A chapter of the American Humanist Association and The Alliance of Secular Humanist Societies.

August 2001 Volume 3, No. 5




Next Meeting

This month's meeting will be a special one for us. In honor of (or is it in opposition to?) the August doldrums, we will be forsaking the usual speaker format in favor of a little mischief . . . The gathering will be held at the Barnes and Noble coffee shop, 401 Commerce Street, in beautiful downtown Fort Worth. If you haven't been there before, the coffee shop has plenty of room for all of us, along with some refreshing drinks -- and killer desserts.


Of course, there will be plenty of time for casual conversation. But we will also have two important issues to consider:



Jailhouse, Rocked

First, the organization recently received a letter from a guy who is incarcerated for a "non-violent DWI." In the letter, he noted that there are several faith-based rehab programs in his unit, but he prefers the Secular Organization for Sobriety (SOS) program. In addition, he asked if we had any Humanist literature we might be able to send him.


It has been suggested that we add this person to our mailing list. We also would like to find a way to get him a subscription to the Humanist ($19.95). On a larger scale, this gentlemen's request raises some good questions for us: Do we want to get into the business of advocacy and recruiting? How would we pay for it? Will we need  -- I shudder to say the word -- a committee to handle this? We'll be interested in hearing what group members have to say.



He must have crawled out from under a rock

Second, last week's Star-Telegram featured a "B.C" comic strip that was quite interesting, to say the least. It showed two cavemen talking, and here's what they said: First guy: "What do a dead agnostic, a dead atheist and a dead saint all have in common?" Second guy: "They all KNOW there is a God."


Should Humanists be upset by the strip? One of our very own members, Shelly Hattan, was -- enough so, in fact, that she wrote a letter to the editor, voicing her displeasure.


Shelly deserves a round of applause for having the courage to act on her convictions. But what do other Humanists think? Was the strip really offensive? Was it wrong to run it on the comics page? Was it wrong to publish it at all? That's what we'll be discussing.


All in all, it should make for another lively night. As they used to say on "Saturday Night Live," "We'll get together, have some cawfee, and we'll tawk." Meeting time is 7 p.m. Wednesday, August 8. Come early -- finding a parking spot down there can be tough!



Last Month

Greg Hughes was our guest, speaking on city planning in Fort Worth, and how it sometimes goes awry. He gave a wonderful talk, and was even able to provoke some disagreement. Imagine that -- Humanists with conflicting views . . .


In addition, the group voted in favor of adding our name to the list of organizations supporting "The Day That Counts".  In case you missed it, this was a nationwide day of activism designed to make our elected officials aware to the millions of Americans who are agnostic or atheist. No word yet on how successful the event was, but we're not going to hold our breath waiting to get a letter of thanks from Joe Barton, either.



Start the Presses

If you're not happy about not having a speaker this month -- or worried that we might NEVER have another one -- fear not. Our September speaker is already lined up, and he is a good one: Star-Telegram columnist Jack Z. Smith has agreed to join us. Jack will be talking about his own experiences at the paper, explaining how the news business works, and answering your questions. If you've ever had a question or quibble with the Startlegram (and who among us has not?) this will be your chance. Mark your calendars now . . . .



Every Litter Bit Helps

We also had another sucessful Adopt-a-Street cleanup last month. Special thanks to all of our hard workers:Mike and Mary Haney; Bruce, Scott, and Michelle Berggren; Jim Cather; Russel Elleven and Pennye Lewis. The project only took about an hour, and was well worth it: The unearthed treasures included a stuffed dog, a full can of tuna, and $5 (by Russell) -- proof that crime, or at least cleaning it up, really does pay.


Welcome Mat
Lillie Henley
has been elected as the new minister of Westside UU. Lillie describes herself as a "Religious Humanist." We offer her congratulations on the appointment.


Yeah, well, if you say so

"Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it."

                                                     -- A random thought uttered by some guy named "Buddha."


If you have a particularly compelling quote you want to share, or would like to point out an exceptionally good article you read, be sure to pass along the tip to us.



Is there a member of the clergy in the house?

As a matter of fact, yes. Here's a reminder that our own Russell Elleven is an ordained Humanist Minister. He can perform wedding ceremonies for a variety of services, Humanist or otherwise. If you're interested, you can contact him at 817-370-2171, or e-mail him at



Just for fun

Question: What happens when you make a group of agnostics angry?

Answer: They burn a question mark in your front yard.




Hope to see you Wednesday,






How to reach us


Jeff Rodriguez, Chairman



Mike Haney, Vice Chairman


Bruce Berggren, Treasurer