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When I moved to Hagerstown in 1984 and established a life of my own, I accelerated the discovery of new things about myself. I knew since early adulthood I was a liberal and an atheist, but I didn't know until August of that year that I was a Humanist. I learned that from reading a tract, one of several I was given when I introduced myself to the Unitarian Universalist (UU) Church in Hagerstown.

I wanted the truths I knew to be disseminated, or at least not suppressed, and I thought a letter to the editor of the Hagerstown Herald-Mail was a good place to begin. The subjects that turned out to be most compelling were abortion, separation of religion and government, and simply educating people about the desirability of a secular life and about the distortions in a religious life view.

The abortion issue was being fought in the letters and other editorial spaces, which I read about in the Hagerstown newspaper while still at my home in southern Pennsylvania. The religious fundamentalists in the area were always beating the drums for local and national public life to be under their control and resting on the foundations of their spiritual beliefs. Worldly history and secular philosophy were but obstacles to reaching their ends. In November 1984 one of their local leaders who ran a private Christian academy, George Michael,  wrote a long editorial  that assumed as fact many misconceptions, both political and philosophical. Chief among his misconceptions was that the "Founding Fathers called on God," and that is what the the editor had titled it.

I don't remember if that was the exact article that prompted my first letter. I do remember that article striking me as fundamentally and deeply wrong in all its assumptions, so much so that I began to form a reply vaguely titled "religion is not the only point of view." That reply required understanding my own philosophy and its constituients -- epistemology and ethics especially, and something about human behavior. I needed to systemize beliefs. I began to write, and I gave part of the resulting paper as two talks at the Winter Philosophy Series that I organized at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Hagerstown. The bulk of it is still unpublished.

If the fantasy by George Michael started my letter-writing, then my editorial career can be said to have reached a natural end when in 1998, a few months before I left Hagerstown for Alabama, a long piece of mine attempting to shame those fundamentalist Christians was published as a stand-alone editorial in the same space where Mr. Michael's letter appeared 14 years before. That final editorial is included here. The motivational editorial will be included when I publish the philosophy. For now I can suply it on request.

Some of my letters are missing. I don't see the first one or the second one I published that qualified me, in the eyes of one woman of the Christian right, as a "threat to Western Civilization."

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t.hard [delete]  Last updated 5 Oct 2014