OPINION: Honor Religious Freedom

brunswick county nc
To the Editor,

When the Brunswick County Commission voted to put “In God We Trust” on police vehicles they voted for religious bigotry over religious liberty. This seemingly innocuous phrase to some is in violation of the separation of church and state and is a form of religious coercion to nonbelievers. It may be legal, but it is not moral. When the Commission said it is to show “integrity” and being “morally correct” they imply nonbelievers are not moral when all the scientific evidence shows just the opposite. In fact, only 0.0261 % of people in prison are atheists.

Today 25% of people are nonreligious, the fast growing demographic and larger than Catholics. Moreover, 39% of Millennials are nonreligious. Hardly insignificant anymore.

Leave religion out of government. How would people react to, “In Allah We Trust”, or “In Satan We Trust, or “In Zeus We Trust?” The Founding Fathers created a secular government after observing centuries of religious wars in Europe. The original motto of the United Sates was “E Pluribus Unum”, or “One Out of Many.”

The Brunswick County commission chose a tyranny of the majority putting one religious belief over all the others, clearly proselytizing, clearly disparaging nonbelievers, and clearly shoving narrow religious beliefs down people’s throats for no other reason than religious domination. Honor religious freedom and individual conscience for all and take down the signs. “To Serve and Protect” is just fine as a sign on police cars.

~ Michael Werner

Note: Michael Werner’s Letter to the Editor was originally published in the StarNews. You can read it online here; scroll down to the bottom of their page to find Mike’s letter.

Annabelle and Aiden Author Joseph Becker to Host Book Events

Author Joseph Becker to Host Tandem Book Events for Children and Parents

Author J. R. Becker, founder of the Annabelle & Aiden children’s book series, will present a story time and book-signing for children, and an evening program for parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and anyone with children in their lives.

Story time and book signing: Saturday Nov 18, 3pm, Pomegranate Books, 4418 Park Ave, Wilmington

Author reception and program: Saturday Nov 18, 6:30pm, The Art Factory, 721 Surry St, Wilmington

jr becker annabelle and aiden

The Humanists and Freethinkers of Cape Fear (HFCF) will host children’s book author J. R. Becker for two book events on Saturday, November 18. Continue reading

High School Science Grants Ready for the Asking

High School Science grants! Cape Fear area teachers: need money? Tell HFCF and the March for Science organizers why in one easy page and we might just send you a check.

Need science lab equipment? Want to take an awesome science-related field trip? The possibilities are truly limited only by your imagination.

We understand that department budgets are negligible at best, and that creative teaching takes a hit because resources are limited. We want to make a difference by awarding science program grants in the Pender, New Hanover, and Brunswick county high school systems. Our grant requests are simple because we know your time is precious. One page, no crazy budget forms, and a quick signature from your principal. Mail it in and we’ll do our best to respond within 30 days.

Find out more at http://capefearhumanists.org/?page_id=835

high school science grants

(Note, with a nod to science teachers who have taken issue with the above image: the use of proper safety equipment, including protective eyewear, is suggested.)

 

magical thinking

The Downside of Magical Thinking

Contributed by Ed Tilley

I have read in the media, including our local paper, lots of talk about prayer.

Prayer, in my view, is magical thinking.

I suppose people who practice it do so with good intentions. I am not sure how they explain why some people who pray suffer dire consequences. I suppose they attribute it to a higher plan.

I am not a fan of magical thinking for two reasons.

One is that it avoids the hard work. Science is hard work. It is going to be the hard work and difficult decisions that will address climate change.

Two is that it absolves humans of responsibility. I am reminded of the student who prays before a test as they have not studied. For some reason the student feels she/he can avoid responsibility for poor study habits. We humans use it to avoid responsibility for the work needed for peace and justice.

I remain hopeful about the future. I do so not because of some grand plan. I do so because humans adapt. We need science and reason to address the issues confronting us. If we do use them, we will succeed.

Humanists Help Lead Charge to Preserve Wilmington’s Live Oaks

live oak tree

The Ogden Preservation Group, with inspired participation from Mike and Susanne Werner, led the effort to save Wilmington’s magnificent live oaks from clear cutting.

Initiatives like those of the Odgen Preservation Group, are brilliantly in alignment with the Bylaws of the Humanists & Freethinkers of Cape Fear, in which the effort to “promote the welfare of humanity and the biosphere of which we are part,” is an important part of the stated purpose.

Enjoy the following video, produced by the City of Wilmington, and featuring Mike Werner.