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The Millennium Biltmore Hotel is sold out. You may wish to check back in case of cancellations through Tuesday, September 23, but we also advise you to check hotels.com or expedia.com for available hotels. Others nearby the Millennium that may have rooms are listed below:
1. Standard $385
550 S Flower St, Los Angeles, CA 90071
2. Doubletree Downtown $329
120 S Los Angeles St, Los Angeles, CA 90012
3. The Line Hotel
3515 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90010
All the other major hotels show sold out.
Join us at the beautiful Millennium Biltmore!
The Freedom From Religion Foundationâ€™s 37th annual national convention will take place Oct. 24-25, 2014, at the legendary Biltmore Hotel, 506 S. Grand Avenue in Los Angeles.
The Biltmore, a luxury hotel and favorite of dignitaries, is celebrating its 90th anniversary this year and is steps away from the L.A. Live entertainment complex, Staples Center, Ahmanson Theatre, Walt Disney Concert Hall and a few miles from Dodger Stadium.
FFRF is delighted to announce two distinguished scientists will accept its Emperor Has No Clothes Award, a brass statuette reserved for public figures who â€śtell it like it isâ€ť about religion.
DONALD C. JOHANSON is an internationally known paleoanthropologist who discovered the fossil of a female hominid australopithecine known as â€śLucyâ€ť in the Afar Triangle region of Hadar, Ethiopia, in 1974. He earned his bachelorâ€™s degree in 1966 from the University of Chicago, as well as his Masterâ€™s and Ph.D. Although heâ€™s served as a professor of anthropology at several distinguished universities, his reputation is based on his archaeological work in the field. Johanson is founding director of the Institute of Human Origins, a human-evolution think tank, at Arizona State University. He has authored and co-authored many books, and will sign copies of â€śLucyâ€™s Legacy: The Quest for Human Originsâ€ť and â€śFrom Lucy to Language.â€ť
SEAN CARROLL is a theoretical physicist with the Department of Physics at the California Institute of Technology. He earned his undergraduate degree from Villanova University and his P.D in Astrophysics from Harvard in 1993. He taught at the Enrico Fermi Institute at the University of Chicago, and did postdoctoral research at MIT. Carroll specializes in dark energy and general relativity. Carroll, an open atheist, occasionally takes part in formal debates or discussions with theists including a Caltech event in 2012, â€śThe Great Debate: Has Science Refuted Religion?â€ť In 2014, Carroll debated Christian apologist William Lane Craig as part of the Greer-Heard Forum in New Orleans on â€śThe Existence of God in Light of Contemporary Cosmology.â€ť Author of several popular science books, Carroll will sign copies of â€śThe Particle at the End of the Universe: How the Hunt for the Higgs Boson Leads Us to the Edge of a New World.â€ť
ERWIN CHEMERINSKY is the founding dean of the University of California-Irvine School of Law and Raymond Pryke Professor of First Amendment Law, with a joint appointment in political science. He previously taught at Duke Law School, and University of Southern California School of Law. Heâ€™s the author of eight books including â€śThe Conservative Assault on the Constitution,â€ť and the just published â€śThe Case Against the Supreme Court.â€ť He holds a law degree from Harvard Law School. This year, National Jurist magazine named him the most influential person in legal education in the United States. SUSAN GALLOWAY is a graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and has worked most of her career in long-term care, specifically with people with Alzheimerâ€™s and other forms of dementia. She is a long-time social justice activist and founding collective member of the Flying Squirrel Community Space in Rochester, N.Y. Susan is a member of the editorial board of Rochester Indymedia. She has been an advocate for the separation of church and state since elementary school when in 5th grade she refused to sing in her schoolâ€™s Christmas concert. Susan was a plaintiff in the Supreme Court lawsuit, Town of Greece v. Galloway.
MARCI HAMILTON is a leading state/church scholar who holds the Paul R. Verkuil Chair in Public Law at Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, Yeshiva University. Her undergrad degree is from Vanderbilt, 1979, her M.A.s from Pennsylvania State and her law degree from University of Pennsylvania. Hamilton clerked for Justice Sandra Day Oâ€™Connor, and is the author of â€śGod and the Gavel: The Perils of Extreme Religious Liberty,â€ť newly updated this year. She wrote FFRFâ€™s amicus brief before the Supreme Court in the Hobby Lobby challenge of the contraceptive mandate. Her new blog is found at www.hamilton-griffin.com where she writes on issues such as protection of children. Sheâ€™s received many honors for her public advocacy and scholarship.
ANTHONY PINN became the first African-American to hold an endowed chair at Rice University after earning degrees Columbia (MA and MDiv) and Harvard (Ph.D, 1994). Heâ€™s Agnes Cullen Arnold Professor of Humanities and Professor of Religious Studies at Rice University and research director at the Institute for Humanist Studies. His many books as an African American humanist include â€śWhy, Lord? Suffering and Evil in Black Theologyâ€ť (1995), â€śThe End of God-Talk: An African American Humanist Theologyâ€ť and his new memoir, â€śWriting Godâ€™s Obituary: How a Good Methodist Became a Better Atheist.â€ť
CHRISTOPHER JOHNSON is a New York-based photographer and filmmaker who traveled the world photographing atheists for a fascinating 254-page book, â€śA Better Life: 100 Atheists Speak Out on Joy & Meaning in a World Without Godâ€ť (2014). He is working on a video version. He received his undergraduate degree in film production (minor in religious studies) from Concordia University in Montreal, Quebec. His work in art direction and production design can be seen in the films Les Mercredis de Rose and The Pen and the Sword.
LINDA STEPHENS is from Greece, N.Y., a suburb of Rochester, has a B.A. in English (Western Michigan University), M.A. in English (SUNY-Brockport), master of library science (SUNY-Geneseo), Ed.D. (Syracuse University) and is now a retired librarian. Stephens was the atheist plaintiff in the Town of Greece v. Galloway Supreme Court decision. She is an event organizer for the Atheist Community of Rochester (ACoR) and the vice president and web administrator for the Rochester chapter of Americans United for Separation of Church and State. Stephens was vice chair of Monroe Citizens for Public Education and Religious Liberty before it disbanded and also the past president of the Greater Rochester chapter of the National Organization for Women. Stephens is a long-time FFRF Member and new Lifetime Member.
SUSAN GALLOWAY is a graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and has worked most of her career in long-term care, specifically with people with Alzheimerâ€™s and other forms of dementia. She is a long-time social justice activist and founding collective member of the Flying Squirrel Community Space in Rochester, N.Y. Susan is a member of the editorial board of Rochester Indymedia. She has been an advocate for the separation of church and state since elementary school when in 5th grade she refused to sing in her schoolâ€™s Christmas concert. Susan was a plaintiff in the Supreme Court lawsuit, Town of Greece v. Galloway.
SCOTT CLIFTON is an Emmy-Award-winning actor who played Dillon Quartermaine on ABCâ€™s â€śGeneral Hospitalâ€ť (2003â€“2007), Schuyler Joplin on ABCâ€™s â€śOne Life to Liveâ€ť (2009â€“2010), and currently portrays Liam Cooper on CBSâ€™ â€śThe Bold and the Beautifulâ€ť (since 2010). He has been awarded two Daytime Entertainment Emmy awards, and has been nominated seven times. Heâ€™s appeared in many motion pictures as well as guest starred on primetime TV hits such as â€śJudging Amy,â€ť Undressedâ€ť and Roswell.â€ť He is a lifelong atheist and host of the freethought Youtube blog, â€śTheoretical B.S.â€ť
JESSICA AHLQUIST became a high school student plaintiff in a lawsuit to remove a religious prayer from her school auditorium in Rhode Island. The suit, Ahlquist v. Cranston, was filed with the assistance of the American Civil Liberties Union, and was decided in her favor, despite statewide vilification, including being called an â€śevil little thingâ€ť by a state representative. She has received many honors for her brave stance and court victory, including student activist awards and â€śAtheist in Foxholeâ€ť scholarships from FFRF. Alquist has been interviewed by media around the globe, and speaks frequently on college campuses and before secular groups.
DAN BARKER, co-president of FFRF, was a Christian preacher and musician for 19 years before â€śLosing Faith in Faith,â€ť the title of his 1992 book. He graduated from Azusa Pacific University with a degree in religion, and joined FFRFâ€™s staff in 1987 as PR director, becoming co-president with his wife, Annie Laurie Gaylor, in late 2004. He is now chair of the Clergy Project, helping other ministers who have â€śseen the lightâ€ť leave the ministry. His other books include â€śJust Pretend: A Freethought Book for Childrenâ€ť (FFRF), â€śGodless: How an Evangelical Preacher Became One of Americaâ€™s Leading Atheistsâ€ť (Ulysses Press, 2008), and â€śThe Good Atheistâ€ť (Ulysses Press, 2012). A freethought songwriter and performer, his latest musical CD for FFRF is â€śAdrift on a Star.â€ť
REBECCA MARKERT attended the University of Wisconsin at Madison and received her B.A. in political science, international relations and German in 1998. Markert spent one year working as a legislative fellow at the German Parliament in Bonn, Germany, then, in 1999, she became a legislative correspondent and assistant to the chief of staff for U.S. Senator Russ Feingold in Washington, D.C. Markert became FFRFâ€™s first staff attorney in 2008. Sheâ€™s a member of the State Bar of Wisconsin, Dane County Bar Association, and is admitted to practice in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern and Western Districts of Wisconsin. She and husband Mike Markert have two adorable children, Dexter, 3, and Audrey, 1.
PATRICK ELLIOTT became FFRFâ€™s second staff attorney in July 2010. He hails from St. Paul, Minn., earned a degree in legal studies and political science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2005 and graduated from the Wisconsin Law School in 2009. Heâ€™s a member of the State Bar of Wisconsin, and is admitted to practice in the United States District Court for the Western and Eastern Districts of Wisconsin.
ANDREW SEIDEL graduated cum laude from Tulane University with a B.S. in neuroscience and environmental science, and magna cum laude from Tulane University Law School, where he was awarded the Haber J. McCarthy Award for excellence in environmental law. In 2011, Seidel completed his Master of Laws at Denver University Sturm College of Law with a 4.0 GPA. Seidel is a former Grand Canyon tour guide and accomplished nature photographer. He joined the FFRF staff in November 2011 and is married to Liz Cavell, FFRF intake attorney.
BARBARA MANCINI is a member of FFRF who lives in Philadelphia with her husband and two daughters. Her father, Joe Yourshaw, was raised Catholic and became a freethinker as a young adult. Barbara was charged with aiding suicide in 2013 for handing her dying father his prescribed morphine. The prosecution nearly cost her her livelihood and put her in the spotlight of a national debate on end-of-life choice. She will be featured in a forthcoming edition of â€ś60 Minutes,â€ť and will discuss her prosecution, how religiosity intruded in this criminal case, and the implications for all of us who will be facing end-of-life issues one day.
Other speakers and honorees will be announced in future issues and online at ffrf.org/convention/.
Those who might enjoy a little sightseeing can do so Friday morning, then attend afternoon workshops featuring staff attorneys and an appetizer reception from 3-5. Registration opens up at 2 p.m. and continues through the convention.
The program begins formally at 7 p.m. Friday night, including speakers, honorees and a complimentary dessert reception. Saturday begins with FFRFâ€™s nontraditional Non-Prayer Breakfast. An all-day program concludes after the evening keynote speech.
The convention will include the annual drawing for â€ścleanâ€ť (pre-â€śIn God We Trustâ€ť) currency and some entertainment at the piano by FFRF Co-President Dan (â€śThe Singing Atheistâ€ť) Barker. It is followed by the annual membership meeting and meeting of FFRF state representatives Sunday morning.
The Biltmoreâ€™s eateries include Smeraldiâ€™s and the Rendezvous Court, which offers traditional afternoon tea, as well as the Gallery Bar with jazz nights and signature martinis, along with Bugis Street Brasserie, offering authentic Singaporean-Chinese cuisine.
Registration is $65 for individual FFRF member, $70 for nonmember/spouse accompanying member, $105 for nonmember (includes $40 annual membership). Student registration is only $10. Click here to register.