We were in Lübeck almost two years ago, walking down the street, when we came upon a little brass plaque, about four inches square, embedded in the sidewalk. My Aunt Ursula, who grew up there, explained it was a memorial to a Holocaust victim who lived at that address. I’d never seen these before. It had been a long time since I was last in Germany.
Hope is great when it comes to miracles. Belief is terrific when it comes to the Tooth Fairy. But neither hope nor belief should guide the making of public policy to solve our nation’s or Minnesota’s pressing problems, especially now.
My “descent” into humanism began, like many of us, before I even had a name for it. At the ripe old age of 14, I had a stark realization: the concept of a god seemed silly. Magic was the word I used when I nervously confessed to my then (and still) best friend, Jenna. I grew up going to church, but it was a progressive, open-minded Congregational community that encouraged exploration.
How do we build a thriving secular humanist future? How do we compete with organized religions, especially fundamentalist ones, which offer their members compelling narratives, a sense of meaning, a welcoming community, and comfort in times of distress?
My propensity to write letters to the editor is well known, but not well understood. When someone says to me, “I saw your last letter in the paper, and agreed with what you wrote,” I sometimes respond, “Well, I write a lot, because I consider the letters section our equivalent of the ‘public square.’ I’d love to see your letter published, too.”
What do you believe in? It’s a question that everyone gets at some point in their life. For a lot of people, the answer depends on when and where you ask them. I know that answer has changed for me a lot. I grew up in a very religious family and realized at a young age that I was not very religious, or in fact religious at all. However, religion fascinated me.
Most of my life (yes, even including childhood) I have considered myself a “liberal.” This is no accident. My parents were dyed-in-the-wool FDR liberals, and union members, who always identified with the underdog. I recall despising Joe McCarthy as a kid while watching him on television demeaning his opponents.
Chris Stedman, a widely published, award-winning young gay humanist writer and advocate, is an important ally to Humanists of Minnesota now that he has returned to the Twin Cities. He is working to build a Humanist Center of Minnesota and conducting a study on ”nones,” or people with no religious affiliation.
If you are a movie buff, you may be familiar with David Mamet’s great screenplay for “Glengarry Glen Ross.” “Coffee is for closers” is the iconic tagline for that movie, one that has also seeped into the popular culture.
Sarah Kruger Hilger interviewed Humanists of Minnesota members for a graduate-school study she is conducting on non-religious leaders. She is exploring how such individuals establish credibility when many Americans equate morality with religion.
The Robert G. Ingersoll Birthplace Museum will celebrate its Silver Anniversary in August, prompting Paul Heffron, our chapter historian, to offer these reflections.
Although I completed a PhD program in American studies at the University of Minnesota, I don't recall being made aware of Robert Ingersoll, one of the most prominent political, legal, and cultural figures of 19th-century America.
Have you ever wondered how Humanists of Minnesota got its start? It’s more dramatic than you might think, involving insurance fraud and murder. Paul Heffron, our chapter historian, was in the middle of the action and tells the story here.
Toastmasters clubs, which are devoted to public speaking and leadership, can be found all around the globe. But the Twin Cities hosts a club with an unusual mission--to offer humanists, secularists, atheists, or other freethinkers a supportive environment to discourse on subjects that interest them.
Humanists of Minnesota members Jerry Smith and Mark Thoson started D-Cubed, a monthly discussion group, three years ago. Mary McLeod and George Kane, who attend the sessions regularly, offer a look behind the scenes.
When you receive a diagnosis of ALS, your world closes in on you so quickly, you feel like you might suffocate right there in the doctor’s office. For me, it was late on a cold December afternoon, and I couldn't get out of the Mayo Clinic fast enough.
What’s the difference between humanism and Unitarian Universalism? This is a genuine question for me, even though I once chaired a UU board and have been a Humanists of Minnesota member for several years now.
David Perry is a former Humanists of Minnesota board member and HofMN member since 1997. He’s been a teacher for over 25 years, most recently working as a bilingual math and science teacher for the Minneapolis Public Schools.His quest to get a principal or assistant principal job led him to an unexpected place this school year.