Humanist Society of Greater Phoenix   - -
Board Members:

Richard Dewey

Vice President:
Henry Geist

Tim Bedient

Rebecca Beltran

Program Director:
Al Wendler

Members at Large:
Vici Duarte
Ann Marie
Eisentraut /
Bruce Stiles
Michal Otten
Anita Romanowski

Immediate Past President:
Shelley Newman (2011)

President Emeritus:
Susan Sackett

Committee Chairs & Other Leadership:

J.B. Wright

Bruce Pettycrew


Anita Romanowski

Property Management:
Ann Marie Eisentraut

Facility Use Management:
Vici Duarte

Food Management:

Linda Wendler

Science Night:
LuAnn Dahlman

Book Club:
Roy Towne

Inquiring Minds:
Kevin Moriarty

Game Nights:
Bruce Stiles
Ann Marie
Michelle Popejoy

Service Outreach Coordinator:
Michal Otten

President's Message

We are still getting bigger and stronger. As of now, HSGP has 840 followers on Meetup, 394 on Facebook, and we're staying fairly constant with dues-paying members. I have to wonder how many people who are following us don't realize that dues-paying members have advantages and it really helps us as an organization as well. If you haven't yet joined, please consider contacting our membership chair, Anita Romanowski (who also has an article on the right side of this page), to find out how. We certainly do have a large number of activities to interest like-minded folks and we are busting to grow. I'm sure from what I'm seeing right now that there are many more people in our valley that would love to hear about Humanism and, as is obvious from the news lately, there is a serious need for organizations like ours. In this article, I'll give a brief review of the exciting events that occurred in June. Check out the rest of the newsletter for some details on what's coming up, and more useful information about our organization.

Events in June

The HSGP Humanities Project had yet another huge month with eight outings and one in-house event. Wow! The outings this month included five concerts, a lecture, an art exhibit, and two film screenings including "The Unbelievers" with Lawrence Krauss presenting the film and conducting a question and answer period! The in-house event was also a film screening of "Sita Sings the Blues", which is a film by Nina Paley. As always, this group brings us some great humanities and culture, finding incredible events all over the valley. This is a busy group!

Our Inquiring Minds Discussion Group explored "What is the basis of knowledge?", again hosted by Kevin Moriarty. I like to think of this one in terms of the foundation of rational thought, "What do we think we know and how do we think we know it?". This was a very intriguing topic that spanned many different perspectives including cognitive biases, the scientific method, emotional knowledge, and much more. This was a great discussion with a fairly sizable crowd, which is the norm these days. These are great events and really broaden the attendees' perspectives on a variety of topics. If you like really deep intellectual discussions, this just might be for you.

Our first Sunday speaker this month featured a rather interesting author, David Fitzgerald, presenting "Ten Beautiful Lies About Jesus" which is primarily a synopsis of his very controversial book "Nailed" as well as some of his other work. This was a fairly in-depth review of some of the stories in the bible that are being understood, by serious historical study, to be proven to be myths, with the final conclusion that evidence strongly suggests that no such person ever actually existed. I'm sure that you can imagine that his perspectives on this subject are quite provocative in some circles. It was also noted that he is not the only one to start presenting evidence with the same or similar conclusions. David also is an excellent speaker and very engaging when he talks and does also present to religious communities if invited to do so. That must provoke some very interesting discussions! A more detailed summary of his presentation can be found at David Fitzgerald.

The HSGP North Phoenix Meetup group, met this month hosted by Kevin Moriaty while Karen was on vacation. I'm not sure what their program was but I'm sure it was good. This group, and the HSGP Glendale Meetup group, meet once a month and we are really hoping that more people hear about them and help them to grow and spread out. Eventually, we would love to see secular Humanist groups all over the Valley whether they are affiliated with HSGP or not. Keep an eye out on our Meetup page at Humanist Society Meetup.

Our Service Outreach Project, led by board member Michal Otten, had another outing at St. Mary's Food Bank Alliance to help feed the homeless. They are getting closer to making it to Bronze level "Hunger Heroes" status at St. Mary's (not affiliated with the Catholic Church) and I think that we only have some food left to donate at this point. We will easily meet the goal by the end of the year. See Michal's article in this newsletter for details on that and what else the group is working on.

I seem to be getting in the habit of missing Game Night again and I am really hoping to get back to it soon. I have such a blast every time I go. So much to do, so little time. These events are always a lot of fun and a great way to meet people in a casual evironment. Plus people generally bring lots of snacks (do bring something if you're going to partake). I am also really looking forward to getting some of our local SSA people to join us at these events. I've been invited to a few of theirs but haven't made any of those yet either. I have to make an effort because these folks are more than just fun, they are some very interesting people as well and they do represent the future of our movement. If you know any of them, help promote a strong relationship with them!

We had another special event this month as well. World Humanist Day and Father's Day was celebrated together on June 15th and, although I didn't make it (camping with my son), I gather that it was a success in spite of the holiday. From what I hear, everybody that attended, especially the kids, had a tremendous amount of fun. This was our first attempt at celebrating World Humanist Day and I really hope that we continue the tradition for years to come. Our host for this event, Kathy Pettycrew (famous for some time now for hosting our Sunday morning breakfasts), put in a huge amount of work (with help from some dedicated volunteers) and pulled it off along with all of the other things that she regularly volunteers for. Please be sure to give her some well deserved thanks the next time you see her!

Our second Sunday speaker this month was our own member Professor James Richardson for his third presentation to HSGP. Professor Richardson is an expert on history and focuses much on the history of Humanism. In this talk, he highlighted "The Humanism of David Hume". Hume was an interesting fellow for his time and espoused some very controversial ideas that are still considered basic principles of Humanism. Of course, considering the times that he lived, not all of his views would be considered Humanistic today but he took some bold steps in the right direction. Professor Richardson, again, gave us a very interesting and informative talk and, again, did so with no overhead assistance. It was all from memory and some notes. Very impressive! You can read a great summary about his presentation at James Richardson.

The Book Club, reviewed "The Island of the Sequined Love Nun" by Christopher Moore. This one sounds hilarious! You can read the review on Amazon at The Island of the Sequined Love Nun.

What else happened in June?

As is that wasn't enough. We also had our old roof leak fixed and it only took a few tubes of some special caulking. Let's hope it holds since, clearly, the monsoon season is upon us again.

There is also an addition to the newsletter. At the bottom right is a Humanist prayer written by a friend, Eniko Nolan (also known as Enci Lajos), who wrote this after SCOTUS decided to allow prayers at the start of town hall meetings. This is in response to a call from Humanists all around the country to bring this kind of secular invocation to every government meeting where prayers start the proceedings. I found her prayer beautiful and I hope that you do too. I will be looking to put some inspirational Humanist statements in every month and I'm looking for input. If you have something, please send it to me at the address in the next paragraph. All secular Humanist material will be considered.

And now for the statement that only changes occasionally, (not this time). As always, we are interested in any feedback that you might have so please feel free to 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

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, Basha's and Fry's grocery stores both return a percentage of the money our members spend at their stores (see article at lower right for more information).

Last month, HSGP member and Professional Realtor Vici Duarte announced that she is offering a similar service. For any HSGP member, or anyone referred to her by an HSGP member, Vici will donate 10% of her net commission as their realtor to buy or sell a home using her services. If you plan to buy or sell a home, speak to Vici at any HSGP event, or contact her by email at

We are also 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 Vici about setting up a similar agreement.

Upcoming Meetings and Topics
Jul 30th
Wednesdays at the Nash - Superstition Big Band Summer Rehearsals
Event:  Humanities Project Outing: Jazz
When: Wednesday @ 7:30 PM – 9:30 PM

Where: The Nash
110 East Roosevelt Street
Phoenix, AZ 85004

Cost: $5

Contact: John 602-795-0464 / Email Special Events

The Superstition Jazz Orchestra is the featured house band at the Nash every Wednesday night this summer*. The band will hit at 7:30 pm and will be reading charts from the greatest writers from the big band world. Local writers are welcome to bring in large ensemble arrangements as well as originals. Mike Crotty will be available to critique them. During the second set, anyone who wishes to hone their sight reading skills can sit in for a tune or two. Band directors are always welcome to bring in their charts to hear them played before the 2014-2015 school year begins. The band will be in residence at The Nash all summer long. So come and join us for some great music, fun and all that is big band jazz!

Sight reading at a very high level.

Jul 31st
Dinner Before Free Talk About Golden Age of Neon in AZ
Event:  West Valley HP Outing: Dinner before Wine
Let's meetup in the west valley for dinner/drink/snack and conversation, in a non-religious non-supernatural setting. Afterward, we can head out to the free talk about Neon Signs in Arizona, at the Total Wine store. Please RSVP separately for that event.

This is a great chance to meet other members of our group. Many meetups have new members and everyone is welcome to drop by at anytime!

We'll meet inside the entrance of the restaurant. I'll hold a small Meetup sign.

Jul 31st
Signs of the Times:The Golden Age of Neon in AZ
Event:  HP Outing: Free Talk - West Side
Signs of the Times: The Golden Age of Neon in Arizona, by Marshall Shore

This program is being presented by the City of Goodyear Arts and Culture Commission

The rise of car travel in the 40s, 50s and 60s meant that thousands of people were traversing the broad expanses of the Southwest looking for new landscapes and adventure. As the cars sped past, restaurants, motels, curio shops and gas stations needed large, bright signs to make an impression. This informative and entertaining visual presentation explores the social significance of the rise of commercial neon signs, and references the designers whose signs became iconic images that defined the West in the age of the automobile.

Marshall Shore, Arizona’s Hip Historian. His passion is uncovering the weird, the wonderful, and the obscure treasures from our past: the semi-forgotten people, places, and events that have made us who we are today. Shore uses storytelling magic, found film footage, old photographs, ephemera, and artifacts to bring our state’s heritage to life in entertaining and educational presentations.

No Charge

The Total Wine store sells wine, liquor, and craft beer.

Hosted by Karen, who will be holding up a small Meetup sign inside the entrance to the function room.

Jul 31st
SMoCA - Individualocracy: Urban Sprawl in Phoenix - Free Talk
Event:  Humanities Project Outing: Free Talk
Individualocracy: Urban Sprawl in Phoenix

How and why do people choose to live in Phoenix?

Architect /artist Matthew Salenger (colab studio) and ASU art professors John Risseeuw and Dan Mayer talk about the unique publication that grew out of their five year collaborative effort to answer this question.

In SMoCA Lounge.

Free event. Please arrive early to claim one of the limited seats.

This is a no-host outing. Enjoy!

Aug 01st
Event:  Humanities Project Outing: Art Exhibit and Reception
Aug 02nd
Aug 06th
Event:  Humanities Project Outing: Jazz
Aug 08th
Event:  Humanities Project Monthly Cultural Presentation & Meeting
Aug 10th
Speaker:  Brian Calaway
Aug 23rd
event:  Book Club
Aug 24th
Speaker:  John Ware
Sep 04th
Event:  Humanities Project Outing: Photography Panel
Sep 07th
Speaker:  TBA
Sep 21st
Speaker:  LuAnn Dahlman
Oct 19th
Speaker:  TBA
Nov 09th
Speaker:  TBA
Nov 23rd
Speaker:  TBA
Dec 07th
Speaker:  TBA

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

Although HSGP is basically a non-theist and educational social community, humanism really focuses on being caring and responsible for the stewardship of humanity, the environment, the earth and all living things.

If you haven't already done so, please consider joining the these Meetup groups: HSGP Meetup group

Good Without God (GWG)
GWG was started and is maintained by HSGP life member, Judy Pratt.

Both Meetups post activities that involve helping the homeless and volunteering in community activities. In May of this year HSGP hosted a class in making crocheted sleep mats out of plastic grocery bags. There is another class being held on Saturday, July 12. We hope to make this an ongoing project and have as many people participating as possible. According to one online statistic, at any given time there are approximately 27,000 homeless in Arizona. many of them are veterans and children.

Members of HSGP and/or GWG have participated in volunteering with the following venues:
- St. Mary's Food Bank (not affiliated with religion). Packing food bags
- St Vincent DePaul. Feeding the homeless
- Hunger Heroes. Donate food, volunteer hours and money
- Habitat For Humanity. Helping build homes
- Sierra Club. Picking up trash along Salt River

Please let us know if you have any ideas for additional opportunities to help those in need.

Welcome new members:

John Hiett
Lou Hunt

Speaking of volunteers, is there anyone out there who would like to be part of the Membership Committee? There are a few clerical duties I could really use help with in following up on new and renewed memberships.

As always, contact me if you need any membership information or have a change of address, phone number, or email. Additionally, let me know if you would like to have an announcement published in this column.

Anita Romanowski
Chair, Membership Committee

HSGP Service Outreach Project

by Michal Otten

St. Mary's Food Bank Alliance

HSGP members have been volunteering for 2 years at St. Mary's Food Bank Alliance. We will be volunteering at St. Mary's Food Bank Alliance on the second Saturday of every even month through the end of 2014. While I was out of town for our June outing, I heard we had a great turnout and the team had a great time helping out. Our next outing is Saturday, August 9th from 12-3 PM. Please consider joining us! For details and to RSVP, visit our Meetup page.

St. Mary's is a non-sectarian, nonprofit organization that serves two-thirds of Arizona's 15 counties. St. Mary's has a program, called Hunger Heroes, to recognize and honor the organizations that make a large impact in the community. Hunger Heroes requires a donation of $1,000, 1,000 lbs of food, and 100 volunteer hours. You can track our progress by checking the whiteboard tally at the Sunday meetings. As of June 14th, we have collected $1,000, 852 lbs of food, and have volunteered over 100 hours! That puts us just 148 lbs away from our goal! We are well on our way to being named Hunger Heroes, but we can’t stop yet! Please consider or donating food to help our efforts. Even though we have met our monetary and volunteer hour goals, please continue joining us as we support this amazing organization.

Donate Coupons

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/ or 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 military service members overseas. Only manufacturer's coupons are accepted - do not send store, restaurant, or internet coupons. Please place coupons in the basket next to the food donation box at HSGP, or mail them to HSGP (Attn: Michal Otten).

Send this:

Not that:

Open Call for Ideas

Are you interested in seeing HSGP get involved with a certain charity or volunteering with a certain organization? Michal is always looking out for new ideas and suggestions. Send her an email at

Keeping Up With HSGP
Social Media Tips and Hints #13

by Jennifer White

We just finished up our 2nd summer of fun at Camp Quest Arizona—summer camp beyond belief!
What is Camp Quest Arizona, you ask?
The original Camp Quest was founded in 1996 by a small group of dedicated and energetic people with the Free Inquiry Group of Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky, including Edwin and Helen Kagin, who served as Camp Directors for the first 10 years. It has now grown to 15 camps around the country, plus two overseas—with more in the works! (For more about Camp Quest, go to )
Camp Quest Arizona had its inaugural summer session in 2013, after lots of hard work, perseverance, and dedication by John Lynn, Eugene Glover, Chu-Wan Glover, Holly Schineller, and Preston Long. Their mission was (and is) to provide “an educational adventure shaped by fun, friends and freethought, featuring science, natural wonder and humanist values. Values we teach: integrity, empathy, creativity, critical thinking, and community. Camp Quest envisions a world in which children grow up exploring, thinking for themselves, connecting with their communities, and acting to make the most of life for themselves and others.” For more go to

A remote 4-H camp at the top of Mingus Mountain, near Prescott Valley, was secured. With water from a natural spring, electricity from a generator, virtually no cell phone signal, this camp offers the traditional sleep-away summer camp experience.

We had 44 campers in 2013, and 49 campers in 2014, who enjoyed activities such as swimming, fishing, hiking, archery, team games, camp songs, s’mores, wood building projects, arts and crafts, music, martial arts, science activities, star gazing, game night, skit night, carnival night, and visiting guests. There were so many different activities that no one could do all of them! The older kids are automatically in the Counselor-in-Training program. They take on extra responsibilities, such as putting on carnival night. These awesome kids are definitely our future leaders!

In addition to these great traditional camp activities, Camp Quest incorporates critical thinking into the program. Two signature Camp Quest activities are Socrates Café and Freethought Heroes. Socrates Café is very popular, especially with the older campers. They hold moderated thoughtful and brilliant philosophical discussions around the camp fire. Also, Camp Quest (national) provides a large stack of well-designed laminated cards, each one featuring a Freethought Hero, including scientists, poets, leaders, and celebrities. Twice a day a camper volunteered to choose a card and present the hero to rest of us.

Other activities are designed to spark thought and discussion, and promote critical thinking. Our mascot, Muggy, a mostly invisible and mischievous monster who lives on the mountain, is used for this purpose. We bring other cultures into the program as well. For instance, this year we talked about Indian customs and religion. Last year we talked about how eating insects is the norm in many other cultures. (See more photos on our Facebook page

A small army of volunteers, including the board members, program and cabin staff, a nurse, and a lifeguard, makes Camp Quest Arizona happen. Each dedicates their time, talent, and resources to make Camp Quest Arizona an environment of safety, critical thinking, creativity, community, friendship, new experiences, nature’s wonders, and FUN.

By all accounts, Camp Quest Arizona is a resounding success, and definitely among the best! Thanks to the very generous support from HSGP and many of you. We could not do it without you! Together we are providing the opportunity for treasured memories and friendships, and we are playing a part in raising the next generation of smart, creative, responsible, and freethinking adults.
If you wish to help, you can:
- Donate at
Donations go to buying equipment and supplies, and providing financial aid to make sure any kid can participate, regardless of ability to pay. (Camp Quest Arizona is a not-for-profit, 501(c)3 educational organization. All contributions are tax deductible)
- Sign up your camper!
- Volunteer for next summer – come to camp for a week! (We are especially in need of a waterfront-certified life guard)
Thank you!

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

Bashas' and Fry's Grocery Stores Support HSGP through Community Support Programs

If you shop at any of the Bashas' stores (Bashas', AJ's Fine Foods, Food City) or your local Fry's Food Store, HSGP can get a percentage of the money you spend.

To activate this no-cost-to-you revenue stream for HSGP, you need to pick up a Community Support Card for the store where you intend to shop. See Bruce Stiles for a Bashas' card, or Vici Duarte for Fry's cards. Once you've done your shopping and you're ready to pay for your groceries, use your credit card (or cash) to put cash value on your Community Support Card, and then use it to pay for your order. You can recharge your card at any time, and HSGP will receive a percentage of the money you spend.

If you shop at any of the 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 .

A Humanist Prayer

Sentiments of Conscience
A Secular Humanist prayer by Eniko Nolan

Let us pray to humanity...

Let us ask, of each other, the will and courage to defend one another's right to speak freely, to dissent, to communicate openly and to express ourselves according to our own conscience without discrimination, suppression, demonization or violence.

Let us bless each other with tolerance and kindness, and acknowledge, out loud, our dreams and hopes for our species' happiness, health and prosperity well as acknowledge the realities in our world that threaten our survival.

Let us honor and be grateful to those who came before us ...who questioned and sacrificed in order to contribute to our ever-increasing, yet deeply limited, understanding of the natural world, of ourselves and of this experience we call life ...and to those who continue to do so today.

Let us celebrate with open minds and hearts, evidence and history, which guide our behavior toward a more peaceful and just world ...and science, which inspires our curiosity and encourages our discovery.

Let us not squander our inherent common senses, our resources, and our fleeting precious time here, and instead let us base our beliefs on the cumulative whole of evidence-based knowledge that we have gathered over time, together, in pursuit of truth, understanding, liberty, and equal rights for all people.

Let us not bow to cowardice and bribery and instead let us vow to uphold and preserve, for future generations, the same opportunities we expect for ourselves, and maintain the same trust we have placed in each other.

Let us appreciate evolution's sacred gift of human reason and the capacity to think for ourselves ...and let us acknowledge our inherent self-worth, self-determination and dignity, and not allow ourselves to concede in subservience and obedience to anyone or anything besides our own conscience and integrity.

Let our morality be driven by an unrelenting desire for justice. Let us embrace a true self-governing morality that cannot be enforced by threat or consequence, but can only be found within ourselves by understanding the connections in our mutual well-being. Let us allow empathy and compassion for humanity and nature to give us the strength to learn, forgive, improve and love.

This we ask, of each other, with trust in reason, evidence and the human race.

Thank you.

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