Ethical Society of Philadelphia
Philadelphia Ethical Society
1906 South Rittenhouse Square, (215) 735-3456,
Sunday Platforms

The Philadelphia Ethical Society on the Square has become a popular summertime destination for members, friends, and visitors alike with our relaxed but stimulating summer Sunday programs presented by Leader Hugh Taft-Morales, members, and friends, coordinated through the Education Committee. While we seek to inspire as well as inform all year around, we try especially hard during the summer months to present more informal (and sometimes lighthearted) programs. Free and open to the public.

During the summer the Sunday Ethical Education for Kids (SEEK) will not be offered. If you have questions, please contact Nick Sanders.

Free street parking is available if a permit is displayed on your dashboard. You can get a permit from the Society's office.

June 4, 2017, 11:00 AM
Here We Go...Again!
Robert Edwin (Steinfort)

Robert Edwin (Steinfort), a 1960s social activist singer/songwriter, revisits a musical past that's relevant today: "Given the present climate in our country and the potential for a major regression in almost everything we thought was moving forward--human rights; clean air, water, and soil; cultural diversity; gender equality; economic equity; world peace--I've revisited many of my social activist songs starting in the 1960s, songs I thought I'd never have to or want to sing again, and found them relevant and meaningful in the present day."

Robert has six solo albums and is a published ASCAP songwriter, a member of the distinguished American Academy of Teachers of Singing, and an Associate Editor of the NATS Journal of Singing. He has performed on TV, radio, and in major venues such as Carnegie Hall and Town Hall in New York City. His songs include Keep America Beautiful, (subtitled, 'plant a tree in a slum'), Military-Industrial Complex, (Robert refused induction into the US Army in 1968), He's Gotta Be Wanted, (a national PSA radio spot for Planned Parenthood), and Post-Mortem Presents, (a song encouraging human organ donations). Robert's web site

June 11, 2017, 11:00 AM
Racism Beyond Prejudice
Sylvia Metzler and Nick Sanders

When we think of racial prejudice, we have clear examples in individual White People's relations with People of Color, such as use of racial epithets, discrimination by employers and realtors, and violence by police. Less clear is the handicapping of People of Color through biases built into institutions, "institutional racism." Society members Sylvia Metzler and Nick Sanders--participants in Philadelphians Organized to Witness, Empower and Rebuild (POWER)--will present and lead discussions of carefully documented, locally relevant examples of institutional racism in the justice system, employment, and public school funding.

June 18, 2017, 11:00 AM
Report from Our National Assembly
Hugh Taft-Morales, Leader, Philadelphia Ethical Society

Leader Hugh shares reflections and leads a discussion about the annual meeting of Ethical Culturists from around the country. The June 8-11 gathering in Baltimore helps us build connections across the country, improves how we grow our movement, and challenges us to explore the Assembly theme, "Communities Confronting Systemic Racism."

June 25, 2017, 11:00 AM
Ethical Page Turners
Betsy Lightbourn with reviewers

Ethical issues are often creatively explored through fiction. Literary fiction but also genre page-turners such as thrillers, historical novels, romances, and science fiction can illuminate ethical issues and enhance understanding of other people's lives as well as offer good reads (especially during vacations). However, should you consider summer vacation a chance to delve into "serious works" of nonfiction, feel free to share those books and why you recommend them with us as well. Reviewers will make recommendations of their favorite page-turner through a series of short reviews delivered at our vacation setting here at the Ethical Society. Wear your favorite hat (and don't forget the sunscreen). Please note that this program is planned in advance so regretfully, we are unable to take reviews from the floor.

July 2, 2017, 11:00 AM
Equality, Piketty, Trumpery, O! / But Where is America Going to Go?
Pat McGeever

Three years after Thomas Piketty's economics tome, Capital in the Twenty-First Century, was translated into English, the verdicts are in. According to most economists reviewing the work, Piketty has ushered in a new era to understand the growth of inequality and its corrosive impact on democracy. According to the American electorate and their (more or less) chosen President, his political party and his newly-minted billionaire cabinet, the verdict is: "Huh? What inequality?" So what does a reasonably informed and ethical U.S. citizen do now? Listen to Pat McGeever, Society member and Professor Emeritus of political science, wrestle with the issues before us all on this 4th of July weekend.

July 9, 2017, 11:00 AM
"Poetry and the Caves"
Lyle Murley, Professor Emeritus of English

Plato's allegory of the cave has presented a basic image for many poets. Lyle will offer a consideration of a number of poets' experiences with "cave people" as well as with their own cave experiences even as poets also look to "enlightened people" and the poet's own "enlightening" movements. From Emily Dickinson and W.B. Yeats to Adrienne Rich and Audre Lorde to Stephen Dunn and Tonia Maria Matthews, poets point to ways the image explains or challenges their experiences and perspectives.

July 16, 2017, 12:00 noon
Annual Picnic at Camp Linden, 1521 Camp Linden Rd., 5 miles from West Chester, PA

No events at Rittenhouse Square planned for today. In the event of the picnic being rained out, the event planned for Sunday, July 30, (Ethical Responses to Challenging Behavior), will take place today, and the picnic will take place on July 30.

July 23, 2017, 11:00 AM
One Book, One Philadelphia Ethical Society
Hugh Taft-Morales, Leader, Philadelphia Ethical Society

Leader Hugh discusses some of the twenty lessons from the twentieth century offered to us by Yale historian Timothy Snyder in his new book On Tyranny. How can we understand the totalitarianism of last century so as to bring out the best of our country today? What can each of us do to resist tyranny?

July 30, 2017, 11:00 AM
Ethical Responses to Challenging Behavior
Hugh Taft-Morales, Leader, Philadelphia Ethical Society

Ethical Humanism urges us to honor the inherent worth of others and strive to bring out their best. But when others act in ways that we find destructive or unappealing, can we live up to this commitment? Explore this challenge with Leader Hugh. You can read about this in the first edition of Reflections: A Journal on Ethical Culture Ideas and Community Life featuring both Hugh and PES Leader Emeritus Richard Kiniry, found at Reflections.
Please note: In the event of the picnic being rained out on Sun. 7/16, this program will take place on Sun. 7/16 and the picnic will take place on Sun. 7/30.

August 6, 2017, 11:00 AM
Moving Meditation: Relax without leaving your chair!
Kate Esposito

Stretch, Breath and Still. Relax without leaving your chair! Wear comfortable clothes and shoes that easily slip off!

August 13, 2017, 11:00 AM
Go with the [Gender] Flow!

Join artivist Nr-Ms-Mr-Mx_Just-In-4-Genders, a.k.a., PES's own Justin DeForest, on a revealing voyage down the Genderfluid Stream of Transgender Consciousness as ke presents a selection of original poems, each providing insight into one of kes own identified four genders. Advisory: Frank references to sexual anatomy may be mentioned during this presentation. Not recommended for minors under 14 years of age.

August 20, 2017, 11:00 AM
Colloquy: "Stagger Onward Rejoicing"
Temma Fishman

What inspires you, in the words of W.H. Auden, to "stagger onward rejoicing," even in the face of all the frightening and maddening injustices that surround us? Bring your thoughts to share for this colloquy, a guided meditation.

August 27, 2017, 11:00 AM
Magnifying Our Ethical Society's Impact By Working With POWER
Nick Sanders, Kate Esposito, Sylvia Metzler, Marta Guttenberg

As a member of Philadelphians Organized to Witness, Empower and Rebuild (POWER), the Ethical Society can contribute to building a City of Opportunity that Works For All. Who governs the education of children and teens in Philadelphia? Nick Sanders will give a brief summary of the recent history of public education governance in Philadelphia and provide likely options for the near future. Kate Esposito will give an overview of the impact of poverty wages especially in North Philadelphia, and why we need to raise the minimum wage to $15 for City contract and subcontract workers, and Sylvia Metzler and Marta Guttenberg will discuss issues related to mass incarceration and policing.

Affiliated with the American Ethical Union

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