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

January, 2016 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

During November, some of our members held a protest at an anti-abortion demonstration in downtown Duluth in order to object to the pro-life stance.
How did it go, folks? I didn’t get a chance to ask…

Hennepin County Commissioner Linda Higgins is working with FFRF to establish a Certificate of Filing enabling atheists to officiate at weddings here in MN.
Now that we know atheists can officiate at weddings without pretending to be a church, the only problem has been the Certificate of Filing some counties give registrants.  It's a county-specific document and the certificates vary from just stamping our registrant's certificate of authorization to some that are loaded with religious terminology that is inappropriate for the diversity of religious views we have.
Linda was given a copy of one from Dakota County that was pretty neutral and asked to see if she could get more counties to do something similar. She was successful in Hennepin County (the Minneapolis area). 
This gives state-church separation advocates an argument for persuading other counties to do the same, and not just in Minnesota but in all states with a similar system.

            For more information, contact: Linda.Higgins@hennepin.us, or Kathy.Schons@hennepin.us

Freethought Quotes by Notable Freethinkers
“If the concept of God has any validity or use, it can only be to make us larger, freer, and more loving. If God cannot do this, then it is time we got rid of him.”

—–James Baldwin, The Fire Next Time (1963)Compiled by Yuna Choi

                                          © Freedom From Religion Foundation. All rights reserved.

In the beginning there was ignorance, fear and superstition. The natural phenomena of wind, rain, earthquakes, tsunamis, thunder, lightning, tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, disease, pain and death were not explicable from the frame of reference of the earliest humans. The newly emergent properties of intelligence and consciousness in a naked, bipedal primate with a grotesquely protruding forehead and long thumbs had to have answers for their questions about their world that they did not understand.

The alpha male in the tribe--the BIG MAN, (later known as the king) and the ever-present beta male, the witch doctor, (later called the priest) always exercising their power to control the restless masses, invented/created answers for the masses as needed. This was the origin of revealed truth. The truth was what either the king or the priest said was the truth. Never mind that the answers didn't always match up with the reality of their world, the king or the priest could always invoke the power and authority of the deities that they created for just such occasions. Fear, guilt, shame, sin and death were the favored tools of the king and the priest/bishop. The credulous masses who had faith and wanted to believe their leaders were easily manipulated.

Millennia passed and there was still ignorance, fear, superstition and death. Slowly, almost imperceptibly, but inevitably, those people who doubted and asked the right questions gained favor and respect,

all the while being threatened by the priests/bishops with hell and damnation for their intransigence toward conventionalism and orthodoxy. They were always asking "why" and "how" questions. They had an insatiable need to know. They needed answers that the historical power players had not, and could not, provide. These were the scientists.

Religionists had failed the test as truth tellers about natural phenomena. More and more, the king and the priest/bishop lost authority as the source of truth. Today, kings and priests have been relegated to the trash heap of failed sources of truth, and the scientists have ascended to the top as the authors and purveyors of truth. About half of the electorate has yet to understand this compelling truth. We are all the poorer for it.  Science is the thin veneer between the truth and the ignorance, fear and superstition of barbaric religions.           
©  Rodney Sheffer

A Note From CHUM
Dear Friends,
We are grateful for the recent donation of 34 pounds of food and $25 from the Lake Superior Free Thinkers.  Your support of our outreach is a welcome and valuable asset and will help make the holidays more festive for the people served at the CHUM Food Shelf. 
Meg Kearns
CHUM    120 N. 1st Ave. W.Duluth, MN 55802        Phone: 727.2391

FFRF denounces Minnesota sheriff's office's 'Day of Prayer'

November 20, 2015
The Freedom From Religion Foundation sent a letter of complaint today to the Itasca County (Minn.) Sheriff's Office after Chaplain Dale H. Kaiser sent an official letter advertising a Day of Prayer.

Kaiser's letter was sent to Itasca County public safety, fire, and emergency services. "Our Land of the free and home of the brave appears to be on a course for a crash landing," it declares. "It seems the evils our county was once protected from continue to invade our land."

The letter was written in early November, and thus does not refer to the terrorist attacks in Paris or the
Minneapolis police killing of Jamar Clark, a black man, on Nov. 15. Rather, it apparently references the recent shooting of Aitkin County Sheriff's Deputy Steven Sandberg in St. Cloud, Minn., and general anti-law enforcement sentiment.

Kaiser cited the bible verse in which God tells King Solomon, "If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray to me and seek my face, turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, forgive their sin and heal their land."

"The only answer our country has is God," Kaiser pronounced. "It is up to us, his chosen, to stand up and pray for God to intervene, heal our country, and protect all our public safety officers."

Kaiser explained that there will be a 24-hour prayer vigil at the Itasca Courthouse Law Enforcement Memorial tomorrow, Saturday, Nov. 21, and invited the letter recipients and members of the public to come, "even if someone can only spare 5 minutes." He concluded the letter offering "Gods' [sic] Blessings."

FFRF Staff Attorney Patrick Elliot objected to the planned vigil
in a letter sent this morning to Itasca County Sheriff Victor Williams. "Not only is the County's endorsement of this religious ritual and sectarian event unconstitutional, the inflammatory and proselytizing content in the letter is grossly inappropriate communications to be coming from a government office," he said.

Elliott said the use of Itasca County resources to coordinate the event was unconstitutional. "While it would be appropriate for County staff to participate in a memorial event for fellow law enforcement officers, this all-day prayer and religious program is well beyond the bounds of what government officials may facilitate."

Elliott also called for the chaplaincy position to be abolished. "Given the letter, the Sheriff's Office is now aware that Rev. Dale Kaiser has used his position as 'Itasca County Sheriffs' Chaplain' to proselytize. This cannot continue and the only proper response is to end the chaplaincy altogether," he wrote. The letter asks for a response informing FFRF of the steps being taken to address these issues.

FFRF is a nonprofit state/church watchdog with more than 23,000 members nationwide, including over 500 members and a chapter in Minnesota.

No comments:

Post a Comment