The Cowtown Humanist
The Official E-Mail Publication of the Humanists of Fort Worth; E-mail:
A chapter of the American Humanist Association,
and allied with the Council for Secular Humanism
November 2002 Volume 4, No. 8

       The speaker for our next meeting on November 13 is Paul Boller, Professor Emeritus of History at TCU. Prof. Boller is a native New Yorker who also taught at the University of Massachusetts and SMU, before coming to TCU in 1976, where he remains.
       The title of his talk is "Faith of Our Fathers." Prof. Boller will talk about the true political and spiritual beliefs of the founding fathers, and their intent to maintain a separation of church and state. He will also point out how Fundamentalists today are dominating public policy, and threatening to reshape our government as well as our Constitution.
       The meeting will be held as usual at 7 PM, at the Westside Unitarian Universalist Church at 6901 McCart Ave. in Fort Worth. A brief association business meeting will precede the speaking session.
       The pre-meeting Dutch-treat dinner will be at 5:30 PM, at the Bamboo Garden restaurant, at 6415 McCart Avenue.

       The speaker for the October meeting was Don Fielding. Don, a scientist and Unitarian Universalist minister in both Denton and Oakcliff, spoke briefly about "The Sea of Faith" (SOF) organization. SOF is a new "religious" movement in England and New Zealand based on the thoughts of the Cambridge philosopher of religion Don Cupitt. It is composed mainly of Anglicans, Quakers, Unitarians, and humanists, but welcomes people of all faiths, or of no faith.
       Mr. Fielding said that the term "Sea of Faith" came from a poem, "Dover Beach," written by Matthew Arnold in the 19th century. It likened the decline of organized religion to the outgoing tide of "the sea of faith." Mr. Fielding noted that church participation in England has steadily declined from around 46% at the beginning of the 20th century, to a current figure of less than 4%.
       Most of the allotted time was consumed by the playing of a video first broadcast in the 1980s on the British Broadcasting Co. (BBC) network. This tape, titled "The Sea of Faith: The Mechanical Universe," was the first of six episodes, and explored some of the history of religion and the effects of its beliefs.
       More details of the SOF will be explored on the Humanists e-mail discussion forum ( You can learn more about the "Sea of Faith" on your own on the web at

       Chairman Mike Haney asked for more volunteers to assist in the planning of social activities, chapter publicity, and Humanist outreach programs. Anyone with the desire and the little bit of time required, should contact Mike at one of his input devices listed below.
       There were announcements for then-pending informational programs, and the setting of the next trash pickup date for "our" portion of Old Granbury Rd. It will be on Saturday, November 2, at 7 AM. We meet on the corner of S. University Drive and Old Granbury Rd. If you want to scavenge for possible lost treasures, plus enjoy the fellowship of your fellow members at a "free" breakfast, contact Mike.
       Mike will host the picker-uppers with a picker-upper breakfast at his home following the cleanup. (Mike lives at 824 Roaring Springs Rd. (north Horne St, north of I-30 west.)

       Chairman Haney announced that, in addition to the American Humanist Association's Membership Chapter opportunity reported last month, the national organization with which we are affiliated, the Council for Secular Humanism, is now restructuring the way it relates to local groups such as ours. More information on these developments will be provided subsequently.

       As announced elsewhere in this edition, we are planning another cleanup of our adopted section of Granbury Road on Saturday, November 2. The first time our group attempted this was in September 2000. Looking back through my calendar, I counted eight times that our little band has accomplished this feat, which happens to exactly meet the City's minimum requirement of four cleanups per year. Since some members have recently questioned the value of this project, I decided to try to learn more about it from the City's perspective. Was it in fact still a viable program? Does anyone else do this? A search of the City's web site revealed nothing but an article from an August 1999 newsletter announcing the program. After several transfers, my call to the City reached the appropriate person, and I was told that the Adopt-A-Street program is alive and well, although very "low key", because the City has no budget to publicize it. The woman in charge was actually glad to hear from us, since we had somehow neglected to send in the forms required to report our progress and renew our participation after the first year. She said there are about 10 - 12 other adopted streets in Fort Worth. So, join us if you can. You will be performing a useful service -- and get a free breakfast to boot. -- Mike Haney

Mike Haney, 924 Roaring Springs Rd., Fort Worth 76114; Ph. 817-737-7047;
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; 817-249-1829,
Immed. Past Chair: Shane Taylor, 3922 Rawlins, #113, Dallas 75219; 214-526-8258;

Bulletin Board

       Mark your calendar: The Humanists of Fort Worth will hold it's monthly meeting Wednesday, November 13, 2002 at the Westside Unitarian Universalist Church at 6901 McCart Ave., Suite 125, Fort Worth. The business meeting will begin at 7 PM, with the discussion topic to follow immediately afterward. The pre-meeting dinner/get-together will be at Bamboo Garden, 6415 McCart Avenue at 5:30 PM.

       The 25th annual convention of the Freedom From Religion Foundation will be held November 22-24 in at the Westin Horton Plaza Hotel in downtown San Diego CA.
       The convention gets underway on Friday the 22nd with the presentation of the "Freethinker of the Year Award" to Michael Newdow, M.D., the plaintiff in the 9th Circuit Court's "Under God" pledge case. That will be followed by Julia Sweeney, comedian and actress (Saturday Night Live), advising how to "Let Go of God." Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist, Steve Benson, and musician/composer Dan Barker will close out Friday with their entertaining "Tunes 'n Toons" program.
       Speakers and honorees on Saturday include Nobel Laureate Paul Boyer; novelist, poet, and journalist Taslima Nasrin; science writer Robert Sopolsky; student activist Blake Trettien; and after-dinner speakers Philip and Marjorie Appleman.
       The annual FFRF membership meeting is slated for Sunday morning.
       The only group meals are the Saturday Nonprayer Breakfast and the banquet dinner.
       Convention registration is $75 for non-members, or $50 for members (plus $20 and $40 respectively for the meals).
       For more information, contact the editor (contact info above), or FFRF at