News and Notes

By George Kane

george head smallThe October issue of our newsletter included an article by Minnesota Atheists’ Associate President Eric Jayne on the voter photo ID constitutional amendment on the November ballot. Beneath the banner the Editor ran a disclaimer stating “The opinions expressed herein are solely those of Eric Jayne and are not necessarily those of Minnesota Atheists.” This may have led new readers of the newsletter to wonder if Minnesota Atheists has official political positions – and, if so, how those positions fit with their own.

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October Atheists Talk TV Show Report

By Steve Petersen

Cable Photo parentsAudrey Kingstrom and Kevin Eich, founders of the Secular Parenting Group, discussed their reasons for creating the group and their recent activities. They noted the importance of children having a sense of community and the need to celebrate special events in our lives and in the changing of the season, without having to tie these events in with religiosity. Along with guest Rhonda, the three guests offered suggestions of books to share with children on values, evolution, diversity, religion, and finding wonder in the world. Kevin suggested visiting the Kochar Humanist Education Center's website and the Northwest Center for Philosophy for Children to obtain more resources. He also noted the books Raising Freethinkers and Nurture Shock as valuable tools for parenting. James Zimmerman hosted.

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Pew Review

By George Kane

george head smallThe number of Americans who are religiously unaffiliated is growing rapidly, according to a poll by the Pew Research Center that was released on October 9. That report states:

In 1972, only 7% of the adults in America were religiously unaffiliated. That number now stands just under 20%. In the last five years alone, the unaffiliated have increased from just over 15%, an increase of about a third. Their ranks now include more than 13 million self-described atheists and agnostics (nearly 6% of the U.S. public), as well as nearly 33 million people who say they have no particular religious affiliation (14%).

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How the 2012 Election Affects State-Church Separation

david pacheroConsiderable attention in the press has been focused on the constitutional amendment referendum to forbid the state to recognize same-sex marriages. This is the ballot measure with which we at Minnesota Atheists are most concerned, because the only serious reason in support of the amendment is ancient bigotry based on religion. Additionally, there are candidates who have stated their intention to use the government to benefit religion and serve God. Minnesota is not unique – there are issues like this all over the country. Referendums prohibiting recognition of same-sex marriage will also be on the ballot in Maryland, Maine, and Washington State. In Florida there will be a referendum to amend the state constitution to permit the government to pay revenues from the public treasury directly to churches.

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Vote NO...Twice!

By Eric Jayne

eric.mug.1Editorial. The opinions expressed herein are solely those of Eric Jayne and are not necessarily those of Minesota Atheists.

Voters will be going to their polling place in just a couple of weeks. Besides voting for state legislators, U.S. legislators, and president, Minnesotans will also be voting on two constitutional amendments. One of the amendments is unfairly restrictive and based on mythical beliefs that breeds—and stems from—irrational fear. The other amendment would constitutionally ban same sex marriage.

Of course, the anti-marriage amendment is horribly restrictive and has its own myth-based, fear-mongered roots but the atheist case against it appears more obvious. That’s why I want to take a moment to discuss the proposed voter restriction amendment from the critically thinking atheist perspective. My feeling is that the voter restriction amendment conflicts with the skeptical point of view and humanistic values.

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