Welcome to the
Hub of Atheism!
Moral High Ground Project
Check out our signature activity, our Moral High Ground Fund,
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.
No trinkets, mugs, or t-shirts — just things to satisfy your mind.
The Moral Atheist
Katha Pollitt, The Nation, August 18-25, 2014.
RFRA: The Religious Anarchy Law that Unleased Hobby Lobby
— and Others Now Lined Up to Follow (p. 4)
The September-October issue of The Moral Atheist is being distributed by PDF and postal mail. This is an important issue because the lead article explains exactly what the Hobby Lobby case is all about. And it can vary from state to state. The nature of the "religious freedom" it supports is such that it could come back to bite it's religious-right advocates in the arse ... and we should make specific efforts toward that end.
Another thought provoking article is "The Sunday Assembly, Atheism's Strategies,The Road Not Taken: A Discussion." Lots to think about if we want to find ways to "force religions to be benign," as Lutheran theologian Martin Marty advised us unbelievers to do.
To get a sample copy of TMA by PDF or postal mail, just email Communications Director or call (612) 529-1200.
Here is our AFHR Report for this issue so you know what we are up to organizationwise:
FINAL EXIT NETOWRK IN COURT AGAIN
The Final Exit Network case in Minnesota begins again on Sept 8 at 9 a.m. in the courthouse in Hastings. To bring you up to date: The Minnesota Supreme Court denied the State's petition for review of the Court of Appeal's September 30, 2013 decision in FEN's favor in State vs Final Exit Network, Larry Egbert, and Roberta Massey. The Supreme Court dissolved the stay of proceedings in the trial court, which has been in effect since March, 2013.
The case now resumes in the trial court as if the defendants faced a new indictment. Instead of being charged primarily under a statute that prohibits "advising, encouraging or assisting in a suicide," the new indictment charges them only with "assisting in a suicide." Going forward, to recap, Final Exit Network and Larry Egbert are each charged with assisting in a suicide, aiding and abetting to assist in a suicide, interfering in a death scene, and aiding and abetting to interfere in a death scene. Roberta Massey is charged only with aiding and abetting to assist in a death scene.
Technically, Dr. Egbert faces a potential sentence of 16 years in prison and a $33,000 fine; the Network a $33,000 fine; and Massey, one year in prison and a $3,000 fine.At the Sept 8 hearing, the judge will set a trial date, discuss pending motions, decide whether any additional pre-trial hearings are necessary and, if so, schedule them. It does not appear that anything more substantial than scheduling will take place, but FEN members who can be there are encouraged to attend to show our support.
OUR MARRIAGE STATUTES: NEW DEVELOPMENTS
We have to wait until the November elections are over before we proceed with legislation to amend the Minnesota marriage statutes to include celebrants other than court personnel and clergy. Much depends on who will be assigned to committees the bill must go through. Meanwhile, new developments in other states offer encouragement.
A bill was introduced in Ohio that proposed opening up celebrant authorization to any person or entity that has registered with the state for that purpose. Simple and clear. Although the bill was not acted upon it shows a growing interest in this area. We thought AFHR should do the same, so we hope to introduce a bill that adds these words to the court-or-clergy designations: "... or any other person or entity that has registered to solemnize marriages with the local registrar of a county in this state. ..."
On July 14, the Court of Appeals in Indiana reversed a lower court's ruling and ruled for the Center for Inquiry that the state must allow marriages to be solemnized by humanist celebrants. Part of the ruling said (referring to the fake online "churches" atheists must use in order to meet the statutory "clergy" requirement), "... the state's willingness to recognize marriages performed by hypocrites, show that the statute violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment as well as the First Amendment. It is irrational to allow humanists to solemnize marriages if, and only if, they falsely declare that they are a 'religion.' It is absurd to give the Church of Satan, whose high priestess avows that her powers derive from having sex with Satan, and the Universal Life Church, which sells credentials to anyone with a credit card, a preferred position over Buddhists, who emphasize love and peace. A marriage solemnized by a self-declared hypocrite would leave a sour taste in the couple's mouth; like many others, humanists want a ceremony that celebrates their values, not the 'values' of people who will say or do whatever it takes to jump through some statutory hoop."
So there we are, with an actual court ruling. Our main problem may be getting our bill heard. The religious right would surely think it is better to just kill it, as they did with the one someone introduced in the last session to open celebrant authorization to notaries public. We will need committee support but even liberal legislators would rather avoid issues that stir up the religious right without a very good reason. They may prefer we file a lawsuit. We are working on that.
FIRESIDE CHATS BEGIN AGAIN IN SEPTEMBER
Now that the summer picnics are over, we have a couple of DVDs lined up for our Fireside Chats in September and October (see details on p. 23). The September video is the hit movie "Noah." It's pretty good in that it does nothing to support the Bible story. The theme is about protecting the environment — the destruction of which the movie indicates was the sin that motivated "the creator" to un-create. In this version, Noah seems to have been tasked initially with wiping out humans totally (no more increase-and-multiply) and saving only plants and animals. A high point is the way the Ark got built, courtesy of imaginative scriptwriters. Hilarious, with great special effects.
In October we will watch "The Magdalene Sisters." We showed it several years ago but the popularity of "Philomena," which we watched in May, caused a renewed interest. Once again, it's the Catholic Church mistreating "way-ward" girls, this time making them slave away in the Church's laundries in Ireland. What on Earth keeps this bastion of moral perversion going?
TWO NEW VIDEOS ONLINE
Our two newest online videos (being edited) feature Sandy Beitsch, a popular singer at local piano bars and our winter solstice parties. These are VERY different shows.
One is "Atheists For Human Rights: The Musical." We turn Sandy loose on an assortment of his piano bar songs (some a bit risqué) and irreligious songs (all irreverent). The other is "Independence Day." In this one we talk about the Pledge of Allegiance and its shortcomings interspersed with truly (secular) patriotic songs such as "This Land is Your Land," "If I Had a Hammer," "The Tin Soldier," and "Where Have All the Flowers Gone?"
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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.
-- MarieAlena Castle, March 1994
-- Martin Marty, Lutheran theologian, Minneapolis MN, 28 April 1998
-- Lavanam, Atheist Centre, India
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):
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.
Atheists for Human Rights is focused primarily on reaching out to the public in morally active ways to advance the atheistic worldview.
We donate to secular charities that help young people and the homeless.
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.
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.
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.
These monthly discussions about atheist issues are occasions for socializing as well as developing ideas for further activism.
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.
As usual, we offer 3 free issues of
Just send your postal or email contact info to: Communications Director
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If you need directions,
Letters and articles are welcome!
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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, location, & directions:
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Local: Ad hoc discussions at social events.
TWIN CITIES PUBLIC ACCESS
Our videos are played in Minneapolis and St. Paul on public access stations.