Sunday, December 19, 2010

HAT meeting, 12.18.10

The December HAT meeting was a special event. Visiting today was Annie Laurie Gaylor, co-president of Freedom From Religion Foundation of Madison, Wisconsin. We had a larger than usual attendance: about 30 people. Members of the Tulsa Atheist Meetup had been invited to attend.

Annie Laurie spoke about recent litigation that FFRF has been involved in. She spoke close to an hour and a half. None of the usual business was conducted today due to our special guest addressing our group.

Elections will be held in January. Due to Skepticon 3 in Springfield, MO, the November meeting was cancelled.

Monday, November 01, 2010

November 2010 Calendar

November 2010 Calendar of Activities for Freethinkers

Sat., Nov. 6, 7:00 pm
Movie Night at the Bradleys, 5607 E. 54th St.

Sun., Nov. 7, 11:00 am
Humanist Sunday at Church of the Restoration, 1314 N. Greenwood Ave.
Speaker: John Lowerison on Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Discussion and meal follow.

Fri., Nov. 12, 7:00 pm
Poetry Group meets at Border’s Bookstore, 2nd floor.

Sat., Nov. 13, 2:00 pm
Secular Singers at Storey house, 4630 S. Victor Ave.

Sun., Nov. 14, 1:30 pm
Humanist Discussion Group, Herb’s house, 3414 E. 85 Pl.

Tues., Nov. 16, 7:00 pm
Tulsa Atheists Mid-Month Social, Delta Cafe, 11101 E. 41st

Wed., Nov. 17, 11:20 am
ALGAE at White River Fish Market, 1708 N. Sheridan.

Sat., Nov. 20, 2:00 pm
HAT Chapter Meeting at Genealogy Center, 2901 S. Harvard.

Sat., Nov. 27, 11:30 am
Food & Fellowship at My Thai Restaurant, 3023 S. Harvard.

Sun., Nov. 28, 1:00 pm
Tulsa Atheists Meetup, at Agora Coffee House in Fontana Center.

Sun., Nov. 28, 3:00 pm
Dream Group at Marilyn Clarke's, 4917 S. Maplewood

Questions? Call Randy (622-6975) or Dan (798-3629)

Monday, October 18, 2010

HAT meeting, 10.16.10

The Saturday meeting of the Humanist Association of Tulsa for October began at 2 pm in the meeting room of the Genealogy Center, 2901 S. Harvard. There were 11 people present at the meeting.

Herb began the meeting by calling attention to “God in America,” a series currently running on PBS. Bill noted that everyone should view the series, especially if you have any lingering doubts that the Republican is not a wholly owned subsidiary of conservative religion.

The program is in six segments and can be viewed by clicking here:

Herb also mentioned that Facebook has some interesting information about the AHA. Someone mentioned that there are 38,000 Christian sects in the world. If you are a Christian, what is the chance that you are a part of the correct Christian sect?

The most religious people are often the least informed about their religion. Atheists rank high in their knowledge about religion.

Herb spoke some about the topic of the recent Humanist Discussion Group, which meets at his house. “”Humanism and the Law” was the subject of the most recent discussion. Herb noted that the Free Exercise and Establishment clauses of the First Amendment are often pitted against one another.

The Washington Ethical Society was talked about a bit. Bill noted that the Ethical Culture Groups grew out of the Jewish element within the AHA and are found mostly along the eastern seaboard.

Ron McDaniel gave a report on the amount of taxes that go uncollected in Tulsa County due to religious exemptions. He did a case study of Asbury United Methodist Church, studying the property surrounding the church and found that the exemption for this one church amounted to several thousands of dollars annually. If the citizens of Tulsa County were aware of how much more they have to pay to make up for those who feeeload due to their religious exemption, they would be up in arms.

I am to check on t-shirts from a place offering the shirts for $2.95 each. Bill called me a couple of days later to say that the first shirt is $2.95 but subsequent shirts are sold at a higher price.

Bill spoke about “Secular Celebrants” and said he would like to see us issue our own credentials.

Bill will be going to Paris for a month soon and wanted to remind us that we will be having a FFRF Tulsa meeting at Randy’s next Sunday afternoon.

On December 17, Annie Laurie Gaylor will be in Tulsa for a visit.

In the spring of 2011, Rob Boston of Americans United will be in Tulsa.

Bill also noted that the United Way contributed nothing to Planned Parenthood and urged us not to give to United Way. Bill also noted that a new book Inside C Street is being published shortly. Another book mentioned was Inside Job.

Black Elk Speaks was recommended by Herb as a worthwhile read.

I have just touched upon the highlights of this meeting. There are several things that I eliminated due to length. Please feel free to add anything you found to be interesting by clicking on “Comment” below.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

HAT meeting, 9.18.10

There were 13 people at today's HAT meeting. Includedin that number were two visitors: John Demoss and Phil Ferguson. Phil drops in every now and then when he is in the Bentonville, AR area. Otherwise, he is usually found in the Champagne-Urbana, IL area.

Randy expressed his exasperation at churches avoiding the paying of taxes. Herb said that is the way things are and most likely always will be -- a disheatening prospect. Then the idea of "if you can't beat them, join them" was raised. Bill said that if everyone is a "minister" or cleric of some group, then everyone is equal when it comes to tax breaks given to the religioius among us. Bill is a "bishop" in the Universal Life Church. The ULC might be worth checking into to see how it could level the playing field, so to speak.

Larry Roth mentioned that he had posted a reply on the meetup site to an essay distributed by Herb. I have yet to read Larry's reply. I hope I can do so soon.

I stated that we have 30 members and that the treasury stood at around $1400. I could not say exectly how much was in the treasury since I did not have the figure with me. Now that I am home and have looked it up, I can say that we have $1402.40.

The subject of anti-semitism was raised and discussed briefly. Someone mentioned the book God on Trial.

Bill circulated copies of his "God Survey," asking those present to take some and ask others to complete the survey and return the forms to Bill.

Ron McDaniel passed out some papers on education which compared the United States with others countries.

Randy mentioned a book he was reading titled Shop Class as Soulcraft by Michael B. Crawford. Crawford writes of the challenges and pleasures of working with one's hands. "The culture needs to be changed so that people can get satisfaction from making something with their hands," said Randy.

Bill brought a sacks of books with him which he offered for sale. The book is When Men Become Gods by Stephen Singular. It is the story of Mormon polygamist Warren Jeffs. Members bought three copies.

Monday, September 13, 2010

September calendar

September 2010 Calendar of Activities for Freethinkers

Sat., Sept. 4, 7:00 pm
Movie Night at the Bradleys, 5607 E. 54th St.

Fri., Sept. 10, 7:00 pm
Poetry Group meets at Border’s Bookstore, 2nd floor

Sat. Sept. 11, all day
Road trip to Diamond, MO to visit GWC National Monument

Sun., Sept. 12, 11:00 am
Humanist Sunday at Church of the Restoration, 1314 N. Greenwood Ave.
Speaker: Marilyn Clarke. Meal follows.

Sun., Sept. 12, 1:30 pm
Humanist Discussion Group, Herb’s house, 3414 E. 85 Pl.
Discussion will be based on articles from the current issue of The Humanist magazine.

Wed., Sept. 15, 11:20 am
ALGAE at White River Fish Market, 1708 N. Sheridan

Sept. ??, TBA
Tulsa Atheists Mid-Month Social, TBA

Sat., Sept. 18., 2:00 pm
HAT Chapter Meeting at Genealogy Center, 2901 S. Harvard.

Sat., Sept. 25, 11:30 am
Food & Fellowship at Rib Crib, 5025 S. Sheridan

Sun., Sept. 26, 1:00 pm
Tulsa Atheists Meetup, at Agora Coffee House in Fontana Center.

Questions? Call Randy (622-6975) or Dan (798-3629)

Saturday, August 21, 2010

HAT meeting minutes for August

The August HAT meeting was held at the Genealogy Center on Harvard this afternoon. Eleven people were present: Randy, Marilyn, Bill, Bob, John, Richard, Ron, Dan, Larry, and Herb. We had one guest today: Mary.

Randy called the meeting to order around 2 pm.

First, he congratulated the group on staging a presence at the Free Tulsa Music Festival. The event gave us visibility. I enjoyed the hours I put in there and am hoping we have another opportunity to share our philosophy with the community soon. Temperatures were around 100 degrees at this event. Nevertheless, we had a half dozen volunteers most of the time. May the next tabling event be in cooler weather.

Randy encouraged everybody present to support the effort to join with Church of the Restoration (1314 N. Greenwood) in mutually assisting one another. The two groups share basically the same values. Marilyn Clarke, HAT VP, will be speaking on September 12. On October 3, Herb Van Fleet will address the congregation. Thereafter, each first Sunday will be Humanist Sunday, with HAT providing the speaker for the service. Anyone with the inclination to “get on your soapbox” needs to contact me to be scheduled to deliver the message for some future Sunday.

I distributed an updated membership list. Anyone with changes to the list should notify me. I reported we had $1519.06 in the treasury. I noted that Skepticon 3 will be held in Springfield, Missouri, with a few of the speakers being James Randi, Dan Barker, D.J. Grothe, and Victor Stenger.

I mentioned that Secular Singers and the ALGAE luncheons will resume in September. Continuation of these efforts are dependent upon good attendance.

The Atheist Meetup will be held at the Agora on Sunday, August 22 at 1 pm. This month’s Food and Fellowship gathering will be at Chopsticks 6193 E. 61st St. on Saturday, Aug. 28.

Ron gave a report on energy issues for the Public Affairs Committee. He distributed some handouts which he referred to in his talk.

Bill mentioned a church-state violation about to occur in north Tulsa. He said Randy had agreed to serve as a plaintiff in possible litigation.

The scheduled trip by Rob Boston to our area has been postponed until next Spring.

Bill mentioned that an award is scheduled to be given to Rep. Ritze. Accepting the award on his behalf will be Annie Laurie Gaylor of FFRF.

Bill said he now has a Jeri Askins for governor sign in his front yard. He spoke about the history of the 60s when southerners switched political allegiance from the Democrats to the Republicans following Johnson’s support of Civil Rights. He cited that as evidence of the Republicans (in general) being racists.

Bill said he would like to see us perform marriages and doing other duties now performed only by clergy.

The above report contains just a few things I recall from the meeting. I’m sure there is more. If you would like to add to the report, please click on “Comment” below and add your recollections.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Today's HAT meeting, 7.17.10

The meeting was called to order at 2 pm today by HAT President Randy Bradley. There were eight members present and two visitors.

He immediately gave the floor to Bill Dusenberry to finish remarks left over from last month’s meeting. Bill mentioned that he had attended the AHA Conference last month held in San Jose, CA.

Bill spoke about plans to erect a billboard with assistance of FFRF National. Anyone with suggestions for wording should send them to Randy at his email address: Anyone with a suggestion for a location, should send it to me at We have a few Lamar billboard sites from which to choose. Contact me if you would like to see a list. Bill also said that HAT would give a Gore Award to the politician who did the most to promote (intentionally or otherwise) freethought.

Bill also spoke about two letter writing campaigns: (1) to Jimmy Carter, and (2) to state legislators regarding hospitals. Please, once you have written your letter, let me know and I will update the entry on the HAT blog ( This will allow us to evaluate the effectiveness of this effort. Another blog entry will soon go up on the issue regarding hospitals.

Herb announced the resumption of the Humanist Study Group. The next HSG will be held on the second Sunday in August at Herb’s house, 3414 W. 85th Pl. starting at 1:30 pm. Thereafter, the HSG will meet on the second Sunday of each month.

Bill remarked that The Humanist magazine would make a good source of information for the discussions.

Next I reported that we had a membership of 30 members, having just lost Brian Hill. The treasury stands at $1575.06. I brought up our alliance with Church of the Restoration. I mentioned that HAT would be leading the service on August 1, with Steve Nunn delivering the message. A few other slots are still open, and I hope we will have volunteers from HAT to fill those slots. Watch for an e-mail from me regarding this Humanist-led service.

It seems that our business meetings are so filled with business that our time of poetry reading has suffered. I mentioned that there is a group of poetry lovers who meet on the second Friday of the month at Border’s Bookstore on 21st Street, starting at 7 pm. If you would like to engage in the public reading of poetry, this is an opportunity for you.

Next, Ron McDaniel passed out some printed information about State Representative Sally Kern. He wondered about her sincerity. Several people spoke up and said she actually believed what she said. Ron’s talk was interspersed with humor. He finished his talk by saying Jesus was not married and was known to hang out with a bunch of guys.

Next Randy spoke about the book The Christian Delusion: Why Faith Fails written for former minister John Loftis. Randy said that Loftis explains that some Christians are non-receptive to arguments against Christianity which are based upon exposure to logical contradictions. Sounds like a must read.

We welcome Mr. and Mrs. Dana Swift, our guests at today’s meeting.

These are just the highlights as I saw them from today’s meeting. Feel free to add anything or correct anything by clicking on comments.

Monday, July 05, 2010

July 2010 Calendar of Activities

Sat., July 3, 7:00 pm
Movie Night at the Bradleys, 5607 E. 54th St.

Tues., July 13, 7:00 pm
Tulsa Atheists Mid-Month Social, Campus Grill, 3148 E. 11th St.

Sat., July 17, 2:00 pm
HAT Chapter Meeting at Genealogy Center, 2901 S. Harvard.

Sat., July 24, 11:30 am
Food & Fellowship at Lanna Thai, 7227 S. Memorial.

Sun., July 25, 1:00 pm
Tulsa Atheists Meetup, at Agora Coffee House in Fontana Center.

Fri. & Sat., July 30 and 31
Free Tulsa Music Festival, tabling at. Volunteers needed. Call Kenny Nipp if you can work.

Questions? Call Randy (622-6975) or Dan (798-3629)

Letter Writing Campaign

I will be posting on this page the names of those who have participated in the Letter Writing Campaign regarding the Boy Scouts of America. Presently, we are seeking to persuade former President Jimmy Carter to disaffiliate from BSA. Once you have written your letter to President Carter, please let me know and I will add your name to the list.

Writer ............................................................Month Letter Mailed
Bill Dusenberry................................................ June 2010
Dan Nerren..................................................... July 2010
Richard Maule................................................. July 2010

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Photo from HAT meeting

Photo taken at HAT meeting, 6.20.10. In photo are (going counter-clockwise from closest person) John, Bob, Richard Larry, Bill, Ron, Jan, Randy, Gail, Marilyn, Herb (legs only), and Barbara. My apology to John and Larry, sitting to the left just outside the camera's field of vision. For more on this meeting see below.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

HAT meeting, 6-20-10

Around 2 pm, Randy Bradley, chapter president, called the meeting to order. I gave the treasurer's report and the membership report. We currently have $1,574. 03 in the treasury and 31 dues-paying members.

Public Affairs Committee chairman, Ron McDaniel, spoke about HB 1001. Bill Dusenberry said he would like to invite area school superintendents to speak to us on the topic of the tyranny of the majority. He said he would have a letter published soon in the Tulsa World. Bill said that soon the Tulsa CoR would have something up on its website regarding writing to area state senators and representatives in hopes of getting them on the record regarding issues of interest to us. One such issue is the question of whether or not a hospital has the right to refuse medical service to patients based upon religion objections.

Marilyn Clarke read an excerpt from 36 Arguments for the Existence of God: A Work of Fiction by Rebecca Newberger Goldstein. Goldstein was featured in the May/June 2010 issue of The Humanist magazine.

Today's meeting was marked by a sense of hurriedness in that we had two hours to talk about four hours of business. The items on the last half of the agenda received short shrift. We never got around to New Business, of which I had two items.

There are two things we could do to resolve this problem: (1) hold two membershp meetings a month, or (2) let the Board wrangle over the minutia and present a recommendation to the membership which could then be voted up of down.

We might want to add another item to the agenda: communications. This would be the reporting of communications to the chapter.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Order of Service

JUNE 6, 2010, 11:00 AM

Quiet Music: Edna Works

Announcements: Dan Nerren

Prelude: Edna Works

Chalice Lighting: Joy Avery

Affirmation: Steve Nunn

Opening Hymn: “This Little Light of Mine”

Children’s Story: Rosemary Powell

Children’s Offertory: Rosemary Powell

Welcome: Dan Nerren

Offertory: Dan Nerren

Candle Lighting and Silent Meditation: Mary Rounds

Special Music Selection: Dan Nerren (piano) and Joy Avery (guitar)

Reading: Steve Nunn

Message: Dan Nerren

Closing Hymn: “We Would Be One”

Closing Words: Joy Avery

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

June 2010 Calendar of Activities for Freethinkers

Sat., June 5, 7:00 pm
Movie Night at the Bradleys, 5607 E. 54th St.

Sun., June 6, 11:00 am
Humanist Sunday at Church of the Restoration, 1314 N. Greenwood.

Wed., June 16, 11:20 am
ALGAE luncheon, White River Fish Market, 1708 N. Sheridan.

Sat., June 19, 2 pm
HAT Chapter Meeting at Genealogy Center, 2901 S. Harvard.

Sat., June 26, 11:30 am
Food & Fellowship at Chopsticks, 6193 E. 61st.

Sun., June 27, 1 pm
Tulsa Atheists Meetup, at Agora Coffee House in Fontana Center.

If an Atheists Mid-Month Social is scheduled, I will notify the list of the day and time.

Questions? Call Randy (622-6975) or Dan (798-3629)

Saturday, May 15, 2010

HAT Meeting, 5.5.10

The May 2010 HAT meeting was held today. There were 17 people present. As always, there was much discussion, much give and take among the membership.

As for the hard news, the membership voted to raise dues to $12 annually, starting in January 2011. A Public Affairs Committee, chaired by Ron McDaniel was established. Members are urged to contact Ron regarding violations of church/state separation, or other issues the committee might like to focus upon.

Herb reviewed the meeting held at his house earlier this month. There was a concern raised that the word “rationalism” found in our bylaws in section II could be misunderstood as “rationalizing” and thus asked for it to be changed to “reason.” This applied only to our chapter’s mission statement and not the bylaws. There is a procedure which has to be followed to change the bylaws.

Marilyn Clarke gave a presentation based upon an article from Harper’s Magazine from December 2007. “Hot Air Gods” by Curtis White was the essay she used.

In the “Readings, Quips, and Quotes” section of the meeting, I read the poem “Blackbirds” by Julie Cadwallader Staub.

Stan Simpson announced he will be holding a gathering at his house in the near future. I will pass along the information on this gathering once I have it.

I invited the membership to attend Church of the Restoration tomorrow morning for the 11:00 service. I think each organization will be able to benefit one another.

Please add your comments below by clicking on “Comments.” I look forward to seeing many of you tomorrow at Restoration.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Freethought Calendar for May

May 2010 Calendar of Activities for Freethinkers

Sat., May 1, 7:00 pm
Movie Night at the Bradleys, 5607 E. 54th St. showing of a film will follow playing of “Castle House Rag” by our piano duo, Gail and Dan.

Sun., May 2, 2:00 pm
HAT Planning Session, at Herb’s house, 3414 E. 85th Pl.

Wed., May 12, 7:00 pm
Tulsa Atheists Mid-Month Social, Campus Grill, 3148 E. 11th St.

Sat., May 15, 2 pm
HAT Chapter Meeting at Genealogy Center, 2901 S. Harvard.

Wed., May 19, 11:20 am
ALGAE at White River Fish Market, 1708 N. Sheridan Rd.

Thurs., May 20, noon
Contest deadline for “Everybody Draw Muhammad Day.” Mail your drawing to HAT, P. O. Box 571127, Tulsa, OK 74157. Winners will be recognized at Food and Fellowship gathering.

Sat., May 22, 11:30 am
Food & Fellowship at La Hacienda, 4518 S. Peoria.

Sun., May 23, 1 pm
Tulsa Atheists Meetup, at Agora Coffee House in Fontana Center

There is a possibility a meeting will be held (in the first full week of May) at Bill Dusenberry’s to discuss action to be taken in regard to “Everybody Draw Muhammad Day,” May 20.

Due to low attendance, Secular Singers is suspended for the summer. We will resume in September, provided there is sufficient interest.

Questions? Call Randy (622-6975) or Dan (798-3629)

Monday, April 26, 2010

Food and Fellowship at Chopsticks

This photo was taken by our waitress at Chopsticks last Saturday, April 24, 2010. Seated around the table going clockwise from myself are Bob Hooper, Bill Dusenberry, Herb VanFleet, Marilyn Clarke, Larry Roth, John Lupardus, Ron McDaniel, Barbara Frey, and J.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

HAT Meeting, 4.17.10

Today's meeting of HAT began with Randy Bradley reading the Affirmations of Humanism, a statement written by Paul Kurtz. Randy said that he has ordered a 10' X 10' tent at a cost of about $240. We will be paying a $400 fee to set up the tent on "The Green" in downtown Tulsa on May 6, the National Day of Reason. We will be paying an additional fee to purchase $2 million of insurance to cover us for the five hours the tent will be up.

All HAT members are encouraged to come out to the Green on May 6. After the event, the tent will be made available to the reality-based community for other activities. Interested parties will be able to sign up for the "In Reason We Trust" license plate. Also, information from OESE regarding school textbooks will be available. Randy has put together a list of religion-based conflicts current going on around the world. He will make this list available.

[NOTE: The event on the Green has been canceled.]

HAT treasurer Dan Nerren passed out copies of the First Quarter Financial Report as well as receipts to those who recently paid their dues.

Next the floor was given to Herb van Fleet who presented the results of a recent survey of HAT members he conducted. He went over the questions one by one. The survey generated much discussion. Herb will be holding a meeting at his house of the Executive Committee at 2 pm on May 2 for further discussion of the survey and proposed actions which might follow from the survey. We might try to draft a mission statement at this meeting.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Nancy Kaschel receives award

Nancy Kaschel, representative of Planned Parenthood, receives an award for her service to humanity.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Epicurus quote

Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?
Then he is not omnipotent.
Is he able, but not willing.
Then he is malevolent.
Is he both able and willing?
Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able nor willing?
Then why call him God?

Epicurus, BCE 341-270

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Today's meeting

Today seems like a Sunday. That is because we had a HAT meeting this afternoon. For the last several years HAT has held its monthly chapter meetings on Sundays. We have now moved the meetings to a new venue at a new day and time. Instead of meeting at the Hardesty Library on the south edge of Tulsa, we now meet in a more central location at 2901 S. Harvard in the Genealogy Center of the Library System. Plus the room we meet in is a bit larger than the room we used at Hardesty. The new location is about six miles south and three miles west of our former location. Actually, we used to meet at the new location back when the building was owned by the Harmon Foundation. It was used by the Tulsa Philharmonic at that time.

We had a good turnout for today's meeting. There were 16 in attendance, if I remember correctly. I circulated a sign-in sheet, but have mislaid it. Otherwise, I would refer to it for the exact count.

KOTV, Channel 6, interviewed Randy recently concerning the billboard currently in place in Tulsa. The billboard says "Good Without God? Millions Are." The billboard can be seen as you travel west on I-44 as you go across the Arkansas River. We do not know when, or if, the interview will be aired.

Randy is continuing with his project of having member letters posted on the HAT web site. If you send in a letter for publication, be sure to send Randy a copy so he can post it also.

Richard told us about a hilarious web site called "Mr. Deity." I look at it ever so often to see what is new there. Check it out at I would recommend that you begin by watching episode 1 of season 1. In light of the recent earthquake in Haiti, this one is most apopropriate.

We spoke briefly about the unfairness of allowing churches to go tax free, while every other business operation is taxed.

We discussed the move to teach the Bible as literature in the public schools. While this idea may look innocuous on paper, in practice it can be a can of worms. Everything depends upon the individual teacher who has the responsibility of teaching the course. In the hands of the wrong teacher, it can be used to proselytize students. And what Christian teacher is willing to ignore Christ's command to go into all the world and spread the gospel? Teaching this course would be a golden opportunity to do just that.

Richard also mentioned a program on Nova called "Archaeology and the Bible." He said it would be good for all students to see this program.

Randy spoke about the great feeling of love we in HAT have for one another. We get together frequently and know a lot about each other's lives. He is right. I have never felt so loved by a group of people as I do by those in our chapter. We are not just a chapter of the AHA; we are a community of like-minded people who enjoy each other's company. We love being together.

Herb brought up the idea of having shirts with printing on them saying something like "Humanist Association of Tulsa." We could wear the shirts to various community events, thereby advertising our chapter.

Dawn mentioned an organization which prints shirts for something like $6.50 each. She will look into it and let us know.

We had a visitor today. Her name is Judy, and she is a retired teacher. We hope our group can fill a need in her life and that she will become a part of our group and help us grow.

Toward the end of the meeting, I read a poem by Phillip Appleman titled "Noah." I was gratified that the group applauded when I finished reading the seven-page poem.

These are the highlights of the meeting as I recall them. Feel free to add anything you remember in the "Comments" area below.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Coalition of Reason Newsletter, v. 1, no. 1

Hard CoR News
The insider bulletin of the United Coalition of Reason
Volume 1, Issue 1 ~ January 5, 2010

Welcome to the first issue of the United Coalition of Reason’s electronic newsletter. This is a new service, created to benefit all local CoR coordinators and web administrators in the United CoR network. Other select individuals are also receiving it. The purpose is to keep CoR leaders up to date on organizational developments, plans, and new initiatives. It is also to serve as a forum for sharing information and ideas within the CoR community.

To begin, the United CoR board and staff wish everyone a Happy New Year as the organization sets its course for 2010. There are exciting new projects in the works. But before we begin to fill you in on those, below, we start with a news wrap-up of our progress in 2009.

Rapid Growth in the First Year

The United Coaliton of Reason went public on March 30, 2009, with the launch of the Dallas-Fort Worth Coalition of Reason in Texas. News coverage was significant, followed by a dramatic upsurge in Web traffic and new membership growth for the participating local groups.

In the months that followed two existing coalitions were brought into the United CoR network: the Greater Philadelphia Coalition of Reason and the Colorado Coalition of Reason. The New York Times mentioned the United CoR phenomenon in its April 27 article, “More Atheists Shout It from the Rooftops.”

Then the billboard campaign for Arizona CoR was unveiled at a well-attended press conference on June 5. For added news impact, this was held in conjunction with the national conference of the American Humanist Association. The media results were impressive and Arizona CoR’s stature in the community rose rapidly thereafter.

Later that month, work commenced on coalitions in Ohio, Washington State, and Oregon. In July CoRs were organized in Minnesota and Oklahoma. In August one was organized in West Virginia. A pre-existing coalition in Houston, Texas, was also recruited. Then in September initial CoR meetings were held in Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, and Washington DC.

Meanwhile, United CoR provided logistical and media support, but no ad funding, for two individual organizations: the New Orleans Secular Humanist Association and the Iowa Atheists and Freethinkers. New Orleans unveiled a billboard on May 29. Later, in Des Moines, Iowa, a bus campaign launched August 3.

Then the dam broke as 14 CoRs suddenly went public in the last quarter of 2009. These were Morgantown CoR on September 29 (with media activity continuing well into October), Big Apple CoR on October 19, Chicago CoR on October 20, New Jersey CoR on October 27, and Boston CoR on October 28. In Ohio three CoRs launched at once on November 10: Cin CoR, Columbus CoR, and NEO CoR. On November 11 San Diego CoR launched, followed by Silicon Valley CoR on November 16. That same day, Philly CoR unveiled its second ad campaign (its first had begun May 1, 2008). It involved ads on 25 buses and 25 subway cars. Portland CoR launched its campaign on November 17, Baltimore CoR on December 1, and Tulsa CoR on December 7. In Houston, a pre-existing coalition called the Houston Freethought Alliance unveiled its United CoR billboard on December 9.

A number of local coalitions using the “Good without God” advertising theme were able to coordinate their launches with a book tour for the new book, Good without God, authored by Greg Epstein, who is the humanist chaplain at Harvard University. The book was released October 27 and media attention is still going strong, accompanied by large crowds at Epstein’s speaking engagements. Many local CoRs benefited from the extra publicity boost that this tie-in made possible.

Such a concentrated blizzard of CoR activity in the last quarter of 2009 was not only felt nationwide but overseas as well. The New York story went worldwide, including coverage in the China Daily and on Al Jazeera television. The Baltimore Sun put Baltimore CoR on its front page. The temporary removal of the bus ads in Des Moines and a billboard in Cincinnati created reverberations across the country. And attendance at the annual Texas Freethought Convention, held November 14 in San Antonio, was more than double that of the previous year, reportedly due in large part to the energized coalition activity in the Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston areas.

And on November 2, at a special ceremony held on the Harvard campus, the United Coalition of Reason received the Harvard Humanist of the Year Award—the only organization ever to be so honored—for its “historic” multi-city coalition-building campaign. Included in the ceremony was Amanda Gulledge of Montgomery, Alabama, winner of the United CoR “Good without God Essay Contest.” (Her essay is online at .)

The year concluded with a second Des Moines bus ad campaign, which launched December 22, this one geared to the winter holiday season. Further details on this and all of the above developments can be found on the United CoR website at . Moreover, as the homepage reveals, there are now 20 CoRs in the national network.

New Initiatives for 2010

In addition to new ad campaigns, such as a billboard in Seattle, Washington, this month, and more coalitions forming, the United Coalition of Reason is moving in new directions. For 2010 the emphasis will be on developing the CoRs that have already launched. The idea is that not only should the movement spread wide but it should reach deep. Foundations need to be built that will ensure long-term stability.

Toward this end, United CoR is doing some new things. For starters, it is offering the following list of recommended CoR celebrations that can be used to build local bonds of cooperation and generate further publicity.

Darwin Day (February 12)
Earth Day (April 22)
National Day of Reason (May 6)
Banned Books Week (September 25-October 2)
National Secular Service Day (October 18)
Winter Solstice/HumanLight (around December 21)

Since Darwin Day is just a little over 5 weeks away, it is recommended that local groups and their CoRs begin making plans as soon as possible. Program ideas for this observance can be found online at .

United CoR will also be redesigning its national website to give it more features of value to local CoR leaders and it will be creating a new, more user-friendly Web template which CoRs both new and old can make use of. Details on these changes will be made available as they are worked out.

Watch for the next issue of this e-newsletter for additional news and information.

Fred Edwords, editor. © Copyright 2010 by the United Coalition of Reason.
E-mail news items to . Visit the website at

Friday, January 01, 2010

January 2010 Calendar

January 2010
Activities of Interest to Freethinkers

Sat., Jan. 2, 7:00 pm
Movie Night at the Bradleys, 6705 E. 54th St.

Sat., Jan. 9, 2:00 PM
Secular Singers, Storey House, 4630 S. Victor Ave.

Sat., Jan 16, 2:00 pm
HAT chapter meeting
NOTE: New meeting location, date and time. Meetings during 2010 will be held at the Genealogy Center, 2901 S. Harvard (across from Fellowship Congregational Church). This is the same location where HAT met prior to the Hardesty Library.

Wed., Jan 20, 11:20 pm
ALGAE luncheon Join us at White River Fish Market, 1708 N. Sheridan Rd., for a seafood lunch.

Sat., Jan. 23, 11:30 pm
Food & Fellowship, Billy Sims Barbecue at Farm Shopping Center, Sheridan and 51st St.

Sun., Jan. 27, 1:00 PM
Tulsa Atheists Meetup, Agora Coffee House, Fontana Center, Memorial and 51st St.

Questions? Contact Randy at 622-6975 or Dan at 798-3629.