A chapter of the American Humanist Association and The Alliance of Secular Humanist Societies.

September 2001 Volume 3, No. 6




Next Meeting

This month's meeting will be 7 p.m. Wendesday, Sept. 12, at the Westside UU Church, 6901 McCart. The guest speaker will be Star-Telegram columnist Jack Z. Smith. See below for more details.



Last month

In July, we took a giant leap (okay, maybe just a baby step) forward with the organization. We skipped our regular format, and met at the coffeeshop for conversation and fellowship. The turnout was small, but we had a nice time anyway, and enjoyed some delicious coffee grown impoverished workers in Central America. Afterward, some of the members who were still thirsty went in search of, shall we say, alternative refreshments. As you might imagine, it was a fine time, and we are happy to report that no further coffee growers were exploited for the remainder of the evening. 



Do you know where we're going to?

Our little group is now 2 1/2 years old. And while we may not be all grown yet, we are certainly getting more mature. It's time for us to start thinking: What do we want to be when we grow up?


The Executive Committee has had some discussions about this, but they are sketchy. We would like to formulate a specific long-range plan for the organization. To discuss these issues, we will hold a special meeting-after-the-meeting on Wednesday. This meeting is open to anyone in the organization who would like to have a say in the direction we take in the future . . . Do we want to stay strictly as a social organization -- Or should we look at doing more service activities? What about doing community outreach and education? That's what we'll be discussing -- and you're invited to join us. Which reminds me . . .



Welcome to all -- except you guys

You might have seen in the newspaper about the "Pray-in" held a couple of weeks back.The event was held at the Birdville ISD stadium, and flyers promoting it were distributed throughout the schools. And you also might have read that loyal members Shelly and John Hattan were there to protest the use of a public facility for a religious event.


But what you probably didn't read was that people who attended that event weren't too happy to see the Hattans there . . . their behavior to John and Shelly was, dare I say, right un-godly.


Well, after that event, Shelly lodged a complaint with the ACLU, which contacted the Birdville ISD. The school district's response was that it was okay, because the facility is open to all organizations. So ACLU rep, Don Jackson (who has spoken to our group before) suggests we take them up on the offer. He suggests we schedule an event with other local similar-minded organizations, advertise it in the schools, and ask to hold it at the stadium.


So should we do it? We will be discussing this possibility at this month's meeting. Please be sure to bring your thoughts on the matter .  . . but, uh, leave your prayer books at home.



Guess who's coming to dinner?

In case you didn't know it, one of the things we do with your money is spend it on food. Specifically, the Executive Committee has started a policy of taking our guest speaker out to dinner before the meeting (since we don't pay them, it seems it's the least we can do). And your dues are used to pay for the speaker's meal (the officers all go Dutch).


Anyway, the point -- and I do have one -- is that we have decided that these pre-meeting meals would be even more fun if we opened them up to the whole membership. So here is an open invitation to all members to join the executive committee and our guest speaker for dinner this Wednesday. We will meet at 5:20 at the Chili's on South Hulen Street, just past the mall. If it turns out to be a big group, we'll just have add on as many tables as we can.


Anyone interested is welcome to join us -- All we ask is that if you do plan to come, try to be punctual, out of courtesy to our guest and the wait staff. And of course, last one done has to pick up the check . . .



E-group dynamics

Just a reminder that the Humanists of Fort Worth are linked to a "Yahoo Groups." This means that anyone with internet access can now 'post' a message to everyone in the organization. All you have to do is send an e-mail to: And speaking of messages . . . .



Return to sender . . . please

Let's take a look at the letters and postings we've received from the membership the last couple of months. Oh, how about that -- there aren't any! So here's a reminder: The speakers we have, the activities we do, the issues we discuss -- the ideas for all of these things need to come from the membership, not just the officers. We want your input, so don't be afraid to speak up. After all, "this is NOT your father's Humanist group -- it's yours."



Is there a member of the clergy in the house?

As a matter of fact, yes. Here's a reminder that our own Russell Elleven is an ordained Humanist Minister. He can perform wedding ceremonies for a variety of services, Humanist or otherwise. If you're interested, you can contact him at 817-370-2171, or e-mail him at



The un-fine print?

For most people, reading the local newspaper is like being a beaver: It's one dam thing after another. People complain about the blatant liberal bias, the distortions, the sensationalism, and the blatant conservative bias. Why can't they ever just print the news?


If you've ever felt this way -- or been a beaver -- this month's program is perfect for you. Longtime Star-Telegram reporter and columnist Jack Z. Smith presents, "Shooting the Messenger: Everything You Always Wanted to Know About the Newspaper Business (But Were Too Angry to Ask.)." Jack will explain his role as a columnist, some of the workings of the paper, and also field your questions and comments, both good and bad. This promises to be a fascinating talk, and we hope you will attend . . . And please note that I have specifically reassured Jack that he does not need to wear protective headgear.



Just for fun

There once was a man named Seymour, He was truly a good Christian -- devout, humble, loving and tolerant. And when he finally passed away, the Lord  himself was there to greet him at the pearly gates of heaven.

"Welcome, Seymour," the Lord said warmly. "Are you hungry?".

"I could eat," said Seymour.


So the Lord brought out a bag of pretzels and some warm beer, and they shared it.

While Seymour was eating this humble meal, he looked down into hell. He noticed that the inhabitants were devouring enormous steaks, poultry, pastries and liquor. But, being a pious man, Seymour chose not to say anything.

The next day, the Lord again asked Seymour if he was hungry, and Seymour again accepted. This time, the Lord made some peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. As they ate, Seymour once again noticed that down in hell, they were having caviar, champagne, grilled seafood, brandy and chocolates. Still, he ate his sandwich in silence.

The following day, mealtime arrived again, and this time the Lord had only a can of tuna for them. Finally, Seymour was compelled to speak up.


"Lord," Seymour said, "I am very happy to be in heaven. But I have to ask why it is that all we get is these simple meals, while in that other place, they're eating like kings. I don't understand."

The Lord sighed. "To be honest, Seymour," he said, taking a bite of tuna, "it just isn't worth it to cook for only two people."




Hope to see you Wednesday,






How to reach us


Jeff Rodriguez, Chairman



Mike Haney, Vice Chairman


Bruce Berggren, Treasurer