The founder of Ethical Culture, Felix Adler, believed that ethics should guide and inspire our lives. He also believed that his philosophy laid out a blueprint, so to speak, as to how society should be organized. Though I respectfully dissent from the how Dr. Adler technically grounded his philosophy, as a metaphor I believe it is of striking relevance when we ponder the type of society we want America to be. His ethical vision was profoundly democratic, and it is democratic values that we need to restore.
I sense that there is a moral awakening in America, and if things go our way, then I am hopeful that we will embark on a new beginning and Americans will dedicate themselves to rebuilding our society, a society very much in need of repair. We may also find that Ethical Culture has something important as the direction we need to go.
Dr. Joe Chuman has been the Leader of the Ethical Culture Society of Bergen County, NJ since 1974, and a part-time Leader of the New York Society for Ethical Culture since 2008. As an activist, Dr. Chuman has worked on behalf of human rights and civil liberties and in opposition to the death penalty, as well as many other progressive causes. He founded the Northern New Jersey group of Amnesty International in 1974, and currently serves as president of the Bergen County Sanctuary for Asylum Seekers, founded by the Ethical Culture Society of Bergen County. This coalition of religious and human rights organizations provides services for asylum seekers who are released from federal detention.
Sunday Platform is our most important and long-standing community event. These gatherings educate, stimulate personal growth, inspire reflection and action, and strengthen our community. Sunday meetings usually begin with music, followed by greetings and a talk given by a Society Leader, member, or guest. Platforms cover a variety of topics that reflect current events, pressing social issues, and Ethical Culture philosophy. A collection basket is passed and money is shared between the Society and a charity selected for that day. While contributions are always appreciated, Sunday meetings are free and open to the public. Each Sunday meeting is followed by a luncheon and social hour.
To view previous Sunday Platform addresses and interviews, visit the Ethical NYC YouTube channel.