Welcome to Fall

Welcome to the beginning of fall, defined by the autumnal equinox (in the northern hemisphere) or the southward equinox (hemisphere-neutral).

Equinox

On the day of the equinox, the Sun appears to rise “due east” and set “due west”.  In Denver, the equinox this year occurs at 7:03:34 pm MDT on September 22, 2022.

Vernal equinox and autumnal equinox: these classical names are direct derivatives of Latin (ver = spring, and autumnus = autumn). These are the historically universal and still most widely used terms for the equinoxes, but are potentially confusing because in the southern hemisphere the vernal equinox does not occur in spring and the autumnal equinox does not occur in autumn. The equivalent common language English terms spring equinox and autumn (or fall) equinox are even more ambiguous. It has become increasingly common for people to refer to the September equinox in the southern hemisphere as the Vernal equinox.  Confusing!

To avoid confusion use northward equinox and southward equinox, names referring to the apparent direction of motion of the Sun. The northward equinox occurs in March when the Sun crosses the equator from south to north, and the southward equinox occurs in September when the Sun crosses the equator from north to south.

Welcome to Fall in Denver!  Just remember, winter is coming, otherwise known at the December solstice, also known as the southern solstice on December 21 (in Denver).

The Real Origins of the Religious Right, and Why It Matters

The Religious Right is flexing its powerful muscles these days; in the last month alone they have gained the right to prayers at school, forced public funding for religious institutions, and repealed a half-century-old right to choice for women. The tradition of separation of church and state espoused by our founding fathers seems to be in deep jeopardy. How have we arrived at this juncture?

One of the enduring myths in recent history is the fiction that the Religious Right galvanized as a political movement in response to the Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision. Evangelicals, however, considered abortion a Catholic issue throughout the 1970s. Most evangelicals were silent when the Roe decision was handed down, and those who did comment actually applauded the ruling. The real origins of the Religious Right may surprise you.

Randall Balmer holds the John Phillips Chair in Religion at Dartmouth College, the oldest endowed professorship there. He has followed an interesting trajectory in life. He is an Episcopal priest who was born into a Evangelical Christian family and raised in that subculture, which was constructed defensively to avoid interaction with people outside of the subculture. His education exposed him to wider worldviews. He grew away from that subculture and became a recognized expert on American religious communities.

Two days ago, he gave a talk to the Columbia University community titled The Real Origins of the Religious Right, and Why It Matters.

Click here to view a YouTube recording of his talk.

National Day of Reason

Expressing support for the designation of May 4, 2022, as a “National Day of Reason” and recognizing the central importance of reason in the betterment of humanity.

Another resolution was introduced to the United States House of Representatives by Jamie Raskin and others on April 29, 2022 to designate May 4, 2022 as the National Day of Reason.

The resolution states:

Expressing support for the designation of May 4, 2022, as a “National Day of Reason” and recognizing the central importance of reason in the betterment of humanity.

Whereas the application of reason has been the essential precondition for humanity’s extraordinary scientific, medical, technological, and social progress since before the founding of our country;

Whereas reason provides vital hope today for confronting the environmental crises of our day, including the civilizational emergency of climate change, and for cultivating the rule of law, democratic institutions, justice, and peace among nations;

Whereas irrationality, magical and conspiratorial thinking, and disbelief in science have undermined the national effort to combat the COVID–19 pandemic, contributing to the deaths of nearly 1,000,000 people in the United States;

Whereas America’s Founders insisted upon the primacy of reason and knowledge in public life, and drafted the Constitution to prevent official establishment of religion and to protect freedom of thought, speech, and inquiry in civil society;

Whereas James Madison, author of the First Amendment and fourth President of the United States, stated that “The advancement and diffusion of knowledge is the only guardian of true liberty”, and “Knowledge will forever govern ignorance, and a people who mean to be their own governors, must arm themselves with the power knowledge gives”; and

Whereas May 4, 2022, would be an appropriate date to designate as a “National Day of Reason”: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the House of Representatives—

(1) supports the designation of a “National Day of Reason”; and

(2) encourages all citizens, residents, and visitors to join in observing this day and focusing on the central importance of reason, critical thought, the scientific method, and free inquiry to resolving social problems and promoting the welfare of humankind.

This resolution was immediately referred to United States House Committee on Oversight and Reform and will probably die there.

Meanwhile, last year the Governor of Utah is praying for rain.  Gov. Spencer J. Cox stated  “I’ve already asked all Utahns to conserve water by avoiding long showers, fixing leaky faucets, and planting water-wise landscapes. But I fear those efforts alone won’t be enough to protect us,” Gov. Cox said. “We need more rain and we need it now. We need some divine intervention. That’s why I’m asking Utahns of all faiths to join me in a weekend of prayer June 4 through the 6th.”  They did not get rain until June 25, 2021.

We need less prayer and more reason to resolve the mountain of issues facing the world today.

Butterfly McQueen – Free from the Slavery of Religion

Butterfly McQueen pictureThelma “Butterfly” McQueen, known for her role in the as Prissy, Scarlett O’Hara’s maid, in the film Gone With The Wind, was a outspoken atheist most of her life. She was featured in a bus ad campaign by the Freedom from Religion Foundation (FFRF) in 2009.

In 1989, the FFRF honored her with its Freethought Heroine Award.  She told a reporter for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, “As my ancestors are free from slavery, I am free from the slavery of religion. I’m an atheist, and Christianity appears to me to be the most absurd imposture of all the religions, and I’m puzzled that so many people can’t see through a religion that encourages irresponsibility and bigotry.”

She railed against being typecast as a maid and roles that were demeaning to African-American actors.  Even though she could not attend the premiere of Gone With The Wind in 1939, held at a whites-only theater, she was a guest of honor at the 1989 50th anniversary event of the film.

Butterfly McQueen never married and split her time between New York City and Augusta, Georgia.  At aged 64, McQueen received a bachelor’s degree in political science from City College of New York, in 1975.  In an tragic accident with a kerosene heater, Ms. McQueen was burned and died December 22, 1995, at age 84.

A Youtube video recorded in 1989, shows a profile of McQueen.  In Celebrities In Hell (Warren Allen Smith, sequel to Who’s Who In Hell) she is quoted “They say the streets are going to be beautiful in Heaven. Well, I’m trying to make the streets beautiful here … When it’s clean and beautiful, I think America is heaven. And some people are hell.”

Religious Freedom Day

January 16th is the 236th anniversary of the adoption of Thomas Jefferson’s landmark Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom on January 16, 1786. That statute became the basis for the establishment clause of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and led to freedom of religion for all Americans.

The Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom reads in part:

… that the impious presumption of legislators and rulers, civil as well as ecclesiastical, who being themselves but fallible and uninspired men, have assumed dominion over the faith of others, setting up their own opinions and modes of thinking as the only true and infallible, and as such endeavouring to impose them on others, hath established and maintained false religions over the greatest part of the world, and through all time; that to compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves, is sinful and tyrannical;

II. Be it enacted by the General Assembly, That no man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced restrained, molested, or burthened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer on account of his religious opinions or belief; but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinion in matters of religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish, enlarge, or affect their civil capacities. …

For the full text, see the Founders Online page.

Vaccines Required!

Help us protect our community members and comply with this Public Health Order by bringing your proof of vaccination.

PHO signageThe Secular Hub has decided to become a Fully Vaccinated Facility to allow our community to attend events without face masks.

To comply with the Denver Department of Public Health & Environment (DDPHE) Public Health Order (PHO), we are required to confirm the vaccination status of every person entering the Secular Hub.

Help us protect our community members and comply with this PHO by bringing your proof of vaccination including one of the following:

  • your original vaccination card,
  • a digital pass via smartphone application like the MyColorado App,
  • or digital photos or photocopies of your original vaccination cards,
  • or an official copy (digital or paper) of your COVID-19 vaccination record from the Colorado Immunization Information System (CIIS).

Any changes to this policy will be published on our COVID-19 Policy page.

Besides the legal requirement of PHO compliance, the science is very clear, vaccination decreases the rate of infection, serious effects of COVID-19 illness, and death.

CDC graph COVID cases
CDC data posted 11/22/2021

If you are not vaccinated, you are putting everyone around you at risk of getting sick and dying, so do not be selfish and get vaccinated.  Vaccines are free and readily available, and no documentation or insurance is needed. To learn more and find out where to get a free vaccine:

If you have some reason you cannot be vaccinated, you can attend some Secular Hub events remotely via Zoom.  Check our calendar for events that are virtual or hybrid events and RSVP on Meetup.com to get the Zoom link.

Holy Segal

Shelley Segal performed last night at the Secular Hub for the first musical performance at the new location.  Shelley at the Hub

Shelley performed her unique style of folk rock to the enjoyment of many.  This was Shelley’s first in-person performance in 2 years because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Shelley was join on stage by her father, Danny Segal, who she had not been with for several years since she moved to Los Angeles.

concert image
Shelley & Danny Segal at the Hub

Shelley has released several albums including her latest EP “Holy” that is available on her web site shelleysegal.com.

This is not the first time she has played at the Secular Hub and I hope it is not the last.

Concert image
Shelley & Rob performing at the Hub

Hub Grand Opening 2021

We spent a couple of months moving in our Pod full of stuff, cleaning, painting, fixing stuff, sweeping, and polishing.  On September 12th, we were mostly ready to show the world our new home!

A big thank you to all the people that helped put the new Hub into shape for visitors and put on this event!

The Secular Hub has a new home!

The Secular Hub is no longer homeless! After being without a home since December 31, 2020, we have purchased a building for our new home.

Now for the downside of ownership.  Fixing up a building that was built in 1955 and had not been occupied for over 3 years.

So we swept out the cobwebs and dusted and cleaned.  Then we needed some polish, so we removed some old carpet and flooring, and installed some new.

Some people took on a job that they thought was simple, but turned out to be very difficult!  So with the help of many volunteers from our community, we are giving new life to this old building.  Some people are installing flooring, fixing stairs,  unpacking boxes, fixing toilets and sinks.

A crew came in for several days to prep and paint the lower level.  We even put some of our younger members to work.

We promise we did not work them too hard and we even fed them!  We still have a lot of work to do before we have a grand opening sometime this fall.

As with all ownership, we now have expenses to renovate and maintain our new home.  We need a new furnace/air conditioner or two before long.  Please help us with a donation to our building fund.

Happy Juneteenth!

On June 19, 1865 — nearly nine decades after our Nation’s founding, and more than 2 years after President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation — enslaved Americans in Galveston, Texas, finally received word that they were free from bondage.

June 19th was declared a federal holiday, the newest federal holiday since 1983, by President Joseph R. Biden Jr. on June 18, 2021. Juneteenth National Independence Day is

to acknowledge and celebrate the end of the Civil War and the emancipation of Black Americans, and commit together to eradicate systemic racism that still undermines our founding ideals and collective prosperity.

Juneteenth has been observed by various communities since 1866 as Jubilee Day, Black Independence Day, and Emancipation Day.  Celebrations include picnics, rodeos, street fairs, cookouts, family reunions, park parties, historical reenactments and blues festivals.

Juneteenth Flag image
Juneteenth Flag

In 1997, activist Ben Haith, founder of the National Juneteenth Celebration Foundation (NJCF), created the Juneteenth flag, which was further refined by illustrator Lisa Jeanne Graf. In 2000, the flag was first hoisted at the Roxbury Heritage State Park in Boston by Haith. The star at the center represents Texas being the last state where its local African American slaves were freed, and the extension of freedom for all African Americans throughout the whole nation. The burst around the star represents a nova and the curve represents a horizon, standing for a new era for African Americans. The red, white, and blue colors represent the American flag, which shows that African Americans and their enslaved ancestors are Americans, and the national belief in liberty and justice for all citizens.

As President Biden remarked when he signed Senate Bill 475:

It’s a reminder that our work to root out hate never ends — because hate only hides, it never fully goes away. It hides. And when you breathe oxygen under that rock, it comes out.

And that’s why we must understand that Juneteenth represents not only the commemoration of the end of slavery in America more than 150 years ago, but the ongoing work to have to bring true equity and racial justice into American society, which we can do.

In short, this day doesn’t just celebrate the past; it calls for action today.

As many of us first learn of the Tulsa race massacre and the Red Summer, it is obvious there is much work to be done.  Celebrating Juneteenth is a step in the right direction.