2009 National Convention - Seattle, Washington

Convention Audio:

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Convention Speakers:

Ursula K. Le Guin, the renowned fantasy and sci-fi author from Portland, received an "Emperor Has No Clothes" Award. Self-described as "irreligious," Ms. Le Guin has written many novels, poetry, children's books, essays, and short stories exploring Taoist, anarchist, ethnographic, feminist, psychological and sociological themes. Her most famous fiction includes Earthsea, Hainish Cycle and Left Hand of Darkness.

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Ron Reagan, self-described "unabashed atheist," well-known radio host, Seattle resident and son of Pres. Ronald Reagan, headlined the Freedom From Religion Foundation’s 32nd annual national convention in Seattle on the weekend of Nov. 6–8, 2009.

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Daniel Everett, chair of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures at Illinois State University. Everett went from missionary to atheist while working with the Amazon Pirahas tribe. In his book, Don't Sleep, There Are Snakes: Life and Language in the Amazonian Jungle (2008, Pantheon Books), he in part recounts his loss of faith under the example of the Pirahas.

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Jennifer Michael Hecht is the author of award-winning books of philosophy, history, and poetry. Her Doubt: A History (HarperOne, 2003) demonstrates a long, strong history of religious doubt from the origins of written history to the present day, all over the world. Hecht's The End of the Soul: Scientific Modernity, Atheism and Anthropology (Columbia University, 2003), won the Phi Beta Kappa Society's 2004 prestigious Ralph Waldo Emerson Award "for scholarly studies that contribute significantly to interpretations of the intellectual and cultural condition of humanity."

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Former Los Angeles Times religion reporter William Lobdell, author of the fascinating and thoughtful new memoir, Losing My Religion, about losing his faith as a devout believer while covering the religion beat. Lobdell received the 2009 “Emperor Has No Clothes” Award. His speech was titled, “Free at Last!”

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Barry Kosmin, a principal researcher of the American Religious Identification Survey, the definitive survey which found that the nonreligious had grown to 15% of the adult U.S. population by 2008. Kosmin is the author of several books, including coeditor of Secularism and Science in the 21st Century. Dr. Kosmin holds degrees from the Universities of London and McMaster (Canada) and directs the Institute for the Study of Secularism in Society and Culture at Trinity College. He spoke on “The Rising Tide of Secularity in the U.S.”

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Also speaking on the welcome growth of secularism was sociologist Phil Zuckerman, author of Society Without God. His contribution, “Atheism: Contemporary Rates and Patterns,” in The Cambridge Companion to Atheism documents the inability of popular religiosity to thrive in modern, egalitarian democracies. His speech was on “The Goodness of Godlessness.”

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