FFRF’s treat-filled convention in Madison this weekend

Monona Terrace in Madison WI

The Freedom From Religion Foundation’s 46th annual national convention is taking place in its hometown this coming weekend – and it promises to be a scintillating event.

The gathering will take place Friday, Oct. 13, and Saturday, Oct. 14, at the Monona Terrace Convention Center in Madison, Wis., with the annual membership meeting on Sunday, Oct. 15. Although early registration is closed, registration at the door (no meal orders) takes place at the convention center outside the Madison Ballroom, main level, starting Friday at 8 a.m. The schedule and other details can be found here.

The convention will not only showcase FFRF activism, but will place special emphasis this year on the threats of white Christian nationalism and to abortion rights. It will also include “godless gospel” entertainment and cameos by two drag queens!

Among the headline speakers are Kate Cohen, who writes elegant, freethinking columns as a Washington Post contributing writer exposing America’s reflexive deference to religion. Cohen, who will receive the Freethought Heroine Award, will talk about and sign copies of her new book We Of Little Faith: Why I Stopped Pretending To Believe (And Maybe You Should Too). You can listen to a recent FFRF Freethought Radio interview with her here.

Another prominent voice featured at the convention is that of Lizz Winstead, the political satirist. She will receive FFRF’s “Emperor Has No Clothes Award.” Winstead is a co-creator of “The Daily Show” and a founder of Abortion Access Front, a team of comedians, writers and producers who use humor to destigmatize abortion and expose the extremist forces working to destroy abortion rights. She will be the Saturday night keynote speaker.

Other convention speakers include:

• Elie Mystal, receiving FFRF’s Clarence Darrow Award. The Harvard Law School grad and MSNBC frequent guest and The Nation magazine columnist is author of the bestselling Allow Me To Retort — A Black Guy’s Guide to the Constitution.
• Robert P. Jones, founder and president of Public Religion Research Institute and author of two books on white Christian supremacy.

• Jeremiah Camara, author of Holy Lockdown: Does The Church Limit Black Progress? and documentarian. He’ll speak about his forthcoming documentary, “The Age of Appeasement.”

In keeping with FFRF’s two billboards on East Johnson Street in Madison proclaiming “Resist Christian Nationalism,” experts on white Christian nationalism will speak Saturday morning:
• Amanda Tyler, executive director of the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty and organizer of Christians Against Christian Nationalism.
• Andrew Seidel, author of American Crusade: How the Supreme Court is Weaponizing Religious Freedom. He is VP of strategic communications at Americans United.

• Samuel L. Perry, professor of sociology at the University of Oklahoma and co-author of Taking America Back for God: Christian Nationalism in the United States (with Andrew Whitehead) and The Flag and the Cross: White Christian Nationalism and the Threat to American Democracy (with Philip Gorski).

Abortion rights will also be addressed by:
• Jen Castle, national director of abortion service delivery at Planned Parenthood Federation of America. She will accept on behalf of Planned Parenthood the $35,000 Henry Zumach Freedom From Religious Fundamentalism Award.
• Mary Ziegler, a noted abortion rights legal expert and professor of law at UC Davis School of Law. She will receive FFRF’s “Forward Award,” given to those who are moving society forward.

There will be a secular legislative panel, which will include Wisconsin state Sen. Kelda Roys and Minnesota state Rep. Mike FreibergEmily Olson, a member of the city council in Owosso, Mich., will receive FFRF’s “Nothing Fails Like Prayer” Award for bravely attempting to persuade the council to discontinue prayer. And there are our student activist awardees — Bear Bright and Marcus Stovall — who are suing over West Texas A&M censorship of a drag show benefit sponsored by a secular student club on campus. The students, fittingly, will be introduced by two local drag queen performers — Bryanna Banx$ and Latina Envy.

Also featured will be the usual “Highlights of the Year” from Co-Presidents Dan Barker and Annie Laurie Gaylor, the legal report by FFRF Legal Director Rebecca Markert and staff attorneys, and a new (c)(4) FFRF Action Fund report by FFRF Governmental Affairs Director Mark Dann and Senior Policy Counsel Ryan Jayne.

To top it will be the encore presentation of Godless Gospel, featuring leading freethinkers in the African-American community who formerly participated in Christian gospel choirs, overseen by former gospel producer Andre Forbes.

The 46th annual FFRF convention promises to be quite a treat.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation is a national nonprofit organization with over 40,000 members across the country, including more than 1,700 members and its national headquarters in Wisconsin. Our purposes are to protect the constitutional principle of separation between state and church, and to educate the public on matters relating to nontheism.

If you are an FFRF member, sign into your account here and then update your email subscriptions here.

To become an FFRF member, click here. To learn more about FFRF, request information here.

Freedom From Religion Foundation

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