Home > Community > Podcasts


Sunday School, ages 2 to pre-KSubscribe to podcasts of selected Ethical Society Platforms (MP3s) by webfeed (RSS) podcast
or download individual presentations by using one of the links below. All of these podcasts are live recordings of regular Sunday Platform addresses to the St. Louis Ethical Society.

To discuss our podcasts, please visit our podcasts on the blog. For Platform addresses from earlier than 2005, please see our Text of Platform Addresses page.

Need an MP3 Player? Download iTunes for the PC or Mac.

New to Ethical Society? See our Best of Podcasts to learn more about Ethical Humanism.

If you like our podcasts, please consider making a tax-deductible donation to help maintain this website.

Podcasts last Updated: 10/19/2014

To Whom Do Our Lives Belong? Part I Kate Lovelady, Leader, 5-Oct-2014 podcast

This two-part talk will explore the now perhaps old-fashioned notion of duty in ethical living, and how we balance our individual needs with the needs of others. We will look at questions such as: How do we determine the difference between what is right and what is allowed? When and how should one make individual sacrifices for another person or group? What do we owe to other generations? Is the current focus on happiness the best way to live--Is it even making us happy?

Get the .MP3 file

Raising Kids in a Media-Saturated World, Dr. Ken Haller, 9-Sep-2014 podcast

Twenty-first century kids are exposed to media in forms that are still emerging and that can be challenging for parents. While the promise of media and the opportunity that available to kids through media seems limit-less, parents are all too aware of the access media can provide to inappropriate material and the dangers of social media, most notoriously cyberbullying. Find out what tools are available to parents and what techniques have proven most valuable to help parents raise ethical kids in a media-saturated world.

Ken Haller, MD, F.A.A.P., is an Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the Saint Louis University School of Medicine and SSM Cardinal Glennon Children’s Medical Center. He appears frequently in local and national media discussing child health issues and has been an advocate for children living in underserved areas. His special interests include health literacy, the effects of media on children, and the special health needs of LGBT youth. He is the current Secretary/Treasurer of the Missouri State Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Get the .MP3 file

Leaving Home, Finding Yourself, James Croft, Leader-in-training, 21-Sep-2014 podcast

Home: it's not just where we live, it’s where we make our lives. But what about when we leave and move to a new place? How can we deal with the stress and upheaval leaving home brings? Leader in Training James Croft - who has just moved to St. Louis himself - will explore how we can endure leaving home, and how it can help you learn about yourself.

Get the .MP3 file

Home, Kate Lovelady, Leader, 14-Sep-2014 podcast

Several years ago the Society began officially describing itself as "A Welcoming Home for Humanists." This year we mark the 50th anniversary of the Society’s home on Clayton Road. One of the definitions of humanists is "people who feel at home in the natural world." This morning we’ll explore the concept of home: What do we mean by home? How does it feel to have or not have a home? How do we find a home? How can we help others feel more at home, in the world and in our community?

Get the .MP3 file

Members speak on their anniversaries: Jane Arrigo, Gene Bertram, and Hannah Katz-Urvan, 7-Sep-2014 podcast

Three members speak as we honor their decades of membership in the Ethical Society of St. Louis.

Get the .MP3 file

Leading a Generous Life, Krystal White, 17-Aug-2014 podcast

Each person (young and old, rich and poor) has the capacity to make a difference through thoughtful and strategic giving and community service. Krystal will share elements of her life story that compel and inspire her to service and intentional philanthropy. She will also provide practical suggestions of how to increase your family’s commitment to service and impact with philanthropy as well.

Krystal Snow White is a spouse, mother, sister, teacher, volunteer, humanist, optimist, and pragmatist. In addition to her service to the Ethical Society and MICDS, Krystal regularly volunteers at Hope Clinic for Women, the Saint Louis Area Food Bank, and as a Girl Scout troop leader. She firmly believes that each person can create positive change and that inspired people working together make our world a better place.

Get the .MP3 file

A 50 Year Overview of Marriage, Kent and Jo-Ellen Ballak Forrest, 10-Aug-2014 podcast

Jo-Ellen and Kent will celebrate their 50th Anniversary on August 15. This presentation will focus on their beginnings as a couple; a review of different marital definitions; their own marital path of trials and compromises; some observations on con-temporary marriage/relationships and the future; and finally, what are the essential ingredients for a Humanist marriage or relationship.

Kent & Jo-Ellen Ballak Forrest have been married for 50 years and have always lived in the St. Louis area. They have both retired following long careers teaching in the public schools systems. Jo-Ellen taught kindergarten and 1st grade while Kent taught secondary Social Studies and later computer education. They were members of the Ethical Society from 1967 to 1985 serving as Youth Group Sponsor, Sunday School Director(s) and various organizational activities. They returned to the Ethical Society in 2011 and have picked up again with a variety of committees and activities including Development, Building & Grounds, TWA and the Men's Group. They also run the book cart on Sunday morning after platform. They have two children and three grand-children who live in Ballwin and happily perform occasional guard duty with them. They are both Apple technology fanatics and have raised their family members accordingly.

Get the .MP3 file

Living Requires Dealing with Change, member Fred Tuttle, 3-Aug-2014 podcast

A member of the Ethical Society for 43 years, Fred Tuttle will talk about experiences influencing how an individual thinks and acts. He observes the huge technology changes of our times, societal shifts and personal changes. He’ll also make comments on how changes influence the Ethical Society. How well we live depends upon our ability to deal with change that will occur and over which we have no control. Many people are very unhappy and make themselves ill because they can-not control individual and collective behavior and cannot stop change.

Fred Tuttle was born May 21, 1930, in San Francisco, CA. He was the eldest of three boys and a girl. He grew up in Arlington, VA, where his father worked for the Federal Government. His mother died when he was 20 from a heart condition. His father died when he was 27. Fred graduated from Virginia Polytechnic Institute in 1952 with honors and a degree in Industrial Engineering. He worked continuously from age 12 until age 63 ½ with 38 ½ of those years at McDonnell-Douglas in St. Louis. He pioneered real time digital computing in flight control systems and simulators. Fred married Bruce (Brucie) Miller in 1951 while still in college. They have three children, six grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren. They lived in Florissant for 50 years before moving to Friendship Village Chesterfield in 2007.

Get the .MP3 file

Trends in Reproductive Rights, Reverend Rebecca Turner, 27-Jul-2014 podcast

Laws like the recent 72-hour waiting period passed by the Missouri legislature are not isolated incidents created by a few rogue troublemakers. They are carefully planned strategies by those who want to criminalize all abortion services. Trends move around the country in predictable ways. Recent frightening trends include misinformation about contraceptive pills, blaming rape victims, and conscience clauses that excuse "religious" people from obeying law. Learn how to stop these negative trends and create positive trends to improve the climate for women in Missouri.

Reverend Rebecca Turner is Executive Director of Faith Aloud and a returning guest to the Ethical Society. She is a minister in both the United Church of Christ and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). She was recently named the first "Resident Theologian in Reproductive Justice" at Judson Memorial Church in New York City. In recent years, she was named one of "13 Religious Women to Watch: Changing the World for Good" by the Center for American Progress, "Person of the Year" by the Abortion Care Network, and "Outstanding Contributor to Advance Women's Equality" by the Missouri Women's Network.

Get the .MP3 file

Home Is and Is Not School: One Mom's Twenty-Year Experience Learning with Her Children, Regina Till, 20-Jul-2014 podcast

Regina Till, a twenty-plus year member of the Ethical Society of St. Louis and homeschooling veteran of two graduated home-schooled children, will talk about her family's experience homeschooling over the years, what homeschooling is and is not (maybe with some surprises), and answer questions from any interested. "I never teach my pupils; I only attempt to provide the conditions in which they can learn." ~Albert Einstein

Regina (Reggie), along with being a former homeschooling parent, had a professional career in ballet and has a degree in performing arts and English. Among other things, she has taught group classes in the great books, poetry, and dance, and is currently pursuing new directions in performance art and fiction writing, while reminding herself of that truism, once you think you have it all figured out, think again.

Get the .MP3 file

Much Is Given, Much Is Expected: The Obligations of America’s Great Universities, Provost Holden Thorp, Washington University, 13-Jul-2014 podcast

The highly resourced re-search universities of the United States command extensive financial, physical, and human resources. Yet with these resources come great expectations from multiple stakeholders on the roles that universities can play, and these often ex-tend significantly beyond teaching and research into community development, real estate, entertainment, economic development, K-12 education, and more. While the value of a college degree has never been higher, significant questions are being asked about the value of a college education, the rising cost of tuition, and the applicability of academic research. The solution to these questions is for universities to rededicate themselves to the core functions of research and teaching, to realize and demonstrate the benefits of academic research, and to ask hard questions about the nature of undergraduate education. Realizing these changes in an environment where there are great civic expectations of universities is a tremendous ethical challenge facing the United States and its college towns.

Provost Thorp became Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs on July 1, 2013 and also holds an endowed chair in chemistry and medicine. Provost Thorp joined Washington University after spending three decades at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He served as the Chancellor of UNC from 2008 through 2013.

A North Carolina native, Thorp started at UNC as an undergraduate student and earned a bachelor of science degree in chemistry with highest honors in 1986. He earned a doctorate in chemistry in 1989 at the California Institute of Technology and completed post-doctoral work at Yale University. In his research career, Thorp developed technology for electronic DNA chips and most recently co-founded Viamet Pharmaceuticals, which is commercializing new drugs for anti-fungal and prostate cancer indications. He is currently a member of the National Security Higher Education Advisory Board, the Board of Trustees of the National Humanities Center, and is currently chairing a committee for the National Academy of Sciences charged with establishing and promoting a culture of safety in academic laboratory research.

Get the .MP3 file

Aging in Place: It Takes a Village, Madeline Franklin, 29-Jun-2014 podcast

Nearly 90% of Americans age 50+ desire to remain in their homes and communities rather than to relocate to age - segregated facilities. They want to maintain control of their lives in a safe and socially - connected manner. A national "village" movement now makes this possible. The village movement combines the best news ideas in the community that promote healthy aging and volunteerism to create the new face of aging in America. Madeline Franklin will describe STL Village which recently opened in St. Louis.

Madeline Franklin is a life-long resident of the City of St. Louis. She received her elementary and secondary education in the St. Louis Public Schools. She continued her education at Macalester College, St. Paul, MN and Washington University in St. Louis School of Law. She has served in numerous capacities with nonprofit organizations as a legal adviser, board member, fund developer, and volunteer. She presently serves as Central Administrator for STL Village where she has been involved in its development for the past year. She is actively involved in numerous out- reach ministries at Central Baptist Church.

Get the .MP3 file

Four Countries, One Family, Leslie Memula, 22-Jun-2014 podcast

Reference letters and home studies, background checks and biometrics, dossiers and immigration approvals. It's all part of becoming a family when you choose to adopt internationally! Come learn more about adoption from someone who has navigated the process not once but twice.

Leslie and her husband, Raj, made the decision to build their family through international adoption. They re-searched adoption for two years before formally be-ginning the process in March of 2009. In the summer of 2010 Leslie and Raj traveled to Ethiopia to meet their son (then 21 months old) and bring him home. In early 2013 they decided to expand their family. They recently traveled to China to complete the adoption of their 4 1/2 year-old daughter.

Leslie grew up in the St. Louis area. She currently works in education at the Litzsinger Road Ecology Center.

Get the .MP3 file

Father's Day - Members Speak, Jim Jordan, Alan Ranford, Billie Teneau, and surprise guests, 15-Jun-2014 podcast

Come celebrate Father’s Day with the thoughts and memories of members Jim Jordan, Alan Ranford, and Billie Teneau, as well as surprise guests. Our speakers will share their experiences of having and/or being fathers, and the joys and challenges of parenting and being parented. Last-minute gifts of ties and cologne not included!

Get the .MP3 file

The Ethics of Polyamory, David Wraith, 8-Jun-2014 podcast

This talk will discuss polyamory (consensual non-monogamy) as a type of relationship structure that exists today. Topics include the myriad of non-monogamous relationship structures, the ethics of polyamory, negotiation and con-sent, time management, how polyamorous structures can exist in an ostensibly monogamous world, and a personal perspective on a poly-amorous life.

David Wraith is a Saint Louis native, writer, filmmaker, performance artist, activist for peace, and a co-founder of Sex Positive St. Louis (sexstl.com). He's a poly-amorous queer heterosexual and has spent much of his adult life advocating for women’s reproductive freedom; gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender rights; and people living with HIV. He blogs at www.davidwraith.com.

Get the .MP3 file

Right to Work: Can Democracy Stand the Assault on Unions? Dennis Roach, 18-May-2014 podcast

Thirty-six years ago, in 1978, Missouri voters rejected by state-wide referendum the anti-union "Right to Work" proposal. In 2014 we are again faced with the prospect of another such referendum. Dennis Roach will explain what the "Right to Work" law is as well as dis-cuss his thoughts on democracy and the role of unions. What is the relationship be-tween political and economic democracy? Can we have one without the other? Dennis will also discuss his extensive experience with union activism and the role it played in his personal development.

Since 1991 Dennis has been an active member of the Ethical Society, twice serving as a member of the Board of Trustees and acting as an adult advisor for the Youth Group for many years. Professionally he is an engineer and currently designs control enclosures for industry. In 2012 Dennis was elected to serve as the Democratic Committeeman for the Bonhomme Township. He began his working life in a factory. Prior to becoming an engineer, Dennis was active in local IBEW 2352, instrumental in establishing the Labor Studies Center at Forest Park Community College, and chaired the Citizen's Committee Against the Right to Work in 1978.

Get the .MP3 file

How Looks (Mis)Lead Us, Kate Lovelady, Leader, 11-May-2014 podcast

How people look, dress, talk, and so on can give us valuable clues to their personality and identity, and to some extent judging others by their appearance is efficient and helpful. But appearances can also lead us astray, particularly as generations and cultures change. How can we become more aware of our own and others' automatic judgments, and better affirm the worth and dignity of every person?

Get the .MP3 file

Doing Less for the Environment, Kate Lovelady, Leader, 20-Apr-2014 podcast

This year Easter falls very near Earth Day, which is appropriate, as most tradition-al religious spring celebrations are variations on the themes of the cycle of life and our appreciation for the renewal of the growing sea-son and the warmth and good feelings that brings. In this era of looming climate crisis, our Core Value to cherish this earth and all the life upon it requires that we not only appreciate nature but also be willing to change our lives as necessary to en-sure a healthy environment for future generations. This platform will explore some ways of doing more to cherish our earth - paradoxically, by doing less. ETHICAL EXTRA CREDIT: Try to use less unrenewable energy to come to platform this Sunday—bike, walk, carpool, take public transportation, carjack a Tesla (okay, not that last one)...

Get the .MP3 file

Beyond Coal: An Ethical Case for Transitioning to Clean Energy, Sara Edgar, Sierra Club, 6-Apr-2014 podcast

Sara Edgar is an Organizer for the Beyond Coal campaign with the Missouri Sierra Club. The Sierra Club is the oldest and largest grass-roots environmental organization in the country. She will discuss the detrimental impacts of burning coal on our health, climate, and economy and our opportunities to transition to a clean energy future.

Get the .MP3 file

The Benefits of Competition, Kate Lovelady, Leader, 30-Mar-2014 podcast

At the Ethical Society, we tend to highlight the positive goods that can come from cooperation. So in this address, we'll look at how com-petition too can be ethical, healthy, and helpful, and sometimes yield the best results. Note: This platform topic was suggested by Steve Harris, winner of last year's silent auction "platform address" item.

Get the .MP3 file

Retaining College Graduates in St. Louis, Peg Weathers, 23-Mar-2014 podcast

St. Louis falls 30% below national average in retaining college graduates in the region after graduation. If St. Louis were able to retain even a small percentage of non-native graduates it would result in a huge influx of knowledge workers entering the local economy every year. In order to keep these "knowledge workers" in St. Louis after graduation the region needs to act as one big campus attracting, en-gaging and eventually retaining the graduates through cultural connections, internships, and eventually jobs. By convincing more graduates to stay in the region through identifying connections to the community during their undergraduate education St. Louis will invigorate its workforce, improve its global reputation as a city of intellect and attract even more students and young college graduates to the region.

Peg Weathers is the Assistant Vice President for Community Relations at Saint Louis University where she works to strengthen the university’s connection to the community through outreach initiatives and joint projects involving the University and the greater community. Previously, she was Executive Vice President for Grand Center, Inc. where she launched and managed successful efforts for the creation of the Grand Center Community Improvement District and the Grand Center Tax Increment Finance District. Peg has been involved with politics at the State and local levels, serving as Deputy Campaign Director for Bob Holden's 2000 Governor's race and working on Francis Slay’s first mayoral campaign in 2001. She was an appointee in the Clinton Administration, 1993-2000, as the Director of Scheduling and Advance for both the Secretary of Transportation, Federico Peña, and the Secretary of Energy, Bill Richardson. Peg is on the Board of the National Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse-St. Louis. She holds a B.A. in Speech Communication and a M.A. in Radio, TV, Film from the University of Missouri-Columbia.

Get the .MP3 file

Kids Today!... Kate Lovelady, Leader, 9-Mar-2014 podcast

"What on Earth is wrong with kids today?" is the perennial cry of every adult generation—along with "Get off my lawn! What are the changes and issues related to young people that we as a society should actually be concerned about, if any? And how can we get beyond the battle of generations fed by our youth-obsessed culture, beyond either idealizing or condemning, so that we can all appreciate the good and deal clearly with the challenges of every stage of life?

Get the .MP3 file

White Privilege, Kate Lovelady, Leader, 16-Feb-2014 podcast

February's platform addresses are on aspects of diversity—the different experiences that individuals and groups have in our region and our country. The term "white privilege" refers to the fact that whites (and people who are assumed by others to be whites) receive special advantages and benefits in American society. How does white privilege work? How can we understand it alongside the fact that many whites also suffer negatively due to sexism, poverty, plain bad luck, etc.? And how can whites understand white privilege not as something merely to feel guilty or defensive about, but as a reality with which we need to grapple to further ethical development?

Get the .MP3 file

Mexican Immigration, Deborah Cohen PhD, 9-Feb-2014 33:42 podcast

Dr. Deborah Cohen is a historian of the United States and Mexico. Her first book, Braceros: Migrant Citizens and Transnational Subjects in Postwar United States and Mexico, examines the bracero program to show how this migration and its inherent tensions and contradictions produced a particular kind of subject imperfectly aligned with either nation. She holds a Ph.D. in History from the University of Chicago and has published in the Journal of American Ethnic Studies, Clio (a French Feminist journal), Hispanic American Historical Review, and Estudios Sociologicos (Mexico City). She and Lessie Jo Frazier co-edited Gender and Sexuality in 1968: Transformative Politics in the Cultural Imagination, a volume about gender in the many social movements occurring in 1968, and are completing Beyond '68: Gender, Social Movements, and Political Culture in the 1968 Mexican Student Movement and its Legacies, a book that uses women's participation in the l968 movement as a unique window onto the broader social, political, and cultural tensions and shifts occurring since the 1940s. Her other specialties and interests include Feminist Theory, Critical Race Theory, Queer Theory, Postcolonial Theory, and the growing field of Transnational History.

Get the .MP3 file

Mass Incarcerations: A Crisis of the Spirit, Adjoa A. Aiyetoro, 2-Feb-2014 podcast

What does the United States' incarceration rate say about this country? The U.S. has the highest rate of incarceration in the Western world. People of color and the poor are disproportionately represented in jails and prisons throughout this country. What is the fallacy in the oft-repeated adage "If you do the crime, you do the time?" There is a relationship between the structural barriers to meaningful participation in the United States placed in the paths of people of color and the poor and incarceration. If we are to live in a society that truly values all human beings equally, we must understand and address the way the criminal justice system targets people of color and the poor.

Adjoa A. Aiyetoro is an Associate Professor of Law at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and the Director of the Racial Disparities in the Arkansas Criminal Justice System Research Project. She began her legal career as a staff attorney with the United States Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Special Litigation Section, where she litigated cases involving the rights of the institutionalized and developed an expertise in prisoner rights. She joined the ACLU National Prison Project in 1981 where she remained until 1992. Since 1992 she has served as the Executive Director of the National Conference of Black Lawyers, the Director of Ad-ministration for the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Inc., a consultant to the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, and the Chief Legal Consultant for the National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America (N'COBRA).

Get the .MP3 file

Turning On Our Engines, Kate Lovelady, Leader, 26-Jan-2014 podcast

Start your engines, Ethical Society, it's pledgin' time! The theme of the pledge campaign this year is Bridges to the Future and as part of that campaign Society members and lay leaders will be imaging the Society of 2025. But in order to cross those bridges and get to that future, we will need to make some decisions and some commitments. Do we want to keep coasting along at our leisurely pace, or is it time to rev our engines and shift into higher gear? It's up to us - What do we want, and When do we want it?

Get the .MP3 file

HateBrakers, Susan Balk, 19-Jan-2014 podcast

HateBrakers was founded with the goal of helping people overcome hate - hate between races, cultures and even schoolchildren who bully each other. It's based on the premise that people can change.

Susan Balk is the Founding Director of HateBrakers. She has written for Rolling Stone, The New York Times, and Vogue, and is the author of "Fame" and "Vienna's Conscience: Close-ups and Conversations after Hitler," which was published in 2007, followed by an international exhibit on permanent display at the UN in Vienna. Susan was literary editor of Playboy. She consulted for TimeWarner, NewsCorp, Disney, Daishinsha (Tokyo) and Groupe L'Express (Paris). She taught at The Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University.

Get the .MP3 file

Loneliness, Kate Lovelady, Leader, 12-Jan-2014 podcast

Practically every person in the world has felt lonely at some point in life. For some, loneliness is a more chronic condition. We can feel lonely because we don’t have enough companionship in our lives, or sometimes even if we’re surrounded by people. Loneliness is a topic that often provokes shame or self-blame, and so it is discussed less often than it should be. Loneliness has real physical and psychological consequences if left unattended, but if we pay attention to our loneliness and the messages it might be telling us, we can address it and make our lives better.

Get the .MP3 file

Winter Tales That Warm the Heart, Chris Sutton, 29-Dec-2013 podcast

You never know what you will find at the center of these classic chronicles of intrigue, passion, and destiny, but one thing is certain: it will leave you thinking. So sit back and immerse yourself in these touching tales geared toward older teens and adults to discover just what can happen when fate moves its huge hand in these simple, ordinary circumstances.

Chris Sutton is an experienced actor, voice talent, public speaker, storyteller, and educator. He has created workshops, educational programs, and living history interpretations for the Saint Louis Zoo, Missouri State Parks, the National Association of Interpretation, and individual entities. Each captivating story provokes thought to every wanderer, romantic, and dreamer in the room. Whether listening to an intense account of living history, the narrative of a traveling stranger, or a tale of lost love, you will never forget his voice.

Get the .MP3 file

Lessons from A Christmas Carol. Kate Lovelady, Leader, 8-Dec-2013 podcast

Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol has become part of our national mythos - those stories that almost everyone knows to some extent, and that form our shared culture, whatever religions or holidays we may or may not observe. This platform will look at this influential story for its ethical messages, some of which may be different from what they appear at first glance.

Get the .MP3 file

New Health Insurance Options: What's here, what's coming, and work left to do. Jen Bersdale, Executive Director, Missouri Health Care for All, 1-Dec-2013 podcast

Missourians now have new options for health insurance through the Missouri Health Insurance Marketplace. There are new rules to protect consumers, a new way to shop for insurance, and financial discounts to help many people afford their health insurance. Missouri also has a chance to expand health insurance even further for low-income Missourians. Ms Bersdale will speak about what the changes mean for individuals, families, and small businesses.

Jen Bersdale is the Executive Director of Missouri Health Care for All, Missouri's statewide, nonpartisan, grassroots movement for quality, affordable health care for all Missourians. She began this role in 2013 after six years as a Board member. Missouri Health Care for All engages in grassroots organizing with faith communities, community groups, and individuals. Ms. Bersdale has given educational presentations that have helped thousands of Missourians better understand the new health care laws. She has more than ten years of experience in the nonprofit sector and is currently pursuing a Master's in Nonprofit Management through Regis University.

Get the .MP3 file

Gratitude and Sharing. Kate Lovelady, Leader, 17-Nov-2013 podcast

We are beginning to enter the Thanksgiving and holiday season, the perfect time to examine the power of gratitude for personal happiness as well as for creating a more ethical world. It is also the perfect time to extend our mission as a Welcoming Home for Humanists farther than ever before—all the way to Africa, to support international humanism and growing efforts to provide human rights and science-based education to some of the neediest and most motivated students in the world.

Get the .MP3 file

Going Where Gender Isn't, Andy Semler, 11-Nov-2013 podcast

Genderqueer people are gaining increased visibility within a society that doesn't legally recognize our existence, but we are still a minority within a minority. This talk will explore the social, economic, and health aspects of living outside the gender binary in the USA. I will also share from my own "coming of gender" story, as we begin a broader dialog: What can the humanist community do to create a society where people of all genders flourish?

Andy Semler is an active member of the LGBT Center of St Louis, the Metro Trans Umbrella Group, and the greater online community of non-binary trans and genderqueer folk everywhere.

Get the .MP3 file

Death and Violence as Entertainment, Kate Lovelady, Leader, 27-Oct-2013 podcast

My two platforms in October will look at the related topics of gentleness and violence. Popular culture denigrates gentleness as "weakness" and violence as "strength" and teaches us that the right and righteous response to evil is to kick its ass. But does this view match our understanding and our values as Ethical Humanists? And if not, what can we do to promote an alternate view within our own minds and families as well as in the wider culture?

Get the .MP3 file

The Ethics of Vaccines, Dr. Martin Reis, 20-Oct-2013 podcast

Discussions about the ethics surrounding vaccinations bring up several interesting issues that are relevant not just with respect to vaccines but with respect to our outlook on the role and responsibility of the individual within the context of our larger society. This talk will use the debate surrounding vaccinations to elucidate such topics as individual liberty and autonomy versus community responsibility. Concepts such as "free riders," "herd immunity," and the "social contract" will be explained. Finally, some controversies surrounding the alleged harms of vaccines will be addressed.

Dr. Martin Reis is an Assistant Professor of Radiology at St. Louis University and practices neuroradiology at St. Louis University Hospital and Cardinal Glennon Children's Medical Center. He has an interest in biomedical ethics. A native of St. Louis, Dr. Reis is also a member of the Ethical Society of St. Louis.

Get the .MP3 file

Parenting: Back to Basics, Ellen Schapiro, Ethical Society Nursery School Director, 13-Oct-2013 podcast

Today there’s an ever increasing amount of research on how to improve your child's IQ, academic performance, and leadership skills, and the childhood development industry aggressively markets products to encourage this growth. Sorting through information and products can be daunting. Yet, if the goal of parents is to rear children who will grow up to lead meaningful lives, lives based on respect, acceptance, and caring, it is time to go back to the basics. Children need to play.

Ellen Schapiro is in her fifteenth year as director of the Ethical Society Nursery School (ESNS). Prior to becoming director, she taught for eight years at the nursery school. Her career in education includes teaching at middle school and working with children in a variety of other positions throughout the years. Ellen has a BA in French and an MEd with an emphasis in Experiential Education from the University of Colorado.

Get the .MP3 file

Ethical Humanist of the Year: Criminal Justice Ministry, Dr. Fred Rodnick, William Siedhoff, Derric Ross, and Dr. Carleen Reck, 29-Sep-2013 podcast

Criminal Justice Ministry (CJM), until recently a program of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, has been selected as the recipient of the 2013 Ethical Humanist of the Year award. This selection was made by a committee of five Society members which reviewed over 45 recommendations for several nominees. The Board of Trustees has voted its approval.

Criminal Justice Ministry offers support to prisoners and those who have recently been released from prison. The organization provides pen pals and prayer sessions for prisoners. CJM gives "Welcome Backpacks" to people newly released from prison providing them with personal items, and CJM aids them in obtaining essential identification documents. Also, CJM provides rental assistance for some just released prisoners. These charitable efforts give comfort and reduce recidivism.

The EHOY committee selected CJM because CJM recognizes the worth in those who may not be seen as worthy by many in our society. CJM's work is directed toward the humanist ideal that the supreme aim of human life is to create a more humane society. The committee views CJM's work as consistent with the efforts of the American Ethical Union to improve our nation's criminal justice system.

Get the .MP3 file

In Praise of Gentleness Kate Lovelady, Leader, 6-Oct-2013 podcast

My two platforms in October will look at the related topics of gentleness and violence. Popular culture denigrates gentleness as "weakness" and violence as "strength" and teaches us that the right and righteous response to evil is to kick its ass. But does this view match our understanding and our values as Ethical Humanists? And if not, what can we do to promote an alternate view within our own minds and families as well as in the wider culture?

Get the .MP3 file

Can Corporations be Socially Responsible?, Professor Tamara Piety, 22-Sep-2013 podcast

This talk will explore the prominent role of CSR (corporate social responsibility) in today’s society. Many for-profit corporations identify themselves with particular causes (breast cancer) or advertise aspects of their products or business practices ("cruelty free") which have ethical components in order to promote their companies as ethically distinct from the normal for-profit model. Many consumers likewise attempt to align their purchases to express their political and ethical commitments. The idea is that is possible to effect social change through consumption. Drawing on my recent book Brandishing the First Amendment: Commercial Expression in America I will discuss why most of these efforts are futile and how they serve instead as a basis for corporations to lay claim to the expressive rights previously thought to belong only to human beings with detrimental consequences to our welfare.

Professor Piety teaches at the University of Tulsa College of Law and is the author of "Brandishing the First Amendment" which discusses the threat posed by corporate and commercial speech to public safety, health and welfare. She is also the author of several articles including, "Citizens United and the Threat to the Regulatory State" and "A Necessary Cost of Freedom? The Incoherence of Sorrell v. IMS Health." She is a graduate of Harvard and the University of Miami School of Law. Prior to Tulsa she was a Teaching Fellow at Stanford Law School and has been a visiting professor at the University of Missouri and Florida State law schools.

Get the .MP3 file

Seeking Out New Life and New Civilizations, Kate Lovelady, Leader, 15-Sep-2013 podcast

Kicking off the 2013-14 season, we'll be asking how we as members and the Ethical Society as an organization can reach out beyond our current limits. Our tradition is not to proselytize, so how do we let people know the good news about our Welcoming Home for Humanists? How can we welcome a greater diversity of people through our doors? And what further opportunities are there to support humanism and ethical action both in the St. Louis region and far beyond? Come find out how we can boldly go where we haven't gone before!

Get the .MP3 file

Deed Before Creed vs. Deed Because of Creed: Lessons Learned From the Latter-Day Saints, Christine Floss, 25-Aug-2013 podcast

The Latter-Day Saints, or Mormons, have been featured quite prominently in the media over the last couple of years, due to the candidacy of Mitt Romney for President and the Book of Mormon musical. Having spent a number of years in the Latter-Day Saint faith, I will review what I learned from this experience and what I believe that we, as ethical humanists, can learn from the Mormons and people of faith.

Christine Floss is a research professor in the Physics Department at Washington University. Raised as an atheist, her search for community led to the exploration of a variety of religious and spiritual faiths, including a 10-year stint with the Latter-Day Saints. She eventually found her spiritual home at the Ethical Society and has been a member for the last five years.

Get the .MP3 file

Nice Jewish Girl, Esther Bedik, 18-Aug-2013 podcast

Waukegan, Illinois, in the 1950's was a bustling industrial town of around 50,000, with just a few hundred Jewish families. Esther Bedik will share her memories of growing up as a Jewish child in a sea of “goyim” (non-Jews). She will reflect on what her Jewish education taught her about God and the place of the Jews in history and what her Jewish upbringing taught her about survival, politics, laughter, and matzo ball soup.

A member of a kibbutz in Israel from 1975 to 1988, Esther moved from Connecticut to St. Louis in 2012. She accidentally stumbled upon the Ethical Society while looking for a good corned beef sandwich in Clayton and has felt right at home ever since.

Get the .MP3 file

Trans-ethical Bens, Ben Schuldt, 11-Aug-2013 podcast

Ben Schuldt will discuss the ethics of his journey from Missouri Synod Lutheranism, to Eastern Orthodoxy, and eventually to secular humanism. It is a tale of personal folly, righteous zeal, and mental illness. Ben Schuldt has been a member of the Ethical Society for the last few years. He is married to Andy Semler, he headed up the Responsible Public Rebate forum, and he has a bachelor's degree in Media Arts and Animation from the Art Institute of Pittsburgh.

Get the .MP3 file

The Baha'i Faith: How I Lived It for 37 Years, Cheryl Thomas, 4-Aug-2013 podcast

Little is known about the Baha'i Faith, yet it is second only to Christianity as the most wide spread religion in the world according to the Encyclopedia Britannica. Cheryl will take you from it's beginnings with The Bab (the gate) and Baha'u'llah (the Glory of God) in the early 1800's in Persia, Constantinople, Adrianople, Akko, Haifa, into her life in 1971, to the jungles of Panama as a pioneer, and finally leaving the Baha'i Faith and becoming a member of the Ethical Society 37 years later. Cheryl will share some photos of her two years with the Kuna indigenous villages in Panama.

Cheryl Thomas signed her card as a member of the Baha'i Faith in 1971. Up until that point she attended Washington University in the business school and worked at Washington University in the Sociology Department. After being "touched" by God and hearing his message, she left St. Louis and went to Panama as a Baha'i Pioneer to live with the Kuna communities for two years. The Kuna live in the mainland jungle and on the San Blas Islands just off the coast of Panama above Columbia. She married in 1974 and came back to St. Louis and founded an insurance agency, R. T. Thomas & Co., Inc. along with her first husband. He died in 1998 and she carried on the insurance agency until her two wonderful children took over ownership and now she works for them. Cheryl became a member of the Society in 2008. Cheryl also remarried her second wonderful husband, Rox-Roy Edwards in 2005.

Get the .MP3 file

Naturescaping: Landscaping for Life Mitch Leachman, Executive Director St. Louis Audubon Society, 28-Jul-2013 podcast

Naturescaping? Landscaping for nature—or landscaping for life - including our own! We face a host of challenges in the 21st Century, not the least of which is maintaining a healthy, functioning environment. Naturescaping in urban spaces of all kinds can make a real difference for at-risk plants and animals, ecosystem services and our own well-being. Re-connect with nature in your own landscape. Share that experience with others. Watch your life change. Mitch Leach-man with the St. Louis Audubon Society will discuss this topic and a new program that supports it called Bring Conservation Home.

Mitch Leachman is the Executive Director of the St. Louis Audubon Society and coordinator of their Bring Conservation Home program. He joined the Audubon network in 1997 and has been active with the St. Louis chapter since 2001. On staff since 2008, Mitch plans and coordinates many chapter activities, including Bring Conservation Home, community stewardship projects, fund-raising, communications and outreach.

Get the .MP3 file

Lessons from Low Wage Workers in St. Louis, Rev. Dr. Martin Rafanan, Community Director, STL735, 21-Jul-2013 podcast

In the past few months thousands of low-wage fast food workers have walked off their jobs at Hardees, Jimmy Johns, McDonalds, and dozens of other fast food restaurants - at hundreds of locations - all across the country. In New York, Chicago, St Louis, Milwaukee, Detroit, DC, and most recently in Seattle, they have demanded $15 an hour and the right to form a union without retaliation. What can we learn from these efforts? In what ways does a low wage economy impact our St. Louis community? What are these low wage workers teaching us about the value and dignity of labor? How can we support low wage workers and their leadership? What are the next steps in St. Louis?

Martin Rafanan currently serves as the Community Director of STL735 "St. Louis Can’t Survive on $7.35" where he organizes labor, community, faith and student support for low wage workers, especially those in the Fast Food and Retail industries. On May 8 and 9, 2013, over 100 fast food workers walked off from their jobs in St. Louis and were later accompanied back to their jobs by community leaders. The focus of the strike is a demand for a wage that covers basic human needs and the right to form a union without retaliation.

Get the .MP3 file

The Neuroscience of Magic, Zi Teng Wang, 14-Jul-2013 podcast

Zi Wang will use hands-on demonstrations to explore the way in which human vision functions, and expose the cognitive tricks and mechanisms that go unnoticed in day to day life, and will delve into how magicians take advantage of these systems in order to create incredible illusions.

Zi Teng Wang is a Graduate Student in Molecular Cell Biology at Washington University in St Louis. In his spare time, he's an enthusiast of magic, an active skeptic, and enjoys both teaching and learning about science and the universe.

Get the .MP3 file

Ethical Humanism and Existentialism, Kate Lovelady, Leader, 30-Jun-2013 podcast

This year for various reasons Kate's annual "Get to know Ethical Humanism" platform address will be in June, not August. And this year we will be learning more about Ethical Humanism by exploring its relationship not to another religion, but to another philosophy/lifestance: existentialism. How is Ethical Humanism similar to and different from existentialism? Come and find out--berets optional.

Get the .MP3 file

The Young Atheist's Survival Guide, Hemant Mehta, 23-Jun-2013 podcast

Nearly a third of Americans under the age of 30 have no religious affiliation, the highest in any recorded generation. In this growing segment of “nones” are many young atheists who have faced prejudice in their high schools and communities for standing up for their constitutional right of freedom from religion. In this talk, Hemant Mehta will share stories of students who have fought for their rights, sometimes at tremendous personal cost, and how we can help make things better for them, regardless of our age or religious affiliation.

Hemant Mehta is the editor of FriendlyAtheist.com and the author of I Sold My Soul on eBay and The Young Atheist's Survival Guide. He has appeared on Fox News and CNN and has served in leadership positions for atheist organizations nationwide. When he's not writing, Hemant is a National Board Certified high school math teacher in the suburbs of Chicago.

Get the .MP3 file

Fighting Back: My Life with Schizophrenia, Kurt Bauer 16-Jun-2013 podcast

Kurt Bauer, an Ethical Society member, who was valedictorian of his high school class, a marine engineer, and an officer in the Navy, was diagnosed with schizophrenia at the age of 24. This devastating mental illness could have resulted in a life of hopelessness and despair. Come listen to Kurt’s informative and inspiring story about how he fought back to achieve a rewarding and fulfilling life. In his talk he also gives information about the nature of the disease and how the media and public awareness of schizophrenia tend to focus on false beliefs.

Get the .MP3 file

The Problem of Human Trafficking in Our Backyards, Noelle Collins, 9-Jun-2013 podcast

Noelle Collins is an Assistant United States Attorney in the Eastern District of Missouri. She has prosecuted numerous multi-state drug conspiracies and financial-crime rings through the use of judicially-authorized Title III wiretaps and other investigative tools. As part of her duties, Noelle has argued many criminal appeals before the U.S. Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals. In 2011, she was named the Human Trafficking Coordinator for the U.S. Attorney's Office with primary responsibility for the investigation and prosecution of such federal civil-rights violations as the sex-trafficking of adults and minors, and the forced labor of vulnerable victims. Noelle leads the Human Trafficking Task Force in this capacity, which is composed of federal and state law enforcement partners and the Rescue Service Team (REST), who are area social service providers. The Task Force has trained hundreds of people to recognize the signs of human trafficking and how to prepare a federal case. Prior to joining the U.S. Attorney's Office, Noelle worked in private practice at a large Saint Louis law firm after graduating from the University of Illinois College of Law. She is also an Adjunct Professor at Webster University where she teaches undergraduates and graduate students in the Legal Studies department.

Noelle will explain some of the relevant federal law that is used by federal prosecutors to protect vulnerable individuals and prosecute human traffickers who attempt to exploit these crime victims. Because these are often hidden crimes, Noelle will also highlight the indicators of human trafficking that everyone should know.

Get the .MP3 file

Ethical Culture: Past, Present, and Future, FES Members, 26-May-2013 podcast

Come join the Future of Ethical Societies (FES), a group of the AEU, at their 10th anniversary conference being held in St. Louis. FES is a group of young adults active in the Ethical Culture Movement, inspired by the ideal that the supreme aim of human life is working to create a more humane society. Their annual meeting allows them to make strong connections and renew faith in the capability of people to make positive impacts on the world.

Get the .MP3 file

Humanism: Creed of the 21st Century, James Croft, Leader-in-Training, 19-May-2013 podcast

At the start of the 21st Century, non-belief is on the rise: the fastest growing "religious" group in America is "none." Most of these "nones" are reasonably young and progressive in their political views, driven away from traditional religions due to their association with conservative politics and regressive social attitudes. These young nonbelievers are the Humanists of tomorrow - if we can inspire them to take our values for their own. By crafting powerful moral messages, exquisite aesthetic experiences, and vibrant, relevant communities, we can inspire the "nones" and make Humanism the Creed of the 21st Century.

James Croft is the Research and Education Fellow at the Humanist Community at Harvard, where he works on the Humanist Community Project, helping build communities for people who don’t believe in God. He is a graduate of the Universities of Cambridge and Harvard, and is currently studying for his Doctorate in the philosophy of education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education while training to become a leader in the Ethical Culture movement. He is an in-demand public speaker, an engaging teacher, and a passionate activist for human rights. James was raised on Shakespeare, Sagan and Star Trek, and is a proud, gay Humanist.

Get the .MP3 file

Rotate the Treats: Replacing Bad Habits with Good Ones, Kate Lovelady, Leader, 12-May-2013 podcast

Despite all the high-minded ideas most of us have about what we should be doing for our health or well-being, or for the greater good of our communities or the environment, most of the time people's actions are based not on our values or beliefs, but on our ingrained habits - habits of thought, attitude, and activity. So one tool to improve our lives and work toward the better world we envision is to use information about habit-formation and related topics to help us moderate or change negative habits and support and grow positive ones.

Get the .MP3 file

Depression Is Human Too, Kate Lovelady, Leader, 21-Apr-2013 podcast

Given the recent sad events in our community, we are working anew to bring the issues of mental illness, depression, and even the often-taboo topic of suicide into everyday conversation. Ethical Humanism is a hopeful life stance, but it also acknowledges the reality of pain and the fragility of life. In this talk, based in part on a platform given in 2009, Kate will describe some of the most difficult feelings of being human, share some information for use in times of crisis, and explore some of the complex issues around depression and suicide. Following this talk, a special post-platform meeting will be held particularly for those who would like to discuss a possible ongoing support group for depression and related issues.

Get the .MP3 file

Are People More Important Than Profits? How U.S. Health Care Got This Way and What We Can Do About It, Laurie Simons and Terry Sterrenberg, 7-Apr-2013 podcast

Licensed counselors and filmmakers Laurie Simons, MS, LMHC, and Terry Sterrenberg, MSW, LCSW, are a married couple of mixed cultural heritage. Laurie is Canadian, and Terry is American. From 1982 to 1992, Terry joined Laurie in Canada and during that time their two sons were born in a Calgary hospital. They moved to the Seattle area in 1992 and experienced the culture shock of switching from the worry-free health care system in Canada to the complicated, expensive, and anxiety-provoking system in the United States. In making this documentary they learned that the battle for national health care in both countries has been an adventure story, fraught with heroes and villains. And they learned how two neighboring countries ended up taking such drastically different paths.

Get the .MP3 file

Jesus Christ, Superstar? Kate Lovelady, Leader, 31-Mar-2013 podcast

No, not the (whole) musical. But Jesus is a superstar in America - a figure that looms large in our culture. He has fans and detractors, as well as folks who don’t see what the big deal is either way. This platform will explore some of these different ways that the figure of Jesus is thought of, interpreted, and used by individuals and groups of many backgrounds and beliefs. Part of this exploration will include three songs from Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Jesus Christ, Superstar, performed by Billy Dechand, Tom Rogers, Keith Roper, David Taylor, Kate Lovelady, and members of the Ethical Voices Chorus. Note that for copyright reasons the music has been removed from this recording. However the music is available on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B7dwMLZtExs

Get the .MP3 file

Why War? Steve Werner, Professor of History, Webster University, 17-Mar-2013 podcast

Why do humans go to war? Why can't humans solve problems intelligently? Why with all our amazing technological advances have we not advanced in resolving conflict peacefully? Why do nations inflict so much suffering often in the name of morality and justice? This talk explores these dilemmas of the human condition and how our thinking about war and nationhood keep us from change.

Stephen Werner teaches mythology, philosophy, and theology at Webster University and Saint Louis University. He is also a poet and composer. He has appeared often at the Tuesday Morning Men’s Group talking on topics from Greek Mythology to Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack.

Get the .MP3 file

The Promise and Danger of Research-Based Ethics, Kate Lovelady, Leader, 10-Mar-2013 podcast

Ethical Humanism takes as one of its premises the notion that moral decisions and public policy should be made on the basis of scientifically-gathered data (when possible). And practically every issue today is debated in part with arguments that boil down to "studies show." Yet we must be very careful in how we weigh, interpret, and communicate research findings. Especially as a movement that emphasizes both science and the unique worth of every person, how can we make use of scientific findings without mistaking real people for generic data?

Get the .MP3 file

Ethics of Criminal Registries, Kate Lovelady, Leader, 17-Feb-2013 podcast

In February the platform addresses are examining issues related to the American criminal justice system. A relatively recent part of our system are registries - publicly-available lists of people who have been convicted of sexual offenses or suspected of child abuse. Such registries may make sense at first glance, yet they raise many ethical questions about the processes by which names get placed on registries, how the registries are used, what their purposes are and whether they serve those purposes well, and whether they extend punishment beyond sentencing limits. We don't hear much about registries on the news, but as their use and scope grows, we need to consider the ethical issues of these lists that affect a growing number of people.

Get the .MP3 file

The Evolution of Corrections in Missouri, George Lombardi, Director of Corrections at Missouri Department of Corrections, 10-Feb-2013 podcast

Corrections budgets across this country have increased dramatically in the past 25 years. The root causes of that increase are numerous, including more conservative approaches to sentencing, the increased time required for incarceration, the advent of new crimes each legislative session, the increased population in age range prone to committing crime, the deinstitutionalization of mental health systems and many other factors. As prisons have grown, the complexity and responsibility of ensuring constitutional living conditions and rehabilitative efforts have concomitant-ly increased likewise. Restorative Justice is a catalyst for changing individual’s cognitive beliefs and emotional character toward a productive life. The Missouri Department of Corrections is on the forefront of the restorative justice effort nationally.

Mr. Lombardi is a 35-year veteran of the Missouri Department of Corrections, having served previously as the Director of the Division of Adult Institutions, Assistant Director, and a warden. As Director of Corrections he is responsible for 11,500 staff, 75,000 probation and parolees, and 30,000 inmates. He has been recognized with many awards, most recently the 2012 Region VII Missouri State Champion Award (Head Start Association).

Get the .MP3 file

I Dwell in Possibility...Only As I Am Free, Antona Brent Smith, 3-Feb-2013 podcast

Imagine what I could do. I like to make super high towers with my Legos and race my cars down the wooden floors of my apartment hall-way. I have crayons that I use to make my magic kingdom of dinosaurs and space-men. My favorite things to eat are french-fries and macaroni and cheese. I do not like broccoli. I have a mom and a dad. I go to school, I like to read. I like science. I like my art class. I love recess and gym I am a typical little boy. My mind is curious. I like to play and run and jump and ride my bike. I am seven years old and I will be in prison by the time I am seventeen.

Antona Brent Smith earned her M.B.A. from the University of Iowa. She is a five-year resident of Kirkwood after relocating her family from the Kansas City area. Antona is the owner of Tayé Foster Bradshaw Marketing and Communications Group and former director of SPROG.

Get the .MP3 file

Sustainable Community, Kate Lovelady, Leader, 27-Jan-2013 podcast

Yay! Another pledge campaign platform! This year's address takes its theme from the environmental issue of sustainability, asking, What makes a sustainable community? As with many other aspects of sustainable living, part of the answer is: people who think and act not as consumers, but as owners. As the owners of this Ethical Society, what do we want to celebrate about the past year, and what are our hopes for the future? Note: This platform will introduce an exciting new initiative for the future health and growth of the Society, so you truly don't want to miss it!

Get the .MP3 file

What We Live For, Bart Worden, Executive Director American Ethical Union, 20-Jan-2013 podcast

In 1876 the founder of the first Society for Ethical Culture, Felix Adler, said the following in his inaugural address: "There is a great and crying evil in modern society. It is want of purpose. It is that narrowness of vision which shuts out the wider vistas of the soul. It is the absence of those sublime emotions which, wherever they arise, do not fail to exalt and consecrate existence." Adler's hope was that Ethical Societies would inspire people to experience profound purposefulness, coupled with an expansive vision of humanity and a passion realizing each person’s worth and dignity—and that would lead us toward a richly humane and just society. How well does Adler’s concern reflect our concerns today?

Bart Worden, a longtime member of the Ethical Culture Society of Westchester, was recently named Executive Director for the American Ethical Union, and continues to serve the Westchester Society as their Leader. He has been an active participant with a number of AEU committees and task forces, has served on the AEU board as a National Leaders Council representative, and is a faculty member for the AEU Lay Leadership Summer School.

Bart obtained his bachelor's degree from Hope College in 1978 majoring in Philosophy of Religion. In 1983, he obtained a masters degree in social work from N. Y. U. and then worked as a social worker and psychotherapist for adults with psychiatric disabilities. He currently serves The Guidance Center of Westchester as the organization’s Associate Executive Director. Bart graduated from the Humanist Institute 1997 and worked as a leader intern at the New York Society for Ethical Culture prior to his appointment as Leader for the Westchester Society in 1998.

Bart's wife, Ruthanne, introduced him to the Westchester Ethical Society twenty-seven years ago, and their sons, Gary and Jeff, are graduates of the Sunday school.

Get the .MP3 file

Climate Change Solutions, Jim Seko, 13-Jan-2013 podcast

Jim Seko is an engineer who was skeptical of climate change. After much research he became convinced the problem is real and quite serious. Having been on both sides of the global warming debate it became clear that talking about the problem was solving nothing. Engineers enjoy the work of finding solutions, and Jim’s research on solutions has resulted in some good news: The hard work of developing the technology to dramatically reduce our carbon footprint has already been done by scientists and engineers. The power of this technology is impressive: It will result in dramatic reductions in greenhouse gas emissions AND will save a lot of money. All we need to do is invest in this money-saving clean energy technology. In this platform, Jim will walk us through the choices we have as individuals and help guide us in the best actions we can take now.

Jim has been a member of the Ethical Society of St. Louis since 2011.

NOTE: The slides accompanying this presentation are available on our web site.

Get the .MP3 file

Population Ethics, Kate Lovelady, Leader, 6-Jan-2013 podcast

It wasn't too many years ago that the coming "population bomb" was front-page news, with dire predictions of a soon-overloaded Earth. More recently, the news has switched to the "baby bust" in some countries as birth rates decline rapidly, with dire predictions of economies soon unable to support their aging populations. And yet global climate change, driven in part by swelling numbers of people, remains the most serious threat to many species, including humans. This platform address will explore the current state of population-related issues and the ethical questions that arise, from family planning to social policy.

Get the .MP3 file

Treating Ourselves Kindly, Raymond Adams, MS, 30-Dec-2012 podcast

Raymond Adams will speaks about his experience in social work with hundreds of people in crisis situations. Episodes of crisis in our lives are inevitable and people with poor self-care skills are particularly prone to frequent trouble. Ray will propose that we all need to learn to treat ourselves in a kind and gentle manner and that caring for others is difficult, if not impossible, unless we learn to care for ourselves first.

Raymond Adams is a retired social worker with 30 years of experience in medical and psychiatric hospitals, children’s agencies and with the elderly. He received his degrees from the University of Missouri -Columbia and the George Warren Brown School of Social Work at Washington University. He was a Peace Corps volunteer in India. Recently, Ray began facilitating Ethical Mindfulness Meditation on Tuesday mornings at 9 a.m. in the Leader's office.

Get the .MP3 file

Are You a Religious Naturalist Without Knowing It? Dr. Ursula Goodenough, 9-Dec-2012 podcast

Each religious tradition has its core narrative. The life of the Buddha or Christ, the sagas of the peoples of Israel or the Greek gods, the adventures of the Hindu deities - these accounts "define" a tradition. Interpretations and moral/ ethical edicts are built into the fabric of each narrative and elaborated by clerics, and spiritual responses are supported by art and ceremony. In these traditions, nature is usually framed with respect to the human, often as a human resource.

Scientific inquiry has provisioned us with a mindblowing core narrative - the story of the cosmos and our place within it - where its coherence is a very recent achievement. Humans don't show up until the very last moment, albeit our evolution is anticipated in all of its biological chapters and was made possible by the nucleosynthetic marvels called stars.

A naturalist can be said to take nature seriously, to adopt this account as a core narrative. This then raises a question: what would it mean to be a religious naturalist?

Are there ways to work with the narrative religiously? What is its interpretive, spiritual, and moral potential? Dr. Goodenough will explore these questions, concluding that the religious naturalist takes nature seriously and takes nature to heart. Taking something to heart means that your heart can be broken: you experience moral outrage when that which is revered is desecrated.

Ursula Goodenough is Professor of Biology at Washington University and author of The Sacred Depths of Nature.

Get the .MP3 file

Ethics of Gift Giving, Kate Lovelady, Leader, 2-Dec-2012 podcast

'Tis the season … of many holidays and events both religious and secular, marking the end of one year and beginning of another. Many if not most of these holidays and events usually involve gifts, and America’s economy relies in large part on the extra buying people do at this time of gift-giving and receiving. This platform address will explore some of the ethical issues surrounding gifts, such as why we give gifts, what gifts communicate, and questions that "the season of giving" raises about our commercialized culture and our economy.

NOTE: In this platform Kate read’s Patrick McDonnell’s delightful book The Gift of Nothing. This section has been removed to protect the author's copyright.

Get the .MP3 file

The Language of Politics and Political Campaigns, David James, 25-Nov-2012 podcast

How does one make an effective argument in politics? How does one defend against inaccurate information that seems to take on a life of its own? This talk will discuss how language is used to frame political arguments, specifically in political campaigns.

David W. James is a native of St. Louis, Missouri and holds a B.A. in political science from DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana. He has extensive experience in media relations which began in 1995 with then-U.S. Senator John Ashcroft. James served the entire Senate term with Ashcroft in a variety of press capacities and was the Communications Director for the 2000 Senate campaign for Ashcroft. James went on to serve in the Office of Public Affairs at the U.S. Department of Justice, in the White House Office of Communications, as Executive Director of the Missouri Republican Party’s Victory 2002 effort, as Regional Spokesperson for the RNC, and as Assistant Secretary of Labor for Public Affairs. Most recently, James served as spokesperson for the Senate Campaign in Florida for Congressman Connie Mack.

Get the .MP3 file

Moving Forward Together,Kate Lovelady, Leader, 11-Nov-2012 podcast

Presumably there will have been an election with a decisive result the Tuesday preceding this platform. Now what? It has been yet another antagonistic campaign season full of bitter accusations and inflammatory rhetoric. But despite the threats people make to leave the country if their candidate doesn’t win, most of us will continue to live here, side-by-side. How can we heal and move forward as a united country so that we can address the problems we all face?

Get the .MP3 file

Sheldon Memorial 100th Anniversary: A Dialog Between Past and Present, Kate Lovelady and Walter Sheldon (Ron Williams) Leaders, 7-Oct-2012 podcast

Join us for a special Platform celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Ethical Society of St. Louis's original home, Sheldon Memorial Hall. Named for Walter Sheldon, the founding Leader of the Ethical Society, the building is famous for its acoustics. Hear the wit and wisdom of Leaders present (Kate Lovelady, playing herself), and past (member Ron Williams, playing the part of Walter Sheldon). Find out what we today have in common with Ethical Humanists of a century and more ago, as well as how our views and language have changed over the years.

Get the .MP3 file

Stories People Tell About the Past: Historical Myths vs. Historical Facts, Dr. Minsoo Kang, 4-Nov-2012 podcast

Most of what the vast majority of people believe about the historical past are actually historical myths. On such questions as the beliefs and motivations of America's founding fathers, the causes of the Civil War, and the fall of the Roman Empire, the public generally hold ideas that have little or no basis in actual evidence. Those ideas are nevertheless adopted and spread by those who find certain ideological value in them, and they are repeated in the public realm until they solidify in people's minds as facts. Academic historians have not done a good job of tackling them as they have generally dismissed them as falsehoods that they do not need to waste time discussing in class. Given the enormous social and political impact historical myths can have in society, it is important not only to establish what in fact are historical myths versus historical facts, but also to understand how they spread, why people accept them so readily, and how they function within belief systems.

Dr. Kang has lived in Korea, Austria, New Zealand, Iran, Brunei, Germany and other countries. He served in the army of the Republic of Korea and earned his Ph.D. in European History at UCLA. He is the author of several books and currently professor of European History at the University of Missouri-St. Louis.

Get the .MP3 file

Ethics of Social Insurance, Kate Lovelady, Leader, 18-Oct-2012 podcast

About this platform, Kate says: A couple years ago I was asked to speak at a forum on "The Ethics of Social Security." Recent debates in our elections process about rights and responsibilities, individual initiative and societal support, have motivated me to revisit and expand on those thoughts. What are the pros and cons of our social contract? How has the definition of that contract changed over time? What are the values, beliefs, and theories that lead to different political positions? Is there perhaps more common ground than heated rhetoric would suggest?

Get the .MP3 file

Prison Performing Arts, Agnes Wilcox, Artistic Director, 14-Oct-2012 podcast

Each year Prison Performing Arts provides arts opportunities to more than 4000 incarcerated youth and adults. Prison Performing Arts is a 21-year-old, multi-discipline, literacy and performing arts program that serves incarcerated adults and children at St. Louis City Juvenile Detention Center, Hogan Street Regional Youth Center, Northeastern Correctional Center (NECC) in Bowling Green, MO, and Women's Eastern Reception, Diagnostic and Correctional Center (WERDCC) in Vandalia, MO.

Prison Performing Arts promotes learning through the arts, channeling creative energies in constructive ways and using the arts to provide an environment for self-discipline, commitment, and teamwork. They use the arts to help inmates learn the life skills that prepare them to become productive, creative, and law abiding citizens. Prison Performing Arts is the only organization in Missouri with the specific mission of creating and presenting performing arts in correctional institutions. 97% of the people incarcerated in Missouri will return to our communities; Prison Performing Arts uses the performing arts to help prepare them for that transition.

Get the .MP3 file

Ethical Humanist of the Year: L. Lewis Wall, M.D. 30-Sep-2012 podcast

His work has been called heroic. His teaching career has been honored with a Distinguished Faculty Award. His character has been described as "one of the most ethical." He is L. Lewis Wall, M.D., professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Washington University's School of Medicine, and he has been chosen as the 2012 Ethical Humanist of the Year. In choosing Dr. Wall, the Ethical Humanist of the Year Committee honors his passionate and compassionate commitment to women who have been traumatized, stigmatized and ostracized by a severely debilitating medical condition brought on by prolonged childbirth.

Dr. Wall's determination to help women in Africa and other third world countries living with untreated obstetric fistulas, which cause urinary and fecal incontinence, has compelled and inspired him to devote time, money and expertise in the creation of a Worldwide Fistula Fund and the building of the Danja Fistula Center in Niger – one of the few medical centers specifically devoted to assisting women with prevention and treatment of fistulas and restoring those so treated to lives of dignity and worth.

Not content with increased awareness, funding and doctors trained to treat fistulas, Dr. Wall has expanded his vision to launch an ambitious goal of a 12-year, $1.5 billion campaign to create similar centers in all corners of the world where such care is needed. These centers would provide not only surgery but comprehensive maternal health education and outreach. In addition they would serve and empower women with instruction in microfinance.

Tribute speakers today included Dr. Douglas Brown, John F. Adams, and Dr David G. Mutch.

Get the .MP3 file

Gateway STEM High School, Our Society-Wide Project, Dr. Elizabeth Bender, Principal, 23-Sep-2012 podcast

The Ethical Society recently began a long-term partnership with our adoption of Gateway STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) High School, a public St. Louis City magnet school. In this platform address, Dr. Bender will share with us information about the challenges faced by our city's schools and some unique ways that Gateway is helping prepare young people for bright futures. She will help inspire us as we create ways to collaborate with Gateway that bring out the best in its students and in ourselves.

Get the .MP3 file

Our Core Values, Kate Lovelady, Leader, 16-Sep-2012 podcast

Recently our Board of Trustees has been working on a new Ethical Society mission statement, based partly on the many ways we've tried over the years to express our collective purpose. We use our current Statement of Purpose to explain who we are and our Sunday School’s Core Values to guide our curriculum for children and youth. Now our Governance improvement process is working to clarify our core values as a community, asking, "What principles do we intend to observe, no matter what?" This question is both a challenge and an opportunity to examine our noble-sounding words and tackle difficult issues of prioritizing values as well as measuring how we 'walk our talk'.

Get the .MP3 file

Ethical Society vs. NPR, Kate Lovelady, Leader, 26-Aug-2012 podcast

Each August for the last four years Kate has given a platform address comparing and contrasting Ethical Humanism with a different religious or philosophical tradition: Judaism, Buddhism, Unitarian Universalism, and secular humanism. In this age when many people choose to stay home on Sundays, or to belong to virtual communities rather than physical ones, we will take a slightly different angle and look at the similarities and differences between the Ethical Society and National Public Radio, which many members listen to religiously, so to speak.

Get the .MP3 file

Leaving My Cocoon, Qinuo Van Dyk, 19-Aug-2012 podcast

With a decade of immense and fulfilling happiness, followed by a heart-wrenching tragedy, Qinuo left home and traveled the world. While the trips were intended as "living in the moment" escapes and as a diversion from dealing with helplessness and puzzlement, she found herself getting lessons and attaining knowledge from people she met randomly on the streets, in Morocco, Egypt, Turkey, Norway, Estonia, and many other countries. She has gained new understanding of others, of herself and of her changing self. She has recognized that despite differences in religion, ethnicity, and material wealth, we are all essentially the same, under the skin and under the sun.

Qinuo Van Dyk was born and raised in Shanghai, China, and came to study in the US in spring, 1990. She has received professional training as a scientist and business person, with a PhD in biomedical sciences and an Executive MBA from Washington University in St. Louis. During her time traveling abroad and coming back to St. Louis, she found herself an anxious student of herself, others and humanity, in general. She has J. Tischner's quote on one side of her business card, "I know that I am, because I know another is."

Get the .MP3 file

Growing Up in Australia, Wilma Jamieson, 12-Aug-2012 podcast

Wilma Jamieson was born and educated in Melbourne, Australia. She migrated with her husband, Norrie, to the USA in 1966. In 1972 they settled in St Louis where they both became naturalized citizens. Now retired after a 40 year nursing career that included positions in Australia, Canada, the UK and the USA, this morning she will be recalling "Growing up in Australia in the 40s and 50s". She is the mother of Anne Mitchell, who graduated from Ethical Sunday School, and is the grandmother of nine year old Eddie Mitchell who lives only a few houses away!

Get the .MP3 file

Our Mothers' Tongues: Babies, Bonding, Lullabies, and Language, Liz Zelman, 5-Aug-2012 podcast

This talk will be about a recent obsession of the speaker about how lots of bits of our universe, particularly living things, move together to become groups, and often fall apart again, then repeat the cycle. Specifically, she will speak of human bonding beginning with mother-infant bonding as part of our mammalian roots -- as instrumental in the evolution of language in our own species.

Liz Zelman is a retired anthropologist and speech/language pathologist. Since retirement, she has participated in Washington University's Lifelong Learning Institute as student and facilitator, this past winter facilitating a course called Evolutionary Ethics. Currently she is writing a book which she plans to complete and publish within the next year.

Get the .MP3 file

Voter Rights Protection, Denise Lieberman, 29-Jul-2012 podcast

Today, we are witnessing the greatest assault on voting in over a century. Nearly 200 restrictive voting bills have been introduced in 41 states since 2011 and now new laws in 18 states (representing 78% of electoral votes needed to win the presidency) stand to make the voting more difficult - if not impossible for millions of eligible voters, disproportionately racial minorities, young voters, the working poor, the elderly and people with disabilities. The phenomenon underscores an important philosophical divide, with long-lasting implications, at the core of our notion of democracy - is voting a right or a privilege?

Denise Lieberman is the Senior Attorney at the Advancement Project, a leading nationwide voting rights organization based in Washington, DC. She spearhead efforts to identify, analyze, and respond to voter suppression efforts on the ground here in Missouri and nationwide through policy analysis, lobbying, legal advocacy, litigation, and community building to advance electoral reform. Ms. Lieberman has emerged as one of the nation's leading experts on voter identification laws, litigating legal challenges to voter ID laws and proposals in several states, including successful legal challenge to photo ID ballot initiative in Missouri. She is also an adjunct professor at Washington University in St. Louis, teaching classes on civil rights, constitutional law, and voting rights. Previously, she served as legal director of the ACLU of Eastern Missouri.

Get the .MP3 file

LGBT Election Issues, Ed Reggi, 22-Jul-2012 podcast

In 2004, the State of Missouri, as well as many other states, amended their Constitutions to codify marriage as only valid between a man and a woman. Those antigay ballot measures, just like those of today, are strategically in place to influence election outcomes. Recently, President Obama made history when he announced his support for same sex couples to have the freedom to marry. A political risk or a strategic move? Traditional and social media went into an election frenzy: "Whose vote will he lose or gain? What about this community and that community?" To date, six federal courts have ruled that discrimination in marriage violates the U.S. Constitution – moving us closer to consideration by the Supreme Court. The court of public opinion has been influenced by these events. Today, polling shows that more Americans than ever before have a close gay or lesbian friend or family member. CNN is reporting that 54 percent of Americans support marriage equality, including a large number of independents and people of color. The conversation about marriage equality has both a personal side and a political side. The question remains, in 2012, "How do they intertwine?"

Ed Reggi (digital producer / actor / activist) was born in the Big Apple and spent his youth sneaking into the NBC Studios in his Brooklyn neighborhood. Reggi earned his BFA at Fontbonne University in 1994. In 2008, upon hearing of the passing of Proposition 8, Ed began using his background in theatre to organize the first "Show Me No Hate" rally on the steps of the Historic Old Court House. Since that day, he has been organizing protests and rallies in the Show Me State. Today, Ed works as the Digital Strategist and Managing Producer for the Nine Network of Public Media, the local PBS affiliate in St. Louis. When Ed is not counter-protesting Fred Phelps, he is a fierce advocate and public speaker for Marriage Equality.

Get the .MP3 file

Elections and the Mainsprings of Democracy in America, Dr. Dan Hellinger, 15-Jul-2012 podcast

Not long ago political scientists argued that the political party system essentially was overhauled once a generation, approximately every 40 years. This renovation of party politics was regarded as a crucial mechanism of democracy, its "mainsprings" according to Walter Dean Burnham. Today, as the 2012 elections loom the mainsprings seem broken, and public confidence in our major political institutions has reached unprecedented lows. To restore confidence and repair the damaged political system will require something less than a new constitution but something more than a few reforms around the edges, and I will suggest a few ways forward in this talk.

Daniel Hellinger is Professor of Political Science at Webster University (St. Louis, Missouri, USA) and holds the Ph.D. from Rutgers University. His most recent books are Comparative Politics of Latin America: Democracy at Last? (Routledge, 2011) and Bolivarian Democracy in Venezuela: Participation, Politics and Culture (co-edited with David Smilde, Duke University, 2011). His Global Security Watch: Venezuela, will be published by Praeger Press in 2012. He also is coauthor of The Democratic Façade, a critical analysis of U.S. politics. Hellinger has been a Senior Research scholar at St. Antony's College, Oxford, the Central University of Venezuela, Shanghai Institute for Finance and Economics, and as a Fulbright scholar at the Universidad Católica in Valparaíso, Chile. He serves on the board for the Center for Democracy in the Americas, a Washington-based NGO that promotes better understanding between the United States and Latin America. Dan is an avid golfer and amateur musician, playing mandolin with two St. Louis area bands.

Get the .MP3 file

What the Pro-Choice Movement Is Doing Wrong, Rev. Rebecca Turner, 8-Jul-2012 podcast

The Pro-Choice Movement has lost a lot of ground in the past 10 years. The cultural stigma that surrounds abortion is increasing instead of decreasing. Some of that backward motion is because of our own poor messaging strategies. Learn what we're doing wrong and how to start changing our messages.

Rev. Rebecca Turner has been Executive Director of Faith Aloud since 2001, leading its mission "to eliminate the religious stigma of abortion and sexuality." She is a minister in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the United Church of Christ. Rev. Turner was recently named one of "13 Religious Women to Watch in 2012: Changing the World for Good" by the Center for American Progress in Washington, DC. In 2010 she was named "Person of the Year" by the Abortion Care Network and in 2008 she received an award from the Missouri Women's Network for "Outstanding Contributions to Advance Women's Equality." Rev. Turner has been featured in Time Magazine, on PBS "Religion and Ethics Newsweekly," on CNN "Anderson Cooper 360," in the documentaries "Beyond the Politics of Life and Choice" and "South Dakota," and in newspaper and web stories around the United States.

Get the .MP3 file

What Americans Should Know About Central Asia, Eren Tasar, PhD, 1-Jul-2012 podcast

This talk will explore developments in the five formerly Soviet republics of the Central Asian region (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan), as well as Afghanistan, since 9/11, with a focus on changes in the political, social, and religious spheres, especially as they relate to the everyday life of ordinary people in this predominantly Muslim part of the world.

Eren Tasar is assistant professor of the History of the Islamic World at the Indiana University School of Liberal Arts in Indianapolis. He received his PhD from Harvard University and his A.B. from Stanford University. He worked for several years in international development in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.

Get the .MP3 file

Saying What We See: Giving Words to Art, Jessica Baran, 24-Jun-2012 podcast

Selecting language to describe visual art is a tricky enterprise: words influence the way that we see and inevitably apply stories and arguments to otherwise open-ended experiences. Not only do we use words to interpret the barrage of visual data we confront every day, we more frequently read about art than see it in person. The existence of art writing -- in news dailies and weeklies, in local and national magazines -- helps maintain the role of art in the general public's conscience and provides more discerning tools for navigating (and questioning) our highly visual world. But what, exactly, are these tools and how does art writing work? In this presentation, we'll examine more closely the subtle mechanics of this exchange: between the visual and non-verbal, and the poetics of expression.

Jessica Baran is the art writer for the Riverfront Times and the author of the poetry collection Remains to be Used (Apostrophe Books, 2010) as well as the chapbook of prose sonnets Late and Soon, Getting and Spending (All Along Press, 2011). Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in BOMB Magazine, Harp and Altar, and the Tusculum Review; her art criticism has appeared in Art in America, Art Papers, and the Village Voice, among other journals. She has organized exhibitions at the Front Room of the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, White Flag Projects, COCA and the St. Louis Artists' Guild.

Get the .MP3 file

Art Therapy: Creativity and Healing, Christopher Liljedahl, 10-Jun-2012 podcast

The presentation will focus on a general overview of Art Therapy from an active clinician's perspective. It will include a discussion of Art Therapy as a form of therapeutic communication that emphasizes the creative process for expressing and resolving intra-psyche conflicts, the role of narratives in examining beliefs, and how symbols can promote wellness.

Christopher Liljedahl is a practicing art therapist with nine years of experience working with adults that have a chronic mental illness. He has a Master's in Art Therapy Counseling from SIU-E and currently works at Wellspring Resources in Alton, IL.

Get the .MP3 file

Capture Your Passion at Any Age: An Accidental Writer Tells Her Story, Eleanor J. Sullivan, RN, PhD, 3-Jun-2012 podcast

Dean of the University of Kansas School of Nursing, president of the world's largest nursing organization, editor of the Journal of Professional Nursing, and author of award-winning books in nursing AND mystery fiction are just some of Eleanor Sullivan's remarkable accomplishments. She has testified before the U.S. Senate; served on a National Institutes of Health council; presented papers in the U. S., Finland, the Netherlands, Germany, and Australia; been quoted in the Chicago Tribune, Kansas City Star, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and Rolling Stone Magazine; and named "Who's Who in Health Care" by the Kansas City Business Journal.

But if you think you know how Eleanor followed her passion to such amazing success, you don't. In her talk, she'll chronicle her unique journey, a journey that continues today. Likewise, she'll challenge you to capture your passion, no matter your age.

Get the .MP3 file

Why Do We Act Like Christians? Darrell Ray, EdD, 20-May-2012 podcast

In his new book, Sex and God: How Religion Distorts Sexuality, Dr. Darrel Ray discusses the psychological damage and confusion that religion creates and documents how many of our behaviors, ideas, shame and guilt are a result of unnatural religious training. We act like Christians and often don't even know it. In his talk, he will discuss how religious sexuality pervades our society and show how Christian, Mormon, Catholic, or Baptist sexuality is not human sexuality. In many ways, religious sex is emotionally and physically unhealthy. Religious sexuality is fundamentally based on dishonesty about one's own sexual expression and condemnation of others. This talk will challenge you to examine some of the religious myths and attitudes that you may continue to believe, even as a secularist.

Get the .MP3 file

It's the End of the World as We Know It: Should We Feel Fine? Kate Lovelady, Leader, 22-April-2012 podcast

For Earth Day, Kate Lovelady explores some of the psychological aspects of living in an age of both environmental crisis and great technological possibility. As ethical agents, how can we avoid the traps of despair and complacency to create motivation for ourselves and others? As a humanist community, how can we both enjoy life and be realistic about threats to the environment we rely on?

Get the .MP3 file

Health Care Sunday: Private Insurance-Induced Stress Disorder, Dr. Carol Paris, 15-April-2012 podcast

Dr. Carol Paris, a busy Maryland psychiatrist known on Washington's Capital Hill as a spirited advocate for single payer health care, will give the 2012 Annual Health Care address. Dr. Paris' topic is Private Insurance-Induced Stress Disorder or PIISD, a condition she sees daily in her practice.

Dr. Paris was one of 13 health care professionals who were arrested in 2009 for insisting that single payer be included in the U.S. Senate hearings to debate the health care reform bill.

"It was amazingly easy to adapt the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) criteria to describe the symptoms in trying to deal with the bureaucracy of private health insurance or to cope with being sick and uninsured," Dr. Paris said.

"Each day I see patients whose financial stress and fragmented health care is causing them mental and physical problems," she said.

To help change our health care system, she often travels to Washington’s Capitol building to brief Congressional staff members. She’s also well-known for talks in her home state of Maryland, and travels to other states under the auspices of the Physicians for a National Health Plan.

Get the .MP3 file

Will Humanism End or Save Religion?, Kate Lovelady, Leader, 8-April-2012 podcast

Will Humanism End or Save Religion?

Get the .MP3 file

The Poison of Extreme Inequality, Bob Greenwell, Leader, Mid Rivers Ethical Society, 25-March-2012 podcast

Equality by itself is not a pure virtue. If it were, how could the value of the uniqueness of every person be maintained? Inequality by itself is not a pure vice. Extended beyond a certain point, however, it becomes a poison for everyone. The signs of this having happened in the U.S. will be set forth, along with analysis of why it’s happened, and thoughts on how to turn it around.

Bob Greenwell is Leader of Ethical Society Mid Rivers, a position he has held since 2003. He has a Masters in Counseling, and has completed several years of graduate study in philosophy. Before becoming certified as an Ethical Culture Leader by the AEU in 2002, and consequently being hired by the St. Louis Ethical Society to start a new Society, Bob had been serving as Program Director for the Ethical Society of St. Louis.

Get the .MP3 file

World Hunger: Now is the Time to Speak Up, Zach Schmidt, Bread for the World, 18-Mar-2012 podcast

These are hard times. Millions of Americans are unemployed or underemployed, and more than one in five children live in households that struggle to provide enough food. Worldwide, nearly one billion people are hungry, and a child dies every six seconds of hunger related causes. Yet when people of conscience stand together, and when we persuade our leaders to prioritize these issues, progress can be achieved. This year, U.S. Congress is intensely focused on cutting spending, and vital U.S. safety net programs are on the chopping block, as is life-saving foreign assistance. Let's speak up together to protect our most vulnerable neighbors here and abroad.

Zach Schmidt is regional organizer for the Central Midwest office of Bread for the World, which covers Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana and Missouri. As an organizer with Bread for the past 3.5 years, he is privileged to identify, recruit and equip volunteer leaders in the work to end hunger. Zach studied Bible and theology at Bethel University (St. Paul, MN) and Fuller Theological Seminary (Pasadena, CA). He loves his roles as husband and father of four children, and in his very limited spare time enjoys reading and being outdoors.

Get the .MP3 file

In Defense of Smut, Kate Lovelady, Leader, 11-Mar-2012 podcast

Humanism is a worldview that generally promotes a positive view of human sexuality and sensuality, and that celebrates pleasure and artistic expression. Pornography comes in an endless variety of forms, and there are certainly ethical issues of concern in the porn industry. Yet human beings seem to want to read and look at pornographic material, and now thanks to the Internet more and more people are creating as well as consuming porn. So this platform will look more at the everyday experience many of us have with erotic material, and suggest that a more open and honest public conversation about why we like smut would help in building a healthier society.

Get the .MP3 file

Things You Didn't Learn in PoliSci 101, Jeff Smith, PhD, 26-Feb-2012 podcast

Politics, it is often said, is war by other means. And most of those other means will never appear in a civics textbook, or be taught in a political science class. Dr. Smith will describe the way that some of these other means are employed during election campaigns and during the policy process, with special focus on the role of money and how it might be overcome. He will discuss the impact of these other means both on the body politic and, more personally, on those who aspire to public office.

Jeff Smith is a professor in the public policy graduate program at The New School in New York City. He has also taught at Washington University, where he received the Dean's Award for Teaching Excellence, and at Dartmouth College. He researches election campaigns, race in urban politics, and the legislative process. His writing has appeared in Slate, Inc., National Journal, and New York magazines, and he has been profiled by Harper's, the New Republic, and NPR. Jeff served in the Missouri Senate from 2006-2009. After working in St. Louis Public Schools and cofounding a group of urban charter schools, Jeff became a leading voice in the Senate on education issues. In 2004, Jeff ran for Dick Gephardt's former congressional seat, losing narrowly to Rep. Russ Carnahan. His grass-roots campaign was chronicled in the film Can Mr. Smith Get to Washington Anymore?, which was short-listed for an Academy Award. He spent 2010 in federal prison on charges stemming from a campaign finance violation during that race. Jeff graduated with honors in Black Studies at UNC-Chapel Hill and earned an M.A. and Ph.D. in Political Science from Washington University.

Get the .MP3 file

The Constitution as Sacred Text, Kate Lovelady, Leader, 19-Feb-2012 podcast

Ethical Humanism, as a form of liberal religion, does not have a sacred text and reads other traditions' sacred texts in the light of history, literary criticism, science, and individual experience and conscience. But what about the Constitution of the United States? Should that document, too, be treated as just another human-created text with good and bad ideas, or would such a liberal attitude toward the Constitution undermine the foundations of our democracy? How are differences between views on Constitutional issues attributable to different attitudes toward the Constitution as a secular Sacred Text? Or do attitudes toward the Constitution change to justify political desires?

Get the .MP3 file

Groping Toward Democracy in a Jim Crow City, Priscilla Dowden-White, PhD, 12-Feb-2012 podcast

Decades before the 1960s, social reformers began planting the seeds for the Modern Civil Rights era. During the period spanning World Wars I and II, St. Louis, Missouri, was home to a dynamic group of African American social welfare reformers. The city's history and culture were shaped both by those who would construct it as a southern city and by the heirs of New England abolitionism. Allying with white liberals to promote the era's new emphasis on "the common good," black reformers confronted racial segregation and its consequences of inequality and, in doing so, helped to determine the gradual change in public policy that led to a more inclusive social order.

Dr. Priscilla A. Dowden-White is Associate Professor of History at UM-St. Louis where she currently serves as Undergraduate Advisor and teaches a variety of courses on African American history, United States history since 1865, and the history of St. Louis. Dr. Dowden-White has been a featured scholar in several historical documentaries, among them are: "Sing It, Tell It," a documentary exploring the African-American musical heritage of Missouri, created by Public Interest Films of Berkeley, California; “Decades,” a series on the history of St. Louis since the 1904 World’s Fair; "Made in the U.S.A.: East St. Louis," and "The Jewish American Experience." Her scholarly interests include social welfare and civic activism among African Americans during the interwar period of WWI and WWII. Dr. Dowden-White is the author of the recently published book titled, Groping toward Democracy: African American Social Welfare Reform in St. Louis, 1910-1949 (University of Missouri Press, 2011). She is currently editing and annotating the unpublished memoir of Urban League Executive Secretary, John T. Clark, and has recently begun the research for a biography on the life of the late civil rights attorney and former National NAACP Chairperson, Margaret Bush Wilson.

Get the .MP3 file

Is the Affordable Care Act Unconstitutional? Greg Magarian, 5-Feb-2012 podcast

The Obama Administration's signature legislative achievement, the Affordable Care Act, has sparked political controversy at every stage of its consideration. Now the Supreme Court is preparing to decide whether or not the Act violates the U.S. Constitution. In particular, legal challengers argue that the Act’s "individual mandate" – its requirement that all U.S. citizens purchase health care coverage from private insurance companies – encroaches on the powers that the Constitution reserves to the states. The challenge has divided the federal courts. This talk will introduce the key constitutional concepts that frame the debate, evaluate their application to the health care controversy, and suggest how the Supreme Court may ultimately resolve the challenge.

Greg Magarian is Professor of Law at Washington University in St. Louis. He teaches and writes about constitutional law, with special emphasis on the First Amendment rights relating to freedom of expression, law and religion, and the law of politics. He has published widely and made numerous scholarly presentations in the United States and abroad. Professor Magarian received his B.A. from Yale and his J.D., as well as a master's degree in public policy, from the University of Michigan, where he was editor-in-chief of the Michigan Law Review. He served as a judicial clerk for Judge Louis Oberdorfer of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia and for Justice John Paul Stevens of the U.S. Supreme Court.

Get the .MP3 file

Growing Together Kate Lovelady, Leader, 29-Jan-2012 podcast

The theme of this year's pledge campaign is Growing Together. Hear Kate's thoughts on giving and growing, both personally and as a community. At this platform Kate will also be introducing a couple exciting new ethical action projects, both short and long term, underlining the great things we can accomplish together.

Get the .MP3 file

German Freethought Communities in Missouri, Dorris Keeven-Franke, 22-Jan-2012 podcast

With the age of Enlightenment, came reason, spreading across Europe, reaching Germany. With the Napoleonic wars had come oppression, famine, chaos; and when the military campaigns ended, Germans were faced with an even more horrific struggle – for freedom. The Universities were filled with young men engulfed in that battle, where they learned Latin by daylight, yet studied democracy secretly by lamplight. A dream emerged, born of the oppression, fueled by repression, for a place where all Germans could raise families, educate their children, and live a life free from fear. When rationalism arrived in the far western states of North America, those ideals took shape in talks in crude cabins and traveled the countryside on broadsheets and books – and freethought was born on the Missouri frontier.

Dorris Keeven-Franke writes and lectures on the history of 19th Century German emi-grants to Missouri. A re-search consultant, she works with museums, television and film producers on projects both here and in Germany. As Director of the Missouri German Consortium, she collaborates with the Sommer-Republik on Utopia, a multi-visual exhibit, book and DVD explaining the role of the Giessen Emigration Society in Missouri's history. As archivist for the St. Charles County Historical Society, she assists hundreds of researchers dis-cover their own history.

Get the .MP3 file

Slaves, Servants and Soldiers: Uneven Paths to Freedom in the Border States, 1861-1865, Louis Gerteis, Ph.D., 15-Jan-2012 podcast

By exempting the Border States from the terms of the Emancipation Proclamation, President Lincoln continued to extend to them some of the autonomy they had enjoyed during the first years of the war. Civil governments continued to function in Delaware, Maryland, Kentucky, Missouri, and in the new state of West Virginia, but Lincoln also authorized the imposition of martial law in these states. Lincoln rejected repeated pleas to resolve the tensions in the Border States, either by placing them entirely under federal military control or by deferring to the authority of their civil governments. Lincoln's middle course helped to insure that the Civil War in the Border States earned its name. Conflict in these states raged at the most intimate levels of civil society.

Louis Gerteis joined the History faculty of the University of Missouri-St. Louis where he has held the rank of Professor since 1987. His academic specialty is Nineteenth Century American History with a particular interest in the Civil War and Reconstruction. He is the author of numerous books and articles, including "From Contraband to Freedman: Federal Policy toward Southern Blacks, 1861-1865" (1973); "Morality and Utility in American Antislavery Re-form" (1987); and "Civil War St. Louis" (2001). His forth-coming work, "The Civil War in Missouri: A Military History" will be published by the University of Missouri Press in the spring of 2012.

Get the .MP3 file

Spiritual Democracy, Kate Lovelady, Leader, 8-Jan-2012 podcast

Welcome back and/or begin your new year at the Ethical Society. Leader Kate Lovelady begins 2012 with well-needed but also well-founded positivity, exploring the unique mission of Ethical Humanism and highlighting reasons to be hopeful for our nation's and humanity's future.

Get the .MP3 file

Cycles in the Sky: A Metaphor for Life, Ann McMahon, PhD, 11-Dec-2011 podcast

Humankind has always used the cycles of the Earth, Moon, Sun and stars to orient our lives. As we confront both the ordinary and extraordinary uncertainties and ambiguities of life, tuning into celestial cycles can inspire profound feelings of connectedness, comfort, and familiarity. Dr. Ann McMahon will use astrophotographs to show how the cycles of the Earth, Moon, Sun and stars form a metaphor for life-incorporating both repetition and newness.

Dr. Ann McMahon has been an amateur astronomer since she was 10 and an astrophotographer since she was 16. She has taught astronomy to area K-8 teachers as well as to undergraduates at Washington University and St. Louis University. She has worked as an aerospace engineer and is now a PreK-12 science and engineering education consultant. Ann's husband and two grown sons have humored her through decades of family vacations planned to coincide with various astronomical events.

Get the .MP3 file

Ethical Heroes: Santa Claus Kate Lovelady, Leader, 4-Dec-2011 podcast

Certainly as a child, and even more as an adult, I have been fascinated with Santa Claus. He is part secularized saint and part Christianized pagan, a symbol of both crass commercialism and selfless generosity. Santa Claus is an important cultural figure in America no matter one?s religion, and this Platform will explore his story and his meaning.

Kate's warning to parents and guardians: This Platform may not be suitable for children under a certain age, if you know what I mean.

Get the .MP3 file

Homelessness in St. Louis, Carol Beckel, St. Patrick's Center, 27-Nov-2011 podcast

In the current economic state, homelessness continues to increase in the St. Louis Region. Carol Beckel will discuss some of the facts regarding homelessness in our area including breaking some of the traditional stereotypes attached to indi-viduals without consistent housing. She will also highlight the work of St. Patrick Center in its efforts to reduce homelessness by meeting the individual needs of clients to secure affordable housing, achieve and maintain sound mental health, and obtain employment and financial stability.

Carol Beckel is a member of the Board of Trustees for St. Patrick Center. Her initial contact with St. Patrick Center was through a third-party event in 2010 to raise funds for client services. She is also an Assistant Professor at Saint Louis University in the Department of Physical Therapy and Athletic Training.

Get the .MP3 file

Humanism Around the World, Kate Lovelady, Leader, 13-Nov-2011 podcast

Leader Kate Lovelady will talk about "Humanism Around the World." This platform is a report from the World Humanist Congress of the International Humanist and Ethical Union, which met in Oslo in August 2011 with participants from 45 countries.

Get the .MP3 file

No Telescope Required: Modern Solar System Exploration by You, Dr. Pamela Gay, 6-Nov-2011 podcast

As NASA winds up the space shuttle program and as congress threatens the future of James Webb space telescope, it may seem like bleak days for astronomy. The reality is, NASA has a suite of spacecraft exploring our solar system at a level of detail never before seen. Their combined data is swamping the planetary science community and your help is needed to transform this flood of data into a flood of science. In this talk, current and upcoming citizen science projects built on NASA mission data will be discussed, and you will learn how to become part of modern space exploration.

Dr Pamela L. Gay is an astronomer, writer, and pod-caster focused on using new media to engage people in science and technology. She is perhaps most famous for "Astronomy Cast" (astronomycast.com), a podcast she co-hosts with Fraser Cain (publisher of Universe Today). Each week they take their audience on a facts-based journey through the universe. In addition, Pamela blogs at StarStryder.com and works to create citizen science sites, such as "IceHunters" (icehunters.org) that allow every day people to explore the universe. In her spare time she rides horses.

Get the .MP3 file

Slow Ethics, Kate Lovelady, Leader, 30-Oct-2011 podcast

How is the increasing speed of technology affecting our quality of life? Leader Kate Lovelady takes a look at how life has changed in our technological age.

Get the .MP3 file

Unspoken Medical Ethics: The Hidden Side of Informed Consent, Griffin Trotter, Ph.D., M.D., 23-Oct-2011 podcast

The doctrine of informed consent is the center-piece of practical medical ethics, and many of the most pressing controversies in medical ethics pertain to situations where applications of this principle become tricky. For instance, informed consent procedures are disrupted when patients are too sick, too demented, too young, too intoxicated, or otherwise unable to give consent in the normal fashion -- and each of these barriers to informed consent has elicited brisk medical ethics discussions. Behind informed con-sent is the principle of autonomy, namely the belief that patients ought to govern their own medical treatment. This lecture reviews informed con-sent, but then probes further by asking whether or to what extent genuine patient autonomy, and informed consent, are even possible in a medical system where treatment decisions are increasingly shaped by forces outside the patient-physician relationship.

Griffin Trotter, Ph.D., M.D. is Professor in the Department of Health Care Ethics at Saint Louis University, with a clinical appointment in the Department of Surgery. His recent research focuses on clinical ethics and health policy, especially as they pertain in the medical response to terrorism, and on the relevance of American pragmatism to health care ethics.

Get the .MP3 file

Communication Overload, Kate Lovelady, Leader, 9-Oct-2011 podcast

What are some of the joys and perils of our super-connected culture? Leader Kate Lovelady examines our increasingly wired (and wireless) society.

Get the .MP3 file

Ethical Choices Concerning Climate Change, John Patrick 2-Oct-2011 podcast

The focus on global climate change has recently ebbed and flowed in the public and political arenas. But, with the debate over as to whether human activity contributes significantly to climate change, the debate continues on what will be done to ad-dress it. Essential elements for possible solutions include environmental sustainability, economic development, and social equity. The role of ethics is fundamental in this multi-disciplinary approach. John Patrick retired in 2010 as a Program Analyst for the Environmental Protection Agency, Office of the Inspector General (OIG) in Washington, DC. He evaluated and co-authored the February 2, 2009 report from the OIG on EPA’s mitigation and adaptation efforts to con-front climate change.

John has completed his course work in the doctoral program in Environmental Science and Policy at George Mason University, focusing on environmental corporate management and sustainable farming methods. John is currently a co-owner of a small, organic farm near Joelton, Tennessee, and an adjunct professor at David Lipscomb University in Nashville. Prior to Washington, DC, John and Rebecca Selove (his partner) lived in St. Louis and were members of the Ethical Society.

Get the .MP3 file

The Leaders We've Been Waiting For, Kate Lovelady, Leader 18-Sep-2011 podcast

Come join us as we welcome back our leader Kate Lovelady whose address will introduce new ideas gathered during her sabbatical.

Get the .MP3 file

Environmentalism: Walking the walk, Jim Rhodes, Bing Gibbs and Doreen Hulsey, 21-Aug-2011 podcast

Three members of Earth Ethics will talk about how we can make a positive impact on our environment and enjoy healthier lives on a sustainable planet. Jim Rhodes will discuss some possible solutions to the problem of runoff from farms, urban areas, and even our own front yards, which adversely affects our nation's water supply. Bing Gibbs will compare EVs (Electric Vehicles) to gas-powered cars, contrasting the emissions of the power plants (providing charging capability for EV batteries) with the emissions from gas-powered automobiles. Doreen Hulsey will discuss the controversial topic of genetically modified organisms, and the unintended, dangerous, unpredictable consequences thereof. The biotech industry says we need them, but do we really? How do they affect our health and the environment? Doreen will cite the latest research and the dire prediction of an acclaimed expert.

Jim Rhodes is a licensed professional environmental engineer who works in the area of water pollution control in the St. Louis Area. He holds Master's degrees in both Environmental and Civil Engineering.

Bing Gibbs has become an activist for making sure the air we breathe is clean and the food we eat is highly nutritious. Bing joined the Gateway Electric Vehicle Auto Club on his quest to seek solutions for better air quality.

Upon discovering that the "conventional wisdom" of nutrition is incorrect, Doreen Hulsey began researching nutrition several years ago. She also writes a blog, CountdownToFitness.com

Get the .MP3 file

An ethical humanist reports on his first year In the Missouri House of Representatives, Rory Ellinger, 14-Aug-2011 podcast

Rory Ellinger was elected to the Missouri House of Representatives last November. He will focus his talk on the interesting and occasionally humorous discussions he has had with deeply Christian Republican majority members of the legislature as he worked to eliminate payday lending, to promote an increase in the cigarette tax, to establish a tax on out-of-state computer internet purchases, and to promote a fast train system between Kansas City and St. Louis.

Rory Ellinger, a practicing attorney for 30 years, has been a member of the Ethical Society of St. Louis for 25 years and is also a member of the ACLU. He has served on many boards. Since his election to the Missouri House, he has served on the Health Care, Social Services, Disability, Mental Health and Family Services Appropriations Committee, overseeing one-third of the state budget.

Get the .MP3 file

Legalized gambling: jurisdictional comparison: Problem gambling, and the role of the regulator, Melissa R. Stephens and Chris Hinckley, 31-Jul-2011 podcast

A look at the rise of legalized gambling in Missouri and how Missouri differs from other states, Europe and Asia with regard to legalized offerings and the issue of problem gamblers.

Melissa R. Stephens is the problem gambling programs administrator for the Missouri Gaming Commission (MGC). She oversees Missouri’s Voluntary Self-Exclusion Program, assists problem gamblers and their families in locating treatment and other resources, monitors research and provides training for MGC and casino staff. She holds an Masters of Public Administration from Bowie State University and a B.S. in Psychology from Truman State University, and has worked in the field of addiction prevention, education and outreach since 1987.

Christopher W. Hinckley has been an attorney for the Missouri Gaming Commission since 2007 overseeing and advising on the regulation of riverboat casinos. He received a B.A in History and a M.A. in Teaching from Union College in Schenectady, NY, and graduated from the St. Louis University School of Law in 1999. Hinckley served as an officer in the United States Navy and moved to St. Louis in 1992 to teach at the Mary Institute and St. Louis Country Day School. Hinckley worked as a prosecutor in the Circuit Attorney's Office of the City of St. Louis until he joined the Commission in 2007. Hinckley is a member of the International Association of Gaming Regulators, the International Masters of Gaming Law, and a board member of the Sports and Entertainment Business Advisory Board.

Get the .MP3 file

Drug policy, Sara Serot and Dennis Owsley, 17-Jul-2011 podcast

President Richard Nixon first declared a "War on Drugs" in 1971 as the government stepped up efforts to eradicate the country of mind-affecting drugs. Currently, the United States spends $40 billion annually on this "war" with no positive results. Drug policy since the 1980's has gutted the illegal search and seizure clause of the 4th Amendment. Drug laws have not been applied equally across all social classes and many believe are specifically targeted at the poor. By all accounts, our drug policy has been a failure.

Sara Serot was born in St. Louis. She has Masters Degrees in Special Education and in Health Administration. Sara earned her law degree from St. Louis University and has been a Public Defender in the state of Missouri for the past 19 years.

Dennis Owsley was born in California and earned a Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry. He is the host of "Jazz Unlimited" on St. Louis Public Radio and has written a history of St. Louis jazz. Since the 1980's, he has been lecturing and teaching about the relationship between chemical structure and activity of mind-affecting drugs.

Get the .MP3 file

Freedom, criminal law, and philosophy, Zach Hoskins, Ph.D., 10-Jul-2011 podcast

Criminal law is restrictive by virtue of spelling out what actions can result in punishment. But why criminalize such seemingly innocuous acts as not wearing a seatbelt or eating junk food? Why is graffiti criminalized but not marital infidelity; marijuana but not tobacco or alcohol? When does the state have the moral right to limit individual freedoms and prescribe punishment? If these distinctions are morally justified, why? As answers to these questions depend on the very conception of "freedom," we'll consider various philosophical views on freedom, and what is implied when a state criminalizes specific behaviors of its citizens.

Zach Hoskins recently received his Doctorate in Moral and Political Philosophy from Washington University in St. Louis and is a recently-appointed Research Fellow in the Institute of Criminal Law and Justice at the University of Minnesota. In his dissertation, Zach examined the moral permissibility of criminal punishment. He and his wife Nora have lived in University City for the past seven years, along with two dogs whose freedoms they limit only when necessary.

Get the .MP3 file

Gardening with local native plants, June Hutson, 26-Jun-2011 podcast

Summer plants will be in full bloom when June Hutson will present this Platform about local/native plants, a low-maintenance option for those who wish to be good stewards and protect our wildlife and local ecosystem, as well as those who just want to enjoy beautiful plants, animals and insects in their natural setting.

June Hutson is a local/native St. Louis gardener with a horticulture degree from Meramec Community College. She has worked for the Missouri Botanical Gardens for 35 years, and is the Aurelia Schlapp Curator of Perennials—the only horticulture curatorship awarded in the Gardens’ history. Currently, June supervises the Kemper Home Demo Gardens (dedicated to home gardening) and the Doris Schnuck Children's Gardens. She has grown her own business as an Independent Garden Consultant and Designer, written articles for popular gardening magazines and taught people at all ages to garden where they're planted.

Get the .MP3 file

My volunteer vacations in Guatemala and some ethical principles, Tom St. John, 19-Jun-2011 podcast

Fifty years after 13-year old Tom St. John first traveled to Guatemala on a banana boat with his father, Tom finds himself called by the God's Child Project/Guatemala to build houses for the poor. These houses are constructed on the hillside slums of San Felipe that surround the ancient city of Antigua, Guatemala. For 58 years, his feet have travelled throughout Latin America - especially to Mexico, Panama, Belize and Guatemala. At this Platform, Tom will share stories of his journey and some important ethical principles he has learned along the way.

While Tom St. John was born in St. Louis and has lived in South St. Louis most of my life, he started traveling at an early age - by 14 he had been to Cuba, The Bahamas, Panama, Honduras and Guatemala. Tom completed a Master's Degree in Latin American Studies and an M.B.A . He has been a public high school teacher in St. Louis for 38 years, and has also taught in Punta Gorda, Belize (near Guatemala). He and his wife of 18 years, Laraine, live in Affton, and have 5 children and 8 grandchildren. While he "retired" in 1999, he now works at Grant's Farm, teaches adults at Thomas Dunn Memorial and at OASIS. He last visited Guatemala in 2010.

Get the .MP3 file

Personal connections on journeys and authentic eco-tourism, Haley Pepper and Mauricio Fonseca, 12-Jun-2011 podcast

Haley Pepper will regale you with stories about making connections with the people you meet on journeys, whether your journey or theirs. She will talk about the importance of helping others as well as being helped along your way. Mauricio Fonseca will speak about what you can learn while traveling when you keep adventure, environment, service, culture and language foremost in your mind.

Haley Pepper and Mauricio Fonseca do not have typical résumés. They have formal educations and have done some normal things, but they also have an exaggerated sense of adventure. As a boy, Mauricio spent four years living in a hut with a Shaman in Costa Rica. Haley left Missouri to sail the seas on tall ships. Mauricio runs Rainforest Expeditions, their ecotourism company; Haley is a school nurse. The joy in their lives is little Eddie, their 16-month-old son.

Get the .MP3 file

Mother's day: Members speak, Host Bob Heck, Wilma Jamieson, Renee Jeffries, Ellen Wright, Kaitlin Wright, 8-May-2011 podcast

Want to get your Mother's Day celebration off to an excellent start (after breakfast in bed)? This Platform is for you and the mothers in your life! Ethical Society members—a young girl, a teen, an Australian and mothers (of course)—will share their memories and stories. This Platform promises to delight and entertain.

Get the .MP3 file

Founder's Day, Alan Easton, Fred Tuttle, Chuck Kulczycki, Dennis Roach, Garnet Thies and Tom O'Hare, 22-May-2011 podcast

Please join us to hear from members who celebrate significant membership anniversaries. All this and a little inspiration from Felix Adler, Founder of the Ethical Culture Movement, await old friends and new at our Annual Founder's Day Celebration.

Get the .MP3 file

Practice resurrection: Living in transition, Eunice Hiott – Chaplain, 24-Apr-2011 podcast

We constantly experience transitions in life, mostly small ones. Sometimes, however, big changes happen that require mindful attention. Eunice will speak of her recent experience of life change and the lessons that she has learned from it.

Eunice Hiott has been a devoted member of the Ethical Society since 2006. Eunice received her Masters of Divinity at Union Theological Seminary in New York City, and studied Clinical Pastoral Education at North Carolina Baptist Hospital in Winston-Salem, NC. She became a healthcare chaplain in 1992, and was endorsed by the American Ethical Union as an Ethical Culture/Ethical Humanist chaplain in 2009. Before settling in St. Louis, she served as a chaplain at Hermann Hospital in Houston, TX; she has served BJC Hospice as a chaplain

Get the .MP3 file

Winning universal health care - strategies for victory, Ron Hikel, Strategic Advisor In Health Care, 17-Apr-2011 podcast

Do YOU believe that health care is a human right, and that the U.S. health care system focuses too much on profits for corporations and not enough on providing adequate health care for ALL of our citizens? Bring your family and friends to the Ethical Society today and expect to be inspired! Ron Hikel shares his experiences working with Canada's "Medicare," which provides ALL Canadian citizens with health care from cradle to grave, and advising Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) on how to best assist state and federal citizen-advocates to obtain the same level of health care access for U.S. citizens.

Ron Hikel holds dual citizenship in the U.S. and Canada. He served in the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Naval Reserves, completed degrees in political science at Boston and Columbia Universities, taught political science in the U.S. and Canada, and ran a large social science study in Canada. He held Canadian government positions in both Health and Social Service Departments, and also consulted on health care issues within the private sector. Mr. Hikel currently works with Rep. John Conyers (D-MI). He lives with his wife Tricia O'Malley in Toronto and Washington, DC; they have three grown children.

Get the .MP3 file

Tax reform: Is the fox guarding the henhouse? Bob Jackson, 20-Feb-2011 podcast

Bob's talk will explore four points: the need to drastically change the federal income-tax system; the goals of a change; some means to achieve the goals; and a path to meaningful change.

Bob Jackson is a lawyer with Armstrong Teasdale LLP, a multi-state firm headquartered in Clayton. He has focused his practice on matters of taxation, and he is the senior member of the firm's tax department. Bob graduated from Yale College and Yale Law School. He earned an LLM (in Taxation) at New York University School of Law. Before entering private practice, Bob was an adjunct professor of taxation at New York University School of Law, and he clerked for a judge of the United States Tax Court. Bob is married to Andie Jackson, a member of The Ethical Society of St. Louis's congregation. They met in law school and married right after graduation. They have two children and four grandchildren.

Get the .MP3 file

Keep in touch, Evan Gross - Membership Coordinator, 3-Apr-2011 podcast

As an Ethical Humanist, I believe making connections with other people is the most powerful transcendental experience of being human. A relationship is the fundamental unit of society, at once a point of transmission and creation of ethics and culture. This Platform will address the difficulties of creating and maintaining meaningful friendships. Improving communications and travel technologies alleviate particular problems yet also create new challenges. Despite many cultural changes, the need for personal connection and the basic building blocks of friendship have remained unchanged for millennia. Drawing upon personal experience, I will outline specific challenges to forming healthy friendships.

Get the .MP3 file

The ethical skeptic: Why you should care what others believe, D.J. Grothe, 20-Mar-2011 podcast

D.J. Grothe explores the history of the organized skeptics movement, explaining the mission of the James Randi Educational Foundation (JREF), dedicated to advancement of scientific and critical thinking about paranormal beliefs (psychics, UFOs, astrology and spiritualism). He will talk about how JREF advances its mission, including its Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge, the internationally-popular Amazing Meetings, and the new "JREF in the Classroom" program. He will explore the Ethical Humanist foundations of JREF's mission, and how skeptics can work with humanists to advance common values.

D.J. Grothe, President of the James Randi Educational Foundation, has lectured widely on topics at the intersection of education, science and belief at universities such as Stanford, Harvard, Yale, UCLA, and UC Berkeley. Formerly a professional magician, he is especially interested in the psychology of belief and processes of deception and self-deception. He hosts the radio show/podcast "For Good Reason," prior to which he hosted over 200 episodes of the popular interview program, "Point of Reason," which he and partner Thomas Donnelly originated in 2005.

Get the .MP3 file

Science, religion and the self, Brian Vandenberg, PhD, 13-Feb-2011 podcast

Our modern psychological self, which provides the underlying, assumptive framework for how we make sense of ourselves and our place in the world, is a recent historical phenomenon, confined to the industrialized West; profoundly different and radically new. As religion has given way to science, the soul has been supplanted by the self. We will examine this shift from soul to self as well as implications and shortcomings of our modern idea of self.

Ethical Society member Brian Vandenberg is Professor of Psychology at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. He received a B.S. in Nuclear Engineering and a M.A. in Philosophy/Psychology from SUNY at Buffalo, and a Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Rochester (NY). He has published over 75 professional articles, including research on the topic of science, religion and the self. He has been elected Charter Fellow of the Midwest Psychological Association and Fellow of the American Psychological Association for his contribution the field of psychology, and has been the research advisor for more than 30 Masters and Doctoral level students.

Get the .MP3 file

Seven steps to immortality: A humanist's meditation on mortality, Claire Anderson, M.D., 6-Feb-2011 podcast

Claire Anderson, M.D. spent more than 30 years practicing Chest Radiology at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and was perennially elected to the Best Doctors in St. Louis. Recently retired, she describes herself as a writer, a video-editor and a "naturalist-wannabe," but most importantly as Grandmother. Today she translates her own life's arc and recent influences, including the book, Long for this World: The Strange Science of Immortality by Jonathan Weiner, into a prescription for living "life-long immortality". She has been a member of the St. Louis Ethical Society since 1983, and served as President of the Board of Trustees.

The time calls for action. Up, then, and let us do our part faithfully and well. And oh, friends, our children's children will hold our memories dearer for the work which we begin this hour.—Felix Adler

Get the .MP3 file

Standards-based learning: A question of trust, a question of vision, Sandra Sermos, 30-Jan-2011 podcast

How do we promote and assess learning in the 21st Century? While everyone believes in standards, the path from intention to implementation is paved with problems. Problems of trust among learners, parents, teachers, administrators, governments and an endless number of stakeholders abound while citizens from the previous generation plan quality education for children of the next.

As we establish standards, “teaching” and assessment methods further complicate the process. Applying "one-size-fits-all" standards to all children assumes ignores their unique talents and needs as they move through the system. "Standards" are reduced to daily goals and objectives so that metrics may be applied, and we sacrifice the larger goal of education to a mass production model.

Sandra Sermos is a teacher at Wydown Middle School in Clayton, MO. She has taught all subjects at each grade of middle school for more than 40 years, 25 of them as a science teacher. She has received numerous awards and was the 2009 Missouri Middle School Science Teacher of the Year. Her primary focus is on the Expeditionary Learning Program, an experiential science program, facilitating "hands-on" interaction between students and the natural world.

Get the .MP3 file

Building our ethical home, Kate Lovelady, Leader, 23-Jan-2011 podcast

It's that time again! Our annual pledge campaign kick-off is an opportunity to reflect on what we truly value most in our lives, and for each of us to examine how we use our life resources to promote those values. Our whirlwind consumer culture is constantly buffeting us with messages to blow us off track, so let this Platform and the Kick-Off Party afterward be your calm within the storm—a time to reflect and be re-energized. Together we can continue strengthening our ethical home and extending our welcome across the wider community.

Get the .MP3 file

The good of guilt, the shame of shame, Kate Lovelady, Leader, 9-Jan-2011 podcast

People often use the words "guilt" and "shame" interchangeably, but they refer to two different emotions with very different implications for ethics. This Platform will explore how, although both guilt and shame are unpleasant, and therefore both can be used to motivate behavior, guilt can actually be our friend as we try to live more ethically, whereas shame is usually an obstacle to our development. How can we better understand our emotions and cultivate those that are healthier and more ethically productive, in ourselves and others? How can we resist or heal from the effects of those who would try to use shame to get their way?

Get the .MP3 file

The seven deadly sins of business ethics, Linda Locke, 2-Jan-2011 podcast

We make judgments about the company we keep, the candidates we support, and the business to which we give our money. When we make choices about the products we buy, what are the influences on our purchase decisions? Does the behavior of a corporation affect the choices we make? Why do we like some companies and avoid others? Linda Locke will discuss corporate reputation what drives our perceptions and how we expect corporations to behave. Come hear her thoughts about the seven deadly sins and how they relate to business ethics and corporate decision-making.

Linda Locke is the principal of Reputare Consulting (reputareconsulting.com), a firm she founded in 2010, after retiring from MasterCard where she was senior vice president for reputation and issues management. She has been a member of the Ethical Society for over 20 years.

Get the .MP3 file

LGBTQ youth—Beyond Better, members of Growing American Youth and Morgan Keenan, Adult Advisor, 5-Dec-2010 podcast

For more than 30 years, Growing American Youth has provided ongoing support to St. Louis area youth who may identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ). Like many young people, LGBTQ youth can face difficulties in school, at home, within friendships and in love relationships. They can also actualize amazing lives despite personal hurdles.

Advisor Morgan Keenan will introduce us to some amazing youth who live unapologetically authentic lives. Hear what matters to them, about the ways they see communities still mired in old issues, and how they are leading the way toward a better life for everyone.

Get the .MP3 file

Stories from moderation management, Donna Dierker and Shannon King, co-leaders; St. Louis face-to-face MM meeting, 28-Nov-2010 podcast

Moderation Management (MM) is a support group for problem drinking. Most members seek to cut back, rather than quit drinking, but some choose permanent abstinence. In this Platform, MM members share stories of how MM changed their lives. Most MM members are high functioning people who use alcohol to cope with life's many sources of stress. Others simply developed a bad habit that got worse over time. While most of them avoid serious problems due to alcohol, drinking too much holds them back. By helping them learn to drink less, MM makes people better parents, spouses, and workers. Many MM members share common problems and triggers, but this talk illustrates that people drink for many different reasons.

Get the .MP3 file

Ethics of food: Mostly plants, Kate Lovelady, Leader, 14-Nov-2010 podcast

What we eat matters, for many reasons. Food choices affect our personal health and the health and welfare of people who work in food industries, and more and more we’re coming to understand that food choices also affect the health of our larger environment. In addition, our food choices affect the lives and welfare of other animals. In this platform address, Kate will explore some of the ethical and personal issues related to what we eat, and suggest that the current culture of dividing up people into vegetarians and meat-eaters may be getting in the way of all of us addressing these issues together.

Get the .MP3 file

Rewiring your brain for a happy, healthy, fulfilled retirement, Jeri Sedlar, 7-Nov-2010 podcast

Today many people are hunting for purpose, meaning or joy in life. Others are seeking ways to be authentic and true to themselves. Still others want to integrate leisure with work (paid or volunteer) while managing financial, health and life responsibilities. The Rewiring process helps people identify what motivates or drives them, and then guides them to new and meaningful activities. Jeri will help you find new insights and ideas to enhance the second act of your life, and enrich the lives of others around you.

Jeri Sedlar is an entrepreneur, social researcher, motivational speaker, and Senior Advisor to the Conference Board on the Mature Workforce. She is a former Delegate to the White House Conference on Aging, and the co-author of the two books, DON'T RETIRE, REWIRE! and ON TARGET-Enhance Your Life and Ensure Your Success. She has emerged as one of the country's leading authorities on life planning, and has been researching the issues of work and leisure for over a decade. Jeri sits on the board of several non-profit organizations and is only the second woman to sit on the board of the USS Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum. She is a graduate of Michigan State University and resides in New York City with her co-author husband.

Get the .MP3 file

Talking about guns, Kate Lovelady, Leader, 31-Oct-2010 podcast

Americans are deeply polarized when it comes to gun issues. One side talks about "gun control," the other about "gun rights." Yet framing the issue as having only two clearly-delineated sides may itself be part of the problem. This Halloween, we will look at how our fears, both justified and imagined, are keeping us from finding common ground, and we'll explore how can we talk more productively about guns and safety.

Get the .MP3 file

Mindful parenting: Kids as consumers, Ann Weidemann, Director - Shining Rivers School, 24-Oct-2010 podcast

As a community, how can we support parents in making healthy choices for their families and their children? Are there obstacles that have entered our homes undetected? Sharing lessons learned through her interactions with Shining Rivers faculty and parents, as well as her own daughter, “Miss Ann” Weidemann will share her journey into natural parenting and bring mindful attention to the everyday choices we make as parents. Be prepared to take a second look at the products and messages in your children’s surroundings.

Get the .MP3 file

The blues as a way of life, Anthony B. Pinn, 17-Oct-2010 podcast

In the United States of America, the "Black Church" has been assumed to be the only way for African Americans to express a religious orientation, at the least the only way deserving serious consideration. African American religion in the Age of President Obama, as it is presented by various media outlets, only emphasizes this assumption. In his talk, Dr. Pinn will present an alternative to this assumption: African American humanism. Attention will be given to the ways in which humanism in African American communities develops as a unique form of humanism, and the ways in which African American humanism has served as a vital method for making sense of life in a troubled world.

Anthony B. Pinn received a BA from Columbia University, and his MDiv, MA and PhD from Harvard University. He began his teaching career at Macalester College, and became the first African American to hold an endowed chair (the Agnes Cullen Arnold Professor of Humanities and Professor of Religious Studies) at Rice University. Pinn is the founding director of the Houston Enriches Rice Education Project. He is the first Executive Director of the Society for the Study of Black Religion, and first Director of Research for the Institute for Humanist Studies Think Tank (Washington, DC). Dr. Pinn is the author/editor of over twenty-five books, including Terror and Triumph: The Nature of Black Religion, The Black Church in the Post-Civil Rights Era, and Embodiment and the New Shape of Black Theological Thought.

Get the .MP3 file

Tolerance and love, Kate Lovelady, Leader, 3-Oct-2010 podcast

Recent controversies surrounding issues as different as immigration reform and the "Ground Zero Mosque" have elicited both expressions of fear and prejudice and expressions of acceptance and solidarity. "Tolerance" is a widely ­promoted value, but are there limits to what society should tolerate? On the other hand, is the idea of tolerance enough to cross divides and bring us together on common ground, or must we reach toward the higher ethical ideal of loving the stranger?

Get the .MP3 file

2010 Ethical Humanist of the Year Leon "Bud" Deraps, 26-Sep-2010 podcast

Bud Deraps is a force for peace to be reckoned with! Whether holding the US military responsible for the hidden casualties of war, taking up a collection to help Haitian earthquake victims, acting as the vice-chairperson (or "chairman of vice," as he is fond of saying) for Ethical Action Committee, or delivering our canned goods to Operation Food Search to be distributed to St. Louisans in need, Bud's unceasing energy makes the Ethical Society of St. Louis proud to say he's "ours." Tribute speakers include Julia Lamborn, Deloris Roman, and Debora and Michael Connley. Read more about Bud.

Get the .MP3 file

There is no way to peace; peace is the way, Kate Lovelady, Leader, 19-Sep-2010 podcast

This Platform will build on our Fall Gathering theme of practicing peace as well as honor the International Day of Peace (September 21), which was established by the United Nations in 1981. Everyone says they want Peace— in fact, they’re willing to fight for it! In what situations does this contradiction make sense, if any? What does Ethical Humanism have to say about peace as a value and an ideal? Most important, how do we as Ethical Humanists live this value in our daily lives so that we can work to promote peace in our communities and all over the world?

Get the .MP3 file

Ethical Culture and Secular Humanism, Kate Lovelady 29-Aug-2010 podcast

This platform looks at what Ethical Humanism has in common with secular humanism, and how it differs as a form of religious humanism.

Get the .MP3 file

Health care—an insider's view, Drs. Nick and Nancy Holekamp, 22-Aug-2010 podcast

In his treatise on the commodification of medicine, the renowned bioethicist, Edmund Pelligrino, M.D. quoted Socrates, who asked his students, "But tell me, your physician, is he a moneymaker, an earner of fees, or a healer of the sick?" The student understood that physicians are healers first. While championing his health care reform package, President Obama was often heard to say, "We need to let doctors be doctors." If the "ideal" were the "everyday," perhaps this would work. But what motivates physicians? What affects the decisions they make in caring for patients?

Dr. Nancy Holekamp is an office-based, super-specialist retina surgeon. Dr. Nick Holekamp is a hospital-based generalist pediatrician who cares for medically-complex children and their families. Despite being at opposite ends of the healthcare continuum, they share an understanding that physician behavior, like human behavior in general, happens on a spectrum from "doing the right thing" to greed-inspired self-interest. By sharing some of their personal experience, they hope to highlight the physician's role in the healthcare industry.

Get the .MP3 file

The changing expectations of privacy in the internet age, Denny Boynton, 8-Aug-2010 podcast

Beyond dispute, the Internet has changed the way most of us live our lives. Access to the sum total of human knowledge from our living room couch has impacted the way we work, the way we play, and the way we interact with other people on a global scale. Of course, we pay a heavy price for this level of access. Our parents had certain expectations of privacy, but what about our children and grandchildren who are growing up in this world of global access?

In this talk, Denny Boynton, Technology Evangelist for Microsoft, will look at these issues and shed some light on these changing expectations of privacy in the Information Age.

Get the .MP3 file

Words to live by - Lessons learned over a long career, Bobbi Linkemer, 1-Aug-2010 podcast

Words to Live By: Reflections on the Writing Life From a 40-Year Veteran is a memoir of a remarkable career that began with little more than a vague dream—to write—and proved that with a bit of talent and a lot of determination one can achieve any goal, no matter how improbable. Bobbi intended the title to describe the way she has earned her living for more than half her life, but when one of her editors read it, the editor felt the title intimated at life lessons learned along the way. This morning's platform is about those lessons.

Currently a working ghostwriter, editor, and writing coach, Bobbi Linkemer has been a magazine editor, corporate communicator, executive speech writer, and marketing manager, working with audio, video and various print media. She has authored 16 books. Her passion is helping other writers at all levels convey their messages through fine words. She teaches courses in "Writing, Publishing, and Promoting a Nonfiction Book" at St. Louis Community College.

Get the .MP3 file

Athiests and Foxholes, Carl Romano, 25-Jul-2010 podcast

In times of adversity the faithful turn their thoughts and hope to God. Where do agnostics or atheists go, what can they do, when they need answers and reason seems insufficient?

Get the .MP3 file

A most misunderstood word, Dennis Owsley, 15-Aug-2010 podcast

The word to be discussed today has a very strict usage in science. To understand its misuse, we have to explore how science works at a very basic level. We will do that, with applications to everyday problems, and show how a fact-based (as opposed to faith-based) belief system helps us focus our decisions. We will then explore some of the ways this scientific word is misused in the media and in our decision-making.

Dennis Owsley holds a Ph.D. in organic chemistry and is a retired Monsanto Senior Science Fellow and college teacher. His other career is in radio. He has broadcast a weekly jazz show (currently running as "Jazz Unlimited" on Sundays from 9 p.m. 'til midnight) for St. Louis Public Radio (KWMU—90.7 FM) since April 1983, for which he has won numerous accolades. He has combined his love of both photography and jazz to become a prominent photographer of jazz musicians, and his photos have been exhibited and published in galleries, history books, music textbooks, on websites and several CD covers.

Get the .MP3 file

Interfaith Ethical Action, Beth Damsgaard-Rodriguez, Executive Director Interfaith Partnership/Faith Beyond Walls, 18-Jul-2010 podcast

To continue our month of platform addresses related to faith, Beth Damsgaard-Rodriguez, Executive Director of Interfaith Partnership/Faith Beyond Walls, of which the Ethical Society of St. Louis is a member, will speak about the work of her organization to bring together people of all faiths to improve St. Louis and to increase peace and understanding.

Beth Damsgaard-Rodriguez is a St. Louis, Missouri native. She earned her Bachelor Degree in Human Services from University of Tennessee. Her work has involved her in various non-profit organizations including the role of house parent for a residential treatment center and a youth minister for a Presbyterian Church. Beth also served for three years in the Peace Corps in Costa Rica.

Get the .MP3 file

Simple Gifts, Jim Mahanes, 11-Jul-2010 podcast

In 2006, a deranged man named Charles Carl Roberts went into an Amish school in Nickel Mines, Lancaster County, and shot and killed five girls before committing suicide. The Amish community decided to respond not with anger or calls for vengeance but with radical forgiveness for the shooter and his family.

Jim Mahanes was inspired to create a series of thirty paintings portraying the Amish people and their community after visiting with Amish youth and viewing a documentary film about this incident, "The Power of Forgiveness," produced by Martin Doblmeier of Journey Films.

In this Platform, Mahanes will share his paintings and his fascination with the process of forgiveness among the Amish children who had been traumatized by the loss of their schoolmates. How do the developmental emotions of grief and anger coincide with the cultural expectations to forgive?

Since 1975, watercolorist Jim Mahanes has painted the American land-scape with both realism and imaginative interpretation. A self-taught artist, Mahanes has advanced degrees in the behavioral sciences and practices family therapy in Louisville, Kentucky. He has been a faculty member of the University of Kentucky for more than 23 years. His art is the primary focus in his life now, however. According to the artist, "There is a close parallel between painting and therapy. The perceptual skills demanded of a clinician enhance the creative approach to painting and vice versa."

You can visit www.Mahanes-art.com to see his Amish images.

Get the .MP3 file

Suspending disbelief: (How) do art and atheism go together?, Gwydion Suilebhan, 27-Jun-2010 podcast

All art is storytelling in one form or another. Artists create stories they want people to believe...at least for a while. Some art is forgettable, but some of it – the powerful stuff – stays with us for hours after we leave the theater or the gallery or after we turn off the television...and some of it we just can't shake. It takes on a life of its own, becoming more real than it has any right to be. Are our religious stories like this? Are they art run amok? How long should disbelief really be suspended?

Gwydion Suilebhan is a playwright who self-identifies as a secular humanist and who lives in Washington, D.C., with his wife, Maura. His play "The Reals" is being performed by St. Louis's Hot City Theatre company for the 5th Annual GreenHouse New Play Festival. Gwydion earned his M.A. in poetry from Johns Hopkins University, and his poetry and articles have appeared in many publications. He has also taught playwriting, creative writing, and literature at Johns Hopkins and the Maryland Institute College of Art. He has received two Individual Artist Fellowships from the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities and has been accepted into the Mead Theatre Lab program three times. In 2009 he was a finalist for Outstanding Emerging Artist at the D.C. Mayor's Arts Awards.

Get the .MP3 file

Coin Operated Ethics: Initiating Video Game Literacy, Joseph Koepke, 20-Jun-2010 podcast

Video games are a large part of our culture, yet many of us know little about this world. This platform address will introduce the multifaceted nature and fading boundaries of video entertainment, assessing the current direction of this form of media and exploring some of its inherent ethical implications.

Joseph Koepke has been an early childhood and elementary educator for the past decade, and he has been a video game player his entire life. His work both in and out of the classroom building communities has provided.

Get the .MP3 file

Gardening For The Soul, Linda Wiggen Kraft, 13-Jun-2010 podcast

Gardens enrich body, mind, and soul and enliven the human experience. A garden is the place where we can be fully present and engaged through all the senses.

Linda Wiggen Kraft has been a garden designer since 1993. Her background in art, business, and meditation give her a unique approach to gardening that she will share in her presentation. She gives lectures and workshops throughout the U.S. She has written gardening columns for "The Healthy Planet" since 1998, in which she writes about the big picture of why we garden. Her work can be seen on her website: GardensForTheSoul.com.

Get the .MP3 file

I know why the chicken crossed the road: Lessons learned in the peace corps in Nicaragua, Laurie Pickard, 6-Jun-2010 podcast

The U.S. Peace Corps places volunteers in over 70 countries in the developing world in sectors ranging from public health to English teaching to small business development. Most volunteers concur that the experience is life-changing. A year into her two-year commitment with the Peace Corps, Laurie Pickard will share insights from her time as a volunteer in Nicaragua's Agriculture and Sustainable Food Security program.

Laurie Pickard grew up attending the St. Louis Ethical Society Sunday School from pre-school through Youth Group and was a member of the first Coming of Age class. She graduated from Oberlin College with a bachelor's degree in politics and from Temple University with a master's degree in geography. She is currently serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer in rural Nicaragua. She writes regularly about her experiences there on her blog, www.wanderphilia.blogspot.com.

Get the .MP3 file

Eighth annual health care Sunday -- Rx for health care: Single payer, expanded medicare for all Americans, Dr. David Gill, 25-Apr-2010 podcast

As an emergency room doctor in Bloomington, Illinois, Dr. David Gill some-time works 13-hour shifts seeing dozens of patients. About half of them are emergency patients because they cannot afford insurance, family doctors or costly drugs.

Dr. Gill believes that to serve the people best, we must change from a system run by for profit corporate insurers to a system paid for directly by a progressive tax that does directly to health care providers. High costs of health care are fueled by the fact that insurers are there to create profits. “They’re not evil - they must make profits for their shareholders,” Dr. Gill said.

He is making his third run for Congressman from central Illinois’ 15th District. He accepts no corporate gifts. His campaigns depend on small dontions from individuals and the free labor of hundreds of volunteer workers.

He and his wife Elaine have a family of six children. Dr. Gill practices medicine at the Advocate BroMenn Regional Medical Center in Bloomington, which treats 42,000 emergency patients a year.

Get the .MP3 file

Faces of humanism: Ingersoll and Adler, Kate Lovelady, Leader, 18-Apr-2010 podcast

Faces of humanism: Robert Ingersoll and Felix Adler

Get the .MP3 file

No hell below us, Kate Lovelady, Leader, 4-Apr-2010 podcast

Hell has been a powerful image for thousands of years, although in more recent times many religious traditions have been moving away from the concept of hell. This platform address will look at hell's history, how it's been used, and what it means to abandon it. Ethical Humanism has never promoted the notion of hell, and while there are obvious good points to not believing in hell for oneself, there are also ethical and psychological issues with not having a "final jail" to which to consign people who have committed cruel acts. What does it mean to live in a world with no hell below us, as John Lennon sang?

Get the .MP3 file

One woman's coming of age, Felicia Graber, 21-Mar-2010 podcast

Felicia Graber survived WW II in hiding in Poland and later fled to Western Europe. She immigrated to the U.S. with her husband, where she earned two college degrees. She raised two children, taught school, and became a speaker and writer about the Holocaust, as well as a leader in the Jewish community. This is her story of Coming of Age.

"I was born in Poland a few months after the German invasion. I survived the war posing as a Catholic with my mother. Like most child survivors, I always was a 'very good girl.' In my mother's words, I never gave her any trouble. This obedience lasted throughout my growing up years.

At nineteen, I married a U.S. army chaplain 9 years my senior. I always looked up to him as being far superior to me in intelligence, knowledge and wisdom. My goal in life was to be his support system and helper.

From the mid-1960s on, however, I started to assert my own needs, ideas, and wishes. I still deferred to him most of the time and always stayed in the background as he became a community leader. It was not until my retirement in 1996 and his in 1997 that I started on my path as a speaker, writer and community leader. Now our roles are almost reversed, I am in the public eye, serve on various committees and he has become my support system."

Get the .MP3 file

Get on the love bus, Kate Lovelady, Leader, 14-Mar-2010 podcast

On Friday, March 12, a bus full of Missouri couples and clergy drove from St. Louis to Iowa City to solemnize 17 marriages. Why such a long drive to get married? Because these devoted couples happen to be gay and lesbian. Iowa legalized same-sex marriage in 2009. Marriage equality has had prominent gains and setbacks in the past few years, and the Missouri Love Bus can be seen as a political statement; but more than that, it is the culmination of the love stories of real people. Kate was honored to have been on the Love Bus twice to help officiate these marriages and will share some of the stories from this year's ride.

Get the .MP3 file

Biodiversity and humanity: Imperative for a conservation ethic, Karin Schwartz, 28-Feb-2010 podcast

We are witnessing the sixth great extinction crisis due to the pressures of humankind on the natural resources of the earth. Evolution of biodiversity spanned millions of years, yet now its loss in mere centuries will entangle humanity within its web, as we threaten the very sustainability of all life on earth. Our future will depend on not only knowledge of science to understand how our ecosystems work and of economics in recognizing intrinsic values of earth’s natural systems, but ethics in accepting personal responsibility for taking global action to preserve a sustainable environment.

Karin Schwartz, daughter of members Eugene and Ruth Schwartz, grew up in the Ethical Society. Her upbringing gave her a solid foundation for embracing diversity, not only in her connections with different people and cultures around the world, but for the diversity of species that she would encounter as a zoologist. She started her zoo career as a zookeeper at the St. Louis Zoo. Interest in all things animal led her to a Master’s degree in Animal Behavior from UMSL and a job as Registrar at the Milwaukee County Zoo. She led the development of a training program for the American Zoo and Aquarium Association in use of the International Species Information System, a global system to record animal data from over 800 zoological institutions worldwide. She extended her records training sessions outside of the USA, presenting sessions for zoo associations in India for the South Asian region, in Argentina for the Central and South American region, as well as in Ecuador, Hawaii, and recently, South Korea. Now the Biological Database Manager for the Chicago Zoological Society, Karin is an active member of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Species Survival Commission, serving on committees within the Conservation Breeding Specialist Group, Tapir Specialist Group and Reintroduction Specialist Group.

Get the .MP3 file

Ethical issues of biotechnology, Timothy Dennehy 21-Feb-2010 podcast

Timothy Dennehy joined Monsanto Global Scientific Affairs in 2008, ending 25 years as an academic. He has B.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Entomology from the University of California, Davis. He was on the faculty of Cornell University for a decade, and then moved to the University of Arizona. There he was a member of a research and extension team recognized internationally for bringing conventional pesticide use in Arizona cotton to historic low levels. In 2006 he was recognized with the title University Distinguished Professor, the highest honor awarded at the University of Arizona for faculty outreach. Tim has authored over 200 publications. With some apprehension, he has agreed to share with us perspectives on the often-misunderstood and evocative issues surrounding biotechnology. What do we know about the safety of bioengineered foods and what are the alternatives? Can we feed the world with organic agriculture? Is sustainable agriculture a scientifically-sound middle ground?

Get the .MP3 file

The cosmic context, Martin Israel, 7-Feb-2010 podcast

Martin Israel is a professor of physics at Washington University. He teaches a variety of courses in physics and astronomy. His astrophysics research, funded by NASA, is a study of cosmic rays. His lab builds instruments that go onto stratospheric balloons and spacecraft to measure these high-energy atomic nuclei.

Get the .MP3 file

Investing in ourselves, Kate Lovelady, Leader, 31-Jan-2010 podcast

Hooray! It's that time of year again when I get to talk about money! --Those are not sarcastic exclamations points; I truly have learned to value my yearly pledge campaign kick-off more than almost any other platform address. It?s an opportunity for me to examine my own giving to see if I am really putting my resources where my heart and my values are. It's an opportunity to celebrate our community's accomplishments and envision an even brighter future. It's an opportunity to tackle important questions, such as, how is it ethical to invest in our own community when there are so many needs in the world? I hope you will come share this opportunity.

Get the .MP3 file

Bridge to the fortress, Mary Edwards Wertsch, 24-Jan-2010 podcast

What do YOU think about when you hear the word "military?" Unjust wars? Just ones? An uncomfortably large chunk of the national budget? Whatever your opinions or your personal connection to the military, our speaker this morning will offer an un-usual perspective on the subject.

Mary Wertsch, who grew up in an Army infantry family, needed to read a book that would help put her own childhood in perspective. When she couldn't find one, she decided to write it. A former investigative journalist, she interviewed 80 adults who grew up in career military families, looking for patterns in their childhoods and in how they conducted their adult lives. The resulting book describes a cultural shaping so powerful that it unites these children of warriors across lines of gender, race, and class-and forever sets them apart from their civilian peers.

Come hear about this radically different culture through the eyes of its children; and learn how Mary Wertsch's personal quest revealed a powerful truth she had not foreseen, with implications not only for adult military brats, but for how civilians can approach an ethical relationship with the armed forces.

Get the .MP3 file

Practicing pacifism: How Quakerism speaks to the practice of life, Anna and Tom Sandidge, 17-Jan-2010 podcast

Tom and Anna will share their personal stories of living with peaceful intention as Friends and the journey that brought them to that way of life.

Anna Sandidge, a Quaker or Friend, currently works for The Center for Su-vivors of Torture and War Trauma, coordinating their gang-prevention program for refugee and immigrant youth. She worked a brief stint in corporate America as a human rights compliance specialist monitoring workers’ rights in China. As director and consultant for Friends Peace Teams, Anna worked with communities emerging from violent conflict. She worked in Burundi, Africa with local trauma healing groups that promote reconciliation between survivors and perpetrators of the war and genocide. She has worked as a consultant for the Global Leadership Institute’s courses at the United Nations on multi-cultural issues in reconciliation and has co-facilitated workshops on listening, dialogue and healing. Anna began her full-time peace work as the staff for the St. Louis Instead of War coalition and continues to actively participate in planning peace events in St. Louis. Anna received her Psychological Anthropology degree in 2001 and her Masters in Community Social Work in 2004. Anna also teaches Sivananda yoga at a local community center.

Tom Sandidge is a Senior Database Administrator for Sisters of Mercy Health Care System. He co-facilitates Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP) workshops at Missouri Eastern Correctional Center near Pacific, Missouri. He enlisted in 1976 as a Private and left military service in 2003 as a Major. He has served in the active Army and the Reserves and commanded twice with experience in the Engineer Corp, the Ordnance Corp, Explosive Ordnance Disposal, Special Weapons, Protective Services, Interdiction of Weapons of Mass Destruction, Theater Ammunition Management, and the Chemical Corp. He also visited Burundi to facilitate AVP workshops as part of the reconciliation process. He has attended Quaker Meeting since 1997 and along with Anna has organized a Midwest Quaker Conference for the past 8 years.

Get the .MP3 file

Community is dead; Long live community, Kate Lovelady, Leader, 10-Jan-2010 podcast

As part of the Ethical Society's new long-range plan (see our web site for details), we are striving to strengthen our role in St. Louis as a welcoming home for humanists. The need for a home, or a home-away-from-home, is shared by many people, though we may have different ideas of what exactly that means to us and what that home should look like. There has been much discussion in recent years about community in America: people seem to be drifting away from traditional sources of community and toward sub-cultures, commercial transactions, virtual networks. How can humanists and our allies create community today? Why should we even want to?

Get the .MP3 file

Beginning Again, Randal Blain, Humanist Chaplin, 3-Jan-2010 podcast

Easier to recognize in the change of season or the change of calendar we humans begin again. Spending time to reflect on the subject of change and how we evolve, adapt, and reintegrate into new ways of being provides opportunities to develop strategies of holding on while letting go, being stable while moving forward, remaining rooted while re-establishing through periods of loss, grief, and change.

As a teacher of Ethical Mindfulness and Engaged Buddhism, Randal pro-poses the development of an awareness of the impermanent/interbeing nature of all phenomena that can lead to a powerful foundation to deal with change. Drawing on his work over the last several years as a thanotiologist, he proposes several strategies for dealing with change in ways that minimize suffering and expands opportunities for regaining strength and joy. Ethical Society member Randal Blain, B.A., M. Div, serves as Teacher, non-theistic Spiritual Director, and Humanist Chaplain.

Get the .MP3 file

The climate, it’s still a-changin’, Henry Robertson, Great Rivers Environmental Law Center, 13-Dec-2009 podcast

This platform will present updated information about climate change, while the world meets at the Climate Summit in Copenhagen, and gives some ideas of what each of us can do to help.

Henry Robertson is an attorney with the Great Rivers Environmental Law Center. He concentrates on energy issues and is working primarily in the Missouri Public Service Commission. He was elected to the Sierra Club Eastern Missouri Group's Executive Committee in 2004 and to the Ozark (Missouri) Chapter's Executive Committee in 2005. He is the Chapter’s Clean Air/Energy Chair. In 2005 he founded the Eastern Missouri Group's Energy Committee.

Get the .MP3 file

Compromising positions, Kate Lovelady, Leader, 6-Dec-2009 podcast

Ethics is rarely a matter of black and white, but rather of choosing which shade of grey is acceptable in which situation. December is a compromise-heavy month in many ways-most holidays are historical compromises, and they tend to bring together family members with different views and beliefs, necessitating modern compromises. On a larger level, the Ethical Society recently helped form the Greater St. Louis Coalition of Reason with several freethinker organizations, groups with which we have things in common and things about which we disagree. Ethics is about relationships—how can we find "compromising positions" that stretch our boundaries and still fit our values?

Get the .MP3 file

Viva la difference! Coming to peace with how the other sex communicates, Kathy Ratino, 29-Nov-2009 podcast

Ask most people how the other sex communicates and how well the other sex communicates, and you will get an earful in response. Male and female styles of communication tend to be quite different, and if we don’t learn to acknowledge – and even appreciate – these differences as variations in style rather than right or wrong we may view the communication of the other sex as anything from perplexing to downright crazy. Kathy Ratino will explore past and current research and discuss personal experience that sheds light on this subject.

Kathy Ratino is an adjunct instructor at several colleges in the St. Louis area. She teaches the basic communication course, public speaking, gender communication, and communication between cultures, as well as a course called Communication Breakdown, Perceptual Differences, and Media Portrayal of Tragic Events. Kathy has also worked as a corporate trainer, a writer on financial and mental health issues, and a project manager. She holds an M.A. in Communication from Bowling Green State University in Ohio. She is a member of Ethical Society Mid Rivers and is vice president of its Board of Directors.

Get the .MP3 file

Child of nature, Kate Lovelady, Leader, 25-Oct-2009 podcast

Once upon a time there was a little girl who loved dirt, frogs, and being alone in the woods, and who grew up to be an Ethical Leader and an avid environmentalist. Are these facts related? Many researchers would say so, and they are concerned about current trends that diminish the role of nature in children’s lives. How does our relationship with nature affect our ethics and our self-development? How can we ensure that children today retain a strong connection to the natural world?

Get the .MP3 file

Free speech, Mary Beth Tinker, 11-Oct-2009 podcast

Mary Beth Tinker is a nurse and a life-long activist. She divides her time between living and working in Washington D.C. and her public speaking engagements all over the country, addressing primarily student audiences. Ms. Tinker was in the 8th grade when she and her brother decided to wear black armbands to school to protest the Vietnam War. In 1969, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down the landmark decision Tinker v Des Moines Independent Community School District, upholding the free speech rights of public school students. The Tinker case remains one of the most important cases ever decided pertaining to students and the first amendment.

Get the .MP3 file

Raising freethinkers, Dale McGowan, 4-Oct-2009 podcast

Dale McGowan grew up in St. Louis with parents who allowed and encouraged him to think for himself. He ended up a decent enough fellow who also happens to be a secular humanist. Now a father of three, he confronts what should be the central question for all freethinking parents: Do I raise my kids as Freethinkers, or as freethinkers? Dale makes a heartfelt case for the lower case, for the sake of integrity, the kids, and the culture.

Dale is editor and co-author of Parenting Beyond Belief and Raising Free-thinkers, the first comprehensive resources for nonreligious parents. He writes the secular parenting blog The Meming of Life and teaches seminars for non-theistic parents across the United States. He currently serves as U.S. Communications Coordinator for Nonviolent Peaceforce, a global civilian peacekeeping organization, and as executive director of Foundation Beyond Belief, a new humanist charitable and educational venture. In 2008 he was named Harvard Humanist of the Year by the Humanist Chaplaincy at Harvard University. Dale holds degrees in physical anthropology and music theory from UC Berkeley and the University of Minnesota. He and his wife Becca, a first grade teacher, live in Atlanta with their three children.

Get the .MP3 file

Living ethical humanism, Richard Kiniry, Leader of the Philadelphia Ethical Humanist Society, 27-Sep-2009 podcast

The Ethical Culture Movement offers not only a philosophic theory about life but also, if we care to work with it, an approach to living. I want to ask, what does ethical living mean, certainly not obeying traditional moral rules. I will offer the idea that having the courage to be yourself not just as an individual but as a person among others is the route to living well.

Richard Kiniry has been Leader of the Philadelphia Ethical Humanist Society since 1990. He spent his college years in a Catholic seminary, raised chickens in India for two years with the Peace Corps, and had his own stained glass business for many years.

Get the .MP3 file

A welcoming home for humanists, Kate Lovelady, Leader, 20-Sep-2009 podcast

Welcome back to those who have been away for the summer or who are new to our community. This morning’s platform will set a course for an exciting new season at the Ethical Society, reflecting on who we are, how we can continue to build on the strengths of this wonderful and vibrant place, and how we can reach out to all those who so need a place to call home. Come hear about the Long Range Plan for our Society, the product of more than a year of hard and thoughtful work, and how we can work together to make our plans reality.

Get the .MP3 file

Mark Unangst, Allison Hile, Aaron Till and Cait, Fall Gathering, 13-Sep-2009 podcast

Members of the St. Louis Ethical Society share their thoughts about their ethical home.

Get the .MP3 file

Humanism and Buddism, Kate Lovelady, Leader, 20-Aug-2009 podcast

A comparison of classical Buddhism and Ethical Humanism that explores the overlaps of these traditions, both of which are non-theistic and focused on practical ways to improve human life.

Get the .MP3 file

The mind of peace experiment, Mazen Badra, 23-Aug-2009 podcast

Mr. Mazen Badra, a Palestinian, was co-moderator with Dr. Sapir Handelman, an Israeli and visiting professor at UMSL, in a Mind of Peace Experiment (MOPE; www.mindofpeaceexperiment.blogspot.com) conducted this past year. MOPE is a series of unique exercises in peacemaking and conflict resolution. It proposes simulations of a potential Palestinian-Israeli public assembly – a multi-party negotiating congress. The assembly is designed to involve the people in the peace process through provoking a public debate over central issues.

MOPE brought five Palestinians and five Israelis together to discuss and propose resolutions to critical points of conflict that divide the two communities. MOPE is based on the belief that civilians are at the center of the conflict and need to be at the center of the solution. Mr. Badra will discuss MOPE, and offer his perspectives on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

Mazen Badr has been a university lecturer for more than 22 years. He has taught business management, accounting, economics, and marketing courses. Of the 22 years as a lecturer, 16 were at Birzeit and Bethlehem Universities in the Holy Land. He relocated to the US in August of 2002, and in October of the same year joined Sanford-Brown College, the Fenton-Missouri Campus, and currently chairs two Bachelor Programs – Business Administration, and Health-care Management.

As a peace activist who believes in non-violence, Mr. Madra started promoting dialogue and understanding between Palestinians and Jews in 1988. When he moved to the United States, he reached out to two Jewish Rabbis in St. Louis resulting in the formation of an organization called 'The Children of Abraham.' He is a frequent guest speaker at universities, churches, Jewish congregations, and schools.

Get the .MP3 file

Dharma—the practice of virtue, Swami Nishpapananda, 16-Aug-2009 podcast

My perspective is Neo-Vedanta or Neo-Hinduism, one of the primary responses within Hinduism to the challenge of modernity. It was first articulated by Swami Vivekananda in 1893 at the World's Parliament of Religions in Chicago. Dharma is a comprehensive term that means etymologically, 'that which holds a person or thing'. We will start with the fundamental insight of the Hindu ethos about the nature of reality, using that as a key to understand dharma. We will then examine various aspects of dharma: physical, intra-personal, moral, and spiritual. Finally we‘ll look at dharma as both the stable basis of secular life and the foundation of spiritual life.

Swami Nishpapananda is a monk of the Ramakrishna Order of India, and an assistant minister at the Vedanta Society of St Louis, where he has resided since 1974. He became interested in Vedanta through college course work, joined the Order in 1981 and received final monastic vows in India in 1995. A graduate of Washington University, Swami Nishpapananda manages the book and multi-media publications of the Vedanta Society and is active in inter-faith work in the St Louis area.

Get the .MP3 file

The religious impulse: Evolution of morality, ritual, and myth, Liz Zelman, 9-Aug-2009 podcast

This talk will use past and recent findings from evolutionary anthropology and psychology to highlight some of the main features of our evolution as human beings with language, cultures, and what we Westerners label as "religion." Why do all cultures (if not individuals) have behaviors and narratives that we can classify this way? How did these things evolve, and in what sense are they universal? We will deal specifically with three features of religion, morality/ethics, ritual, and myth, and the emphasis will be on small-scale societies.

Liz is a retired anthropologist and speech/language pathologist. In her retirement she has been an active participant in Washington University's Life-long Learning Institute and recently taught a course titled "The Religious Animal." Liz earned a PhD in Cultural Anthropology from the University of Michigan in 1974. In her retirement, she has moved back into this field and is continuing to explore her lifelong interest in some of the "big questions" that have philosophical as well as scientific roots.

Get the .MP3 file

Remembering Walter Hoops, Patricia Konert Von Zur Muehlen, 2-Aug-2009 podcast

Born in Germany in 1902, Walter emigrated to New York in 1927 and migrated to St. Louis in 1932 where he joined the Freethinkers and the Ethical Society. In 1948 he became a charter member of the Rationalist Society of St. Louis.

Walter was an avowed atheist, ardent rationalist, and enthusiastic supporter of Democratic Socialism. We'll take a brisk walk down the memory lane of Walter's long life and cross paths with some of the notable people he met along his life's journey: Margaret Sanger, Norman Thomas, the Reuther brothers (Walter and Victor), Madalyn Murray O'Hair, Sen. Paul Simon, and Mark Twain's cousin, Cyril Clemens.

Patricia Konert von zur Muehlen met Eleanor and Walter at the Society in 1975 and they became good friends. After Eleanor's death in 1993, Pat took Walter on outings almost weekly. Walter died 25 May 1999.

Get the .MP3 file

Slavery did not end in 1865 or 1935, Bob Greenwell, Leader Midrivers Ethical Society 26-Jul-2009 podcast

Lincoln did a great thing, but slavery was too entrenched in the South to go away easily. In fact, it did not go away. It became institutionalized in a variety of forms. This is not intended as a metaphor or an analogy or a symbolic way of speaking. The book "Slavery By Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II," by Douglas A. Blackmon, tells all in its title. This book won the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction and will serve as the basis for the presentation. There are massive facts that are not told in standard histories of the U.S. When the facts come to light, however, many events in recent history begin to make much more sense.

Get the .MP3 file

Assisting in Africa: exploring the issues, Ed Schmidt, 12-Jul-2009 podcast

So many charities and not-for-profits seek our money for projects in Africa. Celebrities capture the headlines with high-profile adoptions and child-assistance efforts. How do we decide if and what to support? Ed Schmidt calls on his experience with an educational organization working to contribute in East Africa to look at some of the issues surrounding efforts in the developing world.

Ed taught for two years in Kenya under a USAID-sponsored program in the 1960s. For the past 10 years, Ed and his former colleagues have come back together to once again impact education in East Africa, this time through financial and other assistance. Since 2003, members have visited over 60 schools, and about 20 schools have received help from the group. Ed has made four recent trips that have focused on visiting schools and evaluating their needs.

To discuss our podcasts please visit http://www.live.ethicalstl.org/platforms on our community site

Get the .MP3 file

Bertrand Russell conquers happiness, Kate Lovelady, Leader, 28-Jun-2009 podcast

For this year's "historical humanism" platform, we'll look at a lesser-known work of the influential philosopher Bertrand Russell, The Conquest of Happiness. In this work, Russell gives his views on the Good Life and how philosophy can help us achieve it. Come find out how his advice can help us lead both happier and more ethical lives today.

Get the .MP3 file

Honoring fathers' day, Patrick Crowley, Paul Goodfellow, and Steve Harris, 21-Jun-2009 podcast

This Sunday is the first day of summer; it's also come to be celebrated as Fathers' Day. Please join us as we honor fatherhood, its joys and challenges, and the special father-figures in our lives. Members Patrick Crowley, Paul Goodfellow, and Steve Harris will share their thoughts as fathers and the products of long lines of fathers.

Patrick Crowley lives in University City with his wife Laura and daughters Sophia and Alice. He is an associate professor at Washington University, where he explores the design of new and useful computer and network systems. Patrick and Laura joined the Society in 2005.

Paul Goodfellow is the Professor of genetics, surgery, and of obstetrics and gynecology at Washington University in St. Louis. Originally from Canada, Paul and his wife, artist Carol Stewart, joined the Society in 2000. They have two sons, Jonathan and Jamie, and reside in Clayton.

Steve Harris joined the St. Louis Ethical Society in 1988, together with his wife Pat, who died in 1996. All three of their children attended the Sunday School and later the youth group. It was a very positive experience for them. Ben now lives in Los Angeles, Susan lives in Milwaukee and Liz lives in University City and is a member here. Since 2006, Steve has served on the board of trustees as treasurer. He is employed by Thomson Reuters and designs some of their financial services used by money managers.

Get the .MP3 file

Living ethically in a changing world by practicing Nonviolent Communication (NVC), Rhonda Mills, 14-Jun-2009 podcast

Nonviolent Communication (NVC) is both a spiritual practice that helps us see our common humanity and a concrete set of skills that help us to live more peacefully. These skills apply to thought, language, and a commitment to a certain use of power. Also known as "Compassionate Communication," or "Conscious Communication," NVC involves honest expression, listening with empathy, and developing a more compassionate inner relationship.

Rhonda Mills, a Certified Trainer with the Global Center for Nonviolent Communication (www.cnvc.org), leads public workshops, trainings, and classes in St. Louis and around the country. She has been facilitating transformational work for individuals and groups since 2001. Her training is in Nonviolent Compassionate Communication (NVC), Para Yoga, and Conscious Living and Loving.

A mother of two, Rhonda is passionate about family, community, holistic personal transformation, and sharing what she has learned to make the world a better place for us all. Her personal vision statement epitomizes her passion and commitment to NVC. "All people are connected with the life that flows through them, have support for wholeness and living in harmony with needs, and experience aliveness, fulfillment, inner freedom, and thriving relationships."

Get the .MP3 file

Rememberance Sunday, Kate Lovelady, Leader, 24-May-2009 podcast

This Memorial Day weekend we will again come together as a community to acknowledge loss, grief, and change. Share your memories, readings, music, or other tributes to a loved one or other important individual who has passed away.

Get the .MP3 file

A humanist look at the sermon on the mount, Kate Lovelady, Leader, 14-Apr-2009 podcast

This morning I'm going to be talking about the Bible, which I don't often do in a platform address, but I thought Easter would be a good excuse to read what people often call the ethical heart of the Christian Bible, a section in the Gospel of Matthew known as the Sermon on the Mount. As an Ethical Humanist, I'm interested in the Bible as a human creation that can tell us about the values of a group of people at a certain period in history and perhaps inspire ethical values today.

Get the .MP3 file

Achieving a sustainable world, Dr. Peter Raven, Missouri Botanical Garden, 22-Mar-2009 podcast

Our planet is now home to 6.8 billion people, three times the number here when I was born in the mid-1930s. We all want to consume more and more, but Earth is not large and productive enough to support our desires on an on-going basis. How can we manage our assets ethically in a world where one of five people is starving and many of us cannot express our abilities in any meaningful way?

Born in China, Peter Raven was a professor at Stanford University before moving to St. Louis in 1971 to head the Missouri Botanical Garden. Under his direction, it has become the leading tropical plant research facility in the world, its staff racing to catalog species doomed to extinction. A preeminent scientist and professor at Washington University, Peter Raven is a world-renowned champion of the environment, lecturing around the globe and writing dozens of books and articles.

Get the .MP3 file

Staying on the ground (even when it’s moving), Reverend Krista Taves, Emerson Unitarian Universalist Chapel Ellisville, 8-Mar-2009 podcast

There were two clear losers on election night - the Republican Party and the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered) Community. The Republicans lost several gubernatorial elections, seats in the Senate and the House, and the White House. The LGBT Community witnessed the passage of four state propositions denying civil rights to same-sex couples. How each group responded to its losses is a testament to the best and worst in us and the many ways we get back on our feet when the ground beneath us seems to have given way.

Krista Taves is the minister of Emerson Unitarian Universalist Chapel in Ellisville, Missouri, as well as the Board President of Faith Aloud: The Religious and Ethical Voice for Reproductive Justice.

Get the .MP3 file

Lives of the ethical saints: Walt Whitman, Kate Lovelady, Leader, 22-Feb-2009 podcast

In this installment of the wildly popular - or at least tongue-in-cheekily-named—series, Lives of the Ethical Saints, we'll explore the writing of poet Walt Whitman. He has been called the father of modernism because of his pioneering use of free verse, and his poetry is often used in humanist contexts because of his sensual reveling in life, his empathic longings for deeper connections among humanity, and his attempts to grapple with the meaning of mortality.

Get the .MP3 file

The Place Of Darwinian Evolution On The Sesquicentennial Of The Origin Of Species, Dr. Ken Olsen, 15-Feb-2009 podcast

Charles Darwin revolutionized Western thought by providing a plausible mechanism for the evolution of species. In this talk, I will discuss the radical shift in worldview that Darwin's work represented, and I will describe five distinct theories that can be recognized within Darwinian evolution. I will then discuss the fates of these theories over the last 150 years and some of the ways in which they have been confounded and misunderstood — both within the scientific community and by the public at large. Finally, I will discuss the risks inherent in attempting to apply Darwinian theory to human behavior and society.

Dr. Ken Olsen is Assistant Professor of Biology, Washington University, and Research Associate, Missouri Botanical Garden. A native St. Louisan, he is a plant evolutionary biologist. In his lab, they address one of the major unanswered questions in evolutionary biology: what is the genetic basis of evolutionary change in plant species? One way that they look at this question is by studying the process of crop domestication. His research projects in this area have traced the geographical origins of several crops, including cassava (tapioca), rice, and coconut. They also study the process of adaptation in wild species; currently studying clover plants that have evolved to release cyanide as a protection against herbivores. Dr. Olsen's funding sources include the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, and the National Geographic Society.

Get the .MP3 file

Tithing In Tough Times, Kate Lovelady, Leader, 1-Feb-2009 podcast

It's when we really don't want to talk about money that we most need to. Tough times test us all--our positive resilience, the potency of our values, and our power as a community to continue to be a force for good. This platform address will kick off our yearly pledge campaign by tackling straight on the tough questions: What the *#@! is going on with the economy? What does it mean for us as individuals, as a society, and as an Ethical Society? Most important, how can we continue to live our values of responsibility, generosity, and sustainability so that we come out of this crisis stronger as a community?

To read this platform see the transcript. To discuss our podcasts please visit http://www.live.ethicalstl.org/platforms on our community site.

Get the .MP3 file

Abraham Lincoln: Ethical Challenges At Every Turn, Dr. Myron Marty, 25-Jan-2009 podcast

At every turn in his life, Abraham Lincoln faced ethical challenges. They were evident in his childhood and youth, influenced his quest for a career, prompted him to become a lawyer, shaped his practice of law, inspired him to enter politics, and drove him to seek the presidency. They played a big part in his courtships, marriage, and family life. Most significantly, ethical concerns impelled him, as president, to seek solutions to slavery issues that haunted him and the nation and to persevere in an unimaginably costly war. In the platform address, a series of vignettes will illuminate the challenges he faced as president.

In 2001, Myron Marty and his wife Shirley moved to Monticello, a town in the Land of Lincoln named for Thomas Jefferson--an appropriate place for someone who taught courses at Drake University centered on Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln. Since then, he has reviewed at least thirty Lincoln books, twenty of them in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and published a chapter in Lincoln’s America (Southern Illinois University Press, 2008). Frank Lloyd Wright has displaced Jefferson in Marty's work: with Shirley Marty he is coauthor of Frank Lloyd Wright's Taliesin Fellowship, and in April Northern Illinois University Press will publish his Communities of Frank Lloyd Wright. After serving successively as Dean of Arts and Sciences and Professor of History at Drake from 1984 until his retirement, he is now the Ann G. and Sigurd E. Anderson University Professor Emeritus. His graduate degrees are from Washington University and Saint Louis University.

Get the .MP3 file

World folktales: Stories of healing and the power of the human spirit, Bobby Norfolk, 18-Jan-2009 podcast

In this 30 minute talk, storyteller Bobby Norfolk will present a trilogy of stories that are international in their nature, but go to the core of what it means to be human on this earth.

There are basic character traits and moral/ethical considerations that we must all contend with to evolve as a species. Using rich language, sound effects, and movement, these stories will point out that what we see with our eyes when we look at one another is "an illusion," but the reality is we are all one, and must take delight in our superficial differences.

Bobby Norfolk is an Emmy Award-winning story-performer who promotes cultural diversity, self-esteem and character education in all his performances. Bobby has eight storytelling CDs, six of which won the prestigious Parent's Choice Gold Award and is co-author of the book, The Moral of the Story: Folk-tales for Character Development.

A professional storyteller since 1975, Bobby also serves on the Board of Directors for the National Storytelling Network. His impressive resume includes three Emmy Awards as host for the CBS television series "Gator Tales" and the Emmy nominated cable series "Children's Theater at Bobby's House."

Get the .MP3 file

Hope for depression, Kate Lovelady, 11-Jan-2009 podcast

Almost all of us suffer in our lives, and we suffer from the suffering of those we love as well. I believe that it is good to be alive, and I believe that compassionate and loving acts and moments of wonder and joy outnumber cruel acts and senseless tragedy in the world. But that still leaves quite a lot of suffering and pain that people experience. And the more we can talk about these things with compassion and curiosity and knowledge and humor, the more help and healing we give each other and ourselves. . . . So I offer this platform today as a conversation-starter.

Get the .MP3 file

Parenting beyond belief - raising ethical kids without religion, Dale McGowan, 4-Jan-2009 podcast

"If the Ten Commandments had been posted at Columbine High School," said Bob Barr at the time, "the massacre would never have happened." In fact, a great deal is known about how moral development works, and recent research indicates that raising children with an authoritarian, "commandment-based" morality actually impedes their moral development. Author Dale McGowan will speak about the ways in which nonreligious parents are leaving traditional religious moral education behind in favor of developing active moral reasoning as a lifelong skill.

Dale McGowan is editor and co-author of Parenting Beyond Belief - On Raising Ethical, Caring Kids Without Religion, which Newsweek called "a compelling read," and Raising Freethinkers, due for release in February. He teaches nonreligious parenting seminars nationwide and was Harvard Humanist of the Year for 2008. Dale lives in Atlanta with his wife Becca and their three children.

Get the .MP3 file

Tales of the great Jewish mystics, Howard Schwartz, Professor Of English, University of Missouri-St. Louis 14-Dec-2008 podcast

There is a substantial body of Jewish mystical tales that constitute the legendary dimension of the Jewish mystical tradition. These tales cover a range of mystical experiences, not only of mystical union but of visions, dreams, soul travel, encounters with angels and demons, possession by both good and evil spirits, miracles and experiences out of body and out of time. This lecture is based on the stories collected in Gabriel's Palace: Jewish Mystical Tales, edited by Howard Schwartz.

Howard Schwartz is Professor of English at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. He has published three books of poetry, Vessels, Gathering the Sparks and Sleepwalking Beneath the Stars, and several books of fiction, including The Four Who Entered Paradise and Adam's Soul. He has also edited a four-volume set of Jewish folktales, which includes Elijah's Violin and Other Jewish Fairy Tales, Miriam's Tambourine: Jewish Folktales from Around the World, Lilith's Cave: Jewish Tales of the Supernatural, and, most recently, Gabriel's Palace: Jewish Mystical Tales. He has also edited three major anthologies. Reimagining the Bible: The Storytelling of the Rabbis, was a finalist for the National Jewish Book Award for 1999. In addition, Schwartz has also published ten children's books, including The Diamond Tree, which won the Sydney Taylor Book Award in 1992, Next Year in Jerusalem: 3000 Years of Jewish Tales (which won the National Jewish Book Award and the Aesop Award of the American Folklore Society, both in 1996), A Coat for the Moon (with Barbara Rush, which won Anne Izard Storyteller's Choice Award for 1998 and the 1999 Honor Title of the Storytelling World Awards, and The Day the Rabbi Disappeared: Jewish Holiday Tales of Magic (which won the National Jewish Book Award and The Aesop of the American Folklore Society for 2000). His book Tree of Souls: The Mythology of Judaism, won the National Jewish Book Award in 2005, and his children's book Before You Were Born won the Koret Jewish Book Award the same year. His most recent book is Leaves from the Garden of Eden: One Hundred Classic Jewish Tales. Schwartz lives in St. Louis with his wife Tsila, a calligrapher.

Get the .MP3 file

100 Words for snow, Kate Lovelady, Leader, 7-Dec-2008 podcast

No matter your background or belief system, we all share certain realities about December. We see the days getting shorter, we feel the cold increasing, we smell the foods and hear the music. We feel the weight of our past and of tradition, for good and/or ill. Yet the glory of humanity is that even as we all face the same seasonal realities, every person, family, group is unique. This platform will review the long history of winter holidays and explore how each of us can resist the forces seeking to herd us into a few marketable groups, and instead celebrate in ways that fulfill our unique needs.

Get the .MP3 file

Snatching at immortality: A new humanist idea, Bob Greenwell, Leader, Mid Rivers Ethical Society 30-Nov-2008 podcast

Does a person need to believe in an afterlife in order to heal present wounds? Is an eternal reward needed to motivate giving help to others? Perhaps there is something in experience that triggers a leap to the conclusion, "I will go on after death!" This conclusion is then given credence beyond further examination. Yet further examination may take us to more robust conclusions, and lead to finer conceptions of our own consciousness. The surprise is that, instead of life becoming meaningless when the simple idea of immortality is taken away, life becomes a celebration, the mystery of consciousness becomes more wonderful, and the draw of loving neighbor as oneself becomes more compelling.

Bob Greenwell is Leader of the Ethical Society Mid Rivers in St. Charles County. Mid Rivers, a satellite of the St. Louis Society, began accepting members in January, 2004, and its membership now stands at 48. Bob has an M.Ed. in counseling, is married to Kathleen, and is the proud grandfather of four.

Get the .MP3 file

An Island Of Goodness, Fritz Williams, Leader Emeritus, Baltimore Ethical Society, 16-Nov-2008 podcast

Much of Fritz Williams' work as an Ethical Culture Leader has been an effort to reveal the contours of goodness and trace its roots. It hasn't been easy. Goodness is not just a matter of conforming to some external standard of right and wrong. It starts out as something small and barely detectable inside us and ends up transforming our lives.

"An Island of Goodness" goes right to the heart of the matter. It's the story of LeChambon, a French village where people joined hands during World War II to protect and rescue Jews. "I've told a lot of stories," Fritz says, "but this may be the most moving, most powerful story of all."

Fritz Williams is Leader Emeritus of the Baltimore Ethical Society, where he is appreciated especially for the pastoral quality of his work and the power of messages framed in personal narrative. Before becoming an Ethical Culture Leader, Fritz served as a parish priest in the Episcopal Church and worked as a writer and producer at public television stations in Harrisburg, PA, and Detroit, MI. His television productions include Peacework, the centerpiece of a Pennsylvania campaign against family violence, Parenting Puzzle and Gunsense, Emmy-winning productions for Detroit Public Television, and The Pennsylvania Germans, a cultural history which aired on public television stations across the country and on German regional television. For a number of years he was a feature writer for Central PA magazine, and he is the author of Investing for Life, a hand-book on saving and investing for teens. Fritz has an MDiv from the Philadelphia Lutheran Theological Seminary and ThM in Bible and Biblical Languages from Princeton Theological Seminary.

Get the .MP3 file

Communicating across the aisle, Kate Lovelady, Leader, 9-Nov-2008 podcast

By this Sunday we should know who the next President of the United States will be. The election, as elections always seem to do, highlighted and sometimes even exaggerated differences among Americans as individuals, as well as between groups. So now what? How can we come back together after this long period of partisanship so that we can solve some of the problems we face? Using some of the recent work in moral psychology, we'll explore the similarities and differences between liberal and conservative out-looks and to suggest ways that each of us can communicate better with people who see things from a different angle.

Get the .MP3 file

Responding to the ethical and societal challenges of family care giving, Dr. Ann Steffen, 2-Nov-2008 podcast

With age, we become more aware of our many personal strengths and of the paradoxical need for assistance with aspects of daily living. At the same time, many of us have spouses or other family members who require in-creasing levels of help from us. This platform talk provides an overview of research on family care giving, and then considers some of the most pressing ethical concerns that we face in these relationships. Dr. Steffen will suggest ways that we can respond to these challenges with dignity and integrity—as individuals, communities, and as a society.

Dr. Ann Steffen is an associate professor of psychology at The University of Missouri-St. Louis and also directs their doctoral program in clinical psychology. Her work as a clinical geropsychologist includes conducting research on family care giving issues, teaching on the topic of mental health and aging, and providing clinical supervision to doctoral students.

To discuss our podcasts please visit http://www.live.ethicalstl.org/platforms on our community site.

Get the .MP3 file

The ethics of torture, Kate Lovelady, Leader, 19-Oct-2008 podcast

The United States has signed onto international agreements such as the Geneva Convention that ban the use of torture. However, particularly after the horrific events of 9-11, some have argued that there are times when torturing a few in an attempt to save the lives of thousands is not only legal, but the right thing to do. Last spring, the National Leaders Council and the assembly of the American Ethical Union passed by consensus a statement that declared torture in all cases to be an unsupportable violation of the foundational values of Ethical Culture. This platform will explore the ethical issues surrounding torture and explain the reasoning behind our national position.

Get the .MP3 file

Moral heroes and feet of clay, Hugh Taft-Morales, Ethical Culture Leader-in-Training, 12-Oct-2008 podcast

Great spiritual moral leaders, such as Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr., are often placed on a pedestal by human society, yet their inevitable human limitations and frailties often disappoint us. Some people idealize such leaders because in a world darkened by violence and greed, we seek moral heroes that can balance evil with their unblemished goodness. At the other extreme, some take a certain pleasure in tearing down these icons of moral purity, either to expose hypocrisy or to relieve themselves of the burden of living up to such a high standard. How can we acknowledge the goodness expressed by our moral leaders, while admitting their limitations, in a way that brings out our best as moral leaders?

Hugh Taft-Morales taught philosophy and history at the Edmund Burke School in Washington, D.C., for 19 years. He left teaching in the summer of 2006 to train for leadership in Ethical Culture. He is also in a three-year leadership certification program with the Humanist Institute. Hugh served on the Board of the Washington Ethical Society (WES) from 2002 to 2006, the last year as president of the Board. He served as WES Pledge Chair the following year. He served for two three-year terms on the American Philosophical Association Committee for Pre-College Instruction. He wrote a booklet entitled "So You Want to Teach Pre-Collegiate Philosophy?" published by the APA. In 1986 he earned a Masters in Philosophy from University of Kent at Canterbury, England. He graduated Cum Laude from Yale College in 1979. He lives in Takoma Park with his wife, Maureen, and has three children.

Get the .MP3 file

African refugees in St. Louis: From exodus to resettlement, Gedlu B. Metaferia, 5-Oct-2008 podcast

Addressing the many reasons for population displacement, conflict, and genocide in Africa, Gedlu Metaferia also examines the effects of famine, disease, and underdevelopment that have caused such massive morbidity rates after decolonization in the late 50s and early 60s. The presentation high-lights the ethical dilemma of foreign assistance, credits, loans, and structural adjustment that has caused capital flight and increased funding for armaments for human rights suppression. Issues of transparency and accountability of U.S. tax dollars spent in Africa and the ethical responsibility of the U.S. government and people in alleviating human rights violations and poverty in Africa will also be explored. There are two issues of resettlement in the United States - humanitarian and political - to consider. Looking at the diverse African demography in St. Louis, the speaker will also discuss the pain of social adjustment and the challenge of anchoring families with hope and prosperity, noting first-hand gratitude for American compassion and experience as an immigrant nation.

Gedlu B. Metaferia was born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. After studying public health and tropical medicine in Ethiopia, to be a health officer (sometimes termed a rural physician or bare foot doctor) at a local university, he left in 1976 because of human rights violations and mass killings in Ethiopia ("Red Terror") in the 70s and early 80s. He came to St. Louis in 1982. As one of the prominent Ethiopians in the Diaspora, he has worked tirelessly on the issues of African famine, sustainable economic growth, conflict resolution, restorative justice, and tolerance. He is the founder and executive director of African Mutual Assistance Association of Missouri/Ethiopian Community Association of Missouri. A freelance writer, he serves on numerous not-for-profit boards and is the recipient of many awards.

Get the .MP3 file

Eco-village life: Dancing with the rabbits, Kate Lovelady, Leader, 28-Sep-2008 podcast

This past July, Bill and I spent a week at Dancing Rabbit, an "eco-village" in northeast Missouri. We were curious to find out what exactly an eco-village is, who eco-villagers are, and what Missouri eco-village life is like. Many of us are looking for new ways of living that are more ecologically sustainable and energy-independent; many are looking to have closer ties with our neighbors and a deeper sense of community; many are trying to get away from the processed American diet that's making us fat and sick; many are asking, What is the "good life" really? Dancing Rabbit is one example of a community of people experimenting with new answers to such questions - and experimenting with some updated old answers.

Get the .MP3 file

This I believe: Members speak; Bob Heck, Christine Floss, and Evan Gross, 21-Sep-2008 podcast

Three members talk about what led them to Ethical Culture and how being part of the Ethical Community has impacted them.

Bob Heck and his wife Deb found the Ethical Society over 20 years ago and it has been their religious home ever since. Their son graduated from the Sunday School and daughter joined the Youth Group this year. Bob has served as EEC Chair and sat on the Board of Trustees. He is a stay-at-home father and an occasional musical performer on the Platform.

Originally from Germany, Christine Floss was raised in West Lafayette, Indiana. She attended both Purdue University and Indiana University, and received her Ph.D. in geochemistry from Washington University in St. Louis in 1991. After working at the Max-Planck-Institute in Heidelberg, Germany for five years, she returned to Washington University in 1996 where she is now a research associate professor in the Physics Department. She and her husband, Frank Stadermann, joined the Ethical Society last April. Their daughter is currently in the Youth Group.

Evan Gross was raised in the Ethical Culture Society of Bergen County in Teaneck, New Jersey. He attended Sunday School and participated in YES as the National President. After college and a time spent teaching English and traveling abroad, Evan settled in St. Louis last year with his girlfriend. He is our Membership Administrator at the Society and teaches music at Dave Simon's Rock School.

Get the .MP3 file

Ethical Culture and Unitarian Universalism: How are they similar and how are they alike? Kate Lovelady, Leader, 24-Aug-2008 podcast

There is a lot of over-lap in the history of the Ethical Culture and Unitarian Universalism. Both are liberal religions that grew out of enlightenment ideals and free thought movements. Today, both tend to attract people of similar bent: social activists and others looking for community and inspiration without dogma. Many people have found a comfortable home in ' one religion and then the other, and some people continue to visit or belong to both. But there are also differences, in history, emphasis, and style that make each tradition distinctive and that cause most people to choose one or the other. This platform will explore the similarities and differences between Ethical Culture and our nearest religious neighbor, Unitarian Universalism, to increase our knowledge and appreciation of both.

Get the .MP3 file

Wealth creation, Alan Easton, 10-Aug-2008 podcast

Why do we need more wealth? Aren't we and our world consumed by consumerism? Wealth creation is the invention and use of new means of satisfying human needs. Steam engines and computer software are powerful examples of it. I say that we need more wealth so that our world becomes more comfortable, and we gain options for acting ethically. Individuals' motivation to make money is a driving force behind making a better world. Law has a key role in the creation and maintenance of wealth. I will defend a law-governed marketplace" as essential to the improvement of the human condition.

Alan Easton was born and raised in Geneva, a small town in the Finger Lakes region of New York State. He graduated from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and received his Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1981. He worked at Monsanto in pharmaceutical research for 18 years. He has subscribed to The Economist magazine for over 25 years. He became a member of the Ethical Society in 1989 and currently serves on its Board of Trustees.

Get the .MP3 file

Finite dimensions of life, Jim Rhodes 10-Aug-2008 podcast

This will be an exploration of the constraints we all face in life and how these constraints determine, at least in part, who we become and shape our characters. It will also look at how we can expand our options and live fully ethical and meaningful lives.

Jim Rhodes has been an active member of the Ethical Society for 18 years and is married to member Stephanie Sigala. Jim is an environmental engineer and works for the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. He enjoys outdoor activities and also photography, music, vegetarian cooking, and dancing with Stephanie. Jim has served on the Board and is a member of the Finance Committee.

Get the .MP3 file

Seeking a secular language of spiritual care, Randal Blain, 3-Aug-2008 podcast

Ethical Society member Randal Blain, M.Div, has served as a pastor, teacher and chaplain. Interested in broadening the field of spiritual care beyond theis-tic concepts and his desire to recognize the spiritual as more than religious has lead him on a 10-year pursuit of a spiritual care model not embedded in religious language. The result, is the development of a "Secular Language of Spiritual Care" which aspires to value the ethical ideal and responds to the need for simplified, yet not diminished, language with which spiritual needs and resources can be discussed.

Get the .MP3 file

Community gardening in St. Louis, Gwenne Hayes-Stewart, 27-Jul-2008 podcast

Gateway Greening established more than 170 community gardens on abandoned land in the City's urban core. These gardens provide food for the table and food for the soul, serve as safe places to gather and are often the only asset in threatened neighborhoods. Learn how groups gather around these projects and the impact these gardens have on their lives.

For the last 13 years, Gwenne Hayes-Stewart has served as the executive director of Gateway Greening, the non-profit community gardening organization in St. Louis. During her tenure, the organization developed from a small non-profit serving a few hundred people working in 30 community gardens into one serving over 2,800 people working in more than 170 community gardens, neighborhood greening projects, and citizen-managed open spaces. She is a Master Gardener who founded the Great Perennial Divide in 1998. She has been a Rotarian for 18 years. She serves on the advisory board of the Horticulture Department, St. Louis Community College at Meramec and Board Secretary of the American Community Gardening Association. Among her awards are two national recognitions, The American Horticulture Society's Urban Beautification Award and the National Garden Club's Award of Excellence.

Get the .MP3 file

World travel 101: Creating respect in a hostile world, Mark T. Cockson, 20-Jul-2008 podcast

Hostels, hostelling, and hostel programs create world class citizens who are culturally sensitive. World Travel 101, an educational program, will demonstrate this.

Mark T. Cockson is the executive director of the Gateway Council of Hostelling International-USA. Mark has a background in teaching, social work and administration in the not-for-profit world. Mark has a love for travel and nature that he expresses through gardening and photography.

Get the .MP3 file

Local food equals good politics and good eatin', too!, Andy Ayers, 13-Jul-2008 podcast

This platform address will explore the movement to local foods that led the New Oxford American Dictionary to christen as its "new word of 2007" the word "locovore." This movement has developed tremendous momentum solely due to grassroots interest - without the help of politicians, lobbyists or corporate sponsors - because it just makes so darn much sense to so many Americans. Eating local presents people with the opportunity to improve the environment, support hard-working farmers and take an ethical stand against the pervasiveness of commercialism in American life while enjoying a healthier lifestyle and the best tasting food available anywhere.

Andy Ayers and his wife, Paula, owned and operated Riddle's Restaurant in Bel Nor where they began featuring locally grown ingredients on the menu in the early 1980's. The couple opened Riddle's Penultimate Café and Wine Bar in the University City Loop in 1985 and ran it for 23 years before selling the restaurant to their daughter, KT, who operates it now.

An advocate, writer and speaker on behalf of local foods and local growers, Andy received the Lewis C. Green Environmental Service Award in 2006 for his work. Since leaving the restaurant to the next generation, Andy is growing a new start-up business that distributes food directly from local farms to the best restaurant kitchens in the St. Louis area.

Get the .MP3 file

Poetry: The power of silence and the role of imagination, Walter Bargen, Poet Laureate of Missouri, 29-Jun-2008 podcast

A poem is sculpted on the page. The words, punctuation, and the line direct us to the music of the poem, but it’s what the poem is wrapped in, perhaps skims or floats over, the white of the page, that silence that lies behind the poem that gives voice and power to the poem itself. Is there an inherent ethic to be distilled from this silence? And what part does imagination play in this tango between the poem and the page, between the poem and silence? Does the poetic imagination create the world, and if so, has imagination failed us? There will be more questions than answers - as e.e. cummings wrote: always the beautiful answer/that asks the more question.

Walter Bargen has published eleven books of poetry and two chapbooks. The latest are: The Feast, BkMk Press-UMKC, 2004, a series of prose poems, winner of the 2005 William Rockhill Nelson Award; Remedies for Vertigo (2006) from WordTech Communications; and West of West from Timberline Press (2007). Theban Traffic is scheduled for publication in May of 2008. His poems have recently appeared in the Beloit Poetry Journal, New Letters, Poetry East, and the Seattle Review. He was appointed to be the ' poet laureate of Missouri in 2008.

Get the .MP3 file

Searching for a title, Phyllis Plattner, 15-June-2008 podcast

Artist Phyllis Plattner will discuss the path that led to her recent multiple panel paintings which are as yet still untitled. Based loosely on an altarpiece format they grapple with the stunning contrasts among opposing aspects of human behavior: the tragically ubiquitous habit of making war and the universal urge for beauty, spirituality, and love.

Phyllis Plattner was born and grew up in New York City and greatly benefitted from that geographic happenstance by the easy access to the great museums of the city. It was while standing in front of a Van Gogh and a Gaugin at the Museum of Modern Art at about age eight that she realized for sure that she wanted to be an artist when she grew up. Since then she has never stopped painting, through college at Bennington in Vermont, and graduate school in Claremont, California, and all through her teaching career at Washington University School of Fine Arts (which it was then called), at the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, (which is now called MICA) where she still teaches, and in Florence, Italy. She has exhibited her work in various galleries and university museums in this country, and in small exhibits in Italy and France.

Get the .MP3 file

Music and ethics, Jeffrey Kurtzman, Ph.D., 6-Jun-2008 podcast

Professor Kurtzman will inaugurate the June Arts and Ethics platform series by exploring the relationship between music and ethics. From early Chinese, Persian, and Greek times, music has been thought to have powerful effects on human beings and capable of contributing either to their improvement or degradation, i.e., to have ethical consequences. Professor Kurtz-man's talk will examine both the history and prevalence of such ideas and the reality of the impact of music in an effort to evaluate the validity of such ideas and understand the role music plays or could play in modern society.

Jeffrey Kurtzman earned his Ph.D. in musicology from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. He was one of the founding faculty of the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University and is Professor of Music and former Chair of the Department of Music at Washington University. A specialist in 16th- and 17th-century Italian music, he has published books and articles on Claudio Monteverdi and other Italian composers, as well as numerous editions of music by Monteverdi and others from the same period.

He was the founder of the international "Society for Seventeenth-Century Music" and is a member of the editorial boards of the Society's publications. Prof. Kurtzman's research has been supported by the John Simon Guggen-heim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Council of Learned Societies, and the Deutscher Akademischer Austaushdi-enst, as well as grants from Middlebury College, Rice University, Washing-ton University, and the University of Venice. Professor Kurtzman has performed at the piano several times for Ethical Society platforms and has given two lecture-recitals for the Ethical Society this year.

Get the .MP3 file

The future of Ethical Societies, Liz Mulhall, Tara Klein, Matt Herndon, and Evan Gross, 1-Jun-2008 podcast

Come hear a platform about the past, present, and future of Ethical Culture membership growth. Members of the Future of Ethical Societies Liz Mulhall, Tara Klein, and Matt Herndon as well as the Membership Director at the Ethical Society of St. Louis, Evan Gross, will be presenting their ideas in a three-part plat-form. Tara is a member of the Ethical Humanist Society of Long Island and she recently completed her thesis on Ethical Culture history at Vassar College. Matt is a professional web designer in the Washington, DC area and will talk about the role of technology in Ethical Culture membership growth. Evan will talk about how the St. Louis Society is expanding its out-reach.

Get the .MP3 file

"Citizen mom," Kate Lovelady, Leader, 11-May-2008 podcast

Mother's Day was originally "Mother's Day for Peace," and this Sunday we will celebrate and explore the original roots of the holiday as an antiwar movement that sought to bring women together as ethical community leaders. But the inspiration for this platform is mostly personal. The role of mothers (and "mothering" caretakers of either sex) in building strong communities and teaching ethical values is often overlooked, as I have learned from watching the struggle of my mother and many women of her generation to feel valued in a status-conscious society. Many things have changed over the years, and women have more choices and opportunities than ever before in history, yet questions of identity, worth, and what it means to be a good citizen are as vital as ever.

Get the .MP3 file

A human faith, Kate Lovelady, Leader, 13-Apr-2008 podcast

I like periodically to update and present some of the great wisdom from our past. We need to know history in order not to repeat it, or not to have to re-invent it; there is a lot of historical thought that is surprisingly relevant to today. Unfortunately, that thinking can lose its power over the years due to changes in language and communication styles.

This Sunday we will explore the central ideas in "A Common Faith," a seminal work on religious humanism by famous American philosopher John Dewey, who while not a member of an Ethical Society had close ties with our movement. His ideas were radical in his day, and remain radical in ours, and I will do my best to translate them into modern language so that they may re-inspire a new generation.

"The religious is any activity pursued in behalf of an ideal end against obstacles and in spite of threats of personal loss because of its general and enduring value." - John Dewey

Get the .MP3 file

From vengeance to mercy, Part 2, Kate Lovelady, Leader, 23-Mar-2008 podcast

This Sunday's address will continue our look at justice in America. Two differing concepts of justice are retributive justice, which focuses on punishing the offender, and restorative justice, which focuses on the reconciliation of the offender, the victim, and the community. We will examine some of the current problems of our criminal justice system and hear some stories of remarkable reconciliation and healing. We will also explore the ethics of restitution, forgiveness, and mercy, and ask how the values of religious human-ism can help us encourage forms of justice that affirm worth and dignity and seek to bring out the best in all of us.

We ought always to deal justly, not only with those who are just to us, but likewise to those who endeavor to injure us; and this, for fear lest by rendering them evil for evil, we should fall into the same vice.

Get the .MP3 file

From "What passes for religion," Tony Hileman, Senior Leader New York Society For Ethical Culture, 16-Mar-2008 podcast

For centuries, the threshold of religion was our acceptance of forces be-yond nature, and our reliance on them for information about things we do not know and perhaps cannot know. The prophesies of those claiming insight to the forces and mysteries of the universe guided our thoughts, our actions, and our lives. We no longer suborn intellect to authority, and we've come to recognize that religion consists of involvement as much as contemplation. As our concept of what passes for religion shifts, are there imposters that we should be protesting? Have the prophets of yore become the pretenders of today?

Tony Hileman is Senior Leader of the New York Society for Ethical Culture. Tony began as a successful businessman in Indiana. He then went on to a second career in wire service journalism, working in Europe, the Middle East, and Northern Africa for United Press International, then as an executive for Agence France Presse (AFP). Disenchanted with corporate life, Tony left AFP and began his next career as an independent consultant, first in the field of journalism and then more broadly. He eventually specialized as an executive coach, helping individuals achieve personal as well as professional success while simultaneously discovering the vast numbers of people who support a Humanist life stance similar to his own. These years saw the full development of Tony's lifelong views on Humanism and eventually led to his position as executive director of the American Humanist Association in 1999. As Tony often expresses to Humanist and non-Humanist audiences alike, "the need for a strong Humanist voice in the national dialogue has never been greater than it is today." He joined the NY Society for Ethical Culture in 2005.

Get the .MP3 file

From vengeance to mercy, Part 1, Kate Lovelady, Leader, 9-Mar-2008 podcast

This Sunday's address is the first of a two-part examination of ideas of justice in current American culture. We look back on the "Wild" West as a time of lawlessness and vigilantism, but have our underlying attitudes toward justice really changed all that much? Our criminal justice system, a largely privatized industry and a pawn of political games, emphasizes punishment over rehabilitation, seemingly blind to the fact that most prisoners will eventually again be our neighbors. Our popular culture sells to even the smallest children a vision of heroism in which the good guys hurt or kill the bad guys, and we all cheer. How can our ethical values help us to promote justice that keeps us safe and that aids the healing of victims, perpetrators, and society?

Get the .MP3 file

From Imus to Jena and several Sharpton stops in between: The media's role in racial polarization, Mark Albrecht, 24-Feb-2008 podcast

The tragic Don Imus and Jena 6 situations were two of the biggest stories highlighted by the media in 2007. And the term "race" served as the back-drop. Predictably, the African-American, dynamic duo of Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton stepped up to participate and serve as "de-facto" representatives as national dialogue began. But what exactly are Sharpton and Jackson's roles, who appoints them, and what are the effects of their participation in these types of situations?

Additionally, what kind of dialogue did we end up with as a nation? Are we better off for it? How was that dialogue moderated? And what role did the media play in all of this?

Ethical Society member Mark Albrecht is a Senior Media Communications Major with a double minor in Multicultural Studies and Anthropology at Webster University. Three years ago, Mark had a personal epiphany. Witnessing the state of affairs in the city, state, nation, world and planet, he realized that if he didn't get personally involved in social change, then it was not realistic for him to expect positive change.

At Webster, Mark has been active in many student organizations including the University Recycling Committee, ONE Webster (student branch of the ONE Campaign to end global poverty and AIDS), Behavioral and Social Sciences Club, and Habitat for Humanity. He traveled to New Orleans twice to do Hurricane Katrina recovery work and advocacy and is in the process of doing a documentary on the topic. Mark won a Dean's Award for Service from Webster University in 2007 for his work to bring awareness to Katrina's after-math.

Currently, his focus is social justice through Media Literacy and Media Re-form and working with Jobs with Justice, ACORN, wecanmo.org, Think Before You Ink campaign, and other grassroots efforts focusing on responsible humanity.

Get the .MP3 file

Atheists anonymous, Kate Lovelady, Leader, 17-Feb-2008 podcast

The U.S. Constitution explicitly prohibits any religious test for public office, yet polls reveal that Americans are less likely to vote for an atheist than a member of any other minority, and the presidential candidates as usual are vying to be named "Most Religious." Americans also tell pollsters in over-whelming numbers that they believe in a god, yet more Americans are living outwardly-secular lives than ever before, and "angry atheist" books top the best-seller lists. What are the roots of anti-atheist prejudice and what is it really like being an atheist today? What is the duty of Ethical Culture, a "non-thiestic" religion that seeks to unite people on the common ground of ethics, to stand up for non-believers?

Get the .MP3 file

The evolutionary emergence of purpose, Dr. Ursula Goodenough, 10-Feb-2008 podcast

A common misunderstanding of Darwinian evolution is that it renders existence meaningless and without purpose. In fact, the origin of life marks the origin of meaning and purpose: indeed, if they exist anywhere else in the uni-verse, we will probably never know. This understanding, Dr. Goodenough will suggest, has wondrous ethical implications.

Ursula Goodenough, Ph.D., is Professor of Biology at Washington University. Before joining the staff of Washington University, she was Assistant and Associate Professor of Biology at Harvard from 1971-1978. Her primary teaching has been a cell biology course for undergraduate biology majors, but she also co-teaches a course, The Epic of Evolution, with a physicist and a geologist, for nonscience students. Her research has focused on the cell biology and (molecular) genetics of the sexual phase of the life cycle of a unicellular eukaryotic green algae and, more recently, on the evolution of the genes governing mating-related traits. Her laboratory has been supported by grants from NIH, NSP, and USDA and she has written three editions of a widely adopted textbook, Genetics. Dr. Goodenough has served in numerous capacities in national biomedical arenas, including review panels, editorial boards, and many positions in the American Society for Cell Biology.

Dr. Goodenough joined the Institute of Religion in an Age of Science (IRAS) in 1989. She has presented papers and seminars on Science and Religion in numerous areas and written a book on the subject, The Sacred Depths of Nature (Oxford University Press, 1998). She is a strong advocate of teaching the History of Nature in our schools.

Get the .MP3 file

Communication with children: poetry, precision and practice, Dave Mampel, 3-Feb-2008 podcast

The Minnesota poet Alan Tate has said that "to communicate effectively is to love," and that, I believe, is the essence of my address. I want to explore how we as adults can best tap into our desire to love our children (or anyone for that matter!) and express ourselves more effectively with language that says what we really want to say. How do we get as close as possible to our values, ethics, and core beliefs when we communicate? How do we keep it real, simple, truthful, fresh, and loving with our kids? Of course, communication is sometimes very difficult with children if we are unable to empathize with the variety of languages and unique perspectives children have or if we are too tired, rushed, and distracted by the cares of life. So, how do we slow down and empathize and communicate with kids better?

Dave Mampel has been performing professionally since 1992. Previously, Dave was an active ordained minister in the United Church of Christ, serving a 100-member parish in Idaho Falls, Idaho. After leaving the parish ministry to pursue an entertainment career, Dave developed his central character, "Daffy Dave" which has been a popular hit with family audiences in the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond. Daffy Dave's shows have delighted children. He has performed widely in the Bay Area and on his local television show, "Daffy Dave's Tree Fort." Dave's CDs and videos are sold internationally. Daffy Dave also has an official fan club and interactive website, www.daffydave.com.

Get the .MP3 file

Spending our ethical currency, Kate Lovelady, Leader, 27-Jan-2008 podcast

It's time once again to kick off our yearly pledge campaign. There are many areas in our lives in which we ask ourselves the question, "Is this worth it?" Committing ourselves to ethical living means weighing the results we want against the resources in time, energy, money, and emotion it will take to move closer to our goals. Each of us must ask him or herself, "Am I really pursuing my goals, or just wishing for them?" Sometimes we feel helpless in the face of all the large problems of our community, our nation, our planet. But in all our lives, there remain untapped resources. What "ethical currency" do we have, and how can we spend it more wisely to help us move our ideals toward reality?

Get the .MP3 file

Fostering ethics in the face of globalization, John Daken, MD, 13-Jan-2008 podcast

The world seems to be getting smaller all the time. Our economy and our culture are increasingly interdependent with those of other countries. This intensifying interplay between people from different backgrounds offers the hope of greater understanding; it also poses the specter of oppression, alienation, and violence. These developments are not morally neutral, yet religious voices have not been prominent in the debates about globalization. One reason may be that the world’s major religions have often been poor global neighbors. Many theological traditions make their own exclusive claims to truth, setting the stage for irreconcilable debates and even blood-shed. Our pluralistic world calls for a pluralistic ethics rooted in a faith in the unique ethical capacities of every person and played out through an inclusive, elevating discourse.

John Daken is a native of Mystic, Connecticut who now makes his home outside Washington, DC with his wife Abigail and daughter Eleanor. In his role as a U.S. Navy psychiatrist, he participated in responses to terrorist at-tacks against the USS Cole and the Pentagon and later spent five weeks deployed to western Iraq. Having lost faith in the ability of military force to adequately address the terrorist threat, he left the Navy in October of 2006. He now serves as Medical Director of a community mental health clinic and is an active member of the Washington Ethical Society.

Get the .MP3 file

Starting over, Kate Lovelady, Leader, 6-Jan-2008 podcast

Many of us have experienced, and all of us will experience eventually, changes in our lives that overturn much of what we have known and counted on: we move to a new place, we lose a job, we retire from a vocation, we lose a beloved person. And so we must start over; we must remake our lives within new circumstances, find new reasons for and new ways of living. The dawn of a new year is an appropriate time to acknowledge that life is a series of endings, but also of beginnings, and to ask, where do we find the knowledge, strength, and help to start over?

Get the .MP3 file

If there is no god, from where do we get our hope? Dr. Joseph Chuman, Leader of The Ethical Culture Society of Bergen County, New Jersey, 9-Dec-2007 podcast

For those who are traditionally religious, hope is derived from belief in a Divine Being who promises that all will work out for the best in the end. But for humanists, who doubt the existence of such a being, what are the sources of hope, especially when we are challenged by life's misfortunes and tragedies?

Dr. Chuman has been the leader of the Ethical Culture Society of Bergen County, NJ, for 30 years. He has a doctorate in religion from Columbia University where he teaches seminars in religion and human rights for master’s and doctoral students.

Dr. Chuman also teaches at Fairleigh Dickinson University, Hunter College, and has taught at the United Nations University for Peace in San Jose, Costa Rica. He has published numerous articles in the Bergen Record and has also had articles published in The New York Times, The Humanist, Free Inquiry, Humanistic Judaism, and other periodicals. His articles on Ethical Culture and religion have appeared in several encyclopedias.

As an activist, Dr. Chuman has worked on many progressive causes, notably on behalf of human rights and civil liberties and in opposition to the death penalty. He has recently initiated a sanctuary program for asylum seekers detained at the Elizabeth Detention Center in Elizabeth, NJ.

"I have learned two lessons in my life: first, there are no sufficient literary, psychological, or historical answers to human tragedy, only moral ones. Second, just as despair can come to one another only from other human beings, hope, too, can be given to one only by other human beings." - Elie Wiesel

Get the .MP3 file

Listening to the season, Kate Lovelady, Leader, 2-Dec-2007 podcast

No matter a person's beliefs, December in America is inescapably Holiday Time. In our hemisphere, the days are shortening and growing colder, and people draw together for warmth and cheer, as they have for millennia. Yet on top of this natural desire for closeness, our economic culture has overlaid expansive and expensive dreams of extraordinary gifts, decor, food, entertainment-all in the name of peace, family, and friends. With all these conflicting needs and messages, it’s no wonder so many of us feel confused and emotionally exhausted at this time of year. What can we do to reclaim the Solstice season? First, we can stop and listen-to ourselves and to our loved ones. What are our true deep needs and desires for others and for ourselves? How can we authentically act to express and fulfill these needs?

Get the .MP3 file

The plateau of consciousness, Robert Greenwell, Leader Mid Rivers Ethical Society, 25-Nov-2007 podcast

Where do you go in sleep? The nature of yourself, and of consciousness, is thrown into sharp relief when we consider sleep and the process of "waking up." When we do come up from sleep, is there a fixed degree of awareness that we normally reach—a “plateau” of consciousness where we customarily stop? It will be mused that a per-son’s state of consciousness can be raised beyond the plateau one currently reaches, however normal or adult or elevated it seems to be. We can hardly know today what a higher level of awareness might be like for us tomorrow, but we can confidently say that it will mean an expanded scope of ethical understanding, an increased desire to mount an integrity of self, and a deeper satisfaction from doing so.

Bob Greenwell is Leader of Ethical Society Mid Rivers, a satellite of our Society. Mid Rivers began accepting members in January, 2004, and its membership now stands at 51. Bob has a M.Ed. in counseling, is married to Kathleen, and is the proud grandfather of four. He says that at age 61 he sleeps more now than he used to (taking naps), which gives him more opportunities to rise to higher waking states. Sometimes it happens.

Get the .MP3 file

Lives of the ethical saints: Galileo, Kate Lovelady, Leader, 11-Nov-2007 podcast

If you know anything about Galileo, it's probably that he challenged the prevailing belief of his time that the Earth was the center of the universe; that he was indicted by the Catholic Church for his beliefs; and that he backed down. That was pretty much all I knew until a few weeks ago. But in finding out more about this classic confrontation between science and orthodoxy, I found that there are many ethical lessons we can take from Galileo's life. Please note: almost all Italian words are pronounced incorrectly (sorry).

Get the .MP3 file

Moral striving: the core of ethical culture, Dr. Anne Klaeysen, Leader, The Ethical Humanist Society Of Long Island, 4-Nov-2007 podcast

Ethical Culture founder Felix Adler described societies as religious communities "dedicated to moral striving." Their purpose was to help people move toward goodness, without any common formula or creed, but with a common need and desire to find better ways of living. How is this possible? By living among others: trying and making mistakes, listening and learning; then trying again. In this way we discover new truths about ourselves and our world. Leader Anne Klaeysen examines the process of moral striving as the core of ethical religion.

Anne Klaeysen has been Leader of the Long Island Society since 2002. She is a graduate and current co-mentor of the Humanist Institute and earned a doctorate in ministry from Hebrew Union College. She also holds master's degrees in business administration from New York University and in German from the State University of NY at Albany. Anne was raised Catholic and her husband Glenn Newman was raised Jewish, so it was only natural that they would find Ethical Culture, where their children Andrew and Emily have been raised.

Get the .MP3 file

Poetry of witness, Kate Lovelady, Leader, 28-Oct-07 podcast

One of the greatest challenges faced by those who are concerned about an ethical problem in the world, whether that problem is war, global warming, or genocide in Darfur, is how to make other people care about it. In the past, perhaps, this was primarily a problem of getting and disseminating information. These days, graphic pictures and lists of grim statistics get swept aside a week later by a new avalanche of information. When the average person is numbed by "compassion fatigue," how can people's consciences be awakened, and kept awake? One way is through a more creative and vital use of language. This Sunday we'll look at how our use of language can motivate and inspire and hear some words that will move us to tears, hope, and action.

Get the .MP3 file

Day of deeds, Members of the Ethical Society, 21-Oct-2007 podcast

This Sunday we will celebrate our second annual Day of Deeds. Ethical Societies were founded on the principle of "Deed Rather Than Creed," to quote the title of an 1879 New York Times article on the early Ethical Movement. What are some of the deeds currently underway at the Society? Find out about a few of them at this intergenerational platform, which will also feature special music by the Ethical Voices chorus. Speakers from the Sunday School, Coming of Age class, and Senior Connections project will share what inspired them to commit to their causes, and in turn inspire us to help and/or spread the word.

Get the .MP3 file

Iraqis in crisis: What have we done? Kathy Kelly, peace activist, 14-Oct-2007 podcast

Kathy Kelly, a co-coordinator of Voices for Creative Nonviolence (VCNV) spent four months of 2007 living among Iraqis who fled violence in their country. She believes that one way to prevent a "next" war is to continue to tell the truth about this war. Using anecdote and analysis, Kelly helps amplify the voices of people who've borne excruciatingly harsh consequences of a U.S. "war of choice." Kelly, who has visited Iraq twenty-six times since 1991, lived in Baghdad during the 2003 “Shock and Awe” attack and invasion. VCNV urges U.S. lawmakers to end funding for the illegal and immoral war in Iraq.

Kathy Kelly co-coordinated Voices in the Wilderness, a campaign to end U.N./U.S. economic sanctions against Iraq. The U.S. government fined the group $20,000 for openly violating the sanctions. Rather than pay the fine, the group ended its ten-year campaign. However, with Voices for Creative Nonviolence, they continue working to end the war in Iraq and the Global War on Terror. Kelly has served time in U.S. prisons and jails for nonviolently challenging U.S. militarism. (She was sentenced to one year in maximum security prison for planting corn on a nuclear missile silo site.) She has taught in Chicago high schools and colleges for 16 years. As a war tax refuser, she has, since 1981, refused payment of all forms of federal income tax.

Get the .MP3 file

Horizontal religion, Kate Lovelady, Leader, 7-Oct-2007 podcast

What is "horizontal religion"? Well, it's not religion that you practice while lying down, but otherwise you'll have to come out to the Ethical Society this Sunday to find out. As part of the answer to this question, we'll continue our 2007-08 theme of Ethical Communication. Over the last two Sundays, we've heard about communicating with our unconscious and communicating with the wider culture in which we live. This Sunday we'll try to define ethical interpersonal communication and explore how we can practice our ethical values in our everyday interactions. Buddhism has a concept of "right speech"-what does Ethical Humanism have to say about how we should speak and listen to each other?

Get the .MP3 file

Communicating with our culture: Weather vanes, steeples or trees? Don Johnson, Leader Emeritus, 30-Sep-2007 podcast

What do we want our public face to be towards our culture, and how will our choices be demonstrated? We could function as weather vanes, swaying with the trends, affirming and accommodating our culture. We could be like steeples, fixed, unbending and pointing to something beyond. Or we could take trees as our model, being alive, rooted deep in the earth, the present and the real, flexible yet necessary. In the past these choices were seen as either to accommodate, oppose or transform. What differences will result by our choices?

Don Robert Johnson is a Leader Emeritus of this Society, having served here as Leader from 2002 to 2005. He was a trained and practicing minister for twenty years, a college chaplain and then Senior Leader at the N.Y. Society for Ethical Culture for twelve years. Don and his wife Beverly Collier currently live in southwest Virginia near the Blue Ridge mountains. Don recently served as sabbatical minister for the New River Valley Unitarian- Universalist congregation in Blacksburg, Virginia.

Get the .MP3 file

Communicating with the self within, John Hoad, Leader Emeritus, 23-Sep-2007 podcast

T.S. Eliot has written: "Between the idea / And the reality… Between the conception / And the creation / Falls the Shadow" ("The Hollow Men"). John Hoad will explore with us how to deal with that shadow - the gap between intention and performance. It requires that we get in touch with ourselves. John’s wife, Karen, runs a hypnosis practice (she studied under Don Mottin of Saint Louis), and observing her remarkable results, John has been studying how we connect with our subconscious mind for better control of our lives.

Get the .MP3 file

Deeper connection: The ethical journey, Kate Lovelady, 16-Sep-2007 podcast

The theme for our 2007-08 season is communication: What kinds of communication qualify as "ethical" and how can we make deeper connections within ourselves, between each other and between the Ethical Society and the wider community? Come join us to hear about several exciting new programs this year that will help us make these deeper connections and get inspired and reinvigorated for your own ethical journey, whatever its focus may be—personal growth, political action, social service, meaningful work, lifelong education, strengthening relationships, friends and family ties.

"The Ethical Movement seeks to prevent the ethical ideal from petrifying. No matter how sublime an ideal is for one time, it must be vivid in our own lives. The ethical ideal must ever be a growing ideal adapted to changes in society, changes in self, changes in the circumstances of life." - Felix Adler

Get the .MP3 file

Fall festival - Bob Pickard, Andie Jackson and Tucker Overmann, 9-Sep-2007 podcast

At Platform, our Leader, Kate Lovelady and members Bob Pickard, Andie Jackson and Tucker Overmann will share with us a favorite piece of literature that has had a significant and lasting affect on their lives.

Get the .MP3 file

A design for living - Dr. Nora Beiswenger, 26-Aug-2007 podcast

Dr. Nora Beiswenger considers herself a continuing student in many ways and has discovered that uncertainty can often lead to unexpected delight, that spontaneity can create new opportunities, and that audacity does produce remarkable responses. Crucial influences in the formation of her approach to life have come from family, friends, laughter, music, literature, film, and art. She is ready to "kick it up a notch" and share some of what she has learned.

Nora is a native of Michigan who earned B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Michigan before teaching English, American, and World Literature at Clarkson University in New York State and at Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, Tennessee, retiring in 1994. Her specialization was 19th and 20th century women writers. She is a member of the Ethical Society.

Get the .MP3 file

Our Jewish roots: Ethical Culture and Reform Judaism - Kate Lovelady, Leader, 19-Aug-2007 podcast

The founder of Ethical Culture, Felix Adler, was brought up in a Reform Jewish household, the son and grandson of rabbis who were influential in Germany and America. Although Felix eventually chose a different religious path, his roots had a strong influence on his ethics, his beliefs, and the practical organization of the movement he founded. This platform address will explore some of the history of Reform Judaism in the mid-to-late 1800s and its impact on early Ethical Culture, using as a source the study by Benny Kraut, From Reform Judaism to Ethical Culture: The Religious Evolution of Felix Adler (pre-reading not required!).

Kate Lovelady has been the Leader of the Ethical Society of St. Louis since 2005. Previously, she was Leader Intern at the Riverdale-Yonkers Society for Ethical Culture, the Ethical Society of Austin, and the New York Society for Ethical Culture.

To discuss this podcast please visit Our Jewish roots on our community site.

Get the .MP3 file

Tune into TV ethics - Tom Rogers, 12-Aug-2007 podcast

Is there such a thing as ethics in television? KMOV Producer Tom Rogers will discuss the struggles of daily TV news coverage. Get an insider’s look at what goes on behind the scenes at a local television affiliate. Details at 11 a.m.

Tom Rogers is a promotion writer/producer at KMOV-TV, the CBS affiliate in St. Louis. His responsibilities include the production of the commercials that promote the anchors and reporters of NEWS 4. His career started at a small station in Charleston, South Carolina, and in the past 20 years has taken him around the country. He has received several Missouri Broadcasting Awards, Emmy Awards and, this summer, he won the top television promotions honor, the PROMAX Gold Medallion. Tom and his wife Kit are members of the Ethical Society.

To discuss this podcast please visit Tune into TV ethics on our community site.

Get the .MP3 file

St. Louis jazz: Race and other issues - Dennis Owsley, 5-Aug-2007 podcast

In face-to-face interviews about his book, City of Gabriels: The Jazz History of St. Louis 1895-1973, Dennis Owsley found that although issues in the book such as race, the musicians' unions and other sensitive topics were discussed, they were not found in the final printed stories. This platform address will examine some of these topics.

The host of KWMU's Jazz Unlimited show since 1988, Dennis Owsley is a retired research scientist, part-time teacher, author and photographer. A fan and student of jazz since age 15, he has become one of St. Louis' foremost experts on local contributions to the art form. He and his wife Rosa are members of the Ethical Society.

To discuss this podcast please visit St. Louis jazz: Race and other issues on our community site.

Get the .MP3 file

Hinduism and modern life - Anita Mehra, 22 July 2007 podcast

How do the ancient ethical traditions of Hindu and Sikh fit into modern western life? How do practicing Hindus and Sikhs meld their prevalent beliefs into contemporary beliefs? Several core Hindu concepts will be discussed: Karma, the belief in cause and effect., i.e., what you radiate outwards comes back to you in some form; Detachment, living in the world yet in touch with an inner world; Enlightenment, acquiring knowledge of the Self; Mantras or word formulations that are believed to evoke inner wisdom, i.e., the power of using specific words and symbols to guide one's thoughts and actions.

Anita Mehra is a licensed clinical social worker and psychotherapist in private practice. She is a nationally board-certified hypnotherapist and has been studying guided imagery for 10 years under Dr. Robert Fiebiger, a clinical psychologist practicing in St. Louis for the last 30 years. Anita has lived in the United States most of her life. She learned yoga as a child from her grandparents and her mother. She was raised in the Hindu tradition that emphasizes there are basic truths in all religions and philosophies. She studied classical Indian dance for 13 years under famous teachers in the U.S. and India. She most recently studied meditation under the guidance of Prince Hirindra Singh of Patiala, who has given her insight into Eastern traditions such as those of Hindu and Sikh philosophies.

To discuss this podcast please visit Hinduism and modern life on our community site.

To discuss this podcast please visit St. Louis jazz: Race and other issues on our community site.

Get the .MP3 file

Mindfulness, ethics, and positive psychology - Ryan M. Niemiec, 15 July 2007 podcast

This presentation will continue our series on the fascinating, blooming area of mindfulness meditation, this time from a modern social-science perspective. Mindfulness, which means becoming aware of our moment-to-moment experience without judgment, is both a technique and an approach to life. Dr. Niemiec will discuss how mindfulness can help individuals live in a healthy, ethical, and meaningful way. He will emphasize practical tools and resources that anyone can begin using immediately. The area of focus is the connection of mindfulness and the new positive psychology, a field that studies the science of human virtues (e.g. courage, humanity, justice) and strengths (e.g. curiosity, gratitude, fairness, social intelligence).

Ryan M. Niemiec, Psy.D. is a local psychologist who works in two settings: 1) St. Louis Behavioral Medicine Institute, where he works with people with health problems, depression, chronic stress, chronic pain, and anxiety. He is on staff with the Program for Psychology and Religion, a program that treats priests and people in religious orders. 2) SLUCare's Primary Care and Prevention Center, where he is a consultant to physicians in an "integrated care program," helping to improve the overall health of the patients in the family practice. He is an Assistant Clinical Professor at Saint Louis University School of Medicine. He gives local, regional, and national lectures and workshops on a variety of topics, such as integrated care, mindfulness, and spirituality. He is co-author of the book, Movies and Mental Illness, and co-author of the forthcoming book Positive Psychology at the Movies.

To discuss this podcast please visit St. Louis jazz: Race and other issues on our community site.

Get the .MP3 file

Mindfulness: Ancient wisdom for modern times - Bridget Rolens, 8 July 2007 podcast

The Buddha explored deeply the human experience of suffering. His exploration revealed to him how we create suffering in our lives and how we can end that suffering. He invited others to explore for themselves this phenomenon of suffering and developed a method for that exploration called the Noble Eightfold Path. We will focus on two elements of this path - ethical living and the practice of mindfulness - and see how they work together to free our minds and hearts from old habits of reactivity that bring suffering to ourselves and others. Our time together will include experiencing mindfulness through a guided meditation.

Bridget Rolens, MA, OT, teaches meditation as a spiritual practice and as a tool for stress reduction. She is a co-leader for the St. Louis Insight Meditation Group and a program facilitator for the mind-body stress reduction program at Masterpeace Studios. She holds an MA in Theology and a BS in Occupational Therapy. Thirty years of experience in traditional healthcare and in a variety of spiritual practices rooted in the Christian, Buddhist and 12-Step Recovery traditions have given Bridget a strong understanding of the connection between body, mind and spirit in promoting health and well-being.

To discuss this podcast please visit St. Louis jazz: Race and other issues on our community site.

Get the .MP3 file

Ethics and architecture: Gentrification - The good, the bad and the ugly - Jim Thomas, 17 Jun 2007 podcast

The last 50 years have been tough for US cities, St. Louis more so than some others. Struggling to survive, cities have worked hard to stabilize and revitalize their neighborhoods. Yet such efforts are often flashpoints for conflict, with overtones of racial and class antagonism and accusations of "gentrification." Can the generic good of neighborhood improvement actually be bad, even ugly? Can we revitalize neighborhoods in ways that are fair and inclusive? How have public policies and opinion about neighborhoods, low income housing, historic preservation and, in the future, green building shaped the debate?

Jim Thomas came to his interest in neighborhoods and architecture growing up in a restored 1830s home in a historic district of Alton, Illinois. His parents restored the home in the 1950s before historic preservation became trendy. He has been committed to living in mixed income, racially integrated neighborhoods since he moved to St. Louis after graduating from college. For almost 20 years (1981-2000), he was editor and publisher of a newspaper for the Gay and Lesbian community, a community noted for its involvement in neighborhood revitalization and historic preservation. He was executive director of University City Residential Service from 2002 to 2005. He currently does freelance consulting work on communications strategy and organizational development.

To discuss this podcast please visit St. Louis jazz: Race and other issues on our community site.

Get the .MP3 file

Ethics and architecture: The impact of sustainability - Thomas A. Taylor, 3 Jun 2007 podcast

Sustainability can be defined as meeting the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

Sustainable or “green” buildings are high-performance buildings that through their orientation, design, construction and operation are highly efficient, achieve lower operating cost, are better for the environment and promote occupant health.

We have an opportunity to make a positive impact on the environment through the way we build, maintain, and occupy buildings. We are at a point in time where global events and climatic conditions have forced society to look at the way in which we proceed into the future. We have now educated ourselves to the point where we can challenge the status quo and as consumers, demand a more thoughtful way of meeting our needs without compromising future generations.

Thomas Taylor is a fourth generation construction professional turned sustainability consultant and has served at Alberici Corporation for over 20 years. He brings experience and passion to the leadership of Alberici's new sustainable consulting service, Vertegy, and represented both owner and construction manager on Alberici's dual-certified Four Green Globes and LEED Platinum Certified Headquarters. He holds a B.S. in Business Management from Southern Illinois University with a minor in Construction Management. Over the years, Taylor has served and chaired various committees on both the local St. Louis and National Associated General Contractors of America. He is a member of the St. Louis Regional Chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council, chairman of the sustainable construction task force of the National Associated General Contractors, and a LEED Accredited Professional.

To discuss this podcast please visit St. Louis jazz: Race and other issues on our community site.

Get the .MP3 file

Signs of hope - Kate Lovelady, Leader, 20 May 2007 podcast

This is going to be an anti-"Yes; but: morning-I hope. It may take quite an act of will on all our parts to resist the impulse, after I mention that situation X is getting better, to immediately say in our minds "Yes, but Y is getting worse!" Still, let's try. For today, let's just be happy with what's going well, with what's improving in the world. I think we can do this without deluding ourselves that we live in a paradise or that progress is so inevitable we can just kick back and wait for it to come without any work on our part. I think we should do this, because taking time to note the signs of hope in the world can reenergize us in our ethical quest.

Links from this platform: The Banality of Heroism by Zeno Franco and Philip Zimbardo, from Greater Good Magazine. and Living High and Letting Die: Our Illusion of Innocence by Peter Unger.

To discuss this podcast please visit St. Louis jazz: Race and other issues on our community site.

Get the .MP3 file

Democracy and war - Kate Lovelady, Leader, 29 April 2007 podcast

In 1902, Felix Adler asked "Two Ethical Questions" about the Philippine War: "Is it treason to condemn a war waged by our country while the war is still in progress?" and "Are civilized nations justified in adopting uncivilized methods of warfare?" Throughout our history, Ethical Culture has struggled with vital questions for a democracy at war, and the words of past Ethical Leaders (who have run the gamut from interventionist to pacifist) clearly are still relevant today.

This Sunday we'll hear modern "translations" of Ethical Culture thoughts on war, from Adler's day to the 2003 and 2006 resolutions against the Iraq War passed by the National Leaders Council and the American Ethical Union, and we'll explore the decisions we need to make as ethical citizens today.

Get the .MP3 file

2007 Humanist of the Year: Towards a Democracy of Art - Joan Lipkin, founder and artistic director of That Uppity Theatre Company, 15 April 2007 podcast

Today we honor Joan Lipkin as the 2007 Ethical Humanist of the Year. A playwright, director, teacher, activist and social critic, Lipkin has established several theater groups, including That Uppity Theatre Company and the DisAbility Project. Her work is devoted to creatively portraying the life dimensions of everyday people, including the lesbian, bi-sexual, transgender, gay and questioning (LBTGQ) population, cancer survivors, those with disabilities, the indigent and racial or cultural minorities.

Lipkin puts the principles of cultural diversity and social justice into innovative theatrical practice as she collaborates with many underrepresented populations. Her works include "After Rodney," which followed news coverage of the mid-1990s beating of Rodney King, "Some of My Best Friends Are…" the first gay and lesbian review produced in St. Louis, and many others. Her plays have been performed in several U.S. cities as well as in Canada, England, Ireland, Scotland and Australia. Lipkin is a mentor for those in arts administration, marketing, grantwriting, playwriting, directing, and promoting social justice. She is passionate about involving others in the arts and has introduced many to acting and theater.

"Joan Lipkin was chosen for this award from a field of 10 exceptional nominees. All aspects of her art are imbued with humanist values and devoted to promoting social justice," said Kayla Vaughan, chair of the Ethical Humanist of the Year Committee. "She is a performance/theater artist whose creative work helps these important messages become part of our public discourse."

The James F. Hornback Ethical Humanist of the Year Award was established in 1976 to honor individuals or organizations for outstanding work in improving the human condition.

Get the .MP3 file

What's so funny? - Kate Lovelady, Leader, 1 April 2007 podcast

There once was an Ethical Society
Whose platforms were models of propriety;
But one April Fools' Day
They tried a new way
That made visitors doubt their sobriety.

Join us for a (mostly) light-hearted look at the serious subject of humor, one of the human animal's most unique traits. Humor helps us cope with life's troubles and lowers our psychological defenses. Learning to laugh at our own foibles is an essential part of wisdom.

Get the .MP3 file

Health care weekend - Patriotism, public health and health care - Dr. Fred Rottnek, 25 Mar 2007 podcast

Dr. Fred Rottnek, chief physician in corrections medicine for St. Louis County and physician to many of the area's poor and indigent, has worked on the frontline of the nation's growing health care crisis. He sees the toll exacted by the state of Missouri on its most helpless citizens. In 2006, Missouri cut almost 100,000 people from Medicaid, the first state to do so. Without this safety net, many don't have access to the most basic health care. Nearly 50 million Americans and a million Missourians are unable to afford health insurance. Dr. Rottnek questions a brand of patriotism consisting of weaponry and war while ignoring the health of its citizenry. Believing the country and state can do a better job of maintaining the common good, he makes a case for adequate health care for everyone.

In addition to his post with St. Louis County, Dr. Rottnek is the director of Community Services at the Institute for Research and Education in Family Medicine and the assistant director of the Master of Arts in Health Care Ministry program at the Aquinas Institute of Theology in St. Louis. He was awarded the James F. Hornback Ethical Humanist of the Year Award in 2006 for his advocacy on behalf of the marginalized and underserved in the St. Louis area.

Get the .MP3 file

Ethical Sex - Kate Lovelady, Leader, 18 Mar 2007 podcast

America has a difficult relationship with sex. On the one hand, sexualized images are everywhere and are an important fuel for our desire-based economy; more-conservative countries complain that our images and attitudes are corrupting their cultures. On the other hand, many politicians, preachers, and educators build careers on trying to convince Americans--particularly American youth--to re-embrace our Puritan past; more liberal countries find our sexual attitudes and policies to be unscientific and even dangerous.

Personally and as citizens, we all make decisions about sex: who should have it, when, how, with whom, under what circumstances. Ethical decisions need to be conscious and informed; therefore we need to start with some fundamental questions: What is sex for? What is "good" and "bad" sex in an ethical sense? Where do people's assumptions about sex come from? To what extent is the issue of sex in America not really about sex at all, but about other things: power; idealizations of childhood; assumptions about women's and men's roles, about sexuality and orientation, about families? What are the hidden beliefs and agendas behind much of today's "sexuality police"?

"When authorities warn you of the sinfulness of sex, there is an important lesson to be learned. Do not have sex with the authorities." - Matt Groening

Get the .MP3 file

All in the same room: Creating a center for ethics, Ira Kodner MD and Stuart Yoak, PhD - Center for the Study of Human Values and Ethics, 11 Mar 2007 podcast

Founded in 2003, the Center for the Study of Human Values and Ethics at Washington University is a comprehensive, interdisciplinary program with a mission to advance the understanding of the most complex and troubling ethical issues facing society. The Center works with students, faculty, and community leaders in all professions providing education, research, community outreach, and service in ethics and human values.

Dr. Ira J. Kodner is Director of the Center and the Solon and Bettie Gershman Professor of Colon and Rectal Surgery at Washington University. After 20 years of teaching medical students ethical and compassionate care of their patients, he became a consultant and author for the American College of Surgeons curriculum for teaching ethics to surgery residents. Dr. Kodner has published more than 100 scientific articles relating to colorectal diseases. The recipient of many honors for accomplishments in medicine and teaching, he also serves as a Chief Medical Consultant for KMOV-TV and serves as attending in the Surgery Clinic at St. Louis Connect Care.

Dr. Stuart Yoak is the Executive Officer for the Center and Lecturer in Professional Ethics at Washington University. In addition to his work at the Center, Professor Yoak teaches both graduate and undergraduate courses in ethics at Washington University. He chairs the Biomedical Ethics Committee at Christian Hospital in St. Louis and is actively involved in patient-physician case consultations and education for the hospital. He consults regularly with corporate leaders and gives presentations to professional meetings on ethical decision making.

Get the .MP3 file

Media matters: How the media affect kids and what parents can do about it - Dr. Ken Haller, 25 Feb 2007 podcast

Ken Haller, MD, is an Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the Saint Louis University School of Medicine. Dr. Haller worked in community health centers in East St. Louis, IL, for 10 years before moving to Saint Louis University. He was recognized by the American Medical Association in 1990 and 1998 for his work in underserved areas and is the recipient of the 1990 Illinois State Medical Society Public Service Award as well as the 2006 Excellence in Pediatrics Award from the Saint Louis Pediatric Society. Dr. Haller has been a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics Media Matters Task Force since 2001 and speaks frequently to professional and community groups about the effects of media on kids.

"Nothing you do for children is ever wasted. They seem not to notice us, hovering, averting our eyes, and they seldom offer thanks, but what we do for them is never wasted." - Garrison Keillor

Get the .MP3 file

Valentine for humanity - Kate Lovelady, Leader, 18 Feb 2007 podcast

Wednesday of this past week was of course Valentine's Day, and therefore the topic of love has been in the air. When we think of love we tend to think of close personal relationships, but what are the deeper connections between the human capacity for love and ethics? In this platform address, with the help of the words of poets, philosophers, and Ethical Culture leaders, we'll explore the idea that ethics--underneath all the fancy jargon--is unconditional love for humanity, and that this love is the true common ground between religious idealism and secular utilitarianism. Perhaps it's true that all we need is love.

"I truly feel that there are as many ways of loving as there are people in the world and as there are days in the life of those people." - Mary S. Calderone

"If you were all alone in the universe with no one to talk to, no one with which to share the beauty of the stars, to laugh with, to touch, what would be your purpose in life? It is other life, it is love, which gives your life meaning. This is harmony. We must discover the joy of each other, the joy of challenge, the joy of growth." - Matsugi Saotome

Get the .MP3 file

Darwin Day: Darwin confronts intelligent design - Dr. George Johnson, Washington University, 11 Feb 2007 podcast

Few topics in science are more familiar to the general public than evolution, and few are more often misunderstood. The teaching of evolution in Missouri science classrooms has been under attack by proponents of "intelligent design," who argue that living things are too complex to have arisen without the intervention of an intelligent designer. A bill was passed out of committee in the Missouri legislature last session with a "DO PASS" recommendation that would facilitate the teaching of this view in our state. It is interesting to speculate how Darwin might have responded to the authors of this bill today.

Dr. George Johnson is Professor of Biology at Washington University where he has taught biology and genetics to undergraduates for 30 years. Also Professor of Genetics at Washington University's School of Medicine, Dr. Johnson is a student of population genetics and evolution, renowned for his pioneering studies of genetic variability. He is the author of more than 50 scientific publications and seven texts. St. Louisans are familiar with Dr. Johnson as the author of a weekly science column, ON SCIENCE, in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and as the founding director of The Living World at the St. Louis Zoo.

Get the .MP3 file

The pursuit of eqality - Rudy Nickens, Director of the Black Repertory Company, 4 Feb, 2007 podcast

Rudy Nickens is an experienced facilitator, educator and entrepreneur, with a strong background in cultural diversity, business management and community development. Currently, Mr. Nickens serves as Executive Director of the St. Louis Black Repertory Company. Prior to this position, he was vice president of St. Louis 2004, a civic organization created to act as a catalyst for community development. While with St. Louis 2004, he worked on initiatives related to Workforce Diversity, Zero Tolerance for Hate and the Ceasefire Program to Reduce Youth and Gang Violence. Since 1993, Mr. Nickens has taught in the School of Communications and Media Studies as a member of the Adjunct Faculty of Webster University and lent his skills as an educator to Planned Parenthood of St. Louis as well as the National Conference of Community and Justice.

For the past 20+ years, he has consulted, educated and trained several local and national organizations in the areas of workforce diversity, leadership development, cultural competence and conflict resolution throughout the United States, Africa and the Caribbean. Mr. Nickens continues to be very active in the community serving on various boards including Diversity Awareness Partnership, Missouri Restorative Justice and Black Leadership Roundtable, The Institute for Peace and Justice and SSM Health System.

Get the .MP3 file

Giving and growing - Kate Lovelady, Leader, 28 Jan, 2007 podcast

This Sunday is the kick-off to our yearly pledge campaign. I feel fortunate to have an excuse to talk about money every year, because money is one of the most fundamental yet hard-to-talk-about aspects of our lives. In our culture, almost every decision we make, every minute of the day, is related to money whether we realize it (or like it) or not. Money can ruin and save lives, build and break relationships, feed and destroy communities. How do our unconscious feelings about money affect our ethical choices? How can we change our attitudes toward money so that however much or little we have, our money can be another way we bring out the best in others and in ourselves?

Get the .MP3 file

Love: Its mysteries, myths and broken promises - Rebecca Armstrong, 21 Jan, 2007 podcast

If we live our lives unaware of the greater forces that frame our existence, we are like little fish in a vast ocean being swept along by the tides. In no area of contemporary life is this limited vision more apparent than in the institution of marriage, where more than half of those who ride this wave are dashed upon the shoals of disappointment and defeat. This talk will be a beacon of hope for those tempest-tossed souls, as the deeper currents that carry the yearnings of human hearts are explored and much that was murky is made clear.

Rev. Rebecca Armstrong invites you to sail with her on a journey of discovery through the origins of romantic love and its relationship to Eros, Agape, Marriage and Divorce. You will see its effect upon the western imagination and its stormy intersection with the women’s movement and capitalism. Along the way we will catch glimpses of the eternal love energies embodied in the gods and goddesses of myth, fairytale and popular literature. The love promise that can be kept and never broken is the far shore towards which our journey leads us.

Your guide Rebecca has been traveling the world for more than 40 years as a singer, storyteller, minister and mythologist. Her parents, George and Gerry Armstrong, were well-known folksingers and welcomed many talented bards to the family home including the famous mythologist, Joseph Campbell, who became a close friend. Rebecca worked for the Joseph Campbell Foundation for 12 years representing Campbell’s work to a worldwide audience. She co-founded an interfaith group called Friends of Compassion and was honored to take a group to India where they met with the Dalai Lama. In her work with the Parliament of World Religions she had the opportunity to be the opening act for Nelson Mandela and has met with other extraordinary people all over the world.

Get the .MP3 file

America's unfinished business - Dr. Martin J. Rafanan, Executive Director National Conference of Community and Justice of Metropolitan St. Louis (NCCJSTL), 14 Jan, 2007 podcast

While St. Louis has achieved success at some level in addressing racial polarization and other issues of bias and bigotry related to human identity, in no area can we claim to have fully created the inclusive society envisioned and championed by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The St. Louis we all believe in and have helped to build is still an imperfect place, in spite of great progress made in the past generation. Access and opportunity are not equal for all. As we imagine the equitable society of which we dream, hard work, moral strength, and dedication to purpose are not yet the only requirements for fulfilling the American dream. As we look to the future, how can each of us become the empowered leaders that make the dream a reality?

Ordained by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America in 1978, Dr. Rafanan ministered an African American congregation near O'Fallon Park on the northern part of the city for nearly 20 years. There he was "trained" by his parishioners to be aware of the structural impact of racism and to understand how cultural representations, public policies, and institutional procedures interact to maintain racial hierarchies that produce disparate and negative outcomes for people of color in the City of St. Louis.

As director of NCCJSTL, he has had the opportunity of increasing the size and scope of the organization's work in St. Louis, collaborating with community leaders to develop new training programs and community initiatives that empower leaders to change institutions and transform community.

Get the .MP3 file

First Amendment Sunday - Kate Lovelady, Leader, 7 Jan, 2007 podcast

The First Amendment--particularly the rights of freedom of speech, freedom from government-established religion, and freedom to practice religion-- is one of the most important and controversial parts of U.S. law. The Ethical movement has long been a player in the struggle for these rights, both as one of the influences that created the ACLU and as a minority religion in one of the most publicly religious countries in the world.

Ethical Culture philosophy suggests that diversity and the ability to listen to views with which we disagree are requirements of ethical living.

But what are the limits of First Amendment rights, and what are the responsibilities that go along with these rights? Where are the lines between censorship, tolerance, and encouragement? This Sunday we’ll look at first amendment rights and controversies as they relate to our ethical growth, our Ethical Society, and our nation.

Get the .MP3 file

Ethics begins in the home - Curt Collier, Leader of Riverdale-Yonkers Society, 10 Dec, 2006 podcast

The goal of ethical religion is not to instill a set of beliefs, but to foster the development of ethical personalities: people who feel connected to all of life and to others, and who strive to bring out the life-affirming qualities in others. But how does one do this? How do we elicit the best from our children? This talk explores the origin of ethics within a human heart and how to create a home environment that allows ethics to blossom.

Curt Collier is a graduate of the Humanist Institute and the Post Graduate Center for Mental Health. He is completing a Doctorate in Ministry (ABD) from Hebrew Union College. He is the founder of Just Matrimony, promoting marriage equality for gays and lesbians, and served as co-Mentor for the Humanist Institute and the Humanist in Leadership Training programs. Curt has traveled extensively promoting Ethical Culture and was credited for founding the Ethical Society of Austin, Texas. Curt is Adjunct Faculty with the University Studies Department at Hofstra University. He has served on several committees for the American Ethical Union (including the Assembly Committee and the Leadership Training Committee) and has served on faculty of the Lay Leadership Summer School. Curt enjoys traveling and his plays have appeared on several stages in the New York area. He was a recipient of a grant from the Bronx Council of the Arts for his play Yeats: Mad as the Mist and Snow, and his play Displaced Moments was performed off-off Broadway.

Get the .MP3 file

On solitude and community - Bob Greenwell, Leader Mid Rivers Ethical Society, 26 Nov, 2006 podcast

Americans are desperate for community. They are flocking to conservative churches that have mastered the art of providing meaningful and plentiful small groups. Meanwhile the mainstream liberal Christian denominations, tied to traditional forms of large (and anonymous) gatherings on Sunday, and each follower left to his own devices the rest of the time, have been dwindling in membership. But community is not all that a human being needs. A person needs a degree of solitude as well. However, just as there are substitute and fake forms of community that do not fulfill in the long run, so there are substitute and fake forms of solitude as well.

Bob Greenwell is Leader of our offspring Mid Rivers Ethical Society, which began accepting members in January, 2004. Their membership now stands at 40. Bob has an M.Ed. in counseling, is married to Kathleen, and is the proud grandfather of four. He has known solitude from his Catholic seminary days (eons ago!) and his Siddha Yoga meditation. He has known community from family and from the Ethical Society.

Get the .MP3 file

Infinite Interrelatedness - Kate Lovelady, Leader, 12 Nov, 2006 podcast

Felix Adler defined spirituality as awareness of our "infinite interrelatedness." A few weeks ago, we explored our emotional and imaginative awareness of our interdependence with each other and the natural world. This Sunday, we'll look at philosophical theories and beliefs. Ethical Culture's assertion of universal human worth grew out of a long discussion in philosophy about human nature: How are we different from other animals? Are we more than material beings? On what can we ground our beliefs in worth and dignity and human rights? Adler's struggle with these issues will lead us to perhaps the hardest question in ethics: What is our ethical responsibility to others? How do we live with that sense of responsibility and use it to inspire us?

"If men talked about only what they understood, the silence would become unbearable." - Max Lerner

"Love the animals, love the plants, love everything. If you love everything, you will perceive the divine mystery in things. Once you perceive it, you will begin to comprehend it better every day. And you will come at last to love the whole world with an all-embracing love." - Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Get the .MP3 file

Parenting at the speed of the internet - Dr. John Hoad, Leader Emeritus, 5 Nov, 2006 podcast

At the request of our Leader (Kate Lovelady), John Hoad is addressing guidance on parenting. John's qualifications include raising five children and enjoying five grandchildren. But are these qualifications out of date as we move into the Age of the Internet? Just as many of us could not help with New Math when it became standard, can we help our children face the growing frontier posed by new technology? Or are they out beyond us? The American Association of Pediatrics has recently called for some good old-fashioned playtime for our kids, and less regimentation and less devotion to video games. What are the values that abide that each generation needs to learn to build an ethical world? How can we address the Confucian challenge that there be a thread of values that runs from the individual through the family, through the nation, to the laws of the universe?

Dr. Hoad is a Leader Emeritus of the Ethical Society of St. Louis, having served 1980-1994. He lives in Charleston, SC, where he and his wife, Karen, have a practice based on her work as a hypnotist and his as a lifetime coach. John is a native of Barbados and previously served as a Methodist minister and seminary president in the Caribbean. After retirement from the Society, he served with Provident Counseling of St. Louis and as a visiting preacher for Emerson and Alton Unitarian churches.

Get the .MP3 file

Principle centered parenting: Dropping out of the new "gerbil race" - Dr. Tim Jordan, 29 Oct 2006 podcast

The rat race to "keep up with the Joneses" starting in the 1950s was about "things," i.e., homes, cars, appliances. The "gerbil" race today is about children: getting your kids in the "right" school, on the "right" select sports teams, building the perfect resume. Kids are growing up too fast, being treated as adults, and are stressed out and overextended. Dr. Jordan will lay out the costs to kids and families due to these extraordinary pressures and he will inspire parents to take control of their families' lives, parenting from the principles and values important to them.

A nationally known speaker and educator, Tim Jordan, M.D., has dedicated his career to helping children and families. As a key media consultant, he has appeared on national and local television and radio and hosted the weekly radio show "Families First."

Get the .MP3 file

The terrible, beautiful mess of life - Kate Lovelady, Leader, 22 Oct 2006 podcast

The strength of humanistic ethics is based in the heart as well as in the head. I'm often asked if its possible for people to live without a certainty of supernatural belief. My answer is to point to the long history of poetry, art, and music that has helped humanity develop compassion and commitment in the face of the uncertainties and pains of living. An ethical movement that rejects absolutist answers can still uplift and inspire by embracing this tradition, so this Sunday I'll be sharing some of my favorite poems that explore grief, celebration, confusion, transcendence, and other joys and challenges of being human.

Get the .MP3 file

AEU Leadership Certification Ceremony - Kate Lovelady, Leader, Jul 2006 podcast

Recorded at the 91st Assembly of the American Ethical Union in Chicago, Kate explains her career move from poet to Ethical Culture Leader and reads one of her favorite poems by W. H. Auden.

Get the .MP3 file

Stem cell research in Missouri - Dr. Gerald Magill, Saint Louis University Center for Health Care Ethics, 8 Oct 2006 podcast

The vote for or against Missouri's Amendment 2 elicits significant controversy around embryonic stem cell research. People of good will and people of faith stand on each side of the debate. The ethical dispute is not about choosing between the protection of human life and the promotion of human healing - each side makes those claims, whether by reason or by faith. Rather, the contest deals with the irresolvable controversy about when personal human life begins. And each side submits substantive moral justifications for their opposing perspectives. There is need for respect and restraint to foster a calm courteousness to help citizens prepare for the referendum.

Gerard Magill, Ph.D., is a Professor with tenure at Saint Louis University's Center for Health Care Ethics. He served as the Center's first Department Chair from 1996 to 2006 and was Executive Director of the Center from 1999 to 2006. He has secondary appointments at Saint Louis University as a Professor of Internal Medicine in the School of Medicine and as a Professor of Health Administration in the School of Public Health.

is education includes a baccalaureate degree in philosophy, a baccalaureate degree in religion, and a master's degree in religious ethics at the Gregorian University in Rome, as well as a Ph.D. degree in religious ethics at Edinburgh University, Scotland.

His areas of research specialties include: the policy and ethics implications of human genomics and stem cell research, and religious discourse in health care ethics.

Get the .MP3 file

Ethics: The next generation - Kate Lovelady, Leader, 1 Oct 2006 podcast

This Sunday we'll look at some of the cultural and psychological pressures on today's youth. What will influence them to be more or less ethical than the current generation? Many pundits proclaim that America is in a state of moral decline--is this true, and if so, will the next generation learn to imitate or to restore today's moral lapses? What are the current trends in ethics among the younger set, and what can sociological research teach us about how to bring up our youth to create a more ethical society?

"There are only two lasting bequests we can hope to give our children. One is roots; the other, wings." - Hodding Carter

Get the .MP3 file

The fate of eminent domain - Gary Feder, 24 Sep 2006 podcast

Can the private owner of a residence or business be required, as a matter of law, to sell their property to a developer intending to use that property, along with others, to create a new comprehensive project designed to serve the general public?

The Supreme Court of the United States answered this question in the affirmative last summer in the landmark decision, Kelo v. City of New London, Connecticut. The decision set off a firestorm of protest concerning the long established practice of "eminent domain." Eminent domain is the right of local governments, including school districts, highway departments, and some utility companies, to force the sale of certain real estate and to condemn the title thereto in consideration for payment to the owner of the property's fair market value as determined through a court determined procedure. Expansion of the process nationally over the past half century has resulted in "takings" of real estate that wind up in the hands of private development companies rather than be titled to public entities. Instead of building roads, eminent domain has increasingly been used to build stadiums, office complexes, and shopping centers. Private property rights vie with governments' desire to eradicate deteriorated or blighted areas, create new taxes/jobs, and stimulate growth. The controversial Centenne project in the heart of Clayton is just one local example of this battle. Legislative changes have already happened in Missouri. What lies ahead both national and locally?

Gary Feder is a member of the Land Use Development and Financing Practice Group in the St. Louis office of Husch and Eppenberger, LLC. His primary areas of concentration are real estate law, corporate law, and related litigation. He is a former member of the Clayton Board of Education and Clayton's City Plan Commission and Architectural Review Board. Gary is a frequent speaker on real estate development issues, such as the use of tax increment financing, transportation development districts and urban redevelopment corporations.

Get the .MP3 file

Saying Yes - Kate Lovelady, Leader, 17 Sep 2006 podcast

In my candidate address last fall, I argued that one of the steps in ethical development is learning to Say Yes. By that I meant cultivating optimism, being open to the possibilities of life, and being willing to stretch ourselves and to work with others in trying new things. Humanism looks for signs of ethical progress in the world, and ethical humanists try to do our part, however small or large, to help positive change occur. Growth, whether of a person or an institution, requires change. However, change also challenges our comfort zones. This year we will be taking more steps toward positive change, including an increasing emphasis in our platforms on children and families, and more opportunities for ethical action. This platform will introduce some new practices and explore the exciting and the difficult aspects of change and growth.

"It takes a lot of courage to release the familiar and seemingly secure, to embrace the new. But there is no real security in what is no longer meaningful. There is more security in the adventurous and exciting, for in movement there is life, and in change there is power." - Alan Cohen

"Change is inevitable, except from vending machines." - Anonymous

Get the .MP3 file

Authentic happiness: living brilliantly - Peggy Duffield and Lynne Michelson, 10 Sep 2006 podcast

Drawing from current research, wisdom traditions and anecdotes, they hope to inspire our community toward an experience of living more joyfully. Inspired by the work of Dr. Martin Seligman, the founder of Positive Psychology and head of the Positive Psychology Center at the University of Pennsylvania, Peggy and Lynne will explore the following questions: Exactly what is authentic happiness? How is it defined? Learn practical tips for bringing happiness into your life. Positive Psychology is a new branch of psychology that focuses on the empirical study of such things as positive emotions, strengths-based character, and healthy institutions. Dr. Seligman's research has demonstrated that it is possible to be happier — to feel more satisfied, to be more engaged with life, find more meaning, have higher hopes, and probably even laugh and smile more, regardless of one's circumstances.

Get the .MP3 file

Reflections on September 11th - Kate Lovelady, Leader, 10 Sep 2006 podcast

As the opening of the Ethical Society of St. Louis's Fall Gathering Leader Kate Lovelady reflects on the 5th anniversary of September 11th.

Get the .MP3 file

Founders Day - Kate Lovelady, Leader, 14 May 2006 podcast

On May 15, 1876, in New York City, twenty-five-year-old Felix Adler delivered the founding address for Ethical Culture, laying out his argument and design for a new movement that would modernize religion, ethicize philosophy, and commit its members to affirming the infinite worth of every man, woman, and child.

For the 130th anniversary, we will revisit the Founding Address, translating it where necessary into modern understanding, and see how well it has held up and what inspiration and direction it offers our still-moving movement. This will be the inauguration of an annual Founders Day, a day on which Ethical Societies across the country recall our roots, celebrate our individual Society's history and people, and consider our legacy as the founders of the future.

"Diversity in the creed, unanimity in the deed!" Felix Adler, Founding Address

Get the .MP3 file

Faith In Science - Kate Lovelady, Leader, 30 Apr 2006 podcast

I chose the title "Faith in Science" for Sunday's platform to address two misuses and misunderstandings of sciencethe attempt to impose on science non-science-based beliefs (something done by both the Fundamentalist right and the New-Age left), and the belief in science itself as a type of savior. Empirical research and the scientific method are crucial to helping us learn about human nature and make ethical decisions. Yet biology and even evolution are not necessary destiny, and what is technologically possible is not always wise. What are the promises and limitations of science?

Get the .MP3 file

Ethical Humanist of the Year - Fred Rottnek, MD, MAHCM, 23 Apr 2006 podcast

Fred Rottnek, MD, MAHCM, has been chosen to receive the 2006 Humanist of the Year award. This prestigious award was established 30 years ago by James S. McDonnell in honor of Jeff Hornback, then the Leader of the Ethical Society of St. Louis.

Dr. Rottnek's life integrates the practice of medicine with his love of teaching, commitment to social justice, spirituality, and theology. His patients are the homeless and those incarcerated in St. Louis County. Dr. Rottnek works with many local homeless shelters and nonprofit agencies, providing direct, on-site health care services to people in shelters and other locations where they go to obtain goods and services needed for their day-to-day survival. In St. Louis County, he was the first physician to utilize community volunteers to establish a hospice environment for prisoners approaching death.

In addition to his work with the incarcerated and coordinating care for as many as 50 patients in an evening at a homeless shelter, he has organized many other physicians, nurses, psychologists, and social workers to use their time and talents to deliver health care to people living outside the fringes of the work-a-day world. He inspires a myriad of professionals to understand their importance and value to the patients they serve.

An insight into what inspires and motivates our 2006 Ethical Humanist of the Year is best provided by the recipient himself. Dr. Fred Rottnek says, "The quality of all of our lives depends on the quality of the lives of those who have the least."

Get the .MP3 file

Is it time to grow up yet? - Kate Lovelady, Leader, 9 Apr 2006 podcast

The concept of adulthood and maturity has been changing in America, for both good and bad. Many older people are more active than ever, while many younger people are putting off responsibility, or just not finding room for themselves with all these active older folks still in charge. At the same time, America's mass-market culture is more youthoriented than ever. What does it mean to have an adolescent national culture? What are the thoughts and feelings that keep us from growing up, as individuals or as a culture? What can we do to support the positive evolution of ourselves, our kids, and our nation?

"We have not passed that subtle line between childhood and adulthood until we move from the passive voice to the active voice -- that is, until we stop saying 'It got lost,' and say 'I lost it.'" - Sydney J. Harris

Get the .MP3 file

Lessons in paying attention: Lao-Tzu and the Taoist tradition - Dr. Belden Lane, 2 Apr 2006 podcast

Dr. Lane will draw on stories from the Taoist and Buddhist traditions in talking about some of the central paradoxes in the spiritual teachings of the Tao Te Ching. These include the mystery of wordlessness, the importance of doing for the sake of doing, the power of acting as not-acting, and the effectiveness of leading without ego. The presentation will suggest how these can be lived out in practice, pointing out parallels between Lao-tzu and Jesus Christ, between the Way of the Tao and the Way of the Lilies (as Jesus speaks of this in the Sermon on the Mount).

Dr. Belden C. Lane is Professor of Theological Studies at Saint Louis University. His books include Landscapes of the Sacred: Geography and Narrative in American Spirituality (2001) and The Solace of Fierce Landscapes: Exploring Desert and Mountain Spirituality (1998). He was introduced some time ago as a Presbyterian minister teaching at a Jesuit University telling Jewish stories at the Vedanta Society.

Get the .MP3 file

Health care for the privileged few? Why not health care for all! - Jim Hightower, 26 Mar 2006 podcast

The health care crisis in the United States affects everyone. With costs outpacing most peoples wages, only the wealthy can easily afford decent health care. Nearly 1.4 million people joined the ranks of uninsured in the last year, bringing the number of Americans without health care to 45 million. Seventy-four percent of those without insurance come from working families and 8.5 million children in the United States have no health care. Jim Hightower has spent three decades doing battle with the powers that be on behalf of just plain folks. Speaking out on behalf of consumers, working families, environmentalists and small businesses, Hightower is a leading voice for the public who find themselves living and working in an America that is vastly different than the one inhabited by politicians in Washington and the Wall Street elite. He broadcasts daily radio commentaries that are carried in more than 120 commercial and public stations, on the web, on Armed Forces Radio, Radio for Peace International, One World Radio and Sirius Satellite Radio.

His monthly populist newsletter, "The Hightower Lowdown", is the fastest growing political publication in America with more that 100,000 subscribers and his newspaper column is carried in more than 75 independent newspapers, magazines, and other publications. He also writes a monthly column for The Nation, Americas leading progressive journal.

Hightower is the best-selling author of Thieves In High Places: They've Stolen Our Country And Its Time To Take It Back (Viking Press). His previous books are If The Gods Had Meant Us To Vote, They Would Have Given Us Candidates; Theres Nothing In the Middle of the Road But Yellow Stripes and Dead Armadillos; Eat Your Heart Out; and Hard Tomatoes, Hard Times.

Jim Hightower's appearance is part of Health Care Weekend and sponsored by Missourians for Single Payer (MOSP) and the Ethical Society. MOSP is a coalition of diverse organzations and individuals working to promote universal health care through a single payer system. For more information about their mission and activities, please visit http://mosp.missouri.org/ .

Get the .MP3 file

How many earths? Eco-ethics - Kate Lovelady, Leader, 19 Mar 2006 podcast

March 20 is the first day of spring, Earth Day as celebrated by the U.N. (April 22 is also celebrated as Earth Day by other groups). As a community that seeks to “act with reverence and commitment toward the natural world,” we will take this Sunday to mark the Spring Equinox and renew our promise to protect our environment. Last year, at the New York Society for Ethical Culture, I saw a road show by former Vice President Al Gore about global warming. I'll share some information from that experience, and also explore how we educate ourselves and others about ecological ethical issues. What are the barriers to our understanding and action? Can we overcome some of those barriers by approaching the issues differently? How can we talk about the environment so that people listen, and how do we get beyond the false choice of “the environment vs. the economy”?

As a precursor to this platform, I invite those of you with internet access to take the short quiz at www.myfootprint.org, to see how sustainable your current lifestyle is. You can email me your results, if you wish. All information will be kept strictly confidential!.

Get the .MP3 file

Wal-Mart: Good, bad, or just there? - Bill Brighoff, 12 Mar 2006 podcast

That is not a rhetorical question, but one that every thinking person should answer. It has been answered widely by many people, but seldom is there an in-depth analysis of the wide variety of factors that should be considered. Tens of thousands of Americans have lost good jobs - but tens of millions of Chinese have escaped starvation. Your values, experiences, and philosophies will determine your answers, but have you asked all the questions?

Bill Brighoff has been a member of the Ethical Society of St. Louis for more than a dozen years. Presently, he is an officiant and a board member, but mostly he is known for being the husband of Carol Bartell. In past lives, he has been a carpenter and a lawyer, but now he ekes out a living as a high school teacher in the St. Louis Public Schools.

Get the .MP3 file

The Religious Left and Civil Rights - Kate Lovelady, Leader, 26 Feb 2006 podcast

This Sunday we'll look at the basic differences in attitudes and beliefs that lead those on the religious right and left to embrace their respective values and to translate those values into specific social positions. Given that this weekend St. Louis is hosting an anti-gay conference by religious right groups, we'll also examine the real-life consequences of religious beliefs on people's lives, as well as why the religious right is so threatened by the women's and gay rights movements, and how Ethical Culture as part of the religious left can respond to the critical civil rights issues of our time.

There are two visions of America. One precedes our founding fathers and finds its roots in the harshness of our puritan past. It is very suspicious of freedom, uncomfortable with diversity, hostile to science, unfriendly to reason, contemptuous of personal autonomy. It sees America as a religious nation. It views patriotism as allegiance to God. It secretly adores coercion and conformity. Despite our constitution, despite the legacy of the Enlightenment, it appeals to millions of Americans and threatens our freedom.

The other vision finds its roots in the spirit of our founding revolution and in the leaders of this nation who embraced the age of reason. It loves freedom, encourages diversity, embraces science and affirms the dignity and rights of every individual. It sees America as a moral nation, neither completely religious nor completely secular. It defines patriotism as love of country and of the people who make it strong. It defends all citizens against unjust coercion and irrational conformity.
- Rabbi Sherwin Wine

Get the .MP3 file

Lincoln's Legacy: Our Logs - Joanne Kelly, Ann Ruger, Ruth Ann Cioci and Barbara Finch, Women's Voices Raised For Social Justice 12-Feb-06 podcast

Women's Voices Raised for Social Justice http://womensvoicesraised.org is a new St. Louis organization founded by four women discouraged and fearful for their country, who decided to quit complaining and do something about it. They will discuss their struggles to overcome fears and frustrations and to summon the courage, self-confidence and energy to move forward and found Women's Voices. They will explain what the organization has accomplished, some of their hopes for its future and the impact of the experience on one of them as an individual.

The four founders of Women's Voices Raised for Social Justice, now retired, have various backgrounds: Joanne Kelly was a teacher, counselor and administrator in several St. Louis County school districts. Ann Ruger was a project director, grant writer and editor for several St. Louis-based child advocacy organizations. Ruth Ann Cioci was Kirkwood's office manager and vice president of Laura McCarthy, Inc. Realtors Barbara Finch is a retired public relations consultant who taught creative writing for Springboard to Learning for three years.

Get the .MP3 file

Yet, Miles To Go Before I Sleep - Norman R. Seay 2-Feb-06 podcast

Borrowing a line from a Robert Frost poem, Norman Seay will reflect upon some earlier relationships between the Ethical Society and segments of the black community during the days of overt and transitional discrimination and segregation. He will also identify some current issues of exclusion.

A challenge will be presented for people of good will to again promote the philosophy and implement practices of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and others as the quest to achieve justice, peace and fair play continues in the current sophisticated and capitalistic environment.

Norman R. Seay, a prominent civil rights activist, is a founding member of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) in St. Louis and a former president of the NAACP of Montgomery County, Maryland. In the 1960s, CORE was instrumental in forcing places of public accommodations to serve and employ blacks in greater St. Louis. In 1963 he spent 90 days in jail as part of the effort to force banking and other financial institutions to employ African Americans in white-collar positions. Mr. Seay is President of the Federation of Block Units of Metropolitan St. Louis, Director Emeritus of the Office of Equal Opportunity at the University of Missouri - St. Louis and on the Executive Committee of the St. Louis NAACP.

Get the .MP3 file

Imagining abundance: Ethical giving and growing - Kate Lovelady, Leader 29-Jan-06 podcast

One thing that separates successful institutions and movements from unsuccessful ones is the ability to talk straight about money. We often feel confused, conflicted, and guilty about how and how much we make and spend. Our discomfort with the topic keeps us from looking squarely at how we're spending and what we're really getting for our money. But if we're unclear about the role of money in our lives, we're easily manipulated into a cycle of unsatisfying purchases and equally unsatisfying charity. How can we move away from a defensive view that emphasizes scarcity and competition, and toward a view that recognizes the unprecedented abundance that now exists, and the power each of us has to make a difference?

Get the .MP3 file

Truthiness: the Vatican and the gay response - Sam Sinnett, DignityUSA 22-Jan-06 podcast

A panel of linguists recently decided that the word that best describes 2005 is "truthiness" -- the quality of stating concepts one wishes or believes to be true, rather than the facts. While some Americans would relate that to current U.S. political issues and the war in Iraq it also describes the increasingly virulent statements of the Vatican, the pope and many US Roman Catholic bishops related to Gay/Lesbian/Bisexual/Transgender (GLBT) issues. The Roman Catholic hierarchy may well be the most powerful anti-GLBT voice in the world with religious and political influence far beyond just Catholics. DignityUSA has long offered a counterbalancing voice must sought after and respected in the media, particularly in the USA but in other English speaking countries as well. DignityUSA, its local chapters and members publicly dissent from Catholic Church teaching that homosexual sexual orientation is objectively disordered and that gay and lesbian relationships are inherently evil. For this public dissent DignityUSA is in exile, not officially allowed to meet on Catholic Church property.

Sam Sinnett is a native Saint Louisan who is currently the national president of DignityUSA, www.DignityUSA.org - one of the oldest national gay and lesbian organizations - for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (GLBT) Catholics. DignityUSA works for respect and justice for all GLBT persons in the Catholic Church and the world through education, advocacy and support. Sam grew up in Saint Louis, attended high school here and is a graduate of the Catholic Jesuit College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, MA. He was married for over 18 years, has 3 children, came out as a gay man late in life, is currently divorced / single. He has recently appeared on or been quoted in our local press and media on Channels 2 and 4 and KMOX radio.

Get the .MP3 file

Where do we go from here? - Malik Ahmed, of Better Family Life, Inc. 15-Jan-06 podcast

Malik Ahmed will develop the theme, "Where Do We Go From Here?", an address delivered by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1967. His presentation will examine how today's African American community is still challenged by many of the same menacing forces that were highlighted by Dr. King over 38 years ago.

Mr. Ahmed will highlight the inequality that persists in keeping many members of the African American community oppressed, evidenced by rising health costs, unemployment, poor education and racist institutional practices. He will conclude his address by urging the need for the continuation of the civil rights struggle. In Mr. Ahmed's opinion, the new focus of the movement should be on the internal development of the African American family. Mr. Ahmed passionately believes the organization he founded in 1983 - Better Family Life, Inc. - offers a new and progressive initiative in the goal of uplifting the Black masses. BFL's job training program for the chronically unemployed has graduated over 2,000 adults and has a 12-month job retention rate of 80%. The program received the Governor's Award for the Most Innovative Training/Workforce Program in 2000 and the Cultural Competency Award in 2001, both from the East-West Gateway Coordinating Council of Governments. In 2002, BFL opened its third job training site. Under Mr. Ahmed's leadership, BFL has developed youth, cultural arts and housing down payment assistance programs to serve low to moderate income residents throughout the metropolitan community. In 2005, BFL purchased the former Ralph Waldo Emerson School in St. Louis. The organization is currently in a capital campaign to raise $4 million for renovating the site as a cultural center and museum.

Malik Ahmed holds a Bachelor's degree in Economics and a Master's degree in Public Administration/Policy Analysis. Prior to his involvement with BFL, he was a registered representative of The Moneta Group, a financial planning firm. He serves on several community and civic boards of directors.

Get the .MP3 file

It's not easy bein' green - Kate Lovelady, Leader St. Louis Ethical Society 8-Jan-06 podcast

"Bein' Green" was sung by Kermit the Frog on Sesame Street when I was young. The message of the song is that we should resist those outside voices telling us whom we should be, and instead develop the unique gifts we each have to offer. One of the first steps in ethical development is becoming comfortable with ourselves, so that we can be active participants in society and so that we don't feel threatened by those who are different. Since I started following a vegan diet a couple of years ago, however, the phrase "It's not easy being green" has developed yet another meaning for me. For my installation Sunday, I'd like to share some of the personal experiences and lessons I've learned from becoming vegan—particularly, what it teaches me about becoming comfortable with ethical choices, and what being different from many of my friends and family teaches me about "bringing out the best in others" when you disagree. Many folks join Ethical Societies seeking the fellowship of like-minded individuals, yet we can only be a vital Ethical Society if we also recognize, respect, and welcome the many ways in which we are different.

Get the .MP3 file

Ethics Lost to Fear - Redditt Hudson 9-Oct-05 podcast

Where ethics provide a guideline that is eminently humane regarding our decisions about how we will live with ourselves and others, adherence to this guideline requires, at some point, an inventory of self, an inventory of community, and ever larger groupings relative to the ethics of each and our individual contribution to the ethical fabric of them. To some extent we have forsaken a commitment to ethical living in the following way – we have allowed fear, for too long, to make us hesitate to act on our ethics, and our inaction has hurt us all.

Redditt Hudson is the Racial Justice Associate for the American Civil Liberties Union of Eastern Missouri. A former St. Louis police officer, he left the force in 1999 and devoted himself to addressing issues of police misconduct and to searching for ways to improve police-community relations. He has a significant history of work on issues critical to the social, cultural, and economic well-being of African-American communities and is especially concerned with the well-being of youths. In the past, he worked with serious juvenile offenders at the Hogan Youth Correctional Facility and provided them with alternative constructive choices to help them modify their behavior prior to community reentry. Redditt Hudson has held positions with the St. Louis Emergency Children's Home and Better Family Life Incorporated. In 2000, he founded Project Peace, an organization which addresses issues of accountability and responsibility for students in high schools and in communities.

Mr. Hudson attended University City High School and graduated from St. Louis University where he also played basketball. He is currently enrolled in the Criminology program at the University of Missouri – St. Louis. He is married and the father of four.

Get the .MP3 file

Translating Jesus for Today - John Hoad 2-Oct-05 podcast

Several Ethical Leaders have given high praise to the Jesus of history. Among these are Felix Adler himself, David Muzzey, and Horace Bridges. What they did, and what John Hoad proposes to do, is to get back past the ecclesiastical Jesus and the evangelical Jesus, and attempt to describe what it must have been like to meet with the historical Jesus and feel the impact of his revolutionary teaching, and then to translate that into modern language and concepts. John has been a student of the Gospel story for over fifty years, and will crystallize out the essentials, as he sees them, of the impact of Jesus. This is a vision of the Humanist Jesus.

Dr. John Hoad is a native of Barbados. He studied in England and Europe to become a British Methodist minister. He served in Guyana and Jamaica. In Jamaica, he became President of the United Theological College of the West Indies, from 1968 to 1972, when he came to the United States to pursue a Ph.D. in counseling at Princeton Theological Seminary. He was a professional counselor in Princeton and then in Saint Louis. From 1980 to 1994, John was the Leader of our Ethical Society. He and his wife Karen moved to Charleston, South Carolina, in 2002.

Get the .MP3 file

Truth is the holy grail - James Hoggard 18-Sep-05 podcast

Knowledge is important. More knowledge is available to us than to any previous generation. What is the best way to sort fact from fiction? Why is that important?

Rational thinking and observation help us learn the nature of reality. Sadly, this is not always the approach taken, even though the application of science is so obvious in almost everything that distinguishes our modern age. Many people believe that certain propositions that were decided in more primitive times should not be subject to reexamination. The speaker believes truth is paramount, that it is always tentative and the best means at our disposal should be employed in its pursuit.

James Hoggard received degrees from college and seminary in pursuit of the career of Christian minister. After serving in that capacity for 13 years, he left the ministry and turned his hobby of tinkering with automobiles into a new career. He operated Hoggard's Car Place in St. Louis for 25 years, before retiring in 1998. He joined the Ethical Society of St. Louis in 1976.

Get the .MP3 file

Rememberance: The anatomy of a memory - Don Johnson, Leader (12-June-05) podcast

Individual memory and collective memory are necessary for our individual and cultural identity. To re-member is to bring alive again the past, as well as move us toward a future. To re-member is to re-participate. If our lives are to have a coherent meaning, memory will be at work in us. With no sense of personal or social history, the fabric of our lives unwinds and disintegrates.

Get the .MP3 file

The Dance Of Relationships - Don Johnson, Leader (8-May-05) podcast

Relationships of all kinds are like a dance. Some faith traditions, such as Hinduism, emphasize the interrelationship, richness and beauty of all of life. We must have within us the knowledge of what makes relationships succeed, be attentive to the movements of the other persons and fill our relationships with spontaneity and richness.

"Let us be grateful to people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom." - Marcel Proust

Get the .MP3 file

How much is good enough? - Anne Klaeysen, Leader Long Island Ethical Society (24-Apr-05) podcast

Ethical Culture founder Felix Adler's early idealism was, to a large extent, superceded in the following century by philosophies of naturalism and pragmatism. What does that transition really mean to most of us? Some faith traditions root their authenticity, and base their practices, on authoritative tests. Ethical culture faith rests on a combined study of philosophy, ethics and science. From whence come our religious authenticity and authority? On what basis do we form our traditions and practices? Leader Anne Klaeysen examines the shift from an ideal or perfectibility to a concept of wholeness and asks the question: "How much is good enough?"

Anne Klaeysen is Leader of the Ethical Humanist Society of Long Island. She is a graduate of the Humanist Institute and holds Masters degree in German from the State University of New York at Albany and Business Administration from New York University. This spring Anne will complete work towards a Doctor of Ministry from Hebrew Union College in New York City.

Get the .MP3 file

Ecology: Toward a Continuous Harmony - Don Johnson, Leader (10-Apr-05) podcast

The guiding religious and ethical principle in ancient Egypt was centered around the role of harmony. The issue of ecology is essentially an ethical and religious issue of creating and maintaining a harmonious relationship with all of life. Reinhold Niebuhr defined evil as “the assertion of some self-interest without regard to the whole, whether the whole be conceived as the immediate community or the total community of humankind, or the total order of the world”. In ancient Egypt it was the people's role to keep the world harmonious. What demand is the earth making on us today, what principles might guide us in fulfilling our role as stewards, and what benefits might come to us by being our best selves in relation to the earth?

Get the .MP3 file


| More options: