HUB OF ATHEISM
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The Moral Atheist
For a full copy of TMA by PDF or postal mail, just ask!
Beliefs, Non-beliefs, and Tax Exemptions:
The Constitution's Unworkable Religion Clauses.
The Death of Lavanam:
MARIEALENA, COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR
"PROTECT THY NEIGHBOR": SPREAD THE WORD
AFHR is involved with the Minnesota chapter of Americans United for Separation of Church and State (AU) and now we have a nationwide AU initiative to announce. This is especially relevant to AFHR because of our unique nationwide membership.
Here is the situation, from George Kane, board member of the MN Chapter (along with myself and Randall Tigue). If any of you can help this effort in your area individually or with a local freethought group, let us know so we can pass your information on to AU:
Today I am writing to you, the leader of a local secularist organization, for two reasons. The first is to apprise you of a new initiative from Americans United for Separation of Church and State, which they have dubbed "Protect Thy Neighbor" (PTN). We expect that there will be a backlash from the religious right to the recent Supreme Court decision that made same-sex marriage a legal right everywhere in the country. Already there have been cases of government clerks refusing to issue marriage licenses for same-sex marriages, claiming religious freedom permits them to disregard the law. There have been similar claims of religious privilege by employers to avoid the reproductive health care mandates of the Affordable Care Act.
The national office of Americans United wants to know of such incidents all over the country, so they can assist the victims. I would like you to visit the Americans United site at au.org to read about the PTN initiative, spread the word to your membership, and tell us about any cases that your members encounter of discrimination justified as an exercise of religious freedom.
The other reason I am writing is that I am hoping to foster cooperation between the Minnesota Chapter of Americans United for Separation of Church and State and like-minded local groups. Our focus is on separation of church and state, and we will appreciate it if you keep us apprised of any violations you find. We are also interested in working with your organization on separation activities that your organization is undertaking. Perhaps we can work together in other ways, such as educational programs and events.
George Francis Kane, Director, Minnesota Chapter
Americans United for Separation of Church and State
GIVING CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE
We need to clear up something about The Moral Atheist and what it means to be a responsible journalist. That doesn't mean a "journalist" like those at Fox News who have a reputation for validating the saying (attributed to many writers), "A lie can travel halfway around the world before the truth can get its boots on."
One of our members asked how important or necessary it is to give credit for material written by someone else and used in a letter for publication in TMA. The letter included a brief poetic segment and it was not clear whether that was the work of the letter writer or someone else. It turned out to be from a copyrighted poem by someone else. The letter writer thought it would be OK to use it without attribution. He said it was fair use. I disagreed but the letter writer was sure the copyright laws favored his view. Some basic principles about fairness, honesty and getting facts straight (also known as Journalism 101) were being a bit scrambled here. I realized that not all of our readers necessarily understand the importance of attribution so I told our letter writer I would explain it in this issue. Here it is:
UPDATE ON OUR ATHEIST MARRIAGE CELEBRANTS
We have been getting requests for authorization to be marriage celebrants from people who heard about our lawsuit. It is a pleasure to accommodate them. It seems the preferred celebrant for secular couples is a friend or family member. That's good. We can see that as symbolically freeing them from the traditional patriarchal control that church and state once had over marriage.
We don't charge for this (although we might later on) because we are interested right now in getting totally atheist marriages well established in practice. That will be helped in the future by a recent ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th District (which includes Minnesota) that upheld same-sex marriage. The ruling rejected an attempt to moot the case by promising to abide by the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in support of same-sex marriage in the future. The Court of Appeals said a promise for the future can't make a current case moot.
If we had that ruling when we filed our lawsuit, the judge would not have been able to say Washington County's promise to allow atheist marriage registrations in the future made our case moot. The ruling would have had to be on constitutional issues, which we would have won. But now we have a solid precedent to win on those issues if we can just get another county to reject our applicants.
In This Issue
Atheists For Human Rights
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.
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.
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-- 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.
As usual, we offer 3 free issues of
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):
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.
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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.
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If you need directions, call:
Leave us a voicemail by calling:
Phone messages may be used on our website.
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If you are not a regular attendee, call to find out if the schedule has changed.
1st & 3rd Mondays
Always free food and beverages.
Southern Minnesota Meetups
Local: Ad hoc discussions at social events.
TWIN CITIES PUBLIC ACCESS
Our videos are played in Minneapolis and St. Paul on public access stations.
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