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 firstname.lastname@example.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!
VOTING WHEN YOU'D RATHER NOT
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.
MORAL HIGH GROUND PROJECT REPORT
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
A "CIVIC ACTION" HIGHWAY CLEANUP
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.
NEW AFHR MARRIAGE OFFICIANTS
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
the Basket of Deplorables. MarieAlena Castle
"Help! I'm Being repressed!" Part 11 of 11.
William Sierichs Jr.
Former Secretary of Offense, Returns With a Report.
Bill van Druten
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 email@example.com
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.
The Best Policy Guide for a Religiously Neutral
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.
- No legal protection for kids in faith-healing families: why most states sanction religion-based child sacrifice
Rita Swan and her husband Doug were Christian Scientists until the death of their son made them determined to prevent other child deaths by repealing religious exemption laws.
- Your money and/or your life: mugged by the mythmakers — the price we pay for religion
A summary of what religion costs YOU in terms of your money, your personal freedom, your health, and sometimes even your very life.
- How Judge John E. Jones put intelligent design on the path to extinction
A conservative U.S. District Judge strikes a stunning blow against intelligent design and creationism.
- The Theological Roots of Everything Ugly About America
How the toxic roots of puritanical ideas poisoned a potentially beautiful thing.
- Damned if we do, damned if we don't: the atheist dilemma
If atheists object to state-church violations, they invite a backlash; if they do nothing, they are hated for simply being who they are.
- CNN invites us to discuss whether "God" exists
— and stacks the deck
Given the opportunity for a serious discussion, CNN presented bias and Christian propaganda.
- The Godless rise as a political force
Nonbelievers represent a growing segment of the U.S. electorate.
- Budget woes and how local activism may get churches to pay up
Charging churches a fee for city services may now be not only thinkable but doable
- 600+ years of fakery: the Shroud of Turin
Scientific evidence supports a medieval origin of the Shroud of Turin.
- The two words that don't belong
In 1892, Francis Bellamy, a Baptist minister, wrote The Pledge of Allegiance, which contained no mention of God.
- Reason vs. Faith
Faith is belief without — or in spite of contradictory — empirical evidence.
- The Moral High Ground Project
The signature activity of Atheists For Human Rights is standing with religon's victims in support of abortion rights, death with dignity, children's healthcare, and LGBT students.
- Elk Grove v. Newdow [PDF file]
The Amicus curiae brief submitted by Michael Newdow to the US Supreme Court, arguing that it should strike the words "under God" from the Pledge of Allegiance.
If you are not a regular attendee, call (612) 588-1597
or email firstname.lastname@example.org
3rd Fridays 6-9+ PM
Hub of Atheism,
5146 Newton Ave. N., Minneapolis
Always free food and beverages.
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.
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.
ABOUT THE MORAL ATHEIST
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.
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.
-- MarieAlena Castle, March 1994
-- Martin Marty, Lutheran theologian, Minneapolis MN,
28 April 1998
-- 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.
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: email@example.com
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.
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.
5146 Newton Ave. N.
Minneapolis MN 55430-3459
If you need directions, call:
Leave us a voicemail by calling:
Phone messages may be used on our website.
- firstname.lastname@example.org for corrections or problems with our web pages.
- email@example.com for all other questions.
Letters and articles are welcome!
- American Atheists
- American Freethought
- Americans United for Separation of Church and State
- Atheist Foundation of Australia Inc
- Atheists of Silicon Valley
- Born Atheist
- Campus Atheists, Skeptics, and Secular Humanists (CASH)
- Children's Healthcare Is a Legal Duty, Inc (CHILD)
- Euthanasia World Directory (ERGO)
- Final Exit Network
- Freedom From Religion Foundation
- Friends Free of Theism
- IBKA Political Guide
- Minnesota Atheists
- The Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science