Recordings of Sunday Platform addresses
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Principle centered parenting: Dropping out of the new “gerbil race”; Tim Jordan, MD

October 29, 2006

The rat race to “keep up with the Joneses” starting in the 1950s was about “things,” i.e., homes, cars, appliances. The “gerbil” race today is about children: getting your kids in the “right” school, on the “right” select sports teams, building the perfect resume. Kids are growing up too fast, being treated as adults, and are stressed out and overextended. Dr. Jordan will lay out the costs to kids and families due to these extraordinary pressures and he will inspire parents to take control of their families’ lives, parenting from the principles and values important to them.

A nationally known speaker and educator, Tim Jordan, M.D., has dedicated his career to helping children and families. As a key media consultant, he has appeared on national and local television and radio and hosted the weekly radio show “Families First.”

The terrible, beautiful mess of life; Kate Lovelady, Leader

October 22, 2006

The strength of humanistic ethics is based in the heart as well as in the head. I’m often asked if its possible for people to live without a certainty of supernatural belief. My answer is to point to the long history of poetry, art, and music that has helped humanity develop compassion and commitment in the face of the uncertainties and pains of living. An ethical movement that rejects absolutist answers can still uplift and inspire by embracing this tradition, so this Sunday I’ll be sharing some of my favorite poems that explore grief, celebration, confusion, transcendence, and other joys and challenges of being human.

Stem cell research in Missouri; Gerald Magill, PhD, Saint Louis University Center for Health Care Ethics

October 8, 2006

The vote for or against Missouri’s Amendment 2 elicits significant controversy around embryonic stem cell research. People of good will and people of faith stand on each side of the debate. The ethical dispute is not about choosing between the protection of human life and the promotion of human healing – each side makes those claims, whether by reason or by faith. Rather, the contest deals with the irresolvable controversy about when personal human life begins. And each side submits substantive moral justifications for their opposing perspectives. There is need for respect and restraint to foster a calm courteousness to help citizens prepare for the referendum.

Gerard Magill, Ph.D., is a Professor with tenure at Saint Louis University’s Center for Health Care Ethics. He served as the Center’s first Department Chair from 1996 to 2006 and was Executive Director of the Center from 1999 to 2006. He has secondary appointments at Saint Louis University as a Professor of Internal Medicine in the School of Medicine and as a Professor of Health Administration in the School of Public Health.

His education includes a baccalaureate degree in philosophy, a baccalaureate degree in religion, and a master’s degree in religious ethics at the Gregorian University in Rome, as well as a Ph.D. degree in religious ethics at Edinburgh University, Scotland.

His areas of research specialties include: the policy and ethics implications of human genomics and stem cell research, and religious discourse in health care ethics.

Ethics: The next generation; Kate Lovelady, Leader

October 1, 2006

This Sunday we’ll look at some of the cultural and psychological pressures on today’s youth. What will influence them to be more or less ethical than the current generation? Many pundits proclaim that America is in a state of moral decline–is this true, and if so, will the next generation learn to imitate or to restore today’s moral lapses? What are the current trends in ethics among the younger set, and what can sociological research teach us about how to bring up our youth to create a more ethical society?

“There are only two lasting bequests we can hope to give our children. One is roots; the other, wings.” – Hodding Carter

The fate of eminent domain; Gary Feder

September 24, 2006

Can the private owner of a residence or business be required, as a matter of law, to sell their property to a developer intending to use that property, along with others, to create a new comprehensive project designed to serve the general public?

The Supreme Court of the United States answered this question in the affirmative last summer in the landmark decision, Kelo v. City of New London, Connecticut. The decision set off a firestorm of protest concerning the long established practice of “eminent domain.” Eminent domain is the right of local governments, including school districts, highway departments, and some utility companies, to force the sale of certain real estate and to condemn the title thereto in consideration for payment to the owner of the property’s fair market value as determined through a court determined procedure. Expansion of the process nationally over the past half century has resulted in “takings” of real estate that wind up in the hands of private development companies rather than be titled to public entities. Instead of building roads, eminent domain has increasingly been used to build stadiums, office complexes, and shopping centers. Private property rights vie with governments’ desire to eradicate deteriorated or blighted areas, create new taxes/jobs, and stimulate growth. The controversial Centenne project in the heart of Clayton is just one local example of this battle. Legislative changes have already happened in Missouri. What lies ahead both national and locally?

Gary Feder is a member of the Land Use Development and Financing Practice Group in the St. Louis office of Husch and Eppenberger, LLC. His primary areas of concentration are real estate law, corporate law, and related litigation. He is a former member of the Clayton Board of Education and Clayton’s City Plan Commission and Architectural Review Board. Gary is a frequent speaker on real estate development issues, such as the use of tax increment financing, transportation development districts and urban redevelopment corporations.

Saying Yes; Kate Lovelady, Leader

September 17, 2006

In my candidate address last fall, I argued that one of the steps in ethical development is learning to Say Yes. By that I meant cultivating optimism, being open to the possibilities of life, and being willing to stretch ourselves and to work with others in trying new things. Humanism looks for signs of ethical progress in the world, and ethical humanists try to do our part, however small or large, to help positive change occur. Growth, whether of a person or an institution, requires change. However, change also challenges our comfort zones. This year we will be taking more steps toward positive change, including an increasing emphasis in our platforms on children and families, and more opportunities for ethical action. This platform will introduce some new practices and explore the exciting and the difficult aspects of change and growth.

“It takes a lot of courage to release the familiar and seemingly secure, to embrace the new. But there is no real security in what is no longer meaningful. There is more security in the adventurous and exciting, for in movement there is life, and in change there is power.” – Alan Cohen

“Change is inevitable, except from vending machines.” – Anonymous

Reflections on September 11th; Kate Lovelady, Leader

September 10, 2006

As the opening of the Ethical Society of St. Louis’s Fall Gathering Leader Kate Lovelady reflects on the 5th anniversary of September 11th.

Authentic happiness: living brilliantly; Peggy Duffield and Lynne Michelson

September 10, 2006

Drawing from current research, wisdom traditions and anecdotes, they hope to inspire our community toward an experience of living more joyfully. Inspired by the work of Dr. Martin Seligman, the founder of Positive Psychology and head of the Positive Psychology Center at the University of Pennsylvania, Peggy and Lynne will explore the following questions: Exactly what is authentic happiness? How is it defined? Learn practical tips for bringing happiness into your life. Positive Psychology is a new branch of psychology that focuses on the empirical study of such things as positive emotions, strengths-based character, and healthy institutions. Dr. Seligman’s research has demonstrated that it is possible to be happier — to feel more satisfied, to be more engaged with life, find more meaning, have higher hopes, and probably even laugh and smile more, regardless of one’s circumstances.

AEU Leadership Certification Ceremony; Kate Lovelady, Leader

July 1, 2006

Recorded at the 91st Assembly of the American Ethical Union in Chicago, Kate explains her career move from poet to Ethical Culture Leader and reads one of her favorite poems by W. H. Auden.

Founders Day; Kate Lovelady, Leader

May 14, 2006

A very free and idiosyncratic re-wording by Kate Lovelady, Leader of the Ethical Society of St. Louis, of the Founding Address by Felix Adler, May 15, 1876, New York Society for Ethical Culture.

On May 15, 1876, in New York City, twenty-five-year-old Felix Adler delivered the founding address for Ethical Culture, laying out his argument and design for a new movement that would modernize religion, ethicize philosophy, and commit its members to affirming the infinite worth of every man, woman, and child.

“Diversity in the creed, unanimity in the deed!” Felix Adler, Founding Address

For the 130th anniversary, we will revisit the Founding Address, translating it where necessary into modern understanding, and see how well it has held up and what inspiration and direction it offers our still-moving movement. This will be the inauguration of an annual Founders Day, a day on which Ethical Societies across the country recall our roots, celebrate our individual Society’s history and people, and consider our legacy as the founders of the future.

Read Kate’s updated text or the original address.

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