The Brights' Bulletin


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Issue #35
March 31, 2006

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


Untitled Document Brights' Bulletin #35 - 2006 March 31

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THE MOVEMENT'S MAJOR AIMS

This is second of three consecutive Bulletins to carry a bit of commentary regarding the broad aims of The Brights' Net. (All three aims are listed on the home page.)

Aim #2: Gain public recognition that persons who hold a naturalistic worldview can bring principled actions to bear on matters of civic importance.

That principled actions can be rooted in a naturalistic worldview is no news to brights. However, the broad public will not come to this recognition anytime soon. There are profound cultural obstacles, so public awareness will necessitate suitable ongoing efforts by a great many people over time.

Change for the better starts with us. Those of us who choose to be activists must be cogent regarding our intent. (People need to understand accurately just what it is Brights are setting about to achieve.) This is a movement in quest of societal acknowledgment and civic acceptance for people who are supernatural-free. We deserve and expect civic parity. Brights share no dogma, but we can evince firm values by way of our ethical and caring conduct. As individuals, we can work with others who share our values, whether they are supers or brights. We who are viewed by our coworkers and social acquaintances as principled people are particularly suited to make known to them our naturalistic worldview (if we have not already). Then we can comfortably spread the aspiration of civic equity within our spheres of influence, however small or far-reaching they may be.

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NEW EASY-TO-USE GRAPHICS

An array of images has been added to the website since the last Bulletin. Choose an icon or a logo to add to your signature line in email messages or in online discussion forums. It is a simple "copy and paste" procedure. (Many thanks to the web architect, Theo.)
http://www.the-brights.net/movement/downloads/icons.html

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HIGH RESOLUTION ICON/LOGO

If you are a design professional, there is now available on the website some "camera-ready" artwork of the "official Brights' logo" (two versions). You can use this artwork with the most popular graphic design applications software to design your own media.

Brights Central has developed and is making available a zip file that contains not only the larger, high-resolution images, but also a rather detailed Visual Identity Guide directing their appropriate use. (Thanks again, Theo!) To better spread awareness of the movement, a general willingness to follow the guidelines is called for. Consequently, Co-Director Mynga has drafted a "rationale section" of the Guide appealing to folks who don't particularly like the constraints of guidelines! Everything is available via the "Brights' Visual Identity Materials" link at:
http://www.the-brights.net/movement/downloads/

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MERCHANDISE WITH ICON/LOGO NOW AVAILABLE!

Maybe a Brights' mug or a button will appeal to you? Or perhaps a mousepad or Teddy Bear or some greeting cards? We are pleased to say that the new BrightsShop at CafePress is open as of today. It carries an array of items adorned with official Brights' graphics. There's a diversity of apparel (e.g., hats, shirts) and even a few household items (coasters, plaques). Start a conversation when your neighbor notices that your dog is decked out in a Brights' T!

There are many people who have long been requesting such merchandise and will be as grateful as Brights Central for "Shopkeeper Diane" (a Bright in Michigan, USA), who assumed the responsibility to work along with BC and set up the online BrightsShop at:
http://www.cafepress.com/brightsshop

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BE A TIPSTER

We have had the following request from Dave: "Please post 101 activist tips on your website." (He sent in a "starter set" for consideration.) An example of a tip is: "Include a Brights' logo in your email signature line." If you have an activist tip to offer, please email it to the-brights@the-brights.net and put TIPS in the subject line. Lets see if we can accumulate 101 worthy ideas for spreading the word about the Brights.

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REGISTRATIONS CLIMB

In the last month, registrations at The Brights' Net have gone up 75% over the September 2005 equinox month. This may be due to increased governmental actions in the U.S. and U.K. which have caused much concern, or other factors. For example: use of the noun in a couple of books appropriately integrating the term, fresh links into the-brights.net, new podcasts involving Enthusiastic Brights, an increase in individual activities (such as including the new logo in email signature lines.

Whatever the complex of causes in this case, individual actions do count. Just one new registrant coming from each current Bright, and we may even kick the organization into geometric growth!

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LEAVING THE LIE BEHIND

This comment accompanied a recent registration by a new Bright from the United Arab Emirates: "I live in a country where it is a requirement to state your religion on many papers. It frustrates me that I need to identify myself with one faith in order not to be identified with another. Now that I have a new word in my vocabulary, I will no longer need to answer the "Religion" question with a lie. Thank you for giving me a title!"

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CALIFORNIA DONATIONS NOW TAX EXEMPT (USA)

The Brights' Net just received official notice that all donations from California Brights are state tax deductible. Of course, American donations remain U.S. federally tax deductible.

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EQUINOX FUND RAISING UPDATE

We presume by now you have received the equinox fund drive email request with its news of the Brights' $5000 challenge grant. The Co-Directors would like to thank all who have contributed so far. We especially want to express our appreciation to two people: (1) the anonymous donor and (2) to the volunteer Bright (John in Massachusetts) who developed the professional fund raising letter sent out this Equinox. Without doubt, both will be as pleased as we are in learning that a constellation of Brights has indeed matched that challenge grant! Hooray! What that means for The Brights' Net is stability across the next six months, and to the extent the donations coming in accumulate, there is now real hope for a greater degree of flexibility ahead.

We are, at this point, 80% of the way to hiring part-time assistance for a year, a much-desired step that will enable far more consistent and effectual communications to take place within The Brights' Network. Previously (before the constituency grew so much), Co-Directors had some time to work on setting out vision and translating it to action. With paid assistance (to perform the support tasks which have pretty much consumed us for a year), BC can organize for the long-term and better utilize diverse human resources already volunteered by Brights. Consequently, if you have simply forgotten to send in your support, please let the time be now. We won't be asking again until the September equinox.
Go to: http://www.the-brights.net/action/support/index.html#financial

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EXAMPLE OF QUICK AND CAPABLE ACTIVISM

Email to Brights Central from Chris on March 16: "Did you know that every school in Ireland connected to the Internet works through a content filtering system that blocks access to The Brights' website? They categorize you guys under cult/occult. How unfair is that? I appealed the rating for you guys but I would not be too optimistic."

Email from Chris on March 18: "Good news. My appeal worked and the site has been re-categorized as ‘Society and Lifestyles'. Keep up the good work."

To Chris: Congratulations! This is a perfect example of one-person Bright activism that really counts!

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SPECIAL INITIATIVE GROUPS

Most details of the new Brights Action SIG idea have been worked out and the program is off the ground. (It allows individuals to join with other registrants and engage in a well-defined mutual endeavor.) You can read about SIGs on the site at:
http://www.the-brights.net/action/activities/organized/sigs/index.html

The first SIG formed in March when BC asked American Brights in a BrightenOp to consider the mission statement of the Secular Coalition for America. (See next item.)

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BRIGHTS ACTION SIG #1 (USA)

The Secular Coalition for America recently put a lobbyist in Washington DC to work for principles generally compatible with the overall Brights' agenda. Over 480 American Brights have now endorsed the SCA's mission statement. To add your voice to theirs, you simply type your email address into a box on The Brights' Net website. (Your name/email will NOT be given to SCA. All Brights' SIG records are securely located in The Brights' Net database.)

It takes about 30 seconds to become a part of the Brights Action SCA Special Initiative Group. Taking that action will fortify by one person (you) the endeavor to bring some political awareness on Capitol Hill regarding the interests of secularists in the United States.

To read about the SIG, go to
http://www.the-brights.net/action/activities/organized/sigs/sig_one.html
To subscribe, click:
http://the-brights.net/action/subscribe

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INTERNATIONAL MEETING FOR POSITIVE ATHEISM

Regarding the June 23-25 conference in Iceland (mentioned in the prior Bulletin): The assembly, which is billed as "the first international Freethought, Rationalist, Humanist, Skeptic meeting to be held at the top of the world!" should be a nice "summer break" for those who attend. The conference theme is "positive atheism." There are a few additions to the cadre of presenters. The latest flyer, showing topics and times, is online at
http://www.samt.is/conference/

Given the location, conference planners are anticipating a comparatively small gathering, their substantial roster of presenters notwithstanding. Such a setting offers grand opportunities for greeting and interacting with Enthusiastic Brights such as Richard Dawkins, Margaret Downey, and Bobbie Kirkhart, as well as with the Icelandic and additional US speakers. Co-Directors plan to be there (at zero cost to the Brights' Net). Dan Barker, who is widely known in the American freethought community as an accomplished musician, composer of freethought songs, and "freedom from religion" activist, will be entertaining with selections from his rather extensive repertoire of musical compositions.

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BOOKS BY BRIGHTS

"Scenario: Nascent Christianity Emerges" by Dr. Michael Conley. This is a two-volume novel depicting events taking place in large part in the port town where Romans administered much of Palestine over a period of fifteen years (70 to 85 CE).

"Massa Damnatta" by Viktor Wolfgang Weichbold (in German). A scientist becomes involved in a quarrel between the Devil and an angel. Talk about density of evil and enlightenment! (Note: Mr. Weichbold is interested in someone translating the book from German into English and sharing royalties. Email the-brights@the-brights.net if interested)

All book info is at
http://the-brights.net/people/books/

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BUYING BOOKS

If you shop Amazon for books or other items, please buy through The Brights' Net link. Amazon will donate to this organization a small percentage of the cost, with no extra expense to you. To date slightly over $100 has been provided to The Brights' Net educational nonprofit through Amazon purchases.
http://www.the-brights.net/people/books/

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GOOGLE ADWORDS EXPERIMENT

The Google Adwords approach did not prove to be a cost effective way of drawing in new registrants. It has been abandoned in favor of what appears to be so much more effective means of communication - Brights themselves!

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TAILINGS

The definition and goals of the organization: http://www.the-brights.net

The Brights' Forum (open 24/7/365): http://www.the-brights.net/forums

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

Link to Amazon.com (you pay the normal amount and The Brights' Net gets a donation): http://www.the-brights.net/people/books/

Brights' Shop (merchandise): http://www.cafepress.com/brightsshop

Sustaining The Brights' Net : http://www.the-brights.net/action/support/

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BRIGHTS CENTRAL INFO
Co-Directors: Mynga Futrell and Paul Geisert: the-brights@the-brights.net
Webmaster and Forum Consultant: Kevin Schultz: the-brights@the-brights.net
Web Architect: Theo Skye
CafePress Shopkeeper: Diane
BLC Coordinator: Tammy Richard
Outreach Coordinator: Debra Deanne Olson


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