Category Archives: Humanism


Happy birthday, Mr. Jefferson!

At the University of Virginia (U.Va.), today is called “Founder’s Day.”

At the same time that I temper my admiration for him with the knowledge that he kept people in bondage, bought and sold them, and abided their maltreatment, I also want to remember that Mr. Jefferson was among the principal architects—if not the lead author—of many socio-cultural, governmental, and philosophical constructs that I hold dear:

The  list could continue….And I very much appreciate these contributions to the commonweal. So, it’s a b’day worthy of celebration.



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Filed under Atheism, Birthdays, Civil rights, Education, Equity, Free speech, Humanism, Justice, Neighborhood, News, Notes and comments, UVa

Almost enough bacon?

bacon church robot

I have not knowingly eaten bacon in over 25 years, but I might be convinced to worship at the United Church of Bacon. Why? Well, the sensibility of the church’s teachings brought smiles to me at the same time as making sense. According to the church’s about page,

The United Church of Bacon holds to a list of 9 Bacon Commandments. We tried to make it 10, but ran out of space on the tablets and didn’t want to start over.

Our mission is:

  • We oppose supernatural claims. We are skeptics and atheists. In our religion, we doubt religion.
  • We fight discrimination. Atheists are not inferior and should not be hated and marginalized.
  • We raise money for charity
  • We perform legal weddings, always for free. How joyful!
  • We expose religious privileges as silly by claiming the same rights for Bacon.
  • We praise Bacon! If you don’t like pigs, praise Vegetarian Bacon or Turkey Bacon.

In the accompanying YouTube video, the church provides suggestions about the nearly miraculous powers of bacon. Prepare to be…well…be chuckling.

I’m adding UCB to the sidebar.

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Filed under Amusements, Atheism, Equity, Humanism, Justice, News, Sites I visit

Black encounters with the justice system

So what happens if you’re Black and you have a police encounter and, lucky you, you don’t get killed? You just get stopped, detained, arrested….

Writing for Slate, Andrew Kahn and Chris Kirk explain “What It’s Like to Be Black in the Criminal Justice System.” They provide graphics illustrating statistical differences in how Black, White, and other non-Black AMERICANS (yes, I’m shouting) are treated in our American criminal justice system. It’ll only take a couple of minutes to read.

As Mr. Kahn and Mr. Kirk show, these days we don’t need John Griffin to expose how that old racism is lurking about in our society. We simply have to look at the data. Of course, some people will likely try to argue away the data and Mr. Griffin’s Black Like Me case study, but their arguments won’t actually hide contemporary racism, let alone mitigate it.

At the end of Mr. Kahn’s and Mr. Kirk’s article, if you have the strength, you can watch a video interview that Slate has been running during the last week of July and the first week of August 2015 (as I recall). It features a drive around Baltimore featuring an interview with Michael Wood, Jr., a former Baltimore (MD, US) police officer who has spoken out about problems with police training in urban environments. It’s about 12 minutes long, but it’s pretty informative. Mr. Wood explains why, he thinks, urban police officers are essentially trained to respond improperly to Black citizens.

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Filed under Civil rights, Equity, Humanism, Justice, Neighborhood, News, Non-violence, Notes and comments, Peace, Politics, Thanks for reading

Bring more that just your Irish family

In case you’ve missed it, an entire country will be holding a referendum on marriage equality. Nope, this is not just nine old jurists in Washington, DC, USA. It’s The Republic of Ireland, a bastion of battles between religious groups, and Ireland actually is leading the way here. The question will be put to the electorate 22 May 2015.

Polls show widespread support of the initiative, but will the voters turn out to endorse it? The Belongto organization (BeLonG To— BeLonG To Youth Services; they have lots of different capitalizations!) developed another marvelous spot in its series of LGBT supporting spots. The one shown here encourages folks to vote “yes” on the initiative.

In a story in the Guardian entitled Irish voters to decide on same-sex marriage in May referendum, Leo Varadkar, a minister of the government came out and encouraged a positive vote. Additionally, in a separate story in the Guardian, entitled Irish voters keep campaigners guessing as gay marriage referendum nears, Henry McDonald reported about Irish people of note (the Irish drag artist Panti, whose real name is Rory O’Neill, and Pat Carey, who was once a whip in parliament) who also supported a “yes” vote.

The BBC reported on this process in November of 2013.

All of this is worth reviewing, I’d say. But see if you can watch the YouTube clip without getting a little emotional.

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Filed under Civil rights, Equity, Humanism, Notes and comments, Politics

Admiring Mr. Sam

Dear Michael Sam,

I don’t follow American football—let alone college American football—with the great passion that many people do in my neighborhood or my country. But I do know enough about it to understand that, as a football player, your declaration of your sexual orientation will be met with a lot of passion by people. I fear that the passions many people will express will be thoughtless, heartless, and worse (if that’s possible). I am glad that you will have supporters.

I admire you for pre-emptively standing before all those people and saying, in effect, “Here I am.” Continue reading

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Filed under Equity, Humanism, News, Notes and comments, Thanks for reading

Madness on the DT Mall?

Did you know that there’s a mad woman loose on Hookville’s downtown mall? It’s more than an idle rumor. It’s actually The Madwoman of Chaillot by Jean Giradoux, re-imagined by Kay Ferguson and a troupe of veteran players who have been engaged in intense physical training for months as they developed their version of the 1940s play.

The Madwoman of Chaillot is the story of a witty, eccentric woman who rallies a band of artists, workers, and down-and-out characters in a clever plan to disrupt avaricious plans of powerful figures who are bent on sacrificing beauty to obtain profits. As Ms. Ferguson says, the story sounds a lot like “Right Now, USA.”

The first performance is 6:00 PM 6 September 2012, and it’s running all through the month of September. The troupe is using a novel approach to the production, starting with a first act for free on the mall, then parading to The Haven, where they’ll accept donations for the second act, part of which will go to The Haven. Read all about the project, the players, and more.

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Filed under Amusements, Eco-stuff, Equity, Humanism, Neighborhood, News, Politics

Talk about dying, please

In some posts here I have reported examples of situations illustrating what I consider to be times when people should be able to hasten their own deaths. I recognize that people have differing views about whether individuals should be able to aid their own death when they are near the end of their own lives. It’s important to me that people have a civil discussion about this matter, not a discussion that is marked by histrionics, name-calling, and illogical argument.

Steve Lopez, who has reported for the Los Angeles Times about cases that evoke compassion about the people involved and with whom I agree about many of these matters, conducted an interview about this subject on 9 August 1012 with two representatives from Compassion & Choices, Judy Epstein and Kathryn Tucker. Admittedly, all three of these folks support the view that people should have options for hastening the end of their lives under certain circumstances. Other people may disagree.

What’s important is that we, the people, need to talk about this. We should do so before the issue becomes critical. We shouldn’t wait until someone we love is dying. I encourage people to watch this discussion about end-of-life options and investigate these issues. Sure, there are legal and legislative matters we can debate, but we also have our own person matters that we need to examine with our own loved ones.

For a primer on earlier posts related to my admiration of Mr. Lopez’s compassionate reporting on this story, simply type his last name into the search box at the top right of the screen and read the entries. Start with the oldest one.

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Filed under Humanism, Notes and comments, Thanks for reading