v"The Cowtown Humanist" v
The Newsletter of the Humanists of Ft. Worth
A Member of the American Humanist Association &
Alliance of Secular Humanist Societies
"AN AWARD WINNING NEWSLETTER"
Volume 1, No. 7 webalias.com/humanism November 1999
Dr. Andrew Fort will be joining us on the first Wednesday of December. He will talk to us about, "Religions without Gods!"
Dr. Fort is a professor of Religion at Texas Christian University. He holds the doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania and teaches Hindu Religious Perspectives; East Asian Religious Perspectives; Buddhism: Thought and Practice, Mysticism; India: Texts
We are extremely fortunate to have Dr. Fort speak to our group. We should reward his time with a large crowd!!
Last Month’s Meeting
Our November meeting was well attended. We had 20 people come and listen to Dr. Donald Jackson from the American Civil Liberties Union. Jackson educated us a bit more about constitutional issues in public schools, the condition of the Supreme Court, the consequences of electing George W. Bush, and many other items of interest. Please consider coming to our December meeting. Our group is indeed getting stronger.
WHO: Humanists of Ft. Worth
WHAT: Monthly Meeting
WHERE: First Jefferson Unitarian Universalist Church
WHEN: December 1st
7:00 – 8:30 p.m.
There were three vital announcements at the November meeting. First, we should look to a business meeting in March to elect new officers, examine the possibility of charging dues for our group, the beginning of Humanist social activities, and the start of a Humanist Social Action Group. There are many exiting things coming our way. Choose to use your voice in our organization!
Humanists of Ft. Worth have two wonderful possibilities. First, we can sponsor a SMART Recovery Group. SMART Recovery benefits non-theists in abstaining from alcohol through a rational basis. It would be wonderful to have one of our members coordinate this program! For more information please contact Russell Elleven (see contact info under "Rites of Passage"). There is a great deal of information and support available for this project.
We also have the opportunity to host a local Humanist Television show on one of the area cable access channels. Again, if you are interested, please contact Russell. TOGETHER we can let the Humanist voice be heard more clearly!
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 the new website: http://www.campusfreethought.org/or by sending e-mail to the editor, Austin Dacey, at Fiaustin@aol.com
EVOLUTION REMOVED FROM SAT'S IN ILLINOIS
BY BRIAN TURNER, CORNELL UNIVERSITY MEDICAL COLLEGE
In yet another attack on the theory of evolution, it was revealed on October 24 by the Chicago Tribune, that the Illinois Board of Education had removed the word "evolution" from the teaching guidelines and replaced it with the term "change over time." What was more remarkable about this feat was that it was achieved in July 1997, but only just came to light.
The Tribune article described how, at the instigation of Joseph Clark, head of the Illinois Christian Coalition, references to evolution, human sexuality, health products and services and multicultural studies were removed from the guidelines. Said Joseph Spagnolo, the education secretary, "We did invite the Christian right or Christian Coalition. It was important that the group was represented because they do have a point of view."
As a result of these changes, the first Standards Achievement Test, to be held next February will not contain the word "evolution." One instructor, who was involved in the early drafting of the standards, said, "Evolution is a very key part of science, and trying to take it out of the standards is ridiculous."
Of the decision, Gabriel Carlson, Vice President of the Campus Freethought Alliance stated, "Evolution is a key concept in so many disciplines that failure to understand it is detrimental to a child's future in the professional and academic worlds. I find it interesting and a bit frightening that the religious right can on the one hand bemoan the quality of the public schools in their voucher and school prayer campaigns, while on the other, actively seek to destroy the quality of the public schools in their war against evolutionary theory."
Humanists of Ft. Worth Officers
FROM THE TEXAS ATHEIST
Edited by: Howard Thompson
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COLUMBINE'S CHRISTIAN MARTYRDOM NEVER HAPPENED
The media slobbered all over Columbine high school student Cassie Bernall's faith in god. Cassie said "yes" when asked if she believed in god, and was shot because of her faith. Cassie's faith in the face of death made her the newest Christian martyr. Her story confirmed the Christian idea that Satan is real and causes atheists to persecute Christians.
While Cassie's murder is a tragedy, there is a problem with her martyrdom -- it never happened. What really happened was exactly opposite, and it didn't happen to Cassie.
Salon magazine, the Rocky Mountain News and Denver Post tell the stories of the girl under the table with Cassie, the Sheriff's doubts, and the girl from which Cassie's myth grew. See:
Sheriff investigators had been saying unofficially they were unable to confirm Cassie's martyrdom. Witnesses' stories were inconsistent. The primary witness pointed out the wrong table for where Cassie was shot. These doubts were shared with Cassie's parents.
Emily Wyant and Cassie Bernall were together alone at the back of the library. They got under a table when the shooters burst in and started shooting. "Dear God. Dear God. Why is this happening?" is what Emily heard Cassie say. Then, Dylan Klebold banged on the table, looked underneath and yelled "Peekaboo." He shot Cassie without them exchanging a word.
Emily later had dinner with Cassie's parents and told them Cassie's real story. Cassie's parents now deny that Emily said the popular myth about Cassie was false. Emily also told the Rocky Mountain News what happened five months before the News ran her story.
The Rocky Mountain News finally ran Emily's story two weeks after an article on Cassie's mother's book, "She Said Yes: The Unlikely Martyrdom of Cassie Bernall." The book has 350,000 copies in print and was recently # 14 on the Publisher's Weekly best seller list.
Yep, the News promoted a book about Cassie's martyrdom four and a half months after Emily Wyant told them it never happened. But, where did the martyrdom myth come from?
Cassie's myth came from one Christian student. He apparently heard Valeen Schnurr talking with one of the shooters. Valeen's story has now appeared in the Denver Post.
Valeen was bleeding from 34 shotgun pellets. She was down on her hands and knees saying, "Oh, my god, my god, don't let me die." One of the shooters then asked her if she believed in god. Valeen said yes. He asked why. "Because I believe and my parents brought me up that way," Valeen responded. The shooter reloaded, but did not shoot Valeen again.
Cassie's Christian martyrdom not only did not happen, what really happened was exactly opposite. The shooters were not targeting Christians. A Christian was not killed for professing their faith, but a Christian that professed faith was spared.
The Columbine killings had nothing to do with Christianity. That has not stopped Christians from exploiting a lie to advance Christianity, demonizing atheists, and proclaiming Christianity as the cure for violence.
You can bet the truth will never get the publicity of a popular Christian lie. You can bet Cassie's mom will keep selling her book. You can bet preachers will keep using a lie to get money and converts.
The good news is that America sees a living example of Christians creating mythological "truth" from lies. For the sane, the myth of Cassie's martyrdom shows the unreliability of Christian myths that are unsupported by evidence. If we can watch here and now Christians rejecting the truth when the evidence is fresh and readily available, then we are fully justified in rejecting old Christian myths that are unsupported by outside evidence.
Why should anyone trust anything said or believed by people who invent lies and reject truth? Why should you trust anything the media says positive about Christian faith or magic?
Please let me know if you can receive the Cowtown Humanist newsletter by e-mail. Quite frankly, it conserves the vast amount of money received by our organization through donations. Please do call (817.370.2171) or e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org) me your suggestions of others to receive our newsletter for a period of time.
Remember too that your newsletter is posted on our website:
I would love to cut down on our paper consumption and financial expenditure for stamps.
The following speakers have agreed to speak to our group. They are:
OTHER GOOD STUFF!!!
GREAT BOOKS GROUP
Time: 6:30 pm
Dates: 2nd Sunday of each month
Location: Westside UU Church
Leader: Dick Trice (446-3840)
This group follows the Great Books format of advance reading of a selection and discussion at the meeting. Discussion is varied and lively. Participants include Cowtown Humanist members and others from the community. Newcomer’s are welcome to "sit in" before making the commitment to purchase materials.
Activities of the Chair…
Russell delivered his talk, "Thank GAWD for Humanism" at Denton Unitarian Universalist Fellowship. He will also be attending the monthly meeting of Tarrant Interfaith Network.
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 know about…do it in your newsletter
The Humor File
Definition of Atheism: a non-prophet organization.
American Humanist Association
Humanists of Ft. Worth are encouraged to join the American Humanist Association. A 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, commitment ceremonies, naming ceremonies, and other life celebrating events. He is also available during periods of grief and to officiate for memorial services.
817.370.2171 – hm
817.257.7870 – wk
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