My Introduction to the Ethical Humanist Society

Promotion can be a 24/7 job! I think many authors—at least those with a first novel—feel that writing and editing is the job. Once that’s completed, along with the publishing contract, they can sit back and relax. Not my experience! The work of promotion lies ahead. But the great part of promotion is this— you learn about the fabulous work other people are doing.

This is how I came to speak with the philosopher, James Coley, former president of the Ethical Humanist Society of the Triangle in North Carolina. (, which is located in Carrboro, Chapel Hill, North Carolina. It’s described as being in the Triangle because there are three universities nearby.

There are eight commitments of the Ethical Culture, which I fully endorse. It’s great to see them stated on their website in black and white.

  • Ethics is the most central human issue in our lives and involves creating a more humane world
  • Ethics begins with choice
  • We choose to treat each other as ends, not means

The mission of the radio station WCOM is to “educate, inspire, and entertain the diverse populations of Carrboro, Chapel Hill and nearby by facilitating the exchange of cultural and intellectual ideas and music…”

This coming Saturday, September 18, James is interviewing me at 8 A.M. on WCOM which streams its programs. The program is “Ethics Matters, the talk show about moral values” and is broadcast on this community radio.

So what is the topic? “Ethics and the good life explored in fiction.” It’s promised to be a free flowing exchange of ideas. I expect we’ll be talking about my first three novels in The Osgoode Trilogy, Conduct in Question, Final Paradox and A Trial of One. In those novels, the protagonist, Harry Jenkins, is a lawyer practicing in Toronto. These novels were inspired by my thirty years of law practice and dealt with issues such as—How much money is enough and can love and compassion be found amidst fraud and deceit?

The next novel in a new trilogy has just been published entitled, The Drawing Lesson, the first in the Trilogy of Remembrance. In this trilogy, the protagonist is an artist, Alexander Wainwright, Britain’s finest landscape painter. I remember thinking that in order to explore beyond ethics to what constitutes the “good life” I had to leave the world of law and create the world of art.

Until you can listen in, check out this video with James Coley singing, “A Humanist Revival.” It’s so great! Just my kind of thing!

No doubt! I am convinced James and I will have a lively and fascinating discussion come Saturday morning at 8am.


About Mary E. Martin

Mary E. Martin grew up in Toronto, Canada. After earning an Honors Degree in History at the University of Toronto, she graduated with her law degree from Queens University, Kingston, Ontario. In 1973, she was called to the Bar of Ontario and began the general practice of law in Toronto, with emphasis on real estate, wills and estates and elder-care law. This law practice of more than 30 years was a great inspiration for The Osgoode Trilogy ("Conduct in Question," "Final Paradox" and "A Trial of One.") Her fourth novel, “The Drawing Lesson,” will be the first in the next trilogy, provisionally entitled “The Trilogy of Rmembrance.” She is also a photographer particularly with respect to her travels. She has had two commercial photography shows. Married in 1973, she and her husband live in Toronto. They have three adult children.
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