Dr Joseph Chuman

Preserving the American Idea in our perilous times

By Dr. Joseph Chuman It is often said that unlike most other nations, the United States is founded on an idea. Whereas countries on other continents are grounded in blood and soil, with primary allegiance to clan, tribe, ethnic or religious group, those who come to our shores commit themselves to an implicit
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If We Reject Science, It’s Over

By Dr. Joseph Chuman Has America lost its mind? With Donald Trump as our leader and the world’s most powerful man, it feels as if we have entered the kingdom of madness. With Trump has come validation of “alternative facts,” the shameless promulgation of lies, a startling indifference to truth. There are numerous
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Humanism’s Farther Reaches

A former leader of the New York Ethical Society, Jerome Nathanson, often said that in his view Ethical Culture is the most important idea in the world. I often think of that claim when I look at the current state of affairs. Our political moment assaults us with realities that move in a direction opposite […]
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Finding Solace in the Cosmos

By Dr. Joseph Chuman This has been a hard year for all of us, considering the dark political realities that loom large and invade our mental space almost ceaselessly. In order to sustain my sanity, I seek refuge. One place I turn to is a field of interest that captivated me when I was a […]
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Speaking of Joe Chuman

Janet Glass
Something special is happening at Bergen Ethical. In fact, it happens once a month. I can tell because the seats in our meetinghouse tend to fill up like no other Sunday. It’s the first Sunday of the month, and Dr. Joseph Chuman is addressing the congregation. As president and presider, I’ve watched
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Searching for the Common Good

In August 1981, Ronald Reagan carried out his threat and fired 11,000 air-traffic controllers who had gone on strike, demanding higher wages and a shorter workweek. This assault on a vital service early in his presidency set the tone that characterized the Reagan legacy. Not only did it augur the destruction of
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From Nationalism to Tyranny, and How We Must Respond

It’s a very important book. It may be the most important book I have read within memory, though it is only 126 short pages and can be finished in less than 40 minutes. Timothy Snyder’s On Tyranny: Twenty Lesson From the Twentieth Century, draws a line between the rise of Fascism and Communist totalitarianism in
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Reclaiming the Light Amid the Darkness

Donald Trump’s mind is like buckshot; concocted thoughts spew out impulsively in all directions. The problem is that he is president of the United States, commanding extraordinary power, and his verbal ejaculations hint at policy or are policy. Divining his intentions is akin to predicting the future by reading
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What it Means to be Human

I have devoted my past five platform addresses to the political maelstrom that lies ahead. As powerful as the impulse to speak again about the political circumstances we are in and the dangers we face, I want to temporarily turn away from that theme and devote my February talk to a topic closer to the […]
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Truth in the Era of Trump

In the blink of an eye, Donald Trump has brushed aside all that we cherish: Sophistication, intelligence, nuance, the educated mind, science, logical consistency, the authority of evidence and facts, and at bottom, truth itself. These pillars of civilization, society and humane interaction have been swept to the
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