Today, my sister would have turned 52 years old. She passed away from cancer in 2003 at the age of 40. Even after all these years she’s been gone, she is not far away in my memories. Countless times I’ve remembered funny things she did and I also remember the challenging times due to her being mentally challenged. I wanted to honor her on her birthday and to share the eulogy I wrote and gave at her funeral.
I remember the time when I revealed to my family I was a Humanist. It was at our family Christmas shindig. I wore my Humanist Community T-shirt. My Grandma asked me if I was a heathen and some cousins asked how could I celebrate Christmas if I was an atheist. Holidays may have strong religious ties but atheists can enjoy them if the believers work a little harder to include us.
Herb Silverman wrote a couple of posts about the interaction of atheists and believers on the holidays.
June 6th is the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings on the coast of France. The amazing thing is that the whole operation was kept secret and it was a huge gamble. It was such a gamble that General Eisenhower wrote two letters to announce the landings – one if it was successful and the other one if the landings failed. At least 4,000 allied soldiers died on that day.
My grandpa, Wilbur C. Arrington didn’t arrive in Europe until the fall of 1944 when the Germans had been pushed all the way back to their frontier. Grandpa fought in Company I 397th Infantry Regiment of the 100th Division. He was wounded in an attack on an apple butter factory and got the purple heart medal. Although he brought home some souvenirs, like German money, he rarely talked about his service. He will turn 94 this October.
In the decades I’ve been involved in the atheist and Humanist movements, I’ve seen many “inner-party” battles over policy, plans, and actions. Many atheists I know are very vocal to the point they piss off many of my Humanist friends. So-called strident atheists never bothered me because of simple points I keep in mind that lowers my threshold of annoyance. I wish more in the freethought community would keep these hints in mind.
An example of the infighting I’ve seen inside the freethought community can read in an essay by American Humanist Association President David Niose:
This is the time I celebrate my Irish roots from the Kellys and the Thomases. Thanks for taking the risk and coming over here so many years ago. And now a seriously un-PC music video from the band The Tossers that forwards the stereotype that the Irish are drunks – we can be for one day I think.