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Help meet our Equity and Diversity Goals!

August 10, 2022
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For years the Ethical Society has struggled to meet the equity and diversity goals set by the Board of Trustees. This year, in an attempt to make more progress, we’ve put together a survey to help our members and friends think about what we need to change internally so we reach more, different people. Please take the brief survey below – it will help shape our future conversations about diversity, equity, and inclusion at the Society.

Opening Words from Sun. August 7 by Sue Williams

August 7, 2022
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Good morning. My name is Sue Williams, and I have been a member of the Ethical Society for about 12 years. I’m here this morning to talk about our Tuesday Women’s Association here at Ethical, and highlight our upcoming year.

The purpose of the TWA is to work for the general good of the Ethical Society, to foster fellowship among our members, to provide programs of interest and to support select social causes.

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Opening Words from Sun. July 10 by Gary Rickerd

July 10, 2022
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Good morning everyone!

As a self made entrepreneur, I worked my way up from the bottom becoming the 50% owner of a business with close to a hundred employees. We sold the business last year to merge with another, becoming one of the largest MEP contractors in the region. My wife thinks I have succeeded in business. I could simply retire and spend my time relaxing.

I should be content, however, I am not. As an entrepreneur with vision, I am heading to my next mission, which is to protect and preserve our only true home. Earth.

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US Supreme Court, Roe v. Wade – AEU Statement

July 3, 2022
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On Friday the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, immediately ending the federal constitutional right to an abortion which had been settled law in this country for 50 years. At a stroke the Court has removed a constitutionally protected right from millions of Americans, threatening their control over their own bodies and putting their health, and even their lives, at immediate risk. This decision reverses progress that many generations of people in this country had fought and even died for: the right to control their own bodies, their sovereign right over their very own flesh.

The American Ethical Union has for decades supported a person’s right to choose if they become or remain pregnant. A resolution passed in 1991 affirmed that “the ultimate decision to terminate a pregnancy … must be the sole responsibility of the woman” and that “it is an erosion of civil liberties for each state legislature to have the authority to deny women free choice on a very personal decision regarding their own reproductive functions.”[1]

This position was reaffirmed in a statement of 2019 in which we opposed the passage and signing into law of the Alabama “Human Life Protection Act.” We noted then that such a law “profoundly restricts the bodily autonomy of pregnant people; is a bill of rights for rapists and abusers; puts the lives of pregnant people at risk; upends basic moral principles; and continues an assault on reproductive freedom which has been waged for decades.”

Now, with the overturning of Roe v. Wade, countless such laws have been and are poised to be passed. In the wake of the Court’s decision so-called “trigger” laws went into effect in 13 states, banning or severely restricting abortion. In another 10, laws are already in effect which will or will likely restrict access.[2] On Friday, then, this country became less free and less safe for all women and all people who can become pregnant, especially those roughly 80 million women who live in one of the 23 states which now limit abortion access.

We know from history and from international comparisons what these new restrictions will mean. They will mean more back-alley abortions, the terror of a twisted coat hanger, herbicides forced down throats. They will mean more domestic abuse, as men pressure partners they have impregnated to end their pregnancies. They will mean more forced pregnancies, people handcuffed to gurneys to prevent them from making their own choices. Overturning Roe v. Wade is a catastrophe for women’s health. The impact will fall disproportionately on those who are poor and on pregnant people of color.

Moreover, many of the laws now restricting the right to an abortion in the USA do not even have exceptions for rape or incest. Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Oklahoma, Ohio, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Texas now prohibit abortion even in the case of rape, a form of anti-abortion extremism which puts these states in contravention of internationally accepted human rights norms.

Multiple United Nations bodies, including the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women and the Committee against Torture, have spoken out against abortion bans, which do not have exceptions for rape and incest, recognizing the extraordinary trauma caused by forcing a person to carry to term their rapist’s baby.[3] Yet many states have now passed an effective bill of rights for rapists, giving those who rape more rights over their victims’ pregnant bodies than that person has themselves.

If the health consequences of this decision for millions of people were not bad enough, the truth is that abortion restrictions do not in fact prevent abortions. Indeed, evidence suggests that the abortion rate is at least the same, and perhaps even higher in countries that restrict abortion access than those that do not.[4] Making abortion illegal does not make it go away: instead, it makes abortion more dangerous, as people are forced into unsafe abortions, leading to more injuries and more death.[5] The new restrictions on abortion currently unfolding across the USA are therefore not only evil, but irrational.

We note that most of the justices who voted to overturn Roe v. Wade said in their confirmation hearings that the decision was settled precedent. That justices would signal during their confirmation hearings that they would respect the precedent set by Roe v. Wade, and then vote to overturn it, is dishonest and cowardly. Such behavior shows contempt for the public and brings the whole court into disrepute.

We note that these new restrictions on abortion occur against a backdrop of increased agitation against the rights and dignity of trans people, and we are aware that many trans and nonbinary people – a group already at special risk in our society – will be harmed by the Supreme Court’s reckless choice.

We note that the majority opinion overturning Wade was crafted by four cis men, people who cannot and never will become pregnant, and therefore have bodies that will not personally be affected by the legal decision they made.

That millions of people in the United States should have their right to bodily autonomy stripped away by people who will never have to face the choice of whether to get an abortion is a moral outrage and a disgrace, one more sorry chapter in the ages-old story of men’s attempts to control the lives of women.

We note, finally, that this decision is the culmination of decades of campaigning primarily by conservative religious groups, who have viewed ending the right to an abortion as their primary crusade. These groups have now succeeded in forcing much of the USA to live by their own religious views, ramming a sectarian religious agenda down all our throats. This decision is thus an assault on religious liberty and the freedom of members of religions such as our own to pursue our religious values.

The American Ethical Union opposes the decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. The right to end a pregnancy is simply a component of our bodily autonomy, a basic freedom that all people everywhere should enjoy. The court has no more right to limit access to abortion than it has to limit access to any other necessary medical procedure, and all attempts to limit abortion access are an assault on the dignity of pregnant persons.

Today we reassert, again, our total commitment to reproductive freedom, and call upon our member Societies to stand with the AEU and act in support of that commitment.

Actions of member Societies and individuals might include:

  • Support of organizations such as Planned Parenthood, National Network of Abortion Funds, and the Midwest Access Coalition, including through financial contributions and volunteering
  • Participation in social witness, even, where appropriate, civil disobedience
  • Expressing opinions directly to decision-makers
  • Submitting a version of this statement to local media
  • Hosting discussions and speakers in your community about sex education, contraception, and reproductive choices
  • Partnering with existing organizations to support evidence-based sex education in schools, full access to contraception and reproductive health care, and a person’s right to make choices about their own reproductive system in deciding whether and when to have a child

Opening Words from Sun. June 26 by Kayla Vaughan

June 27, 2022
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Last month, I was asked to give remarks and moderate a panel for a reunion of former student activists at Washington University. My college years were defined by the Vietnam War, the emergence of the Black Power movement and 3rd wave Feminism. The topic of my panel was “What have we learned?” I am going to recycle a portion of that talk this morning.

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Opening Words from Sun. June 19 by Alan Easton

June 19, 2022
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In the midst of this heat wave I will talk about some volunteer work that I do in the cold, dead of winter.

I do this work with the guidance of Felix Adler, the founder of our Ethical Movement. He advised us to accept diversity in the creed, unanimity in the deed.

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Opening Words from Sun. June 5 by Lindsey Nissenbaum

June 7, 2022
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Hi, I am Lindsey Nissenbaum and I have been a member of the Ethical Society since 2015. Last year, I became the lead administrator of Humanist Hangouts.

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Opening Words from Sun. May 22 by Dan Overmann

May 23, 2022
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Good morning, my name is Dan Overmann and I will have been a Member for 100 years. Yes, 100 years… In 2097. So, doing the math, that places me at 25 years this year.

My pronouns are he, and him.

Today’s topic is the core value: “I am free to choose what I believe.” It is one of my favorites, and in this community, it’s been my experience that not only am I free to choose I believe, but encouraged and applauded.

I’ll begin by asking a question… Why is it important that I have freedom choose my beliefs?

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Expanding Horizons BINGO!

May 22, 2022
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Are you ready to expand your horizons and learn more about the people, cultures, and history of Saint Louis? Scan the QR Code below, use the link Expanding Horizons BINGO, or download the PDF (95 kb) to join the fun and play! Tag your photos, tweets, and experiences with #ExpandingHorizonsBINGO

BINGO activities compiled by the Ethical Society of Saint Louis End Racism Team.

Art Show – Christine Warner

May 19, 2022
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Ecofeminism is a framework for eco-guardianship.It’s about women reclaiming our power to save the Earth. In my work I explore the rich cultural traditions connecting nature with the divine feminine to combat all forms of exploitation of our shared natural spaces. Art activism is an effective vehicle to encourage systemic communal change. We must shift the lens through which we view “progress” in our society to reflect more-than-human destinies as well. My style uses narrative portraiture, magical realism and macro photography as a way of raising awareness and compassion for environmental issues. 

Christine Warner is a St. Louis artist and educator who attended Ethical Society throughout her youth and is excited to be represented in their gallery. She earned a BFA in painting and photography from Maryville University in 2009 and an MA in Art Education in 2014. She has been a practicing artist and photo teacher at Ladue High School for the past 6 years.

This show will run from May 20 to July 3, with a reception on Sunday, May 22, 11:15.

All art show posts.

Caring team, supporting our members

May 17, 2022
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Who are we?

We are a small team of volunteers who reaches out to our members in need.  Current members of the team include Gena Gardiner (lead), Jayne Draney, Dan Overman, Mary Ellen Roberts and Jane Schaefer.  We meet monthly (the second Sunday of the month at 9 AM before platform in the Butterfly Room) to review upcoming requests for assistance or any recent events or news that may happened in our members’ lives.

What do we do?

We try to offer emotional support and sometimes physical support to our members who are ill or who may have lost someone close to them.  We do this with phone calls, visits, cards and an occasional hot meal.  We have given rides to doctors’ offices from time to time and have helped with small tasks when needed.  We have taken members to attend platform or the  grocery store when they lacked transportation to do so.

Every August (starting 2 years prior to COVID) we sponsored a yearly Ice Cream Social so that members can meet and visit after platform in a purely social setting.  

How do you contact us?

The best way to contact us is through the website caringteam@ethicalstl.org.  All of the members on the team will then see the request or message and can then act on it in a timely fashion.   However, if you are not able or would prefer, you can contact our team lead, Gena Gardiner at 314-452-1202.  Please leave a message if she is unable to answer right away and she will be sure to call you back.  

To join our team, please contact the caringteam@ethicalstl.org or call Gena (contact as above).

Opening Words from Sun. April 10 by Dara Strickland

April 10, 2022
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Good Morning. I’m Dara Strickland, my pronouns are she/her. I’ve been a member at the Ethical Society for about 3 years.

Today it’s going to be 75 degrees; two days ago? Snow.

This is an object lesson on why farmers’ almanacs in Missouri tell you not to put new plants in the ground before April 15 – which is this week.

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Climate Action Now! Plastics and Climate Change

April 9, 2022
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Platic bottles as smoke stacks

Did you know almost all plastics are made of oil and gas? We’ll hear from Leslie Gittemeier, formerly of the Saint Louis Zoo, about how single-use plastics and plastic production are major contributors to climate change. Reducing plastic use and finding alternatives to plastic are personal actions each of us can take to lessen the impact of climate change. Gittemeier will offer a variety of plastic reduction options for all kinds of lifestyles and communities.

Presenter: Leslie Gittemeier

Audio only

Video

ACTIONS – Reduce plastic use

  • Switch to reusables (preferably not plastic)
  • Contact at least one of your representatives and ask them to support action to reduce plastic production/pollution (e.g. the Break Free From Plastic Act, remove MO ban on local bag bans)
  • Let at least one business you shop at know that reducing plastic packaging/waste is important to you or support businesses who are already taking action (e.g. Green Dining Alliance)
  • Follow #byetobags on social media for reminders, inspiration, and updates
  • Join others in taking action (join a green team, participate in the Green Business/Green Schools challenge, create/join a Plastic Free EcoChallenge team (occurs in July), or join the OneSTL Materials and Recycling working group)

Related Links

CAN! materials

These materials have been prepared by the Society’s CAN! (Climate Action Now!) team. This post and its links do not express or imply an endorsement by the Ethical Society of St. Louis or its leadership.

“The Invisible Ones and their Guardians” – Opening Words from Sun. April 3 by Jim Jordan

April 4, 2022
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April’s Guiding Principle and Theme is I am free to Question. My Contrarian opening words are about a group who cannot or have very little ability to do this.

Premises

  1. The pandemic has been hard on everyone, but has been disproportionally harder on certain segments of society.
  2. Medical Advances and Technology have allowed many, who would have died 10, 20 or 40 years ago, to live. But Societal and Cultural Criteria and Ethical considerations have not kept up with these advances to allow them to reach their full potential.
  3. Missouri’s current Government is a pro-birth state, not pro-life.
  4. Missouri emphasizes workforce readiness and often states you must work to receive social safety net benefits.

Statement – MO House of Representatives is taking a draconian approach in order to not spend money to support people’s ability to achieve a decent life and support their family. For example, Missouri House Republicans have not given up their quest to unravel the expansion of Medicaid that voters approved in 2020, passing a bill in February to institute work requirements and give lawmakers the power to decide from year to year whether to cover the new recipients.

But the senate has been able to push back and stop many of these bills (so far).

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Our incredible building

March 31, 2022
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Outside photo of the St Louis Ethical Society

Riverfront Times wrote that our “Incredible Building Inspires Awe” in their 2022 City Guide. The Harris Armstrong designed building opened in 1964. “(T)he statement-making building boasts clean lines combined with Japanese-inspired design elements. With its sharp, copper-covered spire, the Ladue landmark is easily recognized from the street, but it’s the inside of the building that will take your breath away.”

Read Jamie Lees’ Riverfront Times article. Or go to the Riverfront Times 2022 City Guide.

Opening Words from Sun. March 20 by Rebecca Mackelprang

March 20, 2022
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My name is Becca. My pronouns are she/her/hers. I moved to St. Louis a little less than two years ago to attend grad school for social work and decided to stick around. I currently work as a behavioral health intake therapist at a hospital. I heard about the ethical society from a podcast and decided to check it out. Since I left the faith I grew up in, I’ve come to appreciate the importance of a secular community and really respect what the Ethical Society stands for in the greater St. Louis Region.

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Climate Action Now! Plant-Forward Eating for the Planet

March 9, 2022
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Learn about the environmental impact of different dietary patterns and what steps you can take today to reduce the carbon footprint of your plate.

Melissa Brown, MPH, RD is a registered dietitian who loves helping clients find opportunities and take steps to add more plants to their plates. Matthew Brown, MPH is an urban farmer who manages an ecologically friendly melange of fruit trees, vines, brambles, flowers, and both annual and perennial vegetables at their home on a half an acre in Saint Louis City. Melissa and Matthew, along with their 10-year-old son, Gabriel, love growing, cooking, and eating a wide variety of plants.

Presenters: Matthew and Melissa Brown (13-Mar-2022)

ACTIONS – Plant forward diet

  • Assess your current consumption of animal products and identify 1-2 areas of opportunity for yourself/your family:
    • One meatless meal/day?
    • One meatless day/week?
    • Meatless weekdays?
    • Reducing dairy consumption?
  • Commit to a change for at least one month
  • Explore other places you can advocate for plant-forward eating – at work, community events, school, etc.
  • Join a CSA
  • Commit to visit a farmers market (or grow your own) — see presentation slides for suggestions
  • Support policies that promote plants – for school meals, USDA food guidelines, etc.

Listen to the presentation

Related Links

CAN! materials

These materials have been prepared by the Society’s CAN! (Climate Action Now!) team. This post and its links do not express or imply an endorsement by the Ethical Society of St. Louis or its leadership.

Art Show – De’Joneiro Jones

March 8, 2022
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“Tempus Fugit (Time Flies)”

De’Joneiro Jones

​The art of De’Joneiro Jones explodes with energy. A cacophony of color, texture, and shape burst from his work in an exploration of historical and contemporary visual language. Antique banknotes are collaged with cut-up credit and ID cards; acrylic paint splatters with a brash bravado in tension with popcultural imagery, newsprint, and textiles. Traditional multimedia art by definition includes more than one type of art-making process, be it painting or sculpture. Jones’s canvases are comprised of found objects across a wide spectrum of references and materials. The power of Jones’s work stems from this purposeful clash between high and low, old and new, the simplicity of the urban grid and the strategic chaos of paint drips, streaks, and thick amorphous blobs. Hip-hop moguls meet plastic school bus rings scattered across the canvas— a stop sign, a sheriff’s badge, and a delicate cameo brooch expand what we typically think of as painting. But what does it all mean? What seems vivid abstraction from a distance emerges as a logic of form and content the closer one examines; images of Anita Hill and the LA riots make meaningful dialogue with Louis Vuitton monograms, a Jimi Hendrix postage stamp, and a postcard advertising a high fashion retail store. For Jones, legacy becomes luxury, and vice versa. And amidst the iconography of the national, the global, the large and the minute, the infrastructure of St. Louis—be it commercial, institutional, or underground—is thrown into powerful relief. In Jones’s artwork, street cred grounds a new understanding of past and present, private and public, right and wrong. Racial and socioeconomic tensions make way for a space of introspection from which we cannot land on any definitive solution. What defines us as consumers, and as citizens? Need they be the same thing? Jones’s artwork confronts us with these questions, and compels us to reassess our identities as both individuals and members of a tumultuous human whole.

See more of his work at https://www.mccaughenandburr.com/artists/jones-dejoneiro-dj/

This show will run from April 1 through May 15, with a reception on Sunday, April 3, 11:15.

All art show posts.

Crisis in Ukraine

February 25, 2022
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The AEU Stands for Peaceful Solutions to the Ukraine Crisis

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine under the autocratic rule of President Vladimir Putin is a violation of international law, a threat to world peace and stability, and is endangering innocent lives. This act of aggression violates the values of the United Nations and ethical standards of decency.

As a result, the American Ethical Union (AEU) stands with Ukraine, a democracy, against this aggression by an authoritarian Russia. The AEU calls on all parties to work toward de-escalation and diplomatic solutions to the present violence. We condemn Russia’s invasion and encourage Ethical Culturists to contact their representatives in the US House and Senate to call for diplomacy.

We support sanctions, which hopefully will bring Russia back to the negotiating table. We urge members of Ethical Societies to support refugee organizations that will be severely tested during this time of conflict.

The AEU also calls for the protection of Ukrainian journalists and international reporters covering the conflict and implores all media outlets to seek the truth and report on it ethically in ways that minimize harm and illuminate facts. We are concerned about the impact this conflict will have on humanists and other freethinkers given Putin’s stance on the separation of church and state.
In the long run, the best path forward is a commitment to creating a Culture of Peace. We strongly suggest actions offered in a 2021 Resolution passed by the Assembly of the AEU that promote “a culture of peace in our personal relationships, in our homes, in our local communities, in the work of our Ethical Societies, and in our nation, including how our work against economic injustice, systemic racism, and climate change promotes such a culture of peace.”

Art Show – Kim Carr

February 24, 2022
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Endangered Farm Animal Photo Project

Yeah...We Got Milk! - Jersey Cows
Yeah…We Got Milk! – Jersey Cows

​As a natural light photographer, I am committed to raising awareness for farm animals in danger of extinction and the small farmers dedicated to their preservation.  Through the sale of my artwork I am able to donate to organizations such as the Livestock Conservancy whose sole purpose is to save these rare breeds and maintain biodiversity for future generations to come.  Never before has my purpose been so clear or rewarding.  Together we can all make a difference, one photo at a time.

See more of Kin’s work at https://www.kimcarrphotography.com

This show will run from July 8 through August 28, with a reception on Sunday, July 10, 11:15.

All art show posts.

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