Humanists of West Florida

May, 2014 Newsletter

In This Issue...

From the President

  • From the President
  • First Friday FreeUp: Dr. Ryan Cragun, "What you don't know about religion (but should)"
  • First Annual Thomas Paine Potluck Picnic
  • Members can vote for new HWF board in in June!
  • What has HWF accomplished so far?
  • Would you like to guest post in our newsletter or our blog?
  • Partners for Secular Activism
  • Get Involved! HWF Committee Action
  • Opportunity to make a difference!

From the HWF President...

reader, our community is growing--slow and steady. That's a good pace, but we'd like to pick it up a bit this year!

We'll continue with our quarterly trash pickup on Nine Mile Road (Have you seen our signs?), and we plan to look for more opportunities to feed families as we did in February. 

Want to add your own ideas about what makes a well-adjusted community? Come join us on our community forums on Meetup and Facebook. You'll find links to all of that on the bottom of this newsletter. That's the fastest and easiest way to find out what's going on, and how you can pitch in.

That brings me to membership. Have you taken the step to become a full-fledged voting member?

If you have, thank you! Your annual dues helped us to accomplish a lot this year, and we hope you renew your membership this July (You can renew anytime now, though!)

If you haven't yet become a member, please consider doing so! We have a student/hardship membership ($10/year), and a regular membership ($25/year). Your dollars will help us continue building and doing good in our community. Members receive a "What is a Humanist" card that fits in your wallet and is handy to show people who have never heard of humanism. Members who come help pick up trash get a free t-shirt--while supplies last!

So what are you waiting for? Come join us!

Don't miss our upcoming events! Dr. Ryan Cragun is speaking at UWF THIS Friday night, May 2, and we have our 1st Annual Thomas Paine Family Potluck Picnic THIS Saturday! Whether you're a member, or a friend, come join us! 

See you soon!

Rose Jansen, HWF President

First Friday FreeUp: Dr. Ryan Cragun, "What you don't know about religion (but should)"

First Friday FreeUp

May 2, 5:45-7:00 pm at

the University of West Florida

Bldg 36, Rm 191.

The Topic: Dr. Ryan Cragun--In Person! "What you don't know about religion (but should)"

Our First Friday FreeUps are usually TEDTalks, but this month we have a special treat!

Dr. Cragun will talk about his latest book, What You Don't Know About Religion (but Should), an introduction to the social scientific and sociological study of religion for non-experts. Using clear and simple statistical analyses with US and international data,

Cragun provides the answers to a number of common questions, like: Are all babies atheists? How does Jesus having a penis relate to gender inequality in religions? Is it true that there are no atheists... in prison cells? Are all demons from Hollywood? Are religious people more moral, more humble, or happier? Is the end of religion nigh? At times irreverent, but always engaging and illuminating, What You Don’t Know About Religion (but Should) is for all those who have ever wondered whether religion helps or hurts society—or questioned what the future holds for religion.

These events are free but donations are accepted to cover the cost of the facility rental.

Don't forget!

First Annual Thomas Paine Potluck Picnic

Saturday, May 3, 2014, 2-7pm.

Bayview Park (at the "L-shaped" pavilion near the playground), 2001 East Lloyd Street, Pensacola, FL 32503

Come celebrate with your free thinking community at our first annual potluck picnic! Bring your family and/or your self, and a dish to share, we'll provide the drinks and dinner ware.

Dr. Cragun (our speaker from our First Friday FreeUp on May 2nd) will stick around to join us along with his family for our picnic PLUS we'll enjoy music from Mike Potters

Bring your own activities such as a Frisbee, or just come to hang out. The kids will have an opportunity to make a "reasonable" craft to take home with them. 

Bring your extended family and friends!

Questions? Email Buz:

Members can vote for new HWF board in in June!

I'm using a little reverse psychology on you here, in case you didn't notice. The simple act of voting, it shows you care. :)

Ballots will be sent out in late May via email. 

What has HWF accomplished so far?

The HWF membership drive will begin in June and we are so pleased to have grown our humanist community so much in the last year and a half! Your support has helped us to accomplish a lot and we hope that you will continue your support into this next fiscal year so that we can continue to strengthen our community. 

If you haven't had a chance to participate yet, you'll have plenty of opportunities this coming year!

Here's a list of some of the things we've done so far:

  • Gave out Personal Care Packets for the Homeless
  • Adopted 2 miles of Nine Mile Road for beautification
  • Purchased and gave out 500 pounds of food to families in need
  • Began monthly FreeUps to build social community and spark discussion
  • Received $1500 grant from AHA
  • Received several generous donations from local businesses and individuals
  • We'd like to do so much more, but we need YOUR help! Come join us!

Would you like to guest post in our newsletter or our blog?

We want to keep our newsletter informative, and local. If you are interested in writing about local events and activities, inform readers about local personalities activities in our greater communities, or even have photos or artwork related to humanism you'd like to share, please submit your 500 words or less article by the 20th of each month for consideration. (Not all submissions will be published, depending on the space available.)

Here's our first installment by Bill White (Click HERE). (P.S. Bill sent this to me to post in January. Sorry I haven't gotten around to posting it before now. I should take Bill's message to heart. )

Partners for Secular Activism

Partners for Secular Activism is a new nonprofit educational organization based in the Washington DC area. The PSA President is John Shook, PhD., and you can email him at

The mission of Partners for Secular Activism is to facilitate education about secular, scientific, and civic issues and activities for the public. By bringing knowledgeable scholars and expert communicators together with audiences wanting more information about issues that matter to their lives, we will elevate the general understanding of reasoning, science, civics, ethics, and topical issues affecting the public. Courses announced by PSA are open to anyone, and they deliver educational value for everyone. (

Upcoming online workshops:

  • ‘Naturalism as a Worldview’ with Richard Carrier, PhD, historian and philosopher
  • ‘The Science of Why We Don't Believe in Science’ with Chris Mooney, science writer for Mother Jones
  • ‘The Family: Power, Conflict and Diversity’ with Julia Hemphill, sociology scholar at York University
  • ‘Intro to Transhumanism’ with George Dvorsky, futurist at Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies and io9

Only $59 for a one month course. Course readings, lectures, and forums for discussions between instructor and students are within the website classroom. There is nothing “live” to be missed – participate anytime day or night, 24/7.

Get Involved!


Want to get involved in some of our activities and help build our humanist community? Contact the committee chairs and find out how you can help!

You can find a brief outline of our committee structure HERE.


  • FFM Chair/Contact Person: Suren Shah - Email:
  • Team Leaders: Buz Ryland, Michael Fulford, Rose Jansen


  • CCP Chair/Contact Person: Rose Jansen - Email:
  • Team Leaders: Michael Fulford, Dayna Beddick, Amanda Kondrat'yev


  • PPE Chair/Contact Person: Buz Ryland - Email:
  • Team Leaders: Barry Fulford, Dayna Beddick, Suren Shah

Team leader emails:

Michael Fulford:

Barry Fulford:

Dayna Beddick:

Amanda Kondrat'yev:

Here's your chance to get involved and make a difference, right here in Pensacola!

Old News: The City Council and County Commission still offer invocations (almost exclusively Xtian prayers) before every meeting.

Good News: Anyone can deliver an invocation! You just have to ask. From what I can tell, they need volunteers. I've done it three times, offering non-prayers and mocking pan/non-theist prayers. We need more! PLEASE PARTICIPATE. Here's how.

CITY: Contact Ericka Burnett ( and ask to be included on the list. Don't accept no for an answer. You don't have to be a clergyman, nor should you be put off for months. Currently, they have a list of local churches they ask and they have a hard time finding speakers. Why not fill that list with free thinkers?

COUNTY: Contact a commissioner. They choose who will speak. Yes, they mostly pick Xtians too. Here is the rotation: 

May 1, 2014 District 1 – Commissioner Robertson
May 15, 2014 District 2 – Commissioner Valentino
June 3, 2014 District 3 – Commissioner May
June 26, 2014 District 4 – Commissioner Robinson
July 10, 2014 District 5 – Commissioner Barry
July 24, 2014 District 1 – Commissioner Robertson
August 7, 2014 District 2 – Commissioner Valentino
August 21, 2014 District 3 – Commissioner May
September 4, 2014 District 4 – Commissioner Robinson
September 25, 2014 District 5 – Commissioner Barry
October 9, 2014 District 1 – Commissioner Robertson
October 23, 2014 District 2 – Commissioner Valentino
November 6, 2014 District 3 – Commissioner May
November 20, 2014 District 4 – Commissioner Robinson
December 11, 2014 District 5 – Commissioner Barry
January 8, 2015 District 1 – Commissioner Robertson

PLEASE, let's get some diversity into this archaic, religion-dominated practice. 

Here's some information about giving a secular invocation.

If you'd like to know more about getting involved in offering a humanist/secular invocation at a meeting, or discuss this more, contact David Suhor at 850 512-2220.

How are we using Social Media?

We now have a Facebook group!

If you hang out on Facebook, please come join us for conversation!

We also have a Meetup group to schedule our community service projects so please join it and choose to receive emails from that group if you'd like to participate! 

Also, please "like" our Facebook page, follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn, circle us on Google+ (follow links below)!

Please share this newsletter with anyone you think might be interested! If you look at the top of this newsletter in your email box, you should see a link that says, "Display problems? View this newsletter in your browser." Click that link and when it opens in your browser, copy and paste it into an email or on Facebook or other favorite social media.

Not a member yet? Join us today!

 Like what we're doing and want to help HWF out financially? We're a 501c3 organization so your donations are tax deductible! Thank you!

The Mission of the Humanists of West Florida...

,,,is to facilitate the advancement of humanist thought and action in Pensacola and surrounding areas by interconnecting groups of humanists, atheists, agnostics and non-religious. We will strive for equal participation in government and societal life through building strategic partnerships with other humanist and freethought organizations and with our religious neighbors to advance the greater good of humanity.