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Beyond "tribalism"

american unity amidst diversityI am a citizen of the world. First and foremost. That’s just the way I identify. And it’s no doubt one of the reasons I am drawn to the philosophy of humanism. But if one listens to the current political discourse, messages to put America and Americans first proliferate. Effective leadership is characterized as the ability to advance the standing of our own deserving “tribes” of “real” Americans above everyone else. Our nation is increasingly becoming a place where it is acceptable to disregard and/or demonize the “other” in our midst—often described through coded and loaded language—and to isolate ourselves from the rest of the world. Like many of my peers, I am disturbed by this proffered trajectory for America’s future.

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D.C. Reason Rally 2016

Reason Rally 2016Early in June the second national Reason Rally was held at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. Thousands of freethinkers and nontheists from around the country gathered to rally for reason and to assert our viewpoints in the public arena.  Larry Decker, Executive Director of the Secular Coalition for America, gave a compelling speech at the rally.  Check it out.  The American Humanist Association also had a presence at the Reason Rally; read this summary and view these photos. 

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Day of Reason 2016

National Day of Reason 2Today humanists, atheists, freethinkers and secularists gathered at the Minnesota state capitol to pay homage to Reason and to uphold its use in our public policy deliberations. We came to implore all our political leaders and fellow citizens to draw on the most up-to-date knowledge we have in the social and physical sciences, of world history and philosophy, and to use pragmatic moral reasoning in our civic decision-making.  We must commit to bring the very best of our rational capacities to our pursuit of the common good.

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Consumption vs. conservation

EarthBulbsI can’t believe I missed it!  The 10th annual Earth Hour to shut off lights in support of energy conservation and protecting the planet.  Me--the avid environmentalist since my youth—who to this day constantly goes around my house and other people’s houses shutting off lights—welcome or not!  Two days later I saw the back page Strib article: Cities worldwide go dim.  Other Minnesotans apparently missed it too—and most of the country.  New York City gave a nod to this environmental movement (begun in Australia in 2007) by dimming the lights atop the Empire State Building and some billboards in Times Square.  But I could have been the poster child for this environmental campaign!  O.k.—more accurately--the poster matron.   You can always count on me to turn out the lights.

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Civic Engagement, Humanist Style

state capitol MN

Watch the news.  Look around the world.  Listen to the candidates who aspire to lead our nation. It can be demoralizing -- to be sure.  We humanists envision a world better than the everyday portrayal.  But we mustn’t lose sight of the fact that it isn’t going to happen by magical or wishful thinking. As humanists we understand that it is up to us to create the kind of world we want to live in and leave for our children and heirs. 

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Decoding spirituality

bodymindspiritAre you feeling more “spiritual” these days—overcome by a deep sense of spiritual peace and well-being and wonder about the universe?  Apparently while Americans are getting less religious, spirituality is on the rise.  The latest report from the Pew Research Center  indicates that “spiritual” feelings are increasing--even among atheists, agnostics and the unaffiliated--along with everyone else.  What should we make of this?

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