News and Notes

By George Kane

The separation of church and state triumphed in the case Freedom from Religion Foundation v Obama in April when District Judge Barbara B. Crabb, presiding at the United States District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin, ruled that the National Day of Prayer violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. She struck down the National Day of Prayer, Title 36 US Code § 119, as amended in 2003, according to which “The President shall issue each year a proclamation designating the first Thursday in May as a National Day of Prayer on which the people of the United States may turn to God in prayer and meditation at churches, in groups, and as individuals.” Crabb ruled:


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June Festivals: Volunteers Needed

Saturday, June 19, 10:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m.
Minnesota Atheists will have a booth at the Juneteenth Festival again this year. It is one of the ways in which we reach out to communities that are underrepresented in the organized atheist movement. Juneteenth commemorates the day, in 1865, when news of the Emancipation Proclamation reached Texas. The festival takes place at North Mississippi Regional Park in Minneapolis (east side of Hwy. 94 North and 49th Ave. North). (Note: The Camden Bridge crossing the Mississippi River on 42nd Ave. N. is closed for repairs.) If you would be willing to help staff our booth, please contact August Berkshire at (612) 284-4495.

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By August Berkshire

This year we once again plan to have a booth at the Juneteenth Celebration, held in north Minneapolis on Saturday, June 19th. As a bonus, we are hoping to have a special presentation later that week by one of our members that we will advertise at the event. African-Americans are greatly underrepresented in the organized atheist community (as are all racial minorities) and we wish to correct this.

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Book Review: Don't Be Such a Scientist

By Grant Steves

Minnesota Atheists does not identify as a proselytizing organization. However, we do believe in informing and educating the community about atheism. Many atheists would benefit from the book, Don’t Be Such a Scientist by Randy Olson. He has been a professor of marine biology who left to pursue a career in film making. In his pursuit of a film career, he has helped to make science more accessible to those who have no science background and to those who need to communicate more successfully to that audience of uninformed.


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April Membership Meeting Provided No Exit From Existentialism

By George Kane

Dr. Nick Pease, adjunct professor at the University of Minnesota, presented a lecture on the moral philosophy of Jean-Paul Sartre at our public meeting on April 18 at the Ridgedale Library. Dr. Pease explained that Sartre focused on the role of the individual in creating meaning and value in life through his actions. However, each individual also has freedom of choice, and therefore cannot escape responsibility for his actions. That responsibility, in Sartre’s moral construct, is to act authentically in representation of the individual’s values.

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