September 2019

Rawlins B. Young
1938 ~ 2019

Rawlins B. Young of Salt Lake City has left the third planet from the sun on August 19, 2019, after 81 years of anthropological study. He succumbed to complications of scleroderma. While on this planet he served proudly on the Sugarhouse Community Council for several decades and was active in the Democratic Party. He was a lifelong member of the First Unitarian Church of Salt Lake City and affiliated with the Humanists of Utah.

Rawlins was a son of Luretta Wagner and Rawlins B. Young Sr. He was a brother of Joan Babcock, Diana Haman, and Patricia Miller, who are now on their next tachyon journey. Still remaining on this planet is his brother John A. Young of Salt Lake City. He is also survived by many nieces, great nieces, nephews, and great nephews.

Graveside service will be conducted by Humanist Celebrant Jared Anderson at the Salt Lake City Cemetery, N Street & Forth Avenue, Salt Lake City, Utah at 1:00 PM on September 6, 2019. A Celebration of Life service will be held at the First Unitarian Church of Salt Lake City, 569 South 1300 East, Salt Lake City, Utah on November 10, 2019, at 4:00 PM conducted by Rev. Tom Goldsmith. In lieu of flowers send donations to the First Unitarian Church of Salt Lake and Humanists of Utah.

What is Humanism?

Humanism 101 is the topic of our upcoming September meeting. The question of just what humanism is has been discussed in our chapter since we formed in 1992. Here is one of the first published “answers.”

Flo Wineriter Speaks Out On Humanism

The following article was published in the Daily Herald of Provo, Utah on Sunday, November 22, 1992.

Humanism’s basic message is that man alone is responsible for the world and its dreams, and moral values derive their source from human experience,” said Florien J. Wineriter, President of the Utah Chapter of the American Humanist Association.

Wineriter spoke at a recent Unitarian meeting where he discussed humanism and its message. The former radio journalist said humanism is a quest for life’s values, and a belief that we can solve our own problems without having to ask for supernatural guidance. He has observed that religion attempts to teach moral values through fear of punishment, whereas humanism teaches moral values through caring.

Wineriter’s own journey into humanism was triggered by the events of World War II. As a religious young man, he felt a concern about the ethics of killing another human being on the other side of the world who might believe in the same religion as he. After studying the many religious wars of the past, Wineriter concluded, “If beliefs in God create so much bloodshed, even among those who share the same religion, then I want and need a basic belief that holds more hope for the future of the human race, and for peaceful resolutions of conflicts.”

The Humanist Counselor believes we must have freedom of choice and experience a wide range of full liberties. “There is no area of thought that we are unwilling to explore, to challenge, to question, or to doubt,” as our philosophy tells us.

Humanists want to maintain a separation of church and state. “Our founders were fearful of religious domination because of past experiences when countries mingled faith and government.” Wineriter believes that churches should continue to have the freedom to lobby and take positions on issues, however the fault lies when individual lawmakers make decisions based on the belief that church should be the final authority because their leaders are spokespersons for God. “The authoritarian mentality is not conducive to democratic governments. This nation is politically and economically secular, and we must not equate religious affiliation with patriotism. Our Constitution provides that there shall be no religious test of any kind,” says Wineriter.

Prayer in public meetings should not be allowed because, in rural Utah especially, it becomes an extension of theocracy. “Prayer in civic meetings continues the mood of yesterday’s priesthood meeting,” as Wineriter put it. He believes humanists should take an active role in their communities by helping others recognize the difference between secular authority and religious authority.

Many religions are threatened by humanistic thoughts, says Wineriter. Garth Brooks’ recent song “We Shall Be Free” is presently being censored by radio stations in Tennessee because of its apparent secular message. The following lyrics appear to be the most controversial.

  • “When we’re free to love anyone we choose,
  • When this world’s big enough for all different views,
  • When all can worship from our own kind of pew,
  • Then we shall be free.”

Brooks has summed up humanism in just a few simple words, and it has upset the traditional religious ideas of country music.

Being a humanist does not lead to immoral behavior, as some people believe. “Humanism teaches us to be responsible, caring people and to continually search for the highest human ideals” he emphasized.

—Flo Wineriter

Published in February 1993 Newsletter

Interfaith Prayer Meeting – HoU Represented

I was sitting facing the International Peace Gardens, listening to Imam Yasir talk about the history of Islam in Utah. I had been asked to present at this Interfaith Prayer Meeting as a prison chaplain, but it also gave me an opportunity to introduce myself and speak as a humanist. This meeting was sponsored by Roots of Peace, an organization that removes landmines from war-torn countries and then establishes agriculture, going from “mines to vines.” For example, in Vietnam those who have been injured by explosions now harvest black pepper, the land producing life instead of death.

I used the invitation to speak about prison chaplaincy to speak about humanity. I made the point that those who are incarcerated are not fundamentally different than we are…they just have had different opportunities and challenges. In general, we are as good and successful as we are incentivized and empowered to be. I tell the volunteers I train that prison requires the same life skills as on the outside…just with catastrophic consequences. I dream of a world where we all have the guidance, support, and resources we need to thrive. Taking seriously all the problems the prison industrial complex causes, it still remains true that we invest in inmates to a strikingly high level. The irony has sobered me that the care for inmates is governed by the constitution, while care for staff is governed by capitalism. Staff spend hours with each inmate during their intake interview. They ask about their background, their relationships, their education, their struggles. A care plan is designed to help with each of these factors. Years of programs and opportunities are provided so that inmates can become better versions of themselves.

I clearly stated that many, if not most, inmates are in prison because we have failed them. What would the world be if we invested in every human, not when they fall through the cracks, but when they are children? What if we gathered close each child when they are five, ten, fifteen, every year if needed? What if we asked them about their background, goals, struggles and victories? I submit that prisons would become unnecessary.

Having presented on prison chaplaincy, I walked from location to location and heard prayers offered by different religious leaders. This is one of my dreams…to increase awareness and respect for Humanism by moving through religious and other spaces as an open Humanist. I am grateful to have the chance to participate as a humanist on the Salt Lake Interfaith Roundtable.

—Jared Anderson

Humanist Celebrant

HoU YouTube Channel

Humanists of Utah now has it’s very own YouTube channel!

We will be posting all of our future speaker’s presentations (not counting technical difficulties or the speaker’s privacy choice). We currently have Volunteers of America of Utah CEO Kathy Bray’s talk on the VOA’s Utah Homeless Youth Shelter. More to follow!

Where to find it?

There is a link on the HoU web page under Media->Videos (thanks Lisa Miller!) or search YouTube for the “Humanists of Utah” channel.

Don’t forget to subscribe; this will make it easier to find in the future!

—Brian Trick

Webmaster / Editor / Publisher