Saturday, December 31, 2005

Response to Patti's Death

Hi Dan,
Thanks for letting me know about Patti's death. It was a tough situation that I've reflected on often and will continue to think about. To touch on some positive, I will remember Patti's always exceptional free thought newspaper clips she added to the free thought clipping circle. And I will always remember Patti, especially for her determination. It was her goal to someday benefit from stem cell research and walk again, and go back to her business which was the center of her life. Good people die, but their memories and dreams live on.

Dan Cagle

Friday, December 30, 2005

Larry's letter on Patti's death


Patti Reames died last night at Norman Regional Hospital. I don't know all the details yet, but apparently her death was the result of heart failure. Patti was one of the kindest and most generous people I've ever known. She was also dedicated to the cause of freethought and was, as you know, a supporter of HAT as well.

She'd suffered from Multiple Sclerosis for the past several years, and was institutionalized for the past five in various rest homes. Over the past few weeks, she'd begun to lose the use of her hands. In a matter of months, I'm sure she would've been a quadriplegic. Patti had suffered enough indignities because of this illness and I know she wouldn't have wanted to be reduced to that. She was optimistic, courageous and sweet to the end, even though she'd had to endure excrutiating pain and immobility for so long.

I'll miss her greatly.

Larry [Forrest]

Note from Dan: Larry wrote to me again to say that the cause of death was found to be sepsis, blood poisoning due to an infection.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Point of Inquiry

The Center for Inquiry is now producing audio programs in a series called "Point of Inquiry." Two segments have been produced so far, both during the week of December 12. More programs are to follow. The programs feature a summary of news of interest to humanists and skeptics plus other segments. In the first program Paul Kurtz is interviewed about his book Science and Religion: Are They Compatible? In the second program paranormal investigator Joe Nickell is interviewed regarding skeptical inquiry.

You can access "Point of Inquiry" at . Click on "Listen Now" to choose the program you wish to hear.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Atheist group makes holiday season its own
By David Schulte World Staff Writer 12/21/2005

To members of The Humanist Association of Tulsa, God, the second coming of Jesus Christ and angels with wings are myths similar to Santa Claus, green elves and flying reindeer.

The group has 30 members, who are predominantly atheists or agnostic, said Dan Nerren of Sand Springs, the organization's president.

Although they do not celebrate Christmas as a religious holiday, humanists are tolerant of those who do, because the season of giving and good will toward others is consistent with their own belief that people need to make the world a more peaceful and better place.

Because humanists do not believe an eternal life awaits people when they die, humanity must make the most of life on earth, and the best way to do that is by finding harmony living with others, said Tulsa's Randy Bradley, vice president of the organization.

"The fact that there is no magic man in the sky does not reduce your capacity for joy or for love," he said. "Life is as precious, and probably more so for the humanists, because we realize that all the evidence points that this is all there is, and we ought to treat each other as best as we can, because there is no pie in the sky afterwards."

For the humanists, the holiday rituals of exchanging gifts and having formal dinners are ways to enjoy the fellowship of others.

They also have found their own special day in December to plan such events: the Winter Solstice, which begins Dec. 21. This year, the group held its annual Winter Solstice gathering on Dec. 18.

Long before Christians celebrated Christ's birth, ancient civilizations celebrated seasons, because they represented a change in the cycle of life, Bradley said. To celebrate the winter season, many humanists' families decorate a tree and place gifts underneath it.

"The party was there before they moved Jesus' birthday to December," Bradley said.
When humanists hear Christmas greetings from others, "They just let it roll off their back," Nerren said.

Although many of the humanists have adapted the holiday season to fit within their secular beliefs, Tulsa's Bea McCartney is one member who no longer follows the traditions of the holiday. With the exception of buying a few small gifts for her grandchildren, she no longer exchanges gifts with others, because she is "very anti-materialistic."

"It's just a waste of time and money," she said of the Christmas season.

Perhaps the biggest problem with the Christmas season is that it has become too commercialized, Bradley said.

"As for people getting together and being kind to one another, we're all for that," he said.

McCartney views the story of Jesus Christ like any story in the Bible: She believes it was something that was passed down from one generation to another and greatly exaggerated before it was written.

"There is nothing in it divinely inspired," she said. "It's partly myth, partly legend."

McCartney respects others' right to celebrate Christmas and worship God, but she is offended when Christians or people of other faiths thrust their religious views on her, she said.

Although most humanists find it easy to blend in with those who worship God, Bradley does not hesitate to share his views on religion when he attends holiday parties.

When it comes to God, Bradley is completely "out of the closet."

"I go to company Christmas parties, and ultimately, at some point, we will probably discuss religion," he said. "I try not to be hostile, but I try to be honest."

Bradley said he bases his atheist views on a lack of scientific evidence of God's existence.
He and Nerren also believe recent world events support their views.

They point to the thousands of innocent humans who have died within the past two years because of hurricanes, tsunamis and earthquakes as evidence that God does not exist. A loving, omnipotent God would not let these disasters occur, they said.

"If there is a God, he is delinquent," Nerren said.

Tulsa's Marilyn Clark, a humanist, said most people's belief in God is a longing for something that is kind and good in the world.

Because humanists do not believe in an eternal life in heaven, they feel that their bond with others is perhaps greater than most people's.

If the only possible paradise that can exist is on earth, it is important that people treat each other with love and respect each day, and just not during the holiday season, they said.

"In the end, everyone is going to die, and we realize that," Bradley said. "Life is short and sweet, so we are going to be kind, good and just -- this is the only chance that we're going to get."

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Minutes for HAT meeting, Dec. 18, 2005

Officers for 2006 were elected at the HAT meeting held on Sunday, Dec. 18, 2005 at Randy Bradley's house. The officers are Randy Bradley, president; Marilyn Clarke, vice-president; Dan Nerren, secretary; Dan Nerren, treasurer; Brian Hill, program director. Door prize winners were Ryan Sheahan (one-year subscription to Freethought Today) and Mary Clements (one-year subscription to Church and State magazine).

There were 18 people at the gathering: Randy, Dawn, Harold, Sharon, Brian, Ryan, Julia, Bea, Gail, Marilyn, Mary, Polly, Glenn, Stan, John, Barbara, Jan, and Dan. We all sat around a large table and enjoyed turkey soup and cornbread. There was a large variety of desserts to choose from.

We observed HumanLight, a Humanist celebration of human accomplishments and reason.

The Secular Singers presented a musical program of eight holiday selections.

This was our final meeting of the year.

Looking to next year, Program Director Brian Hill will explore the possibility of scheduling Carlton Pearson as a guest speaker at one of our third Sunday meetings.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Freethought Activities -- December 2005

Sat., Dec. 10, 10am
Secular Singers at Dan’s house, 4925 Spruce Dr., Sand Springs. Join Bea, Randy, Gail, Julia, and Dan to sing freethought and other songs.

Sun., Dec. 11, 2pm
Humanist Study Group at Border’s, 81st & Yale. Discussion leader: Glenn Visher. Topic: “The Nature of Personality: Genes, Culture, and National Character” by Richard W. Robins.

Sun., Dec. 18, 2pm
HAT Monthly Membership Meeting and Food & Fellowship Gathering at Randy Bradley’s, 6705 E. 54th. Annual election of officers. Program: Musical presentation by The Secular Singers.

Wed., Dec. 21, 11:30am
ALGAE luncheon at White River Fish Market, 1708 N. Sheridan.

There is no TAR meeting this month. Next TAR meeting will be Jan. 17.

Questions? Call Dan at 798-3629.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

HSG in December

The subject of discussion for the Humanist Study Group meeting on December 11 will be the article "The Nature of Personality: Genes, Culture, and Natioonal Character" by Richard W. Robins. Glenn Visher will lead the discussion. I received a call yesterday from David Schulte, a reporter for Tulsa World. He said he would be attending this meeting to gather more information for the article he is working on.

Monday, November 28, 2005

...and the nominees are...

At the HAT meeting on November 20 the following nominations were made to fill the offices for 2006:

President: Randy Bradley
Vice President: Marilyn Clarke
Secretary: Dan Nerren
Treasurer: Dan Nerren
Program Director: Brian Hill

There are no contested offices and the time for nominations has expired, so the above will be your HAT officers for 2006. A vote to approve the slate will be held at the December meeting. The December meeting will be held at the home of Randy Bradley on Sunday, December 18, starting at 2:00 PM. Randy's address is 6705 E. 54 St.

Also at the November meeting we decided to spend $200 on honoraria for four guest speakers ($50 each) during 2006. Randy and Brian will select and arrange for the speakers. If anyone has a suggestion for a guest speaker, please let Randy or Brian know.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Brian's letter

The following letter by Brian Hill is in today's Tulsa World.


"Braving stormy weather" (Nov. 7) rakes over the same old discredited coals. Historically, believers have strained to attach theological significance to catastrophic weather. But the Bible is replete with erroneous predictions of the Apocalypse.

Jesus taught that his generation would witness the advent of God's kingdom. At Matthew 4:17, he states, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." He miscalculates again in Mark 9:1, Luke 9:27 and Matthew 16:28.

St. Paul says in I Corinthians 7:29, "the appointed time has grown very short." The opening sentence of the fabled Book of Revelation cites Jesus speaking of things that must shortly come to pass.

No viable construction can expand "shortly" to extend to nearly 2,000 years. Would the early Christians have been so willing to face persecution if they had realized how mistaken their leaders were about their collective fate? No telling, but there is no doubt that many of today's believers will continue to ignore biblical passages that disrupt their cherished notions.

Brian Hill, Tulsa

Monday, November 14, 2005

Reporter Interviews HAT Members

David Schulte, a reporter for the Tulsa World, interviewed five HAT members last Saturday at the Zarrow Library for a story he is working on about non-Christians in the Christmas season. Do we celebrate, and if so, how? Do we exchange gifts? Do we put up a tree in the house? Are we open about our non-belief with our family and coworkers? These are some of the questions we responded to during the interview. The reporter said he would like to observe one of our meetings before having his story ready to run in the paper.

The five HAT members who were interviewed are : Randy Bradley, Bea McCartney, Julia Topi, Marilyn Clarke, and myself. In the hour prior to the interview the Secular Singers worked on some music for the December 18 meeting, which will be held at Randy's house.

Agenda for November Meeting

Below is the agenda for the November 20, 2005 meeting of the Humanist Association of Tulsa. The meeting is being held at the Hardesty Library (on 93rd near Memorial). The meeting will begin shortly after the library opens at 1:00 pm. Please contact me if you have an item of business you would like added to the agenda. -Dan

1. Announcements and circulation of working copy of 2006 membership roster for corrections or additions
2. Opening reading (selections from When Will Jesus Bring the Pork Chops? by George Carlin)
3. Nominations for offices for 2006 (election at December meeting)
4. Drawing for door prize (a one-year subscription to Freethought Today; alternative prize available if winner is already a subscriber)
5. Program and discussion. "Race: The Power of an Illusion," a DVD presentation; discussion leader, Brian Hill

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

November 2005 Freethought Activities

Sat., Nov. 12, 10am
Secular Singers at Dan’s house, 4925 Spruce Dr., Sand Springs. Join Bea, Randy, Gail, Julia, and Dan to sing freethought and other songs.

Sun., Nov. 13, 2pm
Humanist Study Group at Border’s, 81st & Yale. Discussion leader: Ryan Sheahan. Topic TBA.

Tues., Nov. 15, 7pm
Tulsa Atheist Rendezvous at Zarrow Library, 2224 W. 51st St. See for agenda.

Wed., Nov. 16, 11:30am
ALGAE, luncheon at White River Fish Market, 1708 N. Sheridan.

Sun., Nov. 20, 1pm
HAT Monthly Membership Meeting at the Hardesty Library, near 93rd and Memorial. Annual election of officers. Program: “Race: The Power of an Illusion.” Discussion leader: Brian Hill.

Sat., Nov. 26, 11:30am
Food & Fellowship, at Shawkat’s, 4123 S. Sheridan.

Questions? Call Dan at 798-3629

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Secular Singers at Christmas

We, the Secular Singers, had a good time singing at the HAT meeting last Sunday, although I wish I could have done a little better playing the keyboard.

Now we are focusing upon the Christmas, or Winter Soltice, concert, which will be held on December 18 at Randy Bradley's house. Our next rehearsal will be at 10am on Saturday, November12.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Final preparations for concert

The Secular Singers met for a two and a half hour practice session this afternoon at my house. We tweeked the program a bit and made a slight modification in the order of the songs we will be singing. Here it is:

The Battle of Church and State
I Don't Need Jesus
Joe Hill
The Winnsboro Cotton Mill Blues
No Masters and No Gods for Me
The Ballad of Judge Roy Moore
Draft Dodger Rag
This Land is Your Land
Hard Traveling
Oklahoma Hills
Just Say 'No' to Religion
What a Wonderful World

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Secular Singers to Sing this Sunday

The vocal ensemble The Secular Singers will give a free concert at the HAT meeting this Sunday at the Hardesty Library, starting shortly after 1:00 PM. Members of the Secular Singers come from HAT and include Bea McCartney, Randy Bradley, Julia Topi, Gail Storey, and Dan Nerren. Included in the concert will be the well-known songs (at least well-known among freethinkers) "Just Say No to Religion," and "I Don't Need Jesus."

Monday, October 10, 2005

Jimmy Carter on Fundamentalism

I would describe fundamentalism as, first of all, a movement led almost invariably by authoritarian males who consider themselves to be superior to others and who have an overwhelming commitment to subjugate women and to dominate their fellow believers.

Second, fundamentalists draw clear distinctions between themselves, the true believers, and others. They are convinced that they are right and that anyone who contradicts them is inferior and beyond the purview of God's full blessing.

Third, fundamentalists are militant in fighting against any challenge to their beliefs, are often angry and sometimes resort to verbal or even physical abuse against those who oppose the implementation of their agenda. Finally, they tend to make their self-definition narrow, to isolate themselves, to demagogue social and emotional issues and to view change, cooperation, negotiation or other efforts to resolve differences as signs of weakness."

Sunday, October 02, 2005

The following letter appeared in the Tulsa World on Sunday, October 2, 2005. Randy is currently vice-president of the Humanist Association of Tulsa.

Judge rules correctly

Judge Lawrence Karlton's ruling is correct. The phrase "Under God" violates school children's right to be "free from a coercive requirement to affirm God." I would prefer that Oklahoma officials support the U.S. Constitution rather than gloat that the majority has the power to force its superstition on the rational.

A persistent misrepresentation made by the religious in America is that our Founding Fathers desired to make America religious. This is not true. They argued vehemently against the governments providing support to religion. Of our first six presidents, none attended an established church. During the term of our second president, the U.S. Senate agreed unanimously, in the Treaty of Tripoli, that the United States was in fact not a Christian nation.

Language cannot be more plain than that used by Thomas Jefferson in a letter to William Short:
"I have examined all the known superstitions of the world and I do not find in our particular superstition of Christianity one redeeming feature. They are all alike, founded on fables and mythology. Millions of innocent men, women and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined and imprisoned. What has been the effect of this coercion? To make one half the world fools and the other half hypocrites; to support roguery and error all over the earth."

Randy Bradley, Tulsa

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

What a Wonderful World

At our rehearsal last Saturday, the Secular Singers decided to replace "Hard Times in the Mill" with "What a Wonderful World."

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Song List for Oct. 16 Concert

1. The Battle of Church and State
2. No Masters and No Gods for Me
3. Joe Hill
4. Winnsboro Cotton Mill Blues
5. What a Wonderful World
6. The Ballad of Judge Roy Moore
7. Draft Dodger Rag
8. This Land is Your Land
9. Hard Traveling
10. Oklahoma Hills
11. Just Say ‘No’ to Religion
12. Your Friendly Neighborhood Atheist
13. I Don’t Need Jesus
14. Life Is Good

Future meetings

HAT will meet for its third Sunday meetings for the remainder of the year as follows:

October 16 - Hardesty Library

November 20 - Hardesty Library

December 18 - Home of Randy Bradley, 6705 E. 54th St.

ALGAE now meeting just once a month

Due to low attendance at the ALGAE luncheons, we will be meeting just once a month. The luncheons will be on the third Wednesday and will be at the White River Fish Market and Restaurant, 1708 N. Sheridan.