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

November, 2015 Newsletter of the Lake Superior Freethinkers

Gail Matthews, editor – wyncie1@gmail.com

First Sunday - Radisson Hotel - 9:00 AM Social – 9:30 Breakfast - 10:00 Presentation
Facilitators: David Broman - 218-349-7455, Bill Guse - 834-4583, 343-4806

To the Duluth area LSF members: We have lost track of the person who has the books that were donated to our library. If you know who that is, please email George Erickson at tundracub@mchsi.com or call 218-744-2003.

*** Fundraiser for LSF ***

At the 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 passage is from his third book –

Back to the Barrens: On the Wing with da Vinci & Friends – which includes 50 color photos.

(A note to our hundreds of email members who cannot attend our meetings) 

The books will be $15.00 each. If you send a check payable to George Erickson, 4678 Cedar Island Drive, Eveleth MN, 55734 and add $1.00 per book, we will pay the extra postage.)
Were I flying higher, the community of Chesterfield Inlet, where native children suffered abuse in church-run schools, would be visible beyond my right wing. Fortunately, those abuses, which were prolonged by government indifference, are now less likely to occur because many of the church schools that fussed about souls while neglecting health and education have been replaced by secular schools in which health and education come first.
When I wrote of these problems in True North, I left out stories of missionaries who ordered the converted to shun the un-converted, causing fractured families, great despair and even death when those who needed assistance were deliberately ignored, but made plain my disgust for the churches that tried avoid prosecution by hiding behind the statute of limitations. That evasion brought a letter from an Edmonton attorney whose firm represented hundreds of the victims of church schools, including the Chesterfield Inlet school. Yes, he said, many of the churches tried to hide behind the statute of limitations, but Canadian law prevented that clock from starting until the victims understood that the treatment they’d suffered had been discriminatory, inappropriate or sometimes even malicious.
More recently, I’ve seen notices posted in public areas that advise abused natives to call 866-879-4913 or visit www.residentialschoolsettlement.ca to learn if they qualify for any of the $1.9 billion set aside for settling claims of abuse.
All across Canada, children as young as five were taken from their families, their hair was cut short and they were forbidden to speak their native language. Parents were rarely allowed to visit. Some schools became havens for pedophiles. In 1997, outraged Newfoundlanders scrapped the old system and adopted a successful system of public schooling. In a report titled "Sins of the Fathers," an Anglican publication revealed that eight Indian men committed suicide rather than describe in court the sexual abuse they’d endured as helpless children. A few years later, newspapers reported that claims against the Catholic, Anglican, United Church of
Canada and others numbered in the thousands. The churches argued that if the judgments ran into the millions, which they eventually did, they’d go bankrupt, but despite the fines and their protestations, the churches are still in business.
Like Henry Voisey, the HBC manager at Padlei, Rankin Inlet mine manager Andy Easton also derided missionaries, describing the community’s Catholic, Anglican and evangelical missionaries as "a bloody pain in the ass. They feud like a bunch of castrated hillbillies and don’t do a damn thing to help with the real problems of the Eskimos. Which are physical – not spiritual."
This sort of condemnation occurred not just in Canada, but in Alaska, too. Joe Rychetnik, a well-traveled Alaskan state trooper and reporter for Time-Life News Service, was just as critical of missionaries as his Canadian counterparts, writing that many were drawn from "the lower classes of devoted church workers.... These adventurous people… would realize they could fairly well write their own ticket up north, and most chose to live a lifestyle well above what they would have attained in West Virginia or Arkansas or the eastern piney hills of Texas. Once they learned the system, they soon acquired the skill of asking for more. Often this included maid service and paid help to haul water and collect firewood."
Ray Price, a long-time arctic resident and man of many occupations, including Baptist minister, had seen what could happen when people took religion too literally. In his book, The Howling Arctic, Price told a grisly tale:
Mina, a young, Belcher Island Inuk had been taught by her preacher that the return of Jesus would be accompanied by shooting stars, so when she saw a spectacular meteor shower, she believed that the world would soon end. Mina had also been impressed by the strange behavior of Charlie Ouyerak, who had been telling everyone to "take no thought of the material things." Those who believed Charlie began to kill their dogs and destroy their sleds and rifles. Before long Charlie and Peter Sala, the two most respected Inuit in the band, began to lead revivals. As the passion spread, Mina, who had agreed to become Peter’s wife, persuaded some of the Inuit to follow her onto the ice and to remove their clothes so that their children could meet Jesus naked. A few turned back, including Mina, but four children and two women died of exposure.
One night Charlie proclaimed, "I am Jesus, and Peter is God. You have seen the stars falling." Everyone believed them and swore their allegiance, except for a girl named Sara.
"I don’t believe you," said Sara.
One of the believers struck Sara. Others joined in, beating Sara, who was just 13, until she died. When Ketowak protested, he, too, was murdered. During the next months, the few who dared to protest were accused of being devils, and were stabbed, beaten, speared or shot.
In the trial that followed, Charlie and Peter were found guilty and imprisoned. Others received light sentences. Mina was judged insane. When the hearings drew to a close, a bystander was heard to say, "Religion is like alcohol. Most people can handle it OK, but get too much and you go crazy."

Freethought quotes by notable Freethinkers

From objecting to gay marriage, to trying to wedge creationism in schools, the religious right exists as a political movement for the purpose of stripping away religious freedom and establishing their religious beliefs as the dominant organizing force in law, politics, and culture. Amanda Marcotte, Alternet

There is no God higher than the truth. Mahatma Gandhi

Fighting Religious Tyranny in the U.S. Military

Mikey Weinstein’s story is not unlike most stories of injustice except that his battle is with what he calls the single most lethal organization ever created, the United States Armed Forces. He discovered that widespread systemic religious persecution was being tolerated at the highest levels at the U.S. Air Force Academy. Says Weinstein, "the fundamentalist Christian Taliban is inside the U.S. military and it is creating an internal national security threat." He discovered that thousands of military personnel were suffering under the tyranny of religious intolerance and oppression, so he set out to rebuild the wall separating church and state. He created the Military Religious Freedom

Foundation, dedicated to ensuring that all members of the U.S. Armed Forces fully receive the Constitutional guarantee of religious freedom to which they are entitled by virtue of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.

Weinstein gave examples of incidents reported to him of over 27,000 active duty servicemen. He learned about a fighter pilot who lost his wings because he refused to bow to Jesus during a prayer, nuclear missile launch officers being trained how to launch missiles interspersed with biblical scripture, thousands of military rifles with biblical scripture embedded in their metal casings, Marine scout sniper units bearing flags with Nazi SS emblem just below the American flag, and the list goes on.
He said it is difficult for a subordinate in the military to repel being even gently evangelized by their military superior because unlike the civilian workplace, "they can’t say no to a military superior officer." Said Weinstein, "So they come to my foundation and we do it for them." He says that most of the young people who come to MRFF have devoted their lives to protecting our freedoms. They are deployed all over the world and they are there to protect freedoms, but who will protect theirs? Excerpted from laprogressive.com, written by Sharon Kyle

Finally, our monthly LSF social has been moved to the 3rd Tuesday at 6PM. The November gathering is at the Zeitgeist restaurant. Please contact Bobbie at 218-389-6219 for more details. Hope to see you there.

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