President's Column: One Nation Indivisible

By Eric Jayne

eric.aint2Twenty-seven years after the last shot was fired in the Civil War, a socialist, Baptist minister named Francis Bellamy wrote the Pledge of Allegiance as a visionary celebration of a unified, undivided nation. Published in 1892, the Pledge first appeared in a popular children’s magazine entitled The Youth’s Companion. The publication’s purpose was to teach ethics and promote positive, active citizenship to children. As most atheists and other secularists are well aware, Bellamy made no mention of gods. His original words were: I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic, for which it stands, one nation indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

It wasn’t until 1954—sixty-two years after Bellamy penned the Pledge—that Communist-fearing lawmakers literally divided Bellamy’s clause, “one nation indivisible” by wedging in “under God” at the behest of the Catholic Knights of Columbus organization. The idea was to showcase the United States as a pious nation in opposition to the godless Soviet Union.

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News and Notes

By George Kane

george head smallRepublicans took a thumping in the November elections, but they behave as if voters gave them a mandate to advance conservative Christian goals. House Resolutions 940 and 973 would both create faith-exemptions to the requirement for contraceptive coverage in employee insurance plans. HR 940 would amend the Affordable Care Act, so-called “Obamacare,” while HR 973 exempts from any fine, excise tax or suit for failure to provide any coverage to which the employer objects based on religious belief or moral conviction. Both bills were referred to three committees for review. Also, HR 23 presents a direct assault on reproductive rights. It declares that human life begins with fertilization, conferring to the zygote the obligatory protection of government.

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Celebrate the Day of Reason: One Nation Indivisible

one nation indivisibleOn Thursday, May 2, 2013, from noon to 1:00 pm, Minnesota Atheists and other organizations that recognize the need for separation of state and church will be observing the Day of Reason at the Minnesota State Capitol Rotunda. This year’s theme is One Nation Indivisible.

Speakers will include: Eric Jayne, President of Minnesota Atheists, Scott Lohman of the Humanist of Minnesota, Blake Page from Military Religious Freedom Foundation and David Pacheco, with Americans United for Separation of Church and State. Masters of Ceremony and presenters will include George Kane and Heather Hegi. The committee chair for Day of Reason is Steve Petersen.

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April Meeting - "Have We Turned a Corner?"

phil duranHave we turned a corner?
Progress on LGBT issues in Minnesota and beyond

The modern phase of the LGBT equality movement is generally about forty years old, but it seems as if in recent years, progress toward that goal has picked up steam. From advances regarding relationship recognition, to employment equality, the movement for LGBT rights has never been stronger. Our speaker, Phil Duran, will review and analyze recent developments, and offer thoughts about more to come.

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News and Notes

By George Kane

george head smallI have participated in two debates at the Argument of the Month Club. This is a Catholic men’s club that meets in the basement of St. Augustine Church in South St. Paul. Looking through their online recordings of their events I see that my first debate there was in January of 2009, and the second in April 2010.

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