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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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.

SiFi Book club reading list

November 25, 2020
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Below is a list (updated regularly) of book the group has read and discussed.

TitleAuthorMonthYear
Ancillary Justice (Imperial Radch #1)Leckie, AnnJul2021
Project Hail MaryWeir, AndyJun2021
How Long ’til Black Future Month? Jemisin, N. K. May2021
Metatropolis: The Dawn of UncivilizationScalzi, John Apr2021
DawnButler, Octavia Mar2021
A Memory Called EmpireMartine, ArkadyFeb2021
A Window Into TimeHamilton, Peter F.Jan2021
Winter WorldRiddle, A. G.Nov2020
Downbelow StationCherryh, C. J.Oct2020
Quantum SpacePhillips, DouglasSep2020
The Long EarthPratchett, TerryAug2020
To Be Taught, If FortunateChambers, BeckyJul2020
Nemo RisingJoyner, C. CourtJun2020
And Shall Machines SurrenderSriduangkaew, BenjanunMay2020
The Player of GamesBanks, Iain M.Apr2020
Best of All Possible WorldsLord, Karen Feb2020
Do Robots Dream of Electric Sheep?Dick, Philip K.Nov2019
The Tea Master and the DetectiveBodard, AletteNov2019
Mote in God’s EyePournelle, Jerry & Niven, LarrySep2019
Once & FutureMcCarthy, Cori and Capetta, Amy RoseAug2019
Old Man’s WarScalzi, JohnJul2019
ArtemisWeir, AndyJun2019
The Calculating StarsKowal, MaryApr2019
BintiOkorafor, AnediMar2019
Long Way to a Small Angry PlanetChambers, BeckyFeb2019
The MargaretsTepper, Sheri S. Jan2019
The Human BlendFoster, Alan DeanNov2018
The Sirens of TitanVonnegut, Jr. KurtOct2018
Six WakesLafferty, MurSep2018
The Stars My DestinationBester, AlfredAug2018
All Systems RedWells, Martha Jul2018
MoonwarBova, BenJun2018
Sea of RustCargill, C. RobertMay2018
Startide RisingBrin, David Apr2018
Trading In DangerMoon, ElizabethMar2018
Snow CrashStephenson, NealFeb2018
KindredButler, Octavia Jan2018
The SparrowRussell, Mary DoriaNov2017
BlindsightWatts, PeterOct2017
CitySimak, Clifford D.Sep2017
The Moon is a Harsh MistressHeinlein, RobertAug2017
I Sing the Body ElectricBradbury, RayJul2017
The DispossessedGuin, Ursula K.Jun2017

Spreadsheet with all books.

Climate Action Now! – The Climate Casino, Financial Incentives to Lower CO2 emissions

November 13, 2020
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How incentives such as a carbon tax and a market-based cap and trade program work and what we can do to get them adopted.

Presenter: Jim Rhodes,
Missouri Department of Natural Resources environmental engineer (retired)

Presentation slides

Presentation and Q&A

ACTIONS – Financial Incentives to Lower CO2

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. November 8 by Nellie Brown

November 12, 2020
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Good morning. Thank you for allowing me to give opening words today. I am currently in San Antonio, Texas, having been placed on active duty back in late March to support the military’s Covid-19 response. While I have been down here at Fort Sam Houston, my team and I on the Surgeon’s Staff are alternately amazed and jaded by what the year 2020 has thrown at us. So much of it is interconnected. Spill over zoonotic events arise when humans and the messy wilderness get too close. Hurricane seasons seem to be getting crazier as our dependence on fossil fuels can’t be controlled. Wildfires seasons and vector borne disease vulnerability seasons keep expanding and I help map the overlap of the current St. Louis encephalitis range with the wildland fires that service members are fighting in California.

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Climate Action Now! – Introduction

November 10, 2020
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Ready for  action to combat climate change? Climate Action Now! (CAN!) is an Ethical Society team whose mission is to build and support a community dedicated to addressing this global issue

Monthly meetings will feature a knowledgeable speaker discussing an aspect of climate change and will include 3-4 recommended actions participants can take related to that topic. A variety of actions will be suggested, ranging from individual behavior changes to collective political action. Information about the meetings and the suggested actions are posted on the Society’s website.

The Zoom ID for the meetings is: 444 367 1640

The organizing group are not climate change experts; they need and welcome your suggestions, involvement, expertise, and feedback.  Please email the group with your input CAN.EthicalStl@gmail.com.

Please join us.

Rachel Jones
Matthew Hile
Bob Pickard
Cathy Pickard
Brian Vandenberg

CAN! materials

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

CAN! Solar Power

October 28, 2020
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Solar panels

Resources and actions for our Solar Power presentation.

Presenter: Eric Schneider,
Director of Business Development
StraightUp Solar
straightupsolar.com

Presentation and Q&A recording

Solar power related actions:

Other CAN! materials

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

Ethical Society named as a “Great Humanist Group”

October 9, 2020
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Wiki.ezvid.com has named the Ethical Society of St. Louis #2 in their list of the 5 Great Humanist Groups Promoting Progressive Values. Included with us are the American Ethical Union, the British Columbia Humanist Association, the Humanist Society of Greater Phoenix, and the Black Skeptics Los Angeles.

Kate’s Farewell Drive-by

October 5, 2020
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Kate Lovelady, Leader

After 15 years as Leader of the Society Kate Lovelady retired in May of 2020. Because of COVID we have been unable to come together as a community to thank her for her service.

Kate ‘s farewell celebration is finally here! While we can’t safely have the farewell lunch we originally planned, we can have a socially distanced drive by parade to celebrate her time with us. Plan on driving your car, bicycle, or motor scooter to the Ethical Society parking lot between 10:30a-11:30a on Saturday, October 31. Kate will be happily ready and waiting to receive your well wishes as you pass by her perch. There might be a line, so please be patient when you arrive. We will do our best to keep everyone moving. Feel free to make festive signs and decorate your vehicle for the occasion. The event will be held rain or shine. Questions? Reach out to Amanda Verbeck at amandanv530@yahoo.com.

Opening Words from Sun. September 20 by Don Beere

September 20, 2020
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This month’s theme, Reflection, led me to reflect, on reflection. For me, the best tool for reflection is analytical mediation, an approach in Tibetan Buddhism. I bumped into applications of this practice when, forty years ago, I read Time, Space and Knowledge by Tarthang Tulku, a Nyingmapa lama. Over the next twenty years I used TSK books in my classes and wrote six book chapters relating to its ideas. I found it intriguing, illuminating, instructive and challenging. I share this approach to reflection should you want to try it.

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Opening Words from Sun. September 13 by Kat Weir

September 16, 2020
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Hi! I’m Kat Weir, Director of Education here at the Ethical Society. In typical years, you can find me at the helm of our Sunday Ethical Education for Kids, or SEEK, programming. But, as we all know, this is anything but a typical year.

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Opening Words from Sun. August 30 by Maxine Stone: “My Jewish Background”

September 1, 2020
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I grew up in Newton, MA in a mixed community but mostly catholic.  It seemed to me that it was a mostly Jewish community because most of my friends were Jewish.  I was in a family of Reformed Jews and we went to Temple Israel.  In my memory, that was a big part of my life.  I went to Sunday School, carpooled with other Jewish friends, participated in Jewish holidays and events at home and at my temple…we called it a temple, not a synagogue. 

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Opening Words from Sun. August 23 by Cathy Pickard

August 24, 2020
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Earlier this month, Bob and I spent a couple weeks with our 3 1/2 year old twin grandkids in the Washington DC area. We hadn’t seen them since last December and were amazed at the changes we saw in them, especially in their language development.

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Christine Floss, late member, honored by special journal issue

August 23, 2020
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The late Christine Floss was a long term member of our Society.

“A special issue of the journal Meteoritics & Planetary Science (MAPS) honors the late Professor Christine Floss (1961-2018). The journal issue highlights Floss’s ongoing impact on the study of extraterrestrial materials as well as her lasting importance to the cosmochemistry and planetary science community.”

Read the announcement from Washington University’s Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences.

Opening Words from Sun. August 16 by Cy Henningsen

August 16, 2020
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Hello,

My name is Cy Henningsen. My pronouns are he / him / his, and I’ve been a member of the Ethical Society for 8 years.

Today I’d like to talk briefly about something near and dear to my heart – board games!

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