Humanist Society of Greater Phoenix   - -
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

Continuing with last month's format, my column this month will be a bit more useful than the previous format. I did receive some feedback on the new format and I will attempt to address the input this month. Let's see how it works. Please do send me feedback at the address at the bottom of this column if you have any additional feedback. I'm always interested to hear suggestions (and also find out if anybody actually reads this. :)).


I'll start again with the statistics regarding our following. As of today (March 1st), we now have 300 dues paying members. While this is a small decrease from last month, it's certainly an impressive number and we do expect variations depending on how many new members join and how many existing members renew. January gave us the biggest increase ever, so this result is not overly surprising. Let's see where we go from here. We have 638 followers on our Facebook Group (more on that below), which is a significant increase from last month, and 1052 members on our Meetup page. The Meetup number just keeps climbing and that is very exciting. Our new Facebook page (different from out FB group as explained last month) currently has 256 followers as well. That's also an increase from last month and is an interesting development. For your convenience, the link to our new FB page is Humanist Society of Greater Phoenix Facebook Page. In February, we had 16 officially sponsored events, 5 of which were outings and we listed three other non-HSGP sponsored events on our Meetup page that we thought would be of interest to members. How's that for stats?


The big event for HSGP this month was our annual Darwin Day celebration, this time a "luncheon". Yours truly decided to have a flu that day and consequently missed it (aren't you glad I didn't go?) and I am royally pissed. From the reports that I've received, this was more than just successful, it may well have been our biggest event ever. There were apparently so many people in attendance, we couldn't fit everybody! That is truly awesome and quite exciting and I wish I could have made it. Such is life. Also, our co-VP, Seráh Blain worked hard on trying to get local city mayors to issue proclamations recognizing Darwin's birthday but, well, you know politicians. No go. But it was worth the try and I'm excited to see that we're actively getting our name out there making a difference and I'm sure we'll keep trying things like that.


We held a press conference in February regarding the shooting in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, of three young Muslims, apparently in response to a parking dispute. The shooter, who is an avowed atheist, has wide connections to many people in the non-theistic community across the nation, including some of our members, on social media. And some media outlets tried to portray this barbaric act as evidence of deep hatred of Muslims by secular communities, particularly atheists, which is patently absurd and obviously false. Many secular communities around the country responded very quickly by categorically condemning the shooting and making it very clear that we do not condone violence of this kind in any way. We, as Humanists, cherish life and we are very clear on that. The conference, led by our co-VP, Seráh Blain, included six leaders from around our community and was well received both locally and nationally. You can watch the Youtube video of the conference at HSGP Chapel Hill Press Conference. Watching the video will explain this much better than I can do in this column. I apologize in advance for the quality of the video. We didn't have a suitable camera available so this video was taken with my cell phone which is much less than ideal. But the message is still quite clear.


If you haven't already heard, our Facebook Group, at Humanist Society of Greater Phoenix Facebook Group, is NOT just for kids! We have a tremendously active following on that page with some very deep discussion threads, and some very provocative, as well as some very humorous, posts. This is worth a look if you haven't already done so. Keep in mind that you can stop notifications on any thread that you have been following and you can tailor your notifications with some fair amount of flexibility. So if you are like me and have limited time to devote to social media, you can still get on occasionally to see what discussions are ongoing and find out what's on the minds of our followers. Check out Jennifer's column to the right on "... Social Media Tips ..." for suggestions on this and many other ways to use social media effectively.

Another interesting development is a new Meetup page exclusively for our very own secular Girl Scout troop (Troop 1080). This page is intended to be used by the parents of the scouts and is for planning troop events. Anyone who is interested in getting one or more child involved in this troop can message the leaders (use the "Contact" button under "Organizers" on the left) to get details, ask questions, etc. This development was intended to make it easier for the parents to quickly see what's coming up. While we will still post their events on our own Meetup page, this will only contain Troop 1080 info and that is very useful to a very active troop. Their page can be found at Girl Scout Troop 1080 Meetup.

This leaves us with a third Meetup page that is currently not being used. Discussions are underway on what we might do with that, so expect something interesting down the road. Again, suggestions are welcome and you can email me at the address at the bottom of this column.


There are still more exciting events coming up in March and April so be sure to keep an eye on our website at 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 email me at 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

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

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 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

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

Humanist Minute Suggestion: We begin every Sunday meeting with a Humanist Minute presentation by a member or attendee. I've come up with a brilliant idea for material for these presentations: It would be wonderful if everyone would write up a brief essay on "How I Became A Humanist" and present it as a Humanist Minute at a meeting.

Now, I have an ulterior motive for suggesting this. I'd love to compile all these essays into a 3-ring binder to be kept in the library so it can be viewed by fellow and future humanists. Hal Saferstein had asked me to do this a couple of years ago. I tried, but it never took flight. This would a marvelous way to fulfill Hal's dream.

Welcome new members:
Caroline Bissell
Merrill Leffmann
Roxi Moore
Christine Walden

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


Saturday, March 28, 2015 12:00 PM to 3:00 PM

Lost Our Home Pet Foundation, 2323 S Hardy Dr, Tempe, AZ

Humanism isn't just about humans! It also means taking care of our fellow animals. Unfortunately, there is a large number of animals in need in Maricopa County. Let's help out with that at Lost Our Home Pet Foundation. Lost Our Home Pet Foundation works to ensure that all pets have loving homes when families face major life challenges. They provide compassionate options when Realtors and the community find an abandoned pet. We will volunteer at their main shelter through a number of activities, depending on your preference: playing with cats, cleaning pet areas or supplies, replenishing food. Please note, you will not be able to play with or walk dogs unless you have completed the required volunteer hours to do so.

You will need to attend an orientation before you can volunteer with the organization. Several of us attended a volunteer orientation in November and have been able to volunteer with this organization since that time. If you are interested in signing up for an orientation, please contact Carla Landwerth at

Please RSVP @


Are you interested in learning how to use coupons to save money for yourself, your family, or for donations? If so, we may be able to help. We are considering holding another Strategic Couponing Workshop this spring. For those who missed our last two workshops, participants will learn the skills to shop and coupon effectively and efficiently to help you save time and money. If you are interested, let Michal know and she will send you more details. If there is not enough interest, we will not host another workshop.

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 or 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).

For more details and to sign up, visit Meetup or email Michal at

If there is an organization you would like us to become involved with, I’d love to hear your suggestions! Please email me at with your ideas.

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 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 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.

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

"There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest."
Attributed to Elie Wiesel

"People who try hard to do the right thing always seem mad."
Attributed to Stephen King, The Stand

Quotes courtesy of

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 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