OCTOBER MONTHLY MEETING:
The October program will be an “open meeting” with Bill Guse moderating. Bring your ideas and questions for a lively discussion.
October, 2015 Newsletter of the Lake Superior Freethinkers
Gail Matthews, editor – firstname.lastname@example.org
Freethought quotes by notable Freethinkers
"I do not practice religion in accordance with the sacred rites. I have made mysterious Nature my religion. I do not believe that a man is any nearer to God for being clad in priestly garments, nor that one place in a town is better adapted to meditation than another. When I gaze at a sunset sky and spend hours contemplating its marvelous ever-changing beauty, an extraordinary emotion overwhelms me. Nature in all its vastness is truthfully reflected in my sincere though feeble soul. Around me are the trees stretching up their branches to the skies, the perfumed flowers gladdening the meadow, the gentle grass-carpeted earth . . . and my hands unconsciously assume an attitude of adoration. . . . To feel the supreme and moving beauty of the spectacle to which Nature invites her ephemeral guests! . . . that is what I call prayer."
Claude Debussy, as quoted in Claude Debussy: His Life and Works (1933) by Léon Vallas.
***Fund Raiser for LSF ***
At our December meeting, our best-selling author, George Erickson, will read passages from his four pro-science, pro-freethought books, which will be for sale. All of the profits will be donated to the Lake Superior Freethinkers. These books make great Xmas, New Year, birthday and graduation presents, so please do your shopping at our December meeting to help finance our work. The following excerpt is from his second book – Time Traveling with Science and the Saints – published by Prometheus books.
Guided by the church’s “how-to-do” manual, the Malleus Maleficarum (The Witch Hammer) and using the excuse that torturing women suspects helped prepare the accused for the rigors of hell, Catholic and Protestant churchmen served up a reign of horror that tortured, maimed and murdered hundreds of thousands, including children as young as nine, using instruments of torture inscribed with "Glory be only to God."
In 1586, in the region of Treves, all but two women in two villages were put to death, and two other towns were completely destroyed. In Silesia, an executioner who had lowered the age limit to include three-year-old children roasted to death more than a thousand persons in specially built ovens. 16 Inquisitor Pedro Arbues, who engineered the deaths of hundreds of innocents, was canonized by Pope Pius IX in the 19th century.Believing that women were imperfect because they had been formed from only a rib, and because they were seen as the source of original sin, the Witch Hunts persecuted women ten times as often as men. Wherever the Witch Hunts operated, they enriched the church by charging its victims "for the very ropes that bound them and the wood that burned them." Each torture carried a fee, and on those instances that the Inquisitors chanced upon a wealthy victim, they treated themselves to a banquet at the expense of the sinner's estate.
How do we know this? Well, in part because in 1631 a Jesuit priest named Friedrich Von Spee published Cautio Criminalis, a whistle-blowing book describing the horrors awaiting the accused. In one section, he reveals that none can hope to escape, for a guilty plea brings death, and to claim innocence reveals evidence of demons within - and the church cannot be wrong. In closing, he begs women to confess immediately to avoid the torture that will precede their execution: "Why, foolish woman, did you wish to die so many times when you might die but once?"
The horrors of the Inquisition and the Witch hunts often became part of the public record. The Tariff for Torture, for example, which was published in Bonn on January, 1757, even listed a gruesomely detailed schedule of maximum fees to be paid executioners in an attempt to fatten the purse of the archbishop of Trinsic:For tearing apart and quartering by four horses - 526 Gold
For beheading and burning - 526 Gold
For beheading only - 252 Gold
For beheading and tying the body on the wheel - 400 Gold
For strangling and burning - 400 Gold
For breaking alive on the wheel - 400 Gold
For burning alive - 400
For cutting off a hand and beheading - 326 Gold
For burning with a hot iron - 126 Gold
For beheading and sticking the head on a pole - 326 Gold
For beheading, tying on wheel, and mounting the head - 500 Gold
For each squeezing with red-hot tongs - 26 Gold
For cutting out tongue and burning wound - 500 Gold
For nailing cut off tongue or hand to the gallows -126 Gold
Even those who had served the church could become the Witch Hunt's prey: After Alison Peirsoun of Byrehill had cured the ailing Archbishop of St Andrews, he not only refused to pay her, he arrested for witchcraft and burned her to death.
Last call for the FFRF Convention
Sign up now for FFRF’s 38th annual national convention in Madison, Wis., the weekend of Oct. 9-11.
Nebraska’s longest serving state senator, Ernie Chambers, and religious medical malpractice reformer Rita Swan will receive awards. Filmmaker Jeremiah Camara joins Ron Reagan,Taslima Nasrin and other speakers.visit ffrf.org/outreach/convention.
RADIO FROM THE SECULAR POINT OF VIEW
Freethought Radio, from the secular point of view, broadcasts weekly and is hosted by Dan Barker and Annie Laurie Gaylor, co-presidents of the Freedom From Religion Foundation. The show offers programming for nonreligious listeners, as well as countering the religious-right domination of our public airwaves. Freethought Radio features a regular "Theocracy Alert," Dan's "Pagan Pulpit," "Freethinkers Almanac," music and interviews with authors and activists. Check out Freethought Radio's illustrious list of , including Richard Dawkins, Julia Sweeney, Janeane Garafalo, Ron Reagan, Betty Rollins, Christopher Hitchens, Steven Pinker, Ursula K. Le Guin and so many other fascinating freethinkers, newsmakers and thinkers.
BROADCAST: Saturdays, 11 am - 12 pm Central, on Progressive Talk , Madison, Wis.
I HEART RADIO APP: Freethought Radio, via simulcast from WXXM-FM in Madison, Wis., also be heard at and on the I Heart Radio mobile app, which offer more than 800 stations from 150 cities.
While European countries are being lectured about their failure to take in enough refugees, Saudi Arabia, which has taken in precisely zero migrants, has 100,000 air conditioned tents that can house over 3 million people sitting empty.
On Sept. 8, Tom Patten and I journeyed to Washburn WI. After a fine dinner by founder Jim Low, a member of LSF, we went to the meeting at the Washburn library. Jim began meetings a few months ago. Tom and I told about LSF and gave Jim a pack of leaflets, FFRF newspapers, etc. Nine people were at the meeting including Tom and I, plus some members of the Ashland Freethinkers. Several of them were pleased to have found a group of like thinking people. There is a hunger for such groups, as we have discovered at LSF. Bravo Jim!