We had a GREAT time at the service this month! Our members brought fresh-picked plums and ROOT BEER! YUM!!
Our Moment of Science concerned the Juno space probe scheduled the next day - on the evening of July 4th - to perform a braking maneuver in order to achieve orbital insertion around the planet Jupiter. This involves firing the engines for about 35 minutes to slow the craft down by over 1000 miles per hour to allow it to drop into a polar orbit. We watched these four videos about the mission: (in this order)
These videos - the last three anyway - are also on the nasa.gov website
One of our members also drew attention to the recent Hubble photos of the aurora at Jupiter's north pole:
These "fireworks" are bigger than our whole planet! Imagine what this would be like if Jupiter was as close to the Sun as the earth is with a flux of solar wind 25 times greater!
Our main presentation was about America’s National Religion, namely “civil religion.” This is centered around the Enlightenment ideals of the founding generation of the late 18th Century as expressed in the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution. These "sacred scriptures" are further explicated by a wealth of secondary literature - including Supreme Court decisions! - as well as art and places like Valley Forge, symbols like the US flag and the Statue of Liberty and so forth. These things make an emotional connection with Americans and are MEANT to do so to help sustain our nation and its government, "the last best hope for humanity on earth."
We then considered briefly the juxtaposition of nationalism with internationalism. The recent "Brexit" vote, the prominence of the immigration issue in the 2016 elections and even terror attacks highlight both the yearning that people have for self-determination and fears of foreign control. But there is also a hopeful vision of a future in which globalization can unfold peacefully to the advantage of people of all countries. In this future, nations would have more reasons to cooperate than to engage in conflict so as to more effectively address worldwide problems. On the other hand there are fears that such a "New World Order" would bring new and more intrusive forms of oppression.
We had time for some Q&A/discussion about these issues. But add your own comments here if you didn't voice them then, didn't think of them until later or - gasp! - you missed the service.
Postings about each monthly service includes topics discussed and an open forum to further discuss those topics.
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