Lake Hypatia 2012

The 23rd annual Independence Weekend Celebration at Lake Hypatia, Ala., is set for June 29 through July 1 at FFRF’s southern Freethought Hall and Freethought Advance near Talladega.

The event is hosted by the Alabama Freethought Society (an FFRF chapter) and its director Patricia Cleveland and co-sponsored by FFRF. The Cleveland family generously opens up its personal grounds for participants who reserve in advance for RVs or primitive camping. Showers and washrooms are available onsite. There are many motels in the area.

The 2012 agenda includes well-known speakers from the freethought community. In addition to the program, attendees will be able to relax and enjoy lake activities such as boat rides with “Cap’n Jon,” swimming and fishing. Softball, volleyball and arts and crafts are also available. During select parts of the program, children’s activities will be hosted by Camp Quest innovator Aleta Ledendecker.


Master of ceremonies will be FFRF Lifetime Member Ed Buckner. Ed is a former president of both American Atheists and the Atlanta Freethought Society. Ed is co-editor of Quotations That Support Separation of Church and State.

Alabama chapter member Bob Truett, former director of the Birmingham Zoo, will discuss how “King Kong Plays God.” 

Lecia Brooks, director of outreach for the Southern Poverty Law Center, will discuss how SPLC pursues its primary goals of fighting hate, teaching tolerance and seeking justice. 

JT Eberhard, campus organizer and high school specialist with the Secular Student Alliance, will talk on “Reason as a Moral Obligation.”

Dr. Darrel W. Ray, founder of Recovering From Religion, psychologist and author of The God Virus: How Religion Infects Our Lives will discuss “Sexy Evolution (or, What the Pope Doesn’t Know About Human Sexuality).”

Dale McGowan, editor and co-author of Parenting Beyond Belief, which Newsweek called “a compelling read,” and Raising Freethinkers, the practical sequel, will address “Secular Parenting.”

The Freethought Film Festival Foundation celebrates films that challenge the status quo, in fact, the unchallengeable. Board member Judi Green brings selections from the 2011 International Freethought Film Festival to be shown in two 90-minute segments.


Register online at ffrf.org/outreach/lake-hypatia/. You can also download a registration form online to mail to Alabama Freethought Society, P.O. Box 571, Talladega, AL 35161.

Registration is $35 per FFRF member, $40 per nonmember, $5 per FFRF student member and $10 per nonmember student.

Four catered meals will be offered (Friday night, Saturday lunch and dinner, Sunday brunch) and are $10 per adult, $5 per student. (There will be an inexpensive hot dog/veggie dog lunch offered by a private couple on Friday.)

There are no nearby restaurants, so order meals now. Meal orders and early registrations must be in hand by June 24. There is a $10 late fee per person for registration after June 24. No meals may be ordered after that cutoff. 

Out of respect for other attendees, please do not bring pets.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation, based in Madison, Wis., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit educational charity, is the nation's largest association of freethinkers (atheists, agnostics), and has been working since 1978 to keep religion and government separate.

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