HumanistsMN (HMN) is deeply distressed at the violent death of George Floyd on May 25, 2020, while detained by members of the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD). As humanists, we believe in the dignity of all human beings and in racial justice, two principles that were severely violated in this case. As a result, the Board …
Timothy DenHerder-Thomas, co-founder and general manager of Cooperative Energy Futures, spoke about “Energy Democracy,” making the case for a powerful solar model. Elizabeth Dickinson, a board member with Community Power MN, discussed ways St. Paul 350 is working to promote energy democracy and renewable energy.
By Harlan Garbell
As we know, the Covid-19 pandemic forced all local “non-essential” business activities that involve close human interaction to shut down. Even many “essential” economic activities have suffered during this public health crisis. As a result, wage earners without sufficient savings have been hard pressed to cover their routine living expenses, including most importantly, food.
The Secular Week of Action, which takes place from May 1 to 10, aims to mobilize secular people across the country to demonstrate our shared commitment to making this world, here and now, a better place. This year’s emphasis will be on offering a compassionate response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
By Ross Meisner
I am a secular humanist, an atheist, and a proud member of HumanistsMN. And I am running for the Minnesota State Senate in the Fridley/Columbia Heights area. It’s a strange experience to run for public office: part issues advocacy, part popularity contest, part punching bag, and part community therapist. The motivation to run came after years of general activism and community support, when my professional and personal environment allowed me to embrace the mantra to be part of the solution. What most energizes me is the possibility of bringing clear-headed and unflinching secular values to the MN legislature.
By Harlan Garbell
The title of this column is from the famous novel of the last years of the Weimar Republic in Germany, Kleiner Mann, Was Nun? (Little Man, What Now?). Written by Hans Fallada in 1932, it is the story of a struggling family as they try to navigate the years after the stock market crash of 1929, including the early years of the Great Depression. Rest assured I didn’t read this book because I wanted to. It was assigned reading in my second-year college German language class.
The speaker at our March community gathering, Michele Braley, discussed “restorative justice,” which brings together offenders, victims, and the community to find ways to repair the injuries of crimes. She contrasted this approach to the “retributive process” used in the Western legal system, whereby the state assigns punishment “to fit the crime.” Braley is program …
By Ellie Haylund
It’s an odd juxtaposition. Imagine the city center of Amsterdam, The Netherlands, March 2019. Tourists from absolutely everywhere in the world bobbing and weaving across the historic hub. On our street, just a few blocks from the notorious, but remarkably commercial, Red Light District, things are tamer but buzzing. Canal tour boats pass periodically, bikers whiz by, and passersby are mostly locals.
One year later: March 2020. A city nearly overrun with tourists year-round has been silenced.
By Paul Heffron Andrew L. Seidel, The Founding Myth: Why Christian Nationalism Is Un-American (Sterling, 2019). When the U.S. Constitution was presented to the states, some clergy and theologians complained bitterly because there was no Christian foundation in the document, no mention of God or the Bible. Instead it began with “We the people,” allowed …
The following is written by a HumanistsMN member who wishes to remain anonymous.
During the current public health crisis, families’ incomes are being lost and kids and parents may soon be going hungry. Need is currently at an all-time high, and there is no way to know how long this will last, or how bad it will be. Young, developing brains need good nutrition to maintain their optimal development. These kids are the future workforce, and will determine our futures as well. And this time, the humanitarian crisis is perched on our own doorsteps.
HumanistsMN has worked hard to keep your annual membership dues affordable and easy to pay. We have now introduced two options to make payments even easier and more affordable. For all HMN members (excluding Student and Trial members): If you pay your annual dues online, you can now choose to have your membership automatically renewed on your anniversary date each year. No more having to add this to your “to do” list, trying to remember to do it, and filling in all the details again!
By Harlan Garbell
Like many of you I have a fascination with history. Even as a child, I was always curious about historical events and how the future, for better or worse, was shaped by them. For example, one of my favorite television shows in the 50s was “You Are There,” where each week there was a dramatization of an actual historic event, like the assassination of Julius Caesar. Somehow I intuitively understood early on that history was important to understanding the present. Conversely, as I have aged I have come to realize ironically that you can also better understand the past from living through events in the present.
We are currently witnessing the passing of political power from one generation to another. The prolific and entertaining political science pundit Prof. David Shultz from Hamline University provided a lively and insightful analysis of this political shift at our February community gathering.
As many of you know by now, our friend and long-time HumanistsMN member Dick Segers died last week in an automobile accident. Although I was not a close friend of Dick’s, I did have many occasions over the years to be in his company at HMN meetings and other events, including his several appearances at my Coffee and Current Events Meetup group.Colorful and articulate, Dick had a unique view of the world around him.