Category: Board Commentary

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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The Virus That Won’t Go Away

By Harlan Garbell

It is May 2018 and I am still trying to process the political events of November 2016. Similar to other life events people experience, like the sudden loss of a job or the ending of a relationship, the election of Trump left me disoriented, confused, angry.

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Atheism Alone Will Not Make a Better World

Audrey Kingstrom

What if everyone in the world were an atheist? Would our problems be solved? Hardly. Would the world be a better place? I’d like to think so, but the evidence to date is inconclusive. Throughout history awful things have been done in the name of religion as well as positive things. Likewise, awful deeds have been done by the godless as well as noble deeds for the well-being of all.

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Really, the End of Work? Will Robots Raise Our Children? 

By Audrey Kingstrom

I find discussions about the “end of work” due to artificial intelligence and automation just a tad overstated and dire. But then, by my sights, it’s mostly men who are sounding the alarm. Perhaps that’s because men have been defining work for far too long.

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2017: A Year of Change for Humanists of Minnesota

By Audrey Kingstrom

The year 2017 brought many new developments to Humanists of Minnesota. These efforts took a lot of work on the back end for the Board and diligent member-volunteers, but for the record and the benefit of the entire membership, here’s an overview of what transpired this past year.

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Who Really Won the 2016 Election?

By Harlan Garbell

Many of you reading this are likely familiar with the late writer and purported philosopher Ayn Rand, even if you have never actually read any of her articles or books. The privileged daughter of a prosperous businessman in St. Petersburg, Russia, her family lost it all in the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917. 

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‘Tis the Season of Excess, But Also of Joy and Wonder

By Audrey Kingstrom

‘Tis the season of excess. But then for most Americans, every season–and day and month and year–is a time of excess. The American economy and increasingly the world economy is based on excess. Economic growth is the mantra for keeping us all personally, emotionally, physically, socially, and politically healthy and thriving. 

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Politics and Our ‘Devil-in-Chief’

By Harlan Garbell

A key principle of humanism is rejection of the belief that a supernatural force or being is responsible for what happens on Earth (or anywhere in the universe for that matter). When it comes to politics, however, I’m not so sure anymore.

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