Rationalists of East Tennessee Newsletter

January 2021 


As long as gathering in groups is inadvisable because of  COVID-19, Rationalists of East Tennessee is continuing to meet using the video conferencing program Zoom. 

Please contact info@rationalists.org if you need assistance using Zoom.

If the meeting is going to be recorded, that fact will be announced at the beginning of meeting. Attendees who wish to remain anonymous can use an alias name and turn off their cameras (or stay out of view of their cameras).

When you join a Zoom meeting, you will see a screen “Join a Meeting” and a box with your name in it. You can change your name in the box before joining a meeting so that you maintain anonymity. 

Everyone is  welcome!

First Sunday Meeting

January 3 Sunday 10:30 - 12:30 EST

Video conference meeting using Zoom

For this first meeting of 2021 we will be discussing how the past year has changed our outlook for the coming year. Are there new plans, new strategies, new hopes, new fears? 

This can be personal, political, or social.

Bring your own snacks and coffee. 

Join Zoom Meeting


Meeting ID: 914 2057 8481

Passcode: 275524

Find your local number: https://zoom.us/u/aC6MU6JEk


January 9 Saturday 1 - 3 pm EST

After a hiatus due to COVID-19, the Adopt-A-Highway program has restarted.

In case of rain, the date for this event will be January 16, 1:00 PM.

There are new rules:

  1. All current Adopt-A-Highway volunteers must submit a brand-new liability waiver (see below) prior to participation. This waiver must be signed before beginning the clean-up. The coordinator will have copies ready for signature at the meeting place. 
  2. All volunteers must be wearing a face mask while working along state-owned right-of-way and where social distance cannot be obtained.
  3. All volunteers will be given their own safety vest to keep. TDOT will be supplying these vests and you can obtain them from your Coordinator.
  4. No more than 10 volunteers are allowed to participate in an Adopt-A-Highway cleanup at this time.  
  5. There is a NEW video that volunteers must watch before the clean-up date. Please view the video here. 
Wear sturdy shoes and gloves and bring a "picker-upper" if you have one. Bug spray is a good idea. Meet at the Burger King at the Lovell Road exit off Pellissippi Parkway. 

RET Skeptic Book Club

January 10      Sunday         4:00 – 6:00 pm  EST                  

Video conference meeting using Zoom

Seven Types of Atheism  by John Gray

When you explore older atheisms, you will find that some of your firmest convictions―secular or religious―are highly questionable. If this prospect disturbs you, what you are looking for may be freedom from thought.  For a generation now, public debate has been corroded by a shrill, narrow derision of religion in the name of an often vaguely understood “science.” Seven Types of Atheism, describes the complex, dynamic world of older atheisms, a tradition that is, he writes, in many ways intertwined with and as rich as religion itself.  Along a spectrum that ranges from the convictions of “God-haters” like the Marquis de Sade to the mysticism of Arthur Schopenhauer, from Bertrand Russell’s search for truth in mathematics to secular political religions like Jacobinism and Nazism, Gray explores the various ways great minds have attempted to understand the questions of salvation, purpose, progress, and evil. The result is a book that sheds an extraordinary light on what it is to be human.  176 pages.

Join Zoom Meeting


Meeting ID: 991 6969 4828

Passcode: 396835

Find your local number: https://zoom.us/u/aecdOMUjyu

Third Sunday Meeting

January 17 Sunday 10:30 - 12:30 EST

Video conference meeting using Zoom

Winners of the Student Secular Alliance Scholarships sponsored by RET will have a conversation with RET members during this Zoom gathering. Chat with Dustin Daniels and Emily Willis, first and second place winners. Learn more about their activism and vision. Dustin attends Roane State and Emily attends East TN Tech. 

Bring your own snacks and coffee. 

Join Zoom meeting:


Meeting ID: 921 9461 7529

Passcode: 566074

Find your local number: https://zoom.us/u/ab2ETcdL8g


Annual Membership Business Meeting

Hear what has been happening in RET.

Offer your ideas.

Vote for or become a board member or an officer.

Annual Membership Business Meeting

February 7 Sunday 10:30 - 12:30 EST

Video conference meeting using Zoom

This is our annual membership meeting during which members will be able to hear reports on what RET has done this past year. 

Afterwards members will vote to select board members and officers for the coming year. 

If you are interested in serving in either capacity, please contact nominate@rationalists.org. The position of either vice president or secretary is open.  (Aleta has volunteered for whichever one is needed.)

Voting will be done by Zoom poll, which means that couples will need to log in from different computers in order for each to have a vote.  

Topic: Annual Membership Business Meeting

Time: Feb 7, 2021 10:30 AM Eastern Time (US and Canada)


Meeting ID: 940 6001 3431

Passcode: 739916

Find your local number: https://zoom.us/u/aeuqSXXaN8

Present RET officers:

Carl Ledendecker (president)

Jenn Taylor (vice president)

Aleta Ledendecker (secretary)

Eliot Specht (treasurer)

Present RET Board members:

Norm Barrett

Lee Erickson

Emam Fatah

Ralph Isler

Rita Lund

Alana Merrill

Nina Petrov

Joel Shor


Copyright © 2020 {Rationalists of East Tennessee, Inc.}. All rights reserved. Please request use of any material at contact below.
Contact email: info@rationalists.org
Edited by Sharron King: newsletter@rationalists.org.
Opinions expressed are those of authors and/or editors and are not necessarily the opinions of RET.

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