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


December 2014 Newsletter

December, 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


LSF member Mark Woodcock will present Reflections on What it Means to be a Freethinker.

An Earthshaking Announcement of Great Importance

The January 2015 issue of our newsletter will be the last I produce. I have been doing it for a bit over 10 years, and that’s enough. Until I took over, it was produced by Bill Van Druten, who is still ahead of me in the Pope’s new search for candidates for Sainthood. -George Erickson

News of the Weird

A. Televangelist Jim Bakker, who ran the Praise the Lord ministry, now operates a church near Branson, MO with a website selling an array of "love gifts" for those who “donate” at certain levels via the website. Featured are clothing, jewelry, bulk foods, "Superfood" legacy seeds, a "foldable solar panel", vitamins, "Jim's Favorite" foods, "survival" equipment and supplies, water filtration products, and a strong commitment to the “benefits” of Silver Solution gels and liquids ($25 for a 4-ounce tube), even though the FDA has refused to call colloidal silver "safe and effective".

B. In September, Seattle-based, Mars Hill megachurch said it would close some branches as Rev. Mark Driscoll takes leave to consider comments he's made about women: “…women exist solely to support men.” A man's penis "is not your (personal) penis," he told men. "Ultimately, God created you, and it is his." "Knowing that his penis would need a home ... God created a woman (who) makes a very nice home." Driscoll added, helpfully, "But, though you may believe your hand is shaped like a home, it is not."

C. When Catholic priest Gerald Robinson, a convicted murderer, died in July, many in the Toledo Diocese were shocked that he was buried with full priestly rights. The diocese responded: “Father Robinson was a baptized member of the body of Christ, and he was, and remains, an ordained priest of the Roman Catholic Church."

The Preacher and The Slave
by Joe Hill – martyred labor organizer

Long-haired preachers come out every night Try to tell you what's wrong and what's right; But when asked about something to eat, They’ll answer in voices so sweet:

You will eat, by and by, In that glorious land in the sky. Work and pray; live on hay. You'll get pie in the sky when you die. (That's a lie!)

Oh, the Starvation Army they play And they sing and they clap and they pray Till they get all your coin on the drum, Then they'll tell you when you're on the bum.

If you fight hard for children and wife, Try to get something good in this life, You're a sinner and bad man, they tell; When you die you will sure go to Hell.

Holy Rollers and Jumpers come out, And they holler, they jump, and they shout. "Give your money to Jesus," they say, "He will cure all diseases today."

Indiana state trooper pulls woman over - asks if she accepts “Jesus Christ as your savior?”
by Jen HaydenFollow

When Ellen Bogan was pulled over for a traffic violation, the state trooper let her off with a warning, but not before asking “Did she accept Jesus Christ as her savior?

Ellen said she felt helpless to leave the traffic stop… Bogan said Hamilton asked her about her faith many times during the traffic stop. Because he was a trooper and his police car was still parked behind hers, she said she felt she could not leave or refuse questioning. "The whole time, his lights were on," Bogan said. "I had no reason to believe I could just pull away at that point, even though I had my warning."

an excerpt from Tom Robbins’ Skinny Legs and All
from Roberta Mistretta

Religion was an attempt to pin down the Divine. The Divine was eternally in flux, forever moving, shifting shape. That was its nature, it was absolute, true enough: absolutely mobile. Absolutely transcendent. Absolutely flexible. Absolutely impersonal. It had its god and goddess aspect, but it was ultimately no more male than female than it was star or screwdriver. It was the sum of all those things, but that sum cold never be chalked on a slate. The Divine was beyond description, beyond knowing, beyond comprehension.

To say that the Divine was Creation divided by Destruction was as close as one could come to definition. But the puny of soul, the dull of wit, weren’t content with that. They wanted to hang a face on the Divine. They went so far as to attribute petty human emotions ( anger, jealousy, etc.) to it, not stopping to realize that if God were a being, even a supreme being, our prayers would have cored him to death long ago.

The Divine was expansive, relation was reductive. Religion attempted to reduce the Divine to a knowable quantity with which mortals night efficiently deal, to pigeonhole it once and for all so that we never had to reevaluate it. With hammers of cant and spikes of dogma, we crucified and crucified again trying to nail to our stationary altars the migratory light of the world.

Thus since religion bore false witness to the Divine, religion was blasphemy. And once it entered into its unholy alliance with politics it became the most dangerous and repressive force that the world has ever known.

Proof that atheists have morals:
Unlike the ministers who fault us, we don’t fleece the gullible for profit.

Pastor's Wife Tries To Kill Daughters after Getting 'End of the World' Messages from Estranged Husband
by Tom Boggioni

A Montgomery, Illinois, woman who attempted to kill her three daughters told police that she wanted them to “meet Jesus Christ,” after receiving messages from her estranged pastor husband telling her the world was coming to an end.

Police arrived at the door of Pamela J. Christensen, 47, to discover the woman covered in blood. Christensen then confessed that she had tried to kill her daughters.

Two of the girls were stabbed, suffering minor injuries. Christensen had also stabbed herself in the chest and abdomen and was treated at a local hospital. The girls, ages 12, 16 and 19, told police that their mother had dressed them all in white and had held a knife to them, asking them if they accepted Jesus Christ as their savior.

She had initially tried to poison her daughters with household cleaners so they would doze off and she could stab as they slept. The girls refused to drink the poison.

Christensen said that she was sending the girls to “meet Jesus,” following messages from her husband, who said that the world was ending and she needed to prepare the family to meet Jesus. Her husband is a former pastor.

Christensen had served her husband with a restraining order, stating that he had become increasingly violent towards her and the children.

Christensen now faces three counts of attempted first-degree murder, aggravated battery and aggravated unlawful restraint.


Child: What religion should I be grandfather?
Grandfather: What an important but unusual question!

C: Why is it unusual?
G: Because almost all children take the religion of their parents without checking any of the other possibilities.

C: Yes, but you know that my father is a Mormon and mother a Jehovah's Witness.
G: Sure and I see your problem.

C: I can't see the difference and they won't talk about it. And it seems wrong for me just to pick one. Which is the real one grandfather?
G: Yes, it might upset one of your parents if you chose the other's religion.

C: I have heard of some other religions. My playmate Eileen says her religion has the only real god and that my parents and I will die and go to a horrid place where we will be tortured forever. Is that true?
G: I see that you have thought and worried a lot about this so lets think it over together. In the end though you are free to, and must decide for yourself yet there is no hurry at all.

C: But what is your religion, and what do you think? I would like to be what you are.
G: I will tell you what I think later but first I will say that I go by the best evidence that I can find and even then I am still curious and ready to change my mind if I learn of better evidence.

C: But you are old and you know a lot that I don't. How do I find what you call evidence?
G: Evidence is information or experience that you have collected and checked to see if it is real and fits with other things you know.

C: That will take a long time for me and it seems hard and I will always be in doubt.
G: Yes, that is right but it is the only way I know and it has worked very well for me. If you start now you will be on your way and ahead of most of your friends.

C: Do all the other adults do that?
G: Some do it, some do it a bit, but most just follow any leader or believe any teacher or priest or doctor. So any one that does it the way I do, always, as a habit, is rare I think.

C: Eileen says I should just have faith in her god that is the best and real one. But then she said that her god is really three gods all in a bundle.
G: I see that as a puzzle too and have made up my mind about it. But if that three in one god should appear in person and tell everyone, that would be evidence and I would consider it against other evidence that I have.

C: I think I would do that too.
G: Good. See, you have started already. But you can also check out Eileen's god with other evidence you know already. What else does Eileen tell you?

C: She says I should pray to her god as she does. But she never shows me how that worked for her, except you ask god for something in a polite way and you get always it. I have never seen anything she got.
G: Well, ask her what she got. And you can do as she said, try it. Pray nicely to her god or to the gods of mom and dad and see what happens. That would be real evidence. Ask the god to bring you something or to move a mountain you can see and then say that you might believe it.

C: She says I need to have faith first. What is faith grandfather?
G: A famous author said that, "faith is believing what you know ain't so". I means skipping the evidence part and flat out believing something even if there is good evidence against it.

C: Do you use faith?
G: I never use faith. Sometimes I can't get enough solid evidence and need to go with the probabilities or the odds of something being true. But that is because there is no other choice, yet I can change my mind later.

C: Will you tell me how you did that?
G: Yes. Sometimes I need to cross over a lake or river on a bridge and there is heavy fog and I cannot tell if the bridge is really there. The evidence I have is that it has been safe where the fog is now and I have not heard that the bridge fell down or had bad rust and might fall soon. So go with the best chances and it has always worked but some day it might not.

C: Do you do that often?
G: As little as possible. You know that airplanes crash and people are killed but when I need to get somewhere I will get on a plane. The odds are very, very good that it will land safely. Still, I know that if I flew enough one day I might crash and be killed.

C: I like talking with you grandfather. You tell me real things; my parents only shrug me off about the important things. It puzzles me that there are so many gods and so many churches and some are the first church but I never see a second church. How many gods are there?
G: No one knows but I have read that there are at least 2000 currently and that is just for now. People have had so many gods over the years that they are uncountable and I will tell you a secret. There will be gods invented in the future to replace the ones we have now.

C: You said invented. Does that mean you think they are just made up by people?
G: Well, yes, I let the cat slip out of the bag I guess. Yes, I think they are all imaginary and invented by people.

C: I thought that might be how you think and I want to know so much more. But I am full of things to think over for now. Can I ask you more later grandfather?
G: Absolutely, yes. When you are ready just ask.

Alabama Pastor Had Sex with Church Members Despite Known AIDS status
by Terrell Jermaine Starr

An Alabama pastor An Alabama pastor admitted to “sleeping” with worshippers at his church despite knowing of his AIDS status.

Juan Demetrius McFarland, pastor of Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church of Montgomery, Ala., told his congregation on Sept. 14 that he had contracted HIV in 2003 and learned in 2008 that he had AIDS…

In a resolution read at church, McFarland, pastor for 29 years, admitted to drug use and mishandling church funds. But that wasn't the worst part.

"He concealed from the church that he had knowingly engaged in adultery in the church building with female members of Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church while knowingly having AIDS," Nathan Williams said.

McFarland refused to step down, so the church responded by overwhelmingly voting him out. That hasn't stopped McFarland, who then delivered a sermon on divine healing. The church has obtained legal counsel to sue McFarland.


The American Humanist Assoc. has sent a letter to the San Jacinto, CA, School District on behalf of a student at Monte Vista Middle School…. When the student, an atheist who objects to the phrase “under God,” attempted to sit quietly at his desk during the Pledge exercise, his teacher berated him and erroneously informed him that the law required him to stand. The teacher then demanded that the student explain his reason for remaining seated, asking, “Do you hate America?” and saying other things meant to pressure him into standing. The student’s family reported the abuset to the American Humanist Association’s Legal Center through the DontSaythePledge.com website, which encourages individuals to remain seated during recitations of the Pledge of Allegiance until the “under God” language is removed from it.

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