Reviewing Marriage Officiant Law

If you’ve been following along here or receive the Minnesota Atheists monthly newsletter, you know we’ve been working toward changing Minnesota marriage law so that religious clergy are not the only non-government-employees who can legally officiate a marriage in Minnesota. We’ve discussed the issue with members of both the state house and state senate. In December, we met with Senator John Marty, who asked us some very good questions about our options for changing the law and the support that these options have.

In response to those questions, we surveyed atheists and secular humanists across Minnesota to get their opinions on the options they would support. The results of that survey appear in this month’s newsletter and will be shared on the Minnesota Atheists website shortly. I’ll link to them when they’re posted.

In addition, Senator Marty also asked how non-government-official, non-religious officiants are handled in the law of other states. Having a research background and finding this sort of digging fun, I volunteered to pull together this information. Below is the information I pulled together, along with links to the relevant law. These are the states that extend the ability to officiate marriages to more than elected officials (mayors, county commissioners, legislators, lieutenant governors, and governors may all officiate in some states) and judges or clerks of the court. Emphasis is mine, to draw attention to the relevant part of the legal code.

Hopefully this will make things easier for any other group that wants to change the law in their state. Be aware, however, that what I quote is a snapshot. Laws change continually, and the information should be verified before being used for another purpose. Continue reading “Reviewing Marriage Officiant Law”

Reviewing Marriage Officiant Law

The Reading List 2/10/2014

I share a lot of links on Twitter and Facebook that I don’t blog about because I don’t have much to add. The reading list is a new periodic feature where I share those links with my blog audience too. Of course, you’re still welcome to follow me on Twitter.

Around FtB

The Wider Web

The Reading List 2/10/2014

Our Lady of Perpetual Ice

Woman #1: Oh, that looks just like the Virgin Mary. Helen*, do you see that?

Woman #2: Oh! Ya.

Woman #1: Harry, Harry, look! Doesn’t that look like the Virgin Mary?

Man: No, I’m not religious.

I didn’t laugh out loud. I’m more polite than that. I didn’t even look behind me to figure out who was having the conversation. I just made sure Ben took a picture of the “virgin” after they moved on. That’s why we were at the Apostle Island National Lakeshore after all, to take pictures of ice. Continue reading “Our Lady of Perpetual Ice”

Our Lady of Perpetual Ice

Saturday Storytime: A Hollow Play

Sometimes I read a story, and I wonder why I bothered to write any. This story by Amal El-Mohtar was one of those, and I’m glad that it’s inclusion in the “2013 Locus Recommended Reading List” has prompted the publisher to make it freely available to everyone.

When Emily woke again, it was to morning light filtering through the blankets over her head and whispering voices in the hall. She ventured a peek over the sheets, and saw Anna and Lynette in animated conversation, while someone who shared Lynette’s height, cheekbones, and colouring stood silently by with arms folded. Kel? They had short–cropped black hair, sharp cheekbones, and human feet.

Lynette’s remained disconcertingly taloned. She hadn’t imagined it.

Emily rolled over and burrowed deeper into the blankets in search of oblivion.

“Hey,” came Anna’s voice, gently, from beyond the duvet. “Morning. How are you feeling?”

Emily tried to part her lips to say something intelligent and managed a tiny croak of misery. Anna patted her shoulder.

“Have some water. Come on, we won’t bite. What do you remember?”

Slowly, Emily sat up, taking in the company. Anna, in pink flannel pajamas, looked concerned. Lynette without her make–up and feathers was still devastatingly beautiful: her black hair was a long sideways braid over her shoulder, and her light brown cheeks still had a hint of glitter to them. Her eyes were as black as her hair. She looked less like a magical bird–woman and more like someone from Emily’s own family now — as did Kel, who was looking at Emily with distrust.

She accepted a glass of water and took small, careful sips. “Lynette has bird feet.”

Anna winced. Kel muttered something under their breath that sounded like it was probably rude. Lynette waved her hand.

“We will speak of that later. I think Anna meant from earlier in the evening.”


Keep reading.

Saturday Storytime: A Hollow Play

"The Atheist Camel Revisted", Bart Centre on Atheists Talk

This Sunday, tune in as friend of the show Bart Centre joins us once again to catch us up on what he’s been up to.

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"The Atheist Camel Revisted", Bart Centre on Atheists Talk

About That Grape Nuts GMO Graphic (Update)

If you have an online social sphere anything like mine, you’ve seen this graphic floating around for several days. People are using it to promote the idea that GMO foods are much more healthful than non-GMO foods. There’s just one little problem with it. It’s missing an important piece of information. Without that information, it supports the arguments people are making with it. With that information in hand, it doesn’t.

Grape Nuts meme showing pictures of old and new packaging. Text provided in the post.


What changed when Grape Nuts removed GMOs?

32 oz went down to 29 oz
Vitamin A: 15% went down to 0%
Riboflavin: 25% went down to 4%

You are paying more and getting less. That’s not just NUTS, that’s Grape Nuts.

Vitamins B12 and D are also absent in the new formulation, though the meme doesn’t mention that.

My curiosity about the image was piqued when I saw someone comment that the old nutrition numbers matched the numbers for Grape Nuts Vintage. Yes, you can now buy “vintage” cereal, if your world isn’t hipster enough. (Okay, if I wanted my mouth to be lacerated, Grape Nuts Vintage is probably how I’d go. The new version contains soy, and I try to limit the amount of soy in my diet for hormonal reasons.)

Sure enough, when I went to the Post website, I found that the Vintage cereal contains all the same percentages of your daily allowance of everything but protein (that’s the soy) as the pre-GMO-removal Grape Nuts in the meme. The merely “classic” Grape Nuts also matched the post-GMO-removal image. However, that didn’t necessarily mean the meme is wrong. Vintage might simply still contain GMO products.

So I went to the Wayback Machine. (This post is getting more retro by the second. Someone break out the bobby socks.) There I managed to confirm that the graphic does accurately represent the pre-GMO-removal Grape Nuts nutritional information.

So what’s the problem? Continue reading “About That Grape Nuts GMO Graphic (Update)”

About That Grape Nuts GMO Graphic (Update)

About Actors

So, you need to know something about actors. There are lots of reasons to get into acting. Some people enjoy the challenge. Some enjoy the attention. Some enjoy being good at the work. Some enjoy making art. Some enjoy making people happy. Some see the obvious next step in their celebrity career, and those people frequently suck at acting.

But for some people, the reward in acting is the chance to be someone other than who they are for a brief period of time. Being someone who isn’t them is better than the alternative. There’s very little in the culture or industry of acting that’s set up to solve that problem, just a lot set up to use it. “Entertain me, and I will pay you to escape for a short time.”

In order for this bargain to work, the actor has to be good enough to entertain us but not so good that we make them a celebrity. When an actor reaches the status of celebrity, we demand that they be “themselves” in order to entertain us. “Talk to this reporter and reveal something about the *real* you. Tell us what you *really* think. Tell us stories that allow us to feel that we know the *real* you.”

Don’t fall in love with those actors. Don’t make them celebrities. You’ll hurt them. They’ll break your heart.

Good luck telling which ones they are.

About Actors