Category Archives: Secular Humanism

BE. Inspired – April Newsletter

Laughter is essential to human connection.  Bringing joy to someone – just making them smile or laugh – can change their day.  Sometimes, change their life.  How will you use April Fool’s day to connect to and uplift others?  

March Highlights & News

Pi Day Week was approximately awesome.  The 6th annual Math, Science, & Pi(e) event on March 10th at the Coalition for the Homeless engaged 16 volunteers and served more than 30 at-risk children.  THEN, on Pi Day, we had an amazing evening at  SafeHouse of Seminole where we served Mellow Mushroom pizza and did fun math art  activities with the resident youth – and adults!  For dessert…so much Pi(e)! And after the event volunteers relaxed & enjoyed (Pi)zza & a (Pi)nt at Mellow Mushroom.  🙂

BE. Orlando was featured in an article in the Humanist EDge.

Our application for chapter status with the American Humanist Association is in process. We need one more AHA member, who is also a BE. member, to sign the application – could that be you?  Let us know at BEOrlando@live.com.

IMG_20180317_141532148Thank you to those who attended the Secular Advocacy Dinner on March 15.  And a special thanks to Ryan Bell and members of the Secular Student Alliance at UCF who made service a priority during the national office visit to the university.   They joined BE. for a tour SafeHouse, prepared lunch for the residents, and played outside with youth.

Upcoming Events – April

RSVP & Details: Meetup.com/BEOrlando

  • 4/7 – help set up UCP’s 25th annual Gala event
  • 4/8 – join CFFC for their monthly park cleanup
  • 4/9 – Donate blood with fellow Knights at the BIG Blood Drive at UCF
  • 4/4 – last day to sign up for April’s SafeHouse meal serve
  • 4/11 – Meal serve at SafeHouse – Luau!
  • 4/14 – Volunteer at Second Harvest Food Bank
  • 4/18 – Humanist Peer Support and Discussion Group
  • 4/19 – Symphony Under the Stars at UCF
  • 4/21 – Central Florida Earth Day festival – volunteer at our vendor tent, donate blood, help with our on-site service project, or just enjoy the festival
  • May preview: BOOK DRIVE – Throughout May we’ll host our annual book drive supporting summer literacy initiatives in our community.  Start looking for great STEM-themed books and books that highlight women and minorities in STEM and other successful professional or historic roles.

Special Days in April

Visit our Humanist Calendar

Happy 77th birthday, AHA! The American Humanist Association was founded in April, 1941 by two Humanist Unitarian ministers to recognize the non-theistic and secular nature of Humanism, organize its advocates, and educate.  They are the oldest organization addressing the breadth of Humanism in the United States. Learn more at americanhumanist.org

  • 4/2 World Autism Awareness Day
  • 4/3 Happy Birthday, AC Grayling
  • 4/9 Happy Birthday, Sam Harris
  • 4/12 Yuri’s Night (Cosmonaut’s Day)
  • 4/13 Happy Birthday, Christopher Hitchens (1949-2011)
  • 4/13 Happy Birthday, Madalyn Murray O’Hair (1919-1995)
  • 4/15 Freedom From Religion Foundation incorporated nationally (1976)
  • 4/19 Ask an Atheist Day
  • 4/21 Central Florida Earth Day Festival at Lake Eola
  • 4/21 Astronomy Day
  • 4/22 Earth Day
  • 4/25 DNA Day
  • 4/27 Arbor Day
  • 4/28 Pay it Forward Day

Member’s Favorite Positive Life Quote

Contributed by: Esther
“The powerful play goes on and you will contribute a verse. What will your verse be?”
Dead Poet’s Society

March Photo of the Month

Volunteers at Math, Science, & Pi(e)!

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BE. Inspired – March Newsletter

There are way more than 3.141592653589 ways to make a difference with us this month!

February Highlights

Valentine’s Day was the best it’s ever been – volunteers gathered at SafeHouse of Seminole to serve “Food from the Heart”.  Our gratitude to the UU Congregation of Lake County for partially sponsoring the dinner!.

BE.’s Board met this month to discuss our AHA chapter application, policy changes, and other business – you can view the meeting materials HERE.

We also held a member vote in February and 34% (29 of 86, based on number of active members in 2017) voiced unanimous approval for us to apply to be a chapter. The application will be submitted soon.

Special Invitation:
Secular Advocacy Dinner, March 15th

You’re invited!  Join some very special guests for the Secular Advocacy Dinner on March 15th, 6-9 p.m.  Details and RSVP HERE.

For more events hosted by Humanist and Secular Services at UCF, including diversity workshops and a monthly peer support group, visit the HSS Calendar.

March Events

RSVP & Details: Meetup.com/BEOrlando

  • 3/10: Math, Science, & Pi(e) Fest Volunteers
  • 3/7: last day to RSVP for SafeHouse
  • 3/14: Serve dinner at SafeHouse
  • 3/15: Secular Advocacy Dinner
  • 3/21: Humanist Peer Support Group
  • 3/24: Mattress Recycling
  • 3/31: Meal Serve at Ronald McDonald House

Special Days in March

Visit our Humanist Calendar

  • 3/1 World Maths Day
  • 3/1 Banned(4)Life founded
  • 3/1 Zero Discrimination Day
  • 3/5  Penn Jillette’s birthday
  • 3/8 International Women’s Day
  • 3/14 Pi Day
  • 3/14 Einstein’s birthday
  • 3/16 Freedom of Information Day
  • 3/26  Richard Dawkin’s Birthday
  • 3/28 Daniel Dennett’s Birthday

Member’s Favorite Positive Life Quote

Contributed by: Michelle
Just keep swimming” – Dory  🙂

January Photo of the Month

IMG_20180214_183049242 (2)

Volunteer Adriana preparing Valentine’s Day dinner for the residents of SafeHouse of Seminole

In God We Trust bill to be heard on Feb 7th

The vote is tomorrow.  Below is the email contact information for all committee members – write to them tonight.

A couple weeks ago, we shared our thoughts on HB839 with you.  This bill would require K-12 public schools to display “In God We Trust”.   Require.  Every public school.  [READ POST]

Thank you to the Central Florida Freethought Community (CFFC) and the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) for the updated information below.

“In God We Trust” Should Not Be Displayed In Florida Schools

Act TODAY to tell Florida lawmakers to vote against bill that would put “In God We Trust” in every public school building.

Tomorrow morning, the Florida House Education Committee will consider HB 839, a bill that would require every school board in the state to place the phrase “In God We Trust” in all public schools. Even though the phrase is, disgracefully, both the national motto and the Florida state motto, there is no question of this bill’s religious intent. The bill’s sponsor, state Rep. Kimberly Daniels, is a preacher with a history of using her public office to promote her personal religion.

Please take action TODAY to oppose this attempt to insert religion into Florida public schools. The Education Committee will consider this bill tomorrow morning at 9 a.m., so they need to hear your voice this afternoon. Please call or email these lawmakers and urge them to vote against HB 839.

More information about HB 839.

Your Message:

Please use the below as a guide and personalize your own message. It is okay to be brief, but passionate.

I am writing as a concerned Floridian to strongly oppose HB 839, which is scheduled for a hearing at 9 a.m. tomorrow morning, Feb. 7. Even though “In God We Trust” was adopted as our national motto in the 1950s, it carries a clear religious message that has no place in our secular public schools.

The sponsor of HB 839, and legislators at the bill’s hearing in the PreK-12 Innovation Subcommittee, have gone on the record saying that the intent of this bill is to promote belief in a religious deity, not to encourage patriotism.

This clear religious goal is anathema to the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and marginalizes the 21 percent of young Americans who are either atheist or agnostic, according to a recent study. These students do not trust in any gods and no message to do otherwise should be expressed to them by their government.

Please vote against HB 839 tomorrow morning.

Who to Contact

Contact the members of the House Education Committee today to voice your strong opposition to HB 839.

 

CFFC is a friend and partner to BE. Orlando. They are a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization focused on the separation of state and church and building a thriving secular community in the Greater Orlando area.  Visit them at http://CFLFreethought.org for more information

BE. Inspired – February Newsletter

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January Highlights  | AnnouncementsFebruary EventsFebruary Observances
Member’s Favorite Positive Life Quotes | January Photo of the Month

JANUARY HIGHLIGHTS

Distaff day is one if our favorite days!  The Orlando Distaff Day organizers welcome our Warmies Project™ each year.  This year they donated more than 130 warm items and more than 70 items of non-perishable food that went to the Coalition for the Homeless.  It was a designated “cold night” when we made the delivery and the parking lot and lobby were full of people needing help. “Warm up cold folks” is the Warmies motto, and that day we sure did! Read more: https://beorlando.wordpress.com/2018/01/07/thanks-orlando-distaff-day/

Secular Invocation at the Florida House of Representatives – As far as we can tell, this is the first Atheist, and the first intentionally secular, invocation given at the Florida Legislature.  Thanks to Representative Carlos Guillermo Smith & the Central Florida Freethought Community for making it happen!  Read more: https://beorlando.wordpress.com/2018/01/12/atheists-invocation-florida-legislature/

MLK Weekend was AWESOME!  Thank you to our volunteers who recycled mattresses at the Mustard Seed and sorted food donations at Second Harvest Food Bank. We’re also grateful to the UU Congregation of Lake County for welcoming us to share the message of Humanism.

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ANNOUNCEMENTS

Pi Day is coming! Join us for an awesome tradition – members engage in math & science activities with at-risk youth at our Math, Science, & Pi(e) Fest at the Coalition for the Homeless.  Recent Pew Research data shows that a major reason why kids aren’t pursuing STEM education and careers is because of the perception that the subject matter is too difficult.  Volunteers at MS&P spend an afternoon doing fun activities that hopefully inspire youth to think about STEM possibilities for their futures.

RSVP for Pi Day: https://www.meetup.com/BEOrlando/events/246657725/

Thanks to member Dan for the article from Pew.  Read it here: http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2018/01/17/half-of-americans-think-young-people-dont-pursue-stem-because-it-is-too-hard/

Darwin Day is next month – get your Darwin Day gear!  Links here: https://www.meetup.com/BEOrlando/events/243878251/

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February EVENTS

Details & RSVP: https://www.meetup.com/BEOrlando/events

  • Feb  7 – last day to RSVP for the 2/14 meal serve at SafeHouse!
  • Feb 10, 5:50 p.m. – BE. Orlando Board Meeting
  • Feb 14, 6:00 p.m. – Food from the Heart – prepare and serve a heartwarming meal for the residents of SafeHouse of Seminole on Valentines day.
  • Feb 21, 6:00 p.m. – Humanist Peer Support and Discussion Group
  • Feb 26, 11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. – workshop at UCF on Humanism. Learn more here: https://srmaucf.wordpress.com/find-a-workshop/ or RSVP to nonreligion@ucf.edu.

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FEBRUARY HUMANIST OBSERVANCES

Humanist Calendar: http://HumanistCalendar.wordpress.com
Email suggestions to BEOrlando@live.com

Birthdays: Teller (1948) Darwin (1809)
Founding Dates:  Coalition of Reason (2009)

  • Black History Month– From the Library of Congress: “As a Harvard-trained historian, Carter G. Woodson, like W. E. B. Du Bois before him, believed that truth could not be denied and that reason would prevail over prejudice. His hopes to raise awareness of African American’s contributions to civilization was realized when he and the organization he founded, the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH), conceived and announced Negro History Week in 1925. The event was first celebrated during a week in February 1926 that encompassed the birthdays of both Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. The response was overwhelming: Black history clubs sprang up; teachers demanded materials to instruct their pupils; and progressive whites, not simply white scholars and philanthropists, stepped forward to endorse the effort.”
  • 2nd – Wear Red Day is the first Friday in February. Heart disease and stroke cause 1 in 3 deaths among women each year, killing approximately one woman every 80 seconds. This national campaign to wear red and raise awareness informs women about risk reduction and raises funds for research and treatment. Learn more: goredforwomen.org
  • 7th – e Day / Euler’s Number Day–  a day where people recognize the significance of the number e, which is approximately 2.71828 (so, celebrated on 2/7). Popularized in use by Leonhard Euler in the early 1700’s, it is an irrational number that represents the idea that all continually growing systems are a scaled version of a common rate. The constant e is mostly used in logarithms, exponential growth, and complex numbers.
  • 11th – International Day of Women and Girls in Science: In order to achieve full and equal access to and participation in science for women and girls, and further achieve gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls, the United Nations General Assembly adopted resolution A/RES/70/212declaring 11 February as the International Day of Women and Girls in Science.
  • 12th – Darwin Day– February 12th – celebrates Darwin’s immense intellectual bravery, perpetual curiosity, and ravenous hunger for truth.  The Central Florida Freethought Community (CFFC) is planning a special event for the Orlando area that will feature nationally known speakers and informational tables. Visit CFFC’s Meetup for more information. Learn more about Darwin Day and find a map of events: darwinday.org
  • 14th – #OneBillionRising-Held annually on February 14th, this international solidarity against the exploitation of women is based on the staggering statistics that one in every three women will be beaten or raped during her lifetime. Learn more: onebillionrising.org  Here in Central Florida, the SafeHouse of Seminole joins forces with UCF Victim Services and other organizations and task forces for a #OneBillionRising event at the University of Central Florida.
  • 16th – Freedom of information Day– celebrates the birthday of President James Madison on March 16.  Madison is known as the “Father of the Constitution” and as the foremost advocate for openness in government.  He was instrumental in the drafting of the United States Constitution and was the key champion and author of the United States Bill of Rights.  Individual rights and freedom of information were of high importance to Madison. The holiday is a yearly reminder of the importance of transparency in the American government and the public’s right to information.
  • 17th – National Random Acts of Kindness Day– A day to celebrate and promote kindness!

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Members’ favorite positive life quotes

Contributed by Susan, new member:

“In life and in the universe, may your signal be high and your noise be low.” – Neil deGrasse Tyson

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January Photo of the Month

MLK Weekend Banner

In G/god(s) some trust.

1/25/18

Florida House Bill  839 / Senate Bill 1158 – a proposal that K-12 schools would post “In God We Trust” in all buildings.

It was just a couple weeks ago that the Florida House of Representatives welcomed an Atheist to deliver a secular invocation.  That’s progress, and i’m grateful.  But there’s so much more to be done – and pending bill 839 is a symptom of the deeper issues.

The preamble of the constitution of Florida begins with a statement that IS NOT TRUE.  It asserts that “we” (all citizens of Florida) are “grateful to Almighty God for our constitutional liberty.”  I’m not represented in that statement, and many others are excluded as well. Pew Research Center data indicates that 76% of Floridians hold Christian or non-Christian faiths.  The Florida population is about 20 million.  That’s 4.8 million who do not claim identity with a religion when asked in a poll.

Not all of those who do claim a religion in polls are believers in God. Some may be Atheistic, Humanistic, Secular, or otherwise culturally or in ritual practice aligned with a faith without belief in the supernatural.  Some nonbelievers are “out”, but others are silently waiting in the “closet” for the world to be a safe place for people of all faith and non-faith identities to be open about who they are.

Pew data also shows that only 64% of Americans believe in God with certainty; based on that statistic, more than 7 million Floridians have some level of doubt. This “in God we trust” language demonstrates willful ignorance and disrespect of the diversity of our citizens.

We shouldn’t be allowing religious radicals to advance normalization of faith expectation in schools and other public domains.  In fact, the right thing to do is to remove references to G/god(s) and faith expectation so that all citizens can be free to exercise their own faith or non-faith without harassment.

A motto is a guiding principle expressed in a few words.  “In God We Trust” was adopted as the official motto of the United States in 1956, replacing “e pluribus unum” (from many, one) which had been on the Great Seal of the United States since its creation in 1782. It was also in the 50’s that God language was added to the Pledge and our currency.

The change was a response to communism as a systemic statement of exclusion of citizens of  minority faith perspectives and secular identities. “In God We Trust” has been officially the motto of the State of Florida only since 2006.   Belief in the supernatural isn’t a guiding principle, and faith bias shouldn’t be our state motto.

Pending House Bill 839, if passed, would “require, in all of the schools of the district and in each building used by the district school board, the display of the state motto, ‘In God We Trust.'”  It would take effect July 1, 2018.  Freedom to express (or not express) faith or non-faith is not a license for religious bullies to force their beliefs on others.

“But it is our state motto”, right?  The real question is, why isn’t there a move to  change our state motto?  The current motto is untrue, blatantly disrespects and marginalizes people of non-faith, fosters divisiveness and hate, and demonstrates ignorance about the diverse people it represents – and doesn’t represent.

The bill to force display of religious messaging in K-12 schools was heard in the Education Committee, PreK-12 Innovation Subcommittee, on January 23rd, 2018, with 10 “yes” votes and ZERO “no” votes.   

I don’t address political issues very often.  I get criticized for that a lot, but it’s not in my wheelhouse & others do it much better. However,  this caught my eye and i wanted to ask you to write to your representatives today.  Only about 5% of bills end up becoming law, but just its introduction as a bill should be addressed. Let them know what you think about this bill.  Even if this only reaches a couple people, your voices make a difference.

LINKS & REFERENCES

 

 

Humanist Peer Support and Discussion Group in Orlando

On the third Wednesday of each month, 6:00 p.m., the Humanist Peer Support and Discussion Group, hosted by Humanist and Secular Services at UCF, will meet in east Orlando, near the University of Central Florida.

The group is for those experiencing personal or professional challenges related to their worldview, coming out as an Atheist or other marginalized perspective identity, coping with transition from a religion, seeking meaning and purpose in secular life, and more.

If you have specific topics or questions you’d like us to cover, please send them to nonreligion@ucf.edu.

This is a peer support group, not a therapy group.

Dates: Spring 2018 dates (third Wednesdays): 1/17, 2/21, 3/21, 4/18, and 5/16
Time: 6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.

Location: 3280 Progress Drive, Suite 100, Orlando, FL, 32826
Parking at the building is free. Follow the signs in the parking lot to the Human Resources suite; we are in room 105.

For more information contact nonreligion@ucf.edu or visit  http://SRMA-UCF.org/support.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Atheist’s Invocation, Florida Legislature

January 12, 2018

We honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by investing time this coming weekend to make a positive difference for our communities through volunteer service (Join us!!). However, we must also honor his vision of a world where people are judged on the content of their character.

There are many Humanists, Atheists, and other secular citizens concealing their non-religious identity.  Living in the glare of hate that is ignited by ignorance isn’t easy. We might fear damage to professional relationships and even impact to job security.  We might fear loss of friends and family.  Many feel alone, isolated, or unrepresented in our community.

Dr. King said, “An injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere”.  As compassionate people concerned with the well-being of others, uplifting and serving our community must include valuing and creating a world that is safe for everyone.

Picture4It is extremely important that non-religious people– and all underrepresented identities – have a voice. We are grateful to Representative Carlos Guillermo Smith, a champion for his constituents, for inviting a secular invocation for the House of Representatives.  As far as we know, this is the first Atheist to deliver an invocation, and the first intentionally secular invocation, for the Florida Legislature.

The invocation focused on diversity and inclusion, reminding us all that there are many identities around us whose voices are seldom heard.   As Humanists,  we are “concerned for the well being of all, are committed to diversity, and respect those of differing yet humane views.” (Humanism and Its Aspirations).

All leaders of our state need to be aware that nearly a quarter of the people they represent identify as unaffiliated with a religion, and more than 1.4 million Floridians identify as Atheist or Agnostic*.  This invocation was an amazing opportunity for our voice to be heard, for our existence to be noticed, and to work toward normalization of inclusion for people of all perspectives.

A special shout of gratitude to the Central Florida Freethought Community for their support and coordination.  And thank you to House Chaplain Tim Perrier for his kindness and hospitality.

LINKS

 

Below is the transcript of the invocation.  You can watch it here: https://thefloridachannel.org/videos/1-11-18-house-session/

It is an honor to represent your Humanist, Atheist, and other non-religious constituents and colleagues with a secular invocation.

 Those you serve and those around us today include people of different cultures and races, gender identities, levels of financial stability, and backgrounds. They vary in physical and cognitive abilities. They speak many languages. They include people of many faiths and non-faith perspectives. But while we are diverse, we are united by our common humanity.

 The deliberations in this chamber are of the highest consequence to the people of Florida. As you work together toward solutions that address challenges facing our state, may you have the fortitude to make difficult choices while holding the needs of the diverse public at the forefront of your decisions.

 As we seek to honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. this month, I am reminded of his words: “The time is always right to do what its right.”

 May your leadership be guided by integrity and compassion to uplift all people today and every day of this legislative session.

 Thank you for your service and your work today to make a positive, meaningful difference for all.

 

*Based on US Census Bureau v2107 Florida Population (20,984,400) and Pew Research Center data identifying 7% of Floridians as Atheist or Agnostic.