The Brights' Bulletin


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Issue #59
March 31, 2008

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


APRIL 2008 BULLETIN

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POSTCARD PROJECT FOR ACTIVISTS (USA)

The first Awareness Project directed to American politicians is underway with an issue of likely concern to many Brights: SEPARATION OF RELIGION AND GOVERNMENT. The targets can be candidates and elected officials at any level, from local town council to the presidency.

Each pre-printed postcard urges the recipient to speak up about his/her position on the church/state issue. Interested activists mail cards to as many politicians as they wish, saying in effect, "I'm as mad as hell and I'm not going to take SILENCE on this anymore!"- but, of course, saying it in a very polite way.

"Knock, Knock: We are here!" is an individual action project. ACTION: Obtain as many cards as you commit to send, add your signature, address them, stamp and put into the mail! TBN has ordered attractive blue 5,000 cards and will keep them coming for those activists who will commit to USE them. Act before postal rates go up! Helpful information is on the website.

To view the text and get directions on how to proceed to get your cards, go to:
http://www.the-brights.net/action/activities/postcard_project.html

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TRANSLATE BRIGHT? – YES OR NO

In the March Bulletin, we printed the query from Eeric (Finland), who was wondering what Finns should call themselves. He was choosing between two approaches (translate to villky, a finnish word, or stick with the coined noun term).

Peter Papesch (Boston, USA) sent in his point of view the matter:

"'BRIGHTS' (plural) is the collective term for us. Identifying myself as 'A BRIGHT' is both grammatically and conceptually correct. Furthermore, since the movement was conceived in the English-speaking realm, I would urge all fellow Brights to retain the English term with its double meaning rather than face the hurdles of translating the double meaning into any other language. The very characteristic of the double meaning adds significance to the term, and thus to the movement."

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BE SOMETHING FIRST! - THEN DO SOMETHING!

Tanja Kumke (Denmark): "never thought I'd actually BE something, other than a 'non-something' (non-christian etc)"

Laura (Missouri, USA) "Thank you...THANK YOU! ...my hope is that now I might be able to express my beliefs... and not be uncomfortable. In fact, I might go so far as to say I'd be proud to exclaim myself as A Bright."

Kimberly (Tennessee, USA): "I've been WAITING for a group like this! One of my biggest complaints about being non-religious is the fact that there isn't a closely-knit community that churches and similar organizations have... but I have finally found one! I'm spreading the word."

Stephen (Canada): "This seems like a great project. I hate when I define myself as an atheist or anti-theist because the terms are still very much based around religion as you mention... Hopefully we can all change the mindset of the world for the better."

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BRIGHTS BLC IS VOLUNTEERING IN COMMUNITY

[March 28, 2008] For Immediate Release: "Los Angeles BRIGHTS support nature at Daniel Webster Middle School Educational Garden"
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On March 22, 2008, The Los Angeles BRIGHTS turned out to plant, weed, tend and otherwise nurture The Daniel Webster Garden. Located at Daniel Webster Middle School (LAUSD) the garden was established to teach children who grow up in an urban setting more about the environment.

The LA BRIGHTS charter includes volunteer efforts, doing good for the community and supporting BRIGHT goals. See http://www.the-brights.net

Recognizing the need for more knowledge about nature, LA BRIGHT and school teacher John Taylor wasn't solely altruistic in his volunteer effort. "Sure, happy to help here, but I'm bringing what I learned back to my own school, to initiate the effort there!"

All participants agreed: It feels good to help others. The LA BRIGHTS will be performing more acts of volunteerism in support of the naturalistic worldview.
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This type of action serves as a model for other Brights Local Constituencies that meet in person. The LA Brights not only focus on the community; they also take the extra steps to ensure that their volunteer efforts gain wider notice. See:
http://www.free-press-release.com/news/200803/1206753243.html

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STEP ON UP! - PARTICIPATE IN THE FUND DRIVE

One Bright who perused the extensive version of the current Equinox Fund Appeal was struck by Snapshot 4 and its listing of "centralized communications." Read it for yourself at:
http://www.the-brights.net/funding/snap4projects.html

A budget to advance the actions of this internet constituency in the next six months has been prepared to show how your money will be spent if the sought-after amount ($50,000 – well, actually $49,840) is received. A summary by major category is posted on the website. Please click here to review that "budget-in-brief" or to request the detailed budget information, which must be emailed:
http://www.the-brights.net/funding/Budget2008.html

The complete Equinox Fund drive appeal is posted online at:
http://www.the-brights.net/funding/

You can donate right away at:
http://www.the-brights.net/funding/supportbrights/

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CONSTITUENTS DO (OR DON'T?) RESPOND

We heartedly thank the supporters who have already contributed this equinox season. Special thanks to those of you who have subscribed to the monthly donation method, which aids our planning. Also to the non-US supporters who mailed the money orders in US dollars! Sporadically finding a letter of gratitude in the envelope was a special pleasure for Co-Directors!

We are part-way to the goal. Don't let the reality fall short of the vision and possibility! To you who have not yet sent your contribution, please read the next Bulletin entry. This is not a "made-up letter." We received it just after the September 2007 Equinox. It is reprinted without abbreviation.

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SPONTANEOUS LETTER FROM A BRIGHT

"When my wife and I joined her grandmother's church (long story), we pledged each year to donate a certain amount. We were visited each year, as all members were, specifically to discuss how much we could/would donate. The minister reviewed all the church's needs (physical plant, outreach etc) and put a pretty heavy guilt trip on us. Tithing was brought up - and some people DO give their church 10% of their income!

In order to balance the scales of power in activism, in order to BE effective, the brights who join 'The Brights' need to consider what we are up against!

I will pledge to donate 2-5% of my income (average US charity donations on IRS forms = 2% or less). I will strive to get higher than 2% as much as I can.

Just think - if every single bright donated 2% of their income, The Brights' Net would be able to do so much more. More effective methods to get the word out about the idea, more staff to support the entire project and more that I cannot even think of yet. It would be amazing!

Please edit this and pass it along in next months email (or take the ideas and make them your own). I think this is very, very important. We cannot send in 'just enough' to keep things going. We MUST do more!

Thank you for everything,
Jeff W [Washington, USA]

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I LIKE WHAT I SEE (SO FAR)

Lawrence (USA, California): "I have always considered my naturalistic worldview to be private, and have had no desire to become part of any 'group' as a result. What appeals to me here is the assertion that The Brights is not a group, but a constituency of individuals. It may be important to be counted, but I am certainly not interested in being included in any group of people whose purpose is to express unity of thought. I am new here, but so far I like what I see."

Wilfred (Australia): "Thank you, thank you so much: - for starting a movement based on such a simple, succinct worldview, supernatural free/naturalistic -thank you for displaying such deep consideration and scrupulous thinking in the Bright's principles."

Steve (New Zealand): "All strength to your collective bright arms. Have read the essays on web-site with interest and increasing agreement. Cheers"

Jay (Texas, USA): "It's wonderful to find a positive group with which to identify. I especially appreciate your 'rules' for child membership."

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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

If and when you send a letter to a publication and mention the Brights, make sure you sign your comments as an INDIVIDUAL Bright (you do not represent the organization). Here are two proper forms of signature:

Marcel Jones
A constituent of www.The-Brights.Net

Kyetha Lanzir
A participant in www.the-brights.net
Illuminating and Elevating the naturalistic worldview

In all communication circumstances, please make use of TBN's communication policies, which help to maintain this organization as a constituency of autonomous INDIVIDUALS. The link to the material is at:
http://www.the-brights.net/action/activities/individual/writing/

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MAGAZINE INTERVIEW WITH CO-DIRECTORS

An interview focused on the Brights movement and the American situation was published in the Austrian magazine CHiLLi.cc.
Die Welt braucht einflussreiche Brights: Der internationale Erfolg der Brights kam selbst für die beiden Gründer überraschend
http://tinyurl.com/2lo9gn/

The publisher has given Brights Central permission to post the article in English on the Brights' website. Consequently, you can now read the article as translated by its author on-site at:

http://www.the-brights.net/vision/essays/austrian_interview_mfpg.html

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BRIGHTS HAVE DOWNS AND UPS AND CHUCKLES

The variable moods - gloomy contemplation, lighthearted wordplay, witty stories to tell - make life just so interesting here at Brights Central! Lots of creativity out there!

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> RECEIVED FROM JACK HART OF LITCHFIELD, ILLINOIS, Illinois (USA)
(who gave permission to print his full byline):

AN APOLOGY

Evolution gave us the Earth for a home
And spun it out into space to roam

With Nature's Laws to guide the ship
And provide the needs for every round trip

Man began learning what Nature knew
And discovered ways to enlighten the crew

Knowledge and Wisdom girdled the Earth
But Greed forced Wisdom into a lower berth

The Laws of Nature could no longer rule
And our home has been plundered by fool after fool.

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> RECEIVED FROM KIRSTEN (AUSTRALIA)
(who said: "Here is an initialism for you"):

A NeW View For SoME
(A Naturalistic World View Free of Supernatural & Mystical Elements)

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> RECEIVED FROM SETH (GEORGIA, USA)
(who conveyed his funny registration incident):

"I received your announcement of the Brights' Facebook group. To become a fan I had to input a Captcha... I thought you might get a chuckle - the Captcha read "Made Holy". The screen shot is at:
http://nerd.southfresh.org/critical-thinking/the-brights/
KEEP UP THE WORK!!!!!!"

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VISIT FACEBOOK – MYFACE – CIVIL BRIGHTS

http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Brights/6447182402/

http://groups.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=groups.groupProfile&groupID=102591166

http://www.civilbrights.net/groups

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HOW DID WE MISS THIS?

Better late than never, perhaps? ABC News had John Allen Paulos' commentary on the Brights back in October 5, 2007.

"'Bright' Movement Fights for the Non-Religious -- Is a Movement to Fight for the Non-Religious a Bright Idea or Merely a 'Bright' One?
http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/WhosCounting/Story?id=97496&page=1/

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MINI-TOOLBOX: DEALING WITH THE HEARTBREAK OF "HELL-BOUND" KIDS

A child was convinced by peers that he was going to hell. The parent wrote for advice. Here is a sampling of the responses BC received:

From Rhonda: "Kids thrive on common sense. Lead your child through a socratic style session of asking questions about hell, for example: Well, tell me Johnny, what is hell like? Do you think that makes sense? / Where is hell located? Do you think that sounds possible? / Where did the idea of hell come from? / Why do you think someone might want you to think there is a hell? / These questions, and others, will trigger him to begin to think critically about this concept and the world around him. And, as we all know, the further he develops this sense, the less likely he is to be duped into things, like thinking he is going to hell."

From Rachel: "I think she should just explain to her son that hell is a made-up place, like Mordor in the Lord of the Rings books/movies, and that it doesn't exist. People just created the idea to scare people, bully them, and have control over them."

From Mungo: "How can anyone journey to a place that does not exist? If the kid lacks a focus, get them interested in a team sport of their choosing. This ought to distract the young mind until it matures."

From Jenny: "It could help, certainly, to say that ideas of heaven and hell were invented years ago as a way of making people behave well to each other... but actually, we don't need that, as we can all love each other without having to be told to do so with threats. If the guilt persists and it's making your child really miserable, really upsetting your and his/her life, s/he may benefit from therapy. My good wishes to you and your family."
From Anonymous: "I am a child psychotherapist, so this is not so much about what you can cognitively do to help, but more about your child's feelings."

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DEUTSCH BRIGHTS WEBSITE GEHACKT
(GERMAN BRIGHTS SITE HACKED)

Berlin, Germany: Ein BLOG von deutschen Brights gehackt wurde durch I.D. Fundamentalisten http://tinyurl.com/38wp7k/

(A BLOG by German Brights has been hacked by I.D. fundamentalists.)

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PRISONER BRIGHT HAS SUGGESTION

From Joel (director of Brights in prison project):

"I've received a letter from Kevan xx, one of my prison correspondents, with some excellent suggestions for material for my newsletter. In addition, he made one suggestion that I said I would pass along to you: Have the Brights ever sent a press release to a radio group like NPR (National Public Radio? I believe your non-offensive nature would have wide-spread appeal to this demographic. They may respond with a 15-20 minute on-air interview segment. It's worth a try."

Joel is also registering incarcerated Brights in the database (since they are not allowed computer access)

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REFERENCE GUIDE TO BRIGHTS INFORMATION

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http://the-brights.net/forums

CONTACTING PERSONNEL
http://www.the-brights.net/reference_guide.html

INFORMATION BULLETINS:
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SPONSORSHIP ACTION
To advance the civic aims and principles of the movement.
http://the-brights.net/action/support/

Bright Regards from Paul Geisert and Mynga Futrell
Co-Directors of The Brights' Net
the-brights@the-brights.net


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