Past MDC Meetings

Saturday, May 27, 2017

1:00 PM to 3:00 PM

D.C. Chevy Chase Library

5625 Connecticut Ave. NW
2nd Floor, Small eeting room
Washington, DC

A discussion of Authoritarianism & its followers

This talk, led by Don Wharton, will be partially based on “The Authoritarians”, by Bob Altemeyer which was discussed in the May issue of WASHline – http://wash.org/washline-may-2017/#Article1 The idea is that we need to understand the psychology of authoritarian supporters who are characterized by: 1) a high degree of submission to the established, legitimate authorities in their society;

2) high levels of aggression in the name of their authorities; and
3) a high level of conventionalism.

These concepts are relevant to understand current trends across the world including the US.

April 2017  Event – The Climate March

March 2017

 Phil Ferguson : Investing Skeptically

Phil is also a long time activist in the secular movement. He has been on the board of The Secular Student Alliance and Atheist Alliance International. He was recently the treasurer for the Reason Rally 2016.  He is an active member of many of the national organizations and has helped start three local groups. Phil also gives talks to local groups and Large conventions. He has presented at TAM (The Amazing Meeting) and Skepticon – just to name a few.  His podcast it “The Phil Ferguson Show.” 

Feburary, 2017

  • Saturday, February 11, 2017

    2:30 PM to 4:00 PM

  • Rockville Library

    21 Maryland Ave, Rockville

WASH MDC will celebrate Darwin’s Birth with a talk on the Anthropocene Epoch and human impact on the environment. Our speaker will be Fred Edwords who is currently director of planned giving for the Humanist Foundation, the endowment fund of the American Humanist Association, the latter an organization he earlier served as editor of its national magazine, the Humanist, from 1995 to 2006, as executive director from 1984 to 1999, and as national administrator from 1980 to 1984. He was also editor of the association’s membership newsletter Free Mind from 2002 to 2006 and editor of the Creation/Evolution journal from 1980 to 1991.

Abstract:
The Hall of Human Origins at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington D.C. is making the Anthropocene Epoch a centerpiece of its scientific narrative. This is because evidence supports the idea that we now live in the Anthropocene, a newly-designated stage in geological history characterized by human impact on the environment–an impact so striking that it will be reflected in the fossil record.

How did this happen and what does it tell us about human evolution, human nature, and the future of our species?

 And what is the humanist response? 

January, 2017

Topic:

The Role of Religion, Truth and Belief in the Recent Election

  • Saturday, January 14, 2017

    5:30 PM to 7:00 PM

  • Rockville Library

    21 Maryland Ave, Rockville, MD (see map)

    No previous presidential campaign has generated as much coverage as the recent 2016 . It started early and ginned up 24/7 wall-to-wall coverage but little depth. While seemed that everything has been covered and analyzed in fact important topics like climate change was not.
    Religion and its role was another one and of interest to this community since belief rather than evidence was part of the campaign phenomena. There was an occasional nod to the Bible for the Judaeo-Christian-right (and Anti-Muslim) of the Republican Party but it wasn’t front and center for very long. It seemed to be in the background and working silently. There was noise about the “End of White Christian American” and an implied secular-religious struggle over Hope and Change as part of the mix. It is worth noting that Obama signed a law (the Frank Wolf International Religious Freedom Act) in which atheists and other nonreligious persons are explicitly named as a class protected by the law.
    This meeting is an opportunity for the community to talk about the role of religious vs secular values and beliefs in the recent election. A recent poll, for example, shows 44% of white evangelicals believe Trump demonstrates “strong moral character,” while only 18% of those with no religion agree.
    For some background on this see http://www.skeptical-science.com/people/claim-trump-strong-moral-character-evangelicals/

As part of our meeting Stu Jordan, past WASH president will discuss his proposition:

“It is essential that all liberal, progressive, democratic (note small d), humanistic people achieve greater unity if the political power of “greedy money” is to be broken in the United States. In my view, that has implications for how the secular humanist world can best respond to this essentially political challenge.  There are two sometimes opposing views on this.  One is that since most of us are atheists, we should do all we can to promote atheism.  The other view is that we should go out of our way to cooperate with the tolerant religious, a majority of whom are close to us politically, without stopping our opposition to the intolerant religious, most of whom are political reactionaries. I will give arguments favoring the first approach and offer a severe criticism of the second approach as a policy for political effectiveness”

Winter Spring and Fall of 2016

 Sept, 2016  WASH MDC Chapter will be ​joining AHA and WES for their co-sponsor​ed​ event on Saturday, September 10 @ 2pm at the Washington Ethical Society (7750 16th St NW, DC).

The topic ​of the event ​was:

“Confronting Our Whiteness: #WhiteFolkWork in the Movement for Black Lives” led by Megan Kenny, anti-racist humanist activist based in Baltimore.

The talk will focus primarily on Megan’s personal experience growing up in a white, liberal, suburban California household and, decades later, becoming a visible Black Lives Matter activist in Baltimore and how this journey unveiled some painful truths about herself, the white community, and how whiteness has operated and continues to operate in 2016 America.

As usual all are welcome to attend and we hope to get new people.

OurJune event was SATURDAY, June, 18, 2016 9:30 to noon

​ ​Out topic was: Reason Rally 2016 retrospective discussion​.

Here is some information on what was discussed at the DC Chevy Chase Library .
This was a retrospective discussion of the recent Reason Rally 2016. Since RR was a multi-day and multi-event there were parts that people missed from the lobbying effort to the comedy show to the mini-conference.
Some videos and pictures are available.
People can just the highlights of their experience, favorite speakers and entertainment discuss pros and cons and share pictures and stories.
​ Some pictures are at https://www.facebook.com/wash89/?ref=aymt_homepage_panel

May 14, American Humanist Association & WASH Get Together.

March, 2016

WASH MDC Meeting Caught in the Pulpit: when clergy leave belief behind?​​

The Maryland DC (MDC) chapter will meet ​Saturday, March​ 19th from 1 -3 pm.​
Our speaker will be Linda LaScola​ and the title of the session is “Caught in the Pulpit: What happens when  clergy leave belief behind? “​​ Linda will provide an overview of the study together with updates along with some idea of the interview process and what’s next.
​ ​Linda ​ ​is co-author, with Daniel D. Dennett, of Caught in the Pulpit: Leaving Belief Behind (2013) and “Preachers who are not Believers” (2010). ​She runs runs LaScola Qualitative Research​, a​n independent qualitative research consultan​cy​ since 1984, she is a co-founder of the Clergy Project and is Editor of the Patheos Blog, “Rational Doubt: with Voices from the Clergy Project. The meeting will be held​ ​at​ the ​​D.C. Chevy Chase Library (​​​5625 Connecticut Ave. NW , 2nd Floor, Small ​​meeting room​.​​

Feb. 20th (1-3) at the DC Chevy Chase Library. which is reopening after 2 months of improvements.

The planned topic currently is:

“WASH and the American Humanist Association”

As members know WASH currently maintains formal but low commitment relationships with several national organizations, many members of which speak at our events and interact with WASH members . As noted in the January WASHLine article by Board member Phillip Kalmanson:

“There is no exchange of funds either from WASH or to WASH. Sometimes WASH and/or the national organization will cross post events that may be of interest to members of both groups; however, this is done as a courtesy and not because it is required. Sometimes a national organization will request volunteers from WASH for events going on within WASH’s geographical area, as was done during the Reason Rally of 2012 (and soon for the RR 2016) wherein WASH was given recognition and its volunteers provided access to the rally.”

Currently, however, the WASH board of directors is considering upgrading the organization’s relationship with the American Humanist Association (AHA) from its current affiliate status to chapter status. Such a change would affect all WASH chapters, and there are quite a few benefits of moving forward with this, but downsides and member opinions are needed. Our meeting will be an effort to explore the pros and cons and hear from WASH members.

Here are some Pros and Cons summarized by  WASH president Samantha McGuire on the issue of WASH becoming an AHA Chapter:

Pros:
1. We would gain the current AHA group as a Chapter -currently 1400 members of the group with active monthly Drinking Skeptically event with 20+ attendees
2. AHA would actively promote people joining WASH in the DC area as their local chapter.
3. We would be able to tap into funds that are held strictly for AHA Chapters – such as sponsorship funds for WASHCon if we continue to hold those
4. We would be able to use their public relations team to promote any of our events and the group itself.
5. We do not have to change anything about the way we are doing business now. We would keep our own independent 503(c) designation and Board of Directors

Cons/Concerns:
1. That our affiliations with other national groups (AA, CFI, AAA, CSH) would suffer for the change.
2. AHA is not necessarily “Secular” and welcomes religious humanists – how does that hold with WASH?
3. That becoming part of AHA would make WASH as an organization obsolete.
4. That there is a long history of WASH being independent of all National Organizations
5. There is a concern that we would alienate and lose our founding members, past presidents and older members, often who make up our paying membership base and contributors.

Fall 2015

Dec. Meeting
  • Saturday, Dec. 12th Tom Flynn  (Center for Inquiry) will speak on “A Radical View of Church-State Separation.”
    • this will be in the Wheaton Library, but from 3:15 to 5:30 pm
Following a tradition set by WASH Board Members Jenny and Phil Kalmansons, the WASH MD Chapter will sponsor a HumanLight celebration in the area which include a pot luck dinner, children’s games and a raffle.
This year it will be held Dec. 19th, from 4-8 in rooms 1 & 2 of the Cedar Lane Unitarian Universalist “facility”9601 Cedar LaneBethesda, Maryland 20814

 

See  our page on the event and my HumanLight Blog post on past HumanLight celebrations.

 

Nov. 21st 10:45-12:45 (Wheaton Public Library at 11701 Georgia Ave., Wheaton, MD

WASH MDC had a memorial tribute and discussion in memory of George Porter, WASH co-founder and first editor of WASHline.

George Porter passed away on Saturday, August 22 and
People who knew George will give a brief account of his life. His wife Lois, first WASH President will attend as will other founders and early members who will briefly discuss reminiscences from other
members of WASH who recall interactions with
George from the early days, shared memories, George’s contributions and personal accounts of his life.
The floor will be open at the memorial to all attendees.

 

Spring 2015

March Group-Participation Session: “Putting Humanism to Work on Social Issues”

Longtime humanist leader Fred Edwords will guide the group in an exploration of how to apply our humanist principles to a wide range of social concerns. We will ask how to make society more humane, fair, and inclusive and reduce injustice and suffering. We will look into how we can oppose popular bigotries in order to expand “us” and shrink “them.” And we will discuss ways to expand freedom and opportunity.

Structure of meeting:

Begin with introductory remarks about WASH, what is happening, and so forth. – 10 min.

Moderator gives an overview of the subject and how the meeting will proceed, then divides the gathering into four groups, each with an assignment.  – 10 min.

Groups hold their separate discussions in separate parts of the room as the moderator gives guidance. – 40 min.

Break for refreshments. – 15 min.

The four group coordinators give their reports to the whole body, with the moderator and others offering comments. – 45 min.

Meeting ends and cleanup.

Our speaker Fred Edwords has 38 years’ experience in humanist leadership, having led local and national organizations since 1977. He was executive director of the American Humanist Association for fifteen years, editor of the Humanist magazine for twelve, and national director of the United Coalition of Reason for six. Today he is director of planned giving for the American Humanist Association and would be pleased to help you provide a future for your humanist values in your will or other estate plan.

Saturday April  11 (10:45- 12:45 ) at the Chevy Chase Library the speaker was Rosalind Kipping from Compassion & Choices in the National Capital Area . Her talk  topic is “ensuring self-determination at the end of life.“​

 

Compassion & Choices is a national organization whose mission is to improve the quality of care and expand choice at the end of life.  Rosalind will  provide programs to interested groups on Ensuring Self-Determination at the End of Life (or in any life threatening situation). She will I distribute the legal documents the individual requires and materials to enable each person figure out what he or she wants to put in those documents.  This is not a traditional  lecture, but strives to provide information in a format that involves a 2-way conversation with attendees.

Compassion & Choices believes that physician aid-in-dying should be available to terminally ill, mentally competent adults.  Physician aid-in-dying is hotly debated all across our country and is currently legal in 6 states.  C&C works with state legislatures and through the judicial system to make this option available in all states.  It is legal in several European countries and is hotly debated in Canada, the UK, Australia and New Zealand.  Activists in Maryland are currently working to make this option available in Maryland in the coming 2-3 years.

 

Compassion & Choices is a national organization whose mission is to improve the quality of care and expand choice at the end of life.  Rosalind will  provide programs to interested groups on Ensuring Self-Determination at the End of Life (or in any life threatening situation). She will I distribute the legal documents the individual requires and materials to enable each person figure out what he or she wants to put in those documents.  This is not a traditional  lecture, but strives to provide information in a format that involves a 2-way conversation with attendees.

Compassion & Choices believes that physician aid-in-dying should be available to terminally ill, mentally competent adults.  Physician aid-in-dying is hotly debated all across our country and is currently legal in 6 states.  C&C works with state legislatures and through the judicial system to make this option available in all states.  It is legal in several European countries and is hotly debated in Canada, the UK, Australia and New Zealand.  Activists in Maryland are currently working to make this option available in Maryland in the coming 2-3 years.

Our last meeting before summer break was Saturday, June 13  at the Chevy Chase Library.
Luisa Robles is our speaker and her topic is Sustainability and what to do about it.

Luisa Robles is the Sustainability Coordinator for the City of Greenbelt and has worked with Public Works since 2008. She has a PhD in Environmental Sciences, Sustainable Development and Ecological Economics from the University of Maryland.  She is in charge of helping the City reduce its carbon footprint, the greenhouse gas emissions inventory, all the recycling programs, watershed programs, is the liaison to the Greenbelt Advisory Committee on Environmental Sustainability (Green ACES) and the Green Team, and is in charge of helping the City be more sustainable through various programs, workshops, and outreach efforts.

Winter 2014

Atheism in Artistic Experience

In January Harrison Murphy discused  his recent play–The Blue Box–which deals with the existence of God and the origin of the Universe. His play which was performed at the Anacostia Playhouse in January.  This work is a cutting edge approach to theatrical expression and his motivations to write this play. Also, he addressed his lifetime commitment to Secular Humanism as a personal philosophy.

  • Harrison Murphy was born in the US Virgin Islands and has lived in Northern Virginia for over 20 years. By day he runs his companies that market high tech fabrics into the mattress and furniture industries and he also licenses intellectual property and travels the world.

Fall  2014 meeting started with the September Monthly Meeting

Time: Saturday, Sept. 6 , at 2:00 p.m.
Location: Wheaton Regional Library,
11701 Georgia Ave., WheatonMD This will be in the lower level Meeting Room
Panelists: Edd Doerr, Nancie Gonzalez & Gary Berg-Cross
Topic: Panel and Community Discussion of Peace & Peace Issues
 
WASH MDC has organized a meeting on Sept. 6th from 2-4 on the topic of Peace and Peace Issues. We will address an Humanist perspective and all are invited and will be welcome to add their perspective. Edd Doerr from the WASH and UUC community will be on the panel along with anthropologist Nancie Gonzalez who has experience in peace negotiations is expected to attend.
Following panel presentations there will be ample time for community/audience discussion.

October

On Saturday October 4 from 2-4. Conor Robinson of the Foundation Beyond Belief will speak on developing a Humanist Service Corps under the umbrella of FBB. The event will be held at the Wheaton Library    (11701 Georgia Ave #1 Silver Spring, MD)

November Saturday, Nov. 1, 2014
2:00-4:00 Wheaton Regional Librar
y

Sarah Jones
Communications Associate for Americans United for Separation of Church and State.
“The Year In Church/State Separation: Where We’re At And What’s Next.
Winter 2014 meeting starting with January Monthly Meeting

On Dec. 6th , the MDC chapter of WASH will host a talk called “Energy and the Evolution of Culture: Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness,” by Nancie L. Gonzalez, Emeritus Prof of Anthropology (UMD) .

This talk will will describe how culture has evolved with increases in the amount of energy harnessed .
Note, this is a new location for us at
Bethesda-Chevy Chase Regional Services Center,
4805 Edgemoor Ln Bethesda, MD
This is at the intersection of Old Georgetown Pike and Edgemoor Ln..
Time: Saturday, January 18 , at 2:00 p.m.
Location: Rockville Library, This will be in Meeting Room 2, which is on the 2nd floor of the library 
Speaker: Mathew Goldstein
Topic:Lobbying with the new Secular Coalition for Maryland (SCMD)
The SCMD is a state chapter of the Secular Coalition for America, a 501(c)(4) advocacy organization.  The SCMD will work with the national staff of the Secular Coalition for America in DC to lobby on issues of special concern to our supporting organizations in Maryland, including WASH.  The SCMD is run by volunteer activists, we need your help to lobby for secularist government in Annapolis and across Maryland.
Feb. 15 and March 15th MDC meetings will be at:
the Wheaton Regional Library  Topics TBD
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