Edward Locke, 1928-2016

Submitted by Marline Miller

Editor’s note: Ed LoedLockecke, who passed away in March, was a former president of the Ethical Society of Boston.

Ed gave to us in the Boston Ethical Community years and years of love and friendship. If you ever went on a walk with the walking group, which Ed led for some years, you might have heard the frog story.

Boston Ethical Community Announces Grantmaking Program

ESB-banner-text-3Today, we’re announcing the launch of a grantmaking initiative, the first in the organization’s history. We will begin accepting proposals on April 18, 2016, and expect to announce the award of the first grant this fall.

The grantmaking approach will favor projects having measurable impact on the broader community and the potential to create long-lasting change. For 2016, BEC has identified a broad set of areas of interest, including racial justice, climate change awareness, civil liberties, homeless advocacy, public health, and voting rights. Grants will range from $5000 to $10,000.

BEC is partnering with Associated Grant Makers of Boston (agmconnect.org) to facilitate the grantmaking process. AGM members can access the Request for Proposal on their site. Complete information on the grant initiative is also available at bostonethical.org/philanthropy.

“In launching this initiative, we’re using our financial resources to help other organizations carry out important programs that align with our core values”, said BEC President Brian King. “We believe this is the most effective way to expand our service to the wider community”.

We’re excited! If you are connected to a nonprofit based in Greater Boston that has a program that needs funding, please go to our philanthropy page to learn more.

The Right Side of History

Submitted by Peter Denison

Now that marriage equality has been sanctioned by the Supreme Court, we have read triumphalist calls that we are on the right side of history, with the implication that those on the other side should just desist and accept the inevitable.  I have strong reservations about that statement. Long before it became fashionable, we at Ethical believed that our defense of the LGBTQ was just.  Were we at that time on the wrong side of history?  Should we have given up?  No, when every referendum on the subject was going the other way, we still supported the ethical side.


marvin-headSubmitted by Marvin Miller

Religions tell people to be charitable. We all constantly get appeals from charities. The tax code offers a deduction for charitable contributions. What are we to think about charity?

Originally charity meant giving to the poor by people who are not poor. It therefore assumes that there are poor and non-poor people. This is true and always has been true, ever since prehistoric times when things became property. In a society characterized by scarcity, as most societies are and have been, it’s necessarily true. But in a society characterized by abundance, which technological advance over the centuries has made possible, this assumption can be called into question.

Our 2016 Humanist of the Year is Professor Juliet Schor

Submitted by Fred Hewett

schor_photoBoston Ethical Community is pleased to announce that Juliet B. Schor of Boston College is the 2016 Humanist of the Year. Schor will accept the award at our meeting on April 10, 2016.

Professor Schor is a professor of Sociology at Boston College in Newton, MA. A graduate of Wesleyan University, Schor received her Ph.D. in economics from the University of Massachusetts. Prior to Boston College, Schor taught in the Department of Economics at Harvard University for 17 years.

April 17, David Rothauser, “Article 9 Comes to America”

David RothauserFilmmaker David Rothauser presents a discussion about the most important peace document ever written. A document-in-action that has prevented war for Japan and her Asian neighbors for 69 years.

The world cries for peace. Religious leaders cry for it, politicians cry for it, reformed militarists cry for it, anti-war activists cry for it, progressive academics cry for it, anti-nuclear activists cry for it. When it arrived on the world stage in 1947, no one mentioned it. Most of the world knew nothing about it. Now that it is big news in Japan, only the Japanese take it seriously.

April 10: Juliet Schor, “New Perspectives on Climate and Economy”


Juliet Schor, professor of Sociology at Boston College, is our Humanist of the Year.

Living an ethical life is no longer a matter of individual action. Climate change has linked how we live in the US to impacts throughout the globe. In this talk, Professor Schor will discuss what the global ethics of climate change means for Americans, with particular attention to patterns of spending, working and activism. She will draw on her research, the links between greenhouse gas emissions and economic outcomes such as hours of work, economic growth and the extent of inequality. She will suggest ways forward that improve well-being and achieve radical emissions cuts.

April 3: “Religion and Babies” POSTPONED

Brian King

POSTPONED DUE TO WEATHER — NO MEETING 4/3. What is the relationship between religion and birth rates and what does it mean for the global population?  BEC President, Brian King, will present a brief overview of the work of the and its efforts to use statistics and data visualization to show trends in the health and wealth of countries around the world and to promote sustainable global development. A video and discussion of a TED talk by , a physician, statistician, and Professor of International Health at Karolinska Intsitute in Sweden will follow.