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Los Angeles, Calif.

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National Convention

October 9-11, 2015

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Appearances, Debates, Speeches and More

Lauryn Seering

Lauryn Seering

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2014 National Convention Schedule

ExteriorFreedom From Religion
     37th Annual National Convention ­
Weekend of Oct. 24-25, 2014
Millennium Biltmore Hotel
506 South Grand Avenue, Los Angeles CA, 90071-2607 

Friday, October 24

2:00 p.m. Registration opens Upper South Galeria

3:00 – 5:00 p.m. Reception Bernard’s on Galeria

Light appetizers, coffee, tea, punch 

3:00 – 5:00 p.m. Legal Workshop Roman (Mezzanine Level)

FFRF Staff Attorneys Rebecca Markert, Patrick Elliott & Andrew Seidel Workshop repeats from 4:00-5:00 p.m

3:00 – 5:00 p.m. “Out of the Closet” 60-sec video recordings Mediterranean (Mezzanine Level)

5:00 - 6:30 Dinner on your own

5:30 Registration re-opens – Biltmore Bowl Foyer - Ballroom opens at 6:30 p.m.

7:00 Welcome & “Invocation,” music, short program

Dan Barker & Annie Laurie Gaylor, Co-Presidents

Introduction of Nothing Fails Like Prayer Awards, Andrew Seidel

Invocation by Amanda Novotny

7:30 Freethought Heroine Award

Attorney Marci Hamilton

“What is Wrong with Extreme Religious Liberty”

8:15 Emperor Has No Clothes Award Acceptance Speech 
“What would Lucy do?”

Paleo-anthropologist Donald C. Johanson

Booksigning & Complimentary Dessert Reception follows

Saturday, October 25

All events in the Biltmore Bowl (lower level) except breakfast.

8:00 a.m. Non-Prayer Breakfast (for ticket-holders) Heinsbergen Room (Tiffany overflow)

If you arrive Sat. a.m., pick up meal tickets outside Heinsbergen.

9:00 a.m. Registration re-opens Biltmore Bowl Foyer

9:15 Voices of Reason Concert Concert by Atheist United - LA Choral Group, concluding with Dan Barker tango

9:30 Welcome & “Invocation”

FFRF Director of Operations Lisa Strand, Dan Barker & Annie Laurie Gaylor Invocation by Tim Earl

9:45 An Atheist Actor in Hollywood

Scott Clifton, “Theoretical B.S.”

10:15 Coffee/tea break, visit sales tables

10:30 “A Better Life: An Exploration of Joy and Meaning in a World without God”

Photographer/author Chris Johnson

11:00 “Communicating Secular Ideas with the Religious”

Activist Jessica Ahlquist

11:30 “From Accused to Activist”

Activist Barbara Mancini

12:00 – 2:00 p.m. Lunch/sightseeing on your own, ballroom re-opens 1:30 p.m.

2:00 “Writing God’s Obituary: How a Good Methodist Became a Better Atheist”

Author/professor Anthony Pinn

2:45 Champion of the First Amendment Presentation

Law professor Erwin Chemerinsky

“The Vanishing Wall Separating Church and State”

3:15 Emperor Has No Clothes Award Acceptance Speech

Physicist Sean Carroll

Booksigning for all three afternoon authors in the foyer follows

6:30 p.m Banquet Dinner (for ticket-holders)

Biltmore Bowl ~ extra chairs will be brought in at 8 for non-diners

Drawing for “clean” pre-In God We Trust currency ($1 to $100)

“The Singing Atheist” - Short Concert by FFRF Co-President Dan Barker

“Nothing Fails Like Prayer” Invocation Dan Courtney

Freethinkers of the Year Presentations

Susan Galloway

Linda Stephens

“The View from Under the Bus”

Sunday, October 26

8:30 a.m. Coffee, tea and rolls set at 8:30 a.m. Heisenbergen Room

9:00 Annual Business Meeting Open to all current FFRF members, followed by Annual State Representatives meeting to conclude by Noon

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Lake Hypatia "Advance" Speakers

foxholememorial clrLake Hypatia "Advance (not Retreat) 
Glorious Fourth 2014 

Thursday, July 3 — Saturday July 5, 2014 

Rural Munford, Alabama
Sponsored by the Alabama Freethought Association & FFRF

Celebrate our 25th July 4th Lake Hypatia, Ala. event! 


danDan Barker is co-president of the Freedom From Religion Foundation and co-host of Freethought Radio. A former minister and evangelist, Dan became a freethinker in 1983. His books, "Just Pretend: A Freethought Book for Children" and "Losing Faith in Faith: From Preacher To Atheist" (1992) are published by the Foundation. His newest book, "The Good Atheist: Living a Purpose-Filled Life Without God", was published by Ullysses Press in January, 2011. His previous book, the autobiographical "Godless: How An Evangelical Preacher Became One of America's Leading Atheists", was published by Ulysses Prep in 2008. A graduate of Azusa Pacific University with a degree in religion, Dan now puts his knowledge of Christianity to effective freethought use. A professional pianist and composer, Dan performs freethought concerts and is featured in the Foundation's musical CDs, "Friendly Neighborhood Atheist," (2-volume) "Beware of Dogma," and "Adrift on a Star." He joined the Foundation staff in 1987 and served as public relations director. He was first elected co-president in November 2004. Dan will entertain at the piano during this event. 

jerrydewittJerry DeWitt realized he was an atheist after more than 25 years of Pentecostal ministry in his home state of Louisiana. His ministry experience begin at the early age of 17 and included evangelizing across the U.S. and being the assistant pastor of two United Pentecostal churches and one Apostolic church. During his dilemma with doubt Jerry ultimately held the senior pastorate of two very unique congregations, one charismatic dominionist and the other non-denominational fundamentalist. He also holds the distinction of being the first graduate of The Clergy Project. Even though Jerry has only been in the freethought movement for a short time, he’s already been honored with a seat on the board of directors for Atheist Nexus and was featured in The New York Times Magazine article "From Bible-Belt Pastor to Atheist Leader." The RR mission is to coordinate and facilitate face-to-face meetings for those who desire support in leaving their religion. RR also facilitates online forums and resources in cooperation with other secular organizations and groups. It tries to connect those in need with secular therapists in their local community. Former minister Jerry DeWitt brings a broad understanding of the religious lifestyle and its effects on personal wellbeing to the non-theist movement. He’s a dynamic and entertaining public speaker with a heartfelt compassion for those struggling to completely free themselves from their religion. Jerry is the author of, "Hope After Faith: An Ex-Pastor's Journey from Belief to Atheism." 

algAnnie Laurie Gaylor is co-president of the Freedom From Religion Foundation and co-host of Freethought Radio. Gaylor was an editor of Freethought Today from 1984 to 2009, when Bill Dunn became editor and she became executive editor. The paper is published 10 times a year. Her book, "Woe To The Women: The Bible Tells Me So," first published in 1981, is now in its 4th printing. In 1988, the Foundation published her book, "Betrayal of Trust: Clergy Abuse of Children," the first book documenting widespread sexual abuse by clergy. Her 1997 book, "Women Without Superstition: No Gods, No Masters" is the first collection of the writings of historic and contemporary women freethinkers. A 1980 graduate of the UW-Madison Journalism School, she was an award-winning student reporter and recipient of the Ken Purdy scholarship. After graduation, she founded, edited and published the Feminist Connection, a monthly advocacy newspaper, from 1980-1985. She joined the Foundation staff in 1985. She has been co-president since 2004. She co-founded the original FFRF with Anne Gaylor as a college student. Annie Laurie will give video updates on FFRF during this event. 

janetJanet Heimlich is an award-winning journalist and the author of "Breaking Their Will: Shedding Light on Religious Child Maltreatment," the first book to take an in-depth look at child abuse and neglect in the United States that is enabled by religious belief. She is also president of the Child-Friendly Faith Project, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that educates the public about the impact that religious, spiritual, and cultural beliefs and practices have on children. As a freelance reporter for National Public Radio, Ms. Heimlich won nine journalism awards, including the regional Katie and the Houston Press Club’s “Radio Journalist of the Year.” She has written non-fiction articles for such publications as Texas Monthly magazine, Texas Parks & Wildlife magazine, the Texas Observer, and the Austin American-Statesman. Ms. Heimlich received a B.A. in Communications from Stanford University in 1984.

Gordon Maples is the Secular Student Alliance’s Regional Campus Organizer for the Southeastern United States, as well as the Manager of the SSA's Regional Program. He is a former President of the University of Alabama SSA affiliate (the Crimson Secular Student Alliance), and founded the Southeastern Collegiate Atheist Alliance in order to network with fellow secular student leaders from throughout the southeastern US. Originally from Alabama, Gordon is passionately dedicated to improving the situation and standing for atheists and nontheists in the American South. 


2012-04-05 13-03-38 420Michael Anthony Scott is a member of the Freedom From Religion Foundation and current president of The FFRF Georgia Chapter Inc. Michael, has BBA from Medaille College and a MHRM from Keller Graduate School of Management, with nearly twenty years of management experience in both the private and private sectors. Michael states, “During the past decade, I have studied both Christianity and Islam extensively, but not exclusively. My nonacademic background on the subject of theology, provides a unique and practical real world prospective on non-theism. His website can be found here



AndrewSeidelAndrew 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. He studied human rights and international law at the University of Amsterdam and traveled the world on Semester at Sea. In May of 2011, Andrew completed his Master of Laws at Denver University Sturm College of Law with a 4.0 GPA and was awarded the Outstanding L.L.M. Award. He has written a book on International Human Rights Law and his essay on the role of religion in government and the founding of our nation placed second in the FFRF's 2010 graduate student essay contest. Andrew is a former Grand Canyon tour guide and accomplished nature photographer; his work has been displayed in galleries in Colorado, Texas, Florida, Louisiana, and Maryland. He joined the FFRF staff as a constitutional consultant in November 2011.



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Interview with Dan Barker

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