v"The Cowtown Humanist" v
The Newsletter of the Humanists of Ft. Worth
A Member of the American Humanist Association
Volume 1, No. 6 webalias.com/humanism August 1999
Oct’s Meeting moved to 13th!!!
In order to accommodate Dr. Ron Flowers schedule, our October meeting will be held on the second Wednesday (13th) of the month. We hope that this does not create any confusion.
Dr. Flowers is a TCU professor and president of the North Texas Chapter of Americans United for Separation of Church and State. We are extremely fortunate to have Dr. Flowers speak to our group. We should reward his time with a larger than usual crowd!! Dr. Flowers will speak to us regarding the prayer in schools controversy. You can learn more about the North Texas chapter of AU at:
Last Month’s Meeting
"Heather Has Two Censors"
was a resounding success!! Dan Lewandowski, Linda Hughes, and John Horany, esq. Traveled all the way from Wichita Falls to share their fight against censorship in their public library. We had a larger than usual crowd that listened to the update of the court battle being waged to keep Heather Has Two Mommies in the children's section of their public library. Our food (thanks Joel!), conversation, and fun went well beyond 8:30 p.m.
WHO: Humanists of Ft. Worth
WHAT: Monthly Meeting
WHERE: First Jefferson Unitarian Universalist Church
WHEN: October 13th 7:00 – 8:30 p.m.
At the September meeting we welcomed four new folks who sign up to receive the Cowtown Humanist. Ulrich Herrmann, Linda & Walt McConathy, Emily Wood, and Saharon Salih will now receive our newsletter. Nathan Ludvigson, of the Council for Secular Humanism, has also asked to receive our "Award Winning" newsletter. Welcome!
in the FWST
Anyone else scared?"
Have you written a "Letter to the Editor" of a local newspaper? Our community needs to be reminded that not everyone in the neighborhood has the same viewpoint. Please let me know if you would like your editorial placed in the Cowtown Humanist. My latest letter appeared in the August 28th edition of the Ft. Worth Star Telegram. It read:
"Well, the August 21 Star-Telegram scared me. On the first page I found the headline "Pregame prayers now legal issue for schools." Our reporter explained how certain public schools will allow prayers before a footbal game and others will not.
In the same issue was Jim Jones’ column, "We must challenge those we hate," wherein the author helped us to see that people who are in the (religious) minority often feel the pressure of the majority to "find Jesus" or leave the community.
I hope there are others in Cowtown who understand and believe that our city’s diversity makes us stronger; that it is not necessarily the louder voice that is right; and that this country was founded upon principles that included (rather than excluded) religious tolerance.
Except for my days in seminary, I have spent all my years in this area. Because I fear that my real voice is not welcomed in polite Ft. Worth society, I often feel I must keep my thoughts to myself.
Lately, however, I am feeling more and more of an exile in my home county, my state, and my country because my fellow townspeople seem to be intolerant of any idea, any nuance, indeed any faith that is different from their own. Is this not frightening to anyone else?"
The Rev. Russell K. Elleven
Humanists of Ft. Worth
THE CAMPUS CORNER
This feature to the Cowtown Humanist was written by a member of the Campus Freethought Alliance. While the articles will not always be about the university humanist movement, they will be written from a college student’s point of view. More information about the organization can be found at www.secularhumanism.org/cfa or by sending e-mail to the editor, Chris Mooney at firstname.lastname@example.org.
ARE YOU THERE, GOD? IT'S ME, MELISSA. HELLO? GOD?
I am enlightened. I’m walking around town with a crucifix, leading a cow behind me while shouting "mazeltov." That’s how enlightened I am. The most amazing thing happened a few weeks ago. I talked to God. No kidding. I’ve never done anything like that before.
I said, "God." I said, "I need your help. School is about to start, and I’m down here getting ready, and all I can think is that if only I had the courage, I would drop out of school, rebel against my parents’ wishes and join the Peace Corps. If you could help me out here, I could really use your input. I work during the day so you can usually catch me in the evenings." A few nights later, God contacted me. I had been awake 56 straight hours because I was so paranoid I might miss His Calling. But finally, in the wee hours of my third straight sleepless night, I heard His Voice loud and clear. "Melissa?"
I immediately recognized the strange male voice in my otherwise empty apartment as the Word of God. "God!" I said. "God! It’s really you! You really exist!" "Si," He said. "Pero solo hablo espanol." "Excuse me?" "Oh nothing," God said. "It’s just a little joke." I was totally starstruck. "I can’t believe I’m really talking to you, God! It’s like ... Robert DeNiro. I mean, you’re bigger than the Pope." I could hear thunderclouds rumbling outside. "Let’s keep to the matter at hand," He said. "I know you’re interested in doing missionary work, but I think you would be ill-advised to take that up. Ultimately, of course, it’s up to you. "You’re free to choose," He added with a chuckle.
"But why, God? I think I have the skills necessary to really do some good. I’d like to help." I know that one of God’s most respectable traits is His honesty, but I wish He could have been a little more tactful. "Frankly, your interpersonal skills are weak, your morals are barometric, and your faith has been tainted by logic," He said. "I mean, up until five minutes ago, you weren’t even convinced of my existence!"
"But God! I’m a humanitarian. I love all people and desire to help them help themselves." "I really don’t see it happening," He said. I was beside myself. Here it is, the word of God Himself, advising me not to pursue my lifelong dream.
"So, it’s back to hitting the books at Bradley, then?" I
asked, trying to make Him feel sorry for me. "Actually, might I suggest an alternative? Caterpillar Industries has a variety of exciting career opportunities available for students studying (I could hear pages ruffling) ... Liberal Arts and Sciences."
"What are you talking about, God?" I asked Him, shocked. "It sounds like you’re reading a press release. My God! You don’t work for Caterpillar, do you?" "Oh, I freelance," He said. "You’d be surprised what the endorsement of an internationally recognized deity can do for sales."
I had a lot of questions for God. I wanted to know what heaven was like and how long I would live and why bad things happen to good people. But He cut our conversation short. "Good luck. Remember what I said. I have things to attend to," He said.
And then He was gone. I’ve decided He was probably right. I’ve always been a pretty half-assed humanitarian, anyway. On the other hand, maybe it was all a big fluke. I mean, would God really dangle a preposition?
Melissa Hunsberger is a junior English major from South Bend, Ind. Her column runs biweekly. Since she wrote this, God has ceased all communication with her.
Humanists of Ft. Worth Officers
THIS IS YOUR LAST
Our mailing list has grown to almost 50 people while our attendance is around only 10-12 folks each meeting. In an attempt to save both money and paper I ask the following:
You’ve seen the list of upcoming speakers for the Ft. Worth Humanists. I hope you will let me know if you have ideas or if you know of someone who would be willing to share information pertinent to our group.
How do I get to the meeting?
First Jefferson Unitarian Universalist Church is located at 1959 Sandy Lane between Meadowbrook drive and Brentwood Stair Road. Anyone needing assistance to the meeting should contact Russell.
LET YOUR VOICE
Think about sharing your ideas about humanism with the readers of The Cowtown Humanist. No doubt we all have opinions we’d like to let others no about…do it in your newsletter
American Humanist Association
Humanists of Ft. Worth are encouraged to join the American Humanist Association. An special introductory membership rate of $25 is now available. The Humanist magazine and Free Mind newsletter are benefits of membership.
7 Harwood Drive
P.O. Box 1188
Amherst, NY 14226-7188
RITES OF PASSAGE
Russell Elleven is certified as a humanist minister by the Humanist Society of Friends. He can officiate weddings, naming ceremonies, and other life celebrating events. He is also available during periods of grief and to officiate for humanist memorial services.
817.370.2171 – hm
817.257.7870 - wk