Freethought Today · March 2014

Published by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, Inc.

Meet an Activist Member

weeks luther

Name: Luther G. Weeks. (The “G” stands for Gaylord, long ago translated from the French “Gaillard.” Who knows if a descendant of some common ancestors dropped the “d.”)

Where I live: Glastonbury, Conn., in a condo on the banks of the Connecticut River. Although our state constitution claims “the good providence of God, in having permitted them to enjoy a free government,” at least three of the members of the Connecticut Hall of Fame are atheists: Mark Twain, Paul Newman and Katharine Hepburn, all greatly appreciated and admired here.

Where and when I was born: Bristol, Conn., 1946.

Family: Wife Denise, adult descendants Madeleine and Aaron.

Education: Mathematics B.S., Clarkson University, Potsdam, N.Y., when computers were huge and their memories were small. A senior course on automata and a seminar on brain theory set me on a path to career and lifelong interests, leading to an M.S. in computer science.

I’m also a master fellow of the Life Management Institute. (That’s life insurance management, no actual life management!) I read voraciously on issues in democracy, history and science, especially evolution, brain science and how we think.

Occupation: Retired computer scientist in business — building, buying and selling software for large companies and startups. Now I’m a full-time volunteer (unpaid) political activist/watchdog for election integrity.

Two or three times a year, I organize voters to observe and independently report on the results of Connecticut’s post-election audits. I organized volunteers in 2010 for a citizen recount of 25,000 ballots in Bridgeport. Every spring, you can find me taking a rational approach to lobbying and testifying to the legislature, promoting better election laws and trashing risky schemes.

In my spare time, I have a large community garden plot and serve as president of my condo board, which keeps me sympathetic in relating to elected officials.

Military service: Drafted. After jungle infantry training, I served as a company clerk in Korea during the Vietnam War. There is no need to thank me for my service; it was all like the movie “MASH,” without the blood.

How I got where I am today: Continually improving by learning something new, jumping carefully, yet quickly, at opportunities and learning from many of my mistakes. I recently took a personality assessment and learned among other things that I am an “activator.” That fits pretty well. I am always looking at things differently, often amusingly.

Where I’m headed: Crematorium, hopefully then to produce some leaves of grass near family and familiar places.

Person in history I admire: Robert Ingersoll. I wish we could hear some of his lectures and speeches. Many are great, but all would be better in person than on paper. I’m currently reading volume 8 of the 12-volume “Works of Robert G. Ingersoll.”

A quotation I like: “Whatever comes, this too shall pass away.” — Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Whatever bugs us, whatever we love, whatever we oppose, whatever we cause, human life, and the Earth, are all temporary. That realization can be depressing or freeing, it is your choice.

These are a few of my favorite things: Walking, reading, thinking, blogging and debating. Cats.

These are not: Rigid, irrational individuals. Robocalls. Most dogs. 

My doubts about religion started: I was raised Methodist, yet none of it actually set in. My mother was not pleased when I made jokes about grape juice after my first communion. I chose “no preference” on military dog tags when inducted, so there would be no question, just in case.

In the early ’90s, I started reading more and more books on atheism and decided to really determine if there was any basis for believing any religion, then confirmed myself as atheist. In 2002, I Googled “Freedom from Religion” and guess what link came up on top?

Before I die: I intend to keep living, learning and having fun.

Ways I promote freethought: I do not hesitate to tell people I am atheist. I endeavor to set an example for others, especially children, that it is fine to be an “out” atheist. You never know who might be watching or listening, or when it will make a difference for someone. 

When a devout friend learned that I was atheist, he said, “There is still time for you.” That is my attitude toward everyone I know that is not yet atheist, “There is still time for you.” When appropriate, I tell them that. I have it all be friendly and fun. Once, a neighbor said that the priest wanted to talk to me about conversion. I declined. I told her to tell him, given his age and likely pension, that it would be better if he stayed Catholic.

I occasionally attend local or national atheist meetings, it never fails to inspire, educate, and be an opportunity to meet new friends and discover that other friends are also atheist. I save my copies of Freethought Today and give them to atheist friends.

I wish you’d have asked me: My epitaph — “Please join me as one who has lived.”

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