June 2012

Move to Amend

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 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 or ideological abstractions, and asserts that humanity must take responsibility for its own destiny.

—The Humanist,
Official publication of the American Humanist Association

Say It Out Loud

Our community members answer “Is there something you wish you could say to someone, or to the world at large, that you haven’t been able to say for whatever reason?”

  • Sometimes it is not just saying something but actually being listened to. Ten plus years ago or so I took my maturing daughters to the doctor and made a speech that while I did not want to encourage promiscuity nor discourage communications with their parents I knew that sexual activity is a personal choice. I continued saying that their physical health was more important to me than their having to get parental permission to visit the doctor with women’s health issues. The next day in the lunch room I talked about my trip to my coworkers; nobody said anything and there were looks of amazement around the table. I finished my lunch and left and heard one say “he doesn’t seem to understand the importance of spiritual health.” Looking at those same people today they have three children who have conceived out of wedlock and several more people who have married very young. One of these is already divorced and barely 25 years old.
  • I was thrilled to see atheists organizations put an entry into the Utah Pride Parade on Sunday, June 3rd. I wish the Humanists of Utah had an entry. Let’s work for this next year. Could we get one in the July 4th parade in Provo or the 24th of July in SLC? I would be glad to organize it if the organization was supportive.
  • There are many things rolling around in my head that have remained unsaid because nobody is listening anyway. #1 (for now): the debate over polygamy always seems to miss what I consider to be the main point. Obviously child (and wife) abuse are important things to consider, but we do have laws against these activities. When a man intentionally marries several or many women with the plan of having many children he is affording himself an unearned access to the gene pool. Historically such access was dubiously achieved through conquest and most successful kings, emperors and raiders in general have had many offspring as attested by documented aberrations in current European genetic markers. With the contemporary importance of upper population limits do we really want to stand back and allow barely educated religious fanatics, fundamentalists and cultists to usurp a larger than “natural” genetic legacy. Whether or not someone (anyone) has sex with many women is of no concern to me and calling themselves married to these women is similarly unimportant in my eyes. But batching out 15 or 20 versions of themselves is disgusting and unfair to others who have more concern and consideration for the earth and the rights of their fellow citizens.
  • To the world at large, I would say: “Don’t worry so much, because nothing ultimately matters anyway. What doesn’t decay with the universe will be rendered meaningless by endless time.”
  • There is something I’ve wanted to say for years but have been too worried about what might happen if I did so. Here goes: God, as it is conceived by the major religions, is supposed to be a superior being. Why would god care if people believed in it? What kind of disgusting god would want to be prayed to or worshiped? What kind of god would want some of it’s adherents to kill other of its creations for not believing in it in the same fashion as they believe? What kind of god makes wagers with the devil? What kind of god tests peoples’ faith by telling one of them to sacrifice his own son? What kind of people think this so-called god is “good”? What kind of god answers a few people’s prayers but destroys thousands of others who are praying their heads off as the waters close over them, the mud smashes into them, the volcano incinerates them, etc., etc.? How can people be so egotistical as to think there is a god who watches over them, but ignores millions of others? There! I feel better!
  • After reading an article about how the Catholic Bishops are “investigating” the Girl Scouts because of some reproductive BS issue, I just want to scream! I WANT TO SCREAM, KEEP YOUR FUCKING ASININE RELIGION OUT OF MY/OUR LIVES. But of course as president of HoU I must maintain a civil tongue.
    I want to say: having access to medically safe abortion services is a critical human rights issue. This issue is crucial to women being able to lead lives of equality and opportunity and health. Which in turn is crucial to a stable and healthy society. All you Ruthuglicans with your diversionary tactics and doublespeak, trying to block and take away decent, civilized care at every turn: STOP IT, STOP IT, STOP IT!

Thanks everyone for another brilliant conversation with the humanists!

—Lisa Miller

Website of the Month
Move to Amend

We the People
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President’s Message

Last month I wrote that I was going to call part of my message something like “The Latest from Idiots.” Well this month there is much to choose from, but the United States conference of Catholic Bishops take the prize. And that is because these prize winners are now “investigating” the Girl Scouts. From the reports I have read this need to investigate stems from the fact that the Girl Scout organization publicly approved the membership of a transgendered individual in a Colorado Girl Scout troop.

The Catholic Church has always opposed any idea of reproductive freedom and has lately been stepping up its efforts against the more progressive nuns and catholic laity. It kind of baffles the mind to think of why they would spend time and resources on this “investigation,” which only highlights their pathetic effort to intimidate. While the nuns and Girl Scouts work in various efforts to assist and educate young women and the public in general, the Bishops are doing what…investigating? Pretty sad and at the same time quite infuriating.

The more I think about my message concerning idiots the more I get the feeling that maybe I need to include a similar blurb of a more “hopeful” nature. Reporting on something positive as an antidote to the reports about idiots taking actions that tend to make you “bristle up.” I’ll try to do that in the months to come so I don’t sound like I’m always whining.

On another subject, I have been contemplating how addicted we are to gadgets and screens. I certainly am, exemplified by the fact that I am sitting here in front of my computer screen composing this message, and to the right of the computer is a small T.V. that is sometimes on at the same time this computer is being used. Not to mention that in my pocket is my cell phone with a screen. But my addiction can’t hold a candle to the need for screens and gadgets by some in the general population. This was brought to mind recently when at an intersection I noticed that a woman was starting to walk out onto the crosswalk against the light. She caught herself soon enough to avoid trouble, but it was easy to see why she almost walked out into the traffic. She was walking along looking at her cell phone, (probably texting) and in addition was wearing ear phones. It’s pretty dumb to not be watching where you are going and not hearing what is going on when at a busy intersection.

Screens are essential these days, they entertain and educate and facilitate many function in modern society. An example of their superb usefulness has been the recent eclipse and also the transit of Venus across the Sun. Not only can you see images of these events, the images you can access are often of high quality and definition and you can see and watch these events whenever and as often as you wish.

Yet to me there is a worrisome aspect to screens when for example young people spend endless hours playing video games. It’s not that I worry so much about the content of these games as some people do, for me it is the large chunks of time wasted.

Well that’s about enough for this President’s message. Besides I want to go watch an episode of Star Trek on the big screen.

—Bob Lane
President, HoU