Volume 16   Number 3
March  2015
Board Members
Richard Dewey

Co-Vice President:
Seráh Blain

Co-Vice President:
Chris Wojno

Tim Bedient

Rebecca Beltran

Program Director:
Al Wendler

Members at Large:
Vici Duarte/Ariane Apler
Ann Marie Eisentraut
Michal Otten
Anita Romanowski

Committee Chairs & Other Leadership:
J.B. Wright

Bruce Pettycrew


Anita Romanowski

Property Management:
Ann Marie Eisentraut

Service Outreach Coordinator:
Michal Otten

Facility Use Management:
Vici Duarte

Food Management:
Kathy Pettycrew

Linda Wendler

Science Night:

Michelle Rose

Information Technology:
James Osborn

Odyssey of the Mind:
Brian Calaway

Lego League:
Brian Calaway

Girl Scout Troop:
Alisha DeCou

Book Club:
Roy Towne

Inquiring Minds:
Kevin Moriarty

Ted Talks:
Kevin Moriarty

Game Nights:
Bruce Stiles
Ann Marie Eisentraut
Anna Carter

Immediate Past President:
Shelley Newman (2011)

President Emeritus:
Susan Sackett

President's Message

Yet another month has passed and so much has happened, again. We are one busy bunch of people for sure. This month I'm going to mix it up just a little bit and give you some of the same information as last month but also some interesting new information about HSGP that may be of interest to you. I hope that you enjoy the article and the rest of the newsletter!


We hit a new high in dues paying members with 307! That is quite remarkable. Again, as I said last month, this number varies during the month as some people either don't renew their membership, or forget and are late getting their dues in, and we get new people throughout the month. Occasionally, I am asked "why be a member?". The best answer is that you get to be a "card-carrying" Humanist! But you also get library and voting privileges that non-members don't have. Mostly, I think people decide to become members when they realize that they love HSGP enough to support us with dues. It's really as simple as that.

We also now have 654 followers on our Facebook Group (16 more than last month), 1085 members on our Meetup page (33 more than last month), and 275 followers on our Facebook page. Remember that our Facebook Group and Page are different. The group is for interesting articles and discussions that would be of interest to our members and followers, and our page is for tooting our horn about who we are, what we do, and what we stand for. The link to our FB page is Humanist Society of Greater Phoenix Facebook Page. Links to the rest of our social media sites are at the bottom of of our main webpage. The reason that there isn't a link to our FB page on our main webpage is that I can't figure out how to do it at the moment. It will be corrected as soon as I can get some help. :)

In March, we had 26 officially sponsored events, 7 of which were outings and we listed eight other non-HSGP sponsored events on our Meetup page that we thought would be of interest to members. That is truly amazing for one month!! The calendar is getting very difficult to keep up with!


I decided that since I keep talking about how many events we have every month that it might be useful to list all of the recurring events that our volunteers are working on. This list is just the recurring events and not the special events and is only what is happening during this time of the year. The list is quite impressive. Check this out:

Sunday speaker meetings,
Odyssey Of The Mind - creative activity and competitions for kids,
Girl Scout Troop 1080,
Inquiring Minds discussion group,
Ted Talks discussion group,
Book Club,
Prose Writer's Circle,
Game Night,
and the Humanities Project.

I think that I remembered it all and if I didn't, somebody is sure to yell at me. Quite an impressive list isn't it? And again, this is just the regularly scheduled events! There are so many outings and special events going on that it is quite difficult to keep track of it all (well, I don't actually - I would go even nuttier than I already am).


Speaking of special events, we had two this month.

Satirical songwriter and musician Roy Zimmerman came to our center to give us a concert this month. Not only is he a fantastic musician, but he is so hilarious that I really did have trouble breathing several times during his songs from laughing so hard! This was a concert to remember for quite a long time. This event was sponsored by Americans United for Separation of Church & State Greater Phoenix, FFRF Valley of the Sun, and the Humanist Society of Greater Phoenix. A truly great joint event!

We also had a special visit from the President and CEO of Center for Inquiry, Ron Lindsay, to talk about the subject of his new book "The Necessity of Secularism". This was not during a usual Sunday morning event but occured on a Saturday night due to scheduling conflicts. His talk was still well attended and was fascinating and informative to say the least. He is a great speaker and a really nice, easy-going guy. It was a pleasure meeting him, listening to his talk, and socializing with him. We were lucky to get him to come in. This, by the way, was also jointly sponsored by Americans United for Separation of Church & State Greater Phoenix, FFRF Valley of the Sun, and the Humanist Society of Greater Phoenix.


Due to scheduling conflicts, one of our prominent event leaders, Kevin Moriarty, has stepped down from leading both the Inquiring Minds and Ted Talks discussion groups. No worries, he'll still be around but he's slammed schedule-wise for a while. I will be taking over facilitating the Inquiring Minds group (at least for a while) and Anna Carter will facilitate the Ted Talks effective immediately. By the time you read this, you may have already seen Anna at the Ted Talks (these are fantastic discussions btw) as the first one she's doing is on April 1st (no fooling!). We will do the best we can at keeping these discussions going and lively.


First, if you haven't heard, our membership chair, Anita Romanowski has been leading an effort to crochet sleeping mats for people experiencing homelessness using plastic grocery bags! This has been a fairly regular event, happening right in our meeting hall, for several months and I don't see an end in sight. What a great idea! I'm not sure where the idea originally came from, but I am sure that our Co-VP, Seráh Blain used one in 2013 when she was living among the homeless in Phoenix to bring awareness to their plight. These mats are inredibly light, easy to care for, durable, and quite good insulation from the ground. They also happen to be a great way to recycle those bags! Pretty cool.

We also had two events involving the Secular Coalition for Arizona (SCAZ) this month. First was an organized protest, at the state capitol, against the bill that gives churches tax exemption for property that they lease out. As I understand it, this tax advantage is not enjoyed by churches in any other state but Arizona. And I do believe that the bill has passed and signed into law by our new governor.

The second event involving SCAZ was a lobby day excursion to the capitol to bring as many Humanist voices as possible to our legislators. I gather that there was a good turnout (check out the photo in Anita's article to the right) and we really did make our presence known. Our Humanist legislator, Juan Mendez, gave a Humanist invocation that was really quite moving (after being denied to speak twice). I understand that the invocation was actually written by another friend to our community, Eniko Nolan, (also known as Enci Lajos - I'm sure many of you know her) who has contributed to this newsletter before. She is also a remarkable Humanist!

If you want to become more informed and/or involved in the work that SCAZ is doing, you can sign up for their action alerts by clicking here SCAZ Action Alerts!


There are more exciting events coming up in April so be sure to keep an eye on our website at HSGP.org and our Meetup page at HSGP Meetup to keep up with events. Remember that you can click on the "Our Calendar" icon on the left side of our Meetup page to get a calendar view of all upcoming events for about two months. You can also see what events are coming up soon just by scrolling down below this article. Check out the events coming up just this next week!


You can email me at President@hsgp.org or find out who your board members and committee chairs are, on the left side of this page, and talk to them! Enjoy the rest of the newsletter!

Richard Dewey
President, HSGP

HSGP Press Conference

As part of the HSGP campaign to raise positive awareness of the Humanist community, a press conference was held to respond to the news that the shooter in the killing of three young Muslims in Chapel Hill NC was an atheist.

Text of the press release: Humanist Society of Greater Phoenix Statement in Response to the Shooting Death of Three Muslims in Chapel Hill, North Carolina Issued 2/11/2015

The news is still unfolding today about the shooting of three young Muslims in North Carolina. We do not have all the details, and we may never have a full explanation for what happened or why.

But the Humanist community would like to express in no uncertain terms that all life is sacred, and this kind of violence goes against everything we value.

To everyone who knew these young people and is feeling an unfathomable emptiness as a result of this loss—our hearts and minds are with you.

To anyone in the Muslim community who is feeling vulnerable because this violence struck close to home, we stand with you and for you.

As we learn more, it might be possible to make some sense out of this senseless act, but there is nothing that can justify it.

Richard Dewey, President
Humanist Society of Greater Phoenix

Seráh Blain, Vice-President
Humanist Society of Greater Phoenix

Chris Wojno, Vice-President
Humanist Society of Greater Phoenix

See the video of the press conference at www.youtube.com/watch?v=4t_t4OQHqjM

The press conference was picked up by other media including the following:

Phoenix New Times article found here

The Friendly Atheist blog post found here

The Think Progress article (which includes HSGP among many other Humanist and nontheistic communities) found here

The Examiner Op-Ed (again, includes HSGP among other communities) found here

Turn Business into Fundraising for HSGP

One easy way Humanists can raise funds for HSGP is by giving our business to businesses that return a percentage of the proceeds to HSGP. For example, Bashas', Fry's and Albertson's grocery stores will return a percentage of the money our members spend at their store's. Amazon will also donate a percentage of sales that are made through the HSGP link. But first you need to enroll in the program(s) of your choice for this to happen. See article at lower right for more information.

HSGP member and Professional Realtor Vici Duarte has announced that she is offering a similar program. Vici will donate 10% of her net commission to HSGP. If you plan to buy or sell a home, speak to Vici at any HSGP event, or contact her by email at viciduarte@cox.net.

We are looking for other business people who might be interested in increasing their sales and then giving back to the Humanists. If you have an interest in a business, consider if you would like to offer a way to increase your business and support HSGP. Please contact Ariane at hsgpfundraising@gmail.com about setting up a similar program.

Upcoming Meetings and Topics
Apr 01st
Topics are chosen by attendees
Event:  TED Video and Interesting Topic Discussion Group
Topics chosen by attendees


Attendees who have topics present (5 minutes per presentation discussion lengths vary)

TED video (or any public domain video) is voted on for presentation order

Videos are watched and discussed in order as time permits

Led by Kevin Moriarty

Apr 03rd
Dr. Richard Carrier, On the Historicity of Jesus
Event:  Lecture at ASU hosted by SSA and HSGP
Co-hosted by ASU - Secular Student Alliance and Humanist Society of Greater Phoenix

Dr. Carrier will be discussing his new book On the Historicity of Jesus: Why We Might Have Reason for Doubt, which is the first peer reviewed book to investigate the possibility that there wasn't a historical Jesus. Richard Carrier is the author of Sense and Goodness without God, On the Historicity of Jesus, Proving History, and many other books, chapters, and articles. With a Ph.D. in ancient history from Columbia University, he now specializes in the modern philosophy of naturalism, the origins of Christianity, and the intellectual history of Greece and Rome. For more about him and his work visit www.richardcarrier.info.

Here is a link to the SSA Facebook event:


Free and open to the public.

Apr 04th
Who benefits from the idea of race?
Event:  Inquiring Minds Discussion Group
Topic: Who benefits from the idea of race?

Hosted by Richard Dewey the first Saturday of each month.

Some related articles to read in preparation:

Does Race Exist?

Exploring the Political Exploitation of Blood Quantum in the U.S.

Some follow up questions for clarification: What is race? What does it mean to be black, white, etc? How is it defined? Who benefits from the idea of race and who suffers?

Please go to our Meetup page to post comments or RSVP: HSGP Meetup Event

Apr 04th
Dr. Richard Carrier
Event:  Meet & Greet: Dr. Richard Carrier at the Humanist Center

Please join us for an intimate evening with Richard Cevantis Carrier.

As an atheist activist, author, public speaker, and blogger, he has a doctorate in ancient history from Columbia University where his thesis was on the history of science in ancient antiquity.

Bring your favorite drink, snacks and questions for a rare opportunity to learn and be merry.

The event will be at the Humanist Community Center from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm.

Apr 05th
Speaker:  Film and Special Guest Cristian Arcega
Apr 07th
Event:  Writer's Circle Regular Meeting
Apr 10th
Event:  Humanities Project Monthly Cultural Presentation & Meeting
Apr 11th
Fundraiser:  Game Night Fundraiser
Apr 19th
Speaker:  Classical Revolution PHX
Apr 21st
Event:  Prose Writer's Circle Regular Meeting
Apr 25th
Event:  Service Outreach
May 02nd
Event:  Inquiring Minds Discussion Group
May 03rd
Speaker:  Dr. Sian Proctor
May 06th
Event:  TED Video and Interesting Topic Discussion Group
May 08th
Event:  Humanities Project Monthly Cultural Presentation & Meeting
May 09th
Fundraiser:  Game Night Fundraiser
May 17th
May 23rd
Event:  Service Outreach
May 23rd
Event:  Book Club
Jun 03rd
Event:  TED Video and Interesting Topic Discussion Group
Jun 06th
Event:  Inquiring Minds Discussion Group
Jun 07th
Speaker:  Dr. Reba Wells Grandrud

The Humanist Society of Greater Phoenix is open to presentations on a variety of topics, many of which are controversial. Please note that the opinions expressed by our guest speakers do not necessarily reflect the viewpoint or philosophy of HSGP.

Membership Matters

by Anita Romanowski

April Showers ...

Spring will soon be upon us in full bloom. I'm so looking forward to budding flowers and trees and being able to open windows in the house. My rosebushes are already blooming.

HSGP is becoming more and more a community centered charitable organization. As humanists, we are concerned about many of the problems currently plaguing the world and our own communities and want to help in any way we can. I therefore want to encourage all our members to participate in activities that we host to help food banks, a home for homeless young people, an animal shelter, etc.

This month we will be supporting the LGBTQ community by having a booth at their Pride Festival. The festival dates are Saturday & Sunday, April 11 & 12. Please come support this community and stop by our booth while at the festival.

On Thursday, March 26, several members of HSGP and Tuscon humanists joined the Secular Coalition for Arizona at the state capital to lobby for secular values. Here's a photo of all of us holding our Secular Values signs just before walking around the front of the capital building with them. We held them up proudly.

I encourage all our members and supporters to take a look at our Meetup calendar at HSGP Meetup. If you are not already a member of the HSGP Meetup group, I urge you to do so. Meetup lists more events and social activities than the HSGP website.

Welcome new members:
Tom & Susan Calle
Drois & Ramu Ramakesavan

Please contact me if you need any membership information or have a change of address, phone number, or email.

If you would like to have an announcement or general request appear in this column I'll be happy to post it for you.

Anita Romanowski
Chair, Membership Committee

HSGP Service Outreach Project

by Michal Otten

Phoenix Pride Festival

For over 30 years, Phoenix Pride has been organizing marches, rallies, parades, entertainment and education events to celebrate the Phoenix LGBTQ community. This year’s 35th Annual Phoenix Pride Festival will continue to be a two day celebration designed to bring our diverse LGBTQ and allied communities together for a weekend of camaraderie and celebration of our past, present and future. The Phoenix Pride festival features over 150 entertainment performances on 5 stages and over 300 Exhibitors showcasing a huge variety of food options, shopping opportunities and community resources.

The Humanist Society of Greater Phoenix is proud to be joining the Pride Festival this year. HSGP will have a table set up at the festival, where we can share information about humanism and our organization with a wider audience in a fun setting! We encourage our members to attend this fun event. While there, you can come say hi to our table volunteers! The festival runs from 12-9 PM Saturday and Sunday.

For more information: Phoenix Pride Festival.

Volunteer Outing: St. Mary's Food Bank Alliance

Saturday, April 25, 2015
12:00 PM to 3:00 PM

St. Mary's Food Bank
2831 N. 31 Ave., Phoenix, AZ

HSGP is turning out to help fight hunger in Arizona! St. Mary's Food Bank Alliance is a non-sectarian, nonprofit organization that serves two-thirds of Arizona's 15 counties. HSGP members have been volunteering for almost 3 years at St. Mary's Food Bank Alliance. St. Mary’s has always been welcoming to us, and we love helping them with the good work they do for the community. Please consider joining us!

Please RSVP so we have an accurate count. For details and to RSVP, visit
St. Mary's Food Bank Outing.


Many of us have coupons left over from the Sunday paper, or we cut coupons and then they expire before we can use them. Don’t throw them away! Bring in your unused, unwanted, and expired coupons, and we will use them in two ways: our coupon club will use the coupons to shop for items to donate to local charities, and we will send expired coupons to a military family living on a base overseas (they can use the coupons for up to six months after they expire). Only manufacturer’s coupons are accepted – these are the coupon inserts that have “Red Plum” “Smart Source” and P&G” on the cover; please do not send store, restaurant, or internet coupons or ads. Please place coupons in the Tumbleweed donation box at HSGP, or mail them to HSGP (Attn: Michal Otten).

Keeping Up With HSGP
Social Media Tips and Hints #19

by Jennifer White

Here is some wisdom I have gleaned about Facebook etiquette. Good manners can cut down on eye-rolling, bad feelings, and drama.

From RealSimple.com: What?s the Most Annoying Kind of Facebook Update?

24 percent: Intentionally vague posts meant to generate concern and attention, a.k.a. vaguebooking. Jennifer wonders whether it?s all been worth it.

20 percent: Chronic complaining. Ugh, who ordered this RAIN? It?s making my carpal tunnel act up again.

19 percent: Meaningless calls to action. If you want to fight world hunger, put the color of your socks as your status update for the next half hour. I want to see who is brave enough to take a stand.

14 percent: Oversharing. Note to self: Next time, wear a thong with that wrap dress.

13 percent: Miscellaneous posts including polarizing religious or political statements, indecipherable txt spk, and game updates.

10 percent: Posting too frequently. 12:03: Chicken salad or tuna? 12:12: Chicken! Thanks for the responses.

From Learnthenet.com: Social Media Netiquette

- Asking a stranger to become your friend without a proper introduction is generally discouraged. If you want that person to join your network, explain the reason and who you are.

- Pestering your friends to join a fan page, group, cause or application will likely only result in annoyance, not new members. Send the invitation once. If they don't accept, drop it.

- Posting uncomplimentary pictures of friends and tagging them can lead to problems. Employers and police officers have been known to review social networking sites. Do you want to be responsible for a buddy losing a job opportunity? -

Accepting every friend request isn't necessary. Some people are selective about who they want viewing their personal information. If you're worried about rejecting someone, leave the request alone. You may learn more about the person later and decide to accept the request.

- Using your personal Facebook account to market a book, software, or any other product is frowned upon. If you want to advertise, create a Facebook page and invite your friends to join. (Remember, don't pester them!)

- Linking your Facebook account to your Twitter account can be tricky. If you're not careful, you may spam your friends' news feed with too many messages. If you're an avid Twitter user and can't control the flow of messages to Facebook, unlink the two.

If you enjoy Ted Talks, this link will take you to a Huffington Post Blog by Evan Selinger entitled "Digital Age Etiquette: Or, the Perils of Effortless Communication", which includes a video of his Ted Talk on the subject. www.huffingtonpost.com/evan-selinger/digital-age-etiquette_b_3776237.html

These are suggestions for Facebooking mindfully. Sometimes breaking a rule adds to the fun. Remember, think before you post. Happy socializing!

Check out this month's Bookworm report by clicking on the Humanist Rising Blog below.

HSGP Humanities Project Fundraiser
Books & Music Bookshelf

HSGP's Humanities Project has a Book & Music Bookshelf for your convenient shopping pleasure. Books, CDs and DVDs on the bookshelf are for sale at a great price. The deals are even better on the 2-for-a-dollar bottom shelf. The Bookshelf is located under the bulletin board near the entrance to the restrooms.

The prices on these items are so great that some folks are using it like a rental library: They buy a book for a super-cheap price, read it, and bring it back as a donation. The book goes up for sale again, and they "buy" another one! Cool!

Take a look at the Bookshelf next time you're at the Humanist Community Center and consider buying or donating to this fun new effort.

Human Inspiration

"Homo sapiens is the species that invents symbols in which to invest passion and authority, then forgets that symbols are inventions."
Attributed to Joyce Carol Oates.

"The good life is a process, not a state of being. It is a direction not a destination."
Attributed to Carl Rogers.

Quotes courtesy of http://www.brainyquote.com

Programs to Support HSGP from Grocery Stores and Amazon

If you shop at any of the Bashas' stores (Bashas', AJ's Fine Foods, Food City), your local Fry's Food Store, or your local Albertson's HSGP can receive a percentage of the money you spend. In addition, when you shop at Amazon.com using our HSGP link, we receive a percentage of the sale.

To activate any of these no-cost-to-you revenue streams for HSGP, go to the HSGP Supporting Businesses page Supporting Businesses and follow the instructions for the program you want to use.

If you shop at any of the local stores that participate in this program, please consider obtaining and using an HSGP community support card whenever you make purchases. When we support our local merchants, they support us!

Susan Sackett, Certified Humanist Celebrant, would like to remind you that she is available for all your life passage ceremonies, including weddings and commitment ceremonies, baby namings, coming-of-age celebrations, funerals/memorial services, and even divorce celebrations! Special 10% discount for all HSGP members and their immediate families! Humanist Celebrant. Discounts for HSGP members! Contact her at Susan Sackett .

Have you joined our parent organizations? If so, you still must pay dues to be a member of HSGP - your enrollment in either of our parent organizations (American Humanist Association or Council for Secular Humanism) does NOT automatically include membership in the local chapter, HSGP. And conversely, if you join HSGP, you are not automatically enrolled in our parent organizations! Each is separate and must be joined separately. Why not join all three today? Humanism depends on your financial as well as emotional support!
HSGP is a Chartered chapter of the American Humanist Association and also a chapter of the Council for Secular Humanism.

American Humanist Association
1777 T. Street
Washington, DC 20009-7102
Council for Secular Humanism
Box 664
Amherst, NY 14226-0664