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The Moral Atheist
March-April 2016
 
Atheism's Mixed
Bag and Baggage:
What Works,
What Doesn't,
What Might.

(The Moral Atheist, p.4)
 
 

The March-April issue of The Moral Atheist is being mailed and emailed. Below is an excerpt. This is an issue that any decent person should be able to support, but most legislators in most states don't. The insane religious belief behind it is just too precious to be interfered with, evidently.

If you want the entire issue as a PDF, just ask.

 
AFHR Report
 
MARIEALENA, COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR
 

AN OUTREACH PROJECT TO THINK ABOUT

Our Moral High Ground project is unique in that we provide financial aid to people victimized by our religion based laws. This aid includes, primarily, assistance for women denied abortion rights, tuition aid for the LGBT community, legal aid support for Final Exit Network as it fights prosecution for giving advice on self-deliverance, and the efforts of Children's Healthcare Is a Legal Duty (CHILD) to repeal state laws (in all but six states) that accept faith healing as health care and exempt parents from prosecution when a child dies or is harmed severely.

You'd think repealing faith healing laws is a no-brainer, given the senseless harm it inflicts on children and the lack of a faith healing voting bloc large enough to stop repeal. However, it is difficult to be successful with this project because it requires questioning religious doctrines. Legislators never do this, because it opens up all religious beliefs to questioning.

 
 
Alayna Wyland, one of hundreds of children disfigured, injured, or killed by faith healing. (Her vision was saved when someone saw this tumor pushing her eyeball out of its socket and alerted children's protective services.)
 

Rita and Doug Swan, founders of CHILD, have been fighting for repeal for decades since losing their 18-month-old son to meningitis when they relied solely on Christian Science prayer to cure him. It was a wake-up call that has kept them going despite little support due to social, legal, and political reluctance to challenge religious doctrine.

But why can't the freethought community make it a national project to rid state laws of child-sacrifice statutes? Freethought groups exist in every state with enough members to get legislative attention, especially if they organize through political parties, where the power to nominate supportive candidates lies. Even the religion infested "pro-life" Republican party could support this.

We have readers of The Moral Atheist in almost every state, many belonging to local freethought groups. Can they ask their groups to join in a national effort to end this legalized insanity? The public would be supportive. Juries always impose punitive fines when the faith healing death of a child is litigated as a civil case rather than a faith healing-exempted criminal case. Read the health care chapter in our book, Culture Wars: The Threat to Your Family and Your Freedom, and the cover article in this issue for a larger perspective. After all, shouldn't a major function of atheist groups be to end religious barbarity?

 
 

In the March-April issue of The Moral Atheist

 
3   AFHR Report
 
4   Understanding Atheism: What It Is, What Works, What Doesn't, What Might. MarieAlena Castle
 
7   The Meaning of Life. Tim Gorski
 
8   The Pope's Holocaust. Jon Nelson
 
10   The Gospels Documenting Human Origin.
Stephen Van Eck
 
11  Antonin Scalia: Comments. Adam Lee
 
12  CHRISTIANITY IN ITS OWN WORDS
"Help! I'm Being Repressed!" Part 7

William Sierichs Jr.
 
15  Banning Abortion by Malicious Definition.
Julie A. Burkhart
 
16  WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON HERE?
A Report from Bill's Amanuensis.
Bill van Druten
 
17  THE BOOKSHELF
 
18  THE LETTERS DESK
 
20  THE NETWORK
 
22  SUPPORTERS' BENEFITS
 
23  THE HUB CALENDAR
 
BACK COVER: The Magician's Assistant.
 
 
 

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 Director

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.

 
Check out our signature activity,
our Moral High Ground Fund

It's the only one in the country to help poor women pay for abortions, and to support gays and other groups victimized by religion-based laws.
 
Check out our list of donor premiums!
No trinkets, mugs, or t-shirts —
just things to satisfy your mind.
 
ArticlesTop of Page
About 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.

  • We are committed to making atheism visible in the community as a rational, responsible voice for secular morality.
  • We sponsor well-advertised public forums regularly with well known speakers on topics related to the common good and maintaining a secular government.
  • We run high-visibility "bold & proud" ads for our activities in mainstream newspapers and on radio.
  • We produce atheist videos for our website video outreach project and also make them available on CDs.
  • We submit letters and commentary articles to the media that are frequently accepted.
  • We meet with media people to discuss our concerns and encourage fair and balanced coverage of atheism.
  • We meet with public officials to make them aware of the secular community and express our concerns about the intrusion of religion into legislative action and to stress the importance of state-church separation.
  • We wrote a proclamation declaring 4 July 2002, "Indivisible Day," which was signed by Gov. Ventura on our behalf, causing an uproar by "Christian nation" fundamentalists that was front-page news in the St. Paul and Minneapolis papers.
  • Our visibility generates invitations to debate religious-right radio talk show hosts on their political/social agenda and state-church separation.
  • We are unique among atheist organizations in that, as a matter of official policy, we oppose the religious right's assaults on our freedoms and come to the aid of its victims. We do this with reason, civility, pride, and a passion for truth and justice.
  • We provide a strong and effective voice for human rights within the atheist community and are developing a national network of citizens who seek the social and political right to be religion-free. We walk the talk. Our board consists of activists willing to help with the tasks of our organization. Our bylaws impose a high level of ethical standards. We operate openly and honestly at all times.
  • Membership is open to all who reject supernatural beliefs and support the principles and policies of this organization. We thrive on new ideas and welcome everyone who shares our goals.
 

Magazine

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 Director

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.

Hub of AtheismTop of Page

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.

Contact UsTop of Page

LOCATION:
5146 Newton Ave. N.
Minneapolis MN 55430-3459

If you need directions, call:
612-529-1200
or
1-866-ATHEIST

or email:
Communications Director.

Leave us a voicemail by calling:

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

 

Phone messages may be used on our website.

EMAIL CONTACTS:

 

Letters and articles are welcome!

CalendarTop of Page
 

If you are not a regular attendee, call to find out if the schedule has changed.

 

Mondays:
5:00 to 6:30 PM
Happy Hour

Ol' Mexico Restaurant, on Lexington, two blocks north of Larpenteur, Roseville.
Call Paul Craven, 763-788-8918.

 

1st Tuesdays
11:30 AM
Lunch Social

Old Country Buffet closed down and we are trying new places to find a suitable alternative.
Bob & Marilyn Nienkerk, 612-866-6200.

 

1st & 3rd Mondays
6:30 PM
Toastmasters

Larpenteur Estates party room, 1276 Larpenteur Ave. W., St. Paul.
George Kane, 651-488-8225.

 

3rd Wednesdays
11:30 AM
Charley French Memorial Lunch

Dragon House restaurant, 3970 Central Ave. NE, Columbia Heights.
Private room.
Bill Volna, 612-781-1420 or 1322.

 

FIRESIDE CHAT

Fireside Chat

3rd Fridays
6-9+ PM.
Hub of Atheism, 5146 Newton Ave. N., Minneapolis
Call (612) 588-1597 or
email Communications Director

Always free food and beverages.

 

18 March:
We will confirm the election of our AFHR board members, then watch the award winning "Spotlight" movie about the Boston Globe's expose of the Catholic Church's pedophilia and cover-up. The film starts at about 7 PM.

 

15 April:
April is tax month. We are looking for a good DVD or online film for streaming related to the tax exempt rip-off status that churches enjoy at everyone's expense but theirs. Whatever we come up with, it will be good.

 
 

MEETUPS

Twin Cities Meetups
Email Scott Muir, Video Manager or visit Twin Cities Atheists

Southern Minnesota Meetups
Email Crystal Dervetski

 

MEMBERS/SUPPORTERS MEETINGS

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, just 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.

 

TWIN CITIES PUBLIC ACCESS

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.

LinksTop of Page