by Bjorn Watland
On a crisp November evening at the University of Minnesota, a surprisingly large crowd gathered in a basement auditorium to hear from Sunsara Taylor, an unapologetic Revolutionary Communist and militant atheist. Hearing the views of a communist isn't as shocking as it may be in other arenas of the public; however, it isn't often that a communist will admit that they're also an atheist. Taylor is not ashamed of either her Revolutionary Communism, or her atheism, as she presented Bob Avakian's book, Away With All Gods.
Taylor's presentation began with a description of the horrors that await readers of the bible. "I wouldn't give this book to young children to read," Taylor said. She called the bible, "the most blood-thirsty book," mentioning specifics such as the practice of stoning women who were not virgins on their wedding night; God commanding soldiers to kill children, men, and women who have known a man, but to leave the virgins for themselves; and the series of plagues sent by God.
Taylor claimed that the New and Old Testaments can not be separated from each other, as some more progressive Christians try to do. Jesus is often separated from the horrors of the Old Testament, however, by what basis would you consider Jesus to the divine without fulfillment of the prophecies found within the Old Testament? "Jesus is not someone you would want to follow or should follow," Taylor exclaimed. "He didn't end slavery; instead he taught how slaves should be obedient to their masters. He didn't stop patriarchy. He continued to preach that disease and illness are caused by sin."
Nominations for the Minnesota Atheists board of directors will occur at our January 18, 2009 meeting at the Roseville Library and elections will be held at our February 15, 2009 meeting. Nominations will open and close at the January 18 meeting. We will publish and mail candidates' statements prior to the February 15 meeting elections.
There are nine positions to fill, elected in the following order: President, Associate President, Chair, Associate Chair, Treasurer, Secretary, and three Directors-at-Large. Our bylaws provide that anyone who runs for one position and loses may run again for any other position that has not yet been elected.
Some incumbents will be running for reelection but there will also be some vacant seats. All terms are for one year. Now is your chance to step forward and help guide Minnesota Atheists!
Candidates for all but the three director-at-large positions must have been members of Minnesota Atheists for at least one year as of the time they assume office, March 1, 2009. Candidates for the three director-at-large positions must have members for six months.
You must be nominated by another Minnesota Atheists member. You cannot nominate yourself. You need not be present to be nominated. (If you wish to nominate someone not at the January 18 meeting, please check beforehand to make sure that person is willing to serve if elected.)
Nominees should send candidate's statements (up to 150 words) to the MNA newsletter editors firstname.lastname@example.org by January 24, 2009. We would also like to have a jpg headshot of each candidate.
For more information, contact the editorial staff at email@example.com.
by August Berkshire
For many years, Minnesota Atheists has published a combined November-December newsletter. This is because the main thing that happens in December is our winter solstice party, which we advertise in the November-December newsletter and often with a special separate mailing in December, as we did this year.
Furthermore, the production of a newsletter takes dozens of hours that our volunteers often find hard to offer amidst the many parties and family gatherings that occur in December.
Finally, we try to save the organization (our members) money where we can.
However, at the suggestion of Bjorn and Jeannette Watland, we decided to try an experiment that would cost us nothing and would provide those of us who desire it with our monthly installment of local atheist news and comment. We decided to publish a December e-newsletter.
There are some atheist groups that have totally abandoned paper newsletters (if they ever had them in the first place). Call me old-fashioned, and some of you young whippersnappers under age 30 will, but I still like holding and reading a paper newsletter in my hands, rather than squinting at a computer screen.
Besides, it's easy to forget to read one e-mail out of the hundred I get each day. In contrast, I get about ten pieces of snail mail a day, half of which I quickly and easily toss into recycling. This makes it easy to spot my buff-colored Minnesota Atheists newsletter and set it aside for later reading in my commodious reading room.
But, I realize that the internet is the future that is upon us. Resistance is futile. So, enjoy this "bonus" issue of our newsletter. And rest assured that anything of great importance to our members - such as the announcement of our annual elections - will be repeated in the January 2009 paper newsletter.
August Berkshire is the President of Minnesota Atheists and the Vice President of Atheist Alliance International.