Lake Hypatia Fourth of July Fest (August 2003)

Pat Cleveland, director of the Alabama Freethought Association, a Foundation chapter, opened this year’s “glorious fourth” Independence Day celebration.

The annual 4th of July bash at Lake Hypatia Freethought Advance, near Talladega, Ala., was the perfect spot to celebrate the appellate court ruling handed down earlier that week against Alabama Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore. The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Moore must remove the 5,200-pound Ten Commandments monument he had installed in the rotunda of the Alabama Supreme Court building by stealth.

A packed house of about 200 freethinkers, representing about half of the states in the nation, attended the 2-day event sponsored by the Alabama Freethought Association. Events were held in the Lake Hypatia Freethought Hall and the surrounding tranquil lakeside grounds, which the Cleveland family opens to participants and campers.

Above: the “antigodville vaudeville” team of Steve Benson and Dan Barker, following a standing ovation for their Lake Hypatia performance of “Tunes ‘n Toons.” Steve is a Pulitzer Prize-winning daily editorial cartoonist and Dan is “staff musician” of the Freedom From Religion Foundation. The one-of-a-kind show weaves topical editorial cartoons with musical parodies for a pointed look at religion and freethought in the news. The talented pair is at work on a revised show scheduled for the 26th annual FFRF convention in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 11. (See back page for details and registration form.)

A slate of speakers alternated with leisure and camping activities, a poetry reading led by Ilene Sparks, Ala., and a suspenseful freethought trivia quiz directed by Clark Adams, Nev. Michigan Foundation member Kristine Danowski took top honors for her impressive repertoire of freethought knowledge. Other presenters included Charleston Gazette editor-in-chief James Haught, W.V., speaking on the history of “Holy Horrors,” author Kimberly Blaker, Mich., American Humanist Association president Mel Lipman, Nev., and Hemlock Society director Faye Girsh, Colo.

Freedom From Religion Foundation