PLEASE JOIN US!   We meet on the first Sunday of each month in downtown Duluth at the Radisson Hotel (Location Map)
            Socializing begins at 9:00 am.
            Optional breakfast buffet at 9:30 am.
            Presentation from 10:00 until about 11:30.

            Co-Host: David Broman - (218) 349-7455
            Co-Host: Jim Lyttle - (218) 464-1652
             Videographer - Jan Resberg


July 2013 Newsletter

July, 2013 Newsletter of the Lake Superior Freethinkers

Facilitators: David Broman - 218-349-7455, Bill Guse - 834-4583, 343-4806

First Sunday -Radisson - we're going back – 9:00 AM Social – 9:30 Breakfast - 10:00 Presentation


George Erickson, editor, tundracub@mchsi.com

Program - Patrick Elliott, Staff Attorney, Freedom From Religion Foundation, will speak about litigation to protect American Separation of Church and State

"Cruel men believe in a cruel God and use their belief to excuse their cruelty. Only kindly men believe in a kindly God, and they would be kindly in any case." -Bertrand Russell

Famous Freethinkers
Honore de Balzac, born in France, became a lawyer's clerk at his parents' insistence, but when Balzac began writing, his parents cut his allowance. His success as a novelist was clinched by 1830, when he produced the first of his 47-volume the Human Comedy. Skepticism pervades Balzac's many masterpieces, including Pere Goriot and Cousin Bette. D.

John Stuart Mill, born in England, became a champion of individual liberty. Mill advanced utilitarianism, a philosophy advocating the role of government is to create the greatest amount of good with the least evil. Mill popularized social and sexual equality, the public ownership of national resources, and political liberty. As a teenager, Mill wrote a defense of skeptic Richard Carlile, jailed for six years for "blasphemous libel."
In On Liberty, Mill rejected ethics predicated on the crushing of individuality, whether by "enforcing the will of God or the injunctions of men." Mill termed Christianity "a doctrine of passive obedience; it inculcates submission to all authorities." Mill's Reform Bill ignited the British suffrage movement. Mill wrote “A large proportion of the most valuable teaching has been done by… men who rejected the Christian faith.”

Ronald P Reagan was born to Ronald W Reagan and Nancy Reagan. In 2004, Reagan stopped going to church and in 2004, accepted the Freedom From Religion Foundation's Emperor Has No Clothes Award. Reagan was a special correspondent for ABC's "20/20" and "Good Morning America," as well as hosting the syndicated "Ron Reagan Show" starting in 1991.
He began to question his father's beliefs by age 12. “I told my parents I would no longer go to church with them because I was an atheist… We'd argue at the dinner table all the time." Asked by the New York Times if he'd like to be president, he said "I would be unelectable. I'm an atheist."
"I'm sure there are higher powers - like magnetism and gravity, but I don't believe in a deity."

Margaret Fuller’s Summer on the Lakes described the missionary harm to native Americans in the Midwest. Woman in the Nineteenth Century came out in 1845: "Women are the easy victims both of priestcraft and self-delusion; but this would not be, if the intellect was developed in proportion to the other powers." "You see how wide the gulf that separates me from the Christian Church. Give me truth; cheat me by no illusion.”

JACK KEVORKIAN – MD - "My parents never foisted religion on me. I never believed in god. His first known assisted suicide occurred in 1990, and the state of Michigan revoked his medical license a year later as a result. Believing that the right to die is not a crime, Kevorkian assisted in the pain-free suicides of more than 130 people with terminal illnesses. He spent eight years in prison after being convicted of second-degree murder for one of these suicides.
Kevorkian maintains that his harshest critics are "religious fanatics." "Religion dictates to law, and law dictates to ethics. That's insanity!"

For the latest on Climate Change, add http://insideclimatenews.org/ to your “favorites” list and check it often. There’s a lot there that doesn’t make the news!

Text of atheist prayer given in the Arizona House

An atheist lawmaker’s daily prayer at the Arizona House of Representatives led a fellow lawmaker to ask for a do-over the following day.

Democratic [of course] Rep. Juan Mendez said he was looking for a way to convey his feelings like other members do when they participate in the prayer rotation at the beginning of the daily floor session. Rep. Steve Smith (R-Maricopa) on Wednesday said the prayer wasn’t a prayer at all.

“Most prayers in this room begin with a request to bow your heads. I would like to ask you not to bow your heads. I would like to ask that you take a moment to look around the room at all of the men and women here, in this moment, sharing together this extraordinary experience of being alive and of dedicating ourselves to working toward improving the lives of the people of our state.

“This room in which there are many challenging debates, many moments of tension, of ideological division, of frustration. But this is also a room where, as my Secular Humanist tradition stresses, by the very fact of being human, we have much more in common than we have differences. We share the same spectrum of potential for care, for compassion, for fear, for joy, for love.

“Carl Sagan once wrote, ‘For small creatures such as we, the vastness is bearable only through love.’ There is, in the political process, much to bear. In this room, let us cherish and celebrate our shared humanness, our shared capacity for reason and compassion, our shared love for the people of our state, for our Constitution and for our democracy— and let us root our policymaking process in these values that are relevant to all Arizonans regardless of religious belief or nonbelief. In gratitude and in love, in reason and in compassion, let us work together for a better Arizona. ” Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

Mark Twain “… we hear a Pope saying slave trading is wrong, and see him sending an expedition to Africa to stop it. The texts remain; it is the practice that has changed. Why? Because the world has corrected the Bible. The Church never corrects it; and also never fails to drop in at the tail of the procession—and take the credit of the correction….”

…In every instance, when the findings of science have contradicted the position of religion, science has won every argument…. A religious tome that is inconsistent with, and consequently contradictory to, a modern knowledge base is unacceptable as a guide for governance of our lives, in our time. - Rod Sheffer

Who was Josephus, the guy who Christians use to “prove” the historicity of Jesus?

Here’s an edited response to that question from Rodney Sheffer:

Flavius Josephus, AKA Joseph ben Matthias, a commander of Jewish troops in Galilee, waged war against the Romans in the first century, C.E., but was forced to surrender to General Vespasian. He then threw in with Vespasian, predicting that he would become the next emperor. Vespasian sent Joseph ben Matthias to Rome and gave him the Roman name - Flavius Josephus. There, he wrote The Antiquities of the Jews.

His brief (approx. 100 words) mention of Jesus in The Antiquities… (which is completely out of context with the material surrounding it) has been judged by most Biblical scholars to be an insertion by a zealous Christian, and the first mention of the Testimonium Flavianum comes from Christian Bishop Eusebius - a 4th century church historian who promoted the use of “Holy Lies” to advance the church.

SALMAN RUSHDIE was born in India. At 14, Rushdie graduated in 1968 from King's College, Cambridge. His first book, an adventure called Grimus. Midnight's Children, 1981, catapulted Rushdie to international attention. His novel Satanic Verses, which was banned in India, brought down the notorious death fatwa upon him by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. The Iranian government officially rescinded the fatwah in 1998.

"The idea of the sacred is quite simply one of the most conservative notions in any culture, because it seeks to turn other ideas—uncertainty, progress, change—into crimes."

“In India, religion is the poison in the blood. Where religion intervenes, mere innocence is no excuse. Yet we go on skating around this issue, speaking of religion in the fashionable language of 'respect.' What is there to respect in any of this, or in any of the crimes now being committed almost daily around the world in religion's dreaded name?

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