Dr. Wendall Stephenson on Death with Dignity
Dr. Wendall Stephenson of the Final Exit Network joins us from Fresno to speak about death with dignity. The ability to graciously end one's life to avoid the intense pain of a terminal illness is a basic human right. Everyone knows the Religious Right is the primary force opposing more humane decisions for dying people. Dr. Stephenson is Past-President of Final Exit Network and holds a Ph.D. in Philosophy from the University of California. Dr. Stephenson became convinced in his early adult years that people suffering from lethal and debilitating diseases who wish to hasten their deaths should not be forced to live and to suffer against their will. He believes that forcing people to suffer when they see no good reason to suffer is a mark of a cruel, inhumane and, indeed, unChristian ethic, and no person who considers himself to be humane, compassionate, or Christian should tolerate it.
His contributions to the right-to-die-with-dignity movement began in 1985 when he joined Derek Humphry in advancing the efforts of the Hemlock Society and led an affiliate of Hemlock in Fresno, starting in 2001. Shortly after the Final Exit Network was formed, Wendell became an Exit Guide. He joined the Board of Final Exit Network in 2010 and served for more than a year as the Chair of the Membership Committee. When Jerry Dincin was forced by serious illness to resign as President in June of 2011, Dr. Stephenson was elected President and then re-elected in July of 2013.
Afterwards please join us for dinner at King Dong, located at 2429 Shattuck Ave, next to Haste.
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When: Sunday, November 19th, 2:00 PM
Location: Sports Basement, 2727 Milvia St, Berkeley. Four blocks from Ashby BART. Parking in the neighborhood, and you can use the store's parking. Our room is large with lots of comfy sofas.
To Find Us: Enter the front door and proceed to the main shopping area. Then turn right. We will be on your right.
Information: Larry Hicok, Coordinator: 510-222-7580
Ski Grabowski, Treasurer: 510-652-8350
City of Albany Seeks Court Order to Remove Cross from City Park
After three years of hard work on the part of East Bay Atheists volunteers, the City of Albany on September 22nd issued a press release stating it "will seek a court order requiring removal of this religious symbol [the Albany Hill Cross] from public park land.” The statement referenced the illegality of the cross on public land according to both state and federal constitutions, and recent court decisions that affirmed that illegality. It stated that the Albany Lions Club asserts its property rights to the cross, a “claim [which] is based on a vaguely worded easement which was recorded without the City’s knowledge before the City took title to the underlying park land in 1973.”
We must admit that sometimes we doubted all our efforts would succeed, but it looks like activism still works. The city has a strong legal case, and they are convinced this must be resolved. Public sentiment is overwhelmingly for removing the cross, including several local clergy and the Berkeley Lions Club. Three years ago many believed the cross was on private property, and therefore immune from Establishment Clause enforcement. Today the myths have been exposed and acknowledged, in large part because of our efforts.
More recently a local grassroots activist group, Albany Hill Park 4 All, has worked diligently to remove the cross. They distributed a petition at the Albany Lions Club pancake breakfast this summer, and have reached out to other groups for support. Activism is contagious.
EBA issued a press release that stated in part, “East Bay Atheists has come to appreciate the integrity and commitment of the Albany city council to good government and diversity. We thank the council for investigating and exposing the myths surrounding this cross, and for acting on their convictions.
“We look forward to seeing city sovereignty over its park lands restored, and that reminder of Albany’s unenlightened past, the Albany Hill Cross, removed.”