August, 2015 Newsletter of the Lake Superior Freethinkers
Gail Matthews, editor – email@example.com
First Sunday - Radisson Hotel - 9:00 AM Social – 9:30 Breakfast - 10:00 Presentation
Facilitators: David Broman - 218-349-7455, Bill Guse - 834-4583, 343-4806
The First Atheist TV Channel: In Your Living Room!
American Atheists has launched the first channel dedicated exclusively to atheist, humanist, freethought programming on the Roku network.
If you are interested in working with us to provide high quality programming for the new channel, which will stream 24 hours a day, please contact us at atheistTV@atheists.org
Atheists Decry Bigotry Cloaked in NC ‘Religious Freedom’ Law
New Law Threatens Rights of LGBT Couples, Atheists, Religious Minorities
In a vote today, the North Carolina legislature overrode Gov. Pat McCrory’s veto of Senate Bill 2, a bill which gave government employees the right to refuse to perform marriage services for any couple as long as the employee cites a deeply held religious objection.
“This is yet another example of religion being used to excuse bigotry,” said National Legal and Public Policy Director Amanda Knief. “North Carolinians should expect and demand that state employees perform their duties for everyone. No exceptions. This is a sad day for the people of North Carolina and for anyone who values a government that treats all people with dignity and respect. The religious beliefs of state employees performing civil marriage services are irrelevant.”
North Carolina has recognized same-sex marriage since October 2014. The passage of SB-2 is just the latest example of so-called “religious freedom” bills being used to allow state employees, businesses, and others to discriminate against LGBT people and others on the basis of religious belief.
“This is shameful,” said American Atheists National Program Director Nick Fish.
“Shirking your duties as a state employee and treating people like second class citizens has no place in North Carolina. This law is opening Pandora’s box.”
American Atheists Regional Director for North Carolina Sincere Kirabo added, “When so-called religious freedom blatantly discriminates against a certain segment of citizens, it is a direct restriction of freedom that also perpetuates stigma and inhibits egalitarianism. This exercise in bigoted legislation has no place in North Carolina.”
Still smarting over having been dunked in a church baptismal tub at age 12? Indignant that a congregation still claims you as a believer based on baptismal records? Wishing you could formally renounce a religion that was imposed on you as a helpless babe in swaddling clothes?
The Freedom From Religion Foundation has the answer: a genuine “DeBaptismal Certificate.”
The certificate bears the tongue-in-cheek saying of 19th century freethinker Robert G. Ingersoll: “With soap, baptism is a good thing.”
“I, having been subjected to a Christian baptism before reaching an age of consent, or having submitted to baptism before embracing freethought and reason, hereby officially renounce that primitive rite and the Church that imposed it. I categorically reject the creeds, dogmas, and superstitions of my former religion, particularly the pernicious doctrines of ‘Original Sin’ and damnation.
“I further denounce as an affront and defamation to humanity the false and demeaning belief that any baby is born with ‘Original Sin’ and must be cleansed of it by baptism. From this day forward, I wish to be excluded from any claims of religious affiliation or membership based on baptismal records.”
There’s room for the debaptized’s name, signature and date of debaptism “in the Year of No Lord.” The certificate is signed by Dan Barker, a former ordained minister who is now co-president of the Freedom From Religion Foundation. The motto at the bottom reads, “Freedom depends upon freethinkers.”
“With a majority of Foundation members growing up in religious homes,” noted Annie Laurie Gaylor, Foundation co-president, “we know there are a lot of freethinkers out there who wish they could be debaptized.” Annie Laurie, by the way, is one of the lucky 18% of FFRF members who grew up in a freethinking home and was spared baptism by water, fire or Sunday school.
"Although our DeBaptismal Certificate has some light touches, we think it’s time to spur some serious public debate over the meaning of baptism,” Gaylor added. “We would like to remind the public that people have been killed, schisms fostered and ‘holy’ wars sparked over debates on when to baptize and how to ‘sprinkle’ babies. Childhoods and peace of mind are still being blighted today by ignorant and vicious sermons promising hell and damnation as a punishment for not being baptized.
“It should be utterly repugnant to people of conscience to tarnish newborns with the idea of ‘original sin’ or to subject any child or young person to this primitive ritual.”
Two original embossed frameable copies on parchment signed by Dan Barker may be ordered online. Or send $5 to FFRF, Attn: DeBaptism, Box 750, Madison WI 53701. Be the first on your block to frame a “DeBaptismal Certificate!”
Atheism 101: The Problem of Evil - Philadelphia Atheism
Good and evil are human constructs. When we are talking about evil in this context we are not talking about some supernatural force. We are not talking about the character of Satan or his plans. Good and evil are not actual forces in the world acting on human beings. These are concepts created by people to help us interact with each other and the world around us. There are no all-powerful gods who are willing or able to stop suffering. We as human beings must stop suffering on our own.
The fact is that most people don’t need the lure of eternal paradise or the threat of eternal torture to motivate them to help those who are suffering. We help those who are suffering because we can help those who are suffering. Human compassion is the atheist solution to the problem of evil.
Inserted from <http://www.examiner.com/article/atheism-101-the-problem-of-evil>
Church in Gary, Indiana abandoned in the 1970s due to poor attendance
Note from the new editor:
Please bear with me as I learn not only Word software, but also how to find material for the newsletter. Our former editor, George, finds it easy but as with most things, when you are good at something, it IS easy. This is something I look forward to learning though, and if anyone has a comment or a suggestion I am happy to listen and take appropriate action….Gail Matthews
LAST BUT NOT LEAST
From the excellent July 5th presentation by Dan Barker of the FFRF