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News and Notes - June 2013

By George Kane

george head smallIn 2008 our board of directors issued a document stating Minnesota Atheists’ positions on public policy issues of concern to atheists. This document is useful to everyone who has to represent the organization, so that whether commenting to the press or testifying at a legislative committee hearing, Minnesota Atheists’ position will not be in doubt. The document defines our values both for the outside world and for our members.

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President's Column: FSM Junction Separates Church and State

FSM junction-1By Eric Jayne

If you look from a bird’s-eye view of the state capitol and zoom out to a six-block radius, you will notice that there are actually two large domed buildings near downtown St. Paul—each one serving a distinct purpose—separated by a stretch of intertwined urban freeway. This section of freeway is commonly identified as “Spaghetti Junction” (I think atheists should start calling it “Flying Spaghetti Monster Junction”), and it sharply symbolizes the importance of church and state separation.

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The 2013 May Day Celebration

May Day.2013-5Twenty-five people helped with our booth or marched with us at the May Day festival in Minneapolis on May 5th. The predictions for nasty weather didn't come true and it was a nice, sunny day instead. Most of us wore this year's Minnesota Atheists' patriotism-themed t-shirts that have the message "One Nation Indivisible" on back.

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Atheists Talk TV Program Review: May 2013

cable.5-2013By Steve Petersen

For the first part of the show, Dr. Sharon Preves, sociologist and professor, discussed her research of intersex individuals. Sharon first defined terms, such as "intersex," "hermaphrodite," and "transgender," then explained how and why she became involved in this research. Sharon next explained the cause for negative stigma of intersex individuals, including the religious views of people who do not fit easily into the male/female binary. Sharon noted the strong drive that society has to pigeonhole everyone - even fetuses - into one of two genders. She discussed the evolution of outlying conditions in Western civilization: from sin, to crime, to medicalization. Sharon then explained the excessive intrusion of the medical world and its treatment of intersexuality as an emergency requiring "correction."

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Day of Reason Speech: One Nation Indivisible

By Grant Steves

james barri reading stevesThe following is a transcript of the speech written by Grant Steves and delivered by James Barri at the State Capital during the Day of Reason

The Pledge of Allegiance is described as an oath, a national prayer, and a statement that elevates the government and flag to religious icons. Its major supporters have been clergy, religious and patriotic groups. 

Francis Bellamy, who composed the original Pledge of allegiance in 1892, had these thoughts about it: The true reason for allegiance to the flag is the ‘republic for which it stands’. . . . And what does that vast thing, the Republic mean? It is the concise political word for the Nation—the one nation which the civil war was fought to prove. To make that one nation idea clear, we must specify that it is indivisible.

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