The Cowtown Humanist
The Official E-Mail Publication of the Humanists of Fort Worth; E-mail:
A chapter of the American Humanist Association
and The Alliance of Secular Humanist Societies.
September 2002 Volume 4, No. 6

       The date of our next meeting has been changed. It will be on Thursday, September 12 instead of Wednesday. Our host facility, the Westside Unitarian Universalist Church is having a "Service of Remembrance" on Wednesday, September 11 at 7 PM (our usual time and place).
       So join us on Thursday 9/12 at 7 PM at the Westside UU Church. It's in the northeast corner of a small shopping center at 6901 McCart Ave., Suite 125, in south Fort Worth. (Just south of the first traffic light south of Alta Mesa.) There will be a pre-meeting dinner get-together at Luby's Cafeteria, 5901 S. Hulen Dr. at 5:30 PM. The location is on the east side of Hulen, just north of Granbury Rd.

       Chairman Haney and the board decided that our next meeting should be an open membership meeting. They want YOU to determine what YOUR Humanist group should be -- and what you want us to do for you in the months ahead.
       We have heard some of our astute members expound unofficially on what they think we should be doing -- or NOT doing. Now is their -- and YOUR -- chance to help set the future direction of our small (but hopefully growing) group.
       What should we do at our meetings? Who should we invite to speak to us? What should the topics be?
What should we do between meetings? What projects should we be engaged in? How should we try to interact with the community?
       What other groups should we interact with, or affiliate with -- and to what degree? Should we tie ourselves more strongly (including monetarily) with one or more of the national organizations? Which ones? Would you pay increased dues to belong to one of the national groups as well as the local association?
       What do we need money for? How much should our dues be, and how will we spend it?
       Your elected leaders want to have YOUR input. So whatever YOU decide, in concert with your fellow members, will determine who we are, collectively, and what we will be doing as a group in the near future.
       Of course, that's providing you are currently paid up with your dues, because only dues-paid members will be able to vote or speak at the meeting. But if you have been meaning to pay, and just haven't gotten around to it, you CAN pay your dues at the meeting.
       Or, if you want to determine your present status, you may contact treasurer Dolores Ruhs at 817-249-1829, or

       At the August meeting, Chairman Shane Taylor resigned. With his resignation, per the bylaws, the vice chairman automatically succeeds to the chairmanship. Wallace Harrison was inducted into the position, with the corollary duties of newsletter editor.

       Mike Haney is a native of Dallas and attended high school there. He holds Bachelor's and Master's degrees in Mechanical Engineering and served as an officer in the U.S. Army Ordinance Corps during the "Vietnam Era". He is a retired Program Manager for ElectroCom Automation in Arlington, a manufacturer of automated mail sorting equipment for the USPS. He is married and has two grown children. He currently divides his time between running a one-man engineering services company, helping his wife with her insurance business, serving on the Board of Directors for The Fort Worth Public Library Foundation, and since last month, being the Chairperson for the Humanists of Fort Worth. He was baptized and confirmed as an Episcopalian, but has not been a church goer for over thirty years. He now considers himself a Secular Humanist.
       Mike has accepted his new responsibilities as chairman of our group with enthusiasm. He wants to make this organization representative of the desires of the membership, and wants to see the organization grow to fulfill it's potential of service to area Humanists.

Mike Haney, Fort Worth 76114; Ph. 817-737-7047;
       Vice Chair and Newsletter Editor: Wallace Harrison, Fort Worth 76109; 817-923-4698;
       Secretary: Reed Bilz, Fort Worth 76133; 817-292-7974,
       Treasurer: Dolores Ruhs, Benbrook 76126; 817-249-1829,
       Immed. Past Chair: Shane Taylor, Dallas 75219; 214-526-8258;

       The Humanists of Fort Worth has been a chartered chapter of the American Humanist Association (AHA) since June, 1999. At their recent national convention in Houston, the AHA created a new category of affiliation: the Membership Chapter. If we decide to become a Membership Chapter, we would receive $15 of the $35 dues paid by those AHA members who elect to affiliate with our chapter, as well as increased support from the national association. While only AHA members would be considered members of our local chapter, the AHA will also maintain a list of non-members who want to receive our mailings and attend meetings, as they do now. We will also be permitted to maintain our relationship with the Council for Secular Humanism. We will be discussing this opportunity in the upcoming months, with a view to reaching a final decision prior to the end of our fiscal year in March.
       In the meantime, all those interested in seeing our association succeed should pay their chapter dues for this year, if they have not already done so.

       Mr. Samir Mavrakis of the Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee came to speak about how he feels the new anti-terrorism laws have impacted our civil rights, and in particular, the rights of Arab-Americans.
       Mr. Mavrakis provided some personal background, including the following:
He was born and raised in Libya. After Moammar Khadaffi seized power with a coup in 1969, he got caught up in the anti-Khadaffi movement, and became a political refugee. He came to America, worked in information technology consulting, and eventually started his own business. His wife was born in St. Louis, but was raised in Westchester County NY. As any other American, he felt and reacted to the tragedy of 9-11 with disbelief, and indignation.
       As advertised, he offered some insights, including personal experiences about the negative stereotyping and harassment of Arab-Americans during the past year. Mr. Mavrakis presented some statistics about our American citizens of Arab descent, including:. 77% were born outside the US; 43% have some college education; they are younger than the general population (14% are between 18-29); and more likely to vote (69%) than the U.S. citizenry as a whole. Their religious persuasions are: Catholic 42%, Muslim 23%; Orthodox 23%; and Protestant 12%.
       Mr. Mavrakis' freely responded to pointed queries on many subjects. Some of the responses were that the government is passing laws "off the shelf," which could adversely affect any present or future minority, and that the U.S. supports Egyptian monarchs, including Khadaffi.


       On Monday, September 30, the Tarrant County League of Women Voters, the Greater Fort Worth ACLU, and the Texas Wesleyan School of Law will present an educational forum on capital punishment. The event will be held from 7 to 9 PM at the Intermodal Transportation Center in downtown Fort Worth (next to Fort Worth Rail Market). Edith Jones from the League will moderate the panel of three consisting of Professor Earl Martin providing basic information; Professor Don Jackson speaking against; and Chuck Mallin speaking for keeping the death penalty in the State of Texas.
       Professor Martin is Professor of Criminal Law at Texas Wesleyan School of Law; Professor Jackson teaches at TCU and is a member of the local ACLU Board; and Mr. Mallin is an Assistant Tarrant County District Attorney who is Adjunct Professor of Criminal Procedure at Texas Wesleyan School of Law. Following the presentation by the panel members, the floor will be open for written questions.

       On Saturday, November 2, 2002, "Godless Americans" -- individuals and representatives of the nation's diverse community of non-religious people -- will make history and march on Washington.
       There are millions of Godless Americans. The latest American Religious Identification Survey (ARIS) reflects that nearly 13% of the population has no religion. This includes millions who identify themselves with labels such as Atheist, Freethinker, Humanist and others. There are over 30,000,000 of us, a figure larger than most American religious denominations.
       "Godless Americans" have been marginalized and excluded in everything from electoral politics to the public events commemorating the tragedy of September 11, 2001. No other group would tolerate such bigotry and exclusion! It's time to speak out and be heard!
       The event is currently scheduled for Saturday, November 2, 2002. It will be held on the National Mall, west side of the U.S. Capitol Building from approximately 11 AM to 2-3 PM. We are currently negotiating with the Service and other area agencies for a March down the mall (beginning on the east side of 14 St., Washington Monument area) to the rally location. The rally will include speeches from representatives of various Atheist, Freethought, Secular Humanist and other related national, regional and local organizations. Contact group leaders at