The Brights' Bulletin


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Issue #27
July 31, 2005

(Note that links in archived Bulletin issues may no longer be valid.)


HELP WANTED ON PORTUGUESE LANGUAGE WEBSITE

The website for Brazilian-based Brights (and other Portuguese language users) is almost ready to go, but another volunteer translator is needed to complete a few remaining pages of text. Translation is all we need to get this site launched. Contact the-brights@the-brights.net if you can help out with Portuguese to English translation in August. Please put PORTUGUESE in caps in your subject line.

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A NEW BATCH OF BRIGHTS

For a while mid-month we experienced a significant increase in daily average of registrations from the USA, in part due to a front page Los Angeles Times article by Gina Piccolo (published July 18, and subsequently picked up by other newspapers).

A brief segment at the end of the article was sufficient to send us over 400 new registrants immediately after its publication. The reference to our "online community" continues to route constituents our way. (Welcome, all you new USA folks!)

The LA Times citation grew out of a telephone interview with the author, who is a staff journalist there. Struck by religion's making such inroads into popular culture, Ms. Piccolo was specifically interested in today's political climate and how atheists in the US are coping.

In her piece, Ms. Piccolo reports how hard it is for people regarded as atheists to be elected. In the part introducing the Brights, she mentions our choice of a label to represent a supernatural-free worldview and the desire to break free of the various labels that define us narrowly and in religious terms (e.g., as nonbelievers).

Abbreviated excerpt from the article:
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"By creating this label, Futrell and Geisert hope to 'level the playing field' and recast members of their community as independent thinkers who celebrate knowledge without identifying themselves as vociferous anti-theists.

They want to build a large, influential community, similar to MoveOn.org, to sway public opinion. So far, they say, there are Brights in more than 115 countries.

'There's this tremendous feeling of being a second-class citizen when you know you're patriotic and working for all kinds of good things for the country, and yet you're ranked with the pedophiles,' Futrell says. 'You have to have political influence in order to get cultural change of any kind.'"
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Read the article at: http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/latimests/atimeofdoubtforatheists

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STAYING IN TOUCH

Welcome to all new July Brights. We want to remind you, and the not-so-new Brights too, that it is up to you to keep your registration current. If you change your email address, you will need to make sure to alter it in the Brights' database around the time you change your address. This is something you do yourself (not through e-mail to Brights Central, please).

You can edit your database contact record at any time at:
http://www.the-brights.net/movement/bulletin/settings.html

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COMMENT ON THE ZEITGEIST (USA)

"Faith-based" might appropriately be spelled "faith-biased." (Paul)

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LA TIMES UPBEAT REGISTRATION COMMENTS

"It's about time! I think we'll eventually discover that there are a lot of 'Brights' lighting up the closet. They should come out and light up the world."
Sallie, CA, USA

"Great idea, in spite of the problems with the name. Then again, a somewhat annoying name might just be the ticket to (1) wider exposure; (2) subsequent embrace by a wider audience; (3) widespread acceptance."
Dennis, PA, USA

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SPREADING THE BRIGHT IDEA

While mainstream media attention creates great awareness of the constituency, simple person-to-person mention is an important route by which people reach the website. As you go about your affairs, don't forget this well-trodden pathway. We know that a casual "you might want to check out The Brights' Network," is effective. Registrants frequently say that they learned of the Brights' Net "from a friend."

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SPURRING A FLURRY OF SIGNUPS

Some Brights have the attention of many people. Noted magician and skeptic, James Randi is one of those people. Usually busy distinguishing pseudoscience from science and debunking claims of the paranormal, Randi's recent Friday "Soapbox" essay touched on religion and conveyed serious alarm about the growing power of religion over our basic freedoms. Its two paragraphs of casual notice of the Brights, along with the website URL, created a flurry of new registrations.

Abbreviated excerpt:
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"People who have naturalistic worldviews bring thoughtful and principled actions to bear on matters of civic importance. They advocate 'a level playing field' for citizens having a religious or a naturalistic worldview, thus connecting to the Enlightenment, an era when people had confidence that, with reason and science, we could create a truly just society. Society has progressively become more civically inclusive regarding ethnicity and sexual orientation. Still, deep prejudice exists at all levels of society regarding those who do not claim to be religious."
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To read James Randi's article in full, go to "On The Soapbox at:
http://www.randi.org/jr/071505on.html

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MORALITY ARENA

This is "last call" to participation as a contributor on the Morality Project team. Henceforth, project information will be communicated to the team via email, rather than by way of the Bulletin. Project news will be conveyed to all via the Bulletins.

The goals of the project are stated at:
http://www.the-brights.net/action/activities/organized/arenas/1/project.html

If after reviewing the goals you are interested in participating in the Morality Action Arena, send a blank email and in the Subject line put in all caps MORALITY. We will set up a group communication process.

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BRIGHTS' FIRST INTERNATIONAL PRESS RELEASE

A press release entitled, "Citizens Without A Prayer Speak Out," was transmitted internationally through Religion News Services. It was also emailed to 500 organizations listed in the Freethought Directory.

Over eighty Brights participated in developing the press release by rapidly reacting to Brights Central's initial draft. The Co-Directors incorporated some of the suggestions into the 500-word revision. Some excellent recommendations will be implemented in subsequent releases.

The release was subtitled "Individuals unite via Internet to press their case for civic justice." The full text is posted online at:
http://www.religionnews.com/press02/PR071305B.html

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BRIGHTS CENTRAL "REDUCED OPERATIONS" IN AUGUST

Co-Directors are off to a two-week working holiday starting on August 10. The working part includes a joint presentation to the Secular Student Alliance at Columbus, Ohio the weekend of August 14. It's entitled, "Connecting the Unconnectable: A Case Study from The Brights' Net." While in the Columbus area, we will be meeting with local Brights (see next Bulletin entry). The holiday part is a trip to Kentucky, to Mynga's hometown and old stomping grounds. We will be able to receive "urgent" emails on our laptop.

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COLUMBUS OHIO USA BRIGHTS

The Co-directors will be meeting informally with interested Brights in the Columbus area on Sunday, August 14 at The Hilton Garden Inn, Polaris location, at 5 to 7PM. The Columbus coordinator Robin would appreciate an email saying you are coming:
robin@firegoodgraphics.com.

This is an open and informal get together. Ask questions, offer suggestions, and talk about whatever interests you. Hope to see you there.

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TAILINGS

If you have a problem receiving this Bulletin, please email Kevin (webmaster@the-brights.net) and place the word PROBLEM in the subject line.

The Brights' Forum (open 24/7) — http://the-brights.net/forums

The archive of all prior Bulletins is at
http://www.the-brights.net/movement/bulletin/archive.html

If you need to change your registered email address to a new one, suspend emailing from Brights Central, etc., you can now change status yourself at:
http://www.the-brights.net/movement/bulletin/settings.html

Do you have comments for the Co-Directors? Send to the-brights@the-brights.net and put DIRECTORS in the subject line. If your question is for the Coordinator of Brights' Local Constituencies, send to the-brights@the-brights.net and put BLC COORDINATOR in the subject line.

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Brights Central
Co-Directors: Mynga Futrell and Paul Geisert
Webmaster: Kevin Schultz
Web Architect: Theo Skye
BLC Coordinator: Tammy Richard


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