Welcome to the
Hub of Atheism!
Moral High Ground Project
The Moral Atheist
The May-June issue of The Moral Atheist is being distributed. Below is the
cover and our AFHR Report so you get an idea of what we are up to. For a
complete issue by snail mail or email, just email Communications Director
Will the Ruling Allow Honest Atheist Celebrants or Continue to Protect Religion with Anything-Goes "Churches"? (p. 4).
In This Issue
AFHR ELECTION RESULTS
and SAD FOLLOWUP
Our annual board election was finalized per our bylaws at our Fireside Chat on March 20. It was a unanimous vote, no contest, all members reelected. (See inside front cover for board list and revised positions for Paul Craven and Nancy Ruhland.) Sadly, on April 13 we learned that board member Brad Mattson was in hospice and dying. As we go to print (April 28) he has maybe a few days left. He is 73.
BRADLEY G. MATTSON
Brad Mattson called me around 11 p.m. on April 13 to tell me he is dying. He has had various health issues and was in the hospital but it looked like he was going to be OK. Not so. His prognosis was that he could die any time but possibly last a few weeks. It's his heart. He had difficulty talking but there was one thing he wanted to say and he said it over and over, pretty much to the exclusion of everything else. It was "Thank you thank you thank you" for giving him an atheist group he could belong to that made him feel good about being an atheist and for all of us being so welcoming in the years he's been on our board. Brad accepted dying as how life works and he was OK with it.
This is a sad turn of events. We have all been so appreciative of Brad's support for our organization. He had very little money but he helped every way he could with a generous spirit and words of encouragement. He was impressive for being a remarkably stylish dresser, despite his low income, due to his knack for finding upscale clothes for a few bucks at thrift stores. And they fit perfectly!
Paul Craven and I visited Brad today (April 28). He had been transferred from the University of Minnesota hospice unit in Minneapolis to Our Lady of Peace Hospice in St. Paul. He is not very lucid and has stopped eating but he knew we were there. We were concerned that Brad's atheism might not be respected at a full-on Catholic care facility but it seemed OK. We gave him an illustrated beautiful atheist poem, "What Do Atheists Believe?" and I read it to him. We displayed it on his bedside table where he had a copy of our book, Culture Wars. He seemed at peace.
Brad has been on our board since 2007, helping as a photographer and our delegate to the Minnesota Alliance of Peacemakers. Two of Brad's four children, Spencer Mattson and Virginia Davis, have been with him during this time. It's such a sad loss. Spencer sent the photo of Brad above.
SPECIAL MHG DONATION TO NATURISTS
Stephen Van Eck has once again made a special donation of $200 to our Moral High Ground fund so it can be passed on to the Naturist Society in Oshkosh WI for their Naturist Action Committee's work to protect nudists from sexobsessed religionists. The NAC supports the right to bare it all outdoors in private-to just enjoy being natural. It's totally harmless and nobody's business. Yet Stephen says, "They really need help. There are just tons of state legislative attacks." It's the religious wackos who can't see a human body without clothes as anything but a skin full of sin.
POLITICS 2016: SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT
Politicians are starting to announce their candidacies for the 2016 elections. Atheists seem to give too little attention to this so Dick Segers is passing this along. It's a reminder of what Barry Goldwater, the Republican candidate for President of the United States in 1964 (he lost), said, which still does not get the serious attention it deserves.
"Those who seek absolute power, even though they seek it to do what they regard as good, are simply demanding the right to enforce their own version of heaven on earth. And let me remind you, they are the very ones who always create the most hellish tyrannies. Absolute power does corrupt, and those who seek it must be suspect and must be opposed. Their mistaken course stems from false notions of equality, ladies and gentlemen. Equality, rightly understood, as our founding fathers understood it, leads to liberty and to the emancipation of creative differences. Wrongly understood, as it has been so tragically in our time, it leads first to conformity and then to despotism."
Excerpted from Goldwater's
"Mark my word, if and when these preachers get control of the [Republican] party, and they're sure trying to do so, it's going to be a terrible damn problem. Frankly, these people frighten me. Politics and governing demand compromise. But these Christians believe they are acting in the name of God, so they can't and won't compromise. I know, I've tried to deal with them."
Said in Nov 1994, as quoted in
HIGHWAY CLEANUP PROJECT ENTERS 11TH YEAR
Atheists For Human Rights entered our 11th year of maintaining our designated two-mile section of Dakota County Road 46 (160th Street), in the south Twin Cities Metro area of Minnesota with a spring cleanup on April 25. During the interim between Ron Kroll and Scott Muir running our highway cleanup project and Dick Segers and Paul Craven taking it over, the county replaced our signs with nice new ones. Dick thanked them and took photos for us.
Check out our signature activity, our Moral High Ground Fund,
the only one in the country, to help poor women pay for abortions,
and to support gays and other groups victimized by religion-based laws.
No trinkets, mugs, or t-shirts — just things to satisfy your mind.
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Atheists For Human Rights is a national, ethics-driven organization upholding an atheism that is confidently held, morally active, and vigorously opposes religions that are politically and socially predatory or harm innocent people.
-- MarieAlena Castle, March 1994
-- Martin Marty, Lutheran theologian, Minneapolis MN, 28 April 1998
-- Lavanam, Atheist Centre, India
Moral High Ground Project
The Moral High Ground project has chosen the following funds to provide support and protection for these groups and to counter the efforts of religious zealots to impose their religious doctrines through law (other funding mechanisms may be added as resources increase):
Like the other Moral High Ground funding projects, it is unique in the freethought community. Each year since 2002 AFHR has donated $500 to be awarded to a GLBT openly atheist student at Pfund's major awards ceremony. This has created visibility and respect for AFHR within the GLBT community.
Grants to poor women to help pay for abortions
At least $200 each is given annually to funds such as the Women's Medical Fund, administered by Anne Nicol Gaylor from Freedom From Religion Foundation in Madison, Wisconsin, and through the North Dakota WIN (Women In Need) Abortion Access Fund, administered by the Red River Women's Clinic in Fargo. These funds serve poor women in areas where religion-generated abortion laws are irrationally restrictive and punitive.
Support for physician aid in dying
As opportunities arise, we support efforts by physician-aid-in-dying organizations so the terminally ill who want to die with dignity on their own terms have the legal right to do so.
Protection for children harmed by faith healing
As opportunities arise, we support the efforts of CHILD (Children's Healthcare Is a Legal Duty) to protect children from harm where state laws define faith healing as healthcare and exempt parents from prosecution when they allow children to die by substituting prayer for medical care.
Atheists for Human Rights is focused primarily on reaching out to the public in morally active ways to advance the atheistic worldview.
We donate to secular charities that help young people and the homeless.
In 2005 we took on an Adopt-A-Highway cleanup project. The work is done three times a year in spring, summer and fall. Large highway signs identify AFHR as the cleanup crew for a 4-mile stretch of highway in Lakeville that passes many churches.
Minnesota Alliance Of Peacemakers
We joined MAP and have participated in several of their events urging peaceful solutions to world conflicts. MAP is a coalition of churches and secular organizations working together in the cause of peace.
AFHR is represented by invitation at regular interfaith gatherings hosted by Rep. Keith Ellison, the first Muslim elected to Congress, to find common ground in our common humanity to address the causes of social conflict and stress.
Since 2004, about three times a year, we have been invited to give presentations on atheism to educational and social service agencies for their diversity training programs. Videos of all speakers here.
These monthly discussions about atheist issues are occasions for socializing as well as developing ideas for further activism.
This major outreach project was begun in June 2006 and continues. The purpose is to show the public how atheists support our constitutional freedoms, seek rational solutions to issues of civic concern, and promote the common good. These events are heavily advertised in local newspapers and on Air America radio.
As usual, we offer 3 free issues of
Just send your postal or email contact info to: Communications Director
Welcome to the Hub of Atheism!
Atheists For Human Rights has a geodesic dome as its headquarters. This unique architecture was developed by Buckminster ("Bucky") Fuller (1895-1983), an atheist, architect, environmentalist, and inventor. His ambition was to use science to help solve human problems and to find ways to do more with less.
The tragic death of his young daughter inspired him to find "what a single individual can contribute to changing the world and benefiting all humanity." The epitaph on Fuller's tombstone says, "Call me trimtab," referring to a small but critical aircraft part that holds a stabilizing component in position.
Much of Fuller's philosophy is expressed in the goals and strivings of Atheists For Human Rights.
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If you need directions,
Letters and articles are welcome!
Leave us a voicemail by calling:
Phone messages may be used
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If you are not a regular attendee, call to find out if the schedule has changed.
1st & 3rd Mondays
Always free food and beverages.
June 14, July 19, & August 16
Email Crystal Dervetski
Local: Ad hoc discussions at social events.
TWIN CITIES PUBLIC ACCESS
Our videos are played in Minneapolis and St. Paul on public access stations.