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


January 2014 Newsletter

January, 2014 Newsletter of the Lake Superior Freethinkers

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

First Sunday -Radisson – 9:00 AM Social – 9:30 Breakfast - 10:00 Presentation


George Erickson, editor, tundracub@mchsi.com

Program - James Zimmerman (zgoatee@gmail.com) will present "Deliverance at Hand: The Redemption of a Devout Jehovah's Witness"- from his newly released book. James is a member of the Minnesota Atheists Editorial Board, a former editor of The Minnesota Atheist newsletter and a frequent host of Atheists Talk television show. His writings has appeared in The Minnesota Atheist, The Humanist, American Atheist, and The St. Paul Almanac.
Deliverance at Hand! recounts his life as a zealous Jehovah’s Witness and his defection from that faith. James will compare the Witnesses with other religions, discuss their “evidence” that we’re living in the last days, explain what nonbelievers often get wrong about the religion, and reveal some little-known aspects of the Witnesses’ religion. He will also shed some light on the Witnesses’ policy of shunning former members, citing examples from his own life.

Christian Nation by J Huger

Many Christians claim that the United States is a Christian nation, or that the Founding Fathers intended us to be a Christian nation. When they bother to offer evidence it's usually some McCarthy-era addition to our pledge or our money, or some quote (often bogus) from a speech or a letter by one of the Founders.

Think about this: If you were starting a Christian nation, how would you go about it? Would you make oblique references to "Great Powers" and "Guiding Hands" in obscure speeches and letters, or would you fill your foundational documents with references to Jesus Christ and the Bible?

The Founding Fathers were brilliant men. They spent months working on the Constitution. They were very careful about what they wrote, discussing and debating every passage at great length. It seems to me that if they had intended this to be a Christian nation they would have said so somewhere in the Constitution. The Founding Fathers had no reason to be vague. There was no ACLU, no "Activist judges." If they had wanted a Christian Nation they could have written:

God Almighty, in Order to form a true Christian Nation, establish Divine Justice, insure adherence to His Laws, provide for the defense of His Church, promote His Word, and secure His Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, has led us to ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Instead they wrote:

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.


Believers sometimes support their arguments by pointing to scientists who claim to be religious, but so what? Here are the facts from a letter by Edd Doerr, former president of the American humanist Assoc.

“Scientists have been all over the map on religion. But we have serious studies quantifying the religious positions of scientists, by James Leuba in 1914 … and a 1997 study repeated by Edward Larson and Larry Witham. Here are the results….

Belief in a personal God 1914 1997
Personal belief 27.7% 7.0%
Personal disbelief 62.7 72.2%
Agnostic 20.9 20.8%
Belief in personal immortality 1914 1997
Personal belief 36.2% 7.9%
Personal disbelief 25.4 76.7%
Agnostic 43.7 23.3%

Bad News!

Arizona’s tax-credit program that directs public funds to private schools was held constitutional by the state Court of Appeals on October 1. The Arizona School Boards Association and other public school groups had challenged the law’s constitutionality, saying it violated the state constitution’s ban on public funds for religious schools. The program, designed by the Goldwater Institute, a conservative think tank, is now open to about 20% of public school students.

Not Concerned About Climate Change?
This video will make church/state/sharia/faith healers/snake handlers and fundamentalist issues seem like lovable puppies.

David Roberts, in "Climate Change is Simple" describes the causes and effects of climate change in blunt terms. It’s about 17 minutes, but you can start at 3 min. This guy lays it on the line! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A7ktYbVwr90

For the award winning, Cannes film Pandora’s Promise, which supports nuclear power, see https://itunes.apple.com/us/movie/pandoras-promise/id675188533

U.S. judge orders landmark California cross taken down
By Dan Whitcomb of Reuters

LOS ANGELES - A massive cross that serves as part of a war memorial on a San Diego hilltop must be dismantled because it has been found to violate a constitutional ban on government endorsement of religion, a federal judge grudgingly ruled on Thursday.

The decision by U.S. District Judge Larry Burns marks the latest development in a long-running legal battle over the 43-foot-tall cross, a local landmark that has stood on top of Mount Soledad since 1954 and is visible for miles.

Burns stayed his order to give the Obama administration and the association that erected the cross, which have fought its removal all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, a chance to file another appeal. Otherwise, he said, the monument must be taken down within 90 days.

"This is a victory for religious liberty," said Daniel Mach, director of the American Civil Liberties Union's program on freedom of religion and belief who argued the matter for the plaintiffs in a hearing before Burns on Thursday.

"We support the government's efforts to honor the service of those who fought and died for this country, but there are ways to do that without playing favorites with religion," Mach said.

The case hinged on whether it is legal for a religious symbol to be prominently displayed on public land and whether the cross violated the U.S. Constitution's requirement on separation of church and state.

The cross has been the subject of litigation since 1989, when two veterans sued San Diego to get it off city land. In 2006, Congress intervened in the dispute, resulting in the federal government taking ownership of the property.

A group of plaintiffs, including the Jewish War Veterans of the United States of America, then sued. The U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals court ruled that the dominance of the cross conveyed a message of government endorsement of religion.

The Obama administration and the Mount Soledad Memorial Association, which erected the cross, appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, supported by 20 U.S. states and various veterans groups in arguing the cross should be allowed as part of the memorial.

In June 2012, the Supreme Court declined to take the case, letting the Ninth Circuit's ruling stand. In ordering that the cross be taken down, Burns said on Thursday he did not agree with the Ninth Circuit's ruling but that his hands were tied….

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