Monday, October 29, 2007


Last night at our weekly gathering of the Corpus Christi Atheists we were brainstorming ideas on how to bring more activity to our group. One thought we came to was the name of the group itself. Atheist simply denotes a lack of belief in God and that is barely scratching the surface of our group. Too many people see the word Atheist and think of the kid who ran around the schoolyard telling the younger kids there was no Santa Claus. Our goal is not to kill faith in God, although in some we will have that side effect,but instead to get people off their knees and into action. To do that we can't have people turn off their ears before we have said anything. To that end, we are trying to come up with a better name for the group that indicates our secular humanist goals. If any of you have ideas, please feel free to send them to me.

On the topic of secular humanist goals, we have been looking for a local cause to champion and I think we have found one, the Corpus Christi Food Bank. The warehouses are nearly empty and the holidays are coming. I am working this week to put together something to assist the Food Bank in providing for those who would otherwise go without. To have anyone go hungry in a town where people can afford to drive BMW, Mercedes, and Hummer is inexcusable. In my next post I hope to have a plan laid out and info on how you can help. Stay tuned...

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

World on Fire

I've been listening to the news of late about the fires in California. Thankfully people have acted fast enough to keep the death toll down to one so far. Now there is the problem of thousands of people who have lost everything. Some of the more brash pundits have been saying these people had it coming living in an area prone to fires. You know, just like people on the coast deserve hurricanes, people in the Midwest deserve tornadoes, and people in cities deserve crime. Fucking idiots. These are fellow Americans in need of help, not bullshit rhetoric so either help or shut up.

I am going to do what I can and donate to the Red Cross. I ask that everyone who sees this do the same. You can donate online at

Your fellow Americans need you. Every donation, even the tiny ones, counts. If you can do more, contact your local Red Cross office to ask how you can help. Arrange for your office or church group to put together food and water shipments. Some employers could even start a donation matching program. This nation has more resources than any other so we have no excuse for not helping these victims of disaster. Thank you.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Proud Father

I am so proud of my little girl. Last week we were watching Cartoon Network together and an ad for the "Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF" came on. Jasmine asked me what that was and I explained to her that it was a program where kids would go trick-or-treat but instead of asking for candy they would ask for donations to UNICEF. I then explained how UNICEF helps poor children all over the world with food, shelter, education, and medical care.

She has obviously had that on her mind because this morning as we got in the car she looked at me with a very serious face and said, "Daddy, I thought about it and I want to trick-or-treat for UNICEF, at least at some of the houses." My little girl, part of the "ME, ME, ME generation", wants to give up on part of what promises to be a huge haul of candy to help poor kids have food to eat. Moments like this give me hope for the world.

I am going tonight to the Hallmark Gold Crown store to pick up the donation box. It helps children all over the world and won't cost you a penny in dental bills.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

A reflection on heroes

Life has been filled with some twists, turns, and surprises of late that I feel must be written here but I haven't had either the time or words to write them.

I have spent some time of late reflecting on the life of one of my heroes, my grandfather, Jerome Joseph Clarkson. He was a soldier in World War II and nearly gave his life defending his platoon. What makes him my hero was the life he led after he returned from the war. He fathered my father and uncle, raised his family and worked for everything he had.

When my dad was about 7, roughly 1952, they were all driving down the road in the family car, my dad, his brother, and an aunt in the back seat and my grandfather and grandmother in the front. A drunk driver coming the other way struck the head on, injuring my grandfather's legs and sending my grandmother through the windshield. She suffered brain damage sufficient that doctors recommended she be committed and he move on with his life.

My grandfather stayed by her side, raising my father and uncle and caring for her till the day he died in 1989. On October 2nd, his wife and my grandmother passed away. I received a tearful call early that morning from my father reporting that cancer had finally claimed her. She had suffered with breast cancer and myriad other forms of cancer for 20 years now so death was a peaceful release. During that entire time she never complained. The one memory I carry most of her is her smile. Always kind, loving, and just happy to be alive.

I attended her funeral and spoke with my family for the first time in two years. All of these events brought up thoughts of my hero and I asked myself now what he would think of the man I have grown to be. Over the ensuing couple of weeks my family and I have made amends and a weird kind of peace has returned to that relationship.

On another front I went to church with my in-laws again and surprisingly the Bay Area Fellowship is still standing. The sermon that day was quite inspirational and it moved me to ask what is so important to me I would risk my life for it. Aside from the obvious, "my wife and family" answers, the things we would risk everything for should take priority in our lives.

I look at the things I am most passionate about and I have to say, I would risk my life if speaking out against intolerance and hatred in "God's" name could save just one innocent life. If the movement I start here could spare one person, my life has meaning. Ironic, the words of a preacher inspiring an atheist to action to stop religion from poisoning minds and hurting the innocent...

In the end, I look at my grandfather and the values he passed on to me through his actions. He was never a deeply religious man but believed always in giving all one could to help his fellow man. When all is said and done, if I have given even half of the love and effort that great man gave the world, I will have done well. All of that while maintaining my grandmother's smile and I will have changed the world, even if it is only my corner of it.