20th Annual FFRF Convention: Distinguished Editor, Author To Speak (June/July 1997)

James Haught of the Charleston Gazette–possibly the only daily newspaper editor-in-chief in the United States who is an avowed freethinker–will address the twentieth annual convention of the Freedom From Religion Foundation in early December.

Jim, who became the Charleston Gazette’s editor in 1993, has been a member of that staff for more than 40 years and has won 15 national newswriting awards.

The author of five books, he has worked as police reporter, religion columnist (!), feature writer and investigative reporter. His awards include three consumer writings prizes from the National Press Club and a Gavel citation for justice writing from the American Bar Association.

Who’s Who In America 1996 lists Jim as the author of such books known to freethinkers as Holy Horrors (1990), Science in a Nanosecond (1990), Holy Hatred (1994), and 2,000 Years of Disbelief (1996). He is also part-time senior editor and columnist for Free Inquiry magazine.

Jim, a Foundation member, will talk about “all the religious horrors around the world that a newspaper editor sees on the news wires and the taboo that makes it difficult to express religious doubt in mainstream media,” and throw in some “wild stories about hillbilly evangelists and serpent handlers here in Appalachia’s Bible Belt.”

Distinguished writer Barbara G. Walker, author of 21 books including the bestselling and freethinking Woman’s Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets and The Skeptical Feminist, will talk on “Sexism in Religion” at the Tampa gathering. Her entertaining and thoughtful speech, “The Skeptical Feminist,” is reprinted in the Foundation’s new anthology, Women Without Superstition.

Barbara was named “Humanist Heroine of the Year” in 1993 by the Feminist Caucus of the American Humanist Association.

Barbara has written numerous magazine articles and presented lectures on a variety of subjects of interest to women and rationalistic thinkers, and is widely recognized as one of the modern leaders of the women’s movement against religious traditionalism.

Not as well known to the general public is her importance to the field of knitting; her ten books on knitting patterns and knitwear design are classics in the field. Her most recent book is Feminist Fairy Tales.

Register Early To Be Sure Of Space

The Hyatt Regency Westshore in Tampa, Florida, is the special hotel chosen for the Foundation’s twentieth annual convention meeting the weekend of Dec. 5-7, 1997.

The hotel is located in a 35-acre nature preserve on Tampa Bay. Offering a free airport shuttle, the hotel is just five minutes’ drive from Tampa’s impressive International Airport, termed the “Best U.S. Airport” by Conde Nast Traveler. Shuttles also transport guests to the nearby Westshore shopping mall and food court. But with its 3-mile boardwalk for strolling, jogging paths, full-service health club, tennis and basketball courts as well as two outdoor pools, you may not wish to leave the premises!

The Hyatt’s three restaurants include Armani’s, named one of the ten best restaurants in Florida, Petey Brown’s casual restaurant featuring a chocoholic and ice cream bar, and Oystercatcher’s, with views of the Bay from every table.

Those who wish to plan a vacation around the convention can visit nearby Busch Gardens, the new Florida Aquarium, Tampa stadium and an arts center. St. Petersburg is across the Bay, and centrally-located Disney World, the Epcot Center and Sea World are just an hour and a half away. Many natural attractions are also within easy distance.

Convention attendees should make their own room reservations by calling 1-800-233-1234 (specify the FFRF convention). The rate for a convention room is $109 plus tax, single or double.

Convention registration for Foundation members is $40 per person. (A late fee of $10 will be added for registration at the door.) Non-member registration is $50 per person.

The Saturday “Non-Prayer Luncheon” is $20 per person. The Saturday Night Dinner is $30 per person. (Specify if vegetarian.)

Sign up now to celebrate the Foundation’s special twentieth reunion conference. Every year we have last-minute would-be attendees who are disappointed. Make your plans early!

For more information, contact the Foundation at:

Freedom From Religion Foundation, Inc.
PO Box 750
Madison WI 53701
(608) 256-8900

Freedom From Religion Foundation