Category: Humanist Community Gatherings

HumanistsMN sponsors monthly gatherings for our community at 3 p.m. on the third Saturday of the month. Everyone is welcome at these free get-togethers. We host engaging speakers on humanism, social issues, political affairs, science, and other topics of interest to world citizens. And we catch up with our friends and meet newcomers at a social hour with drinks and snacks. We take a break in June, July, and August, when we hold outdoor picnics with other secular groups.

January 2023: The Fight Against Christian Nationalism

Our January Community Gathering focused on the fight against Christian nationalism in Minnesota.  Sen. John Marty and Rep. Mike Freiberg discussed their work as co-chairs of the Legislature’s new Secular Government Caucus. Matt Lewellyn-Otten of OutFront Minnesota, an LGBTQ rights group, described the goals of the new Rights, Faith, and Democracy Coalition,  which aims to drive messaging against the codification of Christianity into law.

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November 2022: The Elections Are Over — Now What?

Two political experts spoke at our November Community Gathering about the results of the midterm elections.

Christopher Chapp, associate professor of political science at St. Olaf College, dissected the Congressional elections, including an exit poll that he supervised of voters in the Minnesota race between Democrat Angie Craig and Republic Tyler Kirstner.Torey Van Oot, a …

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October 2022 Community Gathering: The Roberts Supreme Court

Timothy Johnson, professor of law and political science at the University of Minnesota, discussed the partisan nature of the current U.S. Supreme Court, the most conservative in history. Under the leadership of John Roberts, the court has overturned precedents —- for example, the Roe v. Wade ruling granting a constitutional right to abortion — in a way that has upended legal tradition.

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September 2022: “You Are Evil and You Must Be Destroyed”

Our September Community Gathering featuring Seth Andrews, host of the Thinking Atheist podcast and online community, attracted a record audience. About 100 people, including several from out of town, came to hear Seth talk about “regaining our humanity in an inhumane world.”

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May 2022: Annual Meeting Elects Board Members, Revises Bylaws, Discusses Priorities

At the May annual meeting, HumanistsMN members elected new board members, revised our bylaws, heard reports about programming and finances, and met in small groups to discuss HMN priorities.

Board Election. Members elected two new HMN Board members, Abigail Jackson and Stephanie Schwinn. They reelected Seth Engman to a two-year term and David Guell to …

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April 2022: The Science of Mental Immunity

Andy Norman, author of the book Mental Immunity and director of the Humanism Initiative at Carnegie Mellon University,  spoke at our April Community Gathering about ways we can inoculate ourselves against irrational thinking and conspiracy theories.

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March 2022: The Humanities Thrive with Justice for All

Kevin Lindsey, Chief Executive Officer of the Minnesota Humanities Center, spoke to our March Community Gathering about the center’s work and the importance of promoting humanities for a more just world.

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February 2022: Dastardly Deeds in the Name of Science

Science is usually a force for good in the world. But science writer Sam Kean, who spoke at our February Community Gathering, discussed cases where obsession led scientists to twist a noble pursuit into something sinister. cited three examples from his latest book, “The Icepick Surgeon: Murder, Fraud, Sabotage, Piracy, and Other Dastardly Deeds Perpetrated in the Name of Science.”

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January 2022: Christian Nationalism and the Jan. 6 Insurrection

The Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol showed to the world that Christian nationalism is more than just a scholarly debate about whether the United States was founded as a Christian nation, Andrew Seidel told our January Community Gathering. “It is a violent, exclusionary movement bent on seizing power in the here and now,” he said.

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November 2021: Building a Collaborative Model of Leadership

To solve our most pressing problems, we should move toward the more collaborative style of leadership practiced by women, Mikki Morrissette, publisher of the Minnesota Women’s Press, told our October Community Gathering.

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October 2021: The Evolution of Religion – What Comes Next?

People are increasingly turning away from traditional religion, but the human yearning for meaning and connection has not disappeared, James Croft,  Leader of the Ethical Society of St. Louis, told our October Community Gathering. He urged humanists to build a stronger movement to help meet those needs without the negative baggage of religion.

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May 2021: Annual Meeting Reviews Past Year, Elects Board Members, Votes on Bylaws

HumanistsMN members met for an online annual meeting in May.  They elected a new Board of Directors, voted on proposed changes to the HMN bylaws, and reviewed the last fiscal year’s activities and finances.
Our organization had many accomplishments last year, including a record-high membership, strong programming despite the pandemic (thanks especially to Program Coordinator Audrey Kingstrom), a healthy budget, and vibrant social-action and community-service programs.

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April 2021: Battle for the Future of Food

A battle is percolating across the globe over the future of food between small-scale farmers and multinational agribusiness, a topic explored at our April Community Gathering by speaker Timothy Wise, author and analyst for the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy.

Wise said policymakers have doubled down on a destructive model of agriculture that relies, …

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March 2021: Solidarity Amid the “Other” Pandemics

Bill Hart, head of the religious studies department at Macalester College, discussed the need for solidarity in the face of the “other” pandemics in our society such as anti-blackness, gender bias, and political lies.

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February 2021: Free Speech and Disinformation

Law professor Mike Steenson spoke at our February Community Gathering about the history of the First Amendment and free-speech guarantees in the United States. He discussed a variety of Supreme Court rulings over the years, for example those that upheld the Sedition Act in World War I,  barred states from requiring Jehovah’s witnesses to salute the  U.S. flag, upheld the right of Westboro Baptist Church members to hold anti-gay protests outside military funerals,  and restricted the ability of public figures to sue newspapers for defamation.

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