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The Moral Atheist
The September-October issue of The Moral Atheist is being distributed by postal mail and email. The cover stories are mostly about the "better angels of our nature" as Stephen Pinker titled his book about the reduction in violence over the centuries.
There are a couple of lovely stories there to counter the crap being thrown us in this election year. If you want the entire 24-page issue as a PDF so you can read them, just ask by email to firstname.lastname@example.org
See the Table of Contents HERE.
Meanwhile, here is the AFHR Report from page 3 to keep you informed of what we are up to:
MARIEALENA, COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR
AN ELECTION YEAR LIKE NO OTHER
AFHR is a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) nonprofit. As such we cannot be involved in partisan political campaigns or endorse candidates. Fair enough, but that does not mean we cannot provide information about issues. We do this all the time as we call attention to assaults on state-church separation by the highly politicized religious right. We want our members to be informed about what is going on.
We really are in a culture war over whether this country will be governed by secular laws or laws based on doctrinal beliefs. The erratic Donald Trump seems to know as little about state-church issues as he does about everything else, but his shifting views always conform to the religious-right's god-and-country beliefs that religious liberty means imposing their beliefs on everyone else. They also reflect the fear and hatred of other people and ideas that has marked the religious-right worldview for decades.
This is not good, so in this issue we are publishing some articles that reflect the basic decency inherent in human nature. It would be nice to have that shape our views instead of fear and hatred and barbaric beliefs in the run-up to November 8.
UPDATE ON FINAL EXIT NETWORK:
The appeal of Final Exit Network's conviction for supposedly "assisting a suicide" is scheduled for a hearing on September 28 at 9:30 a.m. in Courthouse Room 100 at the Minnesota Judicial Center in St. Paul. Supporters of FEN who live in the area and want to attend are encouraged to do so. These things can change at the last minute so anyone planning to attend should email me at email@example.com to verify if this schedule still holds.
Sad news: We learned on June 9 that Dr. Larry Egbert, FEN's medical director, had died of heart failure at age 88. He was the medical director from FEN's founding in 2004 until he was arrested on Feb. 25, 2009, when the Georgia Bureau of Investigation initiated an unsuccessful effort to destroy FEN, and perhaps Dr. Egbert as well.
He was one of the defendants in the prosecutions in Georgia, Arizona and Minnesota by the duty-to-suffer opponents of death with dignity. In the first case, in Georgia, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) charged Dr. Egbert, the Final Exit Network corporation, and others with "racketeering," which could have led to Dr. Egbert being imprisoned for the rest of his life.
In 2012, however, the Supreme Court of Georgia struck down the Georgia statute as an unconstitutional restriction on the right of free speech in violation of the First Amendment. As a result, the GBI had to dismiss all the charges but continued to attack FEN. Using information seized in its investigation, the GBI communicated with scores of law enforcement agencies across the nation, trying to foment charges against FEN over self-deliverance exits in other jurisdictions. The GBI's efforts were a complete failure except in Dakota County, Minnesota, where a notorious publicity hound of a prosecutor secured yet another indictment of Dr. Egbert. The Minnesota case continues to drag on, now scheduled for an appellate court hearing and possibly another appeal.
Dr. Egbert lost his license to practice because of his work with FEN but he never lost his commitment to FEN and other humanitarian causes. He was a volunteer with Doctors Without Borders and for Doctors for Human Rights, where he documented the physical and psychological scars carried by victims of torture by foreign governments. He was a hero and one of humanity's assets.
Information for this report was taken in part from a report by FEN general counsel Robert Rivas from the August 2016 issue of the Final Exit Network Newsletter. For more information, see Final Exit Network
AD FOR CULTURE WARS
We are running a full-page ad for our book, Culture Wars: The Threat to Your Family and Your Freedom, in the 3rd Quarter 2016 issue of American Atheist, the magazine of the national American Atheists organization. The digital issue came out in July and the print version in mid-August.
Culture Wars is all about politics and how and why so many of our laws are based solely on harmful religious doctrines. Given the watershed political realignments that may result from the unprecedented presidential election campaign we are experiencing, we thought it would be useful for more atheists to understand the fundamental role authoritarian religions have played in creating the current socio-political dysfunction. This is never covered in news stories and commentator analyses related to the election and how things got this way. Readers of The Moral Atheist can order the book directly from AFHR for $10 ppd. All revenue goes to our Moral High Ground project.
UPDATE ON MICHAEL NEWDOW'S LAWSUIT
Michael Newdow is still maneuvering his way through the legal system to get "In God We Trust" off our money. AFHR and other atheist organizations as well as individuals are plaintiffs. Newdow lost in one court when the judge ruled the phrase had lost its religious meaning over time. What the meaning could be, if not religious, the judge didn't say.
Newdow has switched to basing his challenge on the motto being a violation of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). This is the legal fiction that got a favorable ruling for Hobby Lobby and is being used by other commercial enterprises to impose the owners' religious beliefs on employees and customers.
Good for the goose, good for the gander, as they say, so Newdow is using it to challenge the U.S. Treasury's imposition of religion on everyone by putting a religious statement on money. The lawsuit says the Treasury can't do this without a compelling interest. What the Treasury might dream up as a "compelling interest" remains to be seen, but no doubt it can come up with something. It doesn't have to make sense, as we have seen from the ruling that the god motto has no religious meaning.
In This Issue
We are a charitable 501(c)(3) nonprofit. Our signature activity is our unique MORAL HIGH GROUND project that provides funds to help women, children, LGBTQ, and others victimized by our religion based laws. You can help. Check it out and then check SUPPORT for our donor benefits and premiums, and choose type of payment.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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
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If you are not a regular attendee, call (612) 588-1597
3rd Fridays 6-9+ PM
September 16: Fireside Chats resume! Our DVD is the Michael Moore documentary Where To Invade Next. Great for election-year discussions of social-political issues. Humorous! Thought provoking! See it! Video starts about 7 PM.
October 21:.The DVD is The Witch for Halloween frights. Nightmarish & credible, set in 1630, about witch trials and fundamentalist hysteria. Video starts about 7 PM.
Monday Happy Hour: 5:00 to 6:30 PM
1st Tuesdays: 11:30 AM Lunch Social
1st & 3rd Mondays 6:30 PM Toastmasters
3rd Wednesdays 11:30 AM
Southern Minnesota Meetups
Local: Ad hoc discussions at social events.
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.
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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 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.
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