The Alabama Freethought Association is a chapter of the Freedom From Religion Foundation. Monthly AFA meetings are held at Freethought Hall, in rural Munford, Ala., on the third Sunday of each month, starting with Social hour at 11 AM, Covered Dish Lunch at noon and Speaker at 1 PM. Afterwards, folks continue to socialize, take walks, fish or paddle boat around the 12 acre lake. You are welcome as a guest with no prerequisite to become a member. For more information, click on "Contact Us."

Map of Freethought Hall, Munford, Alabama

As a chapter of the FFRF, we in the AFA believe in freedom from religion, but we also believe in freedom of religion. We believe that on matters of religion each individual has the right to follow the dictates of his or her own conscience, so long as those beliefs are not used to justify infringement on the rights of others. As such we often have attendees and speakers who hold beliefs that are not the same as the majority of our members. If you attend one of our meetings, we hope and expect that although civil discussions of beliefs is welcome, you will remember to treat all other attendees and speakers, regardless of their professed personal beliefs, with the respect and dignity they deserve as human beings. 

Upcoming Alabama Chapter Meetings


September 21, 2014 - Mandisa Thomas

Mandisa Thomas, a native of New York City, is a founder and current President of Black Nonbelievers, Inc. Although never formally indoctrinated into belief, Mandisa was heavily exposed to Christianity, Black Nationalism and a bit of Islam. She has been featured in JET Magazine, as a speaker with such organizations as American Atheists and the Secular Student Alliance, and currently serves on the Board of Directors with Foundation Beyond Belief and the Secular Coalition for America.

Program Schedule

  • Meet & Greet 11:00
  • Covered Dish 12:00 (show off your culinary craft)
  • Program 1:00

Map to site

June 15, 2014 - Jerry Dockery

The Panama Canal is 100 yrs old this year! On June 15, our program speaker will be Jerry Dockery. Jerry spent the first 18 years of his life in Panama as his grandfather worked with the Army Corp of Engineers to build the Canal. Mr. Dockery will share a slideshow and his experiences with us.

Program Schedule

  • Meet & Greet 11:00
  • Covered Dish 12:00 (show off your culinary craft)
  • Program 1:00

February 16, 2014 - Dennis Martin

Alabama Freethought's next Lake Hypatia Speaker Series will be Sunday, February 16, 2014, at our Lake Hypatia Advance. Click here for a map to Lake Hypatia.

Our speaker in February will be Dr. Dennis Martin, secretary of the Atlanta Freethought Society. With a Ph.D. in philosophy as well as a degree in mathematics, Dr. Martin has taught for over 36 years including topics of philosophy, critical thinking, formal logic, history of ethics, business ethics, contemporary moral issues, philosophy of religion, philosophy of atheism, epistemology, metaphysics, philosophy of human nature, and decision-making.

In this program, Dr. Martin will discuss the more fundamental ideas embraced by freethinkers and secular humanists alike, how those ideas arose in history, and how you can show their importance to your non-freethinking friends today. Many people assume that "Freethought" is just a polite code word for "Atheism." While atheism is a likely consequence of Freethought, the two ideas are not identical and the differences matter. The audience will be encouraged to participate in the discussion with their own examples and ideas.

Program Schedule

  • Meet & Greet 11:00
  • Covered Dish 12:00 (show off your culinary craft)
  • Program 1:00

January 19, 2014 - David Gespass

Alabama Freethought's next Lake Hypatia Speaker Series will be Sunday, January 19, 2014, at our Lake Hypatia Advance. Click here for a map to Lake Hypatia.

Threats to Your Civil Liberties in the Internet Age

David Gespass, recipient of the Golden Jurist Award from the Birmingham NAACP for his commitment to civil rights under the law and immediate past president of the National Lawyers Guild, will speak to us about civil liberties in the internet age and the threat of fascism in America.

Named as a top civil rights attorney in the 2013 Birmingham Magazine poll, Mr. Gespass brings us a seasoned perspective on threats to our civil liberties.

Program Schedule

  • Meet & Greet 11:00
  • Covered Dish 12:00 (show off your culinary craft)
  • Program 1:00

December 15, 2013 - Richard Haynes

Alabama Freethought's next Lake Hypatia Speaker Series will be Sunday, December 15 at our Lake Hypatia Advance. Click here for a map to Lake Hypatia.

This month, we feature "Brother Richard" Haynes, coming to us from Atlanta GA. He was raised in a nonreligious home, ran away as a teenager and had a "born again" religious experience. He subsequently became an evangelist, received a degree in Biblical Studies and served as an associate minister to a 12,000-member Atlanta mega-church. In 1993, with their church engulfed in scandal, Richard, with his infant daughter and wife Angela, began their long and arduous journey to rationality and non-theism. Richard is now secularly ordained and has dedicated himself to building non-theist communities and encouraging others to "come out" of the atheist closet. He is President of Atheist Nexus International, the world's largest coalition of non-theists and non-theist communities, the Communications Director for Atheist Alliance of America, and maintains the blog "Brother Richard's Life Without Faith" at Patheos.com. He chronicles this journey for us in a "Hobbittesque" presentation entitled: There and Back Again.

Schedule:

11 am  - Meet & Greet
12 noon - Covered Dish
1 pm - Program Meeting

November 17, 2013 - Mark Gooch

Alabama Freethought's next Potluck & Program gathering will be Sunday, November 17th at our Lake Hypatia Advance. Click here for a map to Lake Hypatia.

Our speaker will be Mark Gooch, commercial photographer from Birmingham, Al who has been honored by The National Endowment for the Humanities, The National Endowment for the Arts, and The Alabama State Arts Council. He photographs people for advertising agencies, magazines and design firms throughout the U.S. Gooch works hard to achieve the fresh, informal images for which he has been known for 33 years, since 1980. Mark is a member of The Birmingham Friends Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends also know as Quakers. As one of our country's oldest religions, Quakerism differs from other religions in a number of ways. (Not the least of these is the fact that agnostics are welcome in their meeting.) Mr. Gooch will speak about the origins, tenets and practices of the Society of Friends, as the Quakers call themselves, and entertain your questions. Do come and join the conversation!

Schedule:

11 am  - Meet & Greet
12 noon - Covered Dish
1 pm - Program Meeting

October 20, 2013 - Christy Johnson, journalist

Christy Johnson, a journalist for over 7 years and in her first role as an activist is the local organizer of the Birmingham, Ala. chapter of Restore the Fourth. She will speak to us about recent revelations concerning the National Security Agency and how much of our lives are being subjected to surveillance. Are these gross violations of privacy relative to the Fourth Amendment? Should we care? What can we do? Learn why Restore the Fourth believes our Fourth Amendment is being violated and how the privacy of "we the people" should be restored.

Join us for this dynamic topic and contribute to the synergy!

NOTE: THIS IS RACE WEEKEND SO ALLOW EXTRA TIME FOR TRAVEL!!

Schedule:

11 am social hour
12 noon potluck lunch
1 pm program

June 16, 2013 - Shawn Young, Christian Agnostic

We often hear testimony of individuals who have left Evangelical Christianity or Roman Catholicism to become atheists. But rarely do we get to hear the story of those who have retained a share of their faith, yet moved it to a more "progressive" view. Dr. Young, who describes himself as a Christian agnostic, brings us one such story. His journey involves an evolving view of scripture and a general distrust of human language as an effective communication tool, especially when the language is centuries old, and/or is considered only in a logocentric approach (ignoring phonocentric considerations). 

Dr. Shawn Young is Director of Music Management Studies at Clayton State University, Morrow, Georgia. 

Schedule:

11 am social hour
12 noon potluck lunch
1 pm program

May 19, 2013 - Lecia Brooks, Outreach Director, Southern Poverty Law Center

The praise (and applause) following Ms. Brooks's talk at the 2011 AFA Annual 4th of July Freethought Advance seemed unending. We are very pleased that she is willing to come back to Lake Hypatia and speak at our May 2013 meeting.  

Schedule:

11 am social hour
12 noon potluck lunch
1 pm program

April 21, 2013 - "Secular Student Alliance at University of Alabama at Birmingham " with Jon Paolone

Jon Paolone is the advisor for the Secular Student Alliance at UAB. 

The organization's website describes it as follows:

"The Secular Student Alliance at UAB is a sanctuary for people who, while they may not have religion or currently believe in any religion, consider themselves lucky enough to be living, breathing human beings with consciences and a personal state of mind."

Mr. Paolone hopes to have some students from the Alliance available to speak and answer questions. 

Schedule:

11 am social hour
12 noon potluck lunch
1 pm program

March 17, 2013 - "It's Only a Theory" with Bob Truett

The month of March brings another familiar face to the Alabama Freethought Association. Bob Truett has spoken many times at AFA and other freethought organizations in the southeast. Bob is a regular attendee at AFA monthly meetings. Bob is retired Director of the Birmingham Zoo. 

Bob encourages parents to bring children six years and older. He promises that the talk will be unorthodox, surprising, and will involve considerable audience participation. Expect to learn something!

Schedule:

11 am social hour
12 noon potluck lunch
1 pm program

February 17, 2013 - "In Freedom We Trust" with Dr. Ed Buckner

Ed Buckner and his wife Diane are old friends of the Alabama Freethought Association and the Freedom From Religion Foundation. Many of our members know Ed from our annual 4th of July Freethought Advance, in which he has graciously served as emcee on many occasions. Ed is also a former president of American Atheists and Executive Director of the Council for Secular Humanism.

Ed and his son Michael have recently published their well-researched book In Freedom We Trust: An Atheist Guide to Religious Liberty with Prometheus Books. This book contains a wealth of well-supported arguments to refute the often-heard myths such as the United States "is a Christian nation" and "it is not possible to be moral without a god". Those of us who have heard Ed's eloquent speaking style will be happy to know that he and Michael have taken that same entertaining approach to the pages of In Freedom We Trust. Still, the book is packed with fascinating facts about our founding fathers and other Americans who have worked to ensure that our government stays neutral toward religion.

Schedule:

11 am social hour
12 noon potluck lunch
1 pm program

November 18, 2012 - "Say it Loud: Why I am Black, Atheist and Proud" with Dr. annalise fonza

Dr. annalise fonza holds a PhD from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. During her time as a Methodist minister, she pastored six congregations. An alumna the Clergy Project, Dr. fonza has appeared on Freethought Radio and contributed to Black Skeptics on FreethoughtBlogs.com. Her professional interests lie in city and urban planning, particularly as they have affected black and female population components.

Dr. fonza brings us her insight into the intersection of freethought and race as she addresses common questions. Why do black atheists tend to be invisible, and, why have they created their own atheist organizations? In this talk, Dr. fonza will discuss how various racial, social and even political dynamics have converged to inform the development of openly black and atheist and free-thought communities. During this talk she will also explain why she is personally and politically willing to self-identify as an atheist, despite the tremendous impact that it has upon her racially, socially and economically.

SCHEDULE
11 a.m. social hour
Noon potluck lunch
1 p.m. program

May 20, 2012 - "2012: Doom or Dumb" with Sharon Carruthers

Ms. Carruthers is an officer in the Atlanta Astronomy Club. In her talk, she will detail various doomsday scenarios that have been divined from observation of the stars and planets. In an effort to help us smoke out the flaws in these scenarios, Ms. Carruthers will introduce us to the "Seven Signs of Bogus Science". 

Schedule:
11:00 am Social hour
12:00 noon Potluck lunch
1:00 pm Program

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