The Official E-Mail Publication of the Humanists of Fort Worth
A chapter of the American Humanist Association,
and allied with the Council for Secular Humanism
January 2003 Volume 4, No. 10
E-mailed January 1, 2003
get-together was not a business meeting, per se, but was about the business of
friendship and sharing -- sharing good food and sparkling conversation.
Don and Dolores
Ruhs did most of the planning, and brought along ample contributions to the
food table. Many folks brought gourmet food and wine offerings which were
appropriately devoured. Don even serenaded the group with his melodic voice and
twanging guitar (or was it the other way around?).
The affair was
well-attended, and fun. (We're not telling you who participated, because your
editor misplaced his list of attendees. Perhaps we'll get it together in time
for the next edition.)
meeting of the Humanists of Fort Worth will be held Wednesday evening, January
8, at the Westside Unitarian Universalist Church at 6901 McCart Ave., Suite 125
in Fort Worth.
The start time will be 7 PM. Chairman Mike has scheduled a group discussion of
"What Humanism Means To Me."
There are many
forms of "humanism," including religious and secular. Some of our
members attend various churches (primarily Unitarian Universalist, but also
some others I assume). Other members are fully atheistic and some even
vehemently anti-religion. And we have some middle-grounders. The folks who
attend this meeting will try to civilly share information about the various
beliefs, and to respectfully highlight the differences.
Chairman Mike wants us to explore several administrative issues. He wants the
group to decide whether to affiliate more closely with either of the two
national Humanist organizations. Also, should we publicize our Darwin Day
meeting and/or try a different location. (More on Darwin=20 below.)
Comments: There are other decisions we need to make as a group, whether at this
meeting or in March. These include -- but are not limited to: (1) do we want to
continue with the Adopt-a-Street cleanup campaign?; (2) should we participate
in or contribute to other community, social, charitable, or
"humanistic" endeavors?; (3) should we contribute to the Westside UU
Church's rebuilding fund as a charitable contribution, or as a way of
reimbursing for our free monthly meeting space and overhead?, and if so, how
much (the sum of $25 has been proposed, as has the amount of $350); (4) how
much should our dues be, and how should they be structured (how much for
secondary/spouse members, and how much if any for partial year memberships,
etc.)?; (5) should we change our association name (from Humanists of Fort Worth
to maybe Humanists of Tarrant County, or Metroplex Humanists, or maybe to even
to Secular Humanists of ... wherever?; etc.
MESSAGE FROM THE CHAIR
This is the time of year when many
organizations and individuals take a close look at their goals and plans. Why
should the Humanists of Fort Worth be any different? Our January meeting will
be devoted to a discussion of Humanism and Humanist groups.
Both the American Humanist Association and
the Council for Secular Humanism have made offers of closer ties and increased
support. We will review what these groups stand for and make a decision as to
whether or not to affiliate more closely with them. Anyone interested in the
future of Humanism in this area should not miss this meeting.
For February, Jeff Rodriguez has found
another excellent speaker from TCU.
In March, we hold elections for new
officers. Because of other commitments, I do not intend to hold an office next
year, so begin thinking about who you would like to see assume the leadership
roles in our association. -- Mike Haney
REPEAT MESSAGE FROM THE CHAIRMAN
note: The following is repeated from the December issue because of it's
relevancy to the upcoming meeting.)
in the fall issue of Free Inquiry, which is published by the Council for
Secular Humanism, shed some light on one aspect of this question: the
difference between Secular Humanism and Religious Humanism. This in turn
relates to the question of what is a =93religion=94.
In the view of these
authors, the use of the word "religious" implies a belief in the
supernatural, which of course, they reject. The Council for Secular Humanism
draws a clear distinction in this regard between itself and the American
I am sure we
have Humanists of Fort Worth members in both the religious and the secular
camps, which might make for an interesting discussion topic at a future
versus secular humanism issue is also particularly relevant at this time
because both of the national Humanist organizations have made proposals for a
closer association with our local group.
I believe we
should try to reach a decision on whether or not to accept either of these
offers by the end of our fiscal year in March. -- Mike Haney
calendar: The Humanists of Fort Worth will hold it's monthly meeting Wednesday,
January 8 at the Westside Unitarian Universalist Church in south Fort Worth
(Just south of the first traffic light south of Alta Mesa). The business
meeting will begin at 7 PM. The pre-meeting dinner/get-together will be at
Luby's Cafeteria, 5901 S. Hulen Dr. (in southwest Fort Worth).
Chambers of TCU has agreed to speak at the February meeting. His topic will be
Darwinism and Creationism.
was born on February 12, 1809 in Shrewsbury, England. He was the British
naturalist who became famous for his theories of evolution and natural
From 1831 to
1836 Darwin served as naturalist aboard the H.M.S. Beagle on a British science
expedition around the world.
Upon his return
to London, Darwin conducted thorough research of his notes and specimens. Out
of this study grew several related theories: (1) evolution did occur; (2)
evolutionary change was gradual, requiring thousands to millions of years; (3)
the primary mechanism for evolution was a process called natural selection; and
(4) the millions of species alive today arose from a single original life form
through a branching process called "specialization."
of evolutionary selection holds that variation within species occurs randomly
and that the survival or extinction of each organism is determined by that
organism's ability to adapt to its environment. He set these theories forth in
his book called, "On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection,
or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life" (1859) or
"The Origin of Species" for short. After publication of Origin of
Species, Darwin continued to write on botany, geology, and zoology until his
death in 1882. He is buried in Westminster Abbey.
called this principle, by which each slight variation, if useful, is preserved,
by the term Natural Selection." =97 Charles Darwin from "The Origin
(Info from: http://www2.lucidcafe.com/lucidcafe/library/96feb/darwi= n.html )
meeting will feature our annual election of officers, in addition to other
Mike is prevented by other commitments from seeking another term as chairman,
and your current vice chair has neither the interest nor the qualifications for
moving into the top spot, we must elect these and other folks to lead the
organization for the coming year.
is primarily responsible for monthly meeting arrangements, programs, and
speakers. However, as Mike demonstrated, these duties can be cheerfully
delegated to others. Currently, Jeff Rodriguez chairs the Programs Committee
(and he has been aided by Joel Bailey and Don Ruhs, and perhaps others). It's
good to utilize the talents of as many members as possible, but especially our past
chairs (without overworking anyone, of course).
according to the bylaws, stands in for the chair in his or her absence, and is
responsible for the monthly newsletter. The latter duty, of course, can also be
delegated if the veecee doesn't feel up to the task. However, it is an ideal
situation if the vice chair expects to proceed as a candidate for the
Chairmanship, and uses the term to prepare for that eventual responsibility.
of course, records the meeting events, publishes official minutes, and issues
official correspondence at the request of the chairman or the board.
treasurer gets to abscond with ... er, collect, care for, and provide adequate
records of the association's funds.
thinking about these positions. If you have a vision for where this
organization should be headed, and can develop a plan for getting us there, and
can lead others to help enact that plan, then please place your hat in the
ring. In my opinion, it would be good to have preannounced candidates who can
offer a "platform" for the members to see and study prior to the
just submit the name of someone ELSE you believe ought to fulfill a particular
position. Talk to that person first to see if he or she wants the position. If
so, then do the nominating.)
there are committees to chair or participate on, and other functions of service
to the organization. (Representative to the national organizations, webmaster,
roster/mailing list maintenance, etc.) If you have interest and/or expertise in
a particular area, and want to see more or better activity in that direction,
bring it up at a meeting or mention it to the chairperson. Volunteers -- in ANY
area -- are solicited.
YOUR OFFICERS, AND HOW TO REACH THEM
Chairman: Mike Haney, 924 Roaring Springs Rd., Fort Worth 76114; Ph.
Vice Chair and Newsletter Editor: Wallace Harrison, 4163 Sarita Dr.,
Fort Worth 76109;
Secretary: Reed Bilz, 6316 Walburn Ct., Fort Worth 76133; 817-292-7974,
Treasurer: Dolores Ruhs, 1036 Hilltop Pass, Benbrook 76126-3848;
Immed. Past Chair: Shane Taylor, 3922 Rawlins, #113, Dallas 75219;
Past President and Programs Director: Jeff Rodriguez, 4901 Bryce Ave.,
#5, Fort Worth TX 76102; 817-732-4235; firstname.lastname@example.org
Past President and Webmaster: Russell Elleven, 6120 Comfort Dr., Fort
Worth TX 76132; 817-370-2171; email@example.com
INFORMATION ABOUT NATIONAL GROUPS
is a listing of some national organizations which offer solace to the
of the American Humanist Association is to be a clear, democratic voice for
Humanism in the United States, to increase public awareness and acceptance of
Humanism, to establish, protect and promote the position of Humanists in our
society, and to develop and advance Humanist thought and action. Humanism is a
progressive life stance that, without supernaturalism, affirms our ability and
responsibility to lead meaningful, ethical lives capable of adding to the
greater good of humanity.
Humanist Association, 1777 T Street, NW, Washington, DC 20009-7125; Phone:
(202) 238-9088; Toll free: (800) 837-3792; Fax: (202) 238-9003; www.aha.com; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Humanism is a way of thinking and living that aims to bring out the best in
people so that all people can have the best in life. Secular humanists reject
supernatural and authoritarian beliefs. They affirm that we must take
responsibility for our own lives and the communities and world in which we
live. Secular humanism emphasizes reason and scientific inquiry, individual
freedom and responsibility, human values and compassion, and the need for
tolerance and cooperation. The Council for Secular Humanism is committed to
free inquiry, reason, and science, the separation of Church and State, civil
liberties, nontheism and humanist ethics.
Secular Humanism, P.O. Box 664, Amherst, NY 14226-0664; VOICE: (716) 636-7571;
FAX: (716) 636-1733; http://www.secularhumanism.org/;
Atheists is a nationwide movement which defends the civil rights of
nonbelievers, works for the separation of church and state, and addresses
issues of First Amendment public policy.
Atheists, Inc., P.O. Box 5733, Parsippany, NJ; (908)276-7300; http://www.atheists.org/
From Religion Foundation, Inc., is an educational group working for the
separation of state and church. Its purposes are to promote the constitutional
principle of separation of state and church, and to educate the public on
matters relating to nontheism. The Foundation is a national membership
association of freethinkers: atheists, agnostics and skeptics of any pedigree.
Religion Foundation, Inc., PO Box 750, Madison WI 53701; (608) 256-8900; http://www.ffrf.org/
ate separation stands as one of the foundations of our Nation. Because of it,
Americans enjoy unparalleled religious liberty and nurture one of the most
vital religious communities in the world. Separation guarantees the freedom to
worship or not to worship as you choose. But today, powerful religious leaders
and misguided politicians have joined forces to undercut the First Amendment.
Since 1947, Americans United has worked to protect the constitutional principle
of church-state separation, a vital cornerstone of religious liberty. Americans
of many faiths and political viewpoints, individuals from all walks of life,
have come together to defend freedoms.
for Separation of Church and State, 518 C Street, NE Washington, D.C. 20002;
202-466-3234; fax 202-466-2587; http://www.au.org/