Iceland Scrapbook

British biologist Richard Dawkins (author of The Selfish Gene), with Foundation co-presidents Annie Laurie Gaylor and Dan Barker, at a June humanist/atheist conference in Reykjavik, Iceland. Annie Laurie is holding a coveted proof copy of Dawkins’ newest book, The God Delusion, which he kindly gave to Dan, and which will be out in the fall. Dawkins’ inspiring talk previewed his new book. The conference also screened Dawkins’ recent hard-hitting BBC series, “The Root of All Evil?,” which has not aired in the United States. That’s Foundation member August Berkshire, Minn., in the background.


Meet Iceland’s planners of an international atheist conference in Iceland. The Atheist Alliance International conference on June 24-25 was graciously hosted by Iceland’s Sidmennt and Atheist Society of Iceland. From left to right: Eyja Margrt Brynjarsdttir, Sidmennt Board member, holding her daughter, Idunn; li Gneisti Sleyarson, president of Skeptikus; Thorsteinn Kolbeinsson, Sidmennt Board member; Karlna Geirsdttir, Sidmennt treasurer; Hope Kntsson, president of Sidmennt; Sigurur Hlm Gunnarsson, vice president of Sidmennt, and Svanur Sigurbjrnsson, Sidmennt board member.

Iceland, an island of 300,000 people, is remarkably free of fundamentalists, has legalized gay marriage for some time, and has no active antiabortion movement. It still has a nominal Lutheran church-state, which local humanists and atheists are encouraging citizens to opt out of.


Annie Laurie and Dan with their daughter Sabrina, 16, at Gullfoss, a famous Icelandic waterfall. They also visited “The Waterfall of the Gods,” where pagan “idols” were famously thrown after Iceland’s forced conversion to Christianity, around 1,000 years ago.


Hostess and organizer Hope Knutsson, of Sidmennt, posing by the “yellow chain”/Laburnum tree at Reykjavik’s Botanical Garden. Hope and other Icelanders provided very warm hospitality during the memorable visit.


Julia and Mulan Sweeney pictured at one of Iceland’s many “hot spots.” That’s steam making Mulan, age 6, close her eyes. Julia will be headlining the fall FFRF conference.

FFRF Scholarship Sends Students to Iceland


Thanks to the generosity of a Freedom From Religion Foundation benefactor, the Foundation was able to offer two students travel scholarships to attend an international atheist conference on June 23-25, meeting in Reykjavik, Iceland.

Pictured by a hot springs on a day tour before the conference are the two scholarship students: Hemant Mehta and Sabrina (“Bri”) Kneisley, both graduate students and freethought activists. The word “htta” means “hot.”

Foundation co-presidents Dan Barker and Annie Laurie Gaylor were among the speakers, which also included Julia Sweeney, Richard Dawkins, and Iceland and U.S. activists. Hemant spoke about what happened when he “sold his soul on eBay” and the Wall Street Journal picked up the story. For more photographs of the conference, turn to page 4.

The Foundation extends its warm gratitude to its generous benefactor.

Photo by Dan Barker.

Freedom From Religion Foundation