Book Club Meeting: Robert Boston’s “Taking Liberties: Why Religious Freedom Doesn’t Give you the Right to Tell Other People What to Do”

Our next book, recommended by Jerry Morris, is Robert Boston’s “Taking Liberties: Why Religious Freedom Doesn’t Give you the Right to Tell Other People What to Do. The publisher describes the book thus:

Rob Boston's Taking Liberties

Increasingly, conservative religious groups are using religious liberty as a sword to lash out at others. In this forcefully argued defense of the separation of church and state, Robert Boston makes it clear that the religious freedom guaranteed in the First Amendment is an individual right, the right of personal conscience, not a license allowing religious organizations to discriminate against and control others. The book examines the controversy over birth control, same-sex marriage, religion in public schools, the intersection of faith and politics, and the “war on Christmas,” among other topics.

Boston concludes with a series of recommendations for resolving clashes between religious liberty claims and individual rights.

Special Treat: The author, Rob Boston, will join us!

Since Rob will be in town, we will hold two sessions to give people flexible options for participating.

Time 1: Wednesday, January 16th, 7:00 PM to 8:30 PM.
The Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Hillsborough, 1710 Old Highway 10, Hillsborough, NC 27278. We will meet in the yurt located near the main building.

Time 2: Thursday, January 17th, in the morning. Details will be forthcoming.

All are welcome, even if you have not read the book!

Annual Members Meeting — Tonight!

Annual Members Meeting
September 24, 2018, 7 PM to 9 PM

With Featured Guest Speaker
Allison K. Ralph, Ph.D.

Allison K. Ralph, Ph.D.

Topic: “To Teach or Not to Teach About Religion in Public Education and the Pitfalls Either Way”

in Historic
Dickerson Chapel AME Church
100 East Queen Street
Hillsborough, NC 27278

Minister: Rev. Donald Holman, Sr.

 

Roy Zimmerman in Concert: RiZe Up


RiZe Up poster - hillsborough

RoyZimmerman_nyc-17
Photo credit: DC Anderson

RiZe Up is ninety minutes of Roy Zimmerman’s original songs, a funny and forceful affirmation of Peace and Social Justice. “Sometimes I think satire is the most hopeful and heartfelt form of expression,” says Roy, “because in calling out the world’s absurdities and laughing in their face, I’m affirming the real possibility for change.”

Roy’s songs have been heard on HBO and Showtime, and his videos have garnered tens of millions of views.  He has recorded for Warner/Reprise Records. He’s shared stages with Bill Maher, Ellen DeGeneres, Holly Near, Robin Williams, Arlo Guthrie, John Oliver, Kate Clinton and George Carlin, and tours the country constantly with his wife and co-writer Melanie Harby.

Check out some of his songs:

Book Club Meeting: Sean Wilentz’s “The Politicians and the Egalitarians”

Our penultimate book of 2018, recommended by Ray Falk, is Sean Wilentz’s “The Politicians and the Egalitarians: The Hidden History of American Politics. The publisher describes the book thus:

Sean Wilentz's Politicians and Egalitarians

One of our most eminent historians reminds us of the commanding role party politics has played in America’s enduring struggle against economic inequality.

“There are two keys to unlocking the secrets of American politics and American political history.” So begins The Politicians & the Egalitarians, Princeton historian Sean Wilentz’s bold new work of history.

First, America is built on an egalitarian tradition. At the nation’s founding, Americans believed that extremes of wealth and want would destroy their revolutionary experiment in republican government. Ever since, that idea has shaped national political conflict and scored major egalitarian victories—from the Civil War and Progressive eras to the New Deal and the Great Society—along the way.

Second, partisanship is a permanent fixture in America, and America is the better for it. Every major egalitarian victory in United States history has resulted neither from abandonment of partisan politics nor from social movement protests but from a convergence of protest and politics, and then sharp struggles led by principled and effective party politicians. There is little to be gained from the dream of a post-partisan world.

With these two insights Sean Wilentz offers a crystal-clear portrait of American history, told through politicians and egalitarians including Thomas Paine, Abraham Lincoln, and W. E. B. Du Bois—a portrait that runs counter to current political and historical thinking. As he did with his acclaimed The Rise of American Democracy, Wilentz once again completely transforms our understanding of this nation’s political and moral character.

Directions to our new meeting location in the basement Conference Room HDT 04005 in the UNC Hospital Campus located at 430 Waterstone Drive, Hillsborough, NC:  Enter the building through the main lobby area on the ground floor. Go to your right past the reception desk and walk toward the Cafe area. Pass by the gift shop on your left and the restrooms. At the Cafe sign (overhead) turn left and go through the large set of double doors that has a sign above the entrance (Authorized Personnel Only). Important: To open double doors move your hand over the light-switch-size motion sensor on the wall to the right of the doors. Pass through the doors and then turn left to access the elevators down to the basement level (B). After exiting elevators look for the Conference Room near the elevator area.

All are welcome, even if you have not read the book!

Book Club Meeting: Leonard Levy’s “The Establishment Clause: Religion and the First Amendment”

Our next book, recommended by Lee Nackman, is Leonard Levy’s “The Establishment Clause: Religion and the First Amendment. The publisher describes the book thus:

Leonard Levy 1st Amendment Book

Leonard Levy’s classic work examines the circumstances that led to the writing of the establishment clause of the First Amendment: ‘Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion. . . .’ He argues that, contrary to popular belief, the framers of the Constitution intended to prohibit government aid to religion even on an impartial basis. He thus refutes the view of ‘nonpreferentialists,’ who interpret the clause as allowing such aid provided that the assistance is not restricted to a preferred church.

For this new edition, Levy has added to his original arguments and incorporated much new material, including an analysis of Jefferson’s ideas on the relationship between church and state and a discussion of the establishment clause cases brought before the Supreme Court since the book was originally published in 1986.

Meeting: Thursday, August 16th, 10:30 AM to 12 Noon.

Location: UNC Health Care Hillsborough Campus on 460 Waterstone Drive, Hillsborough, NC 27278. We will meet in a conference room not too far from the café area. Directions to conference room: Come into main lobby, make a right at the gift shop, go down the Administration Hallway on the right. The conference room is first door on right after passing second set of brown double doors in hallway.

All are welcome, even if you have not read the book!

Book Club Meeting: Colin Woodard’s “American Nations”

cover-_american_nations-577x860Our next book, highly recommended by Jerry Morris, is Colin Woodard’s American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures in North America. Writing in the Washington Post, Reid Wilson describes the book thus:

“Red states and blue states? Flyover country and the coasts? How simplistic. Colin Woodard, a reporter at the Portland Press Herald and author of several books, says North America can be broken neatly into 11 separate nation-states, where dominant cultures explain our voting behaviors and attitudes toward everything from social issues to the role of government.”

Meeting: Thursday June 21st, 10:30 AM to 12 Noon.

Location: UNC Health Care Hillsborough Campus on 460 Waterstone Drive, Hillsborough, NC 27278. We will meet in a conference room not too far from the café area. Directions to conference room: Come into main lobby, make a right at the gift shop, go down the Administration Hallway on the right. The conference room is first door on right after passing second set of brown double doors in hallway.

All are welcome, even if you have not read the book!

Hal Crowther Speaking on June 5th!

Crowther Promo Draft 1

Hal Crowther is a critic and essayist who lives in Hillsborough, North Carolina. He is the author of An Infuriating American: The Incendiary Arts of H.L. Mencken, (University of Iowa Press), and four collections of essays. His most recent collection, Gather at the River, was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle prize in criticism. He is also the author of Unarmed But Dangerous, for which Kirkpatrick Sale praised him as “the best essayist working in journalism today,” and Cathedrals of Kudzu: A Personal Landscape of the South, winner of the Lillian Smith Book Award for commentary and the Fellowship Prize from the Fellowship of Southern Writers. Another collection of essays, Freedom Fighters and Hellraisers: A Gallery of Memorable Southerners, will be published by Blair Press in October. —— Crowther is a former screenwriter, a newsmagazine editor for both Time and Newsweek, and a syndicated columnist whose columns won the Baltimore Sun’s H.L. Mencken Writing Award in 1992 and the American Association of Newsweeklies prize for commentary in 1998, shared with Nat Hentoff of the Village Voice. For his essays on Southern culture and letters for The Oxford American, he was a finalist for a National Magazine Award in 2003. Crowther’s essays have been published in many magazines and newspapers, from Granta to the New York Times, and included in many anthologies, including the 2014 Pushcart Prize volume for “The Joys of Obsolescence.” He is married to the novelist Lee Smith.

Book Club Meeting: George Lakoff’s “Don’t Think of an Elephant!”

Lakoff Elephant CoverOur next book is George Lakoff’s The All New Don’t Think of an Elephant! Know Your Values and Frame the Debate. Make sure that you read the second version, dated 2014, which is a significant update to the original 2004 publication. You can read Lakoff’s summary of the book here.

Meeting: Thursday April 19, 10:30 AM to 12 Noon. Please note that this meeting time begins one hour later than the original schedule.

Location: UNC Health Care Hillsborough Campus on 460 Waterstone Drive, Hillsborough, NC 27278. We will meet in a conference room not too far from the café area. Directions to conference room: Come into main lobby, make a right at the gift shop, go down the Administration Hallway on the right. The conference room is first door on right after passing second set of brown double doors in hallway.

Please read this important work by Lakoff at some point, even if you cannot attend the meeting and, if available, come to the meeting even if you haven’t read the book.

Social Media: It’s not Just for Russians Anymore!

Our next quarterly meeting will be held on March 6th, from 6:30 to 8:00 pm. Location: Room 230 at the Whitted Building, 300 W. Tryon Street, Hillsborough.

Join us at our quarterly meeting, at which Allison Mahaley and Vicki Boyer will share their insights on the use of Facebook and Twitter; the good, the bad, and how it can be used to support separation of church and state.

  • If you have an account on either platform, bring your device and play along with us.
  • If you don’t have an account, open one and bring your device.
  • If you don’t know if you want one, come and have fun with us!

All members and potential members are welcome to attend.