I'm currently in the process of putting together an affiliate of the American Ethical Union here in Dallas/Fort Worth. Which brings up this enigmatic "David" character who's been mentioned in a couple of previous entries. Basically, David was one of the founders of an organization that went through a few name changes before settling on "Humanist Fellowship of North Texas". Several months ago, we looked into affiliating with a few national groups such as the American Humanist Association. Since there was already an AHA affiliate in the area, we looked more closely at the American Ethical Union. The AEU made some waves a couple of years ago when the Texas tax-boss suddenly revoked their religious tax-exemption, along with a few UU churches, under the auspices that belief in a god is a requirement for a religion and groups like Ethical Culture and Unitarian Universalism make theism optional. After a fairly short-lived lawsuit, she got her hand slapped big-time by the courts, mainly because it turns out that there are quite a few religious groups that make god-belief optional (Ethical Culture, UU's, Zen Buddhism, and even some progressive sects of Judaism).
This David fellow went along with the AEU idea at first. He wasn't wild about us leasing some space in Grapevine for the meetings, but he said he'd go along with it. Suddenly, though, he had a change of heart. And rather than go along with the majority decision (which he considers to be a cornerstone of humanity), he started freaking out. He stated that the AEU affiliation wasn't the will of the club (even though he voted on it). He even wanted to break the lease on the building that he earlier pledged to support.
. . .and we made it clear that it wouldn't look good if our first act as an "ethical" group would be to break a lease. Still, he wouldn't support our efforts at all. Eventually Shelly fired him as webmaster because he refused to put up updates, which freaked him out even more.
And finally I got tired of his crap and just started giving his own crap back to him. If you wanna slog through some funny messages, check out the board's yahoo-group. If you find a particularly enjoyable message, post the URL.
Finally, though, he did something really crappy. He also happens to be the chairman of Metroplex Atheists, which is a local activism group that's been around for over a decade now. At the last meeting I suggested that we try holding a meeting at our new Grapevine property, mainly so we wouldn't have to drag all the books and such over to our borrowed municipal meeting-room every month. Everyone liked the idea, and David said nothing against it. We voted to meet in Grapevine, and I canceled our next month's reservation. The next day I got an email message from him stating that he planned to work to prevent Metroplex Atheists from meeting at Grapevine. I asked him why he was going to do that after saying nothing against our meeting there at the meeting. He refused to explain why he appeared to be backstabbing the club he chaired, in email or on the phone. When I brought this up on the MA Yahoo group, a few members were furious, even going as far as wanting to vote him out as chairman.
And you should've seen the stuff they sent me off the list. It burned my eyes reading it.
Seeing what was happening, I made him a deal. I'd walk away from Humanist Fellowship and work to start a new AEU group if he'd leave MA, thus avoiding a big fight at the August meeting. After first stating that the terms were unacceptable, he later accepted them. I made it clear that even if he didn't get voted out as chair of MA in August, there was little chance he'd get be on the board after the next officer election. Furthermore, half of the Humanist Fellowship board wanted him out of that group, so he was looking at losing both groups come January. By not making a jerk out of himself in August, he could at least keep one group.
So the half of the board that hated him left Humanist Fellowship and re-formed as "D/FW Ethical Fellowship", which was basically the same organization as before, sans David.
And if you've read all of the above, you see the advantage of having an organization sans David. He's pretty-much out of my life now, which is how I like to have things. He's now free to make his head into a Carvel Cookie-Puss without any further ridicule from me. . .at least not in any forums he moderates :)
Now then, back to the podcast. I thought that a better thing to podcast would be the AEU platforms that we put together. A "platform" is AEU-speak for a service, but "service" implies serving something, so AEU goes with the less theistic-sounding term.
I put together a quickie podcast using my old copy of Sony Sound Forge, a $15 copy of Magix Music Maker from the local half-price bookstore, a $1 plastic microphone, and our old laptop computer. The quality is pretty lacking, but it's listenable and isn't a huge download. Also the music is a bit loony-sounding for the subject, but it was the first decent sounding piece of public domain music I found.
It's only about nine minutes minus the intro, which is about the length I like things to be. If you talk for 20 minutes, you're guaranteed to lose 50% of your audience. If you talk for 30 minutes straight, you've pretty-much lost everybody.
All that being said, the address of the podcast and the first show is available at http://www.dfwfellowship.org/blogs.html. Check it out and lemme know what you think. The shows should appear about every other week. I'll try to improve the quality as things go along (by getting an actual mike-stand for one).
Basically they're just little presentations about ethical issues without theistic appeals (i.e. it's "be good for goodness sake" rather than "be good and go to heaven") and hopefully told in a way that's not too dry.
I think I must now pester my pals Rick and/or Terry to give a presentation about how you can get two dozen drinking and/or potsmoking bohemian moviemaking flakes to become teetotalers for a long enough time to film a complete movie.