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.
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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.
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Event: Dying with Dignity AGM Sunday June 5

Dying with Dignity has notified HAT that their annual general meeting will be held on Sunday, June 5th, at the Toronto Public Library, 40 Orchard View Blvd (just west of Yonge, 1.5 blocks north of Eglinton) at 1pm.

If you are a member, or would like to be a member and wish to attend, pls phone 416-486-3998 to reserve a seat.

HAT FORUM: Sat May 28, 11am-1pm, OISE "Environment and Election"

HAT FORUM, Saturday, May 28, 11am - 1pm,
LOCATION:  OISE, 252 Bloor Street West, Room 11-204
FACILITATOR: Isabel  Foot
TOPIC: Why wasn't our relationship with the environment an issue in  the recent federal election?

All are welcome.

End of the World is a $72 Million business

May 21 End of the World: Harold Camping's $72M business
NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- By now, you've probably heard of the religious group that's predicting the end of the world starts this weekend.
(NOTE: Cross-posting this from HumanistNewsWire because SC member Mary confronted these guys in Times Square last month, and asked if they had mortgages. They all said "yes, so what?" They obviously aren't going anywhere on May 21, except home to a good salary...)

Harold Camping and his devoted followers claim a massive earthquake will mark the second coming of Jesus, or so-called Judgment Day on Saturday, May 21, ushering in a five month period of catastrophes before the world comes to a complete end in October. At the center of it all, Camping's organization, Family Radio, is perfectly happy to take your money -- and in fact, received $80 million in contributions between 2005 and 2009. Camping founded Family Radio, a nonprofit Christian radio network based in Oakland, Calif. with about 65 stations across the country, in 1958. But not even all of his own employees are convinced that the world is ending on Saturday. In fact, many still plan on showing up at work on Monday.

"I don't believe in any of this stuff that's going on, and I plan on being here next week," a receptionist at their Oakland headquarters told CNNMoney. A program producer in Illinois told us, "We're going to continue doing what we're doing."

According to their most recent IRS filings, Family Radio is almost entirely funded by donations, and brought in $18 million in contributions in 2009 alone. Take a look at Family Radio's IRS filings According to those financial documents, accountants put the total worth of Family Radio (referred to as Family Stations on its official forms) at $72 million. With those kind of financials -- and controversial beliefs -- it's no wonder skeptics have accused the group of running a scam.

Camping first inaccurately predicted the world would end in 1994. Even so, he has gathered even more followers -- some who have given up their homes, entire life savings and their jobs because they believe the world is ending. Esther, the receptionist in the Oakland office, said some of her most extreme coworkers have recently driven up in fancy cars or taken their families on nice vacations as a last hurrah.

But overall, she estimates about 80% of her coworkers don't even agree with Camping's May 21 forecast. She has stuck to her work as usual, booking appointments and filling up calendars for her coworkers well beyond the May 21 date. Meanwhile, some employees are questioning the meaning of Harold Camping's goodbye letter sent to the Family Radio mailing list last week. While he says farewell, he encourages employees to "steadfastly continue to stand with us to proclaim the Gospel through Family Radio."

Could that mean he plans on disappearing, but the company should still go about its business as usual? The producer in Illinois said, "We're trying to guess what it means for the company. Our producers have programs done through the end of the month, so we're not looking at that having any effect on the work."

Also curious is why Family Radio filed for an extension to file their financial paperwork. The group is required to file financial paperwork in many of the states where they solicit donations, and in Minnesota they requested an extension from their July 15 deadline to November 15.

"At first glance, it looks like they have a lot of assets, but they actually don't have a lot of cash that they're stockpiling," said Laurie Styron, analyst with the American Institute of Philanthropy. Most of the group's net worth is tied up in FCC broadcasting licenses, valued at $56 million. Family Radio claimed it held only $1.5 million in cash on its books at the end of 2009. The paperwork shows Camping has so far, never taken a penny for his own salary, but Family Radio has plenty of other paid employees.

Skippy's Atheist BLog becomes Leave Faith Behind

A note from Jeffrey Olsson former creator of Skippy's Atheist Blog, which was listed on our website blog roll.
I have folded that blog and now use LEAVE FAITH BEHIND a website name that is similar to the name of my new book "Leaving Faith Behind".

Thanks for keeping my blog on your website, I appreciate the publicity!

Jeffrey Olsson
President, Humanist Association of Manitoba
jdolsson@shaw.ca

HAT FORUM, Sat. May 21 (Woodsworth College)

HAT Forum
Saturday, May 21, 11am,
Topic: Amnesty and impunity
Facilitator: Moses Klein
Location: Woodsworth College Residence.
(WCR) is the new building at the south east corner of Bloor and St. George.
From Bloor walk down St. George to the southern most entrance of the building; it faces St. George and its glass doors announce 'ROTMAN COMMERCE'. Ignore that. You are looking for a classroom at the basement level, so enter and take the wide yellow staircase down. At the bottom, just look around. The closest room on your right is marked WO 20. That’s ours. - Thanks Bill!

Should deposed dictators be prosecuted for abuses committed while in power? Do such prosecutions deter the crimes of the powerful, or encourage more desperate abuses by those afraid to lose power? Under what circumstances, if any, is amnesty advisable?"

May 17 is IDAHO, International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia

UK Humanists support new parliamentary motion on International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHO)
(Note: Lady Gaga guest Editor in Chief for Metro on the International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia     On May 17th, Lady Gaga will be acting editor in chief for all  editions of the worldwide free daily paper METRO !  Ahead of the release of her new album ’Born This Way’ on May 23rd, the  global Diva will be commenting on global issues on May 17th, in a  renewed expression of her very visible commitment for Human Rights.  Says Maggie Samways, executive vice president and global  editor-in-chief. “Lady Gaga is an extraordinary force, and we’re both  excited to explore the issues of equality and human ...)

The British Humanist Association (BHA) and the Gay and Lesbian Humanist Association (GALHA) have come together to back a new initiative in support of the seventh annual International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia  (IDAHO). The organisations worked with Liberal Democrat MP Stephen  Gilbert in tabling an ‘Early Day Motion’ (EDM) in support of IDAHO,  which has co-sponsoring MPs from across the political parties.
IDAHO, held annually on 17 May, is a day to promote anti-homophobic  and anti-transphobic messages on a global level. The aim of IDAHO is to  increase awareness of the problem of world-wide homophobia and  transphobia, and to provide a platform for activity at all levels in the  fight against discrimination and persecution.
UK  EDM 1780 states: That this House welcomes the annual International  Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia on 17 May 2011; supports those  local authorities, police, health authorities and voluntary  organisations who will mark this day with events, campaigns and  statements of support; further supports the raising of the rainbow flag  to reaffirm that homophobia and transphobia are unacceptable wherever  they occur, whether in the UK or around the world; and calls on the  Government to bring full equality to lesbian, gay, bisexual and  transgender (LGBT) people in the UK and to actively encourage equality  for LGBT people around the world.
Stephen Gilbert MP stated, ‘Around the world gay,  lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people continue to experience  discrimination and prejudice at home, at school, in the office and in  the street and it’s time this changed.  Equality for the LGBT community  isn’t an optional extra for Governments around the world – it’s time  that the community was treated with the same respect and enjoyed the  same rights and opportunities as the straight community.’
BHA Head of Public Affairs Naomi Phillips commented,  ‘We just need to look at the serious moves to impose prison sentences  and even the death penalty for gay people in Uganda, the position of  Anglican churches in Africa towards gay people, the Vatican’s refusal to  sign a UN resolution calling for the decriminalisation of  homosexuality, or the execution of gay teenagers in Iran, to see that  religiously-inspired hatred against people because of who they are or  who they sleep with remains a deep problem in many parts of the world.  It is ever-more important to join together with others to tackle the  rise in homophobic and transphobic violence and hate throughout the  world.
‘Discrimination and persecution of people who are lesbian, gay,  bisexual or transgendered continues to exist, so we urge people to show  support for IDAHO, and to ask their MPs to sign this EDM in order to  demonstrate recognition of this important day at all levels.’
Derek Lennard from the Gay and Lesbian Humanist Association  said, ‘GALHA has been very pleased to coordinate IDAHO activities in  the UK since its formation in 2005. We very much appreciate the support  of the BHA in doing this and look forward to the day when LGBT people  from around the world have full and equal rights.’

ONE SCHOOL SYSTEM conference May 28, York: Call for more volunteers

Volunteers needed! One School System Network Conference Sat., May 28, 2011

Just a reminder from the HAT steering committee that the One School System Network is holding a conference  entitled Tear Down the Wall: One School System For All at the North York Civic Centre in Toronto on May 28, 2011.  Its aim is to end religious segregation in public schools in Ontario.  Volunteers will be admitted free, of course.

We have five volunteers but need more, and duties needed are:

**monitor the display table
**attend registration
**make a banner
**buy food and supervise the mid-morning break and lunch table

If you feel you could help on May 28, please respond by email to
Gary Fitzgibbon, gary.fitzgibbon@gmail.com or Sheila Ayala, sheila@secularism.net

Fair Vote Canada National Day of Action for Electoral Reform : Toronto Time now 3pm

Fair Vote Canada to participate in National Day of Action for Electoral Reform | Fair Vote Canada

The Canadian federal election of May 2 returned a majority Conservative government with 167 seats, but the Conservative party received only 39.62% of the votes, one of the least legitimate majority governments in Canadian history.

This blatantly distorted election outcome has generated a spontaneous reaction in the electorate. Saturday, May 14 has been designated a national Day of Action for Electoral Reform, and protest rallies are being planned across the country.

All demonstrations to be held at 2:00 pm local time except Toronto at 3:00 pm. @ Queens Park
Toronto info:
Wayne Smith, Executive Director
Wayne.Smith@FairVote.Ca
416-407-7009

[NOTE: the Toronto Rally time has been changed, so it is possible to attend the Toronto Fair Vote Rally after the Monthly Meeting Presentation at OISE on May 14]

HAT Forum, Sat. May 14, 11am, OISE : "Terrorism"

HAT FORUM:  Sat. May 14, 11am-1pm.
LOCATION:  OISE, 252 Bloor St West. Room 11-204
TOPIC:  What are the root causes of terrorism and what can be done to defeat it?
FACILITATOR:  Caitriona Hughes

There is a lot of contention regarding the definition of terrorism. Is one's viewpoint on the actions of various terrorist groups simply a case of moral relativity?
  • How has the media contributed to our understanding of terrorism? Do you think that it is fairly portrayed and investigated within the media?
  • Should terrorism be judged in terms of it's consequences or is terrorism's moral status determined solely by what it is in itself?
  • Discuss some of the motivating factors for terrorism for example oppression, lack of human rights, the need for social change and varying political or religious ideologies.
  • In instances of oppression and marginalization; what alternative methods are at the people's disposal when affecting social change? 
  • Do the political ideologies of terrorism act in the interests of the people they are claiming to liberate? 
  • Is terrorism ever justified? Consider for example Northern Ireland, Cuba or Palestine.
  • Is there a difference between targeting civilians or non-combatants at random and targeting specifically members of the armed forces or political leaders?
  • Consider the consequences of not using terrorism in recent history.

HAT BOOK GROUP: Sun. June 5, OISE, 11am "1984"

HAT BOOK GROUP
DATE: SUNDAY  June 5th at 11:00 am at OISE, 252 Bloor Street West

Book to be discussed: Nineteen eighty-four  by George Orwell.

(Toronto Public Library: 15 holds / 94 copies)
Nineteen Eighty-Four revealed George Orwell as one of the twentieth century’s greatest mythmakers. While the totalitarian system that provoked him into writing it has since passed into oblivion, his harrowing cautionary tale of a man trapped in a political nightmare has had the opposite fate: its relevance and power to disturb our complacency seem to grow decade by decade
All welcome - for information, please contact Jody Perrin @ 416-925-3395

Event: Fair Vote Canada, Electorial Reform, Queens Park May 14

OPTIONS FOR ELECTORAL REFORM IN CANADA
Queen’s Park, Saturday May 14, 2pm
More info Facebook

*Non partisan event focusing on our voting system that rarely represents us
*Wayne Smith, Fair Vote Canada, Executive Director, will be one of the speakers.
*Fair Vote will have placards and leaflets available: FVC meeting location TBA
See also (www.facebook.com/fairvotetoronto)
Further information from event organizers:

Conference: One School System Network | End public funding of religious schools in Ontario

One School System Network | End public funding of religious schools in Ontario
An important conference will take place at the end of May. This conference is of prime interest to the public, teachers, teacher’s unions, school boards and all those involved with education in Ontario.

TEAR DOWN THE WALL – ONE SCHOOL SYSTEM FOR ALL
Sponsored by the One School System Network
Location: North York Civic Centre
5100 Yonge Street Toronto, ON M2N 5V7
Date: Saturday, 28th May, 2011
Time: 9:30-6:00 pm
Admission: $20.00 $5.00 for students and seniors.
(Includes morning break refreshments and lunch)
Cheques to be written out to One School System Network and sent to:
One School System Network
PO Box 8733 Stn T
Ottawa ON K1G 3J1

HAT FORUM LOCATION on VICTORIA DAY WEEKEND, May 21

Woodsworth College Residence (WCR) is the new building at the south east corner of Bloor and St. George.
From Bloor walk down St. George to the southern most entrance of the building; it faces St. George and its glass doors announce ROTMAN COMMERCE. Ignore that. You are looking for a classroom at the basement level, so enter and take the wide yellow staircase down. At the bottom, just look around. The closest room on your right is marked WO 20. Thats ours. (As youve just guessed, the WO is code for Woodsworth) - Thanks Bill!  

HAT FORUM Sat May 7, 11am OISE: The Election

HAT  Forum -  SAT. May 7, 2011, 11am - 1pm
LOCATION:  OISE, 252 Bloor Street W, Room 11-204
TOPIC:  The Election Results

1. How do you feel about the results?
2. What do you think was the influence of the Conservative attack ads? Will this affect future campaigns?
3. Why was the focus on personality rather than policy?
4. Why was the Contempt of Parliament citation a non-issue?
5. How much did the media and poll reporting influence the outcome?
6. It appears that the NDP will have less influence as the Opposition to a majority Conservative government than it had to a minority Conservative government. What role will it play?
7. The NDP caucus will be 60% from Quebec. Will its Western base make for a raucous caucus?
8. Will the results influence the October Ontario election?

All are welcome to this free discussion.
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.