Welcome to the nation's most morally active
and innovative atheist organization!
Atheists For Human Rights
Because the source of so many violations
of human rights is religious authoritarianism.
The Moral Atheist
Where Religion, Sex & Politics Come Together
(Page 3 of The Moral Atheist
Here is our AFHR Report from the January-February issue so you get an idea of what we are up to. If you want to read the entire issue, just ask by email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll send it in PDF form — or printed if you'd like. See the Table of Contents here.
MARIEALENA CASTLE, COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR
UPDATE ON TMA CHANGES — NEED EMAIL ADDRESSES
WE NEED YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS if you have one. This is the new version of The Moral Atheist (TMA). It's 16 pages instead of 24 but with almost all of it still intact. Just the "fat" is gone. No "Network News" and Book Review pages but some of that material will appear in this column from time to time. What this change does is save us time and money. We are counting on most of you getting TMA as a PDF on your computer to save bulk mailing costs and work.
If you are getting this by postal mail, PLEASE SEND US YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS. If you don't have a computer or want a printed copy for some other reason, LET US KNOW and we will keep you on the mail list.
NOTICE THE BACK PAGE! We are not charging dues any more — another time and work saver. We will rely on donations in any amount at any time and they will go almost entirely to our Moral High Ground project because our operating costs will be minimal, mainly for Internet services.
REPORT ON MORAL HIGH GROUND GRANTS
In November we distributed $4,000 to our Moral High Ground recipients. $500 each went to Final Exit Network (help with legal expenses to fight prosecution for telling hopelessly ill people how to die with dignity), CHILD USA (to continue the efforts to repeal faith healing laws in many states), PFund Foundation (tuition aid for LGBT students), Texas Freedom Network (for its efforts to keep the state from Christianizing textbooks, medical care, etc.), and four abortion providers in states where they face constant vandalism, death threats and absurd regulations to make legal abortion inaccessible.
We want to do more, but we do what we can. We are the only atheist-humanist group that helps victims of religion-based laws, thus showing the basic immorality of religion. A full financial report will be in the next issue. Remember: all your donations to TMA are tax deductible as charitable contributions.
FINAL EXIT NETWORK'S LEGAL CASE
The U.S. Supreme Court has denied review of Final Exit Network's conviction in Minnesota on a charge of assisting in a suicide, but the appeals are not over. The denial of review in October was not a decision on the merits of the case. Hundreds of cases were competing for attention and the denial of review does not affirm the Minnesota conviction or set any precedent.
Now FEN will file a civil action suit in the U. S. District Court for Minnesota seeking a ruling that the Minnesota law violates freedom of speech. The petition will seek to void the conviction and enjoin the State of Minnesota from prosecuting defendants in similar situations in the future. AFHR will aid FEN in any way we can.
In This Issue of The Moral Atheist
2 AFHR Report: Our new TMA format and other useful info.
3 Male Eyeballs vs. the Urge to Cop a Feel.
4 Conservative "Morality": Power Play for the 1%. Lydia Howell
5 "Sun of Rightousness"? Stephen Van Eck
8 Religious Storytelling: Something is Mything
10 Christianity in Its Own Words: Wait! Biblical Morality
Comes from Where?! William Sierichs Jr.
12 The Women Oppression Racket Guynemer Giguere
14 What the Hell is Going On Here? Mirror, Mirror, On the Wall,
Who is the Moralist of Us All? Bill van Druten
15 Readers Write/Backtalk from RationalGal.
16 Supporters' Benefits/Event Calendar.
Return to AFHR Report
Moral High Ground Fund
Our unique, signiture Moral High Ground Fund provides support and protection for the following groups and counters 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 LGBT openly atheist student at Pfund's major awards ceremony. This has created visibility and respect for AFHR within the LGBT 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.
The Best Policy Guide for a Religiously Neutral Secular Nation
The first full-size book by AFHR Communications Director, Marie Alena Castle, published by See Sharp Press, Tucson AZ, and written at their request. All proceeds go to support AFHR outreach activities. Available from Barnes and Noble in stores and on-line, and from Amazon.com.
Culture Wars is an engaging, compelling and important book. The public is so unaware how fragile our constitutional rights are. The book reminds me of our military men and women who return to the states as amputees and then speak strongly against intolerance because they understand that's what the fight was all about. — Andrew Dawkins, Minneapolis MN. Attorney, former Minnesota state legislator.
Culture Wars is brilliant, readable, to the point, and thorough. Marie Alena Castle has given us a timely book that deserves a wide and serious readership. — Cecil Bothwell,
Asheville NC councilmember, author of The Prince of War: Billy Graham's Crusade for a Wholly Christian Empire.
Over the years I have read many books on this subject, but Culture Wars stands head and shoulders above the crowd. — Earl Lee, librarian, author of Libraries in the Age of Mediocrity.
I was amazed and entranced by Ms. Castle's breadth of knowledge, her passion and compassion, and clearheaded convictions. — Arvonne Fraser, former U.S. Ambassador to the United States Commission on the Status of Women.
The author's grasp of theology and understanding of its irrelevance to how we live are impressive. This is rare in books about religion. — Kirk Buchanan, former Roman Catholic priest.
Culture Wars is brilliant and the logic is solid. MarieAlena Castle links a logical chain of reasoning about the dangers of religion in society and then uses it to thrash the notion that religious beliefs are harmless personal philosophies. She makes the case that passive atheists should become assertive against religious extremists and I agree. — Chris Edwards, New Palestine IN. Author of Spiritual Snake Oil: Fads & Fallacies in Pop Culture.
Atheists Wedding Celebrants
Available as a Supporters' Benefit. No charge.
Use our celebrantss or one of your choice,
authorized by AFHR.
No Church Affiliation
Create memorable secular weddings.
We can help. Just ask.
Call 612-529-1200 or Email our Communications Director
The Hub Calendar
FIRESIDE CHAT, 3rd Fridays, 6-9+ PM, Hub of Atheism, 5146 Newton Ave. N., Mpls. Always free food and beverages.
We have some excellent DVDs and YouTube videos we've been saving for a good time to air them. This is it if snow and ice doesn't interfere. Video, 7 PM.
We will celebrate Darwin's birthday month with a film or video related to science and evolution. Don't know what it will be yet, but it will be good. Video and discussion at 7 PM.
Ad hoc discussions at social events.National:
Announcements, discussions on AFHRbod Yahoo Groups. To get on list, give us your email address. Significant issues discussed are covered in The Moral Atheist
for reader feedback. All open. Decisions by consensus.
All Mondays Happy Hour: 5:00 to 6:30 PM
Ol' Mexico Restaurant, on Lexington, two blocks north of Larpenteur, Roseville. Table reserved on terrace level, top of stairs.
Call Paul Craven, 763-788-8918.
1st Tuesdays: 11:30 AM Lunch Social
Great Moon Buffet, 4029 Central Ave. NE, Minneapolis.
Call Rick Gelman, 651-483-6209.
1st & 3rd Mondays 6:30 PM Toastmasters
Larpenteur Estates party room, 1276 Larpenteur Ave. W., St. Paul.
Call George Kane, 651-488-8225.
3rd Wednesdays: 11:30 AM
Charley French Memorial Lunch Discussion Group.
Great Moon Buffet, 4029 Central Ave. NE, Minneapolis.
Call Bill Volna, 612-781-1420 or 1322.
Twin Cities Meetups:
Scott Muir, email@example.com
Southern Minnesota Meetups:
Crystal Dervetski, firstname.lastname@example.org
ABOUT THE MORAL ATHEIST
If you want to get The Moral Atheist in PDF format on your computer, please let us know.
It will save printing and mailing costs, leaving more funds for public outreach.
OUR VIDEOS ON YOUTUBE
Thanks to Scott Muir for putting some of our public access TV videos on YouTube We are
working on doing some specifically for YouTube distribution. Thanks to Paul Craven for
helping to produce the new videos.
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.
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.
- The Moral High Ground Fund
The signature activity of Atheists For Human Rights is standing with religon's victims in support of abortion rights, death with dignity, children's healthcare, and LGBT students.
- No legal protection for kids in faith-healing families: why most states sanction religion-based child sacrifice
Rita Swan and her husband Doug were Christian Scientists until the death of their son made them determined to prevent other child deaths by repealing religious exemption laws.
- Your money and/or your life: mugged by the mythmakers — the price we pay for religion
A summary of what religion costs YOU in terms of your money, your personal freedom, your health, and sometimes even your very life.
- How Judge John E. Jones put intelligent design on the path to extinction
A conservative U.S. District Judge strikes a stunning blow against intelligent design and creationism.
- The Theological Roots of Everything Ugly About America
How the toxic roots of puritanical ideas poisoned a potentially beautiful thing.
- Damned if we do, damned if we don't: the atheist dilemma
If atheists object to state-church violations, they invite a backlash; if they do nothing, they are hated for simply being who they are.
- CNN invites us to discuss whether "God" exists
— and stacks the deck
Given the opportunity for a serious discussion, CNN presented bias and Christian propaganda.
- The Godless rise as a political force
Nonbelievers represent a growing segment of the U.S. electorate.
- Budget woes and how local activism may get churches to pay up
Charging churches a fee for city services may now be not only thinkable but doable
- 600+ years of fakery: the Shroud of Turin
Scientific evidence supports a medieval origin of the Shroud of Turin.
- The two words that don't belong
In 1892, Francis Bellamy, a Baptist minister, wrote The Pledge of Allegiance, which contained no mention of God.
- Reason vs. Faith
Faith is belief without — or in spite of contradictory — empirical evidence.
- Elk Grove v. Newdow [PDF file]
The Amicus curiae brief submitted by Michael Newdow to the US Supreme Court, arguing that it should strike the words "under God" from the Pledge of Allegiance.
Atheism accepts the natural world as all there is. To live without god beliefs is intellectually stimulating. To find one's own purpose and be responsible for one's own life is exciting. To be free of the imagined surveillance of good and evil spirits is liberating. To seek a peaceful world through work and friendship and civic action is life-affirming.
-- MarieAlena Castle, March 1994
It is the role of unbelievers to force religions to be benign.
-- Martin Marty, Lutheran theologian, Minneapolis MN,
28 April 1998
Let us become post-religious, post-national Universal Humans.
-- Lavanam, Atheist Centre, India
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.
- We are committed to making atheism visible in the community as a rational, responsible voice for secular morality.
- We sponsor well-advertised public forums regularly with well known speakers on topics related to the common good and maintaining a secular government.
- We run high-visibility "bold & proud" ads for our activities in mainstream newspapers and on radio.
- We produce atheist videos for our website video outreach project and also make them available on CDs.
- We submit letters and commentary articles to the media that are frequently accepted.
- We meet with media people to discuss our concerns and encourage fair and balanced coverage of atheism.
- We meet with public officials to make them aware of the secular community and express our concerns about the intrusion of religion into legislative action and to stress the importance of state-church separation.
- We wrote a proclamation declaring 4 July 2002, "Indivisible Day," which was signed by Gov. Ventura on our behalf, causing an uproar by "Christian nation" fundamentalists that was front-page news in the St. Paul and Minneapolis papers.
- Our visibility generates invitations to debate religious-right radio talk show hosts on their political/social agenda and state-church separation.
- We are unique among atheist organizations in that, as a matter of official policy, we oppose the religious right's assaults on our freedoms and come to the aid of its victims. We do this with reason, civility, pride, and a passion for truth and justice.
- We provide a strong and effective voice for human rights within the atheist community and are developing a national network of citizens who seek the social and political right to be religion-free. We walk the talk. Our board consists of activists willing to help with the tasks of our organization. Our bylaws impose a high level of ethical standards. We operate openly and honestly at all times.
- Membership is open to all who reject supernatural beliefs and support the principles and policies of this organization. We thrive on new ideas and welcome everyone who shares our goals.
5146 Newton Ave. N.
Minneapolis MN 55430-3459
If you need directions, call:
Leave us a voicemail by calling:
Phone messages may be used on our website.
Letters and articles are welcome!