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, 2015 Newsletter of the Lake Superior Freethinkers

George Erickson, editor – tundrascub@mchsi.com

Gail Mathews (wynciel@gmail.com) will take over for August.


Special Thanks to Tom Patten – one of our unsung workers!

For as long as I can remember, Tom has been our greeter and the guy who helps make our meetings run so well, emailing out our newsletter and keeping us posted on inter-month activities. Tom is a Duluth native who began his career with social work before turning to soft-ware development. He’s been a pleasure to work with – and he did not know I was going to write this.



Atheist wins right to sue N.J. over rejected vanity license plate

 A federal judge has rejected New Jersey's attempt to dismiss a lawsuit filed by an avowed atheist who claims she was turned down when she requested the vanity license plate "8THEIST."

The ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Freda Wolfson means that Shannon Morgan of Leesburg can go ahead with a lawsuit challenging the state Motor Vehicle Commission's ability to reject plates that are "offensive to good taste and decency."

In November 2013, Morgan went on the commission's website and typed in "8THEIST" as her choice. The website informed her that the "requested plate is considered objectionable," according to Wolfson's ruling.

When Morgan typed in the word "BAPTIST" she was permitted to continue with her application, according to the ruling.

Morgan's challenge mirrors a Michigan man's application for a license plate that read "INF1DL." The plate was initially rejected but was approved following a legal challenge.


Our society requires that we need to perceive and evaluate nature as it is, not distorted and corrupted by religious myths and superstition, as comfortable as they may be. History has shown that intellectual hallucinogens, like religions, will corrupt the minds of any society. Rodney Sheffer


Atheist demands court martial for Christian Air Force general


WASHINGTON (Christian Examiner) – A group claiming to defend the military against a Christian takeover is demanding an Air Force general face a court martial for saying he is a "redeemed believer in Christ" while in uniform at a National Day of Prayer Task Force meeting in Washington May 7, the Air Force Times has reported.

Mikey Weinstein, who heads the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, wrote an editorial on the organization's website May 15 that Maj. Gen. Craig Olson violated Air Force instructions about speaking openly of God and Jesus Christ as a representative of the military. Weinstein believes the address endorsed Christianity and belittled other religions.

Olson, who is in charge of 2,200 Air Force personnel at Hanscom Air Force Base in Massachusetts, spoke in the video about his personal reliance on God as he learned to fly complex aircraft on nuclear missions, saved failing military programs and negotiated foreign military deals in Iraq.

"I have no ability to do that. I was not trained to do that. God did all of that," Olson said at the prayer event organized by Christian family advocates James and Shirley Dobson. A video of Olson's address surfaced shortly after the event.

In the video, Olson said he was not a Christian when he entered the Air Force Academy, but attended a Bible study because he was "free to do so."

After coming to faith in Christ, the general said he embarked on a life of prayer, sometimes praying with his wife on the phone when he was deployed 8,000 miles away from home. He asked the audience at the event to pray for military personnel and families wearied by decades of continual war.

He also asked the audience to pray for military leaders to have "wisdom to design strategies that will be successful in protecting our nation's freedom" and for them to recognize they need "to humbly depend on Christ themselves."

Weinstein said his group – which fears "dominionist Christians" who want to take over America – demands the general be held accountable for his words. He said Olsen should be "explaining himself to a General Courts Martial [sic] as well as the American people. And the very same fate should await his military accomplices and enablers, all of whom should be likewise punished to the full extent of military law."

Weinstein also sent a letter to Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh asking him to investigate the matter and discipline the general for his remarks….


A Stunning Reversal

When Diamond D's brothel began construction on an extension of their building to increase their ever-growing business, a nearby local church started a campaign to block the business from expanding - with morning, afternoon, and evening prayer sessions.

Work on Diamond D's progressed right up until the week before the grand reopening, when lightning struck the whorehouse and it was burned to the ground.

After the brothel was burned by the lightning strike, the church folks were rather smug in their outlook, bragging about "the never-ending power of prayer."

But last week Jill Diamond, the owner/madam, sued the church, the preacher and the entire congregation on the grounds that the Church ... "was ultimately responsible for he destruction of her building and her business -- either through direct or indirect divine actions or means."

In its reply to the court, the Defendants vehemently and voraciously denied any and all responsibility or any connection to the building's demise.

The crusty old judge read the plaintiff's complaint and the defendant's reply, and at the opening hearing he commented: "I don't know how the hell I'm going to decide this case, but it appears from the paperwork that we now have a whorehouse owner who staunchly believes
in the power of prayer -- and an entire church congregation that thinks it's all bullshit."



Religious Faith by Rod Sheffer

Religious faith as a source of truth about anything is the most dangerous option people have in their entire lifetime. Why? Because people ACT on their beliefs. If someone’s beliefs are derived from irrational or illogical ideas, superstitions or magical thinking, then their acts may result in societal disasters such as rape, murder, war or genocide.

Adolf Hitler believed he was doing the right thing by ordering the death of millions of Jews in the 1940’s. Hitler’s belief as a committed Roman Catholic was an act of religious faith. He may have taken a cue from Martin Luther, a Roman Catholic priest, who advocated killing all of the Jews. No, it is not alright to believe whatever you want to believe. Irrational or illogical religious beliefs may result in lethal consequences for others. 

The Sunni’s and the Shia are still slaughtering each other in the Middle East after more than 1000 years of hostilities. Roman Catholics and Protestants have slaughtered each other for centuries. Muslims and Hindus in Asia still slaughter each other because they believe they are justified by their religions. One may legally be justified in believing whatever they please, but at the same time be morally bankrupt doing so. 

In the United States, a secular constitution that governs a secular nation has allowed freedom of religion and created a civil society that constrains religious zealots from wreaking mayhem and murder. Religious faith has always been, is still, and will always be, a societal and cultural hazard.  Religious faith anyone?  




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