Category: Humanist Voices

Local Humanist Leaders Explore Ways to Make Humanism Thrive

By Richard Logan

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? A panel of local humanist leaders explored those questions on Oct. 11 at First Unitarian Society of Minneapolis.

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Why I Write — And Why You Should Too

By Mary McLeod

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.”

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First-Person Humanism: Engaging the Younger Generation

By Michael Rauser

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.

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Getting in Touch with My Inner Conservative

By Harlan Garbell

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.

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Chris Stedman: The Development of a Remarkable Humanist Leader

By Mary McLeod

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.

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First-Person Humanism: A Passion to Help Others With Mental Illness

By Mick Anderson

People are often drawn to humanism because they have a passion about something that really matters in their lives. During the last six months I have met a lot of wonderful humanists who fit in that category. Let me tell you about one of my passions (besides my children, grandchildren, and music): helping others who have mental illnesses like depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or anxiety disorders.

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Remembering Matt Stark

By Paul Heffron

Matt Stark died on April 10 at age 88. You may have seen tributes in newspapers and freethought publications describing what a major force he was for civil rights in his positions with the American Civil Liberties Union in Minnesota. In his later years he and his wife, Terri, wintered in Florida, and he was less active when they were home in Minneapolis.

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Coffee Is Not Just for Closers

By Harlan Garbell

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. Now that I have your attention: If you like coffee, but are not a “closer,” yet interested in politics and current events, come join other like-minded people for lively conversation on the second Friday of every month

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How Non-Religious Leaders Establish Credibility

By Sarah Kruger Hilger

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.

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Appreciating Robert Ingersoll, the Humanistic Freethinker

By Paul Heffron

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.

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The Founding of Humanists of Minnesota: A Story Worthy of Alfred Hitchcock

By Paul Heffron

In the spring of 1986, American Humanist Association (AHA) members in the Twin Cities area were called to a meeting at the First Unitarian Society in Minneapolis. About 20 of us showed up. Jean Goins, a local resident who was an AHA board member, asked us to consider starting a local AHA chapter. I was surprised to discover that another chapter already existed, founded and incorporated by someone named Leonard Richards.

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Humanist Podcasts Explore What It Means to Lose Your Religion

By Seth Engman

No god, now what? That’s a question many of us humanists have to face whether we are leaving behind individual beliefs or diverging from our communities of family, friends, neighbors, and colleagues. This is especially true for Bart Campolo, host of the “Humanize Me” podcast, and Ryan Bell, host of the “Life After God” podcast.

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Freethought Toastmasters: Discussion of Religion and Politics Encouraged

By George Francis Kane

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.

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D-Cubed: Uniting Humanists for Critical Thinking (and Food)

By Mary McLeod and George Kane

D-Cubed engages humanists in Discussions, occasional Debate (mild disagreement), and Dinner at a local, hand-picked watering hole. Thus the title, D-Cubed. The discussions, held every second Saturday and Sunday in area library meeting rooms, touch on a wide range of political, social, and philosophical issues.

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An ALS Diagnosis Sparks Advocacy on Medical Aid in Dying

By Bobbi Jacobsen

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.

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