20th Annual FFRF Convention: Alan Hale To Speak (August 1997)

Scientist Alan Hale (of Hale-Bopp comet fame) will speak at the upcoming twentieth annual convention of the Freedom From Religion Foundation meeting at the Hyatt Regency Westshore Hotel, Tampa, Florida, on the weekend of Dec. 5-7, 1997.

Following the Heaven’s Gate Mass Suicide, Hale delivered a statement at a press conference in Cloudcroft, New Mexico, in which he called the mass suicide and other religion-fostered violence “another victory for ignorance and superstition.”

Hale, who co-discovered the comet visible in last spring’s skies, noted that 500 years ago it might have been understandable that comets were regarded as “harbingers of doom and portents of disaster.” But today, he said, we should know that a comet is simply a “dirty snowball” which is “subject to the same laws of physics that everything else in the universe is subject to.

“How many more Rancho Santa Fes are we going to have before we finally say ‘Enough!’ “

Other announced speakers include James Haught, editor in chief of the Charleston Gazette, an outspoken freethinker and author of freethought books, including 2,000 Years of Disbelief.

Well-known “skeptical feminist” Barbara G. Walker, author of the bestselling Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets and many other popular books, will speak on “Sexism in Religion.”

A panel on the continuing controversy over prayers and Ten Commandments in Alabama courtrooms will include various Alabama activists, including Al Faulkenberry, the freethinking engineer who, as a juror in Judge Roy Moore’s courtroom, refused to pray. (See p. 3 for reprint of Atlanta Journal article on Al.)

A slideshow on “Women Without Superstition” by Foundation staff member Annie Laurie Gaylor, editor of a new anthology on women freethinkers, will be presented for those who have not seen it yet.

The convention will include its annual Freethinker of the Year and Freethought Heroine awards, freethought music, flower awards, and a “nonprayer luncheon.” Other speakers will be announced in the fall.

Return the coupon on this page to register with the Foundation for the convention ($40 per person) and to sign up for the two convention meals (a “nonprayer luncheon,” $20, and Saturday night banquet, $30).

Chosen as the site for this celebratory twentieth anniversary convention is a special hotel on Tampa Bay, the Hyatt Regency Westshore, offering a 35-acre nature preserve, full-service sports clubs, courts and pools, and Armani’s, named one of the ten best restaurants in Florida, among other attractions. The hotel is five minutes’ drive from Tampa’s impressive International Airport, and offers a free airport shuttle as well as complimentary shuttle to the nearby Westshore shopping mall and food court.

Please make your hotel reservations as soon as possible by calling the Hyatt Regency Westshore, 1-800-233-1234 (specify you are attending the FFRF convention). The rate is $109 plus tax, single or double. Although the cut-off date to make room reservations is Nov. 5 at 6 p.m., please sign up early to ensure you will have a room reservation! Every year, there are members who try to attend the annual convention at the last minute who cannot be accommodated.

See you on the Bay!

Freedom From Religion Foundation