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The Moral Atheist
2016 - Happy New Year

Happy New Year to Everyone! This issue of The Moral Atheist is being snail mailed and emailed this week. Lots of interesting stuff in it as the Contents suggest. For a complete copy by snail mail or PDF, just send an email request to here. We welcome your comments.

As many of you know, the signature activity of Atheists For Human Rights is our Moral High Ground Project where we provide funds (not just lip service) to help those who are victimized by our religion based laws. In December, we distributed the funds to the recipients we have chosen to receive annual grants. Here is our report:



Our members were very supportive of our Moral High Ground project in 2015. In December we made the following grants to recipients we have chosen to help. If only we could do more!

CHILD (Children's Healthcare Is a Legal Duty): $500 plus donations from our Winter Solstice charity of $900 for a total of $1,400. Rita and Doug Swan's decades-long slog though state legislatures to repeal faith healing statutes state by state has been torturous but they are succeeding. They have very little support from other organizations because the nature of their fight requires that they expose faith healing beliefs in all their insanity. It's not politically correct to do that and few legislators want to question "deeply held religious beliefs" even when children suffer and die from them when faith healing replaces medical care.

Philanthrofund Foundation (PFund): $500 to help pay tuition for a GLBT student. The sexual minorities are winning their fight and we are proud to have stood with them every year since 2002. We are the only freethought group we know of that does this. Each year we meet the recipient of our grant at a PFund event where we are welcomed as atheists and appreciated. It's good to show the victims of religion-based laws who their real friends are.

Final Exit Network: $500 plus an expected cost of about $700 to produce an amicus brief to help FEN appeal its recent conviction for "assisting a suicide." The court decided that to talk compassionately to a person who wanted (with good reason) to do a self-deliverance was the same as physically assisting them. FEN says it was free speech that basically repeated information available in Derek Humphry's best-seller Final Exit.

Abortion clinics: $700 each to four of them. They are in areas where physical and legal assaults are constant. They wear bulletproof vests to work, kept going after Dr. Tiller and others were murdered, costly regulations are piled on to put them out of business, heavy security measures are an ongoing necessity, they are or soon may be the only clinic left in the state. It is low-key terrorism that patriarchal legislators do nothing about. The clinics are: South Wind Women's Clinic, Wichita KS; Germantown Reproductive Health Services, Germantown MD; Red River Women's Clinic, Fargo ND; Chicago Abortion Fund, Chicago IL. We are proud to stand with women to help protect their rights.

Texas Freedom Network: $200 for this recent addition to our MHG recipients. It was suggested by AFHR members around the country who are familiar with their work. The laws of Texas are or are aiming to be a model of ignorance-based education, head-in-the-sand sexual restrictions, and antebellum social controls that conform to fundamentalist religious beliefs. TFN is building an effective organization to counter this and our members thought we should help. We agree.

So our MHG outlay for 2015, including the Winter Solstice CHILD charity and the Final Exit Network amicus costs totaled about $6100. We are happy to be able to afford that. Better this real help than a building and/or salaries we don't need. Other than expenses for The Moral Atheist, office supplies, Internet services, etc., what you donate to AFHR goes entirely to helping undo the harm god-nazi forms of religion inflict on so many of us.

Our civic duty for 2016: Work to put politicians in office who know the value of keeping religion out of government and off our backs. The article on page 4 might help. Read. Think. Act.


First Things First and Why Voting Comes Last: What Kind of Candidates Can Preserve Secular Values and How Do We Get Them? (p. 4)


Atheists Standing their Ground: A Debate on Drugs and Race (p. 6)


In the Jan-Feb issue of The Moral Atheist

3   AFHR Report
4   The 2016 Elections: Advice from Atheist-Humanist Organizations, and All of it is Wrong
MarieAlena Castle
5   We Won! Marriage Certificate of Filing is

MarieAlena Castle
6   AFHR Members Debate Drugs and Race
Oliver Steinberg, Niles Ross, Sandy Beitsch, Tim Gorski
9   Apologetics: Iron Clad Proof of Error
Stephen Van Eck
10  Fundamentalism, the Titanic, and the KKK
Jon Nelson
"Help! I'm Being Repressed!" Part 6

William Sierichs Jr.
14  The Code of Hammurabi — But No Ten Commandments?!
15  Winter Solstice Party Report
Breaking News

Bill van Druten
BACK COVER: Looking for Terrorism in All the Wrong Places

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.


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

5146 Newton Ave. N.
Minneapolis MN 55430-3459

If you need directions, call:

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.



Letters and articles are welcome!

CalendarTop of Page

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


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, County Road. B2, (east of Fairview). Roseville.
Bob & Marilyn Nienkerk, 612-866-6200.


1st & 3rd Mondays
6:30 PM

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

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.


15 January:
Here's a movie to make you think. It's "Ex Machina" — about artificial intelligence. If you saw it when it came out, see it again and let's talk about it. The DVD starts at about 7 PM.


19 February:
February is Darwin Month (his birthday anniversary is 12 February) so the DVD will focus on science. It's "The Martian" — so rational and humanistic and exciting to watch! No bad guys! Only the unforgiving uninhabitable planet Mars as the enemy — and it lost!



Twin Cities Meetups
Email Scott Muir, Video Manager 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, 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.



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