Obsessed by Current Events, I Revisit the Past

By Harlan Garbell

I am writing this article in September 2020. The country is in the midst of a horrific seven-month long pandemic where the death toll has just reached 200,000. All of these folks died a horrible death leaving loved ones and friends to grieve. The economy is in tatters, with record numbers of people queuing up in their cars for hours to get a bag of groceries for their families. And of course, most of this could have been avoided if our incompetent, corrupt, and malevolent president would have just thought of others instead of his own political needs.

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New Member Spotlight: Candee Schlicht

Joined HumanistsMN: April 2020, shortly after meetings went online.

Profession/Residence: I am a software consultant specializing in web development. I live in Eden Prairie and have worked for several companies in Minneapolis and the western suburbs.

How she discovered us: I  had been visiting the website for a while before joining a meeting on mindful creativity.

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HMN Author Describes His Journey From Evangelical Pastor to Atheist

By Suzanne Perry

As someone who grew up in a religious household but became an atheist as a young adult, I’m drawn to stories about people who have made similar journeys. In The Rise and Fall of Faith, Drew Bekius brilliantly charts the highs (being true to yourself) and lows (losing connections to people and once-cherished institutions).

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A New Steampunk Murder Mystery from HMN’s Tyler Tork

Congratulations to Tyler Tork (aka HMN member Andre Guirard), whose new book is hot off the (digital) presses! Tyler describes Deep End as “a steampunk murder mystery-rebel kidnapping-stabby-poisoning romance adventure with rolling pins and spells.” The protagonist, Marlee, tries to keep family members who are scheming against her from suspecting she has no memory of …

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New Member Spotlight: Drew Bekius

Joined HumanistsMN: I moved to the Twin Cities from Chicago in October 2018 and started getting active in the local humanist community soon thereafter. Joined HumanistsMN in July 2020.

Profession/Residence: A former evangelical pastor, I served in nonprofit leadership roles and in personal coaching for a little over 20 years. I now work as a financial adviser to nonprofits and other high-impact professionals. I’ve also written a couple books and live with my two teenage daughters in St. Louis Park.

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Reimagining the ‘Dark Ages’ for the 21st Century

By Harlan Garbell

You remember the “Dark Ages,” don’t you? Not personally, of course, but from that World History course you took in high school, or perhaps college. In case you slept through that class, the Dark Ages was that period in European history between the fall of the Roman Empire and the Renaissance, generally between the 5th and 14th centuries.

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I Remember Otto 

By Paul Heffron

Otto Link, a longtime HumanistsMN member, died in May in California. For inspiration by the life of an outstanding humanist, I encourage you to read the obituary just published in the StarTribune. I remember Otto in the many conversations we had at meetings, Winter Solstice parties, banquets, and picnics.

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Voting Information and Get Out the Vote Ideas

Hello, HumanistsMN Members:
As election season draws near, the coronavirus pandemic has underlined the importance of fighting for public policy that reflects humanist values, for example science-based decision-making, affordable health care, help for people in need, and racial equality.

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The Summer of Our Discontent

By Harlan Garbell

The American people are not very happy right now. This year the National Opinion Research Center (NORC) asked people about their personal happiness. Only 14 percent of the respondents indicated that they were “very happy,” the lowest on record. Moreover, 23 percent expressed unhappiness, the highest percentage recorded by NORC since 1972. I don’t think those of you reading this would find these findings particularly surprising considering the events of the past few months.  

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Revisiting the Feminist Struggle on the 100th Anniversary of Women’s Suffrage

By Audrey Kingstrom

It’s hardly news to anyone who knows me at all that I readily identify with the labels of “feminist” and “social activist.”  So over the past few weeks, as I watched the Hulu docudrama and miniseries “Mrs. America,” about the struggle for passage of the Equal Rights Amendment, I kept wondering how I missed so much of what was going on in the 1970s.

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A Personal Take on Government Support for Clergy

By Paul Heffron

The new federal CARES Act, designed to offset hardships because of the COVID-19 crisis, has highlighted again the controversy over government support of religion. CARES provides loans to cover the payrolls of businesses and nonprofits that have been harmed economically by the virus-related shutdowns. They are forgiven if the recipients keep their workers on staff.

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May 2020: HMN Programs, Social Action, and Outreach

Participants at HumanistsMN’s annual meeting, which took place over Zoom on May 11, broke into groups to discuss three topics: programs, social action, and geographical outreach. Suggestions from those sessions included engaging top-notch national speakers for our monthly community gatherings, giving priority to the environment in our advocacy work, and working with secular groups and …

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‘Say His Name’: A Protest Diary

By Christine Retkwa

In this time of COVID-19, I do not need to shop or get my hair cut or go to the gym.  I do need to risk exposing myself to protest someone’s life being squished out of them like they were an insect while in yet another act of inhumanity. 

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Little Wheels, Big Wheels: The Death of George Floyd

By Harlan Garbell

The death of George Floyd while in the police custody, and the ensuing protests, have shocked our community as no other event since I arrived in Minneapolis in 1994. When my wife and I moved from Chicago into our house near Cedar Lake, we really had no clue as to the historical racial or religious divisions in the “City of Lakes.” We just loved this beautiful city. (Of course, we first came to Minneapolis in May.) As a newcomer to the Twin Cities, one of the first things I did was watch the local evening news. I figured this was the quickest way to learn about our new environs.

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HumanistsMN Elects Four Board Members

HumanistsMN elected four people to fill two-year, at-large positions on the Board of Directors at the annual meeting on May 11.  Seth Engman, Christine Retkwa, and Marcy Woodruff were reelected to their second terms and John Walker won his first term.

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