A best-selling author whose expose of a secretive megapowerful Christian fundamentalist group is now a Netflix series has been added as a speaker at the Freedom From Religion Foundation convention.
Jeff Sharlet, whose The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power laid bare the workings of the titular organization, will be addressing the FFRF audience Saturday, Oct. 19, morning during the convention. His classic work has recently been transformed into a much-acclaimed Netflix mini-series, which he has executive produced. A professor at Hampshire College, Sharlet has written a number of other books and has won the National Magazine Award. Make plans to see him before time runs out!
Sharlet is far from the only enthralling speaker at the irreverent gathering, to be held at the Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center in Madison, Wis. Sarah Vowell, New York Times best-selling author of seven nonfiction books on American history and culture, is a headliner. Other presenters include “Liberal Redneck” comedian Trae Crowder, popular “Friendly Atheist” blogger Hemant Mehta and Amber Scorah, author of Leaving Witness, her moving memoir about exiting from the Jehovah’s Witnesses. FFRF’s Director of Strategic Response Andrew L. Seidel will be talking about his new book The Founding Myth: Why Christian Nationalism Is Un-American. Professors Isaac Kramnick and R. Laurence Moore will give a speech focused on their most recent book, Godless Citizens In A Godly Republic: Atheists In American Public Life.
There will be congressional appearances. Rep. Jamie Raskin will be accepting via video FFRF’s second annual Clarence Darrow Award and Rep. Mark Pocan will be accepting in person FFRF’s Champion of the First Amendment. Both are stalwart members of the Congressional Freethought Caucus.
The youth will be represented, too. The top three winners of FFRF’s 2019 high school senior essay competition (Aline Pham, Jacob McGee and Shiv Shah) will be there.
The convention has a stellar line-up. Rachel Laser will be accepting the $10,000 Henry Zumach Freedom From Religious Fundamentalism Award on behalf of Americans United for the Separation of Church & State. Avinash Patil will be receiving the Avijit Roy Courage Award (which includes a crystal plaque and $5,000) on behalf of the Maharashtra Andhashraddha Nirmoolan Samiti (MANS), an organization dedicated to fighting superstition in India and founded by Narendra Dabholkar, who was assassinated by religious terrorists in 2013. Mandisa Thomas, who will be named FFRF’s 2019 Freethought Heroine, is the founder and president of Black Nonbelievers. Anthony B. Pinn, a professor of humanities and religion at Rice University and founding director of the Center for Engaged Research and Collaborative Learning, will be presented FFRF’s Emperor Has No Clothes Award.
Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Steve Benson will be drawing caricatures of convention guests as a fundraiser for FFRF. Jeremiah Camara’s new documentary, “Holy Hierarchy: The Religious Roots of Racism in America,” will be screened twice at the convention. Andrew Bradley and Deven Green, who have teamed up to create Mrs. Betty Bowers, America’s Best Christian (an award-winning satirical web series), will be engaging in a humorous performance. Major speakers will be signing copies of their books, giving you a chance to meet with them. Sign up here.
Jeff Sharlet’s addition to the FFRF convention roster makes it even more of a “must attend.” Come on down to Madison next month!