ATHEISTS IN FOXHOLES AND OTHER THINGS FROM THE BRIGHTS NETWORK:
I’m putting this into the blog just to offer a change of pace. Sometimes I do branch out. The following three articles come from the Brights Network monthly communication to its members. The brights are a group of people who claim intellectual credentials. Some are atheists. Others are not. The third piece below is something we have discussed in our INLAND NORTHWEST FREETHOUGHT SOCIETY meetings. We want to be positive too and to figure out ways to do something other than be on the defensive. I do believe that encouraging classes in rational thinking and objective approaches to reality would help. I thought our essay contest which went nowhere was a step in the right direction, but to get actually no response for the effort, no matter how little the effort, was disappointing and one reason why I didn’t want to pursue it further. Anyhow, all three of the pieces below are cut and pasted straight from the internet:
THE "ATHEISTS IN FOXHOLES" RALLY (USA)
Co-Director Paul Geisert, a peacetime veteran with a service disability, attended an honor and recognition rally in Washington D.C. on Veterans Day. Invited to the event to represent The Brights' Net, he made two very short presentations and participated with the "Camp Quest Singers" as they sang very new and different wording (penned by Enthusiastic Bright Edwin Kagin) to familiar army, navy, and marine tunes.
The point of the rally was to refute the well-worn slur that "there are no atheists in foxholes" (or in danger zones, disasters, etc.). About two hundred veterans showed up to be acknowledged by representatives of most national freethought organizations. To read more about the event, go to:
THE DECEMBER DILEMMA (USA)
A month with various holidays in close proximity carries potential to heighten discord in any community, and school activities are often a fount of dispute in December. The antidote to such conflict involves schools' (1) abiding by the standard of legal neutrality in programs (no privileging of any religion over others, or of religion over nonreligion), (2) pursuing sound curriculum, and (3) clearly upholding a fundamental commitment to civic pluralism.
Parents and Teachers:
Cognizance of what is "okay or not okay" in tax-supported schools with respect to religious celebrations and school programs and activities can be helpful. For a general summary written for teachers regarding matters that fall within classrooms, follow the URL below. Then click on the topic "Holidays" in the left border. You may also be interested in clicking on "Subject Areas" regarding holiday music. The website is designed for professional educators, but parents will find useful information as well. See pertinent material at:
LOOKING ON THE BRIGHT SIDE OF LIFE
That was the title of Mynga's talk at the London Brights' Meetup. Her talk was aimed at those making their way in life as Brights and working to advance the three civic aims stated on the , home page at
Employing a contrast of two real and supernatural-free persons (both keen on being accepted in their societies), she characterized one as an "emitter" (pursuing life's journey in ways consistent with his sweeping world view) and the other as a person able to proceed only as a "reflector" of the culturally monotheistic society in which he/she lived. Mynga remarked on how unproductive was the "godless person" compared to the one who shone his own light. The one can consistently and constructively act within society day in and day out, individually if need be, while the other languishes at the margins of society, holding forth only in dissent and disapproval.
Surely one can expend time railing against the harm of religion and blind faith, but Mynga challenged those present to go further, to advance and pursue measures that "work on the Bright side." Her talk favored acting as contributors to augment a pluralistic society, pursuing concrete actions well-attuned to principles stated at the web site. She urged participation in varied ways to strengthen civil and secular institutions.
In education, she advocated tangible actions to secure sound programs above endless griping about irrationality. Brights can focus on ways to fortify programs and advance the skills and experiences that produce well-rounded and critical thinking citizens. Regarding rearing of youth, she encouraged parents to "emit" their encompassing world view as opposed to accepting and "reflecting" the society's narrow view of them as godless nonbelievers. Nurturing skepticism, critical analysis, inquisitiveness, and "out of left-field" thinking are all part of the "Bright side" picture.