"Humanists of Idaho is chapter of the American Humanist Association "
The Humanists of Idaho is a chapter of the American Humanist Association and the Council for Secular Humanism. We are a nonprofit corporation organized to promote ethical, democratic, and naturalistic Humanism in the state of Idaho through public awareness, education and community involvement. January 2006 http://Idaho.humanists.net Idaho@humanists.net Humanism is a rational philosophy informed by science, inspired by art, and motivated by compassion. It affirms the dignity of each human being and supports individual liberty consonant with social and planetary responsibility. Humanism advocates participatory democracy, the open society, human rights, and social justice. Free of supernaturalism, it recognizes human beings as part of nature and holds that all values—be they religious, ethical, social, or political—have their source in human nature, experience, and culture. Humanism thus derives the goals of life from human need and interest rather than from theological and ideological abstractions, and asserts that humanity must take responsibility for its own destiny. —The Humanist, Official publication of the American Humanist Association President’s Report: Communicating Humanist Concerns to the Public Our main discussion topic at our meeting this month will be how we as humanists can and should communicate with non-humanists. Perhaps special focus should be on how we communicate humanistic concerns about scientific truth (e.g., evolution) and political values (e.g., separation of church and state) in the face of Religious Right efforts to use the power of government to impose their religion on others. Of course, those on the religious right claim that humanists are using the power of government to impose non-religion on them, by “kicking God out of the public schools and religion out of the public square.” Some parts of the world have descended into armed conflict, with various warlords, some in the name of their particular brand of religion, some just out for their own personal gain, shooting or blowing up “anyone who is not for me [must be against me].” I for one would like to avoid this happening here in the U.S.; however, some religious (and anti-religious) rhetoric is getting pretty shrill these days, and some charismatic ideologues are terribly successful in whipping up angry mobs, or significant numbers of voters. One approach to this issue is to recognize that a number of everyday English words mean very different things to different people. Words like faith, religion, science, morality, reason, and other basic terms fall in this category. For example, some people use the term “religion” to mean “the basic system for deciding what is good or bad.” I personally use the term “morality” for that concept, and to me “religion” means “a set of beliefs the truth of which must be accepted on faith.” I’ve argued long and hard sometimes only to figure out eventually that my “opponent” and I really agreed on quite a lot, and that our communication got off track right at the beginning because we actually lacked what we thought was a common language. Another basis for communication comes from one’s basic worldview. George Lakoff has authored several books exploring the differences between those who see a nurturing parent versus a strict father as their model. Actions often speak louder than words, and humanists involved in cooperative action with religious people can communicate with each other in powerful ways. Walkers in CROPWALK, for example, shared the common value of helping hungry people. When religious and non-religious people come together to solve homelessness issues, they build respect for one another. That works for issues we agree on, but what about the issues we disagree on, like the teaching of evolution, the separation of church and state, abortion, etc.? At this discussion, I would like to lay groundwork for opening up some dialog apart from letters to the editor, press releases, demonstrations, or lawsuits in which each side denounces the other. At the very least, we must be able to agree to disagree, and remain on peaceful terms. And who knows? If we get better at communication, might we even persuade others to adopt our point of view? Our civilization may depend on it! The Idaho Humanist January 2006 Page 2 Darwin’s Birthday Party Sunday, February 12th Come celebrate Charles Darwin’s life and scientific work! Where: Paul & Nancy Rolig’s home at 9877 W. Ripley St. Come as early as 4:00 PM We will eat at 6:00 PM We will be making “primordial” soup for dinner. Bring a 16 oz. or less can of your choice of vegetable to add to the soup. If your last name starts with A-B bring bread If your last name starts with C-N bring a salad If your last name starts with O-Z bring dessert You are welcome to bring your favorite beverage. We’ll have soft drinks Winter Solstice Party Nancy and Paul Rolig hosted this year’s Winter Solstice Party. We had a wonderful turn out from both the Humanists of Idaho group and the BUUF Humanist group. It gave everyone time to get to know each other a little better or meet new friends. We had a potluck soup supper with lots of yummy food. Every one had to light a candle before they could get their dinner to add new light. By the time we all ate, the room was glowing with candlelight. Everyone who came was incredibly generous to our family that we sponsored for the holidays. The toys and gifts for Tina and the girls was a huge mound. Mary Fran provide huge gift bags with lots of fun things and Sue & Jolee brought stockings stuffed with toys as well as other fun toys. We all added to the bags or donated money for repairing the car or for other expenses. We wrapped some of the gifts and distributed the toys. Playing Santa made the evening all the more special. Sponsored Family Tina, Kirsten age 11, Shianne age 9, and Kendra age 5, want to thank you for the group’s generous gift to them. Tina is quite overwhelmed by your generosity. One of the real needs of Tina, a single mom stricken with MS, was to have her car repaired. Before Christmas Paul took the car to MazYech for repairs. Mike Marston and Craig at MazTech donated their labor and the Les Bois Miata Club and HOI split the price for the parts. The car ended up needing new brakes, tires, axles, wheel bearings and clutch in order for it to be safe to drive. She was so excited that she now could drive to Nampa to visit her friend now that the car is safe enough for the freeway. It ended up that Tina was in a jam trying to move from her old apartment to a new one, so Paul, Van, Jan, Laurie and Jeannette were able to help her get moved. She was able to be all settled in time for Christmas. Jan, Van, Laurie, Paul and Nancy delivered all the gifts we collected at the Solstice party to Tina on December 18th. Tina surprised the girls with them on Christmas. With your generous money donations we were able to give Tina $200 in cash and pay for half of the car expenses. The Idaho Humanist January 2006 Page 3 HOI Meeting 4 Monday of the month th BUUF Discussion Group Second Sunday of the Month at 9 AM Boise Unitarian Universalist Fellowship at 6200 Garrett, Garden City Childcare with the BUUF RE programs The Flicks in Boise 646 Fulton, at 6th and Myrtle 6:30 PM Board/Business meeting 7:30 PM Discussion/Program Sunday, February 12th Meeting In observance of Darwin’s birthday we will be discussing new discoveries in the field evolution. Bring along any that you would like to share. Jeannette Ross led a discussion in December on the essay “The Feminist Iconoclast: An Interview with Camille Paglia from the book Imagine There’s No Heaven: Voices of Secular Humanism. edited by Council for Secular Humanism. This controversial woman prompted a lot of discussion of her views that seem to be quite varied and disconnected. Even though most of us disagree with many of her view, the discussion that they produced was interesting. In January, Nancy and Paul Rolig lead a discussion on Gender Identity/Gender Roles. Part of the discussion includes the book The Nurturing Father by Kyle Pruett, MD. . Monday, January 23 Meeting We have changed our meeting place and have returned to the Flicks Theater at 6th and Myrtle. It is a much quieter room and we can use the room for the price of concessions that we purchase plus tip. Our January topic will be on how to talk with the religious community. At the November meeting Jan Van Bibber, Charitable Giving Coordinator found a family for us to sponsor for the holidays. Joe Turner gave a report on the book: Concepts: A ProtoTheist Quest for the Science Minded Skeptics. Paul Rolig reported on The God Gene. We had a discussion of what these books tell us about why people are spiritual and what does “spiritual” mean. rd Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial Brick We met our goal of collecting $75 from members, so the Humanists of Idaho have purchased a brick for the Human Rights Memorial here in Boise. Humanists of Idaho T-Shirts You can buy a shirt with the HOI logo at www.zazzle.com. Our logo is on the pocket, AHA motto on the back. Van "contributed" the design, and in the event they sell any of that design, there is a 10% royalty. Navigate through the site by going to “All Product Categories”, click on “Religion, Spirituality, Philosophy” and then “Philosophy.” You will find it displayed there or further narrow the category by going to “Secular Humanism.” You can order your shirt in your choice of color and style. You can buy a basic t-shirt for $16.95(+ tax & shipping) or other styles up to the most expensive, a hooded sweatshirt for $34.45. Boise Skies 12:55 PM Boise Community Radio Paul Verhage’s astronomy program, “Boise Skies” will be finding a spot on internet radio as part of the Boise Community Radio Project. These threeminute spots air on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays at 12:55 PM feature current astronomical events. To find a schedule go to the Internet at www.radio.boise.org. The Idaho Humanist January 2006 Page 4 On the Agenda for Monday’s Meeting Idaho Public Television’s FESTIVAL 2006 The cameras are rolling and a representative from the Idaho Humanist is addressing a statewide television audience. Idaho Public Television’s FESTIVAL 2006 is a great way to introduce your organization to Idaho viewers while contributing to the community. We invite you to join us for our largest fundraising campaign of the year, receive statewide recognition, and have fun all at the same time. Raising funds to bring local shows to you from Outdoor Idaho, to quality children’s programming like Sesame Street, Zoom and Jay Jay the Jet Plane and everyone’s favorite Antiques Roadshow. If your organization would like to be a part of FESTIVAL 2006 we still have several daytime shifts available. Our daytime shifts are reserved for non-profit organizations and it is our goal to invite non-profit organizations who represent a sampling of the state, but please remember space is limited. If you do decide to join us, your group can bring a 12” x 24” poster with your organizations name, a spokesperson for your group would appear on live television, and your group could wear T-shirts (or uniforms) with your organization’s logo. While ten to fifteen members of your group answer phones and take pledges. And each shift will receive refreshments provided by local area businesses. Godless Groups Coming Together: Your Ideas Needed By MATT CHERRY HumanistNetworkNews.org Jan. 4, 2006 There are dozens of national organizations that represent the rights and beliefs of godless Americans. And whenever two or three members of these nontheistic groups are gathered together, it seems that talk turns to the need for more cooperation between freethinkers. Indeed, fostering collaboration within the community of reason is a principal goal of the Institute for Humanist Studies. Last year saw some significant advances in cooperation between godless groups. One success was narrow and focused: the hiring of the first two DC lobbyists for secular Americans by the Secular Coalition for America (SCA), a lobbying organization made up of five national humanist and atheist groups. The other advance was broader but more diffuse: a summit meeting of leaders of 22 national nontheistic organizations. The 2005 summit meeting was hosted by the American Humanist Association (AHA) in Washington, DC, the week before President Bush's second inauguration. Leaders of almost every non-theistic group in the country attended a friendly and constructive meeting. The DC summit resulted in some collaborative efforts later in the year. For example many groups at the summit went on to support the "Atheists in Foxholes" rally on the DC mall on Veterans Day. And some of the groups at the DC summit have inquired about joining the Secular Coalition for America. As a confidence building measure, the summit was a great success. It opened valuable lines of communication between groups that had previously ignored or competed with one another. In a spirit of cooperation, the AHA has passed the role of host on to the Atheist Alliance International (AAI) for a second summit meeting in January 2006. "Summit II: Talking Heads," to be held in Los Angeles on the weekend of Jan. 16 [CORRECTION: Jan. 20 - 22], will repeat last year's discussion forum where groups can share information and discuss joint projects. (In order to encourage candor and confidentiality, the meeting is not open to the public.) In addition, there will be an educational component. Outside experts on publicity and the media, plus the Institute for Humanist Studies' very own Duncan Crary, will describe ways in which freethinkers can make their publicity efforts more effective. The Institute for Humanist Studies warmly welcomes this second summit meeting. We believe that more discussion among non-theist groups can lead to better coordination and collaboration. We also think the media training can strengthen the work of all the groups there. But could we be doing more? IHS would like to hear your thoughts on this. (Continued on page 5) The Idaho Humanist January 2006 Page 5 (Continued from page 4) We have the leaders of the nation's godless groups together in one room. What should we focus on? Should we be proposing joint initiatives? Should we work together to support key groups vital to our future -- perhaps the Secular Student Alliance or Camp Quest, the nonreligious summer camp? Should we form a single non-theistic relief foundation to help victims of national disasters? Should we form ad hoc coalitions on specific public policy issues, and if so, which issues should we choose? Or should we just go our separate ways, hoping that healthy competition will lead to stronger organizations? We would welcome your most ambitious ideas -- for an ideal world where all the groups could leave behind historical rivalries and personal ambitions. We would also welcome small but easy ideas -- baby steps -that could be quickly implemented. Matt Cherry is the executive director of the Institute for Humanist Studies. He is the author of Introduction to Humanism at the Continuum of Humanist Education, the online school of the Institute for Humanist Studies. A Sub-Culture Of Humanism Re: Godless groups coming together: Your Ideas Needed by Mark Claus, Houston, Texas It is gratifying to hear that conferences are being held to support the various missions of non-religious groups. That such meetings are being held is a credit to a free society and should receive support from all like-minded people. Humanist concepts have greatly influenced the development of secular education in our country. Over the last several years, especially under the Bush Administration, religious influences seem to have overridden the importance of a secular government. During this time HNN has propagated the concept of free thought and has been a great diversion from what is becoming a monotonous menu on editorial pages. You asked for ambitious ideas. Although the idea of a "sub-culture" would probably be anathema to HNN this is probably the best course of action for Humanists, not overt public action or comment. Even Benjamin Franklin commented (more or less) on the futility of talking against religion. The masses need their opium after all and feel the need to propagate it. Elevating Humanism to the level of the public forum will bring resistance as demonstrated by the current anti-intellectual backlash we are seeing. Direct conflict will result in even more anti-intellectualism and the polarization of society. In the war between beliefs and intellect, beliefs win -- always -- because beliefs appeal to emotion and emotion drives action. The public at large is not prepared to accept Humanist ideology and even if it were, Humanists would not be interested in the public's acceptance of Humanist ideals based on faith. Would they be any better off trading one belief system for another? What Humanist organizations need to do now is what they have always done exist in intellectual circles. Humanist ideals must be advanced through the work of educated intellectual people in their respective fields -Humanists must focus on supporting professors and other intellectuals, bringing them together to support each other so that they can influence those under their tutelage. Knowledge and intellect will eventually trump superstitious religious beliefs but it cannot be a "top-down" effort, it will only succeed from the "bottom up". As an example of this, every student who graduates with an education degree needs to be grounded in the philosophy of Humanism so that when they go into the classrooms, they will teach reason and scientific understanding to their pupils. Their pupils, being thus enlightened, will take what they learn into their adulthood. Over time, Humanist ideals will be advanced through the educational system and the influence of religion and superstition will be diminished. So, the sub-culture of educated people communicating with other educated people on an intellectual basis without direct conflict in open public debate is my recommendation. How can HNN support this discussion? How can we reach out to university professors and other intellectuals to participate in this discussion? How can we support them without compromising them? -- The Idaho Humanist January 2006 Page 6 Changing The World With A This-World Approach Albany-based humanist institute promotes use of science and reason, shuns the mystical By DANIELLE FURFARO, Staff writer Times Union First published: Thursday, January 5, 2006 ALBANY -- In 2003, Larry Jones traveled to Nepal to research how the precarious situation there could be helped by the humanist movement. At one point on his tour, he met with a group of teenagers. As they filed into the room, Jones recalled, the boys sat in the chairs and the girls sat on the floor. The boys had plenty of questions, but the girls were quiet. When Jones finally got one of them to speak up, her question was "How do we change the boys?" For Jones, who is the founder and president of the Institute for Humanist Studies, this encounter in the Himalayan country mired in poverty and political strife was indicative of the harm that he says religious dogma can do to human lives. In Nepal and other parts of the world, he said, "If you don't like a woman in your village, you can accuse them of being a witch and they are treated brutally, sometimes even killed." Humanism is a philosophy based on science, reason and human empathy and shuns belief in gods, the supernatural and life after death. Since its founding in 1999, the nonprofit organization headquartered on Howard Street has worked to promote humanist thought throughout the world, whether it be by providing information that can keep people in the Third World from being slaughtered by a mob or that can keep religious fundamentalism from creeping into government policy in developed countries. "Humanism has traditionally been in the hands of academics and philosophers. They are good at talking, not good at doing things," said Jones, 68, who grew up in New Rochelle and moved upstate to work for the General Electric Co. "I felt what was needed was a lean organization to promote humanism and protect the interests of the nonreligious people in the world." With a growing presences on the Internet, the institute hopes to spread the reach of humanism across the globe. It offers online classes on how humanism relates to public policy, activism and philosophy. So far, more than 600 people have taken the courses, known as the Continuum of Humanist Education. Their cost ranges from free to $25. Jones is hoping to offer in-depth, semester-length classes in the coming months. Greg Epstein, the humanist chaplain of Harvard University, has taken the courses and uses them to teach students in a non-credit course on campus. "Humanism by its nature is a confusing subject," said Epstein, 28, who said that most of the students in his course consider themselves nonreligious. "But it's not as satisfying to not be something as it is to be something. These students want to discover their roots and learn more about who they are." The institute also offers grants to humanist organizations, ranging from a three-year, $150,000 grant to fund the Appignani Center for Bioethics in New York City to smaller grants for a Slovakian humanist newspaper aimed at students and a summer camp for American children. While the Institute for Humanist Studies awards more than $100,000 in grants annually to humanist organizations throughout the world, and while at the Appignani Center, scientists research issues such as embryonic stem cells, human cloning and the HIV epidemic in a way that avoids the religious rhetoric they say is tainting public policy. "We consider the impact of current debate on international bioethics and suggest useful approaches to their resolution," said Ana Lita, director of the center. Now, the institute is on a quest to reach younger people online. This week, the organization had its first podcast on its site, http://ihs.libsyn.org. "The youth is our future," said Jones. "The average age of our local group in the 1980s was 63. We have to draft more young people." [CLARIFICATION: Louis Appignani donated the three year $150,000 to the IHEU-Appignani Center for Bioethics. The Institute for Humanist Studies donated funds to pay for the center's office space. The IHS Grant Fund awards more than $100,000 annually to humanist organizations. For the past four years, the IHS Grant Fund has awarded more than $20,000 per year to the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU) which runs the bioethics center at the United Nations.] The Idaho Humanist January 2006 Page 7 HOI Membership We have 28 full memberships, 4 newsletter subscribers and 3 trying us out. To those of you who have received this newsletter complimentary, I hope you will decide to join our group. Please fill out the form below and send in the payment for the level of involvement you wish to the address below. Nancy Rolig, Secretary, Newsletter Editor and Membership Administrator Humanists of Idaho Board President: Paul Rolig ……………………………377-0535 or firstname.lastname@example.org Vice President: Van Van Curen:……………376-5475 or email@example.com Secretary: Nancy Rolig…………………………… 377-0535 or firstname.lastname@example.org Treasurer: Laurie Rollins ……………………………………………….841-1601 Auxiliary Positions Webmaster/Yahoo Group Administrator:……………………. Van Van Curen 376-5475 or email@example.com Newsletter Editor/membership Administrator:…………………..Nancy Rolig 377-0535 or firstname.lastname@example.org 9877 W. Ripley St. Boise 83704 Charitable Giving Coordinator: ………………………………..Jan Van Bibber 884-5603 or email@example.com Publicity Chair:………….Van Van Curen: 376-5475 or firstname.lastname@example.org Permanent Building Fund: …………………………………………....Paul Rolig email@example.com 9877 W. Ripley St., Boise 83704 Organization Information Your support of this local chapter with your membership, donations and ideas is greatly appreciated. Mailing Address: Humanists of Idaho P.O. Box 44913 Boise, ID 83711-0913 Website: http://Idaho.humanists.net Yahoo Group: firstname.lastname@example.org Email Address: Idaho@humanists.net Humanists of Idaho Membership and Donation Form Name Mailing address City, state, zip code Phone and e-mail address [ ] $25 Individual annual membership and Newsletter subscription [ ] $45 Couple annual membership and Newsletter subscription [ ] $15 Newsletter subscription only [ ] $___ donation to help promote public awareness of Humanism [ ] $___ Humanists of Idaho Permanent Building Fund Donation Mail to: Humanists of Idaho P.O. Box 44913 Boise, ID 83711-0913 The Idaho Humanist January 2006 Page 8 Mark your Calendar! Monday, January 23rdHOI Monthly Meeting The Flicks 646 Fulton, at 6th and Myrtle in Boise 6:30 PM Board/Business Meeting, 7:30 PM Discussion Group Sunday, February 12th - 9:00 AM BUUF Humanist Group Boise Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, 6200 Garrett, Garden City, Childcare Available Sunday, February 12th - 4:00 PM Darwin’s Birthday Celebration The Roligs at 9877 W. Ripley St., Boise Monday, February 27th HOI Monthly Meeting The Flicks 646 Fulton, at 6th and Myrtle in Boise 6:30 PM Board/Business Meeting, 7:30 PM Discussion Group Humanists of Idaho P.O. Box 44913 Boise, ID 83711-0913