Category: Board Commentary

Fox News: Conspiracies R Us

By Harlan Garbell

Recently I googled the term “conspiracy theory” and the first thing that popped up was a definition that states “a belief that some covert but influential organization is responsible for a circumstance or event.”
I have to believe that conspiracy theories have always been part of the fabric of human society.

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Trump May Be One of the Most Consequential Presidents in U.S. History

By Harlan Garbell

As young students, Americans learn that the most consequential presidents in our history were, generally speaking, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and Franklin Delano Roosevelt. I believe there is a good chance that Donald Trump will also become one of the most consequential presidents in our history — albeit for dramatically different reasons.

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Anti-Semitism: A Personal Story

By Harlan Garbell

As some of my friends and colleagues in HumanistsMN know, I was born and raised in a Jewish household. When I was a child, my father, the son of recent Russian-Jewish immigrants, would often tell me stories of his own childhood in the mean streets of  Chicago’s West Side during the 1920s and 30s. Many of these stories seemed like they came from a different world. The recurring themes were things I fortunately never experienced: poverty, violence, and pervasive racial and religious discrimination. 

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HumanistsMN: The Way Forward

By Harlan Garbell

In our May newsletter, I set out my vision for the next two years should I be elected president of HumanistsMN. It was, simply, for HMN to become the leading secular organization in the metro area for “nones” — the growing number of people without religious affiliation — who are seeking a welcoming, ethically based community. This vision can only become a reality if the members of our community pull together to make it happen.

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To Audrey, With Gratitude

By Harlan Garbell

I first met Audrey Kingstrom at a bar in Uptown. (No, it’s not what you may be thinking.) Audrey was hosting a happy hour Meetup for Humanists of Minnesota and I overcame my inertia to go. The Humanists seemed like an interesting group and the venue wasn’t far from where I live.

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Secular Humanism Is the Foundation of Democracy

By Audrey Kingstrom

Audrey Kingstrom made the following remarks at the National Day of Reason in Minnesota breakfast at the State Capitol on May 2: We are here today to reassert the narrative that our democracy, our government, is rooted in secularism. Democracy is a social contract in which the authority to govern comes from the people – not some higher power.

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Humanism: Using Our Own Good Fortune for the Greater Good

By Audrey Kingstrom

Hardly a day goes by when the misfortune, violence, and tragedy that befalls people around the world does not hang over me like a dark cloud. I dutifully read the Star Tribune and listen to NPR and can’t escape the grim news.

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Spitting in the Soup: America’s Health Care Mess

By Harlan Garbell

When Lyndon Johnson was the Majority Leader of the United States Senate, he had a notorious reputation as a deal maker who would vigorously browbeat balky senators until he got the outcome he wanted. One of his favorite sayings to these senators was ,“Don’t spit in the soup, we all gotta eat.” Essentially, what he meant was that there was plenty of government largesse for everyone as long as no one objected too much to some other senator’s wasteful pork barrel project.

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The Times They Are A-Changin’ – for Secular Voters

By Audrey Kingstrom

The new, historic 116th U.S. Congress is in session. It is comprised of more women, more women of color, more openly LGBTQ+ members, and a lot more millennials – from just five to twenty-six. Wow! The times they are a-changin,’ to quote the iconic Bob Dylan anthem of the 1960s.

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Branding Exercise Aims to Help Bring Humanism to a Wider Audience

By Audrey Kingstrom

Thanks to everyone who completed the branding survey Humanists of Minnesota undertook last November with the design firm Imagehaus. The Board very much appreciates the participation of our members and friends. HofMN member Amparo Gonzalez won our participation lottery and will receive a $50 gift card.

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A Primer for the Shy Humanist

By Harlan Garbell

The average Humanists of Minnesota member may not know that our board members have a job description. Although we are not explicitly required to proselytize, we are required to appropriately represent the organization and its values. Personally, however, I am always looking to proactively get our message out. Taking on this type of responsibility presents a dilemma for me as I am, unfortunately, a card-carrying introvert–with the test results to prove it.  

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Post Election, We Must Preserve America’s Core Values

By Audrey Kingstrom

How are you feeling now that the midterm elections are almost over. As I write this at the end of October, I don’t know if I’ll be cheering or grieving the morning after. However, no clairvoyance is needed to predict that the country will be awash in emotional outbursts of one sort or another. For some, it will be a great day, for others not so much.

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Be a Secular Values Voter

By Audrey Kingstrom

The “nones.” You’d never know there were so many of us because, as a recently designated demographic cohort, we go by many different names and identities – humanist, atheist, agnostic, the “unaffiliated,” skeptic, freethinker, lapsed (insert former religious identity), “spiritual but not religious,” or nothing at all. Hence, our political leaders don’t pay attention to us. It’s time we change that!

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Summer Time and Summer Love

By Audrey Kingstrom

It’s early August and I’m feeling wistful. I just turned another year older and I’m already anticipating the end of summer. While I’m reticent to acknowledge another birthday, I remind myself of the alternative of not chalking up one more year. As for summer, I treasure the long days, balmy nights, and less structured time. I love how summer evokes a sense of timelessness when the garden beckons and delights, vacation days have their own ebb and flow, and starry nights offer a glimpse of eternity.

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WHAT IS HUMANISM’S ELEVATOR SPEECH?

By Audrey Kingstrom

Can humanism be defined in a nutshell? I’m not so sure. Most of us are hard pressed to concisely explain humanism to the uninitiated when asked. We don’t have our elevator speeches down cold. And we’re not predisposed to soundbites. That characteristic may be lacking in the DNA of the average humanist. ?

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