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 Saturday, Jan 30th 2016
11:00 a.m. to 1 p.m.
519 Church St. Room 303
"Conflicts within liberalism"
Proposer: Richard Dowsett

There is an ongoing conflict in countries such as Canada, the USA and Britain. The widely held values of social liberalism (Protection of Basic Liberties, Equality of Opportunity, Progress as a goal, issue based politics) have been challenged by a newer form of Liberalism that has a different set of values (A recognition of oppression as a primary ill, the desire to redress past ills, the concern that all institutions and societal are tainted by bias, the questioning of progress, the importance of culture, religion and identity as the primary drivers of politics). These values go beyond and are sometimes in conflict with the original ones.

1.    Describe your own affiliations with each of these schools of thought? What do you see as their benefits and drawbacks as a method to achieving societal goals?
2.    In social liberalism, there is a belief that society can change and progress to achieve higher levels of freedom, equality and benefits for its members. Discuss.
a)    Comment on the strong criticisms that social liberal Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders has received from Black Activists about his lack of racial sensitivity.
3.    In new the liberalism, there is a belief that society is basically flawed. Redress of historic oppression and relief of current oppression must be prioritized over equality and basic liberties (i.e. free speech). Discuss.
a)    Comment on the backlash that “New Atheists” (e.g. Dawkins & Harris) have received from certain quarters with the new liberal community (Greenwald, Myers)
4.    In the past, Multiculturalism has been viewed as Interculturalism, fusing the best of different cultures to produce a better culture as a whole. New liberalism approaches Multiculturalism as minority identities under threat of assimilation or appropriation by the dominant culture and therefore needing protection. How do you react to each of these conceptions?
5.    The new liberalism asserts the rights of minority cultures against integration. How can countries like Canada defend these rights while prohibiting those (allegedly) cultural practices that the state judges illiberal (e.g. the subjugation of women or LGBT people?)

HAT Forum Saturday, Jan 16th 2016
11:00 a.m. to 1 p.m.
519 Church St. Room 303
"Charitable Giving from a Humanist Perspective"
Proposer: Richard Dowsett

While HAT is in the midst of its largest charitable project and fund-raising effort in many years, this may be a good opportunity to reflect on our society’s and our own giving habits and what they should be according to our Humanist Principles.

1. 1. HAT’s 7th principle is as follows:

“Human Ethics: *Ethical decisions* should be made in the context of real people, real situations, *real human needs* and aspirations and the consideration of *real consequences*. Humanism combines personal liberty with *social responsibility*. It affirms the dignity of every person, the right of the individual to the greatest possible freedom compatible with the rights of others, and the need for *community*. Without this context we risk the worst excesses of ideology.”

The *bolded phrases* would seem to impinge most upon the giving habits of HAT members. How does your consideration of these phrases affect your giving habits?

2. 2. According to Stats Can determine our charitable giving by which organizations ask for our time or money. i.e. it’s a decision made more by reflex that by plan.What are the benefits and drawbacks or giving in this way?

3. 3. What criteria, if any, do you use to determine what causes benefit from your time and money?

4. 4. What have been the effects of Social Media and technology (e.g. internet, e-mail) on charitable  concerns and giving of money, time and attention?

5. 5. Charities distributing collected funds (and governments distributing tax dollars) usually put certain qualification requirements on the recipients. In what ways can this be an unwarranted intrusion or unreasonable manipulation of those in need? Stats Can Report

Best Regards,

Richard Dowsett

HAT Forum:
Sat Jan 9th 2015 11:00a.m. - 1:00p.m.
519 Church Street Rm 303
Does the world need more Canada?

proposed by Moses Klein

A quote attributed to Bono, but probably repeated mostly by Canadians, is that "the world needs more Canada". Is that wisdom, or are we just flattering ourselves?
(1) Does the world need to become more like Canada? In what ways should it, or should it not?
(2) Does the world benefit from the involvement of Canada? What forms of involvement does the world need more of, or not?
(3) Do other countries have a comparable claim that the world needs more of them?
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.