August, 2012 Newsletter of the Lake Superior Freethinkers
Facilitators: David Broman – 218-349-7455 & Bill Guse - 834-4583, 343-4806
First Sunday - Radisson Hotel – 9:00 AM Social – 10:00 Brunch
George Erickson, editor, firstname.lastname@example.org
Speaker – David Paxson of World Population Balance will speak about the elephant in the room – Overpopulation - Avoiding Global Catastrophe
My August contribution to our growing LSF library will be Jonathan Miller's The Body in Question, which is based on his award winning BBC TV series. Tell me what you will be bringing next month and I'll include it in the newsletter.
FFRF asks Cloquet officials to remove a Ten Commandments sign from public property. (To read the letter, email email@example.com and I'll send the file.)
I Believe: An Atheist's World View – by Edward Falzon
I believe in absolute and unconditional equality among all people. We must not make exceptions for women, gays, Asians, left-handers - no-one. Organizations that seek to curtail the rights of any demographic should be disbanded, ridiculed or lose their tax-exemption status.
I believe that the right of people to live in a manner of their choosing self-evidently excludes any right to prevent others from living how they choose. A person's faith cannot be used to justify hindering the lives of others. This particularly applies to children, who must be protected from harm, including (and especially) harm caused by their own parents.
I believe children's wide-eyed wonder and inquisitiveness should never be stifled. They should be encouraged to explore, to experiment, to make mistakes, to make a mess, to get it wrong. This endless curiosity should be practiced and celebrated by all people of all ages in all countries.
I believe that we should all be educated in several broad subjects: literature, mathematics, logic, morality, science and the scientific method. Education should be ubiquitous and free for every living soul on the planet.
I believe that young children need to be protected from religious indoctrination disguised as education. Teenagers should be taught about religious history to show how modern religions developed and the effect they have had on the world.
I believe that mankind should never stop pursuing all avenues of exploration and discovery. No ideology or political movement should hinder or discourage asking questions about the world around us. And when new discoveries are made, we should accept them, even if we don't like them. It's not anyone's fault but your own if scientific conclusions are at odds with your unexamined faith.
The most troubling reality about these beliefs is how many are in the Bible. None of them are.
People aren't equal in the Bible, except in that we are all equally worthy of death at Yahweh's hand. Women are repeatedly described as property. Foreigners are to be killed or enslaved. And gays aren't even good enough for slavery.
Education and discovery is discouraged and punished. A single mistake, even one made while attempting to appease Yahweh, often leads to death.
The biblical books are wrong on astronomy, geology, geometry, biology, and, of course, evolution.
I believe that human beings have the power of thought, reason and empathy. I believe that we all have the inate ability to determine right from wrong, without seeking guidance from religious warmongers or self-righteous pedophiles. We respect neither ourselves nor each other if we insist we are unable to think critically or develop our own morality without divine assistance.
I believe that no religion has ever offered anything unique to matters of morality. Religions recycle values that were already regarded as 'good' and then claim 'ownership' of these ideas. They then claim that without faith a person cannot know right from wrong.
On the contrary, the common values that exist are a testament to a reasoned, discussed, secular philosophy.
I believe that religious institutions are selling a fake product to gullible people. They promote dissatisfaction with this life, so people can look forward to the next. They offer false comfort to those in need, and they claim credit for the efforts of scientists, engineers and doctors, asserting that a saved life is a 'miracle.'
The sacred texts of all monotheistic religions mandate the eradication of all other faiths. Real, human advancement and self-determination is little more than a pipe dream as long as so many of us cling to bronze-age gods and demons.
So if you remain insistent that your faith is the one true faith, that non-Christians are non-human, that those without faith are without values, or that my use of the word "believe" somehow makes me religious, then I believe... that you can bite me.
The World is my Country - all mankind are my brethren - and to do good is my religion. - Thomas Paine 1737-1809
I pledge allegiance to the United States of America: one nation, _____ ___ indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
Ed Raymond excerpts –
Afghan Taliban And The American Taliban–Is There A Difference?
This Taliban is a fundamentalist Islamic sect of male vampires who suck the blood from a culture by placing themselves atop a "religious" pyramid where they sacrifice women for their own enrichment and gratification. Women are chattel to keep barefoot, pregnant, and ignorant. Excess females in poor families are sold like goats to the highest bidder. Education for girls is prohibited. Gender "apartheid" is practiced. Women must stay at home, cannot have jobs, and must wear the burqa, the face-covering.
The Afghan Taliban has its own sharia laws based on local traditions, usually from the Pashtun tribal code. Public executions often follow "courts" where due process is totally absent. Thieves have their hands and feet amputated in public ceremonies. This extreme version of Islam is strict and dogmatic, with groups of male enforcers patrolling the streets, enforcing the hundreds of rules in sharia law.
The American Taliban - The other major American Taliban is the hierarchy of the American Roman Catholic Church. They claim to lead 65 million U.S. Catholics, but evidence indicates that only about half go to church and less than that believe all of the "sharia" laws of the Vatican. When 98 percent of all Catholic women of child-bearing age have used contraceptives, which is specifically against a major "canon" of the church, it gives one an idea of how popular other "canons" might be. It's quite clear that when it comes to sexual issues most Catholic constituents are in the 21st Century and their bishops and the Vatican are still in the 14th. As an example, many Minnesota Catholics who are opposed to the same-sex marriage amendment on the fall ballot, which is so strongly supported by a few conservative Catholic bishops in the state, are organizing to fight the position held by Archbishop John Nienstedt. It was hilarious that these dissenting Catholics met to organize resistance in a Methodist Church in Minneapolis!
Sending Catholic Nuns To Re-Indoctrination And Brainwashing Camp!
To the bishops, religious liberty means that they should be able to collect billions of tax dollars to operate poverty programs, hospitals, nursing homes, etc. while forcing their employees, whether Catholic or not, to live by their extreme religious doctrines. That's their definition of religious liberty. Catholic nuns, who have demonstrated for years they are more sensible, more compassionate, more human, much less Talibanish, more scientific, and more culturally intelligent than the bishops and the Vatican, are now supposed to be going through brainwashing, rehabilitation, and re-indoctrination programs by bishops. The Vatican insists the nuns emphasize anti-abortion stances and homosexual issues instead of working to relieve poverty and other problems of the poor and disabled.
The Politics Of Talibanism - I admit that I am a socialist-commy-pinko, liberal, libertarian, agnostic, fiscal conservative, atheist, ex-Roman Catholic with 27 years of experience, pantheist, a supporter of same-sex marriage, a believer in most science, and a liberal ECLA Lutheran at various times during the week. I know one thing. I don't want my children or grandchildren to live under the domination of the American Taliban represented by conservative evangelicals and Roman Catholic bishops.
Tea Partiers and 225 Republicans have joined the evangelicals to introduce 8 anti-choice bills in the House. Evangelicals and Catholics in state legislatures introduced over 1,100 bills related to reproductive health and rights of women, ranging from requiring trans-vaginal ultrasounds to outlawing contraceptives. Of the 28 states controlled by Republicans, 26 have passed laws limiting reproductive choices. Over 55 percent of American women live in states which are "hostile" to abortion, up from 30 percent just ten years ago.