based blockbuster, "Fingered by god: TheVirgin Birth Chronicles," a one-act play starring Randall Tigue as Joseph, Wanassa as Mary, Danielle Durkins as the Angel Gabriel, and an all-star supporting cast. Music by John Annen, belly dance by Wanassa, and Welsh storyteller and singer, John Dingley. Giving Tree donations will go to CHILD (Children's Healthcare Is a Legal Duty).

Make Your Reservation Now! Send check for $20 per person PLUS whatever you can spare for CHILD. "You don't need a god to have a heart." Make check payable to:
5146 Newton Ave. N.
Minneapolis MN 55430

(or pay through Razoo).


Monday Happy Hour: 5:00 to 6:30 PM
Ol' Mexico Restaurant, on Lexington, two blocks north of Larpenteur, Roseville.
Call Paul Craven, 763-788-8918.


1st Tuesdays: 11:30 AM Lunch Social
Dragon House restaurant, 3970 Central Ave. NE, Columbia Heights. Private room.
Call Marilyn Nienkerk, 612-866-6200.


1st & 3rd Mondays 6:30 PM Toastmasters
Larpenteur Estates party room, 1276 Larpenteur Ave. W., St. Paul.
Call George Kane, 651-488-8225.


3rd Wednesdays 11:30 AM
Charley French Memorial Lunch Discussion Group
Dragon House restaurant, 3970 Central Ave. NE, Columbia Heights. Private room.
Call Bill Volna, Shop: 612-781-4273 or Cell: 612-819-2580.



Twin Cities Meetups
Email Scott Muir or visit Twin Cities Atheists

Southern Minnesota Meetups
Email Crystal Dervetski



Local: Ad hoc discussions at social events.
National: Announcements and discussions on AFHRbod Yahoo Groups, first 10 days of the month. To get on the list, give us your email address. Significant issues discussed are covered in The Moral Atheist for reader feedback. It's all open. Decisions, if needed, are formed by consensus if possible.



If you want to get The Moral Atheist in PDF format on your computer, please let us know. It will save printing and mailing costs, leaving more funds for public outreach.



Our videos are played in Minneapolis and St. Paul on public access stations.
In Minneapolis, they are on MTN Ch. 75 at 7:30 PM. Mondays and other "fill-in" times.
In St. Paul, they are on SPNN Ch 15 at 6 PM; Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 1 AM and 11 AM.
Thanks to Paul Craven for handling this.

Top of PageAbout UsTop of Page
Our Philosophy
Atheism accepts the natural world as all there is. To live without god beliefs is intellectually stimulating. To find one's own purpose and be responsible for one's own life is exciting. To be free of the imagined surveillance of good and evil spirits is liberating. To seek a peaceful world through work and friendship and civic action is life-affirming.
-- MarieAlena Castle, March 1994
It is the role of unbelievers to force religions to be benign.
-- Martin Marty, Lutheran theologian, Minneapolis MN,
   28 April 1998
Let us become post-religious, post-national Universal Humans.
-- Lavanam, Atheist Centre, India

Atheists For Human Rights is a national, ethics-driven organization upholding an atheism that is confidently held, morally active, and vigorously opposes religions that are politically and socially predatory or harm innocent people.



As usual, we offer 3 free issues of The Moral Atheist full 24-page magazine, by postal or email, so you get a good idea of what we are all about. Just send your postal or email contact info to: communications@atheistsforhumanrights.org


Moral High Ground Project

The Moral High Ground project has chosen the following funds to provide support and protection for these groups and to counter the efforts of religious zealots to impose their religious doctrines through law (other funding mechanisms may be added as resources increase):

Philanthrofund scholarship

Like the other Moral High Ground funding projects, it is unique in the freethought community. Each year since 2002 AFHR has donated $500 to be awarded to a GLBT openly atheist student at Pfund's major awards ceremony. This has created visibility and respect for AFHR within the GLBT community.

Grants to poor women to help pay for abortions

At least $200 each is given annually to funds such as the Women's Medical Fund, administered by Anne Nicol Gaylor from Freedom From Religion Foundation in Madison, Wisconsin, and through the North Dakota WIN (Women In Need) Abortion Access Fund, administered by the Red River Women's Clinic in Fargo. These funds serve poor women in areas where religion-generated abortion laws are irrationally restrictive and punitive.

Support for physician aid in dying

As opportunities arise, we support efforts by physician-aid-in-dying organizations so the terminally ill who want to die with dignity on their own terms have the legal right to do so.

Protection for children harmed by faith healing

As opportunities arise, we support the efforts of CHILD (Children's Healthcare Is a Legal Duty) to protect children from harm where state laws define faith healing as healthcare and exempt parents from prosecution when they allow children to die by substituting prayer for medical care.


Outreach Activities

Atheists for Human Rights is focused primarily on reaching out to the public in morally active ways to advance the atheistic worldview.

Charitable Outreach

We donate to secular charities that help young people and the homeless.

Highway Cleanup

In 2005 we took on an Adopt-A-Highway cleanup project. The work is done three times a year in spring, summer and fall. Large highway signs identify AFHR as the cleanup crew for a 4-mile stretch of highway in Lakeville that passes many churches.

Minnesota Alliance Of Peacemakers

We joined MAP and have participated in several of their events urging peaceful solutions to world conflicts. MAP is a coalition of churches and secular organizations working together in the cause of peace.

Interfaith Dialogue

AFHR is represented by invitation at regular interfaith gatherings hosted by Rep. Keith Ellison, the first Muslim elected to Congress, to find common ground in our common humanity to address the causes of social conflict and stress.

Speakers Bureau

Since 2004, about three times a year, we have been invited to give presentations on atheism to educational and social service agencies for their diversity training programs. Videos of all speakers here.

Fireside Chats

These monthly discussions about atheist issues are occasions for socializing as well as developing ideas for further activism.

Public Forums

This major outreach project was begun in June 2006 and continues. The purpose is to show the public how atheists support our constitutional freedoms, seek rational solutions to issues of civic concern, and promote the common good. These events are heavily advertised in local newspapers and on Air America radio.

Top of PageHub of AtheismTop of Page
The Hub of Atheism Hub meeting room, viewed from the top of the stairway Hub meeting room, viewed toward the front entrance

Welcome to the
Hub of Atheism!


Atheists For Human Rights has a geodesic dome as its headquarters. This unique architecture was developed by Buckminster ("Bucky") Fuller (1895-1983), an atheist, architect, environmentalist, and inventor. His ambition was to use science to help solve human problems and to find ways to do more with less.

The tragic death of his young daughter inspired him to find "what a single individual can contribute to changing the world and benefiting all humanity." The epitaph on Fuller's tombstone says, "Call me trimtab," referring to a small but critical aircraft part that holds a stabilizing component in position.

Much of Fuller's philosophy is expressed in the goals and strivings of Atheists For Human Rights.

Top of PageContact UsTop of Page

5146 Newton Ave. N.
Minneapolis MN 55430-3459

If you need directions, call:

or email:

Leave us a voicemail by calling:

612-DAMN-Y'ALL (612-326-6925)


Phone messages may be used on our website.



Letters and articles are welcome!

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