The Humanist Association of Toronto provides a focus of activities and discussion for Humanists in the Toronto area. Please note: HAT events are open to the public, and views expressed do not necessarily represent the official views of the Humanist Association of Toronto. For all public statements, educational events, media enquiries, please contact the webeditor, who will forward your enquiry to our Spokesperson.
The Humanist Forum meets Saturday morning 11am-1pm
The Monthly Meeting the 2nd or 3rd Saturday at 1:30pm (TBD)
The Steering Committee meets 1st Wednesday, 7pm
The Book Group meets monthly.

HAT FORUM: Sat. Oct 30, 11am-1pm, OISE. Topic: Death in a Humanist Perspective

LOCATION: OISE, 252 Bloor Street West

This is a weekend in which various religions focus on relationships between humans living and humans deceased. Hallowe'en(Pagan/Christian), All Saints Day and the "Day of the Dead" (Meso-American/Christian) all point us to thinking about "the quick and the dead", to use liturgical language.

What might death signify for each of us?
How might our thoughts about death shape how we live now?
Do we feel a need to show respect those those who die?
If so, how might we do this? e.g., Memories, Care of physical remains
What functions do customs and traditions around dying perform for those remaining alive?

(Please note, the Ontario Humanist Society is organizing a conference for Humanist Officiants and the General Public in the Spring of 2011 on the topic of Humanism at Journey’s End: Compassionate Care, End of Life Decision Making, Grief, Mourning and Rites of Passage (Funerals, Memorials, Celebration of Life)
We'll keep you posted on the details on this list).

HAT Forum, OISE, 11 am, October 23 - Human Rights Commissions

Location: OISE, 252 Bloor Street West, 11am-1pm
Facilitator: Rob Thistle
Topic: Do Human Rights Commissions Serve a Useful Purpose?

Federal & Provincial Human Rights Commissions (HRC’s) were established with noble goals – to ensure that members of minority groups were not discriminated against by those in positions of power. However, many feel that HRC’s have themselves become oppressive wielders of state power. Critics have claimed that HRC’s are unchecked and unrestrained, and that HRC bureaucrats pursue ideological agendas, with the full power of government behind them. They are accused of championing frivolous and undemocratic claims, while true violations of human rights sit in enormous case backlogs.

1. Should HRC’s have the ability to designate certain speech as illegal?
2. Should defendants in HRC complaints be granted the same access to free legal resources as complainants?
3. Is there a better way for legitimate violations of Human Rights to be addressed?

All are welcome

HAT Monthly Meeting, Saturday Nov. 13, OISE 1:30pm

Date: Saturday, November 13
Time: 1:30-3pm
Location: OISE, 252 Bloor west, Room tbd
Topic: Advocating for the Homeless and the Poor
Speaker: Cathy Crowe

Cathy Crowe is a nurse, educator and activist, advocating for the homeless and the poor in the areas of housing, public health and social justice. She has degrees in nursing and education from Ryerson and OISE, and has received honorary degrees from the University of Victoria and McMaster University. She also received the Atkinson Charitable Foundation Economic Justice Award in 2004. Cathy is the author of Dying for a Home: Homeless Activists Speak Out.

HAT Book Discussion Group: Sunday, Nov. 7, 11am

Humanist Book Discussion Group
November 7 Sunday- From 11am - 12-30/1:00pm.
OISE, 252 Bloor Street West -- ROOM TBA (check at desk)

Book to be discussed:

The Sacred Balance : Rediscovering Our Place in Nature, updated & expanded
Suzuki, David, Pub. 2007
(or one of the older editions of the same text first published in 1997 - many copies in the library)

" The Sacred Balance is a powerful, passionate book with concrete suggestions for creating an ecologically sustainable, satisfying, and fair future by rediscovering and addressing humanity' s basic needs."
"But what are the real needs that must be satisfied to live rich, fulfilling lives? This is the question David Suzuki explores in this wide-ranging study. Suzuki begins by presenting the concept of people as creatures of the Earth who depend on its gifts of air, water, soil, and sun energy. He shows how people are genetically programmed for the company of other species, and suffer enormously when we fail to live in harmony with them."

Munk Debates - Religion Tony Blair and Chris Hitchens Nov 26

Munk Debates - Religion (see website for livestream fees, tickets from $20-80 on website)
Roy Thomson Hall 60 Simcoe Street, Toronto, Canada

6:30 PM Doors open
7:00 PM Debate begins

The 6th semi-annual Munk Debate will feature practicing Catholic and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair debating bestselling author and atheist Christopher Hitchens. These two world-class debaters will tackle the resolution: be it resolved, religion is a force for good in the world.

The debate will focus on competing claims regarding religion’s effect on human civilization, today and into the future. For example: In a world of globalization and rapid social change does religion provide the common values and ethical foundations that diverse societies need to thrive in the 21st century? Or, do deeply held religious beliefs promote intolerance, exacerbate ethnic divisions, and impede social progress in developing and developed nations alike?

HAT Forum Sat. Oct 16 11am-12pm OISE, "Questioning Islam"

Date: October 16 11am-12pm
Location: OISE, 252 Bloor Street W, ROOM 7-192
Facilitator: Jody Perrin
Topic: Questioning Islam....

Islam is the dominant worldview of about 1.5 billion fellow citizens of our world. It guides the policies and laws of dozens of countries from the Straits of Gibraltar to the tip of Australia and from central Africa to the southern edges of Russia. And through immigration and conversion it is one of the fastest growing faiths in Europe and North America.

1) As a humanist, what is my response to this growing religious/political phemomenon?
2) What do I know about Islam and how did I learn this knowledge?
3) What would I like to know about Islam and how could I acquire reliable information?
4) How useful are terms like "Islamophobia" or "Islamofascism" in our conversation?
5) A personal question that has repeatedly haunted Jodi over the past 2 weeks is:

If Islam is, as many allege, a violent creed spread by sword and blood, why is it that after over 1000 years of Muslim rule in the Middle East, 6 million Coptic Christians reside in Egypt and hundreds of thousands of Christians of Maronite, Syriac, Chaldean and Armenian Churches reside in other Arabic countries.(These churches can trace their heritage to the earliest centuries before the Bishop of Rome asserted his authority in the West!) Europe's last Muslim populations were expelled or massacred in 1492. Refugees from this "Reconquista", both Muslim and Jewish were welcomed in the Muslim ruled lands now called Egypt and Turkey.

HAT Forum, Sat Oct 9, 11am OISE Toronto Mayoral Election 2010

What Toronto Needs - Mayoral election 2010
Humanist Forum, Saturday Oct 9, 11am OISE 7-192
Topic: What Toronto Needs
Facilitator: Robin Russell

As food for thought, how do the candidates stack up on the following categories:

1. Fiscal Responsibility & Strategy
2. Transit Strategy
3. Greater Voter Participation
4. Urban Design
5. Ecology
6. Attracting Global Talent

Who Should Be Elected?
Background reading:
How city council works:

U of T 's alumni magazine
article discussing the topics laid out above
HAT meetings are free and open to members and the public. Call (416) 966-1361 for location information. ___________________________________________________
The Humanist Forum meets Saturday morning 11am-1pm.
The Monthly Meeting, is usually the second Saturday at 1:30pm; specifics should be found on this blog.
The Steering Committee meets the first Wednesday of each month, at 7pm.
The Book Group usually meets on the first Saturday afternoon of the month.