Seth Andrews Comes to Mississippi!

The Mississippi Humanist Association was pleased to host Seth Andrews, host of The Thinking Atheist, on Sunday, May 21, 2017. Seth was fantastic and we really enjoyed his visit here! We hope that this event with Seth is the first of many here in Mississippi, and with your continued support we will work to make that happen. The Mississippi Humanist Association is dedicated to building a strong secular community in Mississippi, and we thank Seth for spending time with us and bringing us together. We believe this may have been the largest gathering of humanists and atheists to come together in Mississippi to date, with over 70 people in attendance!

Again, many thanks to Seth, and to all that came out and shared in the fun! And thank you for your support of the Mississippi Humanist Association, which makes events like this possible!

Mississippi Humanist Association - We Believe in Good!

Group Photo with Seth

Group Photo with Seth

MHA's Second Annual Membership Meeting - Sweet SUCCESS!

Sweet success! The Mississippi Humanist Association's second Annual Membership Meeting was held last night, February 11, at the Reservoir Community Center in Brandon, MS, and we would like to thank everyone for making the evening a success! The food from Newk's was great, and so was the Darwin Day presentation by Neil Carter! Elections were held and the MHA Board of Directors has two new Directors, with one Director returning for a second term. Vice President Kim Gibson was elected President of the MHA, Neil Carter was elected as the new Vice President, and Tom Dennis was selected as Secretary, joining Treasurer Stephen Frank and Communications Director Patrick Jerome on the MHA Board of Directors. Welcome Neil and Tom, and congratulations to all, we thank you for your commitment to the MHA! And we would like to thank the outgoing Directors, our first President, Matt Canfield, and Secretary, Eric Reisman, for their contributions and commitment to the MHA. Without their dedication, the MHA wouldn't be where it is today, sailing into its third year! Bylaws were updated, remarks were made, and a wonderful time was had by all! As the Mississippi Humanist Association moves into its third year, we invite you to join us in building the secular humanist community here in Mississippi. Fellowship, fun, and doing good for goodness' sake!

MISSISSIPPI HUMANIST ASSOCIATION - WE BELIEVE IN GOOD!

 

Please click on picture (above) for slide show of the evening!

MHA Newsletter - February 2017

Greetings, humans! As 2017 rolls in, we need your support! We’ve got our second annual membership meeting coming up TOMORROW - February 11th, and along with the chance to meet and eat with your favorite fellow humans, you’ll have a chance to change up our leadership, approve of our new bylaws, and hear a presentation by Godless in Dixie blogger and vice presidential candidate Neil Carter titled “Why Darwin and Jesus Can’t Get Along.” It’s Darwin Day themed, as we’re meeting the day before Darwin Day.

 

These activities aren’t free - though they are free to attend - and that’s why we need your support now, more than usual. Feel free to drop by our website and join or donate - most of our operations are funded by your membership fees, and the rest are funded by your donations. We don’t receive any grants or sponsorships, which means that we don’t have to spend time on the grant-writing and sponsorship pursuit treadmill. We can spend that time better by coming up with new things for humanists to do in Mississippi.

 

Despite your efforts and interest, the governor’s office declined to issue an official proclamation for Darwin Day in 2017. Maybe next year!

 

Maybe Phil Bryant would never have approved such a proclamation - but that is indicative of our need to visibly organize in 2017. The AHA was on capitol hill last week, explaining to legislators the importance of the Johnson Amendment. The Johnson Amendment, which was enacted in 1954, and named after then-senator Lyndon B. Johnson, prohibits 501(c)3 non-profit organizations - like most churches and, incidentally, the MHA - from endorsing or campaigning on the behalf of candidates for public office.

 

The current presidential administration has the Johnson Amendment in its crosshairs. The AHA, and by extension, local organizations like the MHA, rely on the parity provided by the amendment to prevent our message from being swamped by the campaign donations funneled through churches.

 

Additionally, a nation-wide attempt for Mississippi-style “religious freedom” bills are seeking to legislate dubious freedoms - pretending that discrimination and spite are protected, core tenants to religious beliefs. This ignores the importance of actual religious freedom, the separation of church and state, the freedom that allows us to live in a nation free of religious influence from the state.

 

We have fought these laws in Mississippi, and with your help - and the help of allied organizations and individuals - we will continue this fight in Mississippi and beyond. We need your help and we need your support to keep this going. Email us with any news of protests, actions, rallies, and the like! We are limited by the Johnson Amendment, and cannot support any candidate or political party, but we can help educate and enlighten.

 

As a final note, our regular activities for the month are cancelled in order to let us concentrate on the annual meeting. We know you love our regularly scheduled brunches and happy hours, but this month we’re not only planning our annual meeting, we’re working hard on the Seth Andrews appearance in May, and an additional speaking engagement in March or April.

 

Thanks, we’ll see you soon!

Mississippi Humanist Association


 

American Humanist Association Holds Johnson Amendment Briefings

Tomorrow, January 31 , 2017, the American Humanist Association will hold informational meetings in Washington, D.C. regarding keeping the Johnson Amendment which prohibits religious groups and other non-profits from endorsing political candidates. We are glad to be a chapter of this great organization doing the real work to keep the constitutional wall between church and state intact. Please join the Mississippi Humanist Association as we work locally to build a strong humanist community here in Mississippi, and please lend your support to the American Humanist Association in the work they do here in Mississippi and nationwide. Please see the link below for further information:

https://americanhumanist.org/featured/humanist-group-host-briefings-educating-congress-johnson-amendment/

MISSISSIPPI HUMANIST ASSOCIATION - WE BELIEVE IN GOOD!

Mississippi Humanist Association - 2017 Annual Membership Meeting

Please make plans to join us for the Mississippi Humanist Association's (MHA) Annual Membership Meeting on February 11th, 2017, at 6:30 PM at the Reservoir Community Center located at 2230 Spillway Road in Brandon, MS. Come enjoy an evening with your fellow humanists and a presentation from “Godless in Dixie” blogger and MHA member Neil Carter titled “Why Jesus and Darwin Can’t Get Along”! Please be sure to RSVP, either by e-mail to mha@mshumanists.org or on the Facebook event page (a public page - https://www.facebook.com/events/359662517750687/), so way may plan appropriately. If you aren’t currently an MHA member, please join us, or renew your membership at www.mshumanists.org, so you can have a voice in Mississippi’s only chapter of the American Humanist Association. The MHA is dedicated to building a strong secular community in Mississippi, as well as developing opportunities for secular charitable giving and education. Once everyone arrives and has had a chance to socialize, the current Board of Directors will present updates regarding the past year’s activities and potential future plans. MHA Treasurer Stephen Frank will report on expenditures and how your donations are spent. After remarks and presentations, our first order of business will be the ratification of our new bylaws. We will then have the elections for the three available Officer/Board of Directors positions. The nomination period is still open, with January 28th as a deadline for nominations, so we may finalize the ballot and send it out for e-mail voting. Of course, write-in candidates will be welcome at the membership meeting. We’ll also have physical ballots at the meeting for voting. Due to the change in the bylaws, everyone who was a member in good standing in 2016 will be eligible to serve on the Board of Directors, as well as vote on bylaws and the available positions. Should you choose to nominate yourself or someone else, please indicate the position for which any candidates are being nominated - President, Vice President or Secretary. Finally, to cap off the evening, we’ll have Godless in Dixie blogger Neil Carter’s presentation “Why Jesus and Darwin Can’t Get Along” in honor of Darwin Day on February 12! We believe it will be a great start to an active new year of speakers, events and activities! We look forward to seeing you there! Mississippi Humanist Association - We Believe in Good!

Please make plans to join us for the Mississippi Humanist Association's (MHA) Annual Membership Meeting on February 11th, 2017, at 6:30 PM at the Reservoir Community Center located at 2230 Spillway Road in Brandon, MS. Come enjoy an evening with your fellow humanists and a presentation from “Godless in Dixie” blogger and MHA member Neil Carter titled “Why Jesus and Darwin Can’t Get Along”! Please be sure to RSVP, either by e-mail to mha@mshumanists.org or on the Facebook event page (a public page - https://www.facebook.com/events/359662517750687/), so way may plan appropriately.

If you aren’t currently an MHA member, please join us, or renew your membership at www.mshumanists.org, so you can have a voice in Mississippi’s only chapter of the American Humanist Association. The MHA is dedicated to building a strong secular community in Mississippi, as well as developing opportunities for secular charitable giving and education.

Once everyone arrives and has had a chance to socialize, the current Board of Directors will present updates regarding the past year’s activities and potential future plans. MHA Treasurer Stephen Frank will report on expenditures and how your donations are spent.

After remarks and presentations, our first order of business will be the ratification of our new bylaws. We will then have the elections for the three available Officer/Board of Directors positions. The nomination period is still open, with January 28th as a deadline for nominations, so we may finalize the ballot and send it out for e-mail voting. Of course, write-in candidates will be welcome at the membership meeting. We’ll also have physical ballots at the meeting for voting.

Due to the change in the bylaws, everyone who was a member in good standing in 2016 will be eligible to serve on the Board of Directors, as well as vote on bylaws and the available positions. Should you choose to nominate yourself or someone else, please indicate the position for which any candidates are being nominated - President, Vice President or Secretary.

Finally, to cap off the evening, we’ll have Godless in Dixie blogger Neil Carter’s presentation “Why Jesus and Darwin Can’t Get Along” in honor of Darwin Day on February 12! We believe it will be a great start to an active new year of speakers, events and activities! We look forward to seeing you there!

Mississippi Humanist Association - We Believe in Good!

MHA Newsletter - January 2017

Hello, fellow humans!

It’s 2017! Welcome to the future! It’s a good time to renew your commitment to your local humanist group, and renew your membership! The Mississippi Humanist Association (MHA) relies entirely on your membership dues and donations to exist. We are the only chapter of the American Humanist Association in Mississippi and we appreciate your support! We’ve made it easier than ever to donate with our splendid new website  - which costs money to run and host! We put all our event info, news, and past newsletters here, as well. The money goes from everything from paying local artists for our graphic designs, to buying the shirts, bumper stickers, and pens that we give away at our events, to hosting speakers, running our meetup group, and of course, our Annual Membership Meeting.

Yes, the annual meeting is right around the corner, on February 11, 2017! We desperately need new nominees to serve on the Board of Directors. As of this moment, THREE of our FIVE directors are NOT running for re-election. Without nominations, the Board of Directors may downsize to a three person board. Nobody wants this. Nobody wants a three person MHA board - the current five are all working quite hard to keep things rolling, and having a three person board would hamper our efforts to continue building a strong secular community here in Mississippi. There is only so much each board member can do, and we want to continue to grow!

So how can you help? Simple. Nominate someone to run for the Board of Directors! Yes, you can nominate yourself. The only caveat is that you must be a member of the MHA in good standing. Just submit your nomination via email by January 28, 2017 so we can prepare the ballots. However, if you can’t make this deadline, write-ins will be accepted at the annual meeting.

At the annual meeting, we’ll also be proposing two amendments to the bylaws to be voted on by the membership:

First, an amendment to elect members to officer positions. Currently, the membership simply chooses individuals to run for the Board of Directors, and then the directors appoint positions. This change would make the election a bit more important, as the membership would directly choose who was in what position - instead of simply electing a director, you would elect a president, a vice president, and all the other positions. This would lead to a brand new election of directors NEXT YEAR in 2018.

Second, due to the confusing nature in which memberships are currently being kept track of, we are also proposing a change in the way dues are administered. Instead of membership being due on January 1st, we want to move to a more traditional "year of date" membership, in which your membership is due one year out from the date you joined. Because of this change, and the confusing nature of our current membership structure, we will propose that all lapsed members be considered "paid-in-full" for voting purposes at the annual meeting. If this change is approved by the majority of the voting members in attendance, the rule will go into effect retroactively, allowing year-to-date memberships to become the norm.

If you become part of the Board of Directors, you’ll get to do things like “remind the membership that we’re ending the book drive with Big House Books!” EXCITING!

By the way, we’re about to end our book drive with Big House Books. We have 20+  books donated and more on the way, so we’ll need to have a packing party with BHB volunteers sometime soon. Get ready, and if you haven’t donated a few books from the list, do so now! You’re also barreling toward the Humanist Happy Hour on the 18th, at Buffalo Wild Wings off of Lake Harbour in Ridgeland. You can check out the details here and if you don’t know if you’d like our events, check out the last one: The Second Sunday Brunch, which was at the Corner Bakery in Flowood this month. It’s always on the Second Sunday of the month, and you can always find the details on our Facebook page and our website and meetup dot com.

Finally, our state leadership is attempting to mandate, at the point of fines for a school, the Pledge of Allegiance. Even without the anti-humanist addition of “One Nation, under God,” the forced ritual of obedience is against freedom of thought and individuality. You know what to do - it’s not a law yet, so get in there and make your voice heard.

Thanks Humans!

Patrick Jerome
Mississippi Humanist Association
Communications Officer

MHA 2017 Elections & Annual Membership Meeting

As 2016 is coming to a close, planning has begun for the Mississippi Humanist Association’s second Annual Membership Meeting, tentatively scheduled to be held February 11, 2017. The Board of Directors would like to thank our membership for making this a great year for the Mississippi Humanist Association (MHA). In 2016, a local news outlet called on the MHA for comments regarding prayer, we got out the word about the MHA and humanism at Fondren’s First Thursday, and we held a food drive for the MS Food Network, along with school supply and blood drives. The MHA also hosted many social gatherings for the secular community in the Jackson area.

At the Annual Membership Meeting, elections for three positions on the five-member Board of Directors will be held. The Board of Directors works to plan the events and activities for the MHA. In order for the MHA to continue to grow and thrive, please consider nominating yourself or another interested MHA member for the available positions on MHA Board of Directors. Please e-mail all nominations to mha@mshumanists.org.

In order to be able to participate in annual elections, you must be a member of the MHA and membership dues must be current at the time of the Annual Membership Meeting. If you aren’t already a member of the MHA, please join us as we work to build a strong secular community in Mississippi. If you are a current member, we thank you for your continued support and hope that you will renew your existing membership prior to the annual meeting date in order to vote in elections, or to be considered as a candidate for one of the available board positions. In order to join or to renew your membership online, please visit our new website at www.mshumanists.org. If you have any questions, if you would like information about the Board of Directors positions, or if you would like to join/renew other than online, please e-mail us at mha@mshumanists.com or give Kim Gibson a call at (601) 589-0721. Again, we thank for your support and we look forward to seeing you at the Annual Membership Meeting on February 11, 2017!

Mississippi Humanist Association – We Believe in Good!

November 2016 Newsletter

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Mississippi Humanist Association Newsletter

November, 2016

Greetings, humans!

It’s been a busy month for all of us, and more is yet to come. We’ve launched our big new website. (You're here already!) You can find out what events are coming up, what’s in the works, and read up on humanism in Mississippi and beyond.

One of the first things we used the website to do was announce a fundraising partnership with Big House Books. BHB is a local, Jackson-based charity that provides books to prisoners. It’s a simple system, where prisoners request reading materials and BHB provides them.

They’ve constructed a special wishlist just for our members - the books that have been requested here are exactly the sort of thing we should be sending to people in prisons - and not only that, each of these was requested by someone behind bars.

So far we’ve only gotten THREE books to Big House Books. That’s a sad number. Sad! We were planning on having a packing party at the end of the fundraiser and matching membership donations out of the general fund, but at this rate, one person will simply go to the BHB headquarters, put your donation in a shopping bag, and hand them fifteen bucks. I don’t want to be that person, so please, donate more books.

Don’t want to use Amazon? You don’t have to if you don’t want to - you can bring your books to any of our social gatherings and someone will carry them to Big House Books directly.

Social events? There are three a month - one brunch, one happy hour, and one Atheist Experience meetup. You can bring a book donation to ANY of these. Or ALL of these. Just check the list.

Don’t forget to use Amazon Smile and designate your official charity as the Mississippi Humanist Association when you’re shopping on Amazon, and we’ll eventually receive a small portion of the profits.

Speaking of profits, we operate entirely on donations from the members - and from their membership dues. If you haven’t signed up, you can use our website to do so, and you can also use it to sign up for the mailing list.

But if you’re reading this on our website, why not get great content like this (and much more)? Signing up for the emails is free - and automatically part of your membership.

You’ll find out about stuff like our annual meeting, potential speakers, and hopefully, forums, lectures, and more for the future.

We’re currently interested in booking Seth Andrews, of “The Thinking Atheist,” during his May 2017 tour. If you’d like to help out, or express support, concerns, or let us know how you can help, or even what would make or break this event for you (day of the week, length of the event, etc) please, just reply to this email or use the “contact us” form on the website.

Our coming events are:

Wednesday, November 30th, 6:00 pm - Humanist Happy Hour at Green Ghost Tacos in Fondren (NOTE: This is NOT the County Line/Ridgeland location)  Join the MHA for planning, eating, and drinking, plus our always-scintillating conversations. BRING A BOOK and maybe we’ll give you a T-shirt. Maybe.

If you want to be more informed about our wonderful events, please find us on meetup.com and join up there, we'll keep you busy!

Finally, let’s talk about the end-of-year holidays. Something that always comes up? The blessing of the food. Well, last week, MHA communications officer Patrick Jerome (that’s me) was asked to give a blessing at the annual Farm and Food Summit by the Mississippi Sustainable Agriculture Network. The lavish feast on hand was prepared by local chefs, who were in attendance, and from local materials from Mississippi farms - and the farmers were also there - giving me the perfect opportunity to ask, quite directly, for a welcome thanks.

Given that this time of year often demands words of thanks over family meals, and that no one of any belief should be anything less than thankful for the privilege of plentiful food that we enjoy, I would like to include the well-received speech for those who might need it. Your beliefs should not preclude you from participating in family traditions.


Basic Humanist Blessing:

First, I would ask for a moment of silence in quiet contemplation of those who are not here today, and for those who may not have enough food, or any at all.

Let us not speak now of what we believe, let us give thanks for what we know.

We know how hard it is to get these crops from the Earth. So let us thank our farmers and their families. Let us thank them with our words and our deeds in the days ahead.

We know how difficult it is to turn those crops into the food we see before us. So let us thank the chefs and cooks here with us today, thank them with our words, our support and assistance.

We know that there were many others who gave much to feed us today. Let us thank the truck driver, who drove all night, the repairman who fixed a cooler or a tractor on a holiday or weekend. Let us make their lives better in any way that we can.

Finally, let us thank one another for our presence. May we make one another’s lives better with all that we do.

In these hard times, we need more than thoughts - though thoughts are welcome. We need more than prayers - though prayers are welcome. We need one another, and we need this food we are so thankful for.


 

Well, I hope that comes in handy, and I hope to see you soon. Bring a book! Join the MHA!

Patrick Jerome

Communications Officer
Mississippi Humanist Association

 

MHA Statement on the Greenville Arson

From the Mississippi Humanist Assocation

November 2nd, 2016

The Mississippi Humanist Association condemns the church burning in Greenville, Mississippi in the strongest possible terms. The Mississippi Humanist Association condemns any act such as this – an act designed to intimidate, to alienate, to strike fear into the worshipers at Hopewell Baptist Church, and the community at large, recalling the historical campaigns of arson and terror in Mississippi's past.

As the American Humanist Association has said, “Humanists are concerned for the well being of all, are committed to diversity, and respect those of differing yet humane views.”

The Mississippi Humanist Association calls on all our members and all Mississippians, not just to support the needs of the members of Hopewell Baptist, but to make Mississippi a place where hateful arsonists have no support, where they do not enjoy the silent consent of any Mississippian who would rather turn their head or remain a polite bystander to the hate and bigotry that allow acts like this. There is no doubt that Hopewell Baptist Church will rebuild. The outpouring of support from across the state and across the nation has already exceeded the modest requests of the church, proving what we humanists choose to believe - that human kindness can prevail.

- Mississippi Humanist Association

 

Mississippi Humanist Association/Big House Books Partnership

From the Mississippi Humanist Association

You can read whenever you like. You can read whatever you like. You can go to stores full of books, you can have books delivered to your home, you can walk into a library, stacked floor to ceiling with free books. It’s hard to understand what an amazing freedom this is until it is taken away from you.
There are almost 29 thousand Mississippians in prison. That’s a larger population than Pearl or Clinton. But each and every one of those prisoners is a person, a human being.
Reading and writing are two of the most human acts imaginable. Yet many of these men and women in our jails have no access to the books that they need in order to be fully human in a setting that is too often dehumanizing.
Big House Books is a Jackson organization that supplies people in prison with the books that they request. They’ve been doing this for more than a year, providing hundreds of book-filled packages to prisoners across the state.
Today, the Mississippi Humanist Association is announcing a cooperative venture with Big House Books. Our members can buy books that are on request - or valuable packaging supplies - for Big House Books, through their Amazon wishlist. And remember - if you use Amazon Smile, the MHA is a verified charity that can receive those donations.
MHA members can also donate any books they wish by bringing them to any of our social events or functions, and we’ll handle the transportation to BHB.
Since these donated books could potentially be a burden to BHB if they had to pay for the packing and shipping, the MHA has agreed to fund the shipping. With more donations from you, we can help BHB ship more books. Your membership fees are our biggest source of income, so joining up now would be a great help to this effort.
Once we know how many books are on hand, we’ll announce a packing party at Big House Books.
Until then, we’ll be accepting your books at our events, Big House Books will be accepting donations through their wishlist, and we’ll be putting money you set aside for Big House Books into the packing fund. Just indicate that you want your donation or membership fee to go into the Big House Books fund when you donate or join by putting “BHB” in the note or telling us if you join in person.
Freedom and education are vital humanist values, and this is a great way for our members to reach out and help people in need of both. We are letting people know that humanity has a purpose - to make this world a better place to live for all of us.
The wishlist can be found HERE.  All you have to do is click on the Big House Books address when you check out, and it will automatically be shipped to their midtown office.


Thank you for your continued support!

September News - 9/9/2016

September 2016 News Letter

Are you a member of our Facebook page? You might want to give it a shot, it's often the quickest way to get up-to-date with what's going on with the Humanist Agenda.

You'd learn about things like our upcoming offer for those participating with board secretary Eric Reisman in the Feed Our Neighbors 5k - a free T-shirt for running in the race! We'll have a running team up and... running, soon enough.