For me the Assembly really began when Emily Newman, Kate LaClair, and I successfully got attendees “mixing it up” during an icebreaker. Members shared “odds and ends” about their Ethical Culture experience. The jovial, loud conversation among those members was a testament to their eagerness to get to know one another. Later that night the fifty people attending the sing-along proved Ethical Culturists also know how to have a good time!
The Advocacy Day, hosted by the SCA and held the day before the Assembly, brought Ethicals attending the Assembly together with humanists from the Greater DC area to lobby for secular values in the Senate. We selected three issues to advocate: fighting LGBTQ discrimination, promoting science education, and opposing the funding of religious schools through school vouchers.
Over the past year the Baltimore Ethical Society has grown and signs are that it will continue to grow. From June 2012–May 2013, BES has added 24 new members to our roster, increasing membership total to 74. Our Sunday attendance is growing steadily making the room feel almost crowded some Sunday mornings!
The Baltimore Ethical Society has increased our membership and level of activity over the past year. At our annual membership meeting on April 28th, we reflected on what we’ve achieved and celebrated our progress. I’d like to thank the members who attended. If you missed it, let me fill you in on the highlights.
A recent conversation with a BES guest reawakened my respect for the complexity, paradox, and uniqueness of Ethical Culture. The conversation began around a phrase in our platform opening words. They are words many of you have heard often: “The Baltimore Ethical Society is a humanistic religious and educational fellowship inspired by the ideal that the supreme aim of human life is working to create a more humane society.”
The community of Humanists will thrive in Baltimore if our city develops a healthy ecosystem of humanist and nontheistic organizations. The Baltimore Ethical Society promotes the growth of this ecosystem by supporting our partners in the Baltimore Coalition of Reason (CoR).
How is it that Americans seem almost inured to the economic inequality that makes a mockery of our nation’s alleged dedication to opportunity and fairness? Over the past three decades, those in the lower half in terms of wealth have become poorer and those in the top 1% have seen huge gains.
Build ethical communities that embody Reason, Compassion, and Hope. These communities advance human progress and thereby fulfill the promise of humanism. This is the inspirational message that James Croft delivered to our society in his recent platform address “Building the Temple of the Future: Fulfilling the Promise of Humanism.”
Like you, besides being shocked and saddened by the Newtown tragedy of December 14, I was angry. I was angry at many things – angry about what people do to each other; angry at the political power of the National Rifle Association; angry at America’s addiction to violent hobbies, games, and movies.