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


March 2014 Newsletter

March, 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 - Fred Friedman, Chief Public Defender, Sixth District Court, Back By Popular Demand

George Erickson, our newsletter editor, past VP of the American Humanist Assoc. and member of the Union of Concerned Scientists, will be giving his Power Point presentation that urges MORE nuclear power – particularly with “new generation” reactors - to a March 6 Seminar at the UMD at 3:20 in room 175 of the Geological Sciences bldg. The public is invited. Having now given his updated presentation 11 times, he rarely needs notes. If you missed his Feb. 20 op-ed in the Duluth News Tribune, check it out.

Mormon president ordered to appear in British court
Dennis Wagner - USA Today

The leader of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been ordered to appear before a magistrate in England on fraud charges filed by an ex-Mormon who disputes fundamental teachings of the religion - documentation obtained by The Arizona Republic.

Two summons direct Thomas S. Monson of Utah, the church president, to attend a March 14 hearing in the Westminster Magistrates Court of London to answer accusations that key tenets of the LDS faith are untrue and have been used to secure financial contributions.

The criminal complaint was lodged by Tom Phillips, a Mormon who said he withdrew from the church after holding positions in England as bishop, stake president and area executive secretary. He now serves as managing editor of MormonThink, an online publication that critiques the church’s history and doctrine.

Phillips’ complaint is based on the Fraud Act of 2006, a British law that prohibits false representations made to secure a profit or to cause someone to lose money. Conviction may carry a prison sentence of up to 10 years.

A court official in London confirmed the issuance of the paperwork, which directs Monson to answer allegations that untrue religious precepts were used to obtain tithes comprising 10 percent of church members’ incomes.

Phillips listed seven church teachings that he claims are demonstrably false, including the origins of the Book of Mormon and the Book of Abraham, part of the church’s canon of scripture. “These are not statements of mere ‘beliefs’ or opinions or theories,” he wrote. “They are made as actual facts and their truthfulness can be objectively tested with evidence.”

Phillips alleged that the LDS church in Great Britain has taken in $257 million in member donations since 2007. He said tithes are mandatory for good standing in the church.

Phillips converted to Mormonism in 1969 and rose through church leadership for 33 years. Before leaving in 2004, he served as LDS area controller for the British Isles and Africa and as financial director for corporate entities in the United Kingdom.

Phillips said his belief in LDS doctrines eroded as he began researching questions raised by fellow Mormons. He now describes himself as “a secular humanist or atheist…

Does Faith Inspire Violence? The Evidence Seems Clear
Ed Raymond

… The Pew Research Center indicates that religious hostilities are increasing, reaching a six-year high in 2012. Sam Harris, author of “Letter to a Christian Nation,” writes: “Faith inspires violence in two ways: First, people often kill other human beings because they believe the creator of the universe wants them to do it...Second, far greater numbers of people fall into conflict with one another because they define their moral community on the basis of their religious affiliation: Muslims side with Muslims, Protestants with Protestants, Catholics with Catholics.”

Of the 198 countries in the Pew study, 33 percent had high religious hostilities in 2012, up 13 percent since 2007. Religious minorities were attacked in 47 percent of the countries in 2012. Not only Muslims and Christians are involved. In Buddhist-majority Sri Lanka, monks constantly attacked both Muslims and Christians in 2012.

Naked Church Congregation Bares it All for Christ
While Virginia freezes, congregants find warmth in worshipping in the nude.
By Todd Richissin

A little church in Virginia is making a name for itself by not caring about holy clothes or clothes with holes. The church's congregants, in fact, do not care about clothes at all. Not when worshipping, anyway.

While Virginia prepares for another round of snow and cold, NBC12 brings the story of White Tail Chapel. in Southampton, where people find warmth in worshipping just the way they were brought into the world: naked.

Pastor Allen Parker says it's not about clothes, but rather about baring his soul to Christ and leading his flock down that path of righteousness, no matter what they're wearing.

Katie and Robert Church married at White Tail Chapel, and say the church has given them a sense of Christian community with none of the pretense of a traditional church.

"Once we were married, this place became our family," Katie told the station. "I feel like I can turn to anyone in this church, and they will be there to help me."

Bob Jones University stifled sex abuse claims:
By Travis Gettys

A conservative Christian university abruptly dismissed the consulting firm it had hired to look into its handling of sexual assault investigations.

“We terminated our agreement so that we could sit down and get it back on track,” Jones told students and employees. Erin Burchwell, who reported at least 40 instances of molestation by a graduate student in the 1990s, said she knew the long-awaited investigation was “too good to be true.”

“I’ve been told for 15 years not to talk about it, but now I’m allowed to talk about it to somebody who’s validating me and telling me that I was wronged,” Burchwell said.

Until recently, students at Bob Jones University who sought counseling for sex abuse were told not to report their claims because turning in a fellow fundamentalist would damage Jesus Christ, reported the New York Times. Most of the students reported sex abuse that happened when they were children but sought help later. Administrators branded the victims as liars and sinners, the paper reported.

“The person who counseled me told me if I reported (a Christian) to the police, I was damaging the cause of Christ, and I’d be responsible for the abuser going to hell,” said Catherine Harris, who attended the university in the 1980s. “He said my problems were as a result of my actions in the abuse, which mostly took place before I was 12, and I should just forgive the abuser.”

Bob Jones University is not affiliated with any denomination and is so far to the right that its founders have blasted Graham, Oral Roberts and Jerry Falwell, as too liberal.

Students are not allowed to watch television or movies, listen to popular music, drink alcohol, or wear many clothing brands.

Star of NatGeo's Snake Salvation series dies from snake bite.

Pastor Jamie Coots reportedly refused medical attention after suffering a bite from a poisonous snake while at his church in Middlesboro, KY. He died a few hours later. The show centered on two Pentecostal preachers who handle deadly snakes as part of a Appalachian practice originating from a Bible passage that suggests those anointed by God will not be harmed by a poisonous snake. Coots had previously been bitten nine times and lost a finger to a rattlesnake bite ...

Poor Catholic Church Must Close Schools, But Can Afford Palace

John Myers, archbishop of the archdiocese of Newark, enjoys a 4,500 sq. ft. mini-mansion, and is adding a 3,000 sq. ft. addition that will cost over $500,000. Meanwhile, his archdiocese two years ago closed Mater Dei Academy across the Hudson from Manhattan. Myers also has a spotty record on dealing with clerical child abusers.

Church brass have been campaigning for many decades to get tax support for their sectarian schools through vouchers, while Catholics have been leaving the church in droves. (Catholic school enrollment has declined from 5.5 million in 1965 to 2 million today.) The Church in the US alone has had to pay out well over $2 billion to victims of clerical sexual abuse.

Why should we taxpayers have to support private schools run by the churches? Why should politicians kowtow to church leaders who want to have government impose their restrictive doctrines on women with regard to reproductive matters? And why are Republican politicians, federal and state, scrambling to do the bidding of church leaders?
Edd Doerr – past pres. American Humanist Assoc.

Must See Movies
Mea Maxima Culpa
The Magdalene Sisters

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