Blog

Opening Words from Sun. April 18 by Cathy Pickard

April 18, 2021
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“If you build it, they will come.” That thought ran through my mind a lot last summer, as Bob and I spent countless hours working in our expansive backyard. And, no, we did not create a ball field, expecting to see the ghosts of baseball’s past emerge from the mist. For those who don’t have any idea what I’m talking about, the reference is to the 1989 film “Field of Dreams”, starring Kevin Costner as an Iowa farmer, who, hearing voices, interprets them as a command to build a baseball diamond in his corn fields, hoping the infamous Shoeless Joe Jackson and the 1919 Chicago White Sox will come and play.

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Climate Action Now! How Low Can You Go? Track Your Personal Climate Impact with Carbon Footprint Calculators

April 11, 2021
Category:
carbon footprint image

How to measure your carbon footprint and track the impact of your changes.

We are all familiar with dietary choices being associated with different climate impacts: a carnivorous diet has a significantly greater impact than a vegan one. But what about organic vs. non-organic? Internationally or locally grown? What about the type of packaging it comes in? Every single thing you consume in the modern world has a unique carbon impact associated with it, including (but not limited to) personal hygiene, fashion sense, electronics usage, transportation, and even recreational activities. Carbon footprint calculators allow you to measure the size of your personal carbon footprint and to break down the relative significance of each of the different types of consumption in your total carbon emissions. Find out which of your lifestyle choices have the most potential to reduce your individual climate impact!

Presenter: Michelle Elmore

Presentation slides (PDF 1 mb)

ACTIONS – Carbon footprint

  • Explore carbon footprint calculators using the “advanced” mode when available.
  • Note the areas in your lifestyle with the greatest carbon emissions. Test yourself to reduce the impacts of these over time.
  • Learn about the impacts of the foods you consume, goods you buy, services you utilize, and activities you do, and just be cognizant of these impacts.
  • Reuse and recycle to reduce your carbon emissions.
  • Return to the carbon footprint calculator at a later date to see how much your emissions have decreased!

Calculator Links

  • The results of the Global Footprint Network’s calculator tell you how many Earths we would need for everyone to share your lifestyle and what your personal Overshoot Day is.
  • The CoolClimate Network of The University of California – Berkeley offers a detailed calculator that emphasizes the comparison between your personal impact and that of the average person within your demographic. It also recommends changes to lifestyle and consumption habits with modifiable options to weigh the impact of potential changes for you to consider.
  • Oregon Department of Environmental Quality’s calculator has a helpful bar chart that updates in real time as your responses are added and offers suggested actions to offset your emissions.
  • The Inquiry to Student Environmental Action’s calculator is highly detailed and has a sliding bar that updates in real time as your responses are added.
  • Carbon Footprint is a UK-based resource that provides tools to calculate your personal carbon footprint and offers tips to reduce it.
  • The EPA’s calculator provides estimated carbon emission reductions based on alternative actions to be taken.
  • The United Nations offers a unique calculator which allows you to calculate the carbon emissions associated with a particular consumer good.
  • BBC News offers an interactive applet that lets you explore the greenhouse emissions associated with different types of foods.

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.

Hate Has No Place Here – AEU Statement

March 23, 2021
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The hearts of Ethical Society members are with the victims of the heinous attack on March 17 by a white man at three spas in the Atlanta area, who killed eight people, including six women of Asian descent. The police have identified four people who were victims of the attack on Young’s Asian Massage in Cherokee County and four who were victims from the attack on the Gold Spa and Aromatherapy Spa. We stand in solidarity with the victims, their families, and the wider community of people whose vulnerability in this climate of hate was highlighted by this shooting and the increase in violence against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

The shootings come at a moment of increasing harassment and hate crimes against the Asian-American community. Violence against Asian American and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) has been rising for years, stoked more recently by falsely blaming China for the coronavirus pandemic. The Atlanta shooting at three separate Asian-identified massage parlors follows nearly 3800 cases of Anti-Asian hate incidents reported in the past year alone.  We call on members of Ethical Societies, friends and community members to stand against anti-AAPI violence and to center the experiences of Asian women in this moment. 

We are especially horrified at this mass shooting because, in targeting vulnerable working class Asian women, the forces of white supremacy, anti-AAPI hate, and xenophobia have joined with misogyny and a history of labor exploitation. We applaud House Democrats for holding a Congressional hearing on the dangerous uptick in anti-Asian violence and discrimination, and hope to see the continuation of public discourse on the issue.  

We condemn the police response which quickly minimized the murders on the basis of having a “bad day” or being the result of a sex addiction. This response is especially fraught considering news that the officer who delivered it has posed with home-made anti-Asian propaganda in the past, and has posted anti-Asian opinions on Facebook.  Excuses for the shooter’s behavior ignore the humanity of the victims, rely on the shooter to decide the narrative, and contort the nexus of responsibility. The responsibility is on the person who made the choice to commit a mass shooting and on those who primed that person to blame and then shoot particular people.

We call on allies against white supremacy and misogyny to support Asian-led organizations that work to counter this rising tide of anti-AAPI violence and hate, and especially ones that center Asian women.  Two examples are the Asian American Women’s Political Initiative and the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum.  Other groups working against anti-AAPI violence and hate, centering AAPI leadership, include Stop AAPI Hate, Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Atlanta, and the Asian Pacific Environmental Network.

A fund for victims and their families can be found here: https://actionnetwork.org/fundraising/support-georgias-asian-american-community/

Go to the original statement https://aeu.org/resource/statement-on-the-march-17-shooting-in-atlanta-area/

Note: A previous version of this statement listed the names and ages of the victims of this attack. It has since been announced that the families of the victims have requested that their names not be shared in order to protect their privacy. In an effort to respect their wishes, the AEU has removed their names from this statement and its posted version on aeu.org.

Opening Words from Sun. March 14 by Brian Vandenberg: Creative Genius

March 14, 2021
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Leonardo. Michelangelo. Newton. Mozart. Einstein. They have altered the shape of Western civilization; some of whom, while dead for over 500 years, we know by their first names. Their contributions are so extraordinary, that when we hear the term, “creative genius,” our first association is likely to one of them. Indeed, one of the synonyms for genius listed in the thesaurus us is “Einstein.”

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Board President’s Report – April 2021.

March 11, 2021
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Board President’s Report from Stephanie Sigala. April 2021.

Our goal is to report only good news for this Ethical Connection Board update. And we can do it easily.

Despite our forced distance from one another, the Ethical community is still strong. The building looks great and our staff is beavering on just as if we were physically there. It seems like there is light at the end of the tunnel—planning is going on now for a re-opening.

Our volunteer action has also been terrific despite social distancing. Kent Forrest spends many days at the Society repairing the vestibule woodwork. He has been rewarded by a big special gift from the Ethical Board. It’s what he wanted—a gift card to Menard’s!

Jim Rhodes linked up with environmentally active friends to propose that the Society Board ratify the Climate Emergency Declaration which encourages Missouri institutions to prioritize climate action.

The Board has also recognized another one of our super members for the AEU Anna Garlin Spencer Award for volunteer contributions. That super long-time member is David Brown who has been Board President, Governance Plan implenter, and now leads our good works with the International Institute.

Our financial picture at the Society is rosy, despite a somewhat declining membership now at 334. 2020-21 pledge monies are still rolling in. And the good news is that we are not spending as much while we are closed. The 2021-22 pledge team is keeping up the good work and ensuring adequate funds for a great year when we finally to see each other in person.

See you at the Annual Meeting, May 13 at 7 p.m. Details are elsewhere in this Connection. Please join us and show off your special dessert! Celebrate with us! It’s our last Zoom Ethical Annual Meeting, we hope!

If you have questions about the Ethical Board of Trustees, contact me stephanie.sigala@sbcglobal.net or other friendly Board members.
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Climate Action Now! – Plant a tree. It matters.

March 7, 2021
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Trees and forests play a critical role in removing CO2 and releasing oxygen from the environment. Forest ReLeaf has been working hard, planting and growing native trees and shrubs through Missouri and surrounding regions.

Presenter:
Meridith Perkins,
Forest ReLeaf Missouri

Presentation slides

Listen to the presentation and Q&A

Links mentioned in the presentation

ACTIONS – Reforestation

  • Plant a native tree in your yard; private land makes up 80%+ of our city so individual action is critical to impact canopy increase.
  • Volunteer and/or donate to Forest ReLeaf to ensure trees are available to everyone regardless of income, zip code, or privilege.
  • Join, or support, your local citizen advisory group (ex. Tree Board, Park Commission, Planning Commission, etc.) to advise and champion municipal forestry programs; these programs need citizen buy-in to prove they are a priority and justify budget allocations.
  • Maintain and protect mature trees in the landscape. Thriving mature canopy trees offer the biggest benefits for climate resilience. Understand tree ordinance language in your communities and advocate for stronger preservation regulations.

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.

Facing the Threat of Christian Nationalism

March 5, 2021
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Join the Ethical Society of St. Louis and Center for Freethought Equality for “Facing the Threat of Christian Nationalism” on Zoom (ID# 384 422 5785) March 12 at 7 p.m. to learn from a panel of distinguished experts who will help attendees understand – and confront – the threat of Christian nationalism.

The program is over but you can watch the recorded video.

“Christian nationalism is fast becoming one of the greatest threats to the United States – and Missouri Senator Josh Hawley is at the heart of it,” said Ethical Society of St. Louis Leader James Croft. “Politicians, like Hawley, who seek to impose their own religious vision on society do incredible harm to our religiously diverse nation and undermine the secular principles on which America was founded. At this event you will learn about the dangerous influence of Christian nationalism, and what you can do to fight it.”

Panelists will include Dr. Sabrina Dent, senior faith adviser at Americans United for Separation of Church and State; Katherine Stewart, author of “The Power Worshippers: Inside the Dangerous Rise of Religious Nationalism;” and Amanda Tyler, executive director of the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty. The Zoom meeting ID# is 384 422 5785.

The Ethical Society of St. Louis is a Humanist congregation where people come together to explore the biggest questions of life without reference to scripture, religion or God. To learn more, visit www.ethicalstl.org.

Climate Emergency Declaration

February 11, 2021
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Saint Louis Ethical Society Declaration of a Climate Emergency

  1. The Ethical Society of Saint Louis urges all municipal governments inside not only the Saint Louis metropolitan area but also across the State of Missouri to declare a climate emergency and then to take all appropriate actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and other contributing factors to the climate crises, and
  2. The Ethical Society of Saint Louis urges the State of Missouri to mobilize all entities within the State government, especially the Departments of Natural Resources, Agriculture, Conservation, Transportation, and Economic Development to also declare a climate emergency within the State of Missouri.

On the Need to Declare a Climate Emergency

  1. Whereas the Ethical Society of Saint Louis is a Humanistic Religious Organization founded in 1886 and it strives to educate and encourage its members and the broader community on ways to live an ethics-centered life, and
  2. Whereas it is essential to have a healthy and biologically intact planetary ecosystem which can provide for a sustainable life for all of the earth’s human inhabitants as well as the millions of plant and animal species that cannot survive in the absence of such ecosystem, and
  3. Whereas it is now widely understood that our current planetary climate is undergoing great change because of human activities including unprecedented burning of fossil fuels and the widespread destruction of natural plant and animal habitats for subsequent human use, and
  4. Whereas it is understood that if trends continue in this direction, the future of all humans living all over the world will suffer and result in unpredictable suffering, and
  5. Whereas many people in the St. Louis region and the State of Missouri, including Missouri farmers and businesses, will suffer from climate disruptions if current trends continue, and
  6. Whereas there has been little governmental action taken within the State of Missouri and its local governments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions or to formulate plans to deal with climate change, and
  7. Whereas the Ethical Society of Saint Louis has over the years recognized the urgency of this global problem and has and is continuing in its education effort to bring this to the attention of the membership, and
  8. Whereas, on 12 December 2020, the United Nations Secretary-General asked the world’s governments to declare a climate emergency in their countries until carbon neutrality is reached, and
  9. Whereas thus far over 1,800 governmental jurisdictions in 33 countries have joined to declare such a climate emergency, the Ethical Society of Saint Louis is adopting a two-part resolution.

Climate Action Now! – Solutions Through Reproductive Health: Why Population Dynamics Matter to Climate Change

February 7, 2021
Category:
Overburdened earth

This presentation explores the connections between population dynamics, access to comprehensive health care, and climate change. Through an historical examination of global population dynamics, the talk will clarify the links between poverty, marginalization, women’s rights, and environmental pressures made worse by climate change. It will conclude with a detailed argument explaining why expanding access to family planning and reproductive health care services is critical to women’s empowerment and can play an impactful role in climate adaptation and mitigation efforts.

Presenter: Hannah Evans, Communications Manager
Population Connection
hevans@popconnect.org

Presentation slides (pdf, 308 MB)

Listen to the presentation

ACTIONS – Curbing population growth

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.

Opening Words from Sun. January 24 by Krystal White: Why am I a Teacher?

January 24, 2021
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I have a story to tell.  A few years back, a student noticed a Washington University banner I had in my classroom.  After learning that I had both my undergraduate and graduate degrees from this great school, he looked simultaneously impressed and befuddled.  He cocked his head and asked “No offense, Ms. White, but if you have a degree from WashU, why would you become a teacher!?”  The answer is simple: teachers change lives.  Specifically, teachers changed my life.

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Sunday Mornings at the Ethical Society

January 17, 2021
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While our building has been closed during the pandemic, I wanted to take the opportunity to review our programs and get to the root of why we do what we do. What does the Ethical Society exist for, and do our programs achieve those goals? It’s good to return periodically to questions like these, to gain clarity around major decisions and to inform any changes which might be made. So, with a team of members and staff, I led an examination of our Sunday morning programming. We spent months looking at each program we offer on Sundays (especially Platform) asking what it is for and why we do it that way.

In our discussions we identified three core goals we hope our Sunday mornings will meet each week:

We want members and visitors to learn something new.

We want to inspire people to lead better lives.

We want to help people connect with others, building meaningful relationships.

Learning, Inspiration, and Connection: these are the three goals of Sunday mornings at the Ethical Society. But do we always achieve them? We felt that we almost always help our members and friends to learn something new; we often provide inspiring programming which encourages you to think about how you are living; but we don’t always do enough to connect our members with each other. Connection stood out as one of our most important goals – a major reason people join our community – but also the one we felt we could work harder to acheive.

How to promote more connection? After much discussion, I concluded that the current schedule of Sunday mornings hampers our ability to bring our members – and particularly new visitors – into relationship with each other. Having a pre-Platform Forum downstairs, followed by our main community gathering in Platform, followed again by a late coffee our when many people wish to leave for lunch, means that many people miss out on opportunities to connect with others on Sundays. So I came up with a proposal: why not flip the timing of Forum and Platform, so that Platform happens first (starting at 10am) followed by a menu of options focused on helping members build relationships?

There are many potential benefits to this proposal:

Members and visitors frequently express their desire to stay longer to connect with other members, but feel they have to leave at 12 to get lunch, it being so late. By moving Platform earlier we enable more people to stay and build connections with others after the main program.

This change enables post-Platform programs to offer a space for deeper discussion of the topics raised in Platform. Currently, many members express the desire to dig more deeply into the ideas Platform raises, but cannot either because they have to leave, or because we offer no dedicated space on Sunday to foster such discussions. This could provide a more cohesive Sunday morning experience.

Programs like Colloquy and Forum could benefit from increased participation, as people will receive an explicit invitation to attend them at the end of Platform. New visitors will attend for the “main event” and then be enticed to stay longer for another program.

By hosting post-Platform discussions in the Auditorium (instead of the Hanke Room as presently) we avoid some major problems with the current schedule. We often lose many people when shifting the speaker from the Auditorium to the Hanke room, leading to low turnout. Also, the post-Platform discussion often starts late, as many people wish to engage the speaker in discussion right after Platform. Finally, we make better use of our building: the Auditorium currently sits empty during Forum, while under the proposed new system the Auditorium and Hanke Room are used for meaningful programming simultaneously.

Congregational growth research suggests that while 11am used to be the overwhelmingly popular start time for congregational gatherings, that is no longer the case, and has not been for a number of years. One survey of 1,649 churches in 2015 found that the majority of churches held their gatherings at a time other than 11am, and that services with start times between 9:30 and 10:30am were most popular.

This change would also require changes to the SEEK program. I consulted with Kat (our SEEK Director, who supports this proposal), and we both see potential benefits to the SEEK program of this change:

Placing Platform first improves the flow of our children’s experience on Sunday mornings. Currently children are dropped off downstairs, do an hour of programming, then are taken up to Platform, then are brought back down again. This breaks up their experience and hampers the creation of a consistent learning environment. With the new timings, parents can bring their children straight to Platform then, when they are brought downstairs they will transition straight into SEEK programming until 12pm.

We are also proposing to flip SEEK programming so that the formal Ethical Education component happens first (after kids are brought down from Platform), followed by the workshop component (which is more like structured play). This means that the ethical education section will still have the same amount of time as before, and will occur without many adults in the Becker Room, while the workshop will act as a “treat” after the ethical education component is completed. Kat and I feel this revised experience more closely mirrors what young people are used to in school, in which more formal educational experiences precede less formal ones. We hope these changes will maintain the content and quality of our SEEK program, while making it easier for our staff to create a positive and structured learning environment.

This is a significant change, which is why I am proposing it well ahead of reopening, so we can collect the thoughts of the community. The proposal to try this rearranged schedule has already received the unanimous support of our staff and of our Board, and there is an all-Society Forum on Zoom on the 29th January at 7pm to discuss this with the membership – one of many opportunities you will have to express your thoughts in the months ahead.

These proposed changes were developed after taking into consideration many weeks of work by staff and members in various teams and committees. I hope they will enable our community to reopen our building confident that we have taken our enforced closure as a chance to review what we do and why we do it. I believe that we should make programming decisions – including decisions about when we gather as a community – based on deep reflection about our mission and goals. I think these proposed changes would make our Sunday morning programs flow better; would offer new opportunities for members and visitors to connect with each other; would make better use of our building; and would enable us to connect our programming in a more conscious and thoughtful way.

James Croft, Leader, Ethical Society of St. Louis

Opening Words from Sun. January 10 by Adam Bowen

January 12, 2021
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I grew up in a small church in Southern California called Shepherd of the Hills. I think it’s one of the most important influences in my life, even today. I never actually believed in anything, but that wasn’t unusual: Shepherd of the Hills belongs to the United Church of Christ, and just like Ethical Humanism, there is no creed. We might talk about different things when we’re together, but your beliefs are your own. Community was the most important part of our experience. We all came together with different beliefs and different religions—even if some of us more closely identified with the idea of non-belief.

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Climate Action Now! – Stick a Fork in Food Waste!

January 10, 2021
Category:
Food waste

The problem of food waste and what we can do about it.

Presenter: Maggie McCoy, Education and Volunteer Coordinator | EarthWays Center of Missouri Botanical Garden
mmccoy@mobot.org

Presentation slides (pdf)

Presentation audio

Additional resources from Maggie McCoy

ACTIONS – Reducing food waste

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.

AEU on the events of 6-Jan

January 7, 2021
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This statement first appeared on the American Ethical Union web site. If you would like, read it there.

Dear Friends and Members of Ethical Culture, 

Yesterday, we watched in shock and horror as a violent mob attacked the US Capitol, forcing their way inside and occupying areas of the building for hours in an attempt to disrupt the certification of electoral votes submitted by the states. By the end of the day, 4 people were dead, 52 members of the seditious mob were arrested, and 14 police officers were injured. It took the assistance of many additional federal law enforcement personnel and the National Guard to remove the attackers from the Capitol and clear the way for the Joint Congress to resume its work.

Fortunately, the Joint Congress was resolute and refused to let the interruption derail our democracy, working through the night to certify the electoral vote counts for all of the states. However, this episode was an attack on democracy itself, instigated by a sitting president whose actions have severely undermined respect for and trust in the very system that put him in office. 

Mr. Trump has shown only contempt for the democratic process and is a danger to our country.  People who are in a position to remove Mr. Trump from office ought to proceed in haste as this president has repeatedly shown readiness to incite violence and mayhem, and also continues to demonstrate an obsession with the electoral results to the seeming exclusion of other national concerns. Our democratic system of government must be protected from his influence.

As Ethical Humanists, we are called upon to repudiate the anti-democratic tendencies that have gained an unwelcome foothold in public life. Our country will need us to elicit the best from one another and ourselves in the months and years to come.

A Statement About the Recent Act of Sedition

January 6, 2021
Category:

The following was written by Ethical Society of St. Louis Leader James Croft.

Terrorists stormed the US Capitol today in an unprecedented act of sedition after receiving verbal support from the sitting President. For hours violent mobs prevented Congress from performing its legally-necessary democratic functions, causing havoc as they smashed windows, occupied the House and Senate chambers, and caused at least one person to be shot to death. This was nothing less than an attempted coup, and one that for a short time was successful. Our elected representatives were forced to hide under desks and don gas masks as American citizens terrorized them in the very heart of American democracy itself.

While the scenes today are appalling they are not entirely surprising. These grotesqueries are the predictable conclusion of a presidency that has, at every turn, encouraged the growth of dangerous right-wing extremism. Trump, ahead of the presidential election, repeatedly refused to say he would support a peaceful transfer of power should he lose. He has repeatedly used the pulpit of his presidency to incite his supporters to refuse to accept the legitimate results of the election. He has lied incessantly about supposed irregularities in the election. Just hours prior to these shocking events he encouraged his supporters to march on the Capitol and, after they had taken over the Capitol building (and in the very statement in which he belatedly called on them to leave) he restated the false claim that this election was “stolen.”

Trump is not solely responsible for today’s events, however. The political forces which have given rise to today’s treasonous insurrection have been building for many years, facilitated at every turn by complicit politicians. Continuous attempts to restrict the franchise through gerrymandering and voter suppression; repeated opposition to any expansion of the welfare state to limit the deleterious effects of huge inequalities of wealth; an anti-political nihilism which has prevented any meaningful reform in nearly any area of politics; the courting of the worst parts of the human psyche, including racism, sexism, nationalism, homophobia, and anti-scientific conspiracy-theorizing for political gain – all these cynical acts of democratic vandalism have placed the very experiment of American democracy under threat.

As Leader of the Ethical Society of St. Louis, I deplore today’s assault on democracy and the political poison which provoked it, as inimical to the Humanist values our community promotes. We in St. Louis stand in solidarity with the Washington Ethical Society, the Northern Virginia Ethical Society, and the Baltimore Ethical Society, which are much closer to these frightening events than we. We pledge to continue our work to oppose the sinister political forces which are seeking to undermine US democracy and work for the day when Americans can be confident that their wishes, as expressed through the ballot box, will be honored, and all people’s rights and liberties upheld.

– James Croft EdD, Leader, Ethical Society of St. Louis

Opening Words from Sun. January 3 by Lance Finney

January 3, 2021
Category:

Happy New Year!

We’ve finally made it to 2021. There’s a lot that we could say about 2020, though there are some who think we shouldn’t.

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Join Us for the 2020 International Relations Lecture Series

January 2, 2021
Category:

The Tuesday Women’s Association of Ethical Society and the American Association of University Women present the 2020 International Relations Lecture Series.

Each meeting will begin promptly at 10:45 a.m. the second Tuesday of the month, January to April, on Zoom. The public is cordially invited. There is no fee, but all contributions are greatly appreciated.

The 45-50 minute lecture will be followed by a question and answer period. Attendees are invited to bring lunch and to stay and discuss the day’s topic.

Series Calendar

January 12 at 10:45 AM – Freedom of the Press – Speaker, Dr. Yong Volz

February 9  at 10:45 AM – Reparations To Redress Historical Injustices – BLACK HISTORY MONTH – Speaker, Dr. Stephen Graves

March 9  at 10:45 AM – Artificial Intelligence Ethics & Regulation – Speaker, Dr. Anshuman Singh

April 13  at 10:45 AM – Historical Heritage & Racist Art – Speaker, Dr. Akiko Tsuchiya

You can follow the International Relations Lecture Series on Facebook and Twitter.

Opening Words from Sun. December 13 by Andy Stanton

December 13, 2020
Category:

Good morning!

This is the time of year when most of the world has celebrations. Whether they are religiously based or a way of getting through the darkest time of the year, the winter solstice. When I was a child, my family celebrated Hanukkah, where we lit candles and exchanged presents. I was aware that most of the country engaged in the far more elaborate celebration of Christmas, but that was foreign to me and something I could not not comprehend. As I became an adult I stopped celebrating Hanukkah and was quite content with attending my office holiday party, and that’s it. However, when I married someone who enjoyed Christmas celebrations and we had our daughter, Christmas became an important part of the month of December, although we did not celebrate the religious aspects of it. And, to my surprise, it’s something I’ve learned to enjoy.

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Opening Words from Sun. December 6 by Christian Hayden

December 7, 2020
Category:

My mother always professed a strong belief in education and an open desire to afford me the best educational opportunities. Her dream for me, before I was born, was that I would be a Harvard graduate. She worked tirelessly, transferring me from my local school, to a gifted program that required me to travel to another school deep in Brooklyn. When I was in fourth grad I tested very well on a standardized test that allowed me to be tested more to get into an academic program, which helped facilitate low-income and minority students admission into private schools in NYC.

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Opening Words from Sun. November 19: “Recognition” by Sharon Poe

November 29, 2020
Category:

Recognition is a word with many meanings:

  • The act of accepting that something is true or important, or that it exists, such as accepting the results of an election.
  • The act of accepting someone or something as having legal or official authority, such as accepting that a new administration has the right of access to security briefings.
  • The state of knowing who or what someone or something is because of previous knowledge or experience, such as our previous experience with our President-Elect.

I didn’t intend to get all political with this topic, really. It just happened. Recognition on a personal level is where I intended to start, so I’ll do that now.

There are many forms of personal recognition:

  • On a grand scale, such as a Pulitzer or Nobel Prize.
  • Recognition on an employee level, such as bonuses or good evaluations. Our illustrious speaker Liz Croft, otherwise known as James’ Mum, will speak on that later.
  • On a much more personal level, recognition can be a look that says, “I see you, I know you, I accept you.”

We all need to be recognized. It’s not a matter of pride, selfishness, or immaturity. Human beings, from the earliest moments in or lives, need affection and respect from everyone around them, which is where we find recognition of ourselves as people. Our parents and or family are the first social circle responsible for giving us recognition, respect, and affection. If we are recognized and respected, our self-esteem and confidence grow to allow us to function in the world. If we don’t find hat initial loving support in or families of origin, we need to search for it in other places as we mature, or we will be stunted in our personal growth.

Just as we accept recognition it is also essential to know how to offer recognition to others: “I value you as a person I appreciate you and believe in you. I know what you are capable of and I respect you for that. You are a part of my life.”

Just as receiving positive recognition gives each of us a boost in confidence and self-esteem, it is equally important to turn that around and give recognition to others:

A sincere compliment for a job well done. A heartfelt birthday wish. A warm thank-you note. Since it is hard to smile at each other through our masks, we need to practice the Tyra Banks: “Smize,” smiling with our eyes. A ”Smize” and a thank you to the person who checks you out at the grocery. A phone call to a friend to say, I miss you.” A letter! Yes, we can still write letters! Any means to say, “I see you, I know you, you are important to me and to this world.”

Thank you.

NOTE: The ideas and opinions in this post do not necessarily express the thoughts or opinions of the Ethical Society of St. Louis or its leadership.

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