By George Kane
The Final Exit Network provides counseling and instruction to those who wish to end their lives. According to their web site, "Final Exit Network is the only organization in the United States that will help individuals who are not ‘terminally ill' - 6 months or less to live - to hasten their deaths." Our speaker for the April 19 public meeting, Jerry Dincin, became the president of FEN one month ago, when the previous president, Ted Goodwin, was arrested by the state of Georgia for alleged direct participation in the suicide of a long-time member. The arrest of several FEN officers and the seizure of all of their bank accounts culminated a multi-state sting operation.
Opposition to assisted suicide is based on religious conviction of the "sanctity of life," to the exclusion of consideration for the quality of life and for personal dignity. When, after several trials, Dr. Jack Kevorkian was convicted in Michigan and sent to prison, Minnesota Atheists recognized him in absentia with an award for his courageous defiance of religion-based law in service to his clients. The Final Exit Network follows the path Dr. Kevorkian blazed in support of the self-determination of life outcomes.
Jerry Dincin will speak not only of the mission of the Final Exit Network, but we hope also of the criminal case against them in Georgia. Due to his flight schedule, his presentation will begin at 1:00, and will conclude by 2:30. For this meeting we will return to the Ridgedale Library, 12601 Ridgedale Drive, Minnetonka. The Business Meeting will follow afterward, and at 4:00 there will be a dinner buffet at Wanderer's Garden, 13059 Ridgedale Drive, Minnetonka.
By Steve Petersen and James Zimmerman
In January James Zimmerman led a panel discussion with members Jack Caravela and Ryan Sutter on the Christianity of America. In Part One, they discussed America's formative years. The program began by discussing the freedom of religion many European settlers desired. Next, they discussed the beliefs and religious affiliations of the Founding Fathers. They also discussed arguments put forth by those who assert America is a Christian nation.
In Part Two, they compared the Christianity of contemporary America with several time periods in the past. They discussed the religion climate during the first decades after independence, as well as the temperance movements, abolitionists, and progressives that proliferated during the Gilded Age. They lastly address the religiosity of America during the era between the two World Wars and during the post-war years. The show concluded with Jack suggesting books to read for more information.. If you would like to help on the cable program or sponsor the program on your cable access station or have ideas for future programs please contact me at email@example.com.
By Mike Haubrich
Atheists Talk continues to be a solid outreach program for the Minnesota Atheists, and I am pleased to report that plans are in the works to branch into two separate projects related to the show.
August Berkshire is going to pilot a hybrid version of the show on KTNF radio, using his skills at outreach and dialog with the religious. There is the possibility that the new show, a shared program with a theistic co-host, may be picked up by KTNF as one of their own shows! Please show support for this project by listening and encouraging your friends to listen.
By George Kane
The first vote of the 111th Congress with significance to the separation of church and state was a success, but not everyone on the religious right realized that they had suffered a defeat. One of the provisions of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 was originally to be $10 billion for repairs and facility construction at eligible colleges. Funds were not to be available for theological seminaries, or at secular colleges for buildings used for religious instruction. Republican Senator Jim DeMint of South Carolina offered an amendment "to allow the free exercise of religion at institutions of higher education that receive (repair and reconstruction) funding." In other words, the amendment would have opened up the government funding to religious education.