The Brights' Bulletin


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Issue #68
December 31, 2008

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


JANUARY 2009 BULLETIN

Happy New Year to all!


BRIGHTS TO SHINE IN 2009!

Looking for a New Year's resolution? Why not resolve to make this a YEAR OF ACTION on behalf of the Brights movement?

Even if you aren't an activist by nature, you can elect to pursue some consistent approach that suits your persona. Any constituent can play a productive role within personal spheres of influence.


LAYING GROUNDWORK FOR ACTIONS

As Brights, our main argument is one of civic fairness and "a seat at the table" of civil society. One never knows when circumstances will be opportune to help advance the endeavor. Why not revisit the website soon to be sure you are on solid footing?

  1. Polish the main civic ideas (reason, purpose, etc.)
  2. A "Synopsis" page characterizes advantageous activism.
  3. Watch some videos.
  4. Read the movement's principles that should underlie any strategy
  5. As far as how you communicate with others, you are the main enforcer of the stated communication policies.


Then, please tell someone else about this movement!


ONE BRIGHT'S ACTION LEADS TO ACCEPTANCE AS SCOUTING LEADER (UK)

Andria of Gloucestershire reports:

"My role in the Scouting movement is that of a 'Group Scout Leader' (a manager, really) of our local beaver/cub/scout packs.

When I applied for the position there was much discussion at Scout HQ and after reviewing the Brights website, they decided that there was one phrase within all of the text (they did not reveal which one) which swung the deliberations in my favour. Apparently, it was a close run thing. There was no suggestion of it being difficult to amend their 'accepted beliefs' list.

I feel like a bit of a pioneer!"


SIG-3 ACTION: SEPARATION OF RELIGION AND GOVERNMENT (USA)

The participation of a prominent social conservative clergyman in the upcoming presidential inaugural on January 20 distresses many American Brights. Others see the inclusion of a sectarian invocation and benediction in the official ceremony itself as the substantive infraction. Lots of Americans, not just brights but supers too, deem these sectarian activities a violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Brights Central is aware of an upcoming legal challenge to that effect and has informed the 659 SIG 3 subscribers of a pathway to get involved as a plaintiff in the case (if any of them happened to have tickets to the inaugural). Of course, if any American Bright has a ticket and wants to take such a potent public stance, let Brights' Central know. Email the-brights@the-brights.net with INAUGURAL in your subject line.


BRIGHTS JOIN WITH OTHERS TO WRITE BBC (UK)

A BrightenOp to over four thousand Brights from Quentin, UK coordinator, invites them to join in a campaign to, in effect, ask the BBC to "turn a page" in its programming.

Apparently, the broadcast network excludes the non-religious from having a regular role in presenting a "Thought for the Day" whereas religious thoughts are routinely presented.

An online petition by a British Humanist Association member presents the case as either/or. Either the publicly funded broadcaster should accept non-religious contributors, or it should remove the piece from the schedule altogether because exclusion from the slot "...gives the impression the BBC believes morality is the exclusive remit of religious people, which is offensive, unrepresentative and untrue."

One early protester suggested that "Thought for the Day be broadened "to include presentations by those who subscribe to a naturalistic rather than a supernatural world view." Said another about the airtime slot: "I think it should just be renamed - Superstition of the Day."


THE BRIGHTS' SPOT -- A WELCOMING PLACE
(RECENT REGISTRATION COMMENTS)

Megan (Illinois, USA): "It's great to read this information and be saying 'Yes! Yes! Yes! That's what I think!'"

Mike (South Carolina, USA): "I love your policy on children. And your statements that people can change their mind at any time. Quite refreshing."

Karol (Poland): "It is great that the naturalistic worldview is expressed in a cheerful way. For many people in Poland, naturalistic worldview = communism = evil. Both parts of the equation are not true."

Daniel (Kentucky, USA): "Despite the intense discouragement that a rational individualist and atheist often faces in the Bible Belt (and elsewhere), it is encouraging and refreshing to support the Brights movement and its unwavering reliance on logic, reason, and evidence in the face of extreme narrow-mindedness and fanatical dependence on delusions and logical fallacies. I certainly appreciate and wish to actively support the work that countless individuals have done and are doing in the hope that more people may be able to see the universe as it really is."

Sara (Missouri, USA): "This is awesome! I had no idea there even existed an organization for individuals with a naturalistic worldview--and, with such an illustrious membership! I'm proud to be part of this movement."


NATURALISTIC WORLDVIEW CONSIDERATIONS

Do you recognize your naturalistic worldview as something broader than a conclusion about the existence or nonexistence of deities?

Newly installed in the "Vision" section of the website are a couple of diagrams that may startle your thinking. One portrays a "worldview spectrum" and the other offers a context for comparing brights and supers.


A SPRINKLING OF SURVEY RESULTS

FROM ITEM 2:
How do Brights respond when asked on forms and in surveys to state their religion (a common practice in some countries)?

Of the 6713 who visited the poll, 92% said that they respond with "None" or "No Religion." (The item was skipped by 8%.) It would seem that most Brights consider themselves to be nonreligious, but...

FROM ITEM 3:
There are registered Brights who self-identify socially or culturally or by heritage within what society generally considers to be a religious category.

That fact is disquieting to many nonreligious Brights. Nevertheless, it is necessary to recognize that people who have a naturalistic worldview live and work in varied contexts, living as they think best amidst their surroundings and relationships. Any Bright has the personal right to self-identify as they want.

The survey listed these sixteen religious self-identity labels: Baptist, Buddhist, Catholic, Druid, Episcopalian, Hindu, Jain, Jew, Lutheran, Muslim, Pantheist, Quaker, Unitarian, Universalism, Wicca, and Yogi. Respondents asked why these?

Answer: The poll presented only the labels known to be used by Brights (accumulated by Brights Central over time from remarks volunteered within registration comments). Item 3 invited respondents to write in a self-identity categorization if theirs was not already in the list. That option drew over 75 additional self-labels of a religious nature.

In short this means that numerous Brights who have a naturalistic worldview present themselves at times, under one of nearly a hundred religious labels. They are as Bright as any Bright by their naturalistic worldview.


LIVRES PAR BRIGHTS, EN FRANCAIS

L'auteur, Bernard Contour, est ingйnieur de profession, philosophe d'inclination, spectateur attentif depuis de longues annйes des йvolutions scientifiques, techniques, sociales et politiques.

"Le 21иme siиcle sera religieux ou ne sera pas". Cette phrase attribuйe а Malraux sonne pour certains comme un espoir, pour d'autres comme une menace.


HEAVEN BOUND BRIGHTS?

A 12.27.08 New York Times article by Charles M. Blow mentions a recent poll by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life indicating that many Americans think atheists have hope of eternity! The author viewed the data as showing "nearly half" of the people polled thinking "...that atheists could go to heaven" He also remarked: "One very plausible explanation seemed to be that Americans just want good things to come to good people, regardless of their faith."

A corollary of that statement would have a lot of Americans supposing that many citizens who have a naturalistic worldview actually are good people. So, fellow Brights, just be good people. See you in heaven!


SERVICE MEN/WOMEN (USA)

Stephanie is interested in spreading awareness of The Brights in the military community. She'd like to get together a Brights cluster of American military (in service, out, and working as civilians for the military) to communicate.

She states: "The thing that stands out the most for me would be to give our overseas military members and civilians working for the military an opportunity to begin contact with one another to find other Brights in their immediate area, discuss spreading awareness and teaching opportunities throughout the communities." If interested, you can contact Stephanie.


BRIGHTS INCARCERATED PROGRAM

Joel, our program leader, summarizes Brights Bulletins for incarcerated individuals, who do not have accesses to computers. He handles postal communications and will enroll a person into the constituency database upon request by letter. Matt, such a newly registered Bright, wrote: "It is very exciting to hear from and about other people who share similar beliefs with myself."


AMAZON PURCHASES HELPFUL TO THE MOVEMENT

GBP318 is the commission amount Amazon has credited to UK Brights from their purchases during 2008. US$1,910 is the amount credited to The Brights' Net from items bought at Amazon.com. Thank you, Brights! The total remittance from the Amazon rewards program is a dramatic increase over 2007 and very beneficial backing for operations at no cost to Brights themselves.

So, if you think of buying ANY item from Amazon (not just books), be sure to head first for an appropriate search box on the Brights' site. Scroll down to find one on the support page.



REFERENCE GUIDE TO CONTACTING PERSONNEL AND LOCATING INFORMATION

All contact and general information can be found on the website.

All the Bulletins, including this one, may also be found on the website.

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To financially support the civic aims and principles of the movement, click here.


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Bright Regards from Mynga Futrell and Paul Geisert at Brights Central.


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